Paul – the misunderstood Apostle

According to the prevalent understanding of Paul’s teachings amongst Christians, Paul was a major opponent of the Law. He taught that it is done away with, in Christ. That there is no need for us to obey the Law, as we are now under Grace. Are these claims really true? Did he believe and teach that the Old Testament is now abolished? That all who obey it are under a curse? Or is this all a 2000 year old misunderstanding of his words?

Consider Peter’s words and his warning regarding Paul’s Words
2Pe 3:15,16   And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest(pervert), as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

If Paul’s words were hard to understand in the 1st century AD, and some were even using his words to teach something different to its original meaning at that time, are we so sure that our current understanding is so accurate?

Note: Let me be clear at the onset of this study, that this is NOT an attempt to say “we must keep God’s Word for Salvation”. On the contrary, God’s Word is clear that Righteousness/Salvation cannot be attained through keeping God’s Law. It is only attained through God’s Grace. As we move forward you will see that Paul’s whole ministry revolved around this idea – We are saved through faith & God’s Grace alone. But after we are adopted into His fold, we have to serve Him in obedience to His Commandments/Laws through the help of His Spirit.

The call for an Audit
If you are keen to learn the truth above all, and you are willing to go the distance and do whatever is necessary in obedience to our Heavenly Father, I call you to an Audit. Evaluate yourself and your beliefs. If what you understand is right, an audit will only strengthen your beliefs. If you see some questions raised that you never thought of, it will still help you to learn more and draw closer to God.

Remember that the first major reformation in Christianity as we know it, which happened in the 1500’s under Martin Luther, was a response to some of the incorrect doctrines that were taught and practiced by the Roman Catholic Church. If such an Audit of Doctrine had not been done, the majority of Christians today could have still been following the Catholic church without question.

My request to you is, that you do not approach this article with preconceived notions. Be like the Bereans(Acts 17:10,11) and search the Scriptures for the Truth. You are more than welcome to disagree with me. But I ask you not to disagree with Scripture. Test everything written in this article. See whether everything falls into place. Remember that there can be no disagreements between the Biblical Authors. There can be no conflict between two verses in the Bible, when taken in context. Our goal is to serve God Almighty in Truth and Spirit.

Fitting it all in – a personal testimony
If any person believes that they have the whole of Scripture figured out, they are only deceiving themselves. The Scriptures are the pieces of a great Puzzle. All of the pieces in the puzzle needs to fit perfectly. We cannot force pieces of the puzzle to fit where we want it to. It needs to be in perfect harmony to all the pieces around it, giving us a complete picture. We have all been taught by someone or the other, where these pieces of the puzzle fit. Personally, for a long time, I did not question the placement. I knew some of the pieces and their placements did not make sense. But I thought, others knew best. I thought who am I to question the placement which has been this way for centuries, approved and taught by great men and women of God. But sometimes, you come across verses that go against YOUR beliefs and doctrines. Now, some people, like me, had the ability to just read over these lines and not even notice them. I was like Paul (but not even 1% as knowledgeable as he was), on my way to Damascus, with my understanding and belief of the Word. All of us need Yeshua(real name of Jesus) to open our eyes. All of us need the guidance of God’s Spirit. No one person, including me, has the whole puzzle figured out. All of us are learning. If you have and open mind to look at the puzzle again, let’s proceed.

As we read above, Peter clearly states that the Beloved Brother Paul writes to the assemblies according to the wisdom given to him. Some of the things that he writes are hard to understand. And that people who do not understand these things, pervert these teachings to their own destruction. This is a clear warning given to the assembly about Paul’s writings. But today, Paul’s writings are key to some of the doctrines in Christianity. Whether it fits or not with other verses in the Scriptures, is overlooked.

Using his words, I myself used to think that we are free from God’s Law/Commandments. I used to think that we should act according to his word, as he was the apostle to the Gentiles. An audit changed my understanding and my life. At the end of the day, we are called to be disciple of Yeshua(Jesus’ true Hebrew name). Not of Paul or anyone else for that matter. Even Paul said that he follows Yeshua (1Cor 11:1). And Paul admonished people who called themselves followers of anyone else other than Yeshua (1Cor 1:11-13).

