*This is not a definitive answer on the topic but I hope it is useful food for thought.

The Damascus Road and Paul’s Understanding of the Gospel

The full question:

What might the Damascus Road encounter with the glorified Jesus have had in forming Paul’s understanding of the Gospel?

Abstract

There is much debate as to the role of the Damascus Road on Paul’s understanding of the Gospel. Despite this debate, it may be possible to determine the Damascus Christophany as a call and a conversion. With this in mind the event could be understood as the place where the Gospel was revealed to Paul. This does not discount several other foundational elements to Paul’s understanding of the gospel such as the Old Testament, the Jesus traditions and the early church kerygma. Specific examples of the Damascus event as the origin for his understanding of the Gospel are his new eschatological framework which redefines, the Law, the Holy Spirit, the Cross of Christ, Union with Christ, Justification, Reconciliation and God’s Sovereign Grace.

 

Introduction

This paper will endeavor to divulge the ramifications of Paul’s understanding of the Gospel from his Damascus Christophany. In all of early church history, bar Christ, Paul is ‘the most important personality’[1] and the Damascus Road is an event that has proved to be so, ‘determinant for the course of Christian history’[2]. This lethal combination requires a careful analysis of what happened on the Damascus Road experience, how it impacted Paul’s understanding of the Gospel and some specific examples that demonstrate the Damascus Road’s penultimate position in directing the course of church history and an accurate grasp of the Gospel.[3]

1. What Happened

The first and most vital question that must be considered in this discussion is ‘what exactly happened on that fateful day?’. Unfortunately, ‘scholarly literature on this subject is not unanimous’[4]. Some scholars question the usefulness of even considering the Damascus Road as a historical moment and would rather study ‘such stories’ to work out, ‘the thought world of those who tell them’[5]. Others suggest that Paul’s work with the Gentiles was as a result, ‘of an initial, failed mission to Jews’[6] and has nothing to do with the Damascus Road. In the past, the traditional understanding of this event is considered a conversion, ‘going back to Augustine and his understanding of his own conversion’[7]. Yet more recently the school of the New Perspective has questioned such a conclusion.[8] Instead the New Perspective majors on the concept of a call to the Gentiles excluding the concept of a conversion. Donaldson believes the New Perspective on Paul provides a, ‘framework within which a more satisfactory answer can be found’[9]. Was it a call or a conversion? As Longenecker points out what is needed, ‘is a firmer rootage in the biblical materials’[10]. Consequently, as we consider the event to be a call and/or a conversion we must pay careful attention to Luke’s and Paul’s accounts.[11]

1.1 A Call

Evidences towards the conclusion that the Damascus Road was a call for Paul to be a missionary to Gentiles is extensive within Scripture. Galatians 1:15 ‘he who had set me apart before I was born’ certainly seems to ‘contain verbal allusions’ to Jeremiah 1:5 and ‘echoes verbally the LXX version of Isaiah 49:1’.[12] When consideration is given to the accounts of Paul’s Damascus experience a call to go to the Gentiles is evident (Acts 9:15-16; 22:14-21; 26:15-18).[13] Later instructions that Paul received for his missionary endeavours does not negate but rather support the original commissioning on the Damascus Road (Acts 13:1-3; 16:6, 7, 9-10).[14] The opening formula of several of Paul’s letters appear to refer to this experience as a call (Rom 1:1; 1 Cor 1:1; 2 Cor 1:1; Gal 1:1; Eph 1:1; Col 1:1). It seems evident that Paul’s experience on the Damascus Road was most certainly a call to the Gentiles.[15] The historical accounts present the Damascus Road as a calling on the life of Saul of Tarsus.[16] Yet was the Damascus Road only a call?

1.2 A Conversion

Dunn is a prolific writer on Paul’s encounter of the Damascus Road and coined the term ‘New Perspective’.[17] He represents a common view that Paul changed from ‘one rather introverted ‘sect’ within first century Judaism to another more missionary minded ‘sect’’[18]. Dunn claims there was no sense of finding ‘peace for his troubled conscience’ or turning ‘from a legalistic Judaism that had lost all sense and sight of divine grace and found it exclusively in Christ’[19]. Any ‘conversion’ would be seen as a realization of Paul’s ‘ancestral faith…the Damascus road confrontation brought home to him how much his people’s…preoccupation with maintaining their set-apartness from the nations had become a perversion of that original call and promise’[20]. While Dunn may correctly allude to a realization of the true meaning of what Scripture had always intended, he appears to fail to emphasise the radicalization of Paul’s own understanding of Christ and the Law from this encounter. Really the only conversion Dunn accepts is a conversion to be a missionary to the Gentiles. In the end Dunn considers the conversion and the call to be the same, thereby interpreting the entire event as predominantly and exclusively a call to the Gentiles.

