Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Paul: Apostle to the Gentiles AND Jews?
Every now and then I turn to an issue that has continued to fascinate me, namely, Paul's missional work among Jews. Martin Hengel wrote: “It was never possible to draw a neat division between mission to the Gentiles and mission to the Jews in the church”. I think this is entirely correct. Yes, Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, nations, Greeks, uncircumcised, those-without-law, and idol worshippers (1 Cor 9.21; Gal 2.7-9; Rom 11:13; 1 Thess 1:9, etc.). But he sure spent a lot of time in synagogues according to Acts and he mentions Jewish evangelism in 1 Cor 9:20 and Rom 10:14-14. Note also how Paul describes his apostolate as beginning from Jerusalem as far around as Illycrium (Rom. 15.19) - what Gentiles did he proclaim the gospel to in Jerusalem? If Paul was intent on heading to Spain, maybe he was influenced by Isa 66.19-20 which depicts Jews and Gentiles as journeying from there to Jerusalem in order to share in the new creation. Anyway, my part-time research project (beyond 1 Esdras at the moment) consists of looking at evidence for Paul as Apostle to the Jews among the nations.
 Martin Hengel, The Four Gospels and the One Gospel of Jesus Christ, 154.