|A Conversation With Paul|
If you read this through, you will see it is not a mockery. If you have the slightest doubt about God having a sense of humor, recall that we are made "in His image". If that doesn't do it for you, next time you're near a mirror, take a look.
Sagaverus 2011 July
I logged on to Trinity.omg searching for Paul the Apostle. Let me tell you there are a lot of Paul's already there. I refined my search to the first century AD on earth, and the name "Corinth". Even so, more than one turned up, so I narrowed the search to include "died in Rome".
I found him. He came up as Paulus, the then dominant Latin language of the Roman Empire in his time. Next, I clicked on the "Chat Now" button. A few moments passed and he began typing the weirdest stuff I have ever seen. After staring at it a bit, I saw the button labeled "Launch Autotranslator".
The words on the screen disappeared and new ones appeared saying,
"Hello. This Paul of Tarsus. How may I help you?"
I said, "Paul, this is a great honor for me to chat live with you."
Paul: Well, I don't know that it's any great honor but I'm happy to help you if I can. What's your name, and what section are you in?"
Me: slightly confused):Uhh, well, the name I go by is Sagaverus. I don't know what you mean by section.
Paul: You bought your name? Who ever heard of such a thing?
Me: (barely comprehending his line of thought): No. I didn't buy it, I GO by it. It's like you go by Paul but you started out as Saul. Remember?
Paul: Oh, sure. So what section are you in?"
Me: I don't understand what you mean by section Paul.
Paul: You got time? Wait just a moment. I'll fix this. Okay. Now the autotranslator is running in idiomatic mode.
Me: I still don't know what you mean about my section.
Paul: Oh! I'm sorry. I had not noticed that you are transmitting from outside. Where are you?
Me: I'm at home.
Paul: Okay, so where is home for you.
Me: My home is in Jamaica Bay in Boynton Beach.
Paul: Hoo boy, This is gonna be tough. I never heard of those places.
Me: You wouldn't have. They didn't exist until nearly 2,000 years after you went home to the Lord.
Paul: You mean you're 2,000 years in Earth Time?
Me: That's more or less correct.
Paul: This is getting us nowhere. What do you want?
Me: I want to ask you a question abnout something in the Bible.
Paul: The what?
Me: Bible. Biblios. The Good Book.
Paul: Bear with me. I got no idea what you are talking about. What is it, this Bible?
Me (stunned): The Sacred Scriptures bound in a book though now we have digital versions.
Paul: Oh man. You are a guy right?
Paul: Okay. Just making sure. I would not have imagined anybody would give a daughter a name like Sagaverus. But I know things have changed since I lived there. You still there ?
Me: Yes, sir, I'm here.
Paul: So what is it you want to know ?
Me: Okay. Here it is. In Philippians chapter 4 verse 13 you said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Paul: You are saying I said that ?
Me: Yes. Well, you wrote it in your letter to the church at Philippi.
Paul: Letter to the Believers in Philippi? Is that what you're saying?
Paul: You mean to tell me a letter I wrote is still around after 2,000 years ? That hardly seems possible. And what is all this about chapter and verse ? What does that mean.
Me (frustrated): In the Bible Paul. Don't you have Bibles there ?
Paul: Why would we want that ?
Me: So you could read about Jesus's teaching and His adventures on earth ?
Paul: You're pulling my leg, right ?
Me: No. Surely you have access to Holy Writ.
Paul: 24/7. If the Lord wants us to know something, He tells us. Maybe you ought to talk to Him. I'll see if he's busy.
Me: NO. Paul, wait. I'm asking you about something YOU wrote.
Paul: I thought you were talking about Scripture.
Me: I am.
Paul: Well Saggy baby, all Scripture was authored by the Lord himself. I never wrote anything for Him. The Scriptures closed with Malachi.
Me: But Paul, your letters to the churches and pastors are in the Bible. They ARE the Holy Scriptures.
Paul: You're telling me that the letters I wrote to Timmy and Titus and the Believers in Corinth, Thessalonika, Ephesus and so forth have been made in to Holy Writ ? How could that have happened ?
Me: Around 325 AD, that means after the birth of Christ incarnate in human form. That's how we keep track of time. Anyway, a bunch of early church elders got together and decided what would be considered Scripture and what would not.
There were hundreds of letters floating around containing testimony about Jesus's life, death, and resurrection. There was a huge amount of infighting about what to believe so these fellows made the decision and thereafter what they picked was put in the Bible.
