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What Is Paul’s Relationship to Judaism, and What Does He See as the Relationship Between Judaism and Christianity?

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Jessica Le

Mr. Pardine

Bible P.5

14 April 2016

What is Paul’s relationship to Judaism, and what does he see as the relationship between Judaism and Christianity?

        The Apostle Paul was a very respected figure in the church. He is considered one of the earliest and most influential interpreters of Christ’s message (Lockyer 813). Paul was called upon by God become an apostle. He was born a Jew and grew up being taught Jew culture by his parents. They wanted what they thought what was best for their child, as all parents should. Paul was much more proud of his Jewish heritage than his Roman citizenship, and did not submit to the Gentile lifestyle that surrounded him (805). It was not until later on in his life that he converted to being a Christian. From there, he had a lot to prove to the church and to other believers that he was committed to spreading the word of God.

        Paul’s birth name was Saul. Before Paul was an apostle and was known to the world as Saul. He was born in Tarsus and grew up in Jerusalem. His parents wished for him to be a well-rounded individual in Jewish orthodoxy came true. He outshined many of his fellow learners with his zeal for the Jewish laws (Lockyer 805). This zeal led to his attack on the church of Jerusalem in the near future. In the Bible, Paul says, “I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it” (New King James, Galatians 1:13). Stephen was a man who was one of the outspoken leaders of the Christian church. He was also the first Christian martyr and Paul openly admitted to being connected with Stephen’s death. From there, he journeyed on a mission to put an end to the church for good. During his mission of repression of the church, something miraculous happened in Damascus. His life was turned upside down and he became one of the best supporters for the cause he sought to destroy. Paul had seen Jesus with His crucifixion markings after he resurrected from the dead. From there, he instantly believed and realized what he had learned in the past was false and the corruptness of the Jewish law (Lockyer 806). Paul was deeply against all the non-Jews and was persecuting them, but after seeing Jesus resurrection, his entire outlook on life changed.

        Paul learned it was by faith and not works that gets you justified in the eyes of God. It was from this point that Paul decided to put his faith and trust in Jesus Christ. After his conversion he was assured that he was ready to share the news of his conversion and news of Christ to all those around him. His new journey continued in Damascus and went through the Kingdom of Nabatean Arabs. And though there is not much information on what happened in the Arabs, II Corinthians 11:32-33 says how the Aretas King tried to have Paul arrested Paul started evangelizing the Gentiles. When evangelizing in Jerusalem, he got to meet some other fellow believers, but was unable to stay for long because of his past relations while he was still a Jew. Later, Paul met Barnabus and was invited to help with a new church open Tarsus. He continually worked alongside Barnabus and together they spread the gospels to the Gentiles. They pursued a missionary campaign and eventually ended up in Galatia, where they were able to preach and build churches. All of the new Gentile converts began worried the Jews (Lockyer 806). The Jews were afraid the Gentiles would hurt their church’s reputation and militant Jews began attack Paul and Barnabus. Meetings were held and it was concluded that Gentile converts should obey Jewish laws so there would be peace between the Jewish and Gentile Christians as explained in Acts 15:1-29 (807).

        Paul had a very close relationship to Judaism. He was raised as a Jew and was a highly convinced about the Jewish orthodoxy. But it was through God’s will that Paul’s entire life was altered and he converted to Christianity. Judaism and Christianity are not completely different. There are some similarities between the two. Both religions are monotheist, which mean they believe in one god. Both believe in the existence of spiritual beings such as angels, demons, and ghosts. They also believed that Jesus was real died through crucifixion (“Christianity vs Judaism”). They were both founded in Palestine and have the same status of biblical prophets. Although there were not many similarities, it was something that connected the two. There are some major differences, however, that the religions oppose on. Perhaps on the biggest opposition between the two is resurrection and second coming of Jesus. Christianity believes both are true, while Judaism denies it. Another difference is the sources for truth. Christians find their truth in the Bible and Jews have what they call the Tanakh (“Christianity and Judaism”). In Christianity, it is believed that Jesus is the Son of God. But Judaism teaches that Jesus was not god but was in fact a Jew that was a highly intelligent scholar (“Christianity vs Judaism”).

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