Skip to main content

St Paul the Apostle

James Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, historian, and author of three non-fiction books. James enjoys people, music, film, and reading

Teachings of Paul

St Paul the Apostle authored 1/4 of the New Testament. By reviewing his letters (Epistles) to the churches he established, I assembled a summation of his teachings. I did not use his pastoral letters, as I might publish a short Hub about those sometime in the future.

The Apostle Paul said he was called by God to reveal His Son to the world. Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead. If He was not, then Christianity is meaningless. Jesus is the image of God—the firstborn of all creation. By Him, through Him, and for Him—all things were created. He is before all things and in Him all things exist. He is the Head of the Body of Christ and the Church. Christ lives today through the lives of Christians.






Paul the Apostle concedes that all humans have sinned. That is why we must be justified by faith in grace through the Redeemer—Jesus Christ. It is by His shed blood on the cross that we might be saved—by His sacrifice for us. By faith in Jesus we may be forgiven our past sins.

We may be reconciled to God through His Son. This does not mean we may continue on in our sinful ways. We must throw off the shackles of sin and be transformed into the likeness of Jesus. We must not let sin reign in our lives or obey its lusts. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God through Christ is eternal life.

Those who are baptized into the faith become sons and daughters of God and all are equal regardless of their station in this world. Though Christians are now in natural bodies—which are but dust—they will be resurrected after death into spiritual bodies—which are heavenly. The mortal Christian shall become immortal.

We have treasure in these earthen vessels. Our outward person is perishing, but our inward person is renewed day by day. St Paul proclaims that the gospel (good news) is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—rooted and grounded in love.

You may comprehend the infinite love of Christ which surpasses all human knowledge. You may be filled with the fullness of God. True, the old you was corrupt according to the lustful flesh; now be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Become a new person—set apart to serve God.

St Paul writes that God has called certain people from among us for His purpose; that those He foreknew are predestined to be Christians. Paul says he is persuaded that nothing can separate Christians from the love of God which is in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is God who works in Christians for His good pleasure.

God is rich in mercy because of His great love for us. By grace Christians have been saved through Faith—this is a gift from God. This gift cannot be obtained through your own works—lest you should boast. Christians are members of the household of God.

God intends that His manifold wisdom shall be made known to the Church, according to His eternal purpose which He accomplished in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians have access to God through Jesus.



You Are the Temple of the Holy Spirit

Christians are not to serve the lusts of the flesh, because the desires of the flesh are opposed to the desires of the Holy Spirit of God, which dwells in us. The Holy Spirit will help you overcome your weaknesses.

God will not be mocked—if we serve our flesh, our reward shall be corruption; if we serve the Holy Spirit, our reward shall be everlasting life. We will set our minds on one or the other; and this determines what our end shall be.

Paul the Apostle teaches that you are the temple of God and if you defile His temple you will be destroyed by God. Glorify God with your body. We should cleanse ourselves of all filthiness and become holy (set apart for God's will and purposes).

Christians are to present their bodies as a living sacrifice; setting aside fleshly desires; not conforming to the ways of this world but instead—being transformed through the Holy Spirit. This is our reasonable service to be acceptable to God.



We Wrestle Not With Flesh and Blood

The works of the flesh include adultery; sex outside of marriage; homosexual sex; lust; lewdness; wickedness; deceitfulness; theft; extortion; greed; jealousy; envy; gossiping; backstabbing; covetousness; maliciousness; selfishness; boasting; pride; hatred; murder—those who practice these things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Scroll to Continue

The Apostle Paul goes on to say that the wrath of God will be visited upon those who practice sorcery, blasphemy; who are untrustworthy, unforgiving, bitter, unloving, unmerciful; those who use filthy language, foolish talk, evil speaking, coarse jesting, and liars. He advises us to abhor evil. Do not let your understanding be darkened, and be alienated from God, because of ignorance or a blind heart.

The Christian is at war not against flesh and blood—but against dark demonic powers filled with wickedness that inhabit the Earth.

We must beware false teachers who pretend to be ministers of God but are truly ministers of Satan—the great Deceiver of humankind. He is the evil prince of this world who sows disobedience among humankind, deceiving them to give in to the desires of their flesh.

St Paul the Apostle teaches to gird yourself with truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith—to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand the wiles of the Devil. We are not to be tricked by the cunning craftiness of deceitful men. We must bring every thought into obedience to Christ.

Christians are to warn the unruly, but always be patient with them. We are not to be deceived by those who oppose or exalt themselves above God.

