Atheist author Bart Ehrman’s new book is about how Christianity, the faith of a tiny few, became a major world religion. In early chapters he traces what, to him, was the path that started it.
I found it helpful to trace the apparent thinking of Paul and the writing that laid out the faith’s case. Ehrman’s version of Paul’s thinking was of a Paul “reverse engineering” events to make various conclusions. To me, the thinking process Paul used to reach his views were one far fetched assumption built upon another. That culminated in believing he himself was the one God had chosen to convert gentiles.
Paul was reportedly a Jew. That God wrote the Bible was an assumption made there. We can add to that assumption the the Old Testament prophesies were something other than selective choices of random musings.
According to the story, Paul was first a believer in Jewish law and did not like it unorthodox versions, like skipping circumcision, until he eventually heard the tale of another Jew who was killed by the government and came back to life. First, he thought like other Jews this person could not be the messiah because God would not allow the messiah to be killed. But, because God brought Jesus back to life it had to be because God wanted the Gentiles to be Jews.
On top of that, Paul thought he was the one God had chosen to convert all those sinful Gentiles.
All of this is one tall tale.