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THE THEOLOGY OF PAUL

PAULS THEOLOGY
A Dozen Fundamental Convictions
INTRODUCTION
A lot of people get it wrong when it comes to the real task of a theologian. But
before that? What is theology? According to the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary,
Theology is the biblical discussion of what the Bible itself teaches about God and His
dealings with human beings and the rest of creation. Biblical theology has existed
since the Bible was written.
Then who is a theologian? According to Gorman, a theologian is a person who
operates with a set of clear convictions and more consistent with his thoughts about
God and persuasively apply the significance of his convictions to himself and his
communities. By this definition, was Paul a theologian? Absolutely yes. Paul was a
theologian in this sense in our modern word today he would be called pastoral
theologian
Paul developed a very sensitive fundamental conviction. Some will call this the
twelve basic theological tenets or Pauls twelve big ideas. Below is a brief discussion
of each of the principles.
1. THE COVENANT GOD OF ISRAEL
This was one of the major convictions Paul had in his missionary days. God chose
and covenanted with Israel for them to be His people and instrument of divine
blessing among all nations including the Jews and the Gentiles. God expected
Obedience not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles. God is therefore an
impartial judge and expects what is right. The question arises, were the people able
to keep their part of their covenant? Definitely not, the covenant with God and Israel
ended up Israelites faithless and disobedience and the Gentiles, idolaters, and
immoral (Romans 118-3:20). With this breach of the covenant, God had already
planned to effect a new one wit4h his people and all the nations.
Supporting Text
Romans 3:29-30a
29
Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles
also, 30 since God is one
2. THE POWER OF SIN AND THE POWERLESS OF THE LAW
What was the basic human problem? Paul admitted the problem of the Jews and
Gentiles was a sin.. For Paul he was convinced that, sin operates as a kind of power
within and upon the human race and manifest itself in two different ways. It shows

an improper way of relating to God and other humans.. These made human beings
covenantally dysfunctional. The solution to the problem were liberation and
redemption from sin and forgiveness for sin. Paul was much convinced that the Law
only can not save us from sin despite its positive values
Supporting Text
Galatians 3:21-22
Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been
given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the
Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus
Christ might be given to those who believe.
3. THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD: FAITHFULNESSTO ISRAEL AND MERCY
TO THE GENTILES
Paul understood the righteousness of God as Gods covenant faithfulness and His
saving power (Romans 1:16-17). God sent His Son Jesus to effect salvation for all
humans because of His faithfulness to the faithless on the part of the Gentiles as
well as the Jews. God did that to keep his promise made with Abraham that all
nations will be blessed through him. Gods righteousness was for both Jews and the
Gentiles.
Supporting Text
Romans 3:21-26
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law,
although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it the righteousness of God
through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all
have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a
gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a
propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show Gods
righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It
was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the
justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus
4. THE REVELATORY, REPRESENTATIVE AND RECONCILING CRUCUFIXION
OF JESUS THE MESSIAH
The relevance of the dead by the crucifixion of Jesus can be described in many
forms beyond our imagination according to Paul. We can only talk of three which
can be absorbed well. The first is, Paul was convinced Jesuss death on the cross
revealed the faithfulness, love and power of God. Secondly, Isreal was supposed to
die, but Jesus died as a faithful, obedient representative of Israel and all people.

Lastly, the death of Jesus brought our reconciliation with God that is forgiveness for
sins and redemption from sin.
Supporting Text
1 Corinthians 1:22-25
For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a
stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews
and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of
God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
5. THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS
Even though Paul affirms the preexistence and the divine nature of Jesus, he was
convinced that, the Lordship of Jesus is the exalted status bestowed on Him as a
consequence of His obedient, faithful and human death. Gods resurrection and
exaltation vindicate the crucified Jesus as the Savior of Israel and Lord of all. Jesus is
to be confessed and obeyed because as Lord, He share in the honor otherwise due
only to God.
Supporting Text
1 Corinthians 12:3
Therefore, I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever
says Jesus is accursed! and no one can say Jesus is Lord except in the Holy
Spirit.
6. THE CLIMAX OF THE COVENANT AND THE OVERLAP OF THE AGES
In Christ, all the promises of God are fulfilled. The new covenant was effected when
the Messiah was born, died and resurrected. For Paul, Christ was the spectacle he
used to read the Scriptures of the Israel. Paul was deeply convinced that, Christ is
the goal and the focus of the Law, Prophets and the Writings. The NEW AGE that
the Judaism looked forward to was attributed to his coming and death even as this
age continues. This means that, belivers live in a bifocal existence with one eye on
the past with Christ death and resurrection and the other on the future with Christ
second coming and our resurrection.
Supporting Text
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away;
behold, the new has come.
7. JUSTIFICATION BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH

