"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21

by A. Victor Garaffa

This is a  very lengthy in-depth scholarly analysis of Saul (13 chapters).  However discovering the truth about Paul is not easy. We do not endorse all that Mr Garaffa says, but the expose of this false apostle is quite outstanding.


Saul of Tarsus, better known as Saint Paul, has sometimes been a controversial figure in Christianity. The Gospels by themselves would feature as important wisdom literature, but Paul’s Epistles demonstrate the building of the real theology of Christianity. Although some dislike the apparent cultural inflections in the Epistles, without the theology of Saul of Tarsus there is no Christian Doctrine.

In this in-depth scholarly thesis by victor, he systematically analyses the letters of Saul – to set up his ultimate prosecution, and the accusation that Saul of Tarsus did not simply usurp the embryonic Jerusalem Church under Jesus’s brother James, but that he also corrupted the entire original message of Christianity as it was then into something utterly alien.



Before we begin to evaluate Paul’s character as it is brought to us by Luke’s, The Acts Of The Apostles, and his own New Testament letters, we should understand his origination and his basic genealogy. Parentage is extremely important to us, for Paul held Roman Citizenship as well as being a Jew by birth, and a Hellenist by theological determination.

It is inevitable then, that for this task we must turn to history, tradition, and Paul’s own words. The latter is the only biblical proof in evidence of his earliest beginnings.

Saul of Tarsus was born a Jew of Jewish parents in the city of Tarsus in Cilicia. His father had achieved Roman citizenship, and Paul inherited that high rank from him. He did not, on any account, earn it himself.

By his own word, Paul was, “…circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law a Pharisee…” (Philippians 3:5; RSV)

Paul was a dispersion Jew, not a Palestinian Jew as were Jesus and the disciples. It is important that we understand this, for Paul’s loyalties and practices as a Jew, were far different than the Christ and his Apostles. Paul was a Hellenist or Diaspora Jew, and for these reasons would have been more easily moved toward Christianity. It would also have been a natural evolution for him to theorize about a Gentile mission since he was more familiar with a less orthodox view than Palestinian Judaism. The latter would obviously include Jesus and his disciples.

There is no proof, or tradition, that Paul was a Rabbi although it is probable that he did study toward that goal. Luke indicates that he studied under Gamaliel, in Jerusalem. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 873: 763a)

“I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel…” (Acts 22:3; RSV)

The Gamaliel referred to in the scriptures, was the first of the famous rabbis of that name. He was a descendant of Hillel. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 86)

We must be alerted at once that there is no evidence that Paul was the primary or singular student of the famous Rabbi. To say one studied under, or at the feet of, Gamaliel or Hillel or any other great teacher, only meant that he studied in the school of that teacher. There were many students in each of the special rabbinical institutions but it did not mean that that Rabbi or teacher knew them.

Saul of Tarsus was, at this point, a non-descript bystander. What we have of him to this point, is that of his own word.

It is in this city that we first meet the chief character, and subject, of this thesis. It is a time of radical movements within the infant church, sparked by revolutionary figures of which Stephen seems to have been the most outspoken. Stephen appears to have been a teacher, though tradition has it that he was very young. He was a Hellenist, and obviously held to a philosophy that caused great concern to the Synagogue and the leaders of the new Christian religion.

Stephen was probably the most talented of the Hellenistic teachers. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume7: Page 182) He held that Israel as a kingdom had been unfaithful to its heritage, and that the true Israel was represented by the new church. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 7: Page 182)

This was a theme that Paul was later to adopt.

The Greek mind, that same Greek mind which had dared to regard its philosophy in a state as high as that of God’s word as given in the Holy Scriptures, now decried the Jewish religion and the Temple. It is interesting to make note of a statement put forth by professional theologians concerning Paul’s relationship with the Law. It is discussed at length later in this work, and brings us a true picture of the man’s character.

Though Stephen repudiated the old Israel, he did not reject the Law itself, which Paul did many years later. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 7: Page 182) At the end of an enraging, public discourse, Stephen is dragged out before a frenzied crowd, and is stoned to death. Saul of Tarsus first appears in Acts 7:58.

