The Person and Gifts of the Holy Spirit Certificate

The Person and Gifts of the Holy Spirit Certificate

Got my first “B” ūüė¶

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Class work…

On 3/27/2013 I Enrolled in the ‚ÄúThe Person and Gifts of the Holy Spirit‚ÄĚ class at Blue Letter Bible Institute. It consists of 31 individual classes.

Right from the very first class I realized I was struggling with this class/teacher/tests. I‚Äôm not sure what or why I was struggling. Each class is about 45 minutes to an hour long or so, but I would listen to the audio, read the class pdf, convert it to an ebook and proof read it on my Kindle app prior to taking the test for the individual class. So I really processed each of the 31 classes 3 times prior to taking the test. That was a tried and true method I used on all the other classes but it was NOT working with this one. I feel I enjoyed the classes both audio and in print, but I just could not do very well on the tests. I even knew just about every question that I was going to get that one wrong. Just something about how it was worded or something I could not ‚Äúfind‚ÄĚ the correct answer on some of those questions‚Ķ

About half way thru the class I stopped. I couldn‚Äôt understand what in the world was going on. I took other classes and had no problems. So after about a year and a half I decided to go back and finish this class as it was the final class to complete the ‚ÄúDoctrine of the Faith‚ÄĚ Series. ¬†So here I sit hoping I can actually pull off a ‚ÄúB‚ÄĚ in this class. Totally unacceptable.

Correct Total Questions
267 295 True or False
243 295 Multiple Choice
510 590 Cumulative Tests
All Tests 85.3% 50% of Grade
Final N/A 50% of Grade
85.3% Current %
B Current Grade

Now I have to take the final exam…I so do not want to take this final exam…

I’ll keep you posted!

Only Two Religions? Introduction to Worldview Evangelism

Only Two Religions Certificate

Course Description

The Five Points of Pagan Oneism


In Romans 1:25, the Apostle Paul says man worships either the creation or the Creator, which essentially means there are only two religions. Subsequently, this introductory worldview course presents the term ‚ÄúOneism,‚ÄĚ which is used for the worship of the creation and ‚ÄúTwoism,‚ÄĚ which refers to the worship of the Divine Creator. Understanding this one small statement can help to equip Christians to uphold their biblical Christian faith in his or her cultural context. The course presents five principles that are present in all non-Christian thinking. Our goal is to help simplify your communication of the Gospel with ‚Äúspiritual but not religious‚ÄĚ individuals. Each lesson is followed by suggestions for further study.

Back to Learning for me :)

Rembrandt - Apostle Paul - WGA19120

Rembrandt – Apostle Paul – WGA19120 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It has been about a year and a 3 months since I took any Classes at the Blue Letter Bible Institute.¬†I’m not sure why I stopped taking these classes as I really enjoyed them.
Previously I was very good at being motivated to take the classes, couldn’t get enough…

A lot happened in my life back then, I abruptly stopped taking one class that I was enrolled in and had it about 90% completed.

Today I have no motivation to pick up on that class to finish it, but I am motivated to start a different class. Go figure huh?
So today I enrolled in the Apologetics class ¬†titled “The Five Points of Pagan Oneism” That will finish the Apologetics and Cults¬†Series of classes on blbi.org

So…with that said, I would appreciate any prayers you may be willing to offer in my behalf.

Here is the Course description:

In Romans 1:25, the Apostle Paul says man worships either the creation or the Creator, which essentially means there are only two religions. Subsequently, this introductory worldview course presents the term ‚ÄúOneism,‚ÄĚ which is used for the worship of the creation and ‚ÄúTwoism,‚ÄĚ which refers to the worship of the Divine Creator.

Understanding this one small statement can help to equip Christians to uphold their biblical Christian faith in his or her cultural context. The course presents five principles that are present in all non-Christian thinking. The goal is to help simplify your communication of the Gospel with ‚Äúspiritual but not religious‚ÄĚ individuals.

Luke’s commission of the 70

Seventy Apostles

Seventy Apostles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The¬†seventy disciples¬†or¬†seventy-two disciples¬†(known in the¬†Eastern Christian¬†tradition as the¬†Seventy Apostles) were early students of¬†Jesus¬†mentioned in the¬†Gospel of Luke¬†10:1‚Äď24. According to Luke, the only¬†gospel¬†in which they appear, Jesus appointed them and sent them out in pairs on a specific mission which is detailed in the text. In¬†Western Christianity, they are usually referred to as¬†disciples,¬†whereas in Eastern Christianity they are usually referred to as¬†Apostles.

Using the original Greek words, both titles are descriptive, as an apostle is one sent on a mission (the Greek uses the verb form: apesteilen) whereas a disciple is a student, but the two traditions differ on the scope of the words apostle and disciple.

The passage from Luke 10 reads:

And after these things, the Lord did appoint also other seventy, and sent them by twos before his face, to every city and place whither he himself was about to come, then said he unto them, `The harvest indeed [is] abundant, but the workmen few; beseech ye then the Lord of the harvest, that He may put forth workmen to His harvest.

`Go away; lo, I send you forth as lambs in the midst of wolves; carry no bag, no scrip, nor sandals; and salute no one on the way; and into whatever house ye do enter, first say, Peace to this house; and if indeed there may be there the son of peace, rest on it shall your peace; and if not so, upon you it shall turn back. `And in that house remain, eating and drinking the things they have, for worthy [is] the workman of his hire; go not from house to house, and into whatever city ye enter, and they may receive you, eat the things set before you, and heal the ailing in it, and say to them, The reign of God hath come nigh to you.

`And into whatever city ye do enter, and they may not receive you, having gone forth to its broad places, say, And the dust that hath cleaved to us, from your city, we do wipe off against you, but this know ye, that the reign of God hath come nigh to you; and I say to you, that for Sodom in that day it shall be more tolerable than for that city. `Wo to thee, Chorazin; wo to thee, Bethsaida; for if in Tyre and Sidon had been done the mighty works that were done in you, long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes, they had reformed; but for Tyre and Sidon it shall be more tolerable in the judgment than for you. `And thou, Capernaum, which unto the heaven wast exalted, unto hades thou shalt be brought down. `He who is hearing you, doth hear me; and he who is putting you away, doth put me away; and he who is putting me away, doth put away Him who sent me.’