So let us look at a few instances which sheds light onto Paul the Apostle, his beliefs and his teachings

  1. Contrary to common belief, his Hebrew name which was Saul, was not changed to Paul. He was also called Paul(Act 13:9). This name would have been easier to use in the Greek speaking world of his day, as Paul (Paulus) was of Latin origin.
  2. Paul was a Jew (Acts 21:39) and was brought up as a Pharisee (Acts 26:5)
  3. Paul’s message did not contradict the Old Testament, as the Bereans examined the Scriptures and checked whether it was true. (Acts 17:11)(The Scripture that is spoken here was the Old Testament, as there was no New Testament or Gospels at that time, which were written later and compiled to what we have now, only around 400AD)
  4. Paul’s custom was to go to synagogue on the Sabbath. (Acts 13:14,42,44, 17:2, 18:4)
  5. Paul took a Nazarite vow where one shaves his head (Acts 18:18 – Num 6)
  6. There were many “rumors” that he taught against God’s Law (Acts 21:21)
  7. There was no proof that he broke any of God’s Laws (Acts 24:13, 25:7,8)
  8. Paul kept the Law, and walked according to it (Acts 21:24)
  9. Paul purified himself at the Temple in accordance to the Law (Acts 21:26)
  10. Paul said Ananias was a devout man because he kept God’s Law (Acts 22:12)
  11. He worshiped God believing everything written in the Law & Prophets (Acts 24:14)
  12. He said that he does not nullify the law by faith, but that he upholds the law (Rom 3: 31)
  13. He said that the Law is not Sin, but the knowledge of Sin (Rom 7:7)
  14. He said that the law and the Commandments are holy, righteous and good (Rom 7:12,16)
  15. He said that the Law is not what leads us to death (Rom 7:13)
  16. He said that the Law is Spiritual (Rom 7:14)
  17. He said that he delights in God’s law (Rom 7:22)
  18. He said that He serves the Law of God (Rom 7:25)
  19. He said that the Law is good, and that one must use it properly. (1Tim 1:8) (Please read this article to understand more on what Paul meant, as Pharisees were using God’s Law inappropriately, while the “Circumcision party” used it to earn salvation)
  20. Paul said that all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (He did not say some of it is done away, but that all of it is God-breathed)
  21. Paul went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feasts according to the Law (Acts 18:21, 20:16 /Ex 34:22/Lev 23)
  22. Paul used the Law to defend himself. How can he defend himself with something, if he was preaching that it was abolished (Acts 23:3)
  23. Paul signified that he unwittingly broke a law, quoting the specific Law from the Old Testament (Acts 23:5 / Exo 22:28)
  24. Paul taught the Law of Marriage and Divorce out of the Law (Rom 7:2/1Cor 7:39 – Deut 24)
  25. Paul taught keeping of the Passover (1Cor 5:8)
  26. Paul used the Law regarding muzzling an Ox (Deut 25:4) to teach how people who work for the growth of the Kingdom, should be taken care by it, just like an ox (1Cor 9:9-12/1Tim 5:18)
  27. Paul quotes Deut 19:15 – a matter is established by 2 or 3 witnesses (2Cor 13:1/1Tim 5:19)
  28. Paul quotes Deut 27:26 – a person breaking God’s Law is cursed (Gal 3:10)
  29. Paul quotes Hab 2:4 – the just shall live by faith (Gal 3:11)
  30. Paul quotes Lev 18:5 – the man who keeps God’s Law, lives because of it (Gal 3:12)
  31. Paul quotes Deut 11:26-28 & 27:15-26 – the curses of the Law (Gal 3:13)
  32. Paul quotes Lev 19:18 – Love thy neighbor as thy self (Gal 5:14)
  33. Paul quotes Deut 5:16 – Honor thy father and mother (Eph 6:2)

