Was Paul Just an Average Guy? And a Mass-Murderer? or do evangellyfish not know what they're talk

Not open for further replies.


Puritan Board Sophomore
I hear oft quoted something along the lines of:
"Well, you know Paul wasn't that good of a speaker. He was just an average guy. It even said that he came to the Corinthians with much fear and trembling. Appearantly he lacked confidence and eloquence."

Now this strikes me as odd considering Paul's fine education, training, and upbringing. Also, reading a book like Romans makes me think, not only was he not "average", he was probably a genius.

And point #2:
I hear people equating Paul with a "mass murderer" because he "persecuted the Church."
This doesn't seem right. I mean, after all, all he really did is guard the clothes of those who stoned Stephen, and outside of that he tried to have Christians shut down and persecuted. This is a far cry from "murdering people", although his approval on Stephen's death makes him somewhat of an accessory I imagine.

Am I correct in assuming that Paul was nothing close to a criminal? He explicitly states that according to the Law he was "faultless." There must have been no charge to bring to his account in the eyes of the law; he seemed to be acting in accordance with reasonable religious zeal in his outrage against what he felt was the truth.

What do we know about just how smart Paul was? Could he or could he not compete with the pagan orators and philosophers in Corinth should he have chosen so? (It seems his denial to do so was simply that the foolishness of the cross might shine forth all the more, not because he was incapable.)

And was Paul in any respect a murderer? I think this label is pushing the envelope. Especially "mass" murderer. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people parrot this same phrase. Was anyone he persecuted actually "murdered" besides Stephen?


I ain't no scholar, but here's my 2 penniworth. He might have had people killed when he went on "heresy hunts" like the one to Damascus. I was under the impression that the Jews were not allowed to execute anyone under Roman law, hence Pilate's involvement in the death of Jesus. I wonder what the Romans ever did about the death of Stephen, we're never told, but it would have been hard for Saul of Tarsus to kill many, though he might participate in or instigate a lynching, like Stephen's, on occasion. He wasn't a Ted Bundy.


Staff member
Paul was "breathing threatening and slaughter" upon the church. He also admits to being violent. That is bad enough, in God's eyes, to be a murderer and Paul knew it.

I think his writings and his recorded activities indicate that he was indeed a genius. He was well schooled and a Pharisee of the Pharisees. That was not a place for slow of thought.



Puritan Board Doctor
I think the point is, we understand Paul knew his own heart as Saul, he was out to have Christians killed, did he actually kill anyone, I don't know but because of the desire in his heart to have others killed, he was guilty of murder, and yes even mass murder.

And if we have ever had any thoughts of wishing someone were dead, or angry with our brother, we too, are just as guilty before God as murderers as Paul is, but then, even breaking just ONE commandment makes us guilty of breaking them all. So we are all guilty of murder, shoot it was because of our sins that put Christ on the Cross, if nothing else we are guilty of His death alone as well as His beatings. We are all guilty before God.

So really what difference does it make if he actually killed anyone or not, he was still a murderer in His heart.

And as far as if he was just an average guy, I don't know, He was Pharasee among Pharasee's, I guess it could be compared to a Preacher? Would you say that Preachers, no matter how educated they might be are some how above average people? Or are they just like everyone else, sinners in need of a Savior?

Or maybe we could even in this case compare him more to a Priest in the Catholic Church, He was a priest among priests, so are they average people? Or are they above average people because they have been educated by the Catholic church? Just because a person is highly educated and speaks well, doesn't make them different, or above average, they are still sinners in need of a savior, so therefore they are just average people.

[Edited on 12-1-2005 by BJClark]

[Edited on 12-1-2005 by BJClark]


Puritan Board Graduate
COmments about him not being a good speaker come from the Corinthian epistles (and maybe elsewhere). Paul was having a fight among some false teachers he pejoratively refers to as "super-apostles.'" Example, 2 Cor. 11:5: "5But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those "super-apostles." 6I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way." Note he says he is noit trained in speech.

Another example is 1 Cor. 2: "1When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power."

Note that he says he did not have eloquence.
Not open for further replies.