The New Testament

A Historical and Theological Introduction

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23. The Missionary Paul

Questions for Research and Discussion

  1. Do you find it odd that Acts is silent about Paul’s early years as a follower of Jesus? Why might Luke have excluded this information? What are some of the conjectures about what was happening in Paul’s life during this time?
  2. Look over Paul’s three missionary journeys. Can you detect any patterns, any developments, or any tendencies?
  3. What does it say about Paul and his relationship with the church at Jerusalem that his hope to visit Jerusalem is inspired primarily by his desire to give them a gift from the Gentile churches?
  4. Acts ends with Paul imprisoned in Rome. What options are we left with regarding how Paul’s story ultimately ended? Which one do you favor and why?
  5. How might placing Paul’s letters within their historical contexts, according to Acts, help us interpret them? Use 1 Thessalonians as a test case. How can knowing where Paul was when he wrote 1 Thessalonians help us understand it better?