Looking at all of these verses, still some would say, that he kept the Law because he was a Jew. And that we don’t need to, as the Law was given to the Jews. First of all, the Law was not given to the Jews (Please read Defining “Jews” and “Gentiles), but to the whole of Israel. Secondly, as Paul said, there is no more Jew & Gentile(Gal 3:28). And as Yeshua said, there is only one flock(John 10:16). Furthermore God’s Law was for the Native born as well as the stranger (Exo 12:49, Lev 24:22, Num 15:15,16). And by his own words, we are now grafted into Israel (Rom 11:16-26) becoming partakers (Eph 2:12).

Will Apostle Paul be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven?
Mat 5:17-19 records Christ’s Words “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven”. According to the prevalent understanding of Paul’s words, he has broken almost all of God’s commandments as well as taught others, that the law is no longer applicable. If so, according to Christ’s own words, Paul would be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. How can Paul go against God’s words which clearly states, no one can add or abolish any of God’s Commandments (Deut 4:2, 12:32)?

What about the many instances where Paul speaks about the Law in a negative way?
The misunderstandings that exist regarding his teachings, are caused by a few main reasons
1) We have not read/understood God’s Law and the Old Testament
For example, it is taught that when Paul says “curse of the Law”(Gal 3:13), that this means the Law is the curse. While actually the “curse of the Law” means, the curse which comes on whomever who does not obey the Law (Deut 11:26-28/ Deut 27:26/ Gal 3:10). Reading the front of the Bible(Old Testament) first, makes a vast difference when understanding Paul’s teachings, as this is the only Scripture which was available to the 1st Century Church.
2) We do not know the history/context of his epistles
For example, it is taught that when Paul says “Those who are trying to be justified by the law have fallen away from grace” (Gal 5:4), that this means all who obey God’s Law has fallen from Grace. While actually what Paul was teaching against was “justification by the Law”, as no one can gain righteousness by keeping God’s Law – only Christ’s blood can redeem us and justify us. (Gal 2:21). This was the main debate even at the Jerusalem Council – as some said you have to be circumcised to be saved(Acts 15:1), which is a baseless doctrine according to Scripture.
3) We have been handed down inaccurate teachings, doctrines and preconceived ideas
For example, it is taught that when Paul says “Blotting out the Handwriting of ordinances nailing it to the cross”(Col 2:14), that this means the Law is done away at Christ’s death. While actually what Paul teaches is that the ordinances that said, we should undergo the penalty of death for our sins, were nailed to the cross, as He died in our place.
4) We have not understood Biblical Definitions
For example, some of the terms used in the New Testament such as, Church, Israel, Jew, Gentile are not clearly defined Biblically. (please refer links)
5) We have not clearly understood characters/groups portrayed in the Bible
For example, “The Pharisees” are commonly linked as the group who kept the Old Testament, which is clearly not the case. (please refer link)
6) Reading verses out of context
For example, it is taught that when Paul says “you are not under Law, but under Grace” (Rom 6:14), that this means we don’t have to keep God’s Law. While actually throughout the letter to the Romans, Paul teaches that : Law is not Sin, but the knowledge of Sin(Rom 7:7), Law and the Commandments are holy, righteous and good (Rom 7:12,16), Law is not what leads us to death (Rom 7:13), Law is Spiritual (Rom 7:14), that he delights in God’s law (Rom 7:22) and serves the Law of God (Rom 7:25). The problem is that we have forgotten that these are “letters”, written without chapters or verses addressing issues of specific assemblies of people. We cannot, and must not, pick particular verses out of context.
7) Paul’s usage of the term “Law”
In his epistles, Paul talks about several different “Laws”, namely –
1)Law of Faith (Rom 3:27)
2)Law of Sin (Rom 7:23-25)
3)Law of the Spirit of life (Rom 8:2)
4)Law of Sin & Death (Rom 8:2)
5)Law of Righteousness (Rom 9:31)
6)Law of God (Rom 3:31, 7:22-25, 8:7)
7)Law of Christ (Rom 8:2, 1Cor 9:21)

Conclusion
In conclusion, I ask you to test everything in this study against the Word of God. Do not rely, or place your trust solely on a denomination, a church, a doctrine, a teacher, a pastor or anything/anyone of this world. Put your faith in God, and God alone – The Creator, Redeemer and King! Ask Him to show you the whole Truth through His Word, through the help of His Spirit.

