Introduction to Chapter 1:  Paul as Chief Editor of the Bible

Chapter 1: Paul Wraps up the Bible

This chapter title will come as a surprise to you, no doubt; as you have thought little of the ministry of the Apostle Paul to provide the finishing continuity to the Bible of 66 books.  A brief explanation is in order now, and there is a real sense in which this whole volume of THE LEARN CHRIST FROM THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS COMMENTARY will more exhaustively deal with that theme. The primary focus in this volume is about how the Bible from Genesis to Revelation is a story about the Lord Jesus Christ, and how to learn that Christ of the Bible; but supporting that most obvious and dominant theme is the way the Resurrected Christ, personally and through the Spirit of Christ, continued to work through the Apostle Paul as well as the other Apostles to wrap up the Bible. If we look back over the last approximately two thousand years since Jesus of Nazareth walked on this earth in Palestine, what has been the most influence in the spread of Christianity to all the nations of the world, it has been the Bible as used by the Spirit of Christ.   (Holy Spirit is being used synonymously with the Spirit of Christ:  that is Bible.)  Now given the Bible has been the most pervasive Christian influence in two thousand years, don’t you think that the God of whom the Apostle James writes as knowing all His works from the beginning of time, not only planned it this way, but also had a plan in the completion of the 66 books as well as the preservation and spread of the Bible. The Apostle Paul, under the direct leadership of the risen Christ and then through the Spirit during the so-called seven silent years (only silent because the Spirit like God the Father does speak in a still small voice), was the key human instrument to complete the Bible.

What needs to be dealt with briefly now is what Paul had to do with the completion of the Old Testament, and how Paul could wrap up the Bible since the Apostle John later wrote the last five books of the New Testament, and also after Paul John Mark wrote a Gospel and Dr. Luke wrote a Gospel and the book of Acts.  As far as the Old Testament part, it was Paul’s assignment from the Risen Christ during their time together in Saudi Arabia immediately after the conversion of Paul to go back and re- read the Old Testament which Paul had studied so extensively in the past, but this time to read it in the light of the removed veil that was done away with, as Paul writes in Hebrews, in Christ. Paul during those seven years at Tarsus read through all the Old Testament manuscripts, remembered the interpretations from Christ, and recorded on a manuscript all the parts of the Old Testament that were most important to be quoted in the New Bible of the Old and New Testaments, along with the explanations, interpretations, and applications received from Christ and the Spirit of Christ.

Now about the writing ministry of the Apostle John and the Apostle Paul. Paul said in Galatians that he met with Peter and James, and I think he also wrote a manuscript or two to record the story of the life of Jesus which later he left with John Mark to write Mark and Dr. Luke to write the Gospel of Luke.  That means that Paul had three or four sources to know the complete story of the life of Christ before the Apostle John wrote his gospel, Jesus Himself in Arabia, the Apostle Peter, and the  Apostle James, and the Holy Spirit was always present with Paul assisting in the writing of scriptures. After all, “holy men of God (apostles and prophets, “wrote as they were moved by the Spirit of God”.

NOTE:  And don’t forget as you will read about often in this volume, Paul under the leadership of the Spirit and with all that aforementioned background himself wrote 14 New Testament books of the 27, the majority author from the human side of the New Testament. Furthermore, if you removed from the New Testament all the Old Testament quotes (I will refer to over 100 of those quotes in this volume), there would be no New Testament. Most of those the Apostle Paul personally or through Luke and John Mark put there!

It is more detailed than this, but this will serve as an introduction. The rest of the volume will elaborate.

When you hear of the ministry of the Apostle Paul, what do you normally think? Most often we hear and speak of the missionary journeys of Paul. We read of the marvelous conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus in order that Paul might preach the gospel to the Gentiles.  The premise of this chapter and the book is that the primary ministry of Paul was to serve as chief editor of the New Testament.    Certainly  as we  in  contemporary times  look  back  on what  has  happened  in  the approximately two thousand years since Paul, Jesus, and the other Apostles of Christ, the most pervasive influence of Paul has been from his fourteen letters that became fourteen books of the New Testament. In other words thousands more people had read and become Christians from the reading of his letters than became Christians because of his missionary journeys.

You can almost miss this aspect of the ministry of Christ in the reading of his letters. The one single place that it is obvious is in the reading of Colossians 1:25.

“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God…”  (Colossians 1:25 KJV)

Notice that: Paul is made a minister in order to fulfill or complete the word of God! That tells me that God had in mind a certain number of books for the Bible and in particular for the New Testament (27), and that the responsibility of the ministry of Paul was to make sure that this number was completed. This Paul did by personally writing 14 out of 27 of those books, and then pass on to John Mark and Dr. Luke manuscripts for the writing of three more books of the New Testament; so that Paul becomes personally responsible for 17 out of 27 of the New Testament books. I would say that is a significant aspect of Paul’s ministry when you consider to how many countries the Bible has gone over the last two thousand years, into how many homes, and from how many pulpits and Sunday school classes the Bible is taught every Sunday.

To belabor this chief editor aspect of the New Testament now as related to John Mark and Dr. Luke is somewhat jumping ahead, but I think it is necessary to immediately establish an internal evidence aspect to this claim. Two scriptural facts can quickly lay this foundation.

  1. Paul after becoming a prisoner requested that Timothy bring his books and parchments from Troas.

“The cloak that I left a Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.” (II Timothy 4:13)

2. Paul w rote that John Mark was profitable to him for the “ministry”, and recall that the most important aspect of the ministry of Paul was in the writing and editing of New Testament book

“Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.” (II Timothy 4:11)

NOTE:  If you object to the Apostle Paul as presented as the Chief Editor of the Bible, saying he only wrote 14 books of the New Testament only and edited 3 more; and that this was not work on the Old Testament.  Yet Paul next to Jesus Himself was very, very often {just look at Hebrews and Romans, the large number of OT quoted} a systematic quoter of the Old Testament, providing in turn the proper interpretation and implementation of what the law and the Prophets had written.

 

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