Seyoon Kim does well to point out how Dunn often refers to Galatians 1:13-17 as his premise but, ‘it is beyond my comprehension how he can read the text to deny the immediacy of the revelation of the gospel and to affirm only the immediacy of Paul’s apostolic commission to the gentiles.’[21] There is much more involved than merely a conversion to a calling. Rather there are two components that Paul experienced on the Damascus Road, a call and a conversion.[22] Paul himself mentions ‘his apostolic call to the gentiles together with the revelation of the gospel’[23] (Gal 1:13-17; 2:1-10). These two concepts are ‘inseparably together’[24]. Yet as context demands Paul can refer to the Damascus encounter primarily as a call (1 Cor 9:1; 15:8-11) or as exclusively in regards to ‘his conversion to the law-free gospel (Phil 3:2-11)’[25]. As Stendahl claims, perhaps Paul may have had a legalistic sense of righteousness without a troubled conscience (Phil 3:6)[26], yet when Christ shone into his heart (1 Cor 4:6) there was no doubt a realization of his sinfulness (1 Tim 1:12-16) and abject need for the Messiah. N. T. Wright clearly points out that the resurrection cannot ‘be seen in a vacuum’[27]. Yet Morgan says it well when ‘the person of Christ crashed in to disrupt Paul’s old system and his former presuppositions, making possible a complete shift in his paradigm of righteousness and pleasing God’.[28] Longenecker also aptly states, ‘certainly it involved a “paradigm shift” in his life and thought’[29]. Paul not only changed to a missionary, he changed from persecuting the faith (1 Cor 15:9-11; Gal 1:13-17) to proclaiming it. Even the Jewish world ‘recognized his break with the past’ (2 Cor 11:24).[30] Paul experienced a dramatic conversion from the old to the new (1 Cor 3:6) and a life-driven calling to proclaim Christ to the world. This event contained both a conversion and a call.

2. How Did It Impact

Paul was converted and called but is that the end of this event in his life? How did it impact the Gospel that he goes on to proclaim? Was the Damascus Road Paul’s sole foundation for his entire Gospel or were there other factors that contributed to his understanding? N. T. Wright considers there to be no one element that is the foundation or core but thinks it wise ‘to look for a combination of reasons, a confluence of events, ideas, and beliefs, none of which might be sufficient in itself…but all of which, taken together, might just do so’.[31]

One possible impacting feature on Paul’s understanding of the gospel could be time. There is a reasonable amount of time between his first letter and his conversion, ‘about 15 years’[32]. Plevnik considers ‘his later theological maturing’ a key factor[33] yet while Kim acknowledges some time may have been required for a complete understanding of the Damascus Christophany he says, ‘the main features of Paul’s gospel took firm shape within the first few years’.[34] In Paul’s defense of the gospel that he taught in Galatians 1:12 he states that he did not receive it from men but ‘by revelation from Jesus Christ’ (διʼ ἀποκαλύψεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ). After three days of blindness (Acts 9:9) with much serious contemplation, it seems reasonable to assume that Paul had a firm grasp of the gospel with some immediacy. As Ryken points out that is why he did not need to ‘go running to the apostles in Jerusalem for confirmation’[35] (Gal 1:16-17). Because ‘once he had seen the risen Christ for himself, there was nothing he needed to double-check’[36]. Paul also accounts for three years before he went to Jerusalem (Gal 1:18). It seems likely that Paul’s foundation of the Gospel is laid and much of his understanding has been constructed from the Damascus event. This would suggest how foundational this experience was for Paul and what he presents in his later writings.

Other factors involved that scholars have suggested impact Paul’s Gospel are his Hellenistic background, Jewish upbringing, visions (2 Cor 12:1-4[37]), Rabbinic training, controversies with his opponents, along with a plethora of ‘every factor of heredity and environment’[38]. Whilst most of these experiences would impact Paul and his thinking, it is necessary to realise these experiences are ‘completely secondary’[39] to the all-encompassing encounter of the risen Christ.

