Scripture Scholar Scott Hahn Examines the Conversion of St. Paul

October 15, 2008

2On September 29, world-renowned Scripture scholar and Theology professor Dr. Scott Hahn launched Christendom College’s Major Speakers Program, delivering a lecture on “The Gospel According to St. Paul.”

“In the last forty years, not Catholic, but Protestant biblical scholars are the ones who have caused us to revisit Paul and rethink many misunderstandings of Paul that are rooted in Luther’s own misreading,” Hahn began.

His lecture focused both on Paul’s conversion and his understanding of Christ. Quoting scripture Hahn said, “‘Though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped’ … a better translation would read, ‘He did not count equality with God something to be exploited for personal advantage.’”

As a Pharisee, Paul’s justification for persecuting the Christians was Christ’s equality with God. After his conversion, Paul sees that it is the cross, which exactly displays Christ’s equality with God, Hahn said.

An exceptionally popular author, speaker, and teacher, Hahn has delivered numerous talks nationally and internationally on a wide variety of topics related to Scripture and the Catholic faith. 

In his address, Hahn told the audience that although we tend to think that Paul fell off a horse when he had his vision and converted, in reality, there is no mention of a horse, just a bright light. 

“We tend to think of him falling off of a horse because it says that he fell to the ground,” Hahn said, “ but actually, Paul was probably walking to Damascus.”

3Paul was not converted in the traditional sense, but was called by Christ and converted “not from Judaism to Christianity, but from a naturalistic understanding of the Jewish faith to truly supernatural experience of the divine grace and righteousness of God through Christ,” he said.

He also gave deep insights into some of Paul’s writings, pointing out that it was St. Paul who first used the term “Body” for the Church, with Christ as the Head and all the members comprising the body. Hahn concluded by exhorting his listeners to realize that conversion is not something that happens once, but something that happens continuously. 

“Every day we must take up our cross and follow Him,” he said. “We do not simply convert and we are saved once and for all. We must change our lives, as St. Paul did, and follow Christ daily.”

Hahn concluded saying, “No matter how willful or stubborn we may be, God the Father has sent his Son to give us the Holy Spirit to mend, heal, and divinize us.”

This theologically rich lecture can be heard at Christendom on iTunes U.

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