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How does Paul change his speeches according to his audience?

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Introduction

How does Paul change his speeches according to his audience? "If the inclusion of speeches highlights important phases and aspects of Paul's mission, then we should note how Luke focuses first on mission to the Jews and then mission to the Gentiles." - James D. G. Dunn (The acts of the Apostles) This quote suggests that Paul was in fact more concerned with the Jews than he was with the Gentiles. This is further shown by Paul's speeches, he seems to spend far more time explaining about how Jesus was in fact the messiah, and how they should worship him. But with the Gentiles he seems to be more concerned with the fact that they should convert and become what is essentially Judaism. Paul changes his speeches in the book of 'Acts of the Apostles.' In Acts 13 v. 16 (in Antioch Pisidia) Luke records what Paul says. Paul is speaking in a synagogue and so most of the people there will either be Jews or God-Fears, this means that they will know the Scriptures and they will know the prophecies. This means that when Paul stands up and summarises the Scriptures the people in the synagogue will understand what he is trying to say. ...read more.

Middle

For example when Paul preaches to the Gentiles in Lystra. He starts off by startling them by performing a miracle whereby a man who was crippled could walk. This got the crowds attention. He then shows his versatility in presenting a brief message to the Gentiles. He starts by using the Old Testament as his basis by saying that God is creator, active and one. God has revealed himself to all nations at different levels. Paul tries to suggest that their ancestors had tried to worship God but had only managed in a 'shadowy' way. Paul does not dismiss their own religion but makes sure that they understand that Christianity goes past their religion and could fulfil them in ways that their religion never could. This shows that Paul is very capable of making Gentiles listen to him as Jews do. Paul is always very sure never to insult them, but he does make sure that they know exactly why the one true God of Abraham and Moses is much better than the 'Gods' of Lystra. There is a much better example of Paul preaching to Gentiles in Acts 17, when he is in Athens. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example if he was writing this book to prove to the Romans that he was not a threat to the empire then he might have change some of the speeches so that they proved that he was only converting people to a religion and not trying to make them rebel against the empire. Luke might also only have written Acts as a history of the Earlky Church. Then he would have change Paul's speeches so that it would look like everyone in the Church were all agreeing with each other and that they were all inb unison about what they were trying to achieve. This would have been a good thing for the early Christians because it would have meant that they would be more united. For if they thought that Peter, James and John were in oppostion to Luke then the Early Church might not have been so united as they were. So in conclusion, Paul was very good at changing his speeches, and he did so regularly. He had to change them if only so that the Gentiles would understand what he was saying. Paul was a brilliant orator (according to Luke) and he made people believe. His speeches are one of the most important things that happened in the entire of the New Testament. James Sandberg RE - GRP 01/05/2007 ...read more.

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