“Then they cast him out of the city, and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.” (Acts 7:58)

His position in the community is not known, nor his importance to those involved in the stoning of Stephen. No position of authority is given to Paul at this point in the Bible or in tradition, but his enthusiasm in persecuting the Christian Hellenists gives reign to the thought that he was most certainly a vigilante.

“Saul was consenting to his death.” (Acts 8:1; RSV)

“And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samaria, except the Apostles… But Saul laid waste the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.” (Acts 8:1 RSV)

Whatever position Paul held, he most certainly did not act alone. To physically drag people out of their homes and into prison he must have had assistance, and in light of what history will tell us, the beginnings of an organization of no small power.

Saul is never mentioned as having been a member of the Sanhedrin that condemned Stephen. It is only mentioned that he was a member of the Cilician synagogue. Luke only tells us that Paul gave his consent by holding the coats of those physically involved. Theologians read far more into Luke’s statement. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 106)

Regarding Saul’s authority to arrest and imprison the general population, this student would ask to which prison he sent them. Is it possible that Saul acted, not as an outraged Jew, but a Roman citizen? Did he arrest these people for sacrilegious activities or for sedition? We are given no clue, and in fact, even the theologians are puzzled about the area of Saul’s activity.

It is not believed that Paul carried out his work in Jerusalem. The Disciples were not indicted in the persecution, though they preached Jesus as the Christ in the synagogue. Galatians claims that Damascus was the center of Paul’s activity. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9; Page 107)

It is, in fact, to that very city that Saul seeks letters of authority to continue his persecution.

“But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:1-2; RSV)

What occurs next is plunged into controversy, debate, and contradiction. Saul’s conversion leaves much to be explained, and in its several varying forms, especially Saul’s own accounts, lays down the general ‘modus-operands’ of Saul’s entire ministry. It is one of constant contradiction, changes of loyalty, and an ever-growing attention to his own self-importance.

It begins with, Damascus. Saul’s conversion comes in the form of a vision. As set forth in Acts, this is written by a third party, Luke. Did he receive the story from his friend, Paul, or was he a witness? Paul’s own words bring us a sense of his experience and contradiction.

“Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do. The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.” (Acts 9:3-19; RSV)

Blinded by the light that he alone can see, Paul is sent to meet, Ananias. This disciple is to tell him of his mission and to heal Paul of his affliction.

These are purported to be Paul’s words as spoken to Luke. Paul offers witnesses, not by name, but by inference; “the men who were traveling with him.” The men are not named, we do not know who they might have been. They see nothing, but hear the voice.

We may assume many things, but can prove nothing. Chief among our objections to this report is clear. In the event of such an occurrence, including Jesus’ several experiences, witnesses are necessary.

Even in Jesus’ baptism there are witnesses, John the Baptist and his disciples, which group included Andrew. There were also three ‘named’ witnesses to the transfiguration. Throughout the history of the Bible, witnesses are provided who are named, and with whom we are familiar in the course of these events. Even Aaron is made part and party to the mission of Moses, spoken to by God and given the very words of God, (Exodus 4:15-16; RSV) as Moses received them in his vision of the burning bush. (Exodus 4:27-28)

Later, Paul speaks again through Luke, and the vision experience changes.

“Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me.” (Acts 22:9-13; RSV)

This time the witnesses hear no voice but they see the light. Oddly enough, they are not blinded as Paul is reported to have been. The statement is, however, absolute and it contradicts Paul’s previous account. Here again, Paul is sent to Ananias to receive his ‘calling’ and a restoration of his sight.

Later still, when Paul addresses King Agrippa, the witnesses hear nothing, they see nothing. and the vision becomes Paul’s alone.

“At midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining round me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language…” (Acts 26:13-14; RSV)

Hebrew, or Aramaic? It is irrelevant except to note that not only has this addition been made to the vision, but now the voice tells Paul what his task is to be. Ananias is forgotten, and nowhere does Paul state that he was blinded. Added also is the fact that this time, Paul claims that he sees the speaker.

In the other renditions Paul gives of his vision, he is told to go into the city and there he will, “… be told all that is appointed for you to do.” (Acts 22:10-11; RSV)

It is of importance to note once more, in the previous version (Acts 26:16-18; RSV) of Paul’s testimony there is no mention of his blindness, or of Ananias. In the end, we are to observe by his own words that Paul’s recovery from blindness did not involve a perfect ‘healing’. His own words testify to the fact that his sight-impairment was permanent and so he complained of it throughout his travels. At the last, he claims that his ‘thorn in the side, is of Satan. It would also appear that there was some matter of his being disfigured, unsightly to behold.