And keep in mind Peter’s Warning when reading Paul’s letters. His words are hard to understand. So we must be diligent in dividing his teachings for the truth. Apostle Paul could not, and would not have gone against God’s Word which is the same yesterday, today and forever. Let us put off all the misunderstandings regarding his teachings and get to know the Paul we never knew.

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28 thoughts on “Paul – the misunderstood Apostle

    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Hi David,

      One reason could be that Paul was addressing a completely different audience in his letters – namely Greeks that were learned in philosophy and obviously spoke Greek. Another reason is that Paul himself used a lot of Greek philosophy to help these audiences understand what he was talking about. Acts 17:24-29 is a good example of this fact. I have detailed most of these findings in the study for which the link is given below. Maybe this will clear up why he was so hard to understand. May you be a blessing to all who are around You!!

      https://biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/paul-and-his-use-of-greek-philosophy/

      Reply
      1. Scott

        His words are only hard to understand by those who do not have a good knowledge and understanding of the first 5 books of scripture. Study the First five books thoroughly and embrace our Creators instructions with and open mind and intend to follow His guidelines with a sincere heart, and you will have much greater understanding of Paul’s writings. Please also understand that such things pertaining to sacrificing animals for sins are done away as our Messiah was the perfect unblemished lamb, sacrificed for the sins of all those who believe and truly want to follow The Father’s instructions and be obedient to His words.

      2. rameshdesilva Post author

        Hi Scott,
        I completely agree with your thinking on Paul’s writings. Each other sentence in his letters use Scripture from the “first 5 books”(books of Moses) or the “prophets” or the “writings” such as psalms and proverbs to prove his case. If he was saying on one hand that the law is done away, and then using the same law in his letters, he would have been a hypocrite.

        On the Sacrifice for sin or “sin offering”, I would not call it done away, but that a better offering of blood was substituted for the animal’s blood, through Christ. Also, we should not confuse this to say that all offerings which were done at the temple ceased being accepted by God, after Yeshua’s sacrifice. There were many other offerings made to God at the Jerusalem Temple other than Sin Offerings (peace offerings, drink offerings, etc).

        Paul himself went to the temple to make an offering for himself (Acts 21:23,24,26) after he took a nazarite vow (Act 18:18) where one shaves his head as a vow for a decided time, and at the end makes various sacrifices to God (Num 6).

        But I completely agree on the fact that we are saved through the grace given to us by the Father through Messiah, and that we must obey all of His Word afterwards in obedience.

        May you be a great blessing to all around you
        Ramesh

    2. Zackary Bostian

      Hello. Great article. I just came to the truth, and it really made me get more into the Old Testament as a recently new believer (3 months). Although, Elohim has been answering my prayers for truth, Praise Elohim, so I am grateful to find others who express Paul’s understandings in a correct context.

      I have come to love reading the law more now than before, since I didn’t think it applied today. Again may Elohim bless you and your family!

      Reply
      1. rameshdesilva Post author

        Dear Zackary,
        Thank you for the encouraging words Zackary. Hope all your questions get answered. (I had loads of questions…. 🙂 ) May you be a mighty blessing to everyone around you!

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    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Hi Michael,

      Not sure what you meant by the question “is this after his conversion?” – but wanted to give a brief commentary into the verse Rom 7:6.

