ST. PAUL: Complex, Educated, Controversial

 

As I’ve stated before, I believe that the entire Bible is the Word of God, which includes Paul’s epistles.  Paul was highly educated and complex.  Even Peter wrote that “some things” in Paul’s letters are “hard to understand” (2 Peter 3: 15, 16).  For years, I have read and re-read St. Paul’s letters, trying to understand what he meant by “the law.”   At first glance, his statements about “the law” might seem contradictory; but they are not.  First, we need to know what he means by “the law” because sometimes he is talking about the Law of Moses and other times is referring to “the law of sin and death” and so on.

I will not attempt to present all of the material that intrigues me about Paul in one post; so, I will start with the basic controversy stated in Acts 21: 17-24 KJV.  The controversy is whether or not Paul told Jews to abandon the Law of Moses.  (NOTE: Luke wrote the Book of Acts; so, when he says “we,” he is including himself.)

17 And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.

18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present.

19 When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.

20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord.  And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law;

21  “But they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. 22 “What then?  The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come.

23 “Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow.

24  “Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law.”

From this passage, we see that Paul kept the Law of Moses and did not teach Jews to abandon the Law.  Yes, Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the sacrificial laws.  (He WAS the perfect sacrifice.)  God’s temple is in the heart of every believer. However, Paul kept the Ten Commandments and encouraged others to do the same (2 Corinthians 3: 3).  He also celebrated the Feasts of the LORD (a.k.a. God’s Appointed Times), which I plan to point out in a future post.

English: Their are thousands of artworks creat...

English: Their are thousands of artworks created in the art world depicting St Paul. This painting was created by the famous artist called Rembrandt. It hangs on the walls of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

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