By John Potts (auth.)
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This self-proclaimed ability also functions to assert his authority as an apostle in the face of criticism 42 A History of Charisma or scepticism from the Corinthian spiritual elite. From his declared position of eminence in this charisma, he states his own preference concerning ecstatic utterance and knowledge: [I]n church I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue. 19) He then concludes this section on the spiritual gifts with a final instruction to the Corinthians: So, my brethren, earnestly desire to speak in prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues; but all things should be done decently and in order.
Early converts came from Jewish sects such as the Pharisees, as well as from gentiles – but it was the relationship with Judaism that most occupied the early Christians. From Judaism the Christians took the act of baptism as an initiating rite, as well as the symbolism attached to bread and wine in the Passover ceremony. An ethic of chastity, respect for family and acts of charity were also adopted from Judaism. The Christians accepted the Jewish scriptures as a holy book, used in the version known as the Septuagint (made by 70 translators from Hebrew to Greek in the third century BC).
Nevertheless in Acts his miraculous powers are the equal to Peter and the other original apostles. Paul became the most influential apostle due to the range and energy of his mission, and due to the lasting impact of his epistles, 13 of which were later adopted as a major component of the New Testament canon. 4 The first was his Jewish heritage: Paul was educated in Jerusalem and later asserted his membership of his ‘native’ culture: the Jews of Palestine. The second was the prevailing Graeco-Roman culture: Paul was born in the Hellenistic city Tarsus in Asia Minor; his writings exhibit the influence of Greek philosophical thought, particularly Stoicism.