Paul hardly dared to consider himself an apostle. He did not think that he had any right to compare himself with Peter and the other apostles. They had served Christ loyally for such a long time. Until Paul became a Christian, he opposed them cruelly.
But now, because of the kindness of God, Paul was a Christian. Also, because of Godís kindness, Paul was an apostle too. The word Ďapostleí means someone whose master sends to carry out an important task. God had given Paul an especially important task: to declare Godís good news to people from all the different nations (Galatians 1:15-16).
Paul worked harder than any of the other apostles, and he had more success than any of them. However, Paul did not believe that this was the result of his own efforts. God, because of his kindness, had done these things. God showed his kindness to Paul when God saved him. Then God used Paulís work to show his kindness to many other people. Those people had become Christians when Paul declared Godís good news to them.
Paul did not want to compare himself with the other apostles. They all carried out the same work for God;† they all declared the same message. Whether you heard Peter, Paul or any other apostle, they all taught the same things. They might have different opinions about some unimportant matters; but they all agreed about the facts of Jesusí life (15:3-4). They all agreed that God saves people only by the death of Jesus (11:23-26). They agreed about many other things too. These are the lessons that Christian leaders continue to teach today. They too are doing the same work for God that the apostles did.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.