And the seventy turned back with joy, saying, `Sir, and the demons are being subjected to us in thy name;’ and he said to them, `I was beholding the Adversary, as lightning from the heaven having fallen; lo, I give to you the authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and on all the power of the enemy, and nothing by any means shall hurt you; but, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subjected to you, but rejoice rather that your names were written in the heavens

This is the only mention of the group in the Bible. The number is seventy in manuscripts in the Alexandrian (such as Codex Sinaiticus) and Caesarean text traditions but seventy-two in most other Alexandrian and Western texts. It may derive from the 70 nations of Genesis or the many other 70 in the Bible, or the 72 translators of the Septuagint from the Letter of Aristeas. In translating the Vulgate, Jerome selected the reading of seventy-two.

The¬†Gospel of Luke¬†is not alone among the¬†synoptic gospels¬†in containing multiple episodes in which Jesus sends out his followers on missions. The first occasion (Luke 9:1‚Äď6) is closely based on the “limited commission” mission in¬†Mark¬†6:6‚Äď13, which however recounts the sending out of the¬†twelve apostles, rather than seventy, though with similar details. The parallels (also¬†Matthew¬†9:35,¬†10:1,¬†10:5‚Äď42) suggest a common origin in the posited¬†Q document. Luke also mentions the¬†Great Commission¬†to “all nations” (24:44‚Äď49) but in less detail than Matthew’s account.

What has been said to the seventy (two) in Luke 10:4 is referred in passing to the Twelve in Luke 22:35:

He said to them, “When I sent you forth without a money bag or a sack or sandals, were you in need of anything?” “No, nothing,” they replied.
The¬†feast day¬†commemorating the seventy is known as the “Synaxis¬†of the Seventy Apostles” in Eastern Orthodoxy, and is celebrated on¬†January 4. Each of the seventy apostles also has individual commemorations scattered throughout the¬†liturgical year¬†(see¬†Eastern Orthodox Church calendar).
Hippolytus of Rome¬†was a disciple of¬†Irenaeus, a disciple of¬†Polycarp, a disciple of the Apostle John. Hippolytus’s works were lost for a time until their discovery at a monastery on Mt. Athos in 1854.¬†While his major work¬†The Refutation of All Heresies¬†was readily accepted (once the false attribution to Origen was resolved), his two small works,¬†On the Twelve Apostles of Christ, and¬†On the Seventy Apostles of Christ, are still regarded as dubious, put in the appendix of his works in the voluminous collection of early church fathers.¬†Here is the complete text of Hippolytus’¬†On the Seventy Apostles of Christ:
  1. James the Lord’s brother, bishop of Jerusalem.
  2. Cleopas, bishop of Jerusalem.
  3. Matthias, who supplied the vacant place in the number of the twelve apostles.
  4. Thaddeus, who conveyed the epistle to Augarus.
  5. Ananias, who baptized Paul, and was bishop of Damascus.
  6. Stephen, the first martyr.
  7. Philip, who baptized the eunuch.
  8. Prochorus, bishop of Nicomedia, who also was the first that departed, 11 believing together with his daughters.
  9. Nicanor died when Stephen was martyred.
  10. Timon, bishop of Bostra.
  11. Parmenas, bishop of Soli.
  12. Nicolaus, bishop of Samaria.
  13. Barnabas, bishop of Milan.
  14. Mark the Evangelist, bishop of Alexandria.
  15. Luke the Evangelist.

These two belonged to the seventy disciples who were scattered by the offence of the word which Christ spoke, ‚ÄúExcept a man eat my flesh, and drink my blood, he is not worthy of me.‚ÄĚ But the one being induced to return to the Lord by Peter‚Äôs instrumentality, and the other by Paul‚Äôs, they were honored to preach that Gospel on account of which they also suffered martyrdom, the one being burned, and the other being crucified on an olive tree.

  1. Silas, bishop of Corinth.
  2. Silvanus, bishop of Thessalonica.
  3. Crisces (Crescens), bishop of Carchedon in Gaul.
  4. Epænetus, bishop of Carthage.
  5. Andronicus, bishop of Pannonia.
  6. Amplias, bishop of Odyssus.
  7. Urban, bishop of Macedonia.
  8. Stachys, bishop of Byzantium.
  9. Barnabas, bishop of Heraclea
  10. Phygellus, bishop of Ephesus. He was of the party also of Simon.
  11. Hermogenes. He, too, was of the same mind with the former.
  12. Demas, who also became a priest of idols.
  13. Apelles, bishop of Smyrna.
  14. Aristobulus, bishop of Britain.
  15. Narcissus, bishop of Athens.
  16. Herodion, bishop of Tarsus.
  17. Agabus the prophet.
  18. Rufus, bishop of Thebes.
  19. Asyncritus, bishop of Hyrcania.
  20. Phlegon, bishop of Marathon.
  21. Hermes, bishop of Dalmatia.
  22. Patrobulus,1 bishop of Puteoli.
  23. Hermas, bishop of Philippi.
  24. Linus, bishop of Rome.
  25. Caius, bishop of Ephesus.
  26. Philologus, bishop of Sinope
  27. Olympus
  28. Rhodion were martyred in Rome.
  1. Lucius, bishop of Laodicea in Syria.
  2. Jason, bishop of Tarsus.
  3. Sosipater, bishop of Iconium
  4. Tertius, bishop of Iconium.
  5. Erastus, bishop of Panellas.
  6. Quartus, bishop of Berytus.
  7. Apollo, bishop of Cæsarea.
  8. Cephas.
  9. Sosthenes, bishop of Colophonia.
  10. Tychicus, bishop of Colophonia.
  11. Epaphroditus, bishop of Andriace.
  12. Cæsar, bishop of Dyrrachium.
  13. Mark, cousin to Barnabas, bishop of Apollonia.
  14. Justus, bishop of Eleutheropolis.
  15. Artemas, bishop of Lystra.
  16. Clement, bishop of Sardinia.
  17. Onesiphorus, bishop of Corone.
  18. Tychicus, bishop of Chalcedon.
  19. Carpus, bishop of Berytus in Thrace.
  20. Evodus, bishop of Antioch.
  21. Aristarchus, bishop of Apamea.
  22. Mark, who is also John, bishop of Bibloupolis.
  23. Zenas, bishop of Diospolis.
  24. Philemon, bishop of Gaza.
  25. Aristarchus
  26. Pudes.
  1. Trophimus, who was martyred along with Paul.

