St Paul and his apostleship

Paul often had to defend the legitimacy of his apostleship and teaching against the suspicion and resentment of fellow believers.

Paul often had to defend the legitimacy of his apostleship and teaching against the suspicion and resentment of fellow believers. His critics reasoned that he was not one of the Twelve, had persecuted Christians, and was advising gentiles not to adopt Jewish ways. Sometimes Paul’s rebuttal took the form of boasting and self-praise. 

In 2 Corinthians, Paul gave in to what he termed “foolishness” and challenged his accusers for bragging rights. He listed his credentials and recalled his many sufferings: “I am a descendant of Abraham, a minister of Christ. I have been jailed, beaten, whipped, stoned and shipwrecked. I have gone hungry, been betrayed and left out in the cold. And besides all these, I am anxious for the wellbeing of the churches” (11:22-29).

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