Do we “make too much of Paul?”

Do we “make too much of Paul?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Once, while talking to a discouraged Christian minister, I told him about Paul’s apostleship and how the Pauline epistles contained good words of encouragement for him to read and cheer up. His reply was, “Yeah, but there is more to the Bible than just Paul!” I responded, “Absolutely, but the Pauline epistles are God’s Word to you as a Gentile living in the Dispensation of the Grace of God.” The dear man had such a daze on his look; he had never heard this plain and yet profound truth of the Bible! If you want to know what God has to say to you, you must read the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon. Everything else in the Bible is God’s Word to Israel, and you are not Israel!

You are forced to separate Paul from the rest of the Bible. Even though your church and pastor may not do this, you have a choice—obey God, or obey mankind. But what makes Paul so unique? In the Four Gospels, we have the Lord Jesus Christ giving His twelve apostles the clear commandment (Matthew 10:5,6): “[5] Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. [6] But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” And Jesus continued in verse 40, “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.”

The Lord Jesus Christ sent Peter and the eleven to minister to the nation Israel (unfortunately, most church members have never been taught that simple fact). Jesus told them that if no one wanted to receive them, that person was simply rejecting Him (Jesus Christ), and thereby rejecting God the Father who sent Him. The question is: “Whom did Jesus Christ send to us?” It was certainly not Peter and the eleven because they had a ministry amongst the Jews, the nation Israel. Galatians 2:9 says that Peter, James, and John are Israel’s apostles (cf. Matthew 19:27,28).

Go with me to Romans 11:13, where the Apostle Paul writes: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.” Who is God’s apostle of the Gentiles? PAUL! The ascended Lord Jesus Christ, post-resurrection, selected Paul to be the apostle of the Gentiles.

In Acts 9:15, the Lord Jesus told Ananias: “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he [Saul of Tarsus, Paul the Apostle] is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

Paul wrote in Romans 15:16: “That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.” And Galatians 1:16: “To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:” Finally, 2 Timothy 1:11: “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.”

The Apostle Paul is our apostle; he is the one God sent to us. Paul is God’s spokesman to us today. Accordingly, if we ignore Paul—like most professing Christians do today—we are actually ignoring God and His Word to us Gentiles in this dispensation, the Dispensation of Grace!

Now, look at 2 Peter 3:15-16, one of the last statements the Apostle Peter wrote: “[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

Did you notice what Peter wrote? He emphasized Paul’s epistles! Here is Peter, one of the chief apostles of Israel, encouraging you to read Paul’s epistles. Will people ever say “Peter made too much of Paul?” No, never. In that case, they have no right to say that you “make too much of Paul,” either. These are simply false accusations concocted by our critics, caught up in legalism and denominationalism, who hope to discredit our position so they can hold to their church tradition.

We are not making Paul to be a god; Paul is not God, but God has sent him to us so we had better listen to the message Paul was given by God. We recognize the Pauline epistles as God’s Word to us. We study all 66 books of the Bible, but the non-Pauline books are for basic learning, and are not written to us or about us. The non-Pauline epistles in the Bible cannot always apply to us. Paul was a man just like us. However, he did not write his own thoughts or opinions. As the Spirit of God moved him, he penned the doctrines of grace written to the Church the Body of Christ. He is the only Bible author addressing non-Israelites who are living outside of God’s purpose and program for Israel (Romans 16:25,26; Ephesians 3:1-9). God’s current dealings with man are only found in Paul’s epistles. We are emphasizing the office of the apostle of the Gentiles, not the man Paul. Just like the Jews depended on Moses to give them God’s revelations, so we depend on the Pauline epistles to receive God’s revelations to us.

In reality, mid-Acts (Pauline) dispensationalists are not “making too much of Paul”—God the Holy Spirit in the Bible makes “too much” of Paul. So much so that nearly half of the New Testament is attributed to Paul! The Apostle Peter wrote two books, the Apostle John wrote five books; Luke wrote two books, and James, Matthew, Mark and Jude each wrote one book. The Apostle Paul wrote 13 Bible books, Romans through Philemon (contrary to what some suppose, I do not believe Paul wrote the book of Hebrews). Paul’s epistles alone contain half (13/27) of the “New Testament” and one-fifth (13/66) of the entire Bible! Are you going to say that “God made too much of Paul in His Word?” I think not, friend.

Finally, we see in 1 Corinthians 3:9-12 that Paul is the “wise masterbuilder” that laid the foundation and that foundation is Jesus Christ crucified, buried, and risen again. This is Paul’s Gospel, the Gospel of the Grace of God (see Acts 20:24). Peter, James, and John were not the wise masterbuilders! They had no ministry to us Gentiles and the Church the Body of Christ (cf. Galatians 2:9).

Again, we emphasize Paul, not the man, but the doctrine revealed exclusively to him, the gospel given exclusively to him, and the ministry entrusted exclusively to him. Contrary to the teachings of traditional Bible interpretation, we recognize the unique ministry that the ascended Lord Jesus Christ gave to Paul. The Lord specifically revealed the “revelation of the mystery” exclusively to Paul (Romans 16:25,26; Ephesians 3:2). God’s plan for salvation today is only found in Paul’s epistles. After all, the Bible says, “God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my [PAUL’S] gospel” (Romans 2:16; cf. Romans 16:25; 2 Timothy 2:8).

If you do not have your faith resting in a firm understanding of Paul’s Gospel, the Gospel of the Grace of God, it is the plain and simple truth that you are on your way to hell. Someone who loves you enough needs to tell you that before it is too late. You need to trust in Christ Jesus alone as your personal Saviour today. Jesus loved you and died for your sins, He was buried, and He was raised again for your justification (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Trust in Jesus Christ alone, and God will save you forever.

Paul is your apostle and my apostle, and we are submitting to God’s design when we spend most of our Bible study in Paul’s epistles. END OF STORY!

For those who think that we Pauline (Mid-Acts) dispensationalists “make too much of Paul,” perhaps they will think differently in light of our closing remarks:

  1. Can you completely explain God’s plan of salvation (the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for sins), without making even a single reference to any of the verses found between the books of Romans through Philemon? (You cannot, for you need Paul’s epistles to explain the Gospel of the Grace of God—the gospel for this dispensation (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)—is only found in Paul’s epistles!)
  2. Without using Romans through Philemon, can you sufficiently explain the Church the Body of Christ and the rapture? How are we to live as believers in Christ in this dispensation? Are we under law or grace? What is the purpose and destiny of the Church the Body of Christ? You cannot answer these questions outside of Paul’s epistles.
  3. Could you tell me about church order (qualities of bishops, deacons, et cetera) without using the books of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus?
  4. Can you explain where is the nation Israel today? Are we spiritual Israel? Will God return to dealing with Israel in the future? You can only answer these questions using Paul’s epistles.

Of course not. Without Paul’s epistles, you could not do any of the above. I guess you “make too much of Paul” too!

Also see:
» When did the Dispensation of Grace begin?
» When did the Church the Body of Christ begin?

» Who is Judas’ replacement—Matthias or Paul?
» Did Peter and Paul preach the same Gospel?