We are to withdraw from professed Christians who are disorderly or sexually immoral, and not keep company with them—so that they might be ashamed of their conduct. We are to admonish them to repent (to be contrite and change their ways). But we may keep company with non-Christians who are immoral—otherwise, we would all have to live in monasteries and convents.

Walk in wisdom toward non-Christians. Their god is their appetites—they set their minds on earthly things. Have no fellowship with the darkness but instead expose it for what it is.

People who do not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ will be punished with destruction. All human beings will appear before Christ to be judged. God's wrath will be revealed against the ungodly—those who serve the creature rather than the Creator.

Each of us shall give an account of ourselves to God when the time comes. The enemies of the cross of Christ shall be destroyed. Paul admits his words may make some feel condemned. But if that might lead any to change their ways whereby they might be saved—he does not regret it but rejoices because of it.



Fight the Good Fight

St Paul the Apostle equates the Christian life with that of an athlete who is disciplined, and trains constantly, so as to win the prize. Our chief aim is to imitate Christ. Use your mind and mouth to honor God. Christians must examine themselves that they are doing no evil but doing what is honorable.

We glorify God by obedience—and by sharing the gospel with others. The Apostle Paul teaches that everything that happens to a Christian is for the good—because whatever happens to us, it is for us to be transformed into the image of His Son. If you have received Jesus Christ, walk in Him, that you may become taught, established, rooted, and built up in your faith—abounding in it with thanksgiving. Set your mind on the things above—not the things of this Earth.

We are to choose our words not to please people, but to please God. We are urged to esteem those who minister. We must remember the poor, and God loves a cheerful giver. We must be strong, brave, and do everything we do with love—for God's glory.

Our faith is not to be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. We do not look to the temporary things we see—but to eternal things not seen. We walk by faith.

Those who take up the walk with Christ are no longer condemned nor do they walk according to the desires of the flesh but according to the will of the Holy Spirit. For Christians, our troubles produce perseverance, which produces character, which produces hope. No one should think highly of himself. Sing with spiritual grace to the Lord. Pray earnestly with thanksgiving.

Paul the Apostle is against divorce and those who are divorced are to remain celibate. Paul does say the highest ideal of life is to remain unmarried because such a person can devote their life on Earth entirely to the service of God and His people; rather than worrying about pleasing their mate.



Body of Christ & Spiritual Gifts

St Paul writes that each of us are given by God—as He pleases—particular spiritual gifts for the express purpose of using these gifts to the benefit of others. These gifts may include wisdom; knowledge; faith; mercy; leadership; the ability to heal; to perform miracles; to prophesy (God speaking through you); to teach; to administer; to encourage others; to give financially; to be able to discern good spirits from evil spirits; to speak in tongues; to interpret those who do speak in tongues.

Whatever gifts we have been given, if we do not love—they are worthless. All Christians are members of the same Body of Christ and each member is necessary to the others—none can be done without. We do not all perform the same functions in that Body. We are to suffer together, rejoice together, and weep together.

Paul pleads with Christians to be united—not divided—in their minds and their words. Don't get hung up about what you eat or certain days. Do not judge your fellow Christian in these things. Avoid those who cause division in the Body of Christ, contrary to the doctrine you have learned. Their smooth words will deceive the hearts of the simple. May we strive together in one faith and one spirit for the gospel; being of one accord, with the same love.



Instructions for Believers

Christians are to give thanks to God for other Believers. We must love and comfort one another. We are to serve one another and bear one another's burdens. Christians need to pray for one another, that they may be filled with wisdom of God's will and have spiritual understanding; that they may walk worthy of their Lord—fully pleasing Him.

Pray that your Brothers and Sisters may be fruitful in their good works; be strengthened; have patience; and partake in their inheritance as saints. Pray that God will deliver them from the power of darkness; that their sins may be forgiven through the blood of our Redeemer.

Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another. Pray for your Christian Brothers and Sisters that their love, knowledge and discernment may abound; that they may approve of excellence; be sincere; without offense; filled with righteousness—to the glory and praise of God. Pray for your Christian Brothers and Sisters without ceasing.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.

Love is kind; love does not envy; love is not proud; love is not rude; love is not selfish; love is not evil; love rejoices in truth; love bears all, endures all.

The three greatest attributes in the world are faith, hope and love—and love is the greatest of these.

Cling to what is good. Be affectionate, diligent, and fervent. Bless those who do you wrong. Do not repay evil for evil. Overcome evil with good. Do not set your mind on high things—associate with the humble. Be full of goodness and knowledge.

As the elect of God—beloved—put on tender mercies, humility, forgiveness, and above all—Love. Do not look out for your own interests but look for the interests of others. Let nothing be done because of selfishness or conceitedness. Esteem others better than yourself—as Jesus humbled Himself and was obedient; even accepting death on the cross.