Many scholars have attempted to describe the influence of this event: Wright defines the Damascus Road as a ‘flash point, illuminating everything in all directions like a sudden bolt of lightning on a dark night’[40]; Plevnik believes it ‘claims priority’ over every other experience[41]; Donaldson considers it to be ‘a whole new source of energy…along the channels of belief and activity that were already present’[42]; Kim describes the event as where Paul’s gospel ‘originated from’[43]. While Donaldson and Wright push their emphasis on a continuation from the past beliefs of Paul as a Jew it is necessary to see a distinction between the past and the future from this event, as discussed earlier regarding a conversion. Perhaps the wisest term to employ regarding this event and Paul’s understanding of the Gospel is, this is where he ‘received’ (παρέλαβον) it (Gal 1:12). It is where he obtained the Gospel. Paul sees it as the source of everything he proclaims. The cataclysmic event. This paper will go on to explore more specifically some areas that were influenced in his Gospel understanding by this event but first it is necessary to point out other key factors that contributed to Paul’s further formulation and strengthening of this foundation that has been laid at the Damascus Christophany. Three major factors evident in Paul’s basis for what he writes is the Old Testament, the Jesus traditions and the early church kerygma. In Kim’s second thesis[44] he adds the Jesus traditions as a key factor alongside the Damascus Road and notes ‘over forty possible echoes of a saying of Jesus’ in Paul’s writings along with ‘twenty-five instances where Paul certainly or probably makes reference or allusion to a saying of Jesus’[45]. Several clear references are 1 Corinthians 7:10-11; 9:14; 11:23-25; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. As for the authority of the Old Testament in Paul’s writings, various OT references are cited around one hundred and thirty times[46]. The primitive kerygma of the early church is also referenced in passages such as 1 Corinthians 11:2 and 1 Thessalonians 4:2. There are also possible references in Paul’s writings to creedal statements of the early church (1 Cor 15:3-5)[47]. The Damascus Christophany appears to be the catalyst for understanding and amalgamating these three other vital factors that present themselves in his epistles. Seyoon Kim presents a nice analogy of these four ideas as an interrelated family: the Damascus Christophany as the father of Paul’s gospel; the Jesus tradition as the mother; the Old Testament as a grandparent; and the pre-Pauline Christian kerygma as an older sibling.[48]

Yet in this vital discussion of the influences in Paul’s end product of the Gospel that we find in his writings, much of the scholarship today appears to fail to identify, much less speak of, the vital part of the inspiration of the Spirit. If the inspiration of all of Scripture is adhered to then this is a natural and essential element to consider when discussing the Gospel found in Paul’s writings in Scripture. Thurston interestingly identifies ‘the Higher Critical approach’ as a factor in causing ‘the understanding that scripture is “holy” or “inspired,”’ to gradually slip ‘from the academy’s field of vision’.[49] It seems illogical to have this as a ‘silent’ factor. Even though it is possible to consider Paul’s theology without this, it seems negligible to not mention this concept when much of our understanding of Paul’s beliefs comes from Scripture that was inspired by the Spirit.

The Damascus Road was a catalyst and foundation for all of Paul’s ministry, understanding and life as he preaches the Gospel. We will now consider some of the specific examples of the Damascus Road impact upon the Gospel Paul proclaimed.

3. Specific Examples

There are numerous examples of the impact of the Damascus Road on the Gospel Paul proclaimed yet this paper will consider a selection of some of the major instances. These examples will include the Damascus event’s impact on Paul’s understanding of Eschatology, the Law, the Holy Spirit, the Cross of Christ, Union with Christ, Justification, Reconciliation and God’s Sovereign Grace. Due to the word limit of this paper each concept will only be briefly discussed.

3.1 Eschatology

This first aspect of Paul’s Gospel is the concept of the ‘already but not yet’[50]. This eschatological framework that Paul holds in balance can be seen as to originate on the Damascus Road. Both ‘the resurrection of Jesus as the inauguration of the new age’[51] and ‘the inauguration of the Gentile mission’[52] at Paul’s conversion/call is ‘the origin of his eschatology…we do not have to look for other influences’[53]. This key feature appears to be received at Paul’s revelation of Jesus Christ. It is his eschatological framework that could encapsulate so much of the Gospel he goes on to proclaim. His understanding that Christ is the central figure of salvation history affects the Torah, the Holy Spirit, the Cross of Christ and all its ramifications.