Paul had three important meanings for the word justification for its significance.
The first one is Gods character and activity which comprise of His righteousness,
holiness, fidelity and salvation. The second aspect is the expectation of just or
righteous conduct which is the covenant and lastly, the law court. In Pauls
conviction, justification is the establishment or restoration of right covenantal
relation with God, including fidelity to God and love for neighbors with the certain
hopes of acquittal on the day of judgement. Justification takes place by God
initiative and grace which we must respond with faith, trust, obedience and
confession. According to Paul our faith should not be a one time response to the
gospel, but rather continue to be in the covenantal relationship with God.
Supporting Text
PHILIPPIANS 3:9
.and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the
law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that
depends on faith
8. THE TRINITARIAN EXPERIENCE OF GOD
Paul knew God in three realities. He knew God as Abba or Father, as the Messiah or
Son of God or Lord Jesus and lastly as the Holy Spirit or Spirit of God or Spirit of
Christ. This is how Paul illustrates it: Believers know and are known by God the
Father who has adopted them. They live in the crucified, but now exalted Christ who
also lives in them and they are empowered to live in Christ as Gods children by the
Spirit
Supporting Text
1 Corinthians 12:4-6
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of
service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same
God who empowers them all in everyone.
9. CRUCIFORMITY, OR THE LAW OF CHRIST
For Paul, the death of Christ meant more than as I explained in number four. The
essence of believing existence is acceptance of the crucified Christ. Even though
cruciformity may involve suffering, it does not end there. Paul referred it as the law
of Christ or the narrative pattern of the crucified Messiah. This refers to the kind of
faith working with love that was rooted down in the cross where the Son of God
expressed his faith by given himself in love. Paul suggests that, this is the pattern
life of all believers ; faith towards God and love towards others. Our faith in the
future leads to hope.

Supporting Text
Philippians 3:10-11
That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his
sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain
the resurrection from the dead.
10.

THE SPIRIT AS PROMISE FULFILLED AND HOPE GUARANTEED

Paul was much convinced that, the outpouring of Gods Spirit promised in the last
days, which would renew and bring Israel and all the nations had occurred. His
evidence was the Gentiles having possessed Gods Spirit. He said, all believers
possess and are to be guided by the Spirit.
Supporting Text
Galatians 3:13-14
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for usfor it is
written, Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree so that in Christ Jesus the
blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the
promised Spirit through faith.
11.

THE CHURCH AS AN ALTERNATIVE COMMUNITY

Paul believed that the church consists of both Jews and Gentiles, one set part and
holy. Paul admits that, the church has come to continue in the place of pagan
Roman Empire and all its religious and social subcultures. The church must have
harmony, humility and above all love not only to themselves but others who are not
believers.
Supporting Text
1 Thessalonians 5:14-18
And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the
weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but
always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray
without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ
Jesus for you.
12.
THE PAROUSIA, THE RESURRECTION, AND THE FINAL TRIUMPH
OF GOD
Paul strongly believed that, the resurrection of the Messiah was the beginning of the
age to come, the invasion of the future into the present. Paul found in Christ the first
fruits (1 Corin 15:20) of the general resurrection, the guarantee of bodily

resurrection for all who are in him and share in his cruciform life as well as the
assurance of Gods final defeat of sin and death and the restoration of the entire
earth.
Supporting Text
Philippians 3:10-11
That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his
sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain
the resurrection from the dead.
Someone will then ask the relevant question after going through all these
fundamental principles and the theology of Paul. What did Paul think was wrong with
Judiasm? Judaism refers to a religion and culture of the Jewish people from the
beginning of the postexilic period (538 BC) to modern times..The term Judaism is
derived from Juda, the name of the southern kingdom of ancient Israel, while Jew is
the shortened form of Judeans. It must be noted that, Jesus Christ was Himself a Jew
as were the earliest members of the church. Pauls practice of not requiring the
Gentile who converts to Christianity to be circumcised and observe the whole Jewish
law was that, their new covenant relationship with God was based on faith in Christ,
not on works of the law. For Paul, the Jews were still Gods chosen people even
though some of them had rejected Christ, but, he trusted that, they would not be
finally rejected (Roman 9-11)
In answering the question, Paul saw nothing wrong with Judaism, but saw something
wrong with humanity. He argues that, Gentiles or Jews, males or female, slave or
free, only the Jews, acting in the Jewish Messiah and through the Spirit of the Jewish
God and his Messiah can fix humanity problem. In short, Judiasm was the solution
only it is a restored, renewed, inclusive, eschatological, and 3messianic Judiasm
Conclusion
These twelve points seem so much and lots of people will argue for less points. In
any situation, three themes will have to run through; which are covenant,
cruciformity and community. Pauls theology expresses and informs his letters are
not deposits of ideas but instruments of his missions.
Discussion Question
How hve Christians understood and benefited fromthese fundamental principles of
Paul?, Discuss