Do all things without complaining and disputing. Become blameless and harmless children of God without fault—shining as lights—in the midst of a perverse world. Do this so you may know Him and the power of His resurrection.

Be not anxious about anything. Let your requests be known to God. Then the peace of God—which surpasses all human understanding—will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ. Whatever state you are in: be content.

Do not lose heart. Speak the truth. Give to those in need. Impart grace to others. Study God's Word to understand what is acceptable to the Lord. Give thanks for all things to the Father in the Name of His Son. Amen.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 22, 2012:

ticktacktock— I apologize if I was less than courteous to you. I do not mean to be argumentative. I will examine your concepts in more detail. I am merely a seeker of the Truth and if I found your ideas to be true I would be more than happy to embrace them.

By the way, I pulled up "Page 167" of "The Age of Reason" and there is nothing about St Paul there at all.

You quote Muslims, Deists, and Catholics, who are quite opposed to each other. For instance you quote Thomas Paine, the founder of The Church of Theophilanthropy, which is considered heretical by Muslims and Christians. Paine called the Old Testament a "book of lies, wickedness, and blasphemy." I believe Muslims honor the Old Testament, do they not?

Paine, who wrote was is commonly described as the "the anti-Bible of all lower-class nineteenth-century infidel agitators," also wrote:

"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish [Muslim] Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish [Islam], appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

So Thomas Paine thought no more of Islam than he did of Catholicism. He was a Deist. I have published a Hub about Deism. Here is a link to it:

Now, the Ebionites did not believe Jesus was God Incarnate but they did believe in the Resurrection. Do you?

You quote Epiphanius but he was a Catholic who was totally an orthodox Christian and who firmly believed in the Trinity. Do you?

Panarion means "medicine chest" and it was written specifically to ward off the "poison of heresy" against the orthodox Christian Faith, to which I take it you do not adhere.

Ebionites clung to strict observance of Mosaic Law. Do you?

The fact that the Ebionites were abominable heretics according to both Islamic and orthodox Christian theology should make people question why Muslims use their late singular non-multiply attested testimony against Paul as evidence.

The Ebionites abhorred the doctrine of the Virgin Birth. The Quran condemns the Ebionites by admitting that Jesus had a virgin birth in Quran 19:19-22 which states:

“He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless son. She said: How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste? He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained. And she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a far place.” (S. 19:19-22)

The Ebionites did believe Jesus was the 'adopted Son of God' – a heresy according to both Christianity and Islam. The gospel of the Ebionites alludes to the Baptism of Jesus saying, “… a voice sounded from Heaven that said: ‘You are my beloved Son, in you I am well pleased.’ And again: ‘I have this day begotten you’.”

Now about Paul, I found no reference after hours of searching that mentioned any woman named Poppea connected with Paul BUT I did find references to a fable that you mentioned of him falling in love with an unnamed daughter of the high priest. This Pauline fable is not attested by any source in the 1st or 2nd centuries. Therefore, this charge against Paul not only fails the historical test of early accounts and early eyewitness testimony, but it also fails the test of multiple independent attestation. It is impossible for this absurd claim to be true since the orthodox evidenced view has Paul as a true Apostle and martyr for the faith from the beginnings of the Christian Faith.

Based on the nature of this fanciful charge it seems that the Ebionites were hard pressed for any real convincing evidence or argumentation against Paul’s reliability and so after Paul was dead and not able to defend himself, the Ebionites invented this story to justify their heresies and their rejection of Paul’s 1st century apostolic teachings of grace and faith. There is no evidence to suggest that this kind of anti-Pauline Ebionite thinking was part of any major strand of early 1st century Christian teaching - none whatsoever. There is a wide and broad scholarly view for this absurd Ebionite charge against Paul being a later fabricated legend, story or development as opposed to historical reality.

I would pose the following question to the Muslims who believe that Allah is the author of the Quran: If Paul was a false Apostle and major corruptor of early Christianity then why didn’t Allah mention this explicitly and warn people about Paul or inform Muslims about how he supposedly corrupted Christianity?

