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WHAT WOULD THE WORLD BE LIKE WITHOUT THE APOSTLE PAUL?
The idea of what would it be like to remove the ApostlePaul and his doctrine from Christianity and the bible came to me while waking one morning. After my many studies regarding his letters and most recently my study on Acts and Galatians, I found multiple scholars and authors who think the doctrines of Paul should be overlooked. Some even claim that his writings should be discarded completely, are declared false, and are contrary to the words of Jesus.
These scholars are partially correct with the last point. Jesus while on earth came for the Jews only, spoke to Jews only, in the Jew’s language and vernacular, and according to the Jew’s laws and traditions, Matthew 10:5-7 and Matthew 15:22-24.
So the revelation of the ‘mystery’ of Grace toward the Gentiles to Paul by the ascended Lord Jesus, Acts 9:1-18, Romans 16:25, Galatians 1:11-12, without the Jew’s laws and traditions IS completely and emphatically contrary to the ‘earthly’ teachings of Jesus. Claims that you can discard the writings of Paul and still be a Gentile believer and benefactor of Jesus’ blessings must also be discarded completely, are false, and contrary to the words of Jesus. Without the revelation to Paul of the ‘Mystery’ of grace toward the Gentiles, Ephesians 3:3-6, it would be impossible to follow Christ without being a Jew. Therefore Paul is the only Apostle of the Gentiles and preached the only Gentile gospel (Romans 11:13, Galatians 2:9).
Let’s start with the bible. If Paul did not exist, the ‘Mystery’ of grace would never have been revealed that the Gentiles would be fellow heirs of salvation without or outside of the Jewish people. It is the Gentile Christians of Paul who set the world on fire with the ideology of love and equality of ALL peoples, whether Jew or Gentile, man or woman, rich or poor, bond or free, Galatians 3:28. (The idea of slavery as we know it today was never an acceptable biblical precept and was considered ‘man stealing’ and punishable by death for the Jew according to the Law of Moses, Exodus 21:16.) So this radical thinking of everyone being equal and able to have a relationship with God, that faith in Jesus’ death burial, and resurrection is the only requirement along with the Spirit of God dwelling in each believer, was revolutionary! So what would the bible look like without Paul?
The books of the New Testament would only consist of:
- 1 Peter
- 2 Peter
- 1 John
- 2 John
- 3 John
- Revelation, but the first 3 chapters would not have been written to include any Gentiles, no Gentile churches in Asia
Why not these books?
- The Gospel of Mark, is John Mark the nephew of Barnabas, who travelled with Paul and who spent his later years in Rome with Paul
- The Gospel of Luke, joined Paul in Troas, the ‘beloved physician’ of Paul’s and also Paul’s disciple
- The Acts of the Apostles was written by Luke
- Hebrews, even if not written by Paul, the other considered probable authors were Paul’s disciples
What great messages and stories would be missing if The Gospel of Luke were not written?
- The Angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father 1:5-22
- The annunciation to Mary 1:26-38
- Mary visits Elizabeth - John the Baptist leaps in his mothers womb 1:39-56
- Birth of John the Baptist 1:57-80
- The birth of Jesus 2:1-7
- The shepherds visit 2:8-17
- Jesus circumcised 2:21
- Jesus presented at the temple 2:22-24
- The prophesies of Simeon and Anna at the temple concerning Jesus 2:25-38
- Jesus at the temple when he was twelve going about his Father’s business 2:41-50
- Jesus gains favor 2:51-52
- Jesus rejected at Nazareth 4:28-30
- The demoniac healed 4:33-37 (also in Mark)
- The great catch of fish 5:4-9
- Jesus at Nain 7:11
- Widow’s son raised from the dead 7:12-16
- Self Righteous Pharisee 7:36-48
- Parable of the two debtors 7:41-43
- Travel in Galilee 8:1-3
- Jesus rejected by the Samaritans 9:51-56
- The 70 sent out 10:1-16
- The 70 return 10:17-24
- Parable of The Good Samaritan 10:25
- At the home of Martha and Mary 10:38-42
- Parable of the friend at midnight 11:5-12
- Woes pronounced on the Pharisees 11:37-42
- Parable of the rich fool 12:16-20
- Parable of the wedding banquet 12:36-38
- Parable of the wise manager 12:42-48
- Parable of the barren fig tree 13:6-9
- The woman healed of her illness 13:10-17
- The number of the saved 13:23-30
- Jesus at the Pharisee’s supper 14:1-24
- The man with the dropsy healed on the Sabbath 14:1-6
- Parable against exalting yourself 14:7-11
- Parable of the great banquet 14:16-24
- The price of following Jesus 14:25-33
- Parable of the lost sheep 15:1-7
- Parable of the lost coin 15:8-10
- Parable of the prodigal son 15:11-32
- Parable of the shrewd manager 16:1-13
- The rich man and Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom 16:19-31
- Being profitable 17:1-10
- Jesus heals the ten lepers 17:11-19
- What will it be like at Christ’s second coming 17:20-37
- Parable of the persistent widow and judge 18:1-8
- Parable of the Pharisee and the repentant tax collector 18:9-14
- Healed blind Bartmaeus 18:35 (also in Mark)
- Zacchaeus 19:2-10
- Parable of the 10 pounds/minas 19:11-27
- Jesus heals the ear Peter cut off 22:50
- Jesus before Herod 23:6-12
- Prophecy of Jesus to the weeping of the women 23:27-31
- Jesus forgives the crucifiers Luke 23:34
- The thief on the cross 23:39-43
- Jesus at Emmaus 24:13-35 (also in Mark)
- The resurrected Jesus appears to Peter 24:34
- Appears - Thomas absent 24:36-38
- The appearance at his ascension 24:50-53 (Also in Mark)
What would be missing The Gospel of Mark were not written?
