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DAY 26: Faith, Law, and Sabbath in Christian Tradition

Although other early Christian missionaries converted Gentiles, and the Christian movement even without Paul probably would have broken away from its Jewish parent, Paul played a crucial role in those developments and accordingly is regarded as the second founder of the Christian movement. His mission to convert Gentiles helped to achieve the separation of the Christian movement from Judaism, but that was not his intention, and the causes of the breach went well beyond his apostleship. It should be emphasized that he sought to create a new humanity in Christ, including all Jews and all Gentiles. Most Jews, however, did not join the movement, which became largely a Gentile religion.

Paul’s greatest impact on Christian history comes from his letters, which are the most influential books of the New Testament after the Gospels. The statements in his letters have been particularly important in the development of Christian theology. Although they do not form a complete system, they show a powerful mind grappling with the question of how to express the relationship between Jesus the Christ and God the Father.

Key Verses:
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” ~ Philippians 2:5-7

Questions to ponder:

  • How do Paul’s insights into the nature of Christ deepen your understanding of God’s love and redemption?
  • As Paul grappled with complex theological questions, how can we approach our own uncertainties and doubts with faith and humility?
Adapted from Britannica: The Biography of St. Paul the Apostle
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