Paul (1 Cor. 1:1)


Called by the will of God

To be an apostle

Of Christ Jesus,

And our brother


Παῦλος κλητὸς ἀπόστολος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ διὰ θελήματος Θεοῦ καὶ Σωσθένης ὁ ἀδελφὸς

Paul introduced himself as Paul (Παῦλος), who was called (κλητὸς) to be an apostle (ἀπόστολος) of Christ Jesus (Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ) by the will of God (διὰ θελήματος Θεοῦ).  Then he talked about his brother (ὁ ἀδελφὸς) Sosthenes (καὶ Σωσθένης).  He introduced himself like he did at the beginning of most of his letters.  Who is this Paul?  As far as we know, he was born in the early years of the common era in Tarsus and died in the mid-sixties CE in Rome, when he was about sixty-five years old.  He let you know right from the beginning that he was no ordinary person.  He clearly stated that he was an apostle, but he did not choose to do so.  Above all, he had been called, set apart, and sent as an apostle of Jesus Christ.  Paul claimed apostolic importance, a term that originally applied to only the twelve apostles.  However, he was a witness and a missionary, after his Damascus conversion to Christ, before he was arrested in Jerusalem.  Most people put this letter from Paul when he was in Ephesus on his third missionary journey in Acts, chapters 18-19, probably between 53-57 CE, before he wrote to the Romans.  Sosthenes his brother was probably the ruler of the Jewish synagogue who had become a Christian, as mentioned in Acts, 18:17.  They all (δὲ πάντες) seized (ἐπιλαβόμενοι) Sosthenes (Σωσθένην), an official leader of the synagogue (τὸν ἀρχισυνάγωγον).  They beat (ἔτυπτον) him in front of the tribunal (ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ βήματος). Sosthenes was the chief ruler of the synagogue at Corinth.  He had been seized and beaten by the mob in the presence of Gallio, the Roman governor, when Gallio refused to proceed against Paul at the instigation of the Jews.  The motives of this assault against Sosthenes were not recorded. Some people have identified this Sosthenes with the companion of Paul the Apostle referred to here as “Sosthenes our brother”, a convert to the Christian faith and co-author of this epistle, but it is not clear.  What do you know about Paul the apostle?

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