The Unqualified Apostle

Gary Shogren at JustinofNablus wins the prize for most creative (recent) Apostle-Paul-in-Corinth blog post.  In “Dear Paul,” he describes how the apostle failed to satisfy what Corinthian Christians thought most important and would fail to qualify today for the typical ministry job.  This post draws from Paul’s own rhetoric in 1 and 2 Corinthians about his identification with the weak, the foolish, the suffering, the lowest.  Here’s a snippet:

“Dear Paul: We are sorry, but you are unqualified to be our apostle…” [Studies in 1 Corinthians]

Paul had a precise idea of how to serve God. He worked day and night with his own hands; he risked his life and his health; he “served” the churches and did not exploit them. As a teacher he acted with patience and consideration: when people wanted answers he gave them careful, detailed explanations. He communicated the gospel in a way that anyone could understand (1 Cor 9:20-22).

From what we can glean in 1 and 2 Corinthians, that church wanted a different breed of apostle:

Church at Corinth, Achaia

Wanted: an apostle with style

The church in Corinth is seeking applicants for the position of apostle. We wish to avoid leaders who do not measure up to the highest standards of Christian ministry. Hence we insist that all candidates fulfill the following conditions:

Professional demeanor

  • We want a man who holds his head high, not one with a slavish attitude of “service.” We want to show the appeal of the gospel for people with ambition.
  • He should own a vehicle; travel by foot gives the impression that one is a loser.
  • He should have a good family life; a single man gives the impression of instability.
  • He should dress well; he should know about different types of cuisine; he should know which fork to use.
  • He should take care to cultivate a good image in the community.
  • He should be well-spoken. He should not use a simple word when a more exact philosophical term exists.

Read more here


  1. Many thanks! It is part of my upcoming commentary on 1 Corinthians in Spanish from CLIE in Barcelonia. Anyone wanting a copy of the commentary in English (available in 2012) may visit my blog and leave a message.

Leave a Reply to Gary Shogren Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: