Paul the Apostle
Paul the Apostle is one of the most influential missionaries of Early Christianity. Before his conversion to Christianity, Paul’s name was Saul. His conversion led him to start his writings to Christianity. In his eyes, the community of Christians is a multidimensional reality. Thus, he uses three concepts to explain this concept of Christianity. These are the people of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the body of Christ. For Paul, the concept of the people people of Godimplies that the Christian Community comprises Jews and Gentles. It also means that the people of God are those at the end of time. In addition, Paul meant that a new final covenant would replace the old one. This emanates from the word that God told the Israelites in the Wilderness, “I will be your God and you will be my people" (Dwyer, n.d.). The Holy community in the eyes of Paul is the community of people that gathers together to worship and celebrate the identity of God. Paul sees the Christian community as the body of Christ. This is central in his concept about Christianity. The church constitutes the people of God since it signifies the people of Christ. In the writings by Paul, the head of the church is Christ, and the Church makes up his body and is not a part of Christ (Dwyer, n.d.).
According to Apostle Paul, through his letters in the Bible, God gave every single Christian a gift of the spirit. He also believes that any Christian who does not have the spirit does not have Christ. He traces this belief back to the time when the Holy Spirit visited the disciples. He believes that when the Holy Spirit came into the lives of Christians, He came along with the gifts. This means that people must use the gifts to serve God. Paul believes that people must use the gifts that they received from the Holy Spirit to the benefit of other people in the community (Humphreys, 1991).
Just like other disciples such as Peter, Paul believed that all Christians have a spiritual gift. At no single point did he say that an individual might lack this gift, regardless of his or her position and rank in the church. All Christians possess gifts and must, therefore, put these gifts into practice through serving God. Paul always put his understanding and interpretation of gifts in the context of the church. He always believed that it is more beneficial for individuals to fellowship together and exploit their gifts together, rather than seeing spiritual gifts from an individual point of view. According to Paul, fellowship reduces the chances of becoming arrogant about the spiritual gifts that individuals possess. He spoke of gifts in terms of the church, and referred to the church as to the body of Christ that needs respect and honor from Christians and all other believers. The church is the body of Christ, all believers being its members, and each one having a unique role to play in the progress of the church (Humphreys, 1991).
In the eyes of Paul, there is a need to have a structure in the Church. His writings indicate that if one aspires to take the position of an overseer, then the person must act above reproach. Paul believes that a church must appoint elders from each city. This word comes clear in the words in Titus 1:7. The words used synonymously are the elders and the overseers. From the writing, Christ is the Head of the Church, and Christ is the Chief Shepherd. This means that the church should have leaders that can watch the flock (Bucknell, n.d.).
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