In my earlier post, I mentioned that I will post the 12 questions for discussion for my lecture on the Apostle Paul. Here are the questions.
1) “Nothing in Paul’s life could have prepared him for the shattering mystical experience that Luke described in Acts.” Do you agree with this statement describing Paul’s call/conversion experience on the Damascus road? Discuss.
2) Paul’s call/conversion “triggered a whole new belief in Jesus and a whole new belief that Jesus could save and how the Jewish law was not the centre piece anymore, because he came to believe that Jesus was not dead but alive.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement and why? Give your justification.
3) The narrator comments that after Paul’s call as the apostle for the Gentiles, “for the rest of his life, Paul would face hatred whenever he went; danger laid in wait.” Do you agree with this statement that suffering is a hallmark of Paul’s life? How would the suffering of Paul inform us about those who are called to be involved in God’s mission today?
4) The cornerstone of Paul’s teaching is the grace and mercy of God towards all human beings. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
5) “Paul was most comfortable teaching in big cites with large gentile population.” How would you evaluate this statement concerning Paul’s mission strategy?
6) Concerning Paul’s Gentile mission, Ben Witherington argues: “There was a tremendous spiritual hunger in the First-Century world. The culture was ready to hear the message about some powerful religion that would actually help them in their day to day live, make them better persons.” How do you make sense of Witherington’s argument? Is Witherington’s analysis an accurate reflection of our contemporary culture? If so, how would this inform you concerning the church’s mission today?
7) In responding to the problems of the Thessalonian church concerning the question of the second coming of Christ, the narrator suggests that “Paul’s response became the basic tenet of the Christian faith.” Do you agree with this observation? Would Paul have imagined that his correspondence addressing the problems of his churches would one day become authoritative scriptures in the Christian church?
8) Stephen Doyle has this to say concerning Paul’s ministry in Ephesus: “During the years that Paul spent in Ephesus, he did not cease to evangelise the other areas around (the city). He formed other evangelists, those who would bear the gospel to go out into the valley in that area.” How would you evaluate this statement? What does this statement describe about Paul and his mission? How could we appropriate Paul’s method in our context today?
9) Concerning Paul’s rhetoric for the need of unity in the Corinthian church, Margaret Mitchell argues that for Paul, “the unity of the church is more important than anything of these things that are dividing them. Unity in the ancient world …is bought at the price of submission of some person to a higher good.” Do you agree with Mitchell’s assessment?
10) It is illegal to flog Roman citiznes. Yet, according to Acts, Paul has been flogged. On this matter, Ben Witherington suggests that Paul “did not bring up the trump card of his Roman citizenship except when he seems to be in a particular crisis…He is bringing a message that says everybody is created in the image of God, everybody is important. Status that is higher does not count for anything with God.” Do you agree with Witherington’s assessment on Paul’s use of citizenship? The issue of Paul’s possession of Roman citizenship has been largely doubted by NT scholars. This is because Paul’s Roman citizenship is only mentioned in Acts, but is never mentioned by Paul himself in his letters. How do you make sense of this issue?
11) On Paul’s appeal to Philemon to receive back Onesimus, the runaway slave, as a brother but no longer as a slave, J Gordon Melton argues that Paul “is a pioneer, a radical thinker who changed the whole theology of the church. He opened (the church) up. It is no longer for free citizens of the Empire. It is for slaves, for everyone.” If Melton is correct in his argument, how would this affect the way we understand and do church today?
12) On his missionary success, Kenneth Davis attributes Paul as “one man (who) walked around, sailed around…the entire medditerranean world in the course of a very few years and changed history. (This is) an extraordinary achievement for a man who (was) living in a time of no mass communication, no speedy travel, and nothing you would associate today of how to market a message.” Do you agree with Davis’ assessment? In your opinion, how did Paul manage to do what Davis describes?