Many of the names included among the seventy are recognizable for their other achievements. The names included in various lists differ slightly. In the lists, Luke is also one of these seventy himself. The following list gives a widely accepted canon. Their names are listed below:

  1. James “the Lord’s brother” (James the Just), author of the¬†Epistle of James, and first¬†Bishop of Jerusalem. Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3, Acts 12:17, 15:13; Epistle of James.
  2. Agabus. Reference to in Acts 11:28; 21:10.
  3. Amplias. Reference to in Romans 16:8
  4. Mark the Evangelist, author of the Gospel of Mark and Bishop of Alexandria
  5. Luke the Evangelist, author of the Gospel of Luke
  6. Cleopas
  7. Simeon, son of Cleopas, 2nd Bishop of Jerusalem
  8. Barnabas, companion of Paul
  9. Justus, Bishop of Eleutheropolis
  10. Thaddeus of Edessa (not the Apostle called Thaddeus), also known as Saint Addai
  11. Ananias, Bishop of Damascus
  12. Stephen, one of the Seven Deacons, the first martyr
  13. Philip the Evangelist, one of the Seven Deacons, Bishop of Tralles in Asia Minor
  14. Prochorus, one of the Seven Deacons, Bishop of Nicomedia in Bithynia
  15. Nicanor the Deacon, one of the Seven Deacons
  16. Timon, one of the Seven Deacons
  17. Parmenas the Deacon, one of the Seven Deacons
  18. Timothy, Bishop of Ephesus
  19. Titus, Bishop of Crete
  20. Philemon, Bishop of Gaza
  21. Onesimus (Not the Onesimus mentioned in the Epistle to Philemon)
  22. Epaphras, Bishop of Andriaca
  23. Archippus
  24. Silas, Bishop of Corinth
  25. Silvanus
  26. Crescens
  27. Crispus, Bishop of Chalcedon in Galilee
  28. Epenetus, Bishop of Carthage
  29. Andronicus, Bishop of Pannonia
  30. Stachys, Bishop of Byzantium
  31. Amplias, Bishop of Odissa (Odessus)
  32. Urban, Bishop of Macedonia
  33. Narcissus, Bishop of Athens
  34. Apelles, Bishop of Heraklion
  35. Aristobulus, Bishop of Britain
  36. Herodion, Bishop of Patras
  37. Agabus the Prophet
  38. Rufus, Bishop of Thebes
  39. Asyncritus, Bishop of Hyrcania
  40. Phlegon, Bishop of Marathon
  41. Hermes, Bishop of Philippopolis
  42. Parrobus, Bishop of Pottole
  43. Hermas, Bishop of Dalmatia
  44. Pope Linus, Bishop of Rome
  45. Gaius, Bishop of Ephesus
  46. Philologus, Bishop of Sinope
  47. Lucius of Cyrene, Bishop of Laodicea in Syria
  48. Jason, Bishop of Tarsus
  49. Sosipater, Bishop of Iconium
  50. Olympas
  51. Tertius, transcriber of the Epistle to the Romans and Bishop of Iconium
  52. Erastus, Bishop of Paneas
  53. Quartus, Bishop of Berytus
  54. Euodias, Bishop of Antioch
  55. Onesiphorus, Bishop of Cyrene
  56. Clement, Bishop of Sardis
  57. Sosthenes, Bishop of Colophon
  58. Apollos, Bishop of Caesarea
  59. Tychicus, Bishop of Colophon
  60. Epaphroditus
  61. Carpus, Bishop of Beroea in Thrace
  62. Quadratus
  63. John Mark (commonly considered identical to Mark the Evangelist: see 4 above), bishop of Byblos
  64. Zenas the Lawyer, Bishop of Diospolis
  65. Aristarchus, Bishop of Apamea in Syria
  66. Pudens
  67. Trophimus
  68. Mark, Bishop of Apollonia
  69. Artemas, Bishop of Lystra
  70. Aquila
  71. Fortunatus
  72. Achaicus 1 Corinthians 16:17
  73. Tabitha, a woman disciple, whom Peter raised from the dead

Matthias, who would later replace Judas Iscariot as one of the twelve apostles, is also often numbered among the seventy, since John Mark is typically viewed as Mark the Evangelist.

Also, some lists name a few different disciples than the ones listed above. Other names commonly included are:

  • Another Stephen
  • Rodion
  • Cephas, Bishop of Iconium
  • Caesar, Bishop of¬†Dyrrhachium
  • Another¬†Mark, Bishop of¬†Apollonias
  • Another¬†Tychicus,¬†Bishop of Chalcedon¬†in Bithynia

These are usually included at the expense of the aforementioned Timothy, Titus, Archippus, Crescens, Olympas, Epaphroditus, Quadratus, Aquila, Fortunatus, and/or Achaicus.

