St Paul - Bible study ideas

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Paul imprisoned

Paul's story

Scroll of ancient writings

Bible text for this story

Paul visits Peter in prison, Filippino Lippi

Bible heroes
Paul, a passionate man

Medal showing the facade of the Temple of Jerusalem

Jerusalem
in Paul's time

Photo of a mature/elderly woman

Dorcas/Tabitha
Women of the early Church

Middle Eastern woman, from one of the Fayum coffin portraits

Prisca-Priscilla

Reconstruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, built by King Herod the Great and finished some years after the death of Jesus

Buildings Peter knew

Map showing Jerusalem and the surrounding countryside

Maps of Judea
at the time of Jesus

 


Bible text for
Peter's story
 


 


 


 

 

 

Activities for individuals or groups


 

St Paul, by El GrecoImagine an alternate world

 

What if Paul had not been converted, but had continued rounding up and imprisoning Christians, whom he saw as heretics?

  • What might the world look like now? 

  • Would Christianity have developed in a different way? 

  • Just how important was Paul to the development of the Christian church?

  • How did he shape the communities he visited? Give some examples.

  • What difference has Paul's faith in Christ made to your own life?


 

Analyzing the letters

Analyze Paulís first Letter to the Thessalonians.

Choose one of the Letters of St Paul. 

Give the background to the Letter: when was it written? To what sort of people? Why?

What response did Paul give to the concern of the church members?

How were Gentile Christians to live?

What message does this Letter have for us today?

 

Map showing the countries through which St Paul travelled as he spread 
the story of Jesus and built the early church communities

 

 


 

Famous Quotes

 

'There is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.' (Galatians 3:28)

'For the whole Law is summed up in one commandment: 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself.' (Galatians 5:14)

'Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.' Romans 5:1

'....so we, who are many, are one body in Christ....' (Romans 12:5)

 

  • Read and think about the 'Famous Quotes' above. 

  • Put each of these into your own words, and then apply them to a particular part of your own life - as if you were one of the early Christians receiving a Letter from Paul.


 

Just as relevant today


Go through one of Paul's Letters and make a list of the best pieces of advice he gives to the people to whom he is writing. 

Do they apply to your own life today? 

Why not write a letter back, telling him how they've helped you? Or complain about problems you have that he does not seem to address?

 


Focus Questions

St Paul Writing his Epistles, detail

St Paul Writing His Epistles, 
Valentin de Boulogne or Nicolas Tournier 

1. What are the most interesting things about Paul's story? 
2. Choose one of his Letters. Read it through from beginning to end. In the Letter, who is the audience - it changes of course for each letter
. What are the characteristics of a particular audience? - you can work this out by searching for clues in the Letter. Be a detective.
3. What is the image of God that Paul presents? What does this tell us about Paul? Do you agree with this image?
4. What can you find out about the city/community to which Paul wrote? Its location, its particular problems, what sort of place it was? 
5. Paul does not give us all the clues we'd like. What has been left out that you would like to know?
6. Are the characteristics and actions addressed still present in the world? How is the Letter relevant to modern life, especially your own? 


St Paul visits St Peter in prison, Filippino Lippi

St Paul visits St Peter in prison, Filippino Lippi

 

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