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14.  Paul

14-1 The Conversion Of Paul / Saul || 14-2-1 Paul And His Brethren || 14-2-2 The Weakness Of Paul || 14-2-3 Paul: A Character Study || 14-3 The Preaching Of Paul || 14-4 Saul Changed To Paul || 14-5 Paul's Relationship With Jesus || 14-6 Paul And Christ  (1) || 14-6-1 Paul's Use Of The Gospels  || 14-6-2 Paul's Quotations From The Gospels: Statistics || 14-6-3-1 Paul's Quotations From The Gospels: Analysis And Implications || 14-6-3-2 Inspiration: The Human Factor || 14-6-3-3 The Enigma Of John's Gospel || 14-6-3-4 The Nature Of The Gospel Records || 14-6-3-5 Memorizing Scripture || 14-6-4 The Supremacy Of Christ || 14-7 Paul And Christ (2) || 14-7-1 Paul's Use Of The Gospels: Further Observations || 14-7-2 Paul And The Parables || 14-7-3 Paul's Use Of The Sermon On The Mount (Mt. 5 - 7) || 14-7-4 Paul's Exposition Of Gethsemane || 14-7-5 Paul And The Characters In The Gospels || 14-7-6 Paul In The Gospels || 14-7-7 Paul And John The Baptist || 14-7-8 Saul, Paul And Stephen || 14-7-9 Following Elders || 14-7-10 Connections Between The Gospels And Epistles: Observations || 14-8 Paul's Heroes || 14-8-1 Paul And Moses || 14-8-2 Paul And King Saul || 14-9   Paul and Corinth || 14-10 Paul And His Weak Brethren || 14-11 Paul's Thorn In The Flesh || 14-12 Paul's Shipwreck  || 14-13 Paulís Self-Perception || 14-14 Paul, Philemon and Onesimus || 14-15 Chronology of Paulís Life

14-7-3 Paul's Use Of The Sermon On The Mount (Mt. 5 - 7)

These chapters are the most intensely alluded to part of the Gospels. Paul, James and Peter all pack their writing with conscious and unconscious allusion to them. They had more than memorized them. They were in their heart and deep consciousness; and they write as if they expect their audience to have a like familiarity with them (even though many of their readers / hearers were illiterate). Yet how many of us can recite those chapters, let alone claim to have them in our hearts? For Paul, just one phrase from these chapters echoed in his mind throughout the years; thus " Judge not, that ye be not judged" (Mt. 7:1) is at the basis of Rom. 2:1; the whole of Rom. 14, and 1 Cor. 4:3,5. And Paul's extraordinary ability to rejoice in his trials seems to have been rooted in his sustained reflection upon Mt. 5:11,12: " Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you...rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward...for so persecuted they the prophets" . These words are alluded to in at least 5 verses in his epistles. The following samples provide further insight into how Paul deeply absorbed the teaching of these passages. I have written down the implications briefly; you might like to make time to follow them up for yourself:

- Mt. 5:17 = Gal. 5:14. Christ fulfilled the Law by His supreme love of His neighbour (us) as Himself.

- There are times when Paul's inspired commentary opens up some of the Lord's more difficult sayings. "Be you therefore perfect" has always been hard to understand (Mt. 5:48). Paul's comment is: "Be perfected" (2 Cor. 13:11). This is quite different to how many may take it- 'Let God perfect you' is the message.

- Mt. 6:2,3 = 1 Tim. 4:8. The implication is that we aren't to take Mt. 6:2,3 (" they have their reward" ) as implying that we have no reward in this life. We do (cp. Mt. 19:29).

- Mt. 6:14 = Eph. 4:32. Jesus said: " If you forgive, you'll be forgiven" . Paul subtly changes the tenses: " You've been forgiven already, so forgive" . It's as if Paul is saying: 'Think carefully about Mt. 6:14. Don't think it means 'If you do this, I'll do that for you'. No. God has forgiven you. But that forgiveness is conditional on the fact that in the future you will forgive people. If you don't, then that forgiveness you've already been given is cancelled. This is what Jesus really had in mind'. This would suggest a very very close analysis of those simple words of Jesus, using all the logic and knowledge of Biblical principles which Paul had.

- Mt. 6:24 = Tit. 1:9. Holding to God as your master rather than mammon is achieved through holding on to His word.

- Mt. 6:25 = Phil. 4:6. How do we obey that command to " take no thought for your life" ? By praying consciously for every little thing that you need in daily life, e.g. daily bread.

- Mt. 7:21 = Rom. 2:13. Paul saw the " Lord, Lord" people of the parable as the Jews of the first century who initially responded enthusiastically to the Gospel.

- Mt. 7:22 = 1 Cor. 13:2. To say " Lord, Lord" without really knowing Christ is living without love. Thus Paul saw an association between a lack of true love and an external show of appreciation of Christ's Lordship. Not doing what Christ says is a lack of love, in Paul's mind. If we appreciate this, we will see that those who are ignorant of Christ's words cannot show true love. Biblically ignorant Christians need to think through the implications of this

- Mt. 7:23 = 2  Tim. 2:19. Depart from sin now, or you'll depart from Christ at the judgment. This is Paul's classic way of making plays on words; again an indication of how his writings are partly a product of his own meditation upon and familiarity with the Gospels.