Paul Labored More Abundantly Than the Other Apostles
This is a reply to a comment posted by a certain Vladimir Sputnik on my article entitled Karl Marx’s Unwise Definition of Religion.
I have a different attitude in reading the Holy Scriptures. I do not doubt the authors (or the penmen) used by God in writing the Scriptures. If there are doubts that come into my mind, my first option is to look into the translation — if it was mistranslated or not; but never did I doubt the authority of these persons used by God to record His holy words. Why? Because I believe in God and His power who guided the penmen of the Bible.
It is a brotherly advice I am giving you that instead of doubting those who were instrumental in writing the word of God (like the Apostle Paul), search the Scriptures instead, to find the ‘real score’ of the truth.
What the Apostle Paul said that he labored more abundantly than all the other Apostles must not be doubted because our Lord Jesus Christ Himself predicted that some of those who will believe in Him will do greater work because He is going to the Father.
I never doubted that the Apostle Paul really labored more than the previous Apostles of Christ. He even said that he is augmenting what was ‘wanting’ in what our Lord Jesus Christ did.
While he said that he really labored more than the other Apostles, but credited it to the grace of God in him.
The records written in the book of Acts by the physician Luke, testifies to the fact. The record shows the extent of the missionary journey and sacrifices of the Apostle Paul. Even the Apostle Peter, James, and John are witnesses to the gifts and the wisdom of the Apostle Paul. That is why they have entrusted to him and Barnabas the management of the larger portion of the first century Church — which is the Church of the Gentiles.
The first twelve Apostles were sent in the beginning of their ministry within the boundaries of Israel; but the authority of the Apostle Paul reaches from Jerusalem as far the Gentiles, and even unto the uttermost part of the earth — including our dispensation and all of the countries of the world now.
The jurisdiction given to the Apostle Paul covers the Jews, the Gentiles, even to kings.
And especially to the Gentiles.
Considering the scope of the jurisdiction given to him, it is but prudent to believe that he labored more than the other Apostles. The verses that you cited in 1 Corinthians 4:8, 11, 13 are not confusing. Paul is speaking of his condition in comparison with the condition of the members of the Church. He is just the opposite of modern day leaders — they are overfed. Members are underfed —even deprived of the precious word of God because of their self interest.
The Apostle Paul labored with his hand to augment his personal necessities and some of his co-laborers in Christ. He spent what he can — even his own life.
He, surely, is the opposite of religious leaders today who covet money they spend for their vices, from their member’s pockets.
PAUL, INSULTING HIS ENEMIES?
You cited Romans 12:20, which states…
…and asked if he is helping or insulting the enemy. The words of God in the Bible were never meant by God to insult anybody. The Scriptures are…
The words of God were given to men, and were written to be used for doctrine, for reproof, "for correction, for instruction in righteousness."
What does the Bible mean when it said that by feeding your enemy, you are going to heap coals of fire upon his head? The Apostle Paul defined to us the kind of teachings of the New Testament. They are spiritual.
The New Testament that the Apostle Paul preaches teaches us of spiritual things. The good and kind things that we are going to do to an enemy will be like coal that burns on top of his head — meaning, that it will bother him and make him think of the evil he is doing to you; and the good thing you are doing in return. How about Galatians 1:9?
The word ‘accursed’ used by the Apostle Paul is:
Meaning, if anyone preaches another gospel, other than what was preached by the Apostles, such teachings must be banned or must not be accepted by the Church. How about Galatians 5:12?
Let us take it from the context.
There are those in the local Church of Galatia that bothers the faith or unsettle the brethren by teaching other than what Paul had taught them. They emphasize fleshly circumcision, which was practiced by those under the Law of Moses, which is not a requirement in the New Testament anymore. So, he said that “…in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail…” But those who still insist on circumcision, he wished to circumcise or ‘mutilate’ themselves.
Meaning, that he wishes that they will learn more than the letters of the Law of Moses, which is doing righteousness — the Christian way; keeping the law of Christ, whether circumcised or not.
Circumcised or not, a Christian does the will of God from the heart without any intention of being praised by men.
Because he is circumcised, not in the flesh but, in the heart, he pleases God and not men.
I pray for your enlightenment.
Brother Eli Soriano