- The return to Capernaum 2:1-2
- Parable of the seed growing silently 4:26
- Journey to Decapolis 7:31
- Deaf and dumb man healed 7:32-37
- Blind man healed at Bethsaida 8:22
- Healing blind Bartimaeus 10:46
- Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene 16:9
- Mary Magdalen tells Peter Jesus is risen 16:10
- Jesus appears at Emmaus 16:12-13
- Jesus appears to disciples - Thomas present 16:14-18
The Entire Book Of Acts
I will just list a few notable things:
- Jesus Ascension and his words to the disciples prior
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
- Peter’s miracles
- Peter’s shadow healing people
- Communal living ending up in poverty
- Anannias and Saphira killed by God for lying to a prophet
- Many signs and wonders done
- Apostles arrested and freed
- Stephen’s speech before he was martyred
- Apostle James martyred.
- Peter’s miraculous deliverance from prison
- The single one Gentile household saved by Peter’s preaching.
- Tabitha raised from the dead
- Everything about Paul
The Epistles Of Paul
The ramifications of the missing words of Paul would be absolutely world changing. None of the other apostle’s epistles or gospels mention preaching of salvation to the heathen /Gentiles /any other nations. They preached to "none but Jews only", Acts 11:19. The Jews persecuting the Jesus cult would continue. Rome besieging Jerusalem and the scattering of the Jews would have been the end of this sect. The Jewish believers in Christ would have been a sect of Judaism and probably faded into obscurity, because the message went only to Jews and for the most part the majority of Jews rejected it, only a remnant believed. Nero would not have burned Rome and blamed the ‘Christians’, because there were no ‘Christians‘. The word ‘Christian’ would not exist because it was a name given to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria by the Romans.
The word church would not exist or only mean synagogue or assembly of Jews. The idea of the “body of Christ” would be nonexistent. The “body of Christ” being the church is a Pauline teaching; Romans 12:5, Ephesians 3:6. The doctrine of the “new creature” by the power of the Holy Spirit is Pauline; 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15. The doctrine of being sealed with the Spirit as an earnest of the things to come; 2 Corinthians 1:22, 2 Corinthians 5:5, Ephesians 1:14. Faith alone in Jesus Christ without works is salvation and is fully Pauline; Romans 3:27, 4:2, 4:6, 9:11, 9:32, 11:5, Galatians 2:16, 3:2, 3:5, 3:10, 5:19, Ephesians 2:9-10, 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5. Now I must stop here and say that good works will follow those who believe in Christ, but Paul makes it clear we are not saved by them.
I also want to contrast James who is writing to the Jewish believers James 2:14-26 is making a natural argument from a Jewish standpoint that one must be outwardly good to prove his inward goodness, but this is the opposite of Christ’s teaching when Christ chastised the Pharisees. They were outwardly good but inwardly rotten. So the doctrine of Paul reveals the miracle of the inward new creature by the Spirit. The new creature formed by God, through Christ, by His Spirit, the circumcision of the heart, not the outward circumcision which is visible, but the work of God in us which made us Holy and Justified and Sanctified. This is how distinctly different the revelation or the ‘mystery’ of the work of Christ came from Paul to the Gentiles and this is why there was strife between the Apostle Paul and the eleven apostles at Jerusalem and some other prominent disciples (possibly of the seventy Jesus sent out) recorded in Acts 15 and in the book of Galatians. The other remaining apostles still taught you must follow the laws of Moses completely along with believing Jesus is the meshiac of Israel; Acts 15 and 21, the letters of James, Peter, John, Jude, Revelation.
