The man who wrote the following words. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
Yet this same Paul did relate, autobiographically, that he had been … “in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, IN HUNGER ….” 2nd Corinthians 11:23-27, with more to come!
Yes, this last one is astounding!
And the word used for “hunger,” in Greek “limos,” is sparsely utilized in Scripture. Only 12 times (total) can I find it. It means “scarcity of harvest.” In fact, 3 times “limos” is translated “famine” in the King James New Testament.
It flows from a “parent” verb, “leipo,” meaning “to lack.” Or once, “to be destitute.”
Did Paul those 3 years in Arabia … go hungry?
Did he, under Gamaliel’s tutelage, study so hard (involving so much time) that he simply didn’t eat, hungering in that sense?
Was he a man who had just rather feel “hungry” most of the time, than “sated, overfilled, stuffed?”
Or was he willing to go preach in places that were being ravaged by famine, thus himself going hungry too?
We do not know.
We only have the fact that Paul suffered hunger as he pursued the Lord’s work.
Hunger … for Jesus’ Sake.
Here’s a little history of the word …
Jesus 3 times used “limos” as “famine,” in His great Olivet Discourse, warning His Disciples about a coming time of Tribulation on earth. In Matthew and Mark and Luke!
Later the Book of Revelation reinforces Jesus’ Teaching, in chapters 6 (verse 18) and 18 (verse 8). Bible Prophecy fulfilled!
In Luke 4:25 Jesus linked Elijah to a time of famine, putting Paul in good company!
Twice our Lord used the word (“limos” as “famine”) in His great Luke 15 Parable about the “Prodigal Son.” Here, for example: “And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty FAMINE in that land; and he began to be in want.” Then again: “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with HUNGER!”
Stephen once mentioned the “dearth” (famine) that engulfed Egypt during the days of Joseph, a famine the Patriarch foresaw and wisely sought to alleviate. See Acts 7:11.
Then Paul … twice uses the word (still “limos”), or it is used (by Luke) in relation to Paul and his vast (for that time) ministry.
A famine was predicted for Judah by a Prophet named Agabus (Acts 11:28), a prophecy that proved to be 100% accurate. “And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great DEARTH (“limos”) throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in JUDEA: which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.” Acts 11:28-30
Paul was determined to collect money for food … for the suffering saints in Jerusalem and thereabouts. He may have then been in a time of “hunger,” in solidarity with his brothers and sisters in Christ there.
Then once more, Paul gloriously wrote: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or FAMINE, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Romans 8:36
Whereupon he immediately answers his own question! “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
Whenever Paul was “hungry,” Jesus was by his side.
Still loving him.
Folks, throughout history’s numerous periods of persecution (against Christians) … countless believers like you and me have been starved to death!
I’m so glad Paul has told us this today, about himself. “In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, IN HUNGER ….”
Often … hungry … serving the Lord Christ.
What a great God we serve, a great Saviour!
Drawing such devoted followers!
It’s an honor to be a Christian.
— Dr. Mike Bagwell