The Berean Expositor
Volume 33 - Page 138 of 253
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The Self-Drawn Portrait of the Apostle Paul.
Separate Features: Dread of Officious Interference.
pp. 11, 12
"Here we see . . . . . that dread of officious interference which led him to shrink from
`building on another man's foundation', that delicacy which shows itself in his appeal to
Philemon, whom he might have commanded, `yet for love's sake rather beseeching him,
being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ', and which is
even more striking in some of his farewell greetings, as for instance when he bids the
Romans `Salute Rufus, and his mother, who is also mine'." (Conybeare and Howson).
Paul's dread of officious interference is but the other side of the delicacy of his nature,
and just as in the features of the face, it is scarcely possible to describe but one, and not
both, eyes, so we have found it difficult to speak of one side of the Apostle's nature
without the other.
Shakespeare speaks of:
"Man, proud man,
Drest in a little, brief, authority,
Most ignorant of what he's most assured."
and more or less most of us have suffered at the hands of officialdom. Who among us
thinks kindly of "red-tape", or who could associate such a term with the Apostle Paul?
The generosity which marked him we considered in our last article. It enable him to be
made all things to all men, and rendered him alike intolerant of officiousness, red-tape
and the narrow rut of smaller minds.
He was an apostle, not one whit behind the chiefest of the apostles, yet, so far was he
removed from the "official" in his high office, that he laboured with his hands, and
refused Corinthian gold.  The Apostle "magnified his office" without magnifying
himself. His sensitiveness and delicacy, and his lack of official interference comes out
very prominently when he is dealing with the financial affairs of the churches. Writing to
the Corinthians concerning the much-desired collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem,
the Apostle said:
"I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to
prove the sincerity of your love" (II Cor. 8: 8).
A perfectly free hand was given to the Corinthian church in choosing those who
should go with the Apostle to Jerusalem:
"And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to
bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with
me" (I Cor. 16: 3, 4).