Paul is arguably the most influential person in Christianity after Jesus Christ. Without Paul, most of the New Testament wouldn’t exist, and our understanding of God and His nature would still be shrouded in the mystical practices of early Judaism.
In Paul, Apostle of Christ, writer/director Andrew Hyatt attempts to distill the essential story and message of Paul’s life into 100 minutes. The behind-the-scenes featurettes show that great pains were taken to maintain biblical and historical accuracy. Hyatt referred directly to scripture, and then he consulted history books to put Paul in the context of what would have been happening around him at the time. “Always the first step,” said Hyatt, “is study Scripture. We just stay with Scripture as the only source material. And then when we start to bring the humanity side of it, it just comes very naturally because we’ve done all the research and we’ve gotten all the experts to sign off.” Hyatt also re-created Paul’s close relationship with Luke, who at his own peril, traveled in and out of the prison carrying Paul’s writings to the community of believers.
In the film, Luke presents an important plot element in the script. Hyatt said, “Well, in 2 Timothy when Paul is writing from the Mamertine prison, there’s this tiny little bit right at the top of the letter that says ‘Only Luke is here with me.’ And so it just starts to build this beautiful palette that is 100% scripturally accurate. You are filling in the details, but it’s all there.” Luke, as a friend and physician, risks his life when he ventures into the city of Rome to visit Paul, who is held captive in Nero’s darkest, bleakest prison cell. But Nero is determined to rid Rome of Christians, and does not flinch from executing them in the grisliest ways possible. Before Paul’s death sentence can be enacted, Luke resolves to write another book, one that details the beginnings of “The Way” and the birth of what will come to be known as the church. The two men struggle against a determined emperor and the frailties of the human spirit in order to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ and spread their message to the world.
SONY/Affirm have put together a great cast including Jim Caviezel (Luke), James Faulkner (Paul), Olivier Martinez (Mauritius), Joanne Whalley (Priscilla), and John Lynch (Aquilla). Greek actor Yorgos Karamihos plays the role of Saul; i.e. Paul before his conversion to Christianity. Faulkner gives a powerful performance as Paul. This film is the second time that Jim Caviezel, who portrays Luke, plays a Biblical character. He performed as Jesus of Nazareth in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. The future of Christianity rests in the hands of these two men: Luke and Paul.
The setting is Mamertine Prison in Rome where Paul has been imprisoned because he has been deemed a threat to the Roman Empire. The filming was done on location in the Republic of Malta, where St. Paul’s Island is known as the location where Paul and Luke were shipwrecked on their way to Rome. Many of the crew members were culled from HBO’s Game of Thrones, which was also filmed partly in Malta.
Bound in chains, Paul’s struggle is internal. He went from being the most infamous persecutor of Christians to Jesus Christ’s most influential apostle. He has survived floggings, shipwrecks, starvation, stoning, hunger and thirst, cold and exposure – yet as he waits for his appointment with death, he is haunted by the shadows of his past misdeeds. As the time draws near to the date of his execution, Paul worries if God will forgive him for his sins. Alone in the dark, he wonders if he has been forgotten… and if he has the strength to finish well. This movie features several important themes:
Grace: Where sin abounds, grace abounds more.
- Love: Love is the only way.
- Transformation and redemption: From Saul to Paul.
- Forgiveness: Paul’s life personified.
- Mercy: Nobody is beyond God’s mercy.
- Perseverance amidst persecution.
It will be a very beautiful, emotionally very moving film with a rather wonderful ending. —James Faulkner
Paul, Apostle of Christ is coming to theaters nationwide! Buy tickets here.
Date: Friday, March 23, 2018
This biblical drama is educational, edifying, and entertaining. But its reach extends beyond the movie itself. There are lots of supplemental resources including videos, brochures, church leader packets, message points, “Letters From Paul” reading series, and a discussion guide (coming soon). These can all be found at PaulMovie.com.
Giveaway (it’s over, sorry!)
This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. To enter, please leave a comment below. (Don’t worry if it doesn’t show up right away; we have to approve them first.) Be sure to include a valid email address so we can contact you if you’re the winner. One person, chosen at random, will receive two free tickets from Fandango to see Paul, Apostle of Christ in theaters. The contest ends on March 19, 2018, at 11:59 PM (ET). Winners will be notified by email. Feel free to share this post with a friend! Then they can enter, too, and if you don’t win but they do, they can take you to the movie with them. 🙂
As a Featured Contributor of Collide Media Group’s “Paul, Apostle of Christ” Influencer Program, we received the value of two movie tickets in exchange for this post.