3.2 The Law

Another concept that seems clear from Paul’s writings is that his conversion on the Damascus Road contained a reinterpretation of the Law (2 Cor 3:16-18; 4:6). This reinterpretation was ‘something unthinkable for the Pharisees’[54]. Paul associates the law with ‘sin, the flesh and death’ which is ‘beyond simply denying it as a means of obtaining righteousness’[55]. As a Pharisee Paul considered it compulsory to ‘keep the Law with such meticulous care as to be blameless…(Phil 3:6)’ yet ‘he found…that his sin did not decrease…it increased and the commandments that were intended to bring life actually brought death (Rom 5:20)’[56]. Furthermore, it was Christ who ‘vicariously bore the curse of the law for our sins (Gal 3:13; Rom 8:3; 4:25; 3:24-26; 1 Cor 15:3; 2 Cor 5:21; etc.)’[57]. Paul states that at his conversion he ‘died to the law so that he might “live for God”’[58] (Gal 2:19). This Gospel knowledge is what Paul claimed to have received ‘in a revelatory event that changed his life’[59]. It was ‘the revelation he received of God’s Son (Gal 1:15-16)’ that required ‘him to reassess and reconstrue a story he thought he had understood’[60]. The Law was a key concept that altered dramatically which he received at the revelation of Jesus Christ on the way to Damascus as his eschatological framework was reconfigured.

3.3 The Holy Spirit

Paul’s view of the Holy Spirit also contains its source in ‘Paul’s own experience of the eschatological Spirit in his Damascus road conversion’[61]. As Gordon Fee argues this ‘key element to the whole of the Christian life’[62] according to Paul is received ‘at their entry point into the Christian faith…he [Paul] also regularly and consistently includes himself’[63] (Rom 5:5; 2 Cor 1:22; Gal 3:14; 4:6). Although there is no ‘specific linguistic link’[64] a logical association between what he tells others of their conversion experience surely replicates his own encounter on the Damascus Road.

3.4 The Cross of Christ

It seems likely that Paul’s view of the cross before his journey to Damascus was one of disdain. For ‘Jesus’ death on the cross as a criminal stood in bold contrast to Paul’s ideas of Messiah’ even possibly considering the Christian understanding to be a ‘blasphemous lie’[65] (Deut 21:23). Yet, after the Damascus epiphany there is no doubt there was a great ‘change of perspective regarding the cross of Christ’[66]. It was with fresh eyes that he now understood the cross of Christ and its necessity in redeeming those under the curse of the law (Gal 2:13).

3.5 Union with Christ

After the Damascus encounter Wright points out that Paul, ‘sees himself as defined by Jesus, as a man “in the Messiah”’[67]. This concept of union with Christ is ‘the essential ingredient that binds all other elements together’ in Paul’s theological framework[68]. Campbell points to the Damascus Road as a ‘catalyst for the development of Paul’s theology of union with Christ’[69]. It seems telling that although Paul does not directly state this as the source of his understanding of union with Christ there is clear reference to ‘a strong sense of identification between Jesus and his followers’[70] (Acts 9:4, 5). Surely it is reasonable to assume such a striking statement by Jesus and at such a critical moment in Paul’s life that he would have reflected on those words many times over.

3.6 Justification

While Dunn emphasises Paul’s theology of justification did come from ‘his encounter with the living Christ on the Damascus road’[71], he also goes to great lengths to explain the origin is in Jewish thought and that ‘there is no clear teaching pre-Pauline Jewish literature that acceptance by God has to be earned’[72]. Yet as explained above in the concept of a conversion and in Paul’s previous understanding of the Law it does not seem to be as clear to Paul as Dunn proposes. This doctrine that was not ‘a mere tactical maneuver…to fight the Judaizers in defense of his gentile mission’[73] was rather developed by ‘seeing Jesus crucified under the curse of the law as vindicated by God on the Damascus road…born out of his reflection on that revelation in critical interaction with his own Pharisaic devotion to the law’[74]. Strongly linked to his understanding of the law, justification has its origins in his conversion on the Damascus Road.