Solomon, Nestorian bishop of Basra in the 13th century offers the following list:

The names of the seventy.
  1. James, the son of Joseph;
  2. Simon the son of Cleopas;
  3. Cleopas his father;
  4. Joses;
  5. Simon;
  6. Judah;
  7. Barnabas;
  8. Manaeus (?);
  9. Ananias, who baptised Paul;
  10. Cephas, who preached at Antioch;
  11. Joseph the senator;
  12. Nicodemus the archon;
  13. Nathaniel the chief scribe;
  14. Justus, that is Joseph, who is called Barshabb√Ę;
  15. Silas;
  16. Judah;
  17. John, surnamed Mark (John Mark);
  18. Mnason, who received Paul;
  19. Mana√ęl, the foster-brother of Herod;
  20. Simon called Niger;
  21. Jason, who is (mentioned) in the Acts (of the apostles);
  22. Rufus;
  23. Alexander;
  24. Simon the Cyrenian, their father;
  25. Lucius the Cyrenian;
  26. Another Judah, who is mentioned in the Acts (of the apostles);
  27. Judah, who is called Simon;
  28. Eurion (Orion) the splay-footed;
  29. Th√īrus (?);
  30. Thor√ģsus (?);
  31. Zabdon;
  32. Zakron.

A more concise and acknowledged list is below:

  1. Archaicus. Reference to in 1 Corinthians 16:17
  2. Agabus. Reference to in Acts 11:28; 21:10
  3. Amplias, appointed by St. Andrew as bishop of Lydda of Odyssopolis (Diospolis) in Judea. He died a martyr. Reference to in Romans 16:8.
  4. Ananias, who baptized St. Paul. He was the bishop of Damascus. He became a martyr by being stoned in Eleutheropolis. Reference to in Acts 9:10-17; 22:12
  5. Andronicus, bishop of Pannonia. Reference to in Romans 16:17
  6. Apelles, bishop of Heraclea (in Trachis). Reference to in Romans 16:10
  7. Apollos. He was a bishop of several places over time: Crete (though this is questioned), Corinth, Smyrna, and Caesarea. Reference to in Acts 18:24; 19:1; 1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:4-22; 4:6; 16:12, Titus 3:13
  8. Aquila. He was martyred. Reference to in Acts 18:2, 18, 26; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19
  9. Archippus. Reference to in Colossians 4:17; Philemon 2
  10. Aristarchus, bishop of Apamea in Syria. He was martyred under¬†Nero. ‚ÄúAristarchus, whom¬†Paul¬†mentions several times, calling him a ‚Äėfellow laborer,‚Äô became bishop of Apamea in Syria.‚Ä̬†Orthodox Study Bible¬†Reference to in Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2; Colossians 4:10; Philemon 24
  11. Aristobulus, bishop of Britain. ‚Äú‚Ķ the brother of the apostle Barnabas, preached the gospel in¬†Great Britain¬†and died peacefully there.‚ÄĚ Orthodox Study Bible Reference to in Romans 16:14
  12. Artemas, bishop of Lystra in Lycia. Reference to in Titus 3:12
  13. Aristarchus, bishop of Hyracania in Asia. Reference to in Romans 16:14
  14. Barnabas. ‚ÄúA Jew of the Tribe of Levi, was born in¬†Cyprus¬†of wealthy parents. He is said to have studied under Gamaliel with Saul of¬†Tarsus, who was to become Paul the apostle. Originally named Joseph, he was called Barnabas (Son of Consolation) by the apostles because he had a rare gift of comforting people‚Äôs hearts. He sought out Paul when everyone else was afraid of him, bringing him to the apostles. It was Barnabas whom the apostles first sent to¬†Antioch¬†with Paul. Their long association was broken only when Barnabas was determined to take his cousin Mark, whom Paul did not trust just then, on a missionary journey. The three were later reconciled. Many ancient accounts say Barnabas was the first to preach in¬†Rome¬†and in¬†Milan, but he was martyred in Cyprus, then buried by¬†Mark¬†at the western gate of the city of Salamis.‚ÄĚ Orthodox Study Bible Reference to in Acts 4:36; 9:27; 11-15; 1 Corinthians 9:6; Galatians 2:1,9,13; Colossians 4:10
  15. Caesar, bishop of Dyrrhachium (in the Peloponnese of Greece)
  16. Carpus, bishop of Berroia (Verria, in Macedonia. Reference to in 2 Timothy 4:13
  17. Clement, bishop in Sardis. Reference to in Philippians 4:3
  18. Cephas, bishop of Iconium, Pamphyllia.
  19. Cleopas, was with the Lord on the road to Emmaus. Reference to in Luke 24:18; John 19:25
  20. Crescens, later bishop of Galatia. He was martyred under the Emperor Trajan. Reference to in 2 Timothy 4:10
  21. Crispus, bishop of Aegina, Greece. Reference to in Acts 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:14
  22. Epaphras. Reference to in Colossians 1:7; 4:12; Philemon 23
  23. Epaphroditus, bishop of the Thracian city of Adriaca. Reference to in Philippians 2:25; 4:18
  24. Epaenetus, bishop of Carthage. Reference to in Romans 16:5
  25. Erastus. He served as a deacon and steward to the Church of Jerusalem. Later he served in Palestine. Reference to in Acts 19:22; Romans 16:23; 2 Timothy 4:20
  26. Euodias(Evodius), first bishop of Antioch after St.Peter. He wrote several compositions. At the age of sixty-six, under the Emperor Nero, he was martyred. Reference to in Philippians 4:2
  27. Fortunatus. Reference to in 1 Corinthians 16:17
  28. Gaius, bishop of Ephesus. Reference to in Acts 19:29; 20:4; Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:14; 3 John 1
  29. Hermas, bishop in Philipopoulis. He wrote The Shepherd of Hermas. He died a martyr. Reference to in Romans 16:14
  30. Hermes, bishop of Dalmatia. Reference to in Romans 16:14
  31. Herodion, a relative of the Apostle Paul, bishop of Neoparthia. He was beheaded in Rome. Reference to in Romans 16:11
  32. James, brother of the Lord¬†(also called “the Less” or “the Just”). He was a (step-)brother to Jesus, by Jesus’ father Joseph, through a previous marriage. James was the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Reference to in Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Acts 12:17; 15:13; Epistle of James
  33. Jason, bishop of Tarsus. Traveling with Sosipater to Corfu, the two were able, after an attempt made at their lives by the king of Corfu, to convert his majesty. Reference to in Acts 17:5-9
  34. Justus, brother to the Lord and bishop of Eleutheropolis. He was the half-brother of Christ (as was Sts. James, Jude, and Simon) through Joseph’s previous marriage to Salome. He died a martyr. Reference to in Acts 1:23; 18:7; Colossians 4:11
  35. Linus, bishop of Rome. Reference to in 2 Timothy 4:21
  36. Lucius, bishop of Laodicea. Reference to in Acts 13:1; Romans 16:21
  37. Luke the Evangelist. He is the author of the Gospel of Luke, and the founder of Iconography (Orthodox Icon-writing). Reference to in Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24
  38. Mark the Evangelist (called John). He wrote the Gospel of Mark. He also founded the Church of Alexandria, serving as its first bishop. Reference to in Acts 12:12, 25; 15:37-39; Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24; 1 Peter 5:13
  39. Mark
  40. Narcissus, ordained by the Apostle Philip as bishop of Athens, Greece. Reference to in Romans 16:11
  41. Nicanor, one of the original seven deacons. He was martyred on the same day as the Promartyr Stephen. Reference to in Acts 6:5
  42. Olympas, beheaded with St. Peter under Nero. Reference to in Romans 16:15
  43. Onesimus. Onesimus preached the Gospel in many cities. He was made bishop of Ephesus, and later bishop of Byzantium (Constantinople). He was martyred under the Emperor Trajan. Reference to in Colossians 4:9; Philemon 10
  44. Onesiphorus, bishop of Colophon (Asia Minor), and later of Corinth. He died a martyr in Parium. Reference to in 2 Timothy 1:16; 4:19
  45. Parmenas, one of the original seven deacons. He preached throughout Asia Minor, and later settled in Macedonia. He was a bishop of Soli. He died a martyr in Macedonia. Reference to in Acts 6:5
  46. Patrobus, bishop of Neapolis (Naples). Reference to in Romans 16:14
  47. Philemon. He, with his wife Apphia, and the apostle Archippus, were martyred by pagans during a pagan feast. Reference to in Philemon 1
  48. Philip the Deacon (one of the original seven). He was born in Palestine, and later preached throughout its adjoining lands. In Acts, he converts a eunuch (an official) of Candace, queen of Ethiopia, to Christ. He was later made bishop by the apostles at Jerusalem, who also sent him to Asia Minor. Reference to in Acts 6; 8; 21:8
  49. Philologus, ordained bishop of Sinope (near the Black sea) by the Apostle Andrew. Reference to in Romans 16:15
  50. Phlegon, bishop of Marathon, in Thrace. Reference to in Romans 16:14
  51. Prochorus, one of the original seven deacons. He was made bishop of Nicomedia by St. Peter. He was later banished with the Apostle John (John the Theologian) to the Island of Patmos. In Antioch, he died a martyr. Reference to in Acts 6:5
  52. Pudens (Pastorum). He was an esteemed member of the Roman Senate, then received Sts. Peter and Paul into his home, and was converted to Christ by them. He was martyred under Nero. Reference to in Acts 6:5
  53. Quadratus, bishop of Athens. He was author of the Apologia. He was stoned, but survived. Soon-after, he died of starvation in prison.
  54. Quartus, bishop of Beirut. Reference to in Romans 16:23
  55. Rufus, bishop of Thebes, Greece. Reference to in Mark 15:21; Romans 16:13
  56. Silas (Silvanus), bishop of Corinth. Reference to in Acts 15:22-40; 16:19-40; 17:4-15; 18:5; 2 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; 1 Peter 5:12
  57. Simeon, son of Cleopas. ‚ÄúSimeon, son of Cleopas (who was the brother of¬†Joseph, the betrothed of the¬†Virgin Mary), succeeded James as¬†bishop of Jerusalem.‚ÄĚ Orthodox Study Bible. He was martyred through torture and crucifixion, at the age of one-hundred. Reference to in Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3
  58. Sosipater, ordained bishop of Iconium by the Apostle Paul, his relative. With St. Jason, he converted the king of Corfu. Reference to in Romans 16:21
  59. Sosthenes. ‚Äú‚Ķ became bishop of Caesarea.‚ÄĚ Orthodox Study Bible Reference to in 1 Corinthians 1:1
  60. Stachys, ordained by St. Andrew to be bishop of Byzantium. Reference to in Romans 16:9
  61. Stephen the Promartyr and Archdeacon (one of the original seven deacons). Reference to in Acts 6:5-7:60; 8:2 (Acts 6:5-8:2); 11:19; 22:20
  62. Tertius, bishop of Iconium (after Sosipater). He wrote down St. Paul’s letter to the Romans. He died a martyr. Reference to in Romans 16:22
  63. Thaddaeus. He was baptized by John the Baptist (John the Forerunner). He later preached, and founded a Church in Beirut. Reference to in Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18
  64. Timon, one of the original seven deacons, and later bishop of Bostra (in Arabia). He was thrown into a furnace, but emerged unharmed. Reference to in Acts 6:5
  65. Timothy. He accompanied St. Paul often, and both 1 and 2 Timothy are addressed to him. He was ordained bishop of Ephesus by St. Paul. He died a martyr. Reference to in Acts 16:1; 17:14, 15; 18:5; 19:22; 20:4; Romans 16:21; 1 and 2 Timothy
  66. Titus. ‚ÄúAmong the more prominent of the seventy was the apostle Titus, whom¬†Paul¬†called his brother and his son. Born in Crete, Titus was educated in¬†Greek philosophy, but after reading the prophet¬†Isaiah¬†he began to doubt the value of all he had been taught. Hearing the news of the coming of¬†Jesus Christ, he joined some others from Crete who were going to¬†Jerusalem¬†to see for themselves. After hearing Jesus speak and seeing His works, the young Titus joined those who followed Him. Baptized by the apostle Paul, he worked with and served the great apostle of the¬†gentiles, traveling with him until Paul sent him to Crete, making him bishop of that city. It is said that Titus was in Rome at the time of the beheading of St. Paul and that he buried the body of his spiritual father before returning home. Back in Crete, he converted and baptized many people, governing the Church on that island until he entered into rest at the age of ninety-four.‚ÄĚ Orthodox Study Bible Reference to in 2 Corinthians 2:13; 7:6-14; 8:6-23; 12:18; Galatians 2:1-3; Epistle to Titus
  67. Trophimus, disciple of St. Paul, and martyred under Nero. Reference to in Acts 20:4; 21:29; 2 Timothy 4:20
  68. Tychicus. ‚Äú‚Ķ succeeded him (Sosthenes, as bishop) in that city (of Caesarea).‚ÄĚ Orthodox Study Bible. He delivered St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and Colossians. Reference to in Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12
  69. Urbanus, ordained by the Apostle Andrew as bishop of Macedonia. He died a martyr. Reference to in Romans 16:9
  70. Zenas (called ‘the lawyer’), bishop of Diospolis (Lydda), in¬†Palestine. Reference to in Titus 3:13