So the vision changes, subtly, but enough so that at the end Paul becomes the main character. He sees the great light enveloping himself and those around him, he hears the voice, and through it, he believes that he has been given a calling to minister to the Gentiles. Luke openly declares that Paul began at once to “… declare to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles…” (Acts 19:20)

In this, he also contradicts Luke, bringing doubt on his word.

The good physician has all this beginning at the moment of Paul’s ‘vision’, but in fact, none of it occurred for years. In the other versions, it is Ananias who heals Paul and tells him what his mission is to be. In this there is no mission to the Gentiles, unless Paul himself decided that Ananias’ words were to be interpreted in that manner. Surely Jesus, in his lifetime, adjured the Apostles to avoid the Gentiles and the Samaritans.

“… for you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard.” (Acts 22:15; RSV)

But there is one other situation in which Paul calls up the vision that eventually caused his ‘conversion’, and this time it is also in his own words. One must note carefully Paul’s choice of words, for they seem to camouflage the difference between that which others saw, and that which Paul experienced. He wants it to seem as though the events are the same, bearing the same substance, but they were not. Paul mentions it in connection with the appearances of the risen Jesus after his resurrection from the dead.

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the Apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

Make note that Paul ignores what later appears in the Gospel stories which tell us that the women were the first to see the living Jesus, not Peter. Surely he had knowledge of the oral tradition concerning these events. More enlightening is the fact that Paul seems to be making another, revised statement concerning his vision.

Those who saw Jesus at the times Paul indicates, beheld the living, in the flesh, Jesus of Nazareth. Paul’s vision seems to be taking on flesh and bone of its own. He is most certainly insinuating that he was confronted by the living Jesus, when in two accounts of the event he sees only a light and hears a voice. In the third, where the healing of his sight and Ananias’ instructions disappear, Paul claims to see Jesus, in the flesh, as he speaks to him.

It is upon this new tale that Paul bases his authority, contending that his ‘calling’ is the same as that of the Twelve, who were personally chosen by the living Christ, and that of James, Jesus’ brother.

Was he building a case for the future with which to defend attacks against his own self-proclaimed apostleship? Or was the event so monumental that Paul’s ability to function was becoming impaired. Was Festus correct? That which the church has taken as a slander against Paul’s character, may well have been an accurate assessment.

“And as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are mad; your great learning is turning you mad.” (Acts 26:24; RSV)

In regard to Paul’s words, suspicion is raised and is not easily removed. Paul has attempted to set up an argument that no one can assail. It is his word against the world; no witnesses, no proof provided, and in Paul’s mind none is needed. However, even professional theologians must offer their own explanation.

Professional theologians agree that Paul regarded his own experience with Christ near Damascus as being essentially the same as that of Cephas and James, to whom the resurrected Jesus had appeared. Of course, they also agree that no one can be certain of this. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 7: Page 191)(Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 873: 763b)

No one can say? No one can argue against a statement that infers God’s direct intervention in a matter. One may say that they ‘saw’ anything they wish when a spiritual agent is involved, without fear of contradiction. But in the end, their own actions, their own words, provide us with the truth.

“But when he who set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were (A)apostles before me…” (Galatians 1:15-17; RSV)

This statement is extremely important, for it will contradict Luke again when the visit, according to Paul, includes the Apostles extending him, “…the right hand of fellowship. (Galatians 2:9)

Oh, how Paul’s authority is to grow, even to the point of claiming that he is Nazarite!

Paul’s account in (Gal. 1:1), is given in the context of an argument over the nature of his apostleship. In order to valid his claim, he says that his call is free of all human authority. This includes the leaders of the Church at Jerusalem. He ignores Ananias completely, thereby erasing his place in the ‘vision’ story, and in doing so, he refutes Luke’s account, which may well have been derived from Paul’s own words at the time.

But this is the manner in which Paul operated, this was the manner in which he treated people who were not absolutely necessary to him. If God called Paul, he also called Ananias, not only for his ‘healing’, but also to instruct Paul in his new role. Paul chooses to disregard him as unnecessary.