3.7 Reconciliation

The idea that reconciliation has its roots in the Damascus Road seems evident when both times the concept of reconciliation is a major feature in Paul’s writings (Rom 5:1-11; 2 Cor 5:11-21) there appears to be several references that seem to suggest Paul is ‘reflecting on his Damascus road experience’[75] (Rom 5:5, 6, 7, 8, 10; 2 Cor 5:15, 16, 17, 18, 20). Kim proposes that the concept of reconciliation terminology is unique to Paul and which no other experience bar the Damascus Road could be the ‘sole catalyst for the use of this terminology in his thought and expression’[76]. At the same time, it is important to note that it is impossible to determine beyond doubt that ‘Paul developed his soteriological concept of reconciliation at the time of his writing 2 Corinthians or prior to that time’[77]. Yet the references as stated above to what he experienced on the Damascus Road whilst writing on reconciliation is a telling pointer towards the origin of this significant concept.

3.8 God’s Sovereign Grace

God’s sovereign grace in redeeming sinners is undoubtedly evident in Paul’s conversion. It ‘shows the triumph of God over the human will’[78]. As Thurston points out Christ’s revelation of himself to Paul demonstrates how ‘God conveys understanding to whom, when, and how God chooses’[79]. This is a vital aspect of the gospel that Paul emphasises and can be traced back to his own experience on the Damascus Road.

4. Conclusion

In conclusion, it seems quite clear that the Damascus Road was a conversion and a call where he received a revelation of Jesus Christ that was the origin of the Gospel he went on to proclaim. This can be seen by looking at multiple concepts of Paul’s Gospel including but not exhaustive to Eschatology, the Law, the Holy Spirit, the Cross of Christ, Union with Christ, Justification, Reconciliation and God’s Sovereign Grace.

 

    1. Dennis D Morgan, Dale H Levandowski, and Martha L Rogers, ‘The Apostle Paul: Problem Formation and Problem Resolution from a Systems Perspective’, Journal of Psychology & Theology 9/2 (January 1981): 138.

    2. F. F. Bruce, Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free (Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans, 1977), 75.

    3. The ultimate event is the Christ-event of which F. F. Bruce agrees in Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free (Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans, 1977).

    4. Joseph Plevnik, What Are They Saying About Paul? (New York: Paulist Press, 1986), 15.

    5. James Constantine Hanges, ‘‘Do We Really Need to Take the Damascus Road?’: Ancient Epiphanies and Imagining Paul’s Conversion Experience’, Proceedings (Grand Rapids, Mich.) 23/ (January 1, 2003): 11.

    6. Terence L. Donaldson, ‘Israelite, Convert, Apostle to the Gentiles: The Origin of Paul’s Gentile Mission’, in The Road from Damascus: The Impact of Paul’s Conversion on His Life, Thought, and Ministry (ed. Richard N. Longenecker; McMaster New Testament Studies; Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub, 1997), 65.

    7. J. M. Everts, ‘Conversion and Call of Paul’, in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (eds. Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 156.

    8. Seyoon Kim in Paul and the New Perspective: Second Thoughts on The Origin of Paul’s Gospel (Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans, 2001) considers Dunn to be the leading author of a New Perspective on the Damascus Road. Kim also considers the New Perspective(s) to have exerted the greatest, ‘influence upon Pauline scholarship’ (xiv) since the Reformation. Even greater than the Bultmannian School.

    9. Donaldson, “Gentile Mission,” 65. K. Stendahl appears to be one of the originators of the concept of a call rather than a conversion in Paul Among Jews and Gentiles (London: SCM Press, 1977). Stendahl claims that Paul did not struggle with the law in his life as a Pharisee but only as he considered what it meant for his call to the Gentiles.

    10. Richard N. Longenecker, ‘Introduction’, in The Road from Damascus: The Impact of Paul’s Conversion on His Life, Thought, and Ministry (ed. Richard N. Longenecker; McMaster New Testament Studies; Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub, 1997), xi.

    11. Needless to say, this account contains, ‘not just the momentary experience outside Damascus but also the associated complex of events and intense personal reorientation that filled the immediately ensuing period’ I. Howard Marshall, ‘A New Understanding of the Present and the Future: Paul and Eschatology’, in The Road from Damascus: The Impact of Paul’s Conversion on His Life, Thought, and Ministry (ed. Richard N. Longenecker; McMaster New Testament Studies; Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub, 1997), 45. Many scholars make a distinction from Paul’s accounts as primary sources and Luke’s accounts as secondary sources. While it is understandable from an autobiographical and biographical understanding of literature, yet this paper will consider both as equally accurate documents in coherence as they are both within the canon of Scripture. As to Paul’s authorship and the concept of deuteropauline letters this paper will assume Pauline authorship of all 13 letters as Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum, and Charles L. Quarles, The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament (Nashville, Tenn: B & H Academic, 2009) states.