Additional Names:

  1. Alphaeus, father of the apostle James and Matthew.
  2. Apphia, wife to the Apostle Philemon. The Church had gathered in her home for liturgy, while pagans who had been celebrating a pagan feast broke in and raided her home. They took Apphia, Philemon, and Archippus to be killed. She suffered martyrdom, and is commemorated by the Church on February 19.
  3. Junia, accompanied Andronicus in preaching all over Pannonia. She was a relative to the Apostle Paul, and a martyr.
  4. Silvan, bishop of Thessaloniki, Greece. Reference to in 1 Peter 5:12; 2 Corinthians 1:19
  5. Zacchaeus, appointed by St.Peter to be bishop of Caesarea. Reference to in Luke 19:1-10

 

The Conversion of Paul the Apostle

the Conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus...

the Conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus as painted by Michelangelo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The¬†Conversion of Paul the Apostle, was, according to the¬†New Testament, an event that took place in the life of¬†Paul the Apostle¬†which led him to cease persecuting¬†early Christians¬†and to become a follower of¬†Jesus. It is normally dated by researchers to AD 33‚Äď36.¬†The phrases¬†Pauline conversion,¬†Damascene conversion¬†and¬†Damascus¬†Christophany, and¬†road to Damascus¬†allude to this event.

New Testament description

Within the New Testament, Paul’s conversion experience is discussed in both Paul’s¬†own letters¬†and in the book known by the title¬†Acts of the Apostles. According to both sources, Paul was never a follower of Jesus and did not know Jesus before his¬†crucifixion. Instead, he severely persecuted the¬†early Christians. Although Paul refers to himself as an”Apostle”¬†of Jesus, it is clear that Paul was not one of “The Twelve” apostles.[1 Cor. 9:1-2]¬†Paul’s conversion occurred after Jesus’ crucifixion. The accounts of Paul’s conversion experience describe it as miraculous, supernatural, or otherwise revelatory in nature.

Paul’s life before conversion:

Before his conversion, Paul, then known as Saul, was a “zealous”¬†Pharisee¬†who “intensely persecuted” the followers of Jesus. Some scholars argue that¬†Paul was a member of the “Zealot” party. Says Paul in his¬†Epistle to the Galatians:

For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

‚ÄĒ Galatians 1:13‚Äď14,¬†NIV

Paul also discusses his pre-conversion life in his Epistle to the Philippians, and his participation in the stoning of Stephen is described in Acts 7:57-8:3.

The conversion in Paul’s letters

In his¬†surviving letters, Paul’s own description of his conversion experience is brief. In his¬†First Epistle to the Corinthians,[9:1]¬†[15:3-8]¬†he describes¬†having seen the Risen Christ:

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

‚ÄĒ 1 Cor. 15:3‚Äď8, NIV (emphasis added)

Paul’s¬†Epistle to the Galatians¬†also describes his conversion as a divine revelation, with God’s Son appearing in Paul.

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.

‚ÄĒ Galatians 1:11-16, NIV (emphasis added)

The conversion in Acts of the Apostles

Acts of the Apostles¬†discusses Paul’s conversion experience at three different points in the text, in far more detail than in the accounts in Paul’s letters. The book of Acts records that Paul was on his way from¬†Jerusalem¬†for Syrian¬†Damascus¬†to arrest followers of¬†Jesus, with the intention of returning them to Jerusalem as prisoners for questioning and possible execution. The journey is interrupted when Paul sees a blinding light, and communicates directly with a divine voice.

Acts 9

Acts 9¬†tells the story of Paul’s conversion as a¬†third-person narrative:

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‚ÄúSaul, Saul, why do you persecute me?‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúWho are you, Lord?‚ÄĚ Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,‚ÄĚ he replied. ‚ÄúNow get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.‚ÄĚ

The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

‚ÄĒ Acts 9:3‚Äď9, NIV

The account continues with a description of¬†Ananias of Damascus¬†receiving a divine revelation instructing him to visit Saul at the house of Judas on the¬†Street Called Straight¬†and there¬†lay hands¬†on him to restore his sight (the house of Judas is traditionally believed to have been near the west end of the street).¬†Ananias is initially reluctant, having heard about Saul’s persecution, but obeys the divine command:

Ananias Restoring the Sight of St. Paul (c.1631) by Pietro da Cortona.

‚ÄúLord,‚ÄĚ Ananias answered, ‚ÄúI have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.‚ÄĚ

But the Lord said to Ananias, ‚ÄúGo! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.‚ÄĚ

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, ‚ÄúBrother Saul, the Lord‚ÄĒJesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here‚ÄĒhas sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.‚ÄĚ Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul‚Äôs eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

‚ÄĒ Acts 9:13‚Äď19, NIV

Acts 22

Paul on trial before Agrippa (Acts 26), as pictured by Nikolai Bodarevsky, 1875.