      First of all we must remember not to read verses alone by themselves. These are letters written to a congregation and need to be read as such. We need to read at least the chapter to get a solid understanding of what paul is trying to say – or fall into the pitfall that peter warned about regarding Paul’s letters (2Pet 3:15,16)

      So Romans Chapter 7 starts off by making an important statement – Paul addresses “people who know the Law”. Rom 7:2-4 is addressing the betrothal(covenant) of God with His people. God’s Law stipulates in Deut 24:1-4 that a woman(God’s people) who has a husband(God), is bound by the Law to her husband(God). While the husband(God) lives, if the woman(God’s people) are married to another(false Gods/Sin) she shall be called an adultress(Hos 3:1, Jer 3:1). But if her husband(Yeshua) is dead, she is free from “that Law”(the law which named her an adultress) though she be married to another(glorified Yeshua risen from the dead). Wherefore my brothers, you also are become dead to the law(of adultery towards god) by the body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead.
      Rom 7:5 When we did not know God/were not born anew as a child of God, Sin (transgression of Law = Sin 1Jn 3:4) worked in us to bring forth the fruit of death.
      Rom 7:6 But now we are delivered from the Law (Law of adultery against God mentioned before), that being dead to our early lives (which brought forth the fruit of death), we should serve in newness of Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter (this is the new covenant – read Jer 31:31-33 – verse 33 is key – the new covenant = writing God’s Law in our hearts / read Ezek 11:19 as well).

      Remember that Paul is still speaking to people who know the Law.

      Rom 7:7 Is the Law sin? God forbid. The Law let’s us know what Sin is.

      Rom 7:8-11 Without the law, sin was dead. (because Sin = Transgression of Law. In other words, if there is no Law, there is no way of knowing what Sin is) When the Law was set forth by God, He was basically saying this is Sin, and this is righteousness. But because of the sinfulness inside me, I had no life through the Law, but death – because of my own sin which the Law had revealed.

      Rom 7:12 The Law is Holy, The Commandments holy, just and good.

      Rom 7:13 Was that that which is good(the Law) made death unto me? God forbid. But Sin is what worked death

      Rom 7:14 The Law is Spiritual. But I am flesh – a slave to sin.

      Reading Rom 7:6, We should not jump to the conclusion that the Law is Old or that we are dead to it. What Paul tried to explain was that we are dead to Sin through messiah’s sacrifice, so that we are delivered from the Law which stipulated we must die for our sins, so that we can serve in newness of Spirit (remember Paul called the Law Spiritual), meaning it needs to be written in our hearts(to the extent we live above sin/complete obedience to the law) rather than be limited to the letter. To sum it up, we must obey God’s Law by looking at it through Spiritual eyes – for example; Do not commit adultery does not simply mean the physical, but is also connected to your thoughts.

      Be a blessing to all around you

      Reply
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  8. Dayah De Silva

    http://biblehub.com/1_corinthians/9-19.htm
    We now have the Spirit in us that obeyed the Law….calling ABBA Father….Surely one must study the Tora..but all 613 laws and sacrifices associated with that is surely done away in the Massayah….what now need is to walk in the neness of the Spirit…bearing fruits…and pursue after Galatians 5:22

    Reply
    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Dear Dayah,

      1Co 9:21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

      Mat 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

      Gal 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

      The New Covenant
      Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

      His Law/Word will not be done away till the heavens and earth lasts. No one can add to His Law. No one can take away from His Law. (Deut 4:2, 12:32, Prov 30:6). As Paul said in Gal 3:15, if a man’s covenant cannot be added to or dis-annulled, how can God’s covenant be dis-annulled?

      Be a blessing to everyone around you

      Reply
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  10. Darwin

    Good day to you! I clearly understood what you trying to say, but my question is if the old testament was still valid up to now you mean we have to do the ceremonial sacrifices like offering of the lamp, etc? Because i don’t understand during the 1st century, Christians are still doing the sacrifices and offerings and feast days? How about the Christians from Greek speaking nation they are still going to Jerusalem to perform these things? How about tithes, is this still valid for us or not?

    Thanks brother!