Commenting on S. 61:14 the respected Islamic commentator Al-Qurtubi grants the apostleship of Paul:

“It was said that this verse was revealed about the apostles of Jesus, may peace and blessing be upon him. Ibn Ishaq stated that of the apostles and disciples that Jesus sent (to preach) there were Peter and Paul who went to Rome; Andrew and Matthew who went to the land of the cannibals; Thomas who went to Babel in the eastern lands; Philip who went to Africa; John went to Dac-sos(?) which is the tribe to whom the sleepers of the cave belonged; Jacob went to Jerusalem; Bartholomew went to the lands of Arabia, specifically Al-Hijaz; Simon who went to the Barbarians; Judas and Barthas(?) who went to Alexandria and its surrounding regions.”(60)

Notice that this ancient Muslim tradition has Paul as a true apostle. If Muhammad and the early Muslims taught that it was a priority to view Paul as a false usurper whose teachings were to be avoided then we would not expect to find these ancient Muslim traditions which grant Paul’s reliability.

ticktacktock from Serbia on October 21, 2012:

check The Age of Reason” by Thomas Paine and Epiphanius, Panarion , The Ebionite Account

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 20, 2012:

ticktacktock— Thank you for your additional comments. I have spent a lot of time researching to find out where you getting these wild ideas. Abdullah Smith, right? And what makes you think that idiot knows the "motivations" of the Apostle Paul?

You claim that The Apostle Paul didn't want the "Nazarenes to overtake the established Jewish church." But there was never any danger of that happening whatsoever.

Once again you mention this ridiculous notion that Poppea rejected Paul. Where do you find evidence that they ever even met? Poppea was not the daughter of the High Priest of Jerusalem. Records are extant of this. She was born in Pompeii to Roman citizens. The Jewish High Priest during this entire time you are talking about was Caiaphas. He did not have a daughter named Poppea. The record shows that Caiaphas had five sons but no daughters. He did have granddaughters, but they would have been far too young to attract Paul. And there is no record that Caiaphas ever went to Rome or that Poppea ever even visited Jerusalem, nonetheless was born and grew up there. Poppea was married by the time she was 14. At what age do you suppose she was when Paul fell in love with her?

It was not at all Paul that destroyed the Temple at Jerusalem. He was long dead when that happened and the blame for that falls upon pagan Rome. It had nothing to do with Christians whatsoever.

You are right that Paul was against devil-worship—what we call Roman paganism. But it went on for hundreds of years after he died.

It sounds like you are defending the Emperor Nero, one of the most crazed and perverted men who ever lived. If you are then you are simply insane. Other than maybe Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, and Mao, Nero must be the most undefendable of all men who ever breathed a breath on this Earth.

What you have written here is pure fiction, with no basis in truth, no written record to back up any of it, just a fantasy land concocted by Satan. Saul did not invent any stories and certainly never preached "his own doctrine." Paul's theology is perfectly in line with that of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, and the Apostolic Church. Paul did not preach anything new. He explained Jesus to people, that's all, as he was told to do by the Holy Spirit. Peter, James, and John approved of Paul's teachings wholeheartedly, as did Luke.

You wrote: "For Paul, Jesus and Christ were two distinct and separate personalities."

That is absolutely a lie. Show me the proof of this.

Paul taught the doctrines of Christ Jesus, and no other. You are inhabited by Beelzebub. I will pray for you in the Name of Jesus.

ticktacktock from Serbia on October 16, 2012:

Saul was a resilient man; he was resourceful. He was a man of action. Remember, he was not satisfied to lay back and watch the Nazarenes overtake the established Jewish church. He acted then. Saul had three years to muse upon his vengeance. Popea’s rejection represented rejection by the High Priest and all that he stood for – the Old Jewish Law. The Roman Emperor, that pagan son of a Saul would deal with him. He would undermine them both. Undermine the Orthodox Jewish tradition and law – destroying the power of the established Jewish Church and the power of the High Priest, Popea’s father.

Secondly, Saul would lure away the pagan from their traditional worship of their Emperors (one who had dared to possess the body of his believed Popea) and leave the Emperor without an empire. Luring away the pagan worshippers from their defied Emperors to a God-like Christ would torpedo the Emperors love for glorification. That hero worship would be transferred from Emperor to Christ. That would leave the Emperorship as a mere shell – a semblance of its former self. Saul decided he would kill two birds with one stone. He worked out his strategy during his three years self imposed exile in the dessert.

To work his plan, Saul knew that he could not allow himself to be sidetracked or diverted by the philosophy, theory or doctrine of others. He therefore invented a story about a direct revelation received from Christ which nobody could dispute, and by virtue of which he enjoyed the latitude to preach his own doctrine. Saul recognized NOT the teachings of Jesus handed down by his Apostles and disciples, but claimed that he was divinely inspired to teach the new doctrine of Christ, rather than of Jesus, which he utterly discarded. For Paul, Jesus and Christ were two distinct and separate personalities. Such was Paul’s motivation and determination. His inclinations were always destructive. Destroy the Nazarenes. Then later, destroy the old – the Jewish orthodox power, destroy the Roman Emperor

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 11, 2012:

ticktacktock— Welcome to the HubPages Community. I look forward to reading your writings. Thank you for taking the time to check out this article of mine. I appreciate your comments.

