Paul Was Not A Genius

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle. -Romans 1:1

In terms of genius Paul cannot be compared to Plato, Shakespeare or Alexander of the Great. Paul doesn’t have the philosophical genius of Plato, the literary genius of Shakespeare or the leadership genius of Alexander.

But that’s just the point.

Though Paul did thinking, writing and leading, he was not a philosopher or an author or an emperor — he was an apostle. The apostolic call lies entirely outside the realm of ordinary thinking, writing and leading. Of course Paul did stuff that involved thinking, writing and leading:

He was a theologian (thinking).

He composed epistles (writing).

He founded churches (leading).

But to reduce Paul to a religious thinker/writer/leader is to make a fundamental mistake. Philosophical, literary or leadership geniuses can be what they are completely by themselves. Their genius is theirs. But the apostle is sent by God and cannot be what he is called to be without a vital connection with God.

The apostle is more of an oracle than a genius.

Knowledge of the holy (the spiritual realm) is not like other branches of knowledge. It must have a genuine connection with God Himself or it is merely a religious parody of something else.

And we have too much of that these days.
Religious parodies of philosophical/literary/political/business genius.

Paul was good thinker, a passable writer and a capable leader — but not a genius in any of these realms.

But he had met Christ on the Damascus road.
He was full of the Holy Spirit.
He received revelation in Arabia.
He had been caught up to the third heaven.
He had signs and wonders.
He could speak for God.
He bore on his body the brand-marks of Jesus.

He was an apostle.

And the lesson?

The Kingdom of God is something entirely unto itself. It is its own category. It is not a religious version of something else.

In contemporary American culture we must be careful not to become a religious parody of the common artistic/political/business models.

What can the man of God learn from Spielberg, Reagan/Clinton, Trump?

Somewhere between precious little and absolutely nothing.

We must not seek to be people of parodied genius.

We must seek to be the people of God.


I could develop these thoughts much further, but I have no time for it.

These thoughts were originally inspired from the second of Soren Kierkegaard’s Ethical-Religious Essays.

I’m sitting on my deck on a beautiful day getting ready for 33 meetings in 31 days on 3 continents. I’m busy, but life is good and God is great.

Grace and Peace,