It didn't end there. We have two Bibles, one for people who are called Roman Catholics and claim their leader received his authority directly from Simon Peter. The other Bible is for everybody else who don't want certain contents to be in their Bible. It's a mess.
Paul: Let's face it. If men are in charge, then everybody is going to hell. Only Christ has the truth. I spent my life trying to explain that to people.
Me: I know you did. Your travels and church plantings are well documented. And since you left, millions have been added to His Kingdom. SOme because of your words.
Paul: Really ? Fantastic ! So some people actually did believe. Glad to hear it. Now what was your question.
Me: Oh. Right. Sorry. I got sidetracked. So here it is again. In a letter to the Believers at Philippi, you wrote, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." You remember writing that?
Paul: Maybe. It sounds kind of boastful hearing it now. But keep in mind; I spoke and wrote Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. What language are you speaking and reading ?
Me: Modern English.
Paul: Funny name for a language. So, how do you know what it is I said ?
Me: Well, hand made copies of your letters were collected and put into something called the Septuagint, in Greek. Then later, a fellow named Jerome, whom we called Saint Jerome, made a Latin version of it. Then about 1611 AD King James authorized a translation be made into the English of his time. Now we have hundreds of translations in hundreds of languages.
Paul: Hmmm. Interesting. Sure. I know Jerry. He's been here a long time; if we kept track of time. He never mentioned that my letters were in the book he translated. I also know Jimmy. He told me he some place that used to be in the Roman Empire. Some place he called England or something like that. Say! I bet that's where your language came from. English, from England. Get it?
Me: I got it. (I almost typed that I use American English but I did not want to get involved in the discussion about what 'American' is.)
Paul: So let's cut to the chase. What do you want to know ?
Me: I want to know the meaning of what you wrote. For instance, if you could do all things through Christ, could you have bench pressed one thousand pounds ?
Paul: What is it, this pound thing ?
Me: A measure of weight, maybe like a hundred bags of shekels or something.
Paul: No. I'm sure I could not have. My body wasn't that big and I was practically worn out from traipsing around evangelizing the idiot populace who were happy to believe anything except the real truth.
Me: Okay. Scratch that. Could you maybe pedal a bicycle one hundred miles without stopping ?
Paul: You pulling my leg again ?
Me: No sir.
Paul (long sigh if it were audible on the chat screen): Alright. Do you mean Roman miles ?
Me: Roman miles will be fine.
Paul: So you question is could I go one hundred miles, without stopping, while selling this bicycle thing ?
Me: No. I said pedaling it.
Paul: You must mean peddling it.
Me: No. I mean pedaling. You know. Pushing the pedals with your foot so the bike will move forward.
Paul: You're not making any sense at all. What you're asking has nothing to do with what you say I wrote.
Me: You wrote it. I just want to know what you meant.
Paul: Let's think about it. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Now; what things do you think would Christ strengthen me to do ?
Me: I'm asking you.
Paul: You say my work is well documented ? Then the answer is right there in front of you. He strengthened me have FAITH so I could do the work to which He called me. HE strengthened to stand up the Elders in Jerusalem and make the case for the Gentiles eligibility to be saved without circumcision. He strengthened me to endure the hardships of travel throughout parts of Asia.
He strengthened me to survive shipwreck and go on preaching His Gospel of the Kingdom of God. He strengthened me to endure imprisonment because of the Good News I was bringing to lost people.
He strengthened me to preach His Gospel everywhere and anywhere I went, to anyone who would listen. He strengthened me go boldly before the highest authority in the Roman Empire and proclaim Jesus Christ, Savior of Mankind, Risen from death to eternal life.
He strengthened me to keep a strong hold on my faith, and encourage others, while I awaited my own execution followed by my transition to this great reward of living in His presence. In all those things, He strengthened me.
He also strengthened me when I was weary, that I might continue in His work.
He strengthened me in hunger, that I might continue in His work.
He strengthened me in poverty, that I might continue in His work.
He strengthened me in courage, that I might continue in His work.
He strengthened me in knowledge, that I might continue in His work.
Most importantly, He will strengthen YOU that you might continue His work. Have I answered your question to your satisfaction ?
Me: Yes Paul. Thank you Paul.
Paul: Go in peace. The Lord be with you.
The chat screen went dark.
(c)2011 Wayne Hepburn