    Reply
    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Dear Brother Darwin,

      I do believe that the Scriptures prove that God’s Covenants do not fade away or get abolished. Regarding your question about Sacrifices… sacrifices cannot be done today as God’s Temple in Jerusalem is not there after it was destroyed in 70AD by the Romans. In the 1st Century, sacrifices and offerings were still being done after Christ. Even the Apostle Paul engages in sacrifices in the Temple in Acts 21 (read https://biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/paul-falsely-accused-of-breaking-gods-law/)

      Paul is also seen going to Jerusalem for Pentecost (Pentecost which means 50 days is one of the 7 feast days from Lev 23)

      In the 1st century no Gentile was able to go beyond the “middle wall of partition”… according to Religious Restrictions instituted by the Pharisee/Sadducee authorities. So Greeks would not be able to do any Sacrifices, even if they wanted to. We see that many gentiles visited the Temple (eg. Ethiopian Eunuch, Greeks in John 12:20)

      There are 4 varieties of Tithes mentioned in the Scriptures: 1) Levitical Tithe: which goes to everyone descending from the Tribe of Levi who works at the Temple in Jerusalem. 2) Tithe of Tithes: Levites gave a tenth of what they got to the Priesthood who are the Sons descending from Aaron. 3) Poor Tithe: Tithe which is given to the Alien, Widow, fatherless – to people who need help. 4) Feast Tithe: Tithe which was to be used for celebration when a person visited Jerusalem on Feast days. Out of these 4 Biblical Tithes, only one is applicable today – The Poor Tithe. (Read https://biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/do-we-need-to-tithe-and-who-do-we-give-our-tithes-to/)

      Be a blessing to everyone around you!

      Reply
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  12. Craig

    Hi There,

    Thanks for the very useful info. I have recently been wondering a lot about Paul an your articles help me to confirm he was not a false profit and he did practice keeping the whole law. I do however have one or two things worrying me and hope you can help iron them out.

    1. Are the Disciples and Jews accusing Paul of breaking law of Moses here, Acts 21 KJV: http://biblehub.com/kjv/acts/21.htm

    2. In 1 Corinthians 7:10 onward it sounds like Paul is saying you can be save just because your relatives are saved through faith. This cannot be correct?

    3. In 1 Corinthians 9:20 Onward it sounds like Paul is playing the camelion and being deceitful to fit in amoungst others in order to “gain them”

    “Pleasing To All Men: A Good Thing or a Bad Thing?
    Paul says: “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” 1 Cor. 10:33 (KJV)
    Contrast what Jesus says about winning over all men so they speak well of you:

    ‘Woe to you when all men shall speak well of you — for according to these things were their fathers doing to false prophets.” (Luke 6:26 YLT)
    Then Paul later contradicts himself, implying that what he says in 1 Cor. 10:33 proves he is not serving Christ. Good luck to the Paulinists to unravel this:

    10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. ”

    4. “Who Should We Follow/Imitate? Paul? or Jesus?

    Peter tells us to imitate Christ. The author of Hebrews (Barnabas) likewise says Jesus is our example. But Paul says we are to imitate and follow himself. I am quoting here from “Church Myths — Church of Christ or Paul” by an anonymous author:

    In church do the sheep learn all about Jesus and what He instructs? Not as a rule. They are taught the gospel of Paul and not the gospel of Jesus. Well you may ask what is the difference. Well the main difference is that Jesus was God proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom. Jesus was to be our perfect example on how to live, yet Paul in his letters tells us how to live. Jesus told us to follow Him alone, yet Paul says 1Co 4:16 “Wherefore I beseech (beg) you, be ye followers of me.” … It is the Pope of Rome that instructs “his” church to be followers and imitators of himself. As a follower of Christ, I would NEVER tell some one to follow me. We follow Jesus only! Paul says,”Brothers, be imitators together of me, and mark those who walk this way, for you have us for a pattern.” Phi 3:17 (Church Myths – Church of Christ or Paul? June 23, 2005 http://www.justgivemethetruth.com reprinted at this link.)”

    Please can you help me understand these accusations I have come across.

