While talking with a few friends of mine, someone shared their idea about how they believed that God had put Paul in prison to write the New Testament. I was a little struck back at the idea, but it seemed to make sense because Paul did so much writing. I remembered that He wrote 2/3rd’s of the New Testament, so I thought that maybe this was why He was able to write that much.
When I finally was able to actually study these letters for myself, I discovered the truth. Think about this, Satan wanted Paul in prison because He was reaching so many people. God wanted people to hear the message of grace. Now God works every bad situation out for our good, but God does not bring every bad situation to us.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Even when Paul was in one of the worst situations imaginable, God still used him. This is how God operates. If you have made a bad decision or if you find yourself in a bad predicament, know that something good will come out of this. God and Satan do not have the same agenda. It was the enemies plans to keep Paul away from the people, not God’s. The main fact that counters this idea is the very reality that Paul only wrote four tiny books while in prison. The books of the Bible are categorized and so are the letters of Paul. Paul wrote the following books in prison:
- Ephesians (6 Chapters)
- Philippians (4 Chapters)
- Colossians (4 Chapters
- Philemon (1 Chapter)
For some odd reason I thought that he wrote more than this. These are short books of the Bible compared to books like Hebrews or Romans. I remember talking to someone who was almost done memorizing the book of Colossians. I was stunned! A whole book of the Bible, how could someone do that? Then I realized that Colossians only had four chapters. That still is a tall task which I admire. Also the book of Philemon is his shortest book of the Bible.
Understanding what was really going on while Paul was in prison is crucial because it helps us understand our Bible better. God’s desire was never to persecute Paul. Before he got saved God came to him and said, “’Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ 5 And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,’” (Acts 9:4-5). Paul never persecuted the Lord directly, but because he killed and imprisoned many Christians he was, in a since, persecuting Christ. So if God sent Paul to prison wouldn’t He be persecuting Himself? Can you see how twisted this can get when we believe God brings suffering? God is not in the suffering business. He took care of all of our sin and punishment at the Cross. Yet people will still persecute us. God is there to love us. He is there for us when bad things happen, but we cannot blame Him for the actions of evil men.
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