At the writing of Galatians, Paul’s authority has grown beyond measure. He is now an ‘apostle’, and he proclaims his standing as, Nazarite, one chosen before his birth as a Prophet of God. No one may challenge his position, no one may challenge his authority, Paul has taken it beyond the realm of man into an arena which no one dare question. Yet God, the eternal Father, demands that we challenge it.

Paul’s only defense is to say that all of his claims are beyond ‘flesh and blood’, so it matters not what any one says including the Twelve, including Jesus’ brother James, including the Elders of the Jerusalem Church. This is the argument of one who does not dare to defend his statement, but one who wishes to avoid any coherent debate of his position by the simplest means possible. God did it, therefore there can be no discussion.

Paul’s claims are so insidious, that he has written authorities in our own time, contradicting themselves. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible: Page 974: 851e: (Galatians 1:15-16))

But as the same source has already commented, “That Paul saw Jesus in the flesh we cannot say.” Indeed, the variations and inconsistencies in Paul’s narrative concerning his ‘vision’ cause one to hesitate in accepting it at face value. One can easily see that it has grown with the telling.

And here, still in the presence of Festus, Bernice, and King Agrippa, another matter must be brought to our attention. It concerns Paul’s supposed imprisonment.

He was not actually a prisoner, not locked in chains within a cell and left to suffer. In fact, as we will discuss later, he was under house arrest at his own bidding and free to move about and have visitors. His journeys continued, but this time at the expense of the Romans and not his congregations. This is attested to by Felix and then King Agrippa himself.

“But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lys’ias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.” Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but should have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs.” (Revised Standard Version; Acts 24:22-23)

“And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.” (Revised Standard Version; Acts 26:32)

Paul constantly uses his ‘imprisonment’ to draw sympathy and attention to himself, but we shall see, at the proper time, that Paul was absolutely overjoyed at the circumstances he himself had created. Now he was free to preach to the soldiers and spread his gospel among them, something that might never have happened otherwise.

And why ask for Roman assistance to start with? Not from preaching the gospel, but Paul sought protection to save his own neck from a riot that he himself had caused. But more of this will be revealed later.

It must also be remembered that Saul of Tarsus, by his own admission, in his own words, was guilty of two murders.



It is here that we are met by inconsistency once again, only this time it is caused by the discrepancies in ‘biblical history’. Paul’s letters and the book of Acts disagree in important aspects, and it is Luke’s narrative that comes into question.

Even in our own studies, Paul creates controversy. Scholars are forced to choose which writing is legitimate, and in this case they must choose Galatians. The Interpreter’s Bible puts it as eloquently as is possible in a situation like this. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 126)

It is unfortunate that one writing must be set against another, especially so when one is authored by the writer of a synoptic gospel, Luke. If his facts were ‘disoriented’ when involving a personal friend whom he accompanied on many journeys, how far afield from the truth must his third hand essay of Jesus be? More so when Paul’s honesty is to come under close scrutiny later in this thesis. This is no trivial matter.

The beginning of Paul’s activities, according to Acts, begins almost simultaneously with his conversion, but Paul’s own account of events as written in Galatians, disagrees completely with Luke’s.

As we read of Paul’s activities in, Acts 9:20-29; 11:29-30; 15:1-29 or in Gal. 1:15-2:10, two very different pictures are presented, for Luke’s writing refuses to accept the element of time and its passage. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 10)

We are told repeatedly, by both Paul and his later interpreter’s, that he did not go up to Jerusalem until three years after his conversion. And in fact, Paul’s public ministry did not begin after that short visit, but at least fourteen years later. In the end, seventeen to twenty years pass into obscurity before we hear from Saul of Tarsus again.

But allow us to digress for the moment to fully explore this area of the New Testament. When discussing the events following Saul’s conversion, Acts must be examined against Paul’s own written word.