    Regards,
    Craig

    Reply
    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Dear Brother Craig,

      1.James is saying that they have been told that Paul is teaching Jews to forsake

      Moasic Law and not circumcise their children(v21). This was a false accusation…

      as we read in verse 24 – James saying that people would get to know by the act of

      purification at the temple, that these accusations are false and he walks orderly

      and keeps the law.

      2. Yes it sounds like the spouse and children are saved/sanctified by the believing

      husband or wife. I believe what he is saying is that if there is a unbelieving

      spouse in a marriage, he/she can come to God through the believing spouse. That is

      how they can be saved/sanctified. The children would have been unholy/unrighteous

      if there wasn’t even one spouse who believed. But when there is a spouse who

      believes, the children will learn from that parent… the ways of God… and

      therefore become holy/saved/sanctified. I don’t think Paul was speaking of some

      sort of magical effect or transformation… even though some do interpret these

      verses that way.

      3.There could only be one of 2 conclusions to this question.
      A) Either Paul was deceitful and crafty so that he can make converts to God – where he acts one way towards the Jews, one way towards gentiles and one way towards the

      believers. before the Jews he obeys the Law. Before Gentiles he tells people not to

      obey the Law. This makes a big issue, as he would then be a hypocrite… much like

      Peter… whom he rebuked according to his letter to the Galatians.
      B) Paul was not deceitful to anyone, but rather understood where they came from. He

      tried to understand their mindset and speak to them in that way, whether they be

      Jews, people under Law and people without Law. And he is quick to say that even

      then he was under the Law to Christ.
      I believe in explanation B. As it makes sense with numerous other things he said,

      such as
      Gal 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ
      1Th 2:4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
      2Co 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

      4. Paul did ask followers to take him as an example and follow him. I do not see an issue with this. The reason being, when Paul is writing these letters there is no Gospels or New Testament or bible copies in the hands of the believers. They had not personally met Yeshua(Jesus)… so the only thing that they can see are the witnesses of the Messiah… and as long as the witnesses act/imitate Christ, the believers also imitate Christ. While Paul asks believers to imitate him in 1Co 4:16, he also further explains his intentions in 1Co 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

      Paul is definitely the most misunderstood apostle. Hope I have adequately answered your questions.

      Be a blessing to everyone around you!

      Reply
      1. Craig

        Many thanks Ramesh,

        Some good points and thoughts. One more thing that is on my mind is that christ said that he wont be seen again until his second coming. Did Paul claim that Christ literally appeared to him?

        Regards,
        Craig

      2. rameshdesilva Post author

        Dear Craig,
        If i’m not mistaken Paul did claim that Christ spoke to him 3 or 4 times. Appearing to him, i’m not that sure of…

        Be a blessing to everyone around you

      3. rameshdesilva Post author

        Dear Craig,
        I believe the argument of the article is based on Matt 24:5 & 23-27 and Acts 1:11. That many will come in His name and deceive His people. Also that Yeshua will not be seen till He comes once again to rule as King.

        How do we know a deceiver from a true follower? If he teaches the same precepts as his master. Paul fits a true follower, as he never goes against Yeshua’s words which is a reflection of the OT scriptures.

        Furthermore, Paul never said Christ is in the desert or anywhere else, trying to lead people to a particular place where He had been revealed. He merely explained his encounter with Christ. He did not even see Yeshua, as per the account in Acts 9.

        The other major issue is we will have to disregard the Book of Acts written by Luke, as a legitimate writing because Luke mentions these as what really happened. Christ not only spoke to Paul, but ananias as well. James, Peter and all other believers excepted Paul and heard his testimonies as truth many times… and if Paul was a deceiver, he had deceived them as well…

        Peter says that Paul writes letters with the wisdom that God has given him… and warns the believers that his words are twisted by some… Peter would have been deceived as well, if this article is true.

        In the end, we would have to conclude that the whole of the New Testament could also be false… as the writers were also duped by Paul according to this article.
        I guess we can add this into the heap of accusations against Paul.

        May you be a blessing everyone around you!

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