St. Irenaeus Ministries
Scripture Studies brought to you by the St. Irenaeus Center.
St. Irenaeus Ministries - a center of orthodox Catholic mission and renewal in Rochester, NY
Paul is welcomed by the brethren in Jerusalem, and is shown many Jewish converts to Christianity who are zealous for the law. Many of these had heard that Paul advises converts to forsake Moses, and Paul is told to -- and does indeed -- help some converts to perform a purification ritual to prove that this accusation is untrue. (Paul in fact writes in Galatians that the circumcised should live according to the circumcision.)

Some Jews from Asia see Paul in the temple and mistakenly believe that the converts are Greek Gentiles and that Paul has defiled the temple by doing this. A riot breaks out across Jerusalem, and Paul is arrested. The tribune asks Paul to speak to the crowds, which he does, though the crowds erupt again when Paul tells of the mission to the Gentiles. Paul is then taken away again, but when they find out that he is a Roman citizen, the Roman authorities send him to the Sanhedrin. Paul then pits the Pharisees and the Sadducees against each other and gets off.

Forty men then take up a plot to kill Paul. Paul discovers this and is then taken to Caesarea, where he is shuffled around various rulers (Felix, Festus, and King Agrippa II) and then makes an appeal to the emperor, which means that his case must be heard by the Emperor. On his way to Rome, he is shipwrecked on Malta, where he spends the winter and makes a strong impression on the people there.

Paul then arrives at Rome and the believers meet him as he is in chains. He then makes an impassioned plea to the local leaders of the Jews, who have not heard much about him other than general news of the sect. Some listened but others turned away when Paul claimed that the Gentiles were to be preached to as well. He lived in Rome for two years and sent several letters in the next few years, including one to Timothy where he dispatches several people to preach the good news and asks for material to continue to study. Beyond this, we do not have any definitive information on the life of St. Paul.

Paul's life challenges us to think of the Church as something more than a social group, and to shine forth Christ. If we see the Church as merely a denomination, we do a disservice to the true Church of God. We must keep an active life of mission to bring people to the truth of God and work to form a community to spread the word of Christ.

Music: Boismortier's Sonata 6 in G Minor - Allemanda-Allegro, from the album 'Six Sonatas for Flute and Violin - Opus 51 - Boismortier' performed by Duo de Bois. www.magnatune.com

The end of our Life of St. Paul series coincides with the end of the Church's observance of the Year of St. Paul. We hope that this year of Pauline material has been beneficial to you. As always, your feedback and comments can be directed to podcast@siministries.org, and are very much appreciated.
Direct download: LifeOfStPaul4b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:55pm EST

After a brief of discussion Corinth and how it is important as one of the most detailed descriptions of the early Church, we move back to the second missionary journey, describing how Paul corrects some of the errors of Apollos other Ephesians. While in Ephesus, several people who had in the past practiced magic publicly burned their magic books. The silversmiths, not happy with the loss of business that the Christians were causing to the temple of Artemis, cause some trouble and Paul leaves Ephesus.

Following a missed rendezvous in Troas, Paul receives word from Titus that Corinth is at peace with him and he continues on to winter in Corinth for three months. It was here that Paul wrote the letter to the Romans, intending full well to continue on. A plot against Paul turns him around to return by land through Troas, rather than by water as he had expected. Paul then speaks about how the Holy Spirit tells him that imprisonment awaits him in every city, and Jerusalem in particular. Paul then talks about how he has not withheld any portion of the gospel and thus that he is not responsible for the blood of the people.

Then, after exhorting the Ephesian elders to watch for wolves, Paul goes up into Caesarea and then Jerusalem.

Music: Boismortier's Sonata 6 in G Minor - Allemanda-Allegro, from the album 'Six Sonatas for Flute and Violin - Opus 51 - Boismortier' performed by Duo de Bois. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: LifeOfStPaul4a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:34am EST

After Paul leaves Perga, his company arrives in Antioch in Pisidia (a different Antioch than the great Syrian city). Soon their ministry to the Gentiles spreads throughout this entire region. Such success brought much consternation to a number of Jews.

In every synagogue and Gentile gathering, Paul takes every opportunity to boldly proclaim the Gospel. His powerful proclamation of the Word excites much joy and many conversions among some. Others are enraged by his message and frank approach.

Ministering to Gentiles ever proves to be an exciting endeavor: in Lyconium, Paul is mistaken for Hermes and Barnabas for Zeus and only with great difficulty do they convince them not to offer sacrifice on their behalf.