“For several days he was with the disciples at Damascus. And in the synagogues immediately he proclaimed Jesus…” (Acts 9:19-20; RSV)

“…I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were (A)apostles before me, but I went into Arabia…” (Galatians 1:16-17; RSV)

The contradictions are obvious, and are best stated by, The Interpreter’s Bible. Paul says that after his conversion he, “…went away into Arabia” (Gal. 1:17). Acts indicates that he began preaching at once. If nothing else, Luke’s account is historically incorrect. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 125)

The noted gospel writer comes under fire by his ‘presumed’ close friend’s written word. Luke seems to complicate matters by having the Jews of Damascus try to kill Paul in that city. Then, as though to compress time, he has Paul arrive in Jerusalem to join the disciples. But Paul is turned away. (Acts 9:23-26; KJV; RSV)

Paul states that it was three years before he went to Jerusalem. Luke has cut this to a matter of days. Luke indicates that Paul was turned away by the disciples in Jerusalem because they feared him. According to Paul, this is not true.

Paul swears that he was only in Jerusalem for fifteen days, and that the only Apostle he saw were Peter and James the Lord’s brother. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 125)

“Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other Apostles except James the Lord’s brother. (In what I am writing you, before God, I do not lie!)” (Galatians 1:18-20)

The fact that Paul is so adamant about what he has said, in fact swearing an oath that he is telling the truth, would force us to consider that he may well have been defending himself against someone else’s statement concerning the event. By swearing an oath in the matter we must also question why Paul would be so determined in denying a simple meeting with the disciples. If it is the first time we see this in evidence, it will not be the last.

Luke also tells us that Paul, “…preached boldly in the name of the Lord.” But this is contradicted by Galatians.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9; Page 125)

Though Paul went into Arabia, there is no suggestion as to how long he was permitted to stay in that country. Being forced to leave, he went to Damascus, and then after three years, went to Jerusalem. But why was Paul compelled to escape over the city wall? If theologians indicate that his preaching in the synagogues in Damascus was highly unlikely, it would have been even more improbable that he did so in King Aretas’ presence.

In fact, it was King Aretas, King of the Arabias, and not the Jews who tried to have Paul killed. The reason is unknown to this day, but Luke would have us believe that it was due to Paul’s preaching. So what is the truth of this matter?

Paul was always getting into trouble with authority figures, including the Disciples, and his stay in Arabia was probably very short. King Aretas IV, king of the Nabataens, reigned from 9 BC to 40 AD. For some reason, Paul angered Aretas and was forced to return to Damascus. It is doubtful, considering the time element and the circumstances, that it had anything to do with preaching the Gospel. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page459-460)

“At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of Damascus in order to seize me, but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped his hands.” (II Corinthians 11:32-33; RSV)

Paul does not tell us why he was pursued, and only pure conjecture would dare to assume that it was due to his preaching. It has been indicated by experts that it was highly unlikely at such an early period in Paul’s life. Beside the information given to us by theologians, we must also remember that it would be another fourteen years before Paul’s public ministry began.

Wherever he lingered, it was at this point that Paul retreated to Jerusalem. Looking at this matter with the advantage of having a fairly complete picture of Paul’s ‘problems’, he may well have had nowhere else to go but to the Apostles. It would seem that he had few if any choices.

At this point other opinions must be brought into the discussion, but it seems that major translators and theologians find our argument of some value.

It is doubtful that Paul was aware of any gentile mission at this time, and professional theologians agree with this conclusion. The next thirteen or fourteen years after the event on the Damascus road is a matter for conjecture. At that point he went to Arabia (the Nabataen kingdom). We cannot begin to suggest that he began his ‘ministry’ at this point in time. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 874: 764a)

There is also agreement that it was three years after his conversion that he went to Jerusalem. The visit was certainly not by invitation because the Jewish Christians were still terrified of Paul. Years later it would take the sponsorship of Barnabas to bring him to that city and the Jerusalem Church. The first visit, by all accounts including Paul’s, was short and involved a private meeting between Peter, James, and himself. (Galatians 1:18; RSV)

At this point, Paul sinks into oblivion. He is gone into regions which might have included his home of Tarsus in Turkey, and there it is possible that he stayed in the territories of Cilicia and Syria.

“Then I went into the regions of Syria and Celicia… Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas…” (Galatians 1:21-2:1; RSV)

By Paul’s own admission he was still unknown, “…by sight to the churches of Christ in Judea.” This statement is made in Galatians 1:22, indicating that he was still not actively preaching ‘in the world’.

