St Paul as father and mother

Paul often appealed to his great love for the churches as a sign of his right to preach the gospel.

Paul often appealed to his great love for the churches as a sign of his right to preach the gospel. In Galatians Paul presents himself as a solicitous mother watching over her children. “My children, I feel the pains of childbirth for you all over again” (4:19).This image of Paul as mother has been called “an argument from the heart.” 

In 2 Corinthians Paul imagines that he is the father of the bride (the Corinthians) whom he has given to the groom (Jesus Christ). “I am jealous,” he admitted, “with the jealousy of God” (11:2). 

Some readers think that Paul gives way to emotionalism by using these two parental images. He probably would accept that criticism and quickly add, “I will most gladly spend and be utterly spent for your sakes. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?” (2 Corinthians 12:15).

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