Acts’ second telling of Paul’s conversion occurs in a speech Paul gives when he is arrested in Jerusalem.[Acts 22:6-21]¬†Paul addresses the crowd and tells them of his conversion, with a description essentially the same as that in¬†Acts 9, but with slight differences. For example,¬†Acts 9:7¬†notes that Paul’s companions did not see who he was speaking to, while¬†Acts 22:9¬†indicates that they did share in seeing the light (see also¬†Differences between the accounts, below). This speech was most likely originally in¬†Aramaic, with the passage here being a Greek translation and summary. The speech is clearly tailored for its Jewish audience, with stress being placed in¬†Acts 22:12¬†on Ananias’ good reputation among Jews in Damascus, rather than on his Christianity.

Acts 26

Acts’ third discussion of Paul’s conversion occurs when Paul addresses¬†King Agrippa, defending himself against the accusations of¬†antinomianism¬†that have been made against him.[Acts 26:12-18]¬†This account is more brief than the others. The speech here is again tailored for its audience, emphasizing what a Roman ruler would understand: the need to obey a heavenly vision,[Acts 26:19]¬†and reassuring Agrippa that Christians were not a secret society.¬†[Acts 26:26]

Theological implications

The Conversion of Saint Paul, a 1600 painting by the Italian artist Caravaggio.

The Conversion of Paul, in spite of his attempts to completely eradicate Christianity, is seen as evidence of the power of Divine¬†Grace, with “no fall so deep that grace cannot descend to it”¬†and “no height so lofty that grace cannot lift the sinner to it.”It also demonstrates “God’s power to use everything, even the hostile persecutor, to achieve the divine purpose.”

The transforming effect of Paul’s conversion influenced the clear antithesis he saw “between righteousness based on the law,”which he had sought in his former life; and “righteousness based on the death of Christ,”¬†which he describes, for example, in the¬†Epistle to the Galatians.

Nature of the conversion experience

The Bible says that Paul’s conversion experience was an encounter with the resurrected Christ. Alternative explanations have been proposed, including¬†sun stroke¬†and¬†seizure. In 1987, D. Landsborough published an article in the¬†Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry,¬†in which he stated that Paul’s conversion experience, with the bright light, loss of normal bodily posture, a message of strong religious content, and his subsequent blindness, suggested “an attack of [temporal lobe epilepsy], perhaps ending in a convulsion … The blindness which followed may have been¬†post-ictal.”

This conclusion was challenged in the same journal by James R. Brorson and Kathleen Brewer,¬†who stated that this hypothesis failed to explain why Paul’s companions heard a voice (Acts 9:7), saw a light,[Acts 22:9]¬†or fell to the ground.[Acts 26:14]¬†Furthermore, no lack of awareness of blindness (a characteristic of¬†cortical blindness) was reported in Acts, nor is there any indication of memory loss. Additionally, Paul’s blindness remitted in sudden fashion, rather than the gradual resolution typical of post-ictal states, and no mention is made of epileptic¬†convulsions; indeed such convulsions may, in Paul’s time, have been interpreted as a sign of demonic influence, unlikely in someone accepted as a religious leader.

 

Differences between the accounts

An apparent contradiction in the details of the account of Paul’s revelatory vision given in Acts has been the subject of much debate.¬†Specifically, the experience of Paul’s traveling companions as told in¬†Acts 9:7¬†and¬†Acts 22:9¬†has raised questions about the¬†historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles, and generated debate about the best translations of the relevant passages. The two passages each describe the experience of Paul’s traveling companions during the revelation, with Acts 9:7 (the author’s description of the event) stating that Paul’s traveling companions heard the voice that spoke to him; and Acts 22:9 (the author’s quotation of Paul’s own words) traditionally stating they did not.

Biblical translations of Acts 9:7 generally state that Paul’s companions did, indeed, hear the voice (or sound) that spoke to him:

And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

‚ÄĒActs 9:7,¬†King James Version¬†(KJV)

The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one.

‚ÄĒActs 9:7,¬†New American Bible¬†(NAB)

The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone.

‚ÄĒActs 9:7,¬†New International Version¬†(NIV)

By contrast, Catholic translations and older Protestant translations preserve the apparent contradiction in Acts 22:9, while many modern Protestant translations such as the New International Version (NIV) do not:

And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.

‚ÄĒActs 22:9, King James Version (KJV)

My companions saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.

‚ÄĒActs 22:9, New American Bible (NAB)

My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.

‚ÄĒActs 22:9, New International Version (NIV)

“Hear” or “Understand”?

Critics¬†of the NIV,¬†New Living Translation, and similar versions contend that the translation used for Acts 22:9 is inaccurate.¬†The verb used here ‚ÄĒ¬†akouŇ欆(ŠľÄőļőŅŌćŌČ) ‚ÄĒ can be translated both “hear” and “understand”¬†(both the KJV and NIV translate¬†akouŇ欆as “understand” in¬†1 Cor. 14:2, for example). It often takes a noun in the¬†genitive¬†case¬†for a person is being heard, with a noun in the¬†accusative¬†for the thing being heard.¬†More classically, the use of the accusative indicates hearing with understanding.¬†There is indeed a case difference here, with¬†Acts 9:7¬†using the genitive¬†tńďs phŇćnńďs¬†(ŌĄŠŅÜŌā ŌÜŌČőĹŠŅÜŌā), and¬†Acts 22:9¬†using the accusative¬†tńďn phŇćnńďn¬†(ŌĄŠĹīőĹ ŌÜŌČőĹŠĹīőĹ). However, there has been debate about which rule Luke was following here.¬†On the second interpretation, Paul’s companions may indeed have heard the voice (as is unambiguously stated in Acts 9:7), yet not understood it,¬†although New Testament scholar¬†Daniel B. Wallace¬†finds this argument based on case inconclusive.

