My Favorite Picture/Painting of the Jewish St. Paul the Apostle

by Steve Ray on January 30, 2020

Most pictures of St. Paul ignore his Jewishness. When he entered a Synagogue to teach he could not have looked like a Gentile. He would have been distinctly Jewish. They would never ask a Gentile to share a “word of encouragement” to the Jewish worshipers. For example:

Screen Shot 2020-01-30 at 10.36.55 AMActs 13:14–15:  “They went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down.  After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying, ‘Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, say it’.”

There is a description of St. Paul’s appearance in the 2nd century The Acts of Paul and Thecla which says: “A man small in size, bald-headed, bandy-legged, well-built, with eyebrows meeting, rather long-nosed, full of grace. For sometimes he seemed like a man, and sometimes he had the countenance of an angel” (ANF, vol. 8, p. 487). The picture does not match this description perfectly, but I still think the picture well portrays St. Paul as the Jew he was.

(This picture was from the website Israel Bible Center)

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rick Evans February 2, 2020 at 1:33 PM

Shocking! But as you say Steve, probably close to accurate.

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