But events were taking place, and as was usual, Paul’s ego was acting in direct opposition to good sense. This method of operation, as already noted, left Paul in a constant ‘escape’ mode. More unfortunately, it left those who were innocent bystanders to suffer the punishment better deserved by Paul himself. On more than one occasion, Paul escaped problems he had started, and left his so-called congregations to face the anger of civil and religious authorities.

“…And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists; but they were seeking to kill him. And when the brethren knew it, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him off to Tarsus.” (Acts 9:29-30; RSV)

Ac. 9:26-29 also argues against any Gentile mission before this time. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 874: 764a)

Peake’s Commentary on the Bible, makes a telling statement about this lengthy period in Paul’s life. It would appear to agree with the conclusions drawn by this student and the very word of Acts 9:30; Galatians 1:21, 2:1. The statement this volume makes is definite.

“Of these years we know nothing.” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 874: 764b)


The Letters

The journeys of Paul are covered, historically, by Acts. Volumes have been written with Luke’s chronologically arranged narrative as their guide, and with the assistance of Paul’s comments in his own letters. In some instances they speak of Paul’s intentions to travel to specific locations, but those intended visits were often thwarted by men and circumstances.

Between the two, however, the tale of his missionary adventures is well covered. Therefore, it is not necessary for this treatise to go over the identical soil again, but rather to study the letters he wrote in an extremely thorough manner. It is not Paul’s journeys that will reveal the man to us. There is no question as to his many ordeals throughout the Middle East and Europe, adventures that rival any of modern day, but his writings will evidence the motives behind his many pilgrimages.

In this study, we must also include those letters which we know are not Paul’s, and which testify to views that opposed those of his personal theology. We must include passages from Jesus’ teachings which Paul’s own thoughts and actions seem to contradict.

Within the context of this thesis, it would be wise to remember that the Gospels we are so familiar with, did not exist in written form until very late in Paul’s lifetime. Those sayings or deeds of Jesus that Paul mentions, predate the written Gospels, and in several instances, influence them.

An excellent example is Paul’s account of the Eucharist in 1 Corinthians 11:23. This is the oldest record of that event that has come down to us, and we will learn later that it is Paul’s influence that reflects in the Gospels. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 927: 804f)

It would also be proper to keep in mind that the Apostles were already practicing the ‘common’ meal, and in essence, the ‘Passover meal’, in remembrance of that last meal with their Lord. In practice, the Jerusalem Church honored Jesus’ instructions at the time of the last supper. There was no meal or sacrament commemorating Jesus’ death among the disciple’s congregation.

From the outset the congregation formed by the Apostles observed baptism and the Common Meal, but it was natural that those who had celebrated the Passover with him should remember the meal during which he had bidden them farewell. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 7: Page 180)

The information that Paul had concerning the life and teachings of Jesus, who was called the Christ, had to have come from third party information, an oral tradition that might have existed in Jerusalem, and the teachings of the Twelve which had been carried to areas in the middle-east by themselves and their own disciples.

Paul writes that he had received the custom, “…from the Lord.” It is obvious that he had not been present at the Last Supper, so what is Paul insinuating? The Interpreter’s Bible, openly disagrees with those who take his words to mean that he received this ‘sacrament’ in a vision from the risen Christ. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 135)

Of personal knowledge of Jesus, Paul had none! The philosophies and theologies that he created were of his own conception, and those colored by his education as a Pharisee in a Hellenistic world, and the pagan religions which surrounded him. His own writings evidence these influences.

Paul often added to simple messages, complicating them with his own theological theories. In was part of his literary method of operation. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 7: Page 21. IV)

With this in mind, we must search the world of the theologian and historian who have, by their own devices, attempted to catalog the writings of Paul in their proper chronological order.

Within the context of the New Testament, there are thirteen letters which were originally attributed to Paul. Through modern research, and the development of literary examination, only eight of these works can be directly attributed to his mission to the Gentiles, nine if we consider Ephesians, which is more than likely pseudononimus.

In the most widely accepted chronological order they are as follows:

  • 1 Thessalonians 49-50 AD
  • 1 Corinthians 54-55 AD
  • Galatians 54-55 AD
  • II Corinthians 55 AD
  • Romans 56 AD
  • Colossians 59-61 AD
  • Philemon 59-61 AD
  • Philippians 59-61 AD

Questions concerning II Thessalonians, would bring doubt as to Paul’s authorship. The eschatology is way off and there is also a prophecy of the advent of Evil. The anti-Christ who has all power evidences an ‘anti-religion’ theme rather than an ‘anti-Christian’ motif. It is certainly not Pauline.

