Apostle Paul’s Bucket List

. at . 10 comments

Whats kinds of things are on your bucket list? Creative/artistic? Religious? Athletic? Intellectual? Whatever they are, get busy today and achieve/experience something.

Whats kinds of things are on your bucket list? Creative/artistic? Religious? Athletic? Intellectual? Whatever they are, get busy today and achieve/experience something. Photo by Deon Staffelbach.

Bucket Lists were made popular with the movie, The Bucket List. In it two terminally ill men write out a list of things to accomplish or experience before they die.

There are many websites devoted to bucket lists and the completing of them (like Daring to Live Fully). Do you have a bucket list? I have made several. I typically break mine down into categories according to season or interest. Here is my Bucket List Index. 

Below is a tongue-in-cheek list of what the Apostle Paul might have written.

I got the list by looking at his life. I looked at the interesting and noteworthy things he accomplished. Then I put the various events on the list. I made what is known as a reverse or backwards Bucket List.

It is certain that Paul accomplished 30 out of 32 of these items. Read the books of Acts and Corinthians for some of Paul’s biographical details. After some of the items, I put what he did in parentheses.

  1. Study with a noted Rabbi (Gamaliel)
  2. Become a lawyer
  3. Become a Pharisee
  4. Be multi-lingual (Hebrew, Greek, Latin)
  5. Understand Epicurean and Stoic philosophy
  6. Learn  a trade (tent making)
  7. Conquer anger problem
  8. Visit Rome
  9. Have a meaningful spiritual experience
  10. Recover from blindness
  11. Change first name
  12. Get baptized
  13. Become an apostle
  14. Go on a 3 year desert sabbatical
  15. Preach in a synagogue that Jesus is the Son of God and Messiah
  16. Be able to show how Old Testament prophecy and covenants were fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
  17. Sail on a ship (many trips but unfortunately shipwrecked 3 times)
  18. Speak to a large crowd (multiple times)
  19. Speak to a large crowd in a prime location (Mars Hills)
  20. Learn to be content
  21. Take a ride in a fish basket
  22. Disciple a young preacher (Timothy)
  23. Write a meaningful body of work (wrote almost half of New Testament)
  24. Be a published author
  25. Accept my thorn in the flesh
  26. Collect money for a good cause (famine relief )
  27. Plant a church (several in Asian Minor and Europe)
  28. Preach to Gentiles (multiple times)
  29. Meet the Emperor of Rome (Nero)
  30. Share the Good News of Christ with a King and Queen (Agrippa and Bernice)
  31. Become a missionary
  32. Go on a missionary trip (3 in all)
  33. Be part of a prison ministry
  34. Be a majour influence in the early church
  35. Conquer Insomnia (not sure if this ever happened)

Your Turn . . .

  • Share if any of the items on this list is a surprise to you. What would you add to the list?
  • After reading this list, has your opinion of the Apostle Paul changed?
  • Have you ever written a backwards bucket list? I haven’t – yet! Go here to read one person’s experience with this type of assignment.
  • Write your own backwards bucket list. Share it with us and also share your experience. I will share mine on my birthday in March and list 57 things.

Related Posts

Ideas for your own list. Have a look at the following links and copy down the things you’ve done for a reverse list. Or write down things you’d like to do in the future.

Entry filed under: goals, Main. Tags: , .

Friday’s Fave Five Sending Thanks to a Friend – Gratitude Project

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Christine Leeb  |  . at .

    This is great. I love how Paul’s life can be an example of things we can accomplish–especially after we accept Jesus into our hearts! Thanks for this list and for sharing all the Bucket List ideas! I’m such a goal-setter, but I’ve learned that nothing will happen that’s truly fruitful in our lives without God!

    I’d love to share a blog I wrote recently called: Don’t Set Any Goals for Yourself Until You Do One Thing. http://christineleeb.blogspot.com/2015/01/dont-set-any-goals-until-you-do-one.html



    • 2. susan2009  |  . at .

      Christine, thanks so much for sharing the link to this post on my blog. It is an excellent reminder that the best goal is a God-goal.

      How awesome that you were surrounded by friends who prayed!
      How awesome that you asked God to help you to believe their words for you.
      And most of all how awesome that God did 2 things through you that you didn’t even have down as goals.

      Because as you ended, “Sometimes God’s goals for us are bigger than our own!”


  • 3. Tara  |  . at .

    What a unique post! So fun!!


    • 4. susan2009  |  . at .

      Tara, it was fun to write! So much so that I think I will do this writing exercise with other folks from the Bible and of course my own life in March.


  • 5. ccmitch  |  . at .

    This is such a fun post and while I have never WRITTEN a backwards bucket list, I have often thought how my life looks like a person chasing a bucket list down. I have had the opportunity to do so many amazing things. I think I will add that concept to my practice of counting gifts. Thanks for such a fun, inspiring idea. And I love applying it to Paul. I might challenge my kids to do this this week!


    • 6. susan2009  |  . at .

      Colleen, I am looking forward to writing one such list for my life as well. I also think it would be a great gratitude project.

      Please let me know if your kiddos come up with ideas for Paul’s life that I missed.


  • 7. Anita Ojeda  |  . at .

    I might add “Survive a snake bite” to Paul’s list (but it’s certainly not something that I would want to experience! I recently finished reading the book of Acts–I learned so much about Paul that I’d forgotten :).


    • 8. susan2009  |  . at .

      Paul is one amazing man! Most of the things on the list I recalled from memory, but I also reread Acts to see what I left out. And I read a book about Paul by Charles Swindoll that gave me a couple of ideas.

      Yes, surviving a snake bite is not something that would ever be on my list either!


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