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The Travels of Paul [Union Springs Herald]

By: Lynn Jinks, Attorney


[Link to Union Springs Herald article]


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When I was in college I had a friend that did a lot more partying than studying. The predictable result of this was that he made bad grades. So bad, in fact, that if he didn’t make all A’s and B’s the next semester he would flunk out of school. Now at that time, there was a course offered in the religion department about the New Testament. This course had become famous because there was no mid-term exam, only a final exam. There was always only one question on the final exam and it was always the same question: “discuss the travels of Paul.” Students like my friend had figured out that if you could have a great answer to this one question you would make an A in this course. For several years the perfect answer to this exam question had been floating around campus and it was readily available to students like my friend who really needed that A.


So my friend enrolled in this course, got his hands on the perfect answer, and memorized it. Then, assuming he had all the knowledge he needed to get his A he never went to class or studied. When the day of the final exam came my friend happily reported to class knowing that he had memorized the perfect answer to the final exam’s one question. He was well prepared to discuss the travels of Paul. Imagine his shock and consternation when he opened the final exam paper and saw this question: “write a critical analysis of the sermon on the mount.” My friend did not know what to do. He was completely unprepared to talk about the Sermon on the Mount. He had not studied or been to class. Finally, in desperation, he wrote this answer: “I do not think that I am worthy to criticize the Master. Therefore I will discuss the travels of Paul.” You can guess what his grade was.


Life can be a lot like that New Testament course. When we think we know what is going to happen we are often surprised. When we don’t adequately prepare for every contingency we often come to grief. When we don’t go to class, or study, or do the work we should do every day, we are setting ourselves up to fail. I know that we all sometimes fail to be as diligent as we should be. But be careful and remember, the final exam is coming up sooner than you think.