Paul’s adversaries in each city tend to be Non-Christian Jews and Judaizers, those Christians who say circumcision is necessary for salvation. The issue of circumcising Christians becomes a hot-button issue, and it is eventually addressed by the Council of Jerusalem. At this council the early Church rules that Gentile Christians must abstain from eating meat with blood in it, engaging in fornication, and practicing any type of idolatry. After attending this council, Paul and Barnabas return to Antioch.

From Antioch, Barnabas asks Paul to join him in a visit to all the churches they had planted on their first Missionary Journey. The two argue whether or not to bring John Mark on the journey, and part company over the issue. Paul and Silas then begin the Second Missionary Journey, picking up key disciples like Timothy as they travel.

When the Holy Spirit prevents Paul from entering the Roman province of Asia, he journeys to Europe. It is during this period that the Gospel first reaches the major metropolitan cities of Corinth and Ephesus. It is at this time that he meets Priscilla and Aquilla. He also incites even more negative reaction from the Jews.

His ministry becomes increasingly dynamic during the Second Missionary journey. With the exception of Athens, it seems that the larger the city he enters, the greater the fruit. Possessing orthodox theology, awe-inspiring miracles, deep learning and mature pastoral skills, he is nothing short of a marvel. This missionary-statesman inaugurates a new chapter in Christianity.

Music: Boismortier's Sonata 2 in E Minor - Affettuoso, from the album 'Six Sonatas for Flute and Violin - Opus 51 - Boismortier' performed by Duo de Bois. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: LifeOfStPaul3b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:19am EST

Having powerfully witnessed Christ on the road to Damascus, Saul finds his zeal redirected and renewed towards the Gospel. But who in the early Church (which was almost entirely Jewish) could have imagined the great outpouring of faith upon the Gentiles that came from the ''First Missionary Journey''?

After praying and fasting, the leaders of the Antioch Church sent off Saul and Barnabas to preach the Gospel, ''the work to which [the Holy Spirit had] called them.''

Their setting sail from Antioch to Cyprus (an intentional invasion of Gentile territory to convert the world) was nothing short of revolutionary and entirely unprecedented in the Jewish world.

Shortly thereafter the missionaries become known as ''Paul and company.'' They depart for the further travels, eventually traveling to Europe. As the journey continues, the grace-inspired genius of this missionary strategist comes to the fore.

Music: Boismortier's Sonata 2 in E Minor - Allegro, from the album 'Six Sonatas for Flute and Violin - Opus 51 - Boismortier' performed by Duo de Bois. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: LifeOfStPaul3a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:17pm EST

The persecution of ''the Way'' that followed the stoning of Stephen spurred a large Jewish Christian diaspora. Jewish Christians living in Jerusalem spread all across the Mediterranean world. While many of them kept solely Hebraic social circles after settling into new homes, the exceptions were the inhabitants of Cyprus and Cyrene (a region in North Africa). Likely traders or Mediterranean businessmen, these men began speaking to Gentiles about Jesus. Some of these Gentiles were ''Godfearers'' familiar with Judaism, and others were pagan intellectuals and their family members.

At this time in Church History, the conversion of Gentiles to ''the Way'' was still a controversial issue. The quesiton of whether or not they had to become Jewish first was fiercely debated. While the inclusion of Cornelius was largely accepted (who would argue with the Holy Spirit?), he was just one Gentile; the potential inclusion of thousands of Gentiles posed a very real difficulty for many Jewish Christians who treasured their doctrine and blood-lines. Rampant racial prejudice in this region also contributed to the problem.

The largest Gentile contingent in the early Church was in Antioch. Barnabas enlists Saul of Tarsus to help catechize this large number, which was in the thousands. For an entire year, these two men teach the people. Saul has been instructing people in ''the Way'' for a dozen years at this point, though this is his first ''class'' of Gentiles.
By this time, he is a profoundly spiritual man, a worker of miracles.

Paul's dynamic (at times ballistic) ministry style was a force to be reckoned with. The Judaizers, Peter, and many others were recipients of his straightforward arguing. His strategizing mind and spiritual heart are peerless among the saints. His ongoing conversion to Christ is the source of his great motivation.

By Paul's influence, Antioch becomes a major church and the missionary spirit take off in the early Church. His catechetical ministry was simply remarkable.

Music: Boismortier's Sonata 2 in E Minor - Allegro, from the album 'Six Sonatas for Flute and Violin - Opus 51 - Boismortier' performed by Duo de Bois. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: LifeOfStPaul2b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:55am EST