    12. Bonnie Bowman Thurston, ‘Paul on the Damascus Road: The Study of the New Testament and the Study of Christian Spirituality’, Lexington Theological Quarterly 38/4 (January 1, 2003): 233; Plevnik, What Are They Saying About Paul?; Stendahl, Paul.

    13. It is important to note that when repetition such as this is found in Luke’s writings it is clear something astonishing has happened and it is to be impressed upon the reader’s mind as Erst Haenchen points out in The Acts of the Apostles: A Commentary (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1971).

    14. Plevnik, What Are They Saying About Paul?, 24.

    15. Yet this call does not exclude the people of Israel (Acts 9:15).

    16. Donaldson suggests that even though it may have been a call the real challenge is to discover ‘how he came to understand it in these terms’ in Donaldson, “Gentile Mission,” 70. Yet this does not appear to be that great a quandary if the Damascus Road experience is to be taken quite literally. It seems clear from the accounts in Acts that it was an incredibly dramatic experience. It recounts that Paul was blind for three days and would not, ‘eat or drink anything’ (Acts 9:9). Surely there is some logic to concluding that all it takes is this dramatic experience for Paul’s desire to be exactly what Paul’s ‘Lord’ (Acts 9:5) tells him to do. Yet it is this question that many of the New Perspective seek to discover and question the validity of a man who turned so completely from what he formerly believed about Christology, soteriology and the law to be ‘converted’ according to James D. G. Dunn, The New Perspective on Paul (Rev. ed ed.; Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen Zum Neuen Testament 185; Grand Rapid, Mich: W. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 2008). Thereby it is common to question the concept of a ‘conversion’ and what such an idea would entail for Paul.

    17. Kim, Paul and the New Perspective.

    18. Dunn, The New Perspective on Paul, 364.

    19. Dunn, The New Perspective on Paul, 100.

    20. Dunn, The New Perspective on Paul, 100.

    21. Kim, Paul and the New Perspective, 10.

    22. Everts, “Conversion and Call of Paul,” 161.

    23. Kim, Paul and the New Perspective, 12–13.

    24. Kim, Paul and the New Perspective, 81.

    25. Kim, Paul and the New Perspective, 13.

    26. Stendahl, Paul.

    27. N. T. Wright, The Paul Debate: Critical Questions for Understanding the Apostle (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2015), 30.

    28. Morgan, Levandowski, and Rogers, “The Apostle Paul,” 140.

    29. Richard N. Longenecker, ‘Realized Hope, a New Commitment, and a Developed Proclamation: Paul and Jesus’, in The Road from Damascus: The Impact of Paul’s Conversion on His Life, Thought, and Ministry (ed. Richard N. Longenecker; McMaster New Testament Studies; Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub, 1997), 27.

    30. Longenecker, “Paul and Jesus,” 28.

    31. Wright, The Paul Debate, 30.

    32. Köstenberger, Kellum, and Quarles, The CCC, 884.

    33. Plevnik, What Are They Saying About Paul?, 3.

    34. Kim, Paul and the New Perspective, 4.

    35. Philip Graham Ryken, Galatians (Reformed Expository Commentary; Phillipsburg, N. J.: P&R Pub, 2005), 28.

    36. Ryken, Galatians, 28.

    37. One scholar seems to suggest this could refer to the Damascus event such as Thurston, “Paul on the Damascus Road,” 233. Yet it is clear from the time-scale that Paul himself presents this is an altogether different experience as Paul Barnett points out in The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (The New International Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub, 1997).

    38. James S. Stewart, A Man in Christ: The Vital Elements of St. Paul’s Religion (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1935), 82.

    39. Stewart, A Man in Christ, 82.

    40. Wright, The Paul Debate, 3.

    41. Plevnik, What Are They Saying About Paul?, 103.

    42. Donaldson, “Gentile Mission,” 82.

    43. Kim, Paul and the New Perspective, 296. Kim’s second thesis pushes for the two foundations to be the Damascus Road and the Jesus traditions. His emphasis on the Damascus Road seems accurate yet at times he may attempt to hang every single detail on the Damascus experience and this may at times go too far such as Paul’s understanding of “the mystery” concerning Israel. Lee Irons considers ‘some of Kim’s arguments…are too speculative’ Lee Irons, ‘Seyoon Kim’s Critique of the New Perspective on Paul’, in The Upper Register, 2007, http://www.upper-register.com/papers/kim_critique_npp.pdf, (accessed March 27, 2017), 17 which appears to be a legitimate critique.

