Paul Apostolic Mission and Inculturation


Jeon, Chang Hee

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Today, does Korean Christians need to be close to the subject ‘inculturation’? Apparently, the Gospel has been closely related to human culture from its beginning. More precisely, since Christianity was introduced into the foreign soils of the world, it has been transformed as a result of assimilating with the local cultures. The issue of how the Gospel and culture relate is not only that of contemporary Christianity but has been that of all worship communities since the Gospel was proclaimed by Jesus. Rich evidences are shown in the Christian history. Early Christianity shows the abundant precedents for inculturation. And the New Testament itself is evidence of how the gospel was incarnated in human culture. It is still a controversial issue that Paul's ministry is directly engaged in inculturation. Paul's attitude towards the cultures he encounters appears paradoxical.Paul has both an open mind to any ideas and behavior in the light of his faith in Jesus Christ and an attitude that he want no radical changes in the social sphere. For Paul, the ultimate value is not on the present culture or any tradition but on the gospel of Christ which overcome them. However, it is clear that Paul opened the door for cultural diversity in the Christian faith. His mission also became a seed for inculturation of the gospel in liturgy and worship. This article tries to examine how Paul responded when he faced other cultures in his journeys in relation to his apostolic mission for the gospel. I believe that the reason why Paul is one of the most important figures in relation to the subject ‘Inculturation’ is that he is the very early person who tries to consider the gospel in human culture when most Christians have believed that the Gospel had to be proclaimed and understood in the way of Jewish tradition. His letters written for people in the various culture shows why we have to think the gospel with its surrounded culture today.


I. Introduction
 II. The Gospel and the Cultures in the New Testament
 III. Paul, the gospel, and Culture
  1. Paul's gospel and the cultures
  2. Paul's ministry in the Hellenistic Culture
 IV. Conclusion: The distinctiveness of Paul's mission as a seed for inculturation


  • Jeon, Chang Hee Assistant Professor of Hyup-Sung University


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