Getting Paul Right

Many think that Paul was the founder of Christianity. Why is that? Jesus did teach good principles and performed many miracles, but Christianity is not about the historical Jesus. It is about his death and resurrection, and Jesus did not teach about that – but Paul did!

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony of God.

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1Cor2:1-2)

This is where people often go wrong. We are so used to preachers referring to Jesus as “Jesus Christ” as if Christ was his last name, or, if they want to sound smart, they just say “Christ”.

Ironically the enemy has inspired people to use it as expletives: so people can be heard to say “J…s it is hot today” or “C….., but it is really hot today!”

It was not so in Paul’s day. Christ (or Mashiah in Hebrew) was title and meant “anointed”. Paul was not cursing or using “Christ” willy nilly to sound smart. He used it deliberately to stress the fact that Jesus was the anointed one! This has been what Jesus and the apostles had been teaching from the beginning, what Paul called “the testimony of God”.

So we read in the book of Acts that Paul “proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ —with all boldness and without hindrance! (Acts 28:31)

Paul certainly taught about the death and resurrection of Jesus but always within the context of the kingdom of God, the real good news (gospel/evangelion).

Part of God’s kingdom announcement includes “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (John 18:11) Jesus understood what he to do as part of his anointing and Paul certainly taught that.

So for example Paul writes to the Corinthians “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1Cor15:2,3)

The anointed one died for our sins and this was within the context of the good news of the kingdom.