The Interpreter’s Bible, reveals the thinking of professional researchers and their reasons for believing this second letter must be a later writing and not an authentic letter of Paul’s or anyone in his group. It is not only the theology that is in question, but the style and tone of II Thessalonians which form a basis for evidence against it being Paul’s. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 11: Page 250)

Even Peake’s Commentary on the Bible, takes into consideration the question of authenticity, noting that the challenge has grown as time passes. One of the biggest concerns is the apocalyptic nature of this second letter, most assuredly not Paul’s usual style. It is firmly believed that the letter is an imitation. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 996: 869e; Authenticity)

The question of Paul’s hand is also the case with, Ephesians.

A growing number of scholars now believe that the epistle is pseudonymous, but it must also be noted that this feeling is not unanimous; a number of excellent critics are not convinced that the letter is not Paul’s. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 597)

It was not uncommon for writers to use the name of well-known figures in order to bring importance to their own works, or to plagiarize the works of others. It is also possible that this may be the work of a member of Paul’s staff to whom he dictated a letter at an earlier moment. Several of the letters attributed to Paul were written by others for he certainly dictated several of them to ‘scribes’. From what we can learn from Paul’s own words, his eyesight never recovered sufficiently to allow him the ability to proceed with many such tasks on his own.

Evidently, as already pointed out, the healing he speaks of connected with his conversion ‘vision’ was an imperfect one, or is another of his fabrications. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 928: 805b)

We must then consider the letters titled, James and Hebrews. They are most certainly not Paul’s. The letter of James, is not only a direct contradiction of Paul’s theology of, ‘salvation based on faith alone’, but an assault and challenge to that theology.

Hebrews, calls up the vision of Jesus being descended of the priesthood, in fact, the priesthood of Melchizedeck. And the writer goes so far as to consider Jesus, a Son of God, and not the Son of God. (Hebrews 5:8-9; RSV)

The author is unknown, but this letter is written in the ‘high’ Greek, and brings to mind the descendency through Mary and her blood relationship to Elizabeth, who was descended from the High Priesthood of Aaron.

Here, Peake’s Commentary, speaks without hesitation. “…it can in no sense be regarded as a Pauline document…” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 927: 804f)

The writer of Hebrews, obviously calls up a knowledge that extent New Testament scripture has either deleted, ignored, or has conveniently forgotten. At any rate, it is a proper parallel to draw for the Messenger of God.

These writings are not consistent with Paul’s line of thought, nor are they in his style. Without question, they would refute that which he has preached. Although we do not have other writings to call upon, there are attacks upon Paul’s use of titles and authority to which he himself alludes.

Professionals voice the opinion that Paul’s assailants are unknown. They are shadowy figures that try to destroy his work. This student, however, believes that they are the Disciples, who disagree with Paul’s actions. It is easy to see why they hound him so relentlessly, for Paul continued to assume titles and authority that were not his. In fact, it is noted that Paul, “…was not of the sort to brood over his wounds.” Yet his letters continually wail about his physical ailments and his imagined persecution by the Judiazers. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 7: Page 201)

The effort of this theologian to coerce our minds toward mystifying enemies, is fruitless. Paul makes it obvious that the Judiazers were no less than Christ’s Apostles. Why they, ‘…hounded him so relentlessly…’ becomes obvious when the facts are presented. But the statement that, “Paul was not of the sort to brood over his wounds…” it is an absolute aberration, Paul does nothing less!

It is sufficient to indicate that, as usual with him, he managed to stir the anger and resentment of those most high in the organization of the Jerusalem Church and its followers. It was the Twelve, including Jesus’ brother, James, of whom he was most jealous. Could he have been preaching a gospel that was completely out of line with the truth they had lived?

Could it have been the Apostles and their followers who continually denounced Paul for embracing a commission to which he had no rightful claim, and for ministering to a false gospel? Even if it were, theologians most assuredly would not dare to implicate the Twelve. They would not dare force the world’s congregations to make a choice between Paul and the Twelve. What then? Incriminate someone else, the unnamed, unidentified, Judiazers.