“Voice” or “Sound”?

A similar debate arises with the NIV’s use of the word “sound” instead of “voice” in¬†Acts 9:7. The noun used here ‚ÄĒ¬†phŇćnńst(ŌÜŌČőĹŠŅÜ) ‚ÄĒ can mean either.¬†By translating 9:7 as “they heard the sound” instead of “they heard the voice,” the NIV allows for Paul’s companions to have heard an audible¬†sound¬†in Acts 9:7 without contradicting the statement in Acts 22:9 that they did not hear a comprehensible¬†voice¬†.

The¬†New American Standard Bible,¬†New Century Version,¬†and¬†English Standard Version¬†maintain the “hear”/”understand” distinction while using “voice” in both passages. On the other hand, the¬†Holman Christian Standard Bible¬†has “sound”/”voice” with “hear” in both passages,¬†and¬†The Message¬†adopts a similar translation, but with “sound”/”conversation.”¬†The French¬†La Bible du Semeur¬†distinguishes between¬†entendaient¬†(“heard”) and¬†compris¬†(“understood”).

Although it is possible that there is a contradiction in these two passages unnoticed by their author,¬†Richard Longenecker¬†suggests that first-century readers probably understood the two passages to mean that everybody heard the sound of the voice, but “only Paul understood the articulated words.”¬†Similar comments have been made by other scholars.

The Great Commission

English: Resurrection of Christ

Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Great Commission of Christianity is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciples that they spread his teachings to all the nations of the world. It has become a tenet in Christian  Theology emphasizing ministry, missionary work, evangelism, and baptism. The Apostles are said to have dispersed from Jerusalem and founded the Apostolic Sees. Among Christian eschatological views, Preterists believe that the Great Commission and other Bible prophecy was fulfilled in the first century while Futurists believe Bible prophecy will be fulfilled at the Second Coming of Christ.

The most famous version of the¬†Great Commission¬†is in¬†Matthew 28:16‚Äď20, where on a mountain in¬†Galilee¬†Jesus calls on his followers to baptize all nations in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Only¬†Matthew¬†records an earlier¬†lesser commission, only for the¬†Twelve Apostles, in¬†10:1‚Äď42, and directed only to the¬†children of Israel, undertaken during¬†Jesus’ mortal life, which is similar but different from the episode of the¬†Commissioning the Twelve Apostles¬†found in the other¬†Synoptic Gospels. In¬†Luke, Jesus says that all people will be called to¬†repentance¬†and tells his disciples to wait in¬†Jerusalem¬†until they become invested with power, which presumably happened at¬†Pentecost¬†in the¬†Book of Acts. Luke also has Jesus dispatching disciples during his ministry, sending them to all the nations and giving them power over¬†demons, including the¬†Seventy disciples. In¬†John, Jesus promises to bestow the¬†Paraclete (helper) on the disciples, which perhaps is what happens in¬†John 20:21‚Äď23. The¬†Great Commission¬†in the¬†traditional ending of Mark¬†is thought to be a¬†second-century¬†summary based on Matthew and Luke.

It is unknown who coined the term “The Great Commission”. Scholars such as Eduard Riggenbach (in “Der Trinitarische Taufbefehl’) and J.H. Oldham et al (in “The Missionary Motive”) assert that even the very concept did not exist until after the year 1650, and that Matthew 28:18‚Äď20 was traditionally interpreted instead as having been addressed only to Jesus’s disciples then living (believed to be up to 500), and as having been carried out by them and fulfilled, not as a continuing obligation upon subsequent generations. The issues of¬†Biblical law in Christianity¬†and the¬†Law of Christ¬†and whether or not they include the Great Commission are still hotly debated.

The most familiar version of the Great Commission is depicted in¬†Matthew 28:16‚Äď20:

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Other versions of the Great Commission are found in¬†Mark 16:14‚Äď18,¬†Luke 24:44‚Äď49,¬†Acts 1:4‚Äď8, and¬†John 20:19‚Äď23. In Luke, Jesus tells the disciples to preach¬†repentance¬†and¬†forgiveness, and promises that they will have divine power. In John, Jesus says the disciples will have the Holy Spirit and the authority to forgive sins and to withhold forgiveness.¬†In Acts, Jesus promises the disciples that the Holy Spirit will inspire them.

All these passages are composed as words of Christ spoken after his resurrection. According to some critics, in Mark Jesus never speaks with his disciples after his resurrection. They argue that the original Gospel of Mark ends at verse Mark 16:8 with the women leaving the tomb (see Mark 16).

The call to go into the world in Matthew 28 is prefaced a mere four chapters earlier when Jesus states that the Gospel message will be heard by representatives of all nations, at which time the end will come. This is accented in Revelation when the Apostle John sees members of every tongue and nation gathered around the throne of God.

The commission from Jesus has been interpreted by evangelical Christians as meaning that his followers have the duty to go, teach, and¬†baptize. Although the command was initially given directly only to Christ’s¬†Eleven Apostles, evangelical¬†Christian theology¬†has typically interpreted the commission as a directive to all Christians of every time and place, particularly because it seems to be a restatement or moving forward of the last part of¬†God’s covenant with Abraham¬†in¬†Genesis 12:3.

Commentators often contrast the¬†Great Commission¬†with the earlier¬†Limited Commission¬†of¬†Matthew 10:5‚Äď42, in which they were to restrict their mission to their fellow¬†Jews, to whom Jesus referred to as “the lost sheep of the¬†house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24).

Some (see also¬†Preterism) believe that the Great Commission was already fulfilled based on the statements “And they went out and preached everywhere,” (Mark 16:20), “the¬†gospel¬†that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven,” (Colossians 1:23), and “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the¬†scriptures of the prophets, according to the¬†commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations,” (Romans 16:25‚Äď26).