Spreading The Gospel

Q. It is my understanding that Jesus commissioned his Disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Yet Peter only briefly spent time with some Gentiles then retreated to Jerusalem and hedged back to Old Covenant works based rituals. Paul, not an original disciple took up the commission, yet even he sometimes got off on works and when he returned to Jerusalem also agreed to participate in Old Covenant rituals. I’ve read one commentator who states it does not matter if Paul did this out of fear of the Jews or sympathy, in doing so, he was betraying his believe in the all sufficiency of Christ’s death and resurrection. As I read the New Testament with this in mind, it seems this was much bigger than I thought.

A. Someone has really led you astray. Peter traveled much more widely than you give him credit for. Paul indicated he took his wife with him on his travels (1 Cor. 9:5), which is a good indication he didn’t just hang out in Jerusalem. Peter died in Rome.

In 1 Cor. 9:19-23 Paul wrote,
“Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

According to historical records, most of the 10 other disciples also traveled far and wide. For example, Andrew went into modern day Georgia and Bulgaria. Bartholomew (Nathaniel) went to Armenia. He and Thomas also went to India. James the Elder went to Judea. James the Younger went to Egypt. John went to western Turkey. Jude (Thaddeus) went to Assyria and Iran. Matthew went to Iran and Ethiopia. Philip went to Eastern Turkey . Simon the Zealot went to the Galilee.

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