Sometimes I wonder about Paul.
I’ve spent more time with his letters than perhaps any other part of the Bible except for the Gospels, and I always come away from them with a particular impression of their author. I imagine him to be endlessly energetic. Stern when necessary, but never cruel in his sternness. Fair. Passionate. Driven by a sense of profound urgency. Dedicated to spreading the word. Honest to the point of awkwardness. Demanding.
But I never think of him as being guilt-ridden. Pathetic. Anxious. Inward.
The thing is, I always have some sense when I read through Acts that he ought to be. That Paul ought to, in some way, perform guilt or sorrow in his letters for my benefit. Because pre-Christian Paul (Saul at the time, but I’m sticking with Paul for the sake of ease) was a nightmare on two feet. He was oppression and malice…
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