    44. Kim, Paul and the New Perspective. His first thesis was The Origin of Paul’s Gospel (Tübingen: Mohr, 1984).

    45. Kim, Paul and the New Perspective, 289.

    46. James M. Arlandson, ‘The Old Testament in Paul’, in Bible.org, August 2015, https://bible.org/article/old-testament-paul, (accessed April 4, 2017).

    47. Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (The New International Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans, 2008), 801.

    48. Kim, Paul and the New Perspective, 297.

    49. Thurston, “Paul on the Damascus Road,” 228.

    50. One of the first men to say this phrase appears to be Geerhardus Vos in referenc to Paul’s theology, D. G. Hart and John Muether, ‘A Primer on Geerhardus Vos, Father of Reformed Biblical Theology’, Ordained Servant 8/3 (July 1999), 54–55.

    51. Marshall, “Paul and Eschatology,” 57.

    52. Marshall, “Paul and Eschatology,” 59.

    53. Marshall, “Paul and Eschatology,” 60.

    54. Kim, Paul and the New Perspective, 43.

    55. Kim, Paul and the New Perspective, 43.

    56. Morgan, Levandowski, and Rogers, “The Apostle Paul,” 140.

    57. Kim, Paul and the New Perspective, 42.

    58. G. Walter Hansen, ‘Paul’s Conversion and His Ethic of Freedom in Galatians’, in The Road from Damascus: The Impact of Paul’s Conversion on His Life, Thought, and Ministry (ed. Richard N. Longenecker; McMaster New Testament Studies; Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub, 1997), 221. Hansen goes on to explain how this freedom from the law was not ‘freedom for self-indulgence. Rather, it meant freedom to live for God’.

    59. Everts, “Conversion and Call of Paul,” 161.

    60. Stephen Westerholm, ‘Sinai as Viewed from Damascus: Paul’s Reevaluation of the Mosaic Law’, in The Road from Damascus: The Impact of Paul’s Conversion on His Life, Thought, and Ministry (ed. Richard N. Longenecker; McMaster New Testament Studies; Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub, 1997), 147.

    61. Gordon D. Fee, ‘Paul’s Conversion as Key to His Understanding of the Spirit’, in The Road from Damascus: The Impact of Paul’s Conversion on His Life, Thought, and Ministry (ed. Richard N. Longenecker; McMaster New Testament Studies; Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub, 1997), 167.

    62. Fee, “The Holy Spirit,” 166.

    63. Fee, “The Holy Spirit,” 180–181.

    64. Fee, “The Holy Spirit,” 181.

    65. Morgan, Levandowski, and Rogers, “The Apostle Paul,” 139.

    66. Hansen, “Ethics,” 221.

    67. Wright, The Paul Debate, 21.

    68. Constantine R. Campbell, Paul and Union with Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012), 30.

    69. Campbell, Paul and Union with Christ, 420.

    70. Campbell, Paul and Union with Christ, 420.

    71. James D. G. Dunn, ‘Paul and Justification by Faith’, in The Road from Damascus: The Impact of Paul’s Conversion on His Life, Thought, and Ministry (ed. Richard N. Longenecker; McMaster New Testament Studies; Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub, 1997), 85.

    72. Dunn, “Justification,” 89.

    73. Kim, Paul and the New Perspective, 82.

    74. Kim, Paul and the New Perspective, 82.

    75. Seyoon Kim, ‘God Reconciled His Enemy to Himself: The Origin of Paul’s Concept of Reconciliation’, in The Road from Damascus: The Impact of Paul’s Conversion on His Life, Thought, and Ministry (ed. Richard N. Longenecker; McMaster New Testament Studies; Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub, 1997), 102.

    76. Kim, “Reconciliation,” 107.

    77. Kim, “Reconciliation,” 122.

    78. Bruce Corley, ‘Interpreting Paul’s Conversion – Then and Now’, in The Road from Damascus: The Impact of Paul’s Conversion on His Life, Thought, and Ministry (ed. Richard N. Longenecker; McMaster New Testament Studies; Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub, 1997), 2.

    79. Thurston, “Paul on the Damascus Road,” 238.

     

     

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