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Paul had a very interesting preaching technique, didn’t he? He certainly wasn’t afraid of offending people!

Here he’s talking to the Jewish leaders in Rome, explaining why he was arrested and why he has been brought to stand before Caesar. He has taught the leaders about Jesus, trying to convince them that He is the fulfilment of the Law and the prophets.

Some have been won over, but others are still sceptical, and rather than leaving them to think it through, perhaps with one clinching piece of evidence, he basically insults them and, worse, plays the ‘Gentile’ card, which is what got him into this mess in the first place!

It’s good to learn from the great evangelists and apologists of the past, but what are we supposed to learn from Paul? Was it culturally the way persuasion worked in those days, to end with a stinging jab at your opponents? I don’t think offending your listeners now is a good way to approach convincing them of the truth of your argument, but maybe we’re just too soft these days, and water things down when we should be stronger? (Though I don’t think so. I think a lot of damage has been and is being done to the Christian message, particularly about moral issues, in the West by people riding rough-shod over the feelings and arguments of others.)

It’s very hard to know how to learn the lessons of the Bible sometimes, isn’t it?

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