What Would the World Look Like?
The world would probably look much like it did, as far as a society, in ancient Rome or ancient Greece, with those empires ebbing and flowing with the tides of humanity and other conquering hordes. Their rulers continually assassinated by close friends or even relatives for the ascent of power to their respective thrones.
The Holy Roman Empire, gone. No Catholic church or any other Christian Church. There may not even be any Moslems, no need for the revolutionary religion to counter the Holy Roman Empire.
The Christian artwork of Europe and the Renaissance would not exist. This list of great art masters would not exist including Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Raphael (Raffaello Santi) (1483-1520), El Greco (Domenikos Theotocopoulos) (1541-1614), and Rembrandt (1606-1669) to name a few.
Sculptors like Michelangelo and Donatello would be unknowns if not for their great works for the great churches and cathedrals.
The “Entombment” by Juan de Juni (1506-1577)
The first English bible came at a great cost.
Text is from Christianity Today Article
“John Wycliffe, an Oxford University professor and theologian, was one of those few who had read the Latin Bible. Though a scholar living a life of privilege, he nevertheless felt a strong empathy for the poor and the uneducated, those multitudes in feudal servitude whose lives were "nasty, brutish, and short". He challenged the princes of the church to face their hypocrisy and widespread corruption—and to repent. He railed that the church was no longer worthy to be the keeper of the Word of Truth. And he proposed a truly revolutionary idea:
"The Scriptures," Wycliffe stated, "are the property of the people, and one which no party should be allowed to wrest from them. Christ and his apostles converted much people by uncovering of Scripture, and this in the tongue which was most known to them. Why then may not the modern disciples of Christ gather up the fragments of the same bread? The faith of Christ ought therefore to be recounted to the people in both languages, Latin and English."
John Wycliffe earnestly believed that all of the Scriptures should be available to all of the people all of the time in their native tongue. And so Wycliffe and his followers, most notably John Purvey, his secretary and close friend, and for a limited time, Nicholas Hereford, translated Jerome's Vulgate, the "Latin Bible," into the first English Bible. (They utilized original language texts as well.) Their literal, respectful translation was hand-printed around 1382. Historians refer to this as the "Early Version" of the Wycliffe Bible.
The church princes, long before having anointed themselves as sole arbitrator (indeed "soul" arbitrator!) between God and man, condemned this monumental achievement as heretical—and worse:
"This pestilent and wretched John Wycliffe, that son of the old serpent, endeavour[ing] by every means to attack the very faith and sacred doctrine of Holy Church, translated from Latin into English the Gospel, [indeed all of the Scriptures,] that Christ gave to the clergy and doctors of the Church. So that by his means it has become vulgar and more open to laymen and women who can read than it usually is to quite learned clergy of good intelligence. And so the pearl of the Gospel, [indeed of the Scriptures in toto,] is scattered abroad and trodden underfoot by swine." (Church Chronicle, 1395)
The church princes decreed that Wycliffe be removed from his professorship at Oxford, and it was done. Two years later, his health broken, he died.
In the decade following Wycliffe's death, his friend John Purvey revised their Bible. The complete text, including Purvey's "Great Prologue," appeared by 1395 (more than 200 years before the King James Bible). But portions of his revision, in particular the Gospels and other books of the New Testament, were in circulation as early as 1388.
Historians refer to this as the "Later Version" of the Wycliffe Bible. This vernacular version retained most of the theological insight and poetry of language found in the earlier, more literal effort. But it was easier to read and understand, and quickly gained a grateful and loyal following. Each copy had to be hand-printed (Gutenberg's printing press would not be invented for more than 50 years), but this did not deter widespread distribution.
For his efforts, the church princes ordered John Purvey arrested and delivered to the dungeon. He would not see freedom again until he recanted for his "sin" of writing the English Bible. His spirit ultimately broken, he eventually did recant. Upon release, he was watched, hounded at every step, the church princes determined that he would tow the party line. His life made a living hell, the co-author of the first English Bible disappeared into obscurity and died unknown.