I can find no historical record that Poppaea was the daughter of a Jewish high priest. Everything I can find says her father was Titus Ollius and she was born in Pompeii. I have certainly never heard of the Apostle Paul having a love affair with her. Where do you get this information?

I do not believe that the Apostle Paul 'despised' anybody, least of all the Jews, of which he was one.

At 14 Poppaea was married to Roman, and I find no evidence she ever even visited the Holy Land. She was a convert to Judaism and she did protect the Jews of Rome while goading Nero into persecuting Christians.

Paul did not move to Jerusalem to marry that woman—he was sent to school in Jerusalem at his 13th birthday. The quote you gave does not appear on page 167 of Thomas Paine's book, The Age of Reason. That is a fabrication. I checked, just in case.

Your comments are nothing more than Muslim propaganda. Paul certainly did not invent the Christian Faith. It was spread far and wide by hundreds of men, including the 11 apostles and Luke and Mark, etc. etc. etc. There is nothing in Paul's doctrines that were 'fabricated. You can say anything about Paul you want but to say he was not honest and sincere is ridiculously insane.

The other book you quote, Fundamentalism Revisited, is so obscure that Amazon doesn't even have entry for it and they have entries for nearly every book known to man. When Paul finally got to Rome, there was an entire Christian community there already. It wasn't started by him. That is a stupid statement. By the time he died, the Faith had already reached as far as Ethiopia and India with no help from Paul. I would not follow a religion founded by a child molester and you shouldn't either.

ticktacktock from Serbia on October 07, 2012:

Sorry,if I m going to say that Christianity is the result of love affair between Paul and Popea,, the high Jewish priest’s daughter, which had failed. Paul despised both the Jews and Romans because Popea was Jewish and Nero was a Roman. They fell in love, and married each other, rejecting Paul completely.According to Ebionite sources, Paul was born to pagan parents in Tarsus, he later moved to Jerusalem to marry Popea. He converted to Judaism and persecuted the followers of Jesus. When she refused to marry Paul, he burst into rage and created “Christianity”. [1]

The Ebionites, or Nazarenes, who were the first Christians, rejected all the Epistles of Paul and regarded him as an imposter. They reported, among other things, that he was originally a pagan; that he came to Jerusalem where he lived some time; and that having a mind to marry the daughter of a high priest, he caused himself to be circumcised. But, that not being able to obtain her, he quarreled with the Jews and wrote against circumcision, and against observing the Sabbath and against all the legal ordinance.” (The Age of Reason” by Thomas Paine, p. 167)

'They declare that he was a Greek ... He went up to Jerusalem, they say, and when he had spent some time there, he was seized with a passion to marry the daughter of the priest. For this reason he became a proselyte and was circumcised. Then, when he failed to get the girl, he flew into a rage and wrote against circumcision and against the sabbath and the Law' (Epiphanius, Panarion, 30.16.6-9, The Ebionite Account)

Paul converted to Judaism for the sole purpose of marrying Popea:

Saul did everything in his power to win the attention and hopefully the love of beautiful Popea. Saul’s exertions against the Nazarenes – his bitter and zealous persecution of the early followers often brought mere approval from Popea, condescending affection – but his repeated offers of marriage were repeatedly spurned. A case of unrequited love! (Farouk Hosein, Fundamentalism Revisted, p. 40-41)

The brokenhearted Paul (then) traveled to Arabia for three years to fabricate his new doctrines, which later became “Christianity”.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 23, 2012:

oceansider— Once again, I welcome you to the HubPages Community, Helen. I have made myself a note to come over and peruse your Hubs soon. I surely appreciate your comments. Thank you for taking the time to read my work. I am honored by your gracious presence. And you are most welcome.

I certainly agree with you that "Spreading the gospel of Christ is what it is all about," and that we all need to "try even harder to be like Jesus." I am trying to fulfil my "assignment." :-)

I am grateful for your blessings. God Bless You!


oceansider on June 12, 2012:


Thank you for writing this article, for accurately quoting from the scriptures of the Holy Bible, which is the Living Word of God, because Jesus is the Word, and He lives inside of each one of us, His saints.

Spreading the gospel of Christ is what it is all about, so I thank you for doing God's work and spreading His Word for those who may not know Him, and for inspiring those who do know Him, to try even harder to be like Jesus. Yes, I myself ask Jesus to make me more like Him every day, and to show me what He wants me to be doing in my "assignment" while temporarily being here on earth for His Glory, for His perfect Will to be done!