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Today, I have something that may be a huge paradigm shift for you.
You’ve heard the story: Saul became Paul.
It is a powerful story.
A Jewish man once ****-bent on the destruction of Christianity became convinced that his life was nothing without Christ. The name change from Saul (old identity) to Paul (suffering for Jesus / new identity) is a reminder for many people that our lives are never the same after we embrace Jesus as Messiah and Lord.
Edition - Paulcast - Podcast - All - Apostle
On the latest edition of The Paulcast: A Podcast All About the Apostle Paul, I examine the credulity of this storyline.
And look, I have some skin in the game on this one. It preaches so well. As a pastor I’ve used this example of transformation so many times over.
Here’s the problem: it is unbiblical and ahistorical.
I want to briefly sketch the case out for why Saul never had a name change.
*If - Look - Podcast - Episode
*If you would like a detailed look at this, you will need to head over to the podcast episode.
Perhaps you remember the well-known story of Paul traveling on the Road to Damascus. The author of Luke-Acts tells this story (that Paul recounts in his own way in Galatians 1) with narratival gusto. It truly is a powerful story about Jesus transforming and calling Saul.
Kicker… - Saul - Fact - Jesus - Saul
But that is the kicker… it is about Saul. In fact, when Jesus addresses him directly he says: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts of the Apostles 9.4).
And you would think that by the end of this experience that Jesus, or other followers of Messiah, would start saying “Paul, Paul,” but this never happens. In fact, after this event in Acts 9, Paul is referred to as “Saul” 11 more times: without qualification.
Nothing - New - Testament - Name
Nothing in the New Testament says that he dramatically changed his name.
Not even Acts.
The key transition...
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