Skip to content

How does Paul’s Jewish identity inform his apostolic ministry?

This is the argument of my book:
Paul and the Vocation of Israel: How Paul's Jewish Identity Informs his Apostolic Ministry, with Special Reference to Romans

Paul’s apostolic mission was his way of being Jewish. Paul was convinced that Israel had received a special divine revelation which conferred on Jews a distinct divine vocation. Paul, in other words, was committed to the view that God’s global purposes in Christ included a special place—and correspondingly a special role—for the Jewish people. Paul, through preaching Christ to the Gentiles, was in fact fulfilling Israel’s distinct divine vocation. This will be our contention in this book. (p.1)

In this book, we are seeking to examine Paul’s Jewish identity using the concept of divine vocation. In particular, we are seeking to demonstrate that Paul viewed his own apostolic vocation as the fulfilment of Israel’s divine vocation. For many of Paul’s Jewish contemporaries, Jewish identity was bound up closely with the Law of Moses, which was seen as a special gift of divine revelation to Israel. The Jews’ distinct divine vocation, in this view, consisted primarily in keeping and teaching the Law of Moses as an exemplary witness to God’s power and wisdom in the world. Paul, as a Jew, agreed with his Jewish contemporaries that the Law of Moses was a special gift of divine revelation and thus a defining feature of Jewish identity. He disagreed, however, about the place of the Law in God’s purposes. Paul read the Jewish Law principally in light of the gospel of Christ. Indeed, for Paul, the Law of Moses was primarily a witness to the gospel. Thus the divine Jewish vocation consisted, not in keeping the Law of Moses per se, but in embodying and communicating a way of life which was focussed on the gospel of Christ as the fulfilment of the Law of Moses; a way of life which issued naturally in the preaching of the gospel to non-Jews. (p. 19)

Windsor, Lionel J. Paul and the Vocation of Israel: How Paul’s Jewish Identity Informs his Apostolic Ministry, with Special Reference to Romans. BZNW 205. Berlin / Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2014. Pp. 1, 19.

Published inPaul

Publications by Lionel Windsor:

  • Lift Your Eyes: Reflections on Ephesians

All posts

Recent blog posts

  • Photo by Ruben Bagues on UnsplashLiving light (Ephesians 5:11–14)
    How should Christians relate to the world around us? Should we withdraw, or should we engage? How do we know which action to do when?
  • Photo by Ben Mullins on UnsplashThe test that matters (Ephesians 5:10)
    We live in a world full of tests and measurements. Believers in Christ should also test our lives. But when we do, we need to use the right standard.
  • Photo by Eric Patnoudes on UnsplashChildren of light (Ephesians 5:8–9)
    Believers in Christ have had their very identity changed: once darkness like the world, but now light. The challenge is to believe it, and to live it.
  • Dark tunnel coming out of the Amphitheatre, PompeiiWhat do you want to become? (Ephesians 5:5–7)
    Our dreams drive our daily actions. In 5, 10, 20 years, what will you have become? Living in grace as an imitator of God, or a partner with the world?
  • Photo by Jordan Beltran on UnsplashHoly talk (Ephesians 5:3–4)
    Often we try to fit in with others by the way we speak. But God calls believers to be holy, not filthy, in our speech, even if it sounds strange to others.
  • Holding child's handImitators of God (Ephesians 5:1–2)
    Christians are God’s dearly loved children, raised from death to life and secure with him, now and forever. This is what gives us the power to sacrifice.
  • Preaching sermons and shepherding the flock: What’s the connection?
    Lionel Windsor | 2 Feb 2015 | Priscilla and Aquila Conference | Moore College, Sydney I’m here republishing my 2015 paper, which originally appeared as a PDF and video. See here for more on the
  • Photo: NASA/ISS CrewThe Amazon Fires: A Gospel Response
    Unprecedented numbers of fires are now burning in the Amazon rainforest. How can the gospel of Jesus Christ be brought to bear on the situation?
  • Photo by Xan Griffin on UnsplashThe Victory of the Cross
    According to the Bible, Jesus’ death on the cross is God’s victory and triumph—a victory and triumph Christ shares with all who trust in him... (Audio)
  • Photo by Lina Trochez on UnsplashThe power of forgiveness (Ephesians 4:31–32)
    Believers are to forgive, as God has forgiven us. Forgiveness is not only possible for believers, it’s also powerful for our lives and relationships.

On this site

All content copyright Lionel Windsor