But the fury of the church princes was unrelenting. Edicts flew. John Wycliffe's bones were dug up and burned. Wycliffe's writings were gathered up and burned. All unauthorized Bibles—that is, all those in the English language—were banned. All confiscated copies were burned. Those who copied out these Bibles were imprisoned. Those who distributed these Bibles were imprisoned. Those who owned an English Bible, or, as has been documented, "traded a cart-load of hay for but a few pages of the Gospel," were imprisoned. And those faithful souls who refused to "repent" the "evil" that they had committed, were burned at the stake, the "noxious" books they had penned, or even had merely owned, hung about their necks to be consumed by the same flames. In all, thousands were imprisoned and many hundreds executed. Merry olde England was engulfed in a reign of terror. All because of an English Bible.”
The first metal type printing press invented in 1455 was for printing the Christian Bible for mass distribution. Without the Christian influence in Europe the architectural, social, and political landscape would be so alien it is almost unimaginable.
The Spanish inquisition would never have happened. Nor the Conquest of South America by Spain. The Jews would not have been expelled from Spain because they were to blame for the crucifixion of Jesus. Christopher Columbus would not have sailed the ocean blue and discovered America in 1492.
The Church Reformation in 1517 and Martin Luther would be deleted from the annals of history. Below is a pivotal quote from Martin Luther’s Commentary on Galatians Gal 4:27
“The scholastics think that the judicial and ceremonial laws of Moses were abolished by the coming of Christ, but not the moral law. They are blind. When Paul declares that we are delivered from the curse of the Law he means the whole Law, particularly the moral law which more than the other laws accuses, curses, and condemns the conscience. The Ten Commandments have no right to condemn that conscience in which Jesus dwells, for Jesus has taken from the Ten Commandments the right and power to curse us.
Not as if the conscience is now insensitive to the terrors of the Law, but the Law cannot drive the conscience to despair. "There is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." (Rom 8:1.) "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:36.)”
The United States as a nation would not exist. Religious freedom would not exist. Slavery in the form of man stealing would probably still be an accepted world practice as well as the complete subjugation of women. The indigenous peoples of America would be extinct or subjugated by conquering hordes with no empathy for them as a people occupying this land.
The modern family of one wife per one husband would most likely be non-existent except for the few existing Jewish families. ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself’ would not be a common code of human conduct. The idea that you would answer to someone higher than the highest human authority for bad behavior toward your fellow human being would be all but non-existent. Freedom and Liberty or the “Law of the Spirit” would not be common terms in society. People in all of history until the USA have never ruled themselves in a successful form of government.
The Apostle Paul introduced the idea that all people are equal under God in Christ Jesus. Therefore that totally foreign idea of equality in any civilization would probably not exist. Why do I say this? Just look at all the nations of the world that do not embrace the Jewish or Christian God or its tenants. This nation was founded on a principle that it could only succeed if the ‘people’ were a moral people, true to their word and in deeds. Look at Africa, a continent rich in natural resources while the people starve and fight. A dystopic collective of people cannot attain their full potential of greatness even in such a vastly rich environment. This continent of North America and a better part of Europe would look much like Africa or the Middle East.
On this continent alone the missing people and historical greats of our nation would not have existed as we know them. People like:
- George Washington
- Thomas Jefferson
- Benjamin Franklin and all of his inventions like the heat efficient Franklin Stove, electricity, the lightning rod, bifocals, etc.
- Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War for the freedom of slaves.
- Susan B. Anthony and the rights of women in the USA to vote
Women's Right to Vote From Wikipedia: The key vote came on June 4, 1919, when the Senate approved the amendment by 56 to 25 after four hours of debate, during which Democratic Senators opposed to the amendment filibustered to prevent a roll call until their absent Senators could be protected by pairs. The Ayes included 36 (82%) Republicans and 20 (54%) Democrats. The Nays comprised 8 (18%) Republicans and 17 (46%) Democrats. The Nineteenth Amendment, which prohibited state or federal sex-based restrictions on voting, was ratified by sufficient states in 1920.
- Rev. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement.
But that is only a very small number of the people that have affected us and were affected by the Apostle Paul. Nations and peoples in this world would all be different including myself without Christianity and the Apostle Paul. Think of all the popular Christian names we are familiar with not being used, Mary, Thomas, James, Peter, Justin, John, Andrew, Elizabeth, etc.
Would we have this prosperity? Would we have this technology? Would we be flying airplanes and driving cars? Would we have our medical advances? Would we have communication, radio, telephones, cellphones, Internet? Would we have gone to the moon? Would we have enjoyed such a prosperous and peaceful life without fear of invasion, gangs of roving thieves, or other threats we do not face here in the USA while other countries are not so fortunate. My mind says no to all.
I could go on forever but maybe this will pique your curiosity and imagination into the many more things that would be missing in a world without Paul.