While Bible reading the other day, I was struck again by Samuel’s defense of his prophetic ministry at the coronation of King Saul in 1 Samuel 12:1-5 which reads, in part:
3 "Here I am. Witness against me before the LORD and before His anointed: Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? I will restore it to you."
4 And they said, "You have not cheated us or oppressed us, nor have you taken anything from any man's hand."
5 Then he said to them, "The LORD is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand." And they answered, "He is witness."
Compare Paul’s defense of his ministry in places like Luke’s account of his speech to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:33-35:
33 I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel.
34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me.
35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'
Or in his epistles, at, for example, 2 Corinthians 11:7-9:
7 Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge?
8 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you.
9 And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself.
Did Paul, in his defense of his ministry, see himself as an apostle-prophet like Samuel and the other prophets of old? Did others who knew him, like Luke, also see him as a prophet?
This was the thesis of my 2002 dissertation at UTS, "Paul as Prophet in the Acts of the Apostles."
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