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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Introducing......Paul (Our study of Romans)

The Bible was written by men under the divine inspiration of God.  God uses men and women in a mighty way to do His work.  In the same way, God empowers men and women today.
I like to think God might use me, a frail, human, "cracked pot" (2Corin4:7-9)! 

I love to learn a bit about the writers of the Bible.  The Book of Romans is actually a LETTER written by Apostle Paul. I want you to meet Paul.  Here's a little background:  

Paul was born about the same time as Jesus. His original name was Saul. He was a native of Tarsus, the capital of Cilicia, a Roman province in the southeast of Asia Minor. 

Tarsus was the seat of a famous university so Saul spent his youth, doubtless enjoying the best education his native city could afford.

His father was of the straitest sect of the Jews, a Pharisee, of the tribe of Benjamin, of pure and unmixed Jewish blood (Acts 23:6Phil. 3:5). Saul was a Jew and a Roman citizen, which was a very powerful position. 

Saul attended great Jewish schools and became a powerbroker in the Jewish Temple. He was probably a member of the Sanhedrin. 

Saul was a smart, privileged guy who became the active leader in the furious persecution of the early Christians.  

But then.....Something happened.

Saul was headed to Damascus to find and destroy Christians.  As a Jewish leader, Christianity was a threat to his power base.  He wanted to get rid of the competition. 

Near the end of his trip, within sight of Damascus, a brilliant light startled Saul. He fell down and a voice sounded in his ears, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked in terror.

“I am Jesus who you are persecuting” (Acts 9:522:826:15).

Saul was blinded by the dazzling light (Acts 9:8). His companions led him into the city, where, absorbed in deep thought for three days, he neither ate nor drank (9:11).

Ananias, a disciple living in Damascus, went to Saul, and was used by God to open his eyes. Saul had become Paul, a believer in Jesus Christ.(9:11-16).  

The whole purpose of his life was now permanently changed. He began to preach the gospel “boldly in the name of Jesus” (Acts 9:27).

Because he was such a high-profile character, the Jews wanted to destroy him.  He was tortured.  He suddenly became the persecuted, but that did not matter to Paul.

He formed churches and wrote letters to encourage believers.  Many of the New Testament Books are actually letters written by Paul. 

Romans is Paul's letter to Rome, written about 8 years before he was beheaded by the Roman Emperor, Nero. 
Lets continue to read Romans to see what he has to say.

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