Vol.V No.V Pg.1
July 1968

Crazy Paul

Robert F. Turner

When Paul was in Athens certain philosophers asked, 'What will this babbler say?" (KJ) Marshall translates this, "ignorant plagiarist," and Vine explains its literal meaning of "seed collector," used in Greek

slang for a half-witted sort of person who picks up bits of information he does not understand. They called Paul a "fool," a "seed picker." (Acts 17:18)

Then Festus said, "Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad." (crazy) (Acts 26:24) Paul replied, "I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness."

Evidently there were others who accused Paul of being crazy, for in his letters to the Corinthians Paul wrote, 'Whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause." And, "Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little." Then, in irony, "For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise." (2 Cor. 5:13 11:16, 19) If name-calling could have stopped Paul we would never have heard of him. But Paul survived, and his attitude toward the whole matter is enlightening.

In Athens he ignored their taunts and used their idle curiosity as an open gate for his message. His reply to Festus is calm and straightforward — a self-contained refutation of the Governor's charge. Sometimes when we are called "fanatic" or some like name, we prove the label by our reply. A "hot" letter to some accuser may furnish him written proof of what had formerly been but a nasty bluff.

Paul turned the tables on his Corinthian attackers. If they gloried so in the flesh he would show them -- (he said, "I speak as a fool") that he had the more reason to so glory.

But whatever the type or content of his response, the outstanding characteristic is his determination that it should be to the glory of God. 'Whether we be beside ourselves — or sober -- " "we are fools for

Christ's sake." (1 Cor. 4:10) Fool of God! So completely dedicated to his heavenward climb he used "crazy" as a step.