Some of you have expressed considerable doubt as to whether Paul the apostle was Jewish, thus we trust you will hear the Word of God with a careful ear.
To ask the question: was not Paul a Gentile, suggests simple ignorance or possibly unbelief in the heart, for scripture is rather plain.
Even the great magician Houdini could not escape this truth, that the apostle to the Gentiles, once known as Saul of Tarsus, was Jewish.
Listen to Paul before his accusers as he spoke in the Hebrew tongue: I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia. And listen to the apostle Peter before Cornelius the Gentile: Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
Yes, both men of God were Jewish, the only distinction is that Peter was sent to the Jews with the gospel, and Paul to the non- Jews, the Gentiles. We learn that the Italians were called Gentiles, for there is a principle that Israel was not to be reckoned among the nations.
Paul knew this truth rather well, as he spoke of his pedigree in Judaism: ‘For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.’ He continues: ‘Circumcised the eight day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews, as touching the law, a Pharisee. He stands before King Agrippa and says: My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews, which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straightest sect of our religion, I lived a Pharisee.’
Because of Pauls belief in the Lord Jesus as Israel’s Messiah, and for the truth that the son of man is also Son of God, he was thought as one not fit to live. But by whom? By his brethren according to the flesh, the Hebrews, the Jews, and the Israelites. Paul was thought to be a traitor, but you will remember that at one time, he too thought the believing Jews were monsters, for it was Saul of Tarsus, the Jew, who stood nearby and gave his amen at the stoning of another Jew, Stephen.
But God reached down in his grace and revealed His son to Paul, and he came to know the word of the Lord Jesus that truly, salvation is of the Jews. You will also remember that Paul spoke of another Benjamite, David, and used him as a springboard to speak of he who would come from his seed, even the Lord Jesus, that he might be first the Saviour, and then fulfill the word of God as he will sit on David’s throne.
Consider this: There were dwelling devout Jews at Jerusalem on Pentecost, and note how Peter addresses them: ‘Ye men of Judea,’ and once more he calls to them: ‘Ye men of Israel.’ But note Peter’s word: that David is dead and buried, but the promised one, the Lord Jesus, is David’s son and David’s Lord, and that according to God’s promise, he will in fact take his seat on David’s throne in Jerusalem Israel.
These Jews realized that the Lord Jesus must first suffer for sins BEFORE he occupies Davids throne, and 3000 souls were brought to God. Paul, Peter, David, Moses, Samuel and of course the Lord Jesus the Messiah were Jewish according to the scriptures. The Lord Jesus came and dwelt in the LAND of Israel, the apostles ministered to the Jews in Israel, and many Jews tried to kill Paul the Hebrew, Paul the Israelite, and Paul the Jew.
Carefully consider why Paul went first into the synagogues where the Jews assembled. The word of God to the Jew first, he evidently took literally. Paul knew that his brethren according to the flesh were the seed of Abraham, but he also knew that they were not Abraham’s children, and for this understanding, his hearts desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved.
They that are of God hears God’s words, for let God be true. In God’s sovereign choice, Paul the Israelite, Paul the Jew, and Paul the Hebrew, would finish his course, and then preach to the Gentiles.
Is it possible after hearing this proof, to doubt whether Paul was Jewish?