‘But that was just Paul’s experience …’

‘Paul never really proclaimed anything he, himself, had not experienced. Whatever theology he may have had prior to his experiences, he appears to speak primarily from experience and not from some theological rationalisation of the same. He talked of Christ as Lord because that was the way he met him. He spoke of forgiveness because he had been forgiven, and of justification because he had been justified. The Cross meant everything to him because he had been there: ‘I have been crucified with Christ’. He knew the gift of the Spirit because he had received the Gift, as indeed he had been filled by him.’ – Geoffrey Bingham, Paul, the Pursued and Pursuer of God (Blackwood: New Creation, 1986), v.

The painting is Rembrandt’s The Apostle Paul (c. 1657). Oil on canvas. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.

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