Paul’s relationship to his readers

(I’ve written on this before)
When we read Paul’s letters, let us remember that he knew the people he was writing to. Like, when we write to our friends, we know what they can understand, and we write in that context. I wouldn’t write a rocket science letter to a friend who had never been to school.

If we consider this, then it’s astounding how illuminated Paul’s friends were. They understood every word he wrote to them. Remember, it’s a man writing to his friends: people he knows very well. He will only write in terms fully understandable to them.

How different today.

3 Responses to “Paul’s relationship to his readers”

  1. ian vincent Says:

    Also good to note that Paul wasn’t trying to be “theological” : there weren’t two Pauls : the theological Paul and the social Paul : he didn’t put on different caps for the occasion: just one man, one heart, and what we read of him reveals the heart of the man.

    Whereas, today, “theology” is considered a separate and distinct Christian discipline. We don’t see that in the NT writers. We just see men ablaze with God and writing what God had entrusted to them and had performed in them.

  2. ian vincent Says:

    Here’s a related post, from 2004:

    From: Ian Vincent
    To: Christians
    Subject: Paul’s friends
    Date: 24th November 2004.

    Reading: Romans Chapter 16

    Paul greets 28 friends in Rome personally, and many more indirectly. (This letter was written from Corinth at the end of his third ‘missionary’ journey.) He had never been to Rome, so the saints that he knew there were known to him because he had met and fellow-shipped with them in various places, and, others were probably known to him by reputation only.

    Please note:

    1. How lovingly and warmly Paul addresses each saint, as a dear, dear friend: ‘beloved’. Now, why aren’t we like that in these last days? The love of many Christians has become cold. (Matt.24:12).

    2. In addressing these 28 friends Paul doesn’t use any titles or prefixes – not even a ‘brother’ Rufus, but simply Rufus, even though he is addressing the eldership: the pillars, of the Church in Rome. All are treated with the same honor and respect: women and men, rich and slave.

    Don’t allow people to call you Rabbi, (pastor etc.): for one is your leader, even Christ; and you are all brothers. Matt.23:8.

    ONE is our LEADER, so then let’s ditch the word ‘leadership’.

    ..Go, and do likewise. (Luke 10:37b).


  3. Natasa Says:

    Yes, how Paul is different from Christians today. Today people like title, if someone has title before his/her name that person gets more respect than person who doesn’t have this. And just try not to mention that someone is a doctor or a apostle or a pastor.

    Also I see how many read the Word just to argue. They dissect every little piece and name it so they just miss the whole picture or they take only what fits to their teology.

    It is interesting that I don’t need thesaurus when I read Paul’s writing but when I read some people’s book I need all aids to understand what this person wants to say.

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