With these matters stirring the imagination, we begin an intense examination of the writings of one called, Saul of Tarsus.


I Thessalonians

Our study of the Epistles begins with an old story repeated once again. Paul has come to Thessalonica after a bitter and painful experience at Philippi. What the exact details are, at this point in his writings, we do not know. Paul gives us no indication as to what had occurred, or what brought about his terrible treatment in that city. Sometimes, silence can indicate more than words.

Paul makes no reference to his misfortune having come from preaching a gospel about Jesus of Nazareth. In the same manner, King Aretas tried to have him captured and put to death for some unknown trespass. Theologians only assume that it was due to his preaching, for Paul remains silent. If that premise had been true, keeping in mind the manner in which Paul always boasted about sermonizing his gospel, he would not have hesitated to make the point once again.

But one might as easily conjecture that the missionary’s egoistic attitude and his self-proclaimed importance, as authoritative and insulting as it will prove out to have been, caused him more problems than anything else.

It is obvious from works other than Paul’s, that the authorities were still-hunting down the followers of Jesus for sedition and not for religious reasons. This is made plain from the report we have concerning Jason, and the authorities in Thessalonica. The trouble was started by Paul.

Paul had preached to the Jews, with some success among the Jews and Gentile believers. Acts suggests that the Jews, aroused with resentment, organized a riot during which Paul and Silvanus hurriedly left the city. This violent action caused trouble with the civil authorities and made it necessary for Paul to bring his crusade to an abrupt end and move to Beroea. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 996: 869b)

“…they dragged Jason and some of the brethren before the city authorities… and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” (Acts 17: 6-7; RSV)

Luke states that the Jews could not find Paul so, “…they dragged Jason and some of the brethren before the city authorities, crying, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them; and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” (Acts 17:6-7 RSV)

Paul left the Thessalonian Christians to suffer at the hands of their own countrymen. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 912: 794e)

As soon as there was any indication that trouble was headed their way, Paul and his associates manage to escape the predicament.

“The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea.” (Acts 17:10; RSV)

Once again, Paul is aided in a stealthy escape, leaving those he called ‘brethren’ behind to suffer the direct affront of the civil authorities. Such was the case in the Arabias, and in Damascus. The instigator manages to slip away from the punishment suffered by his followers. In this scenario, Peake’s Commentary also agrees. They suggest that the missionaries may have appealed to the pagan population. This may also have terminated in trouble with the civil authorities, as described in Acts, which forced Paul to bring his campaign to an abrupt end and flee to Beroea. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 996: 869b)

This is not the first, or the last, time Paul would leave others to pay the price for his actions. Anxiety finally irritates Paul’s conscience, but he is still above the problems he has caused others. Let it suffice to say that Paul was not always to be a free man, but even that device was by his own invention.

From here, Paul proceeded to Athens alone and then to Corinth. In a depressed state of mind and in ill health after his failure at Athens, we finally see evidence of some anxiety on Paul’s part concerning the state of affairs in which he left the brethren in Thessalonica. Timothy is sent to investigate the situation.

Paul’s anxiety over Thessalonica prompts him to call Timothy from Beroea to Athens (Acts. 17:15). He was sent to Thessalonica (1Thesslonicans 3:1) to find out how Jason and the others were doing in face of, “…official opposition…” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 996: 869c)

Here, our professional friends are kind enough to consider the problem that Paul caused as, ‘official opposition’.

Upon the return of Timothy and Silvanus, with a report that the brethren have not only survived attacks by the authorities and the Jews but are doing well, Paul writes to the church at Thessalonica. The letter most probably dates to 50 A.D. There is obvious relief in the tone of this writing, and we begin our study of that letter with this short history in mind.

Paul introduces himself and his two fellow missionaries, Silvanus and Timothy. At this point, Barnabas, Paul’s sponsor and chief agent in the beginnings of the church at Antioch, is no longer with Paul. He has been replaced by Silvanus, after carrying the major portion of the work in Corinth, Iconium, and Lystra. But it is not unusual for Paul to ‘rid’ himself of those who might bring question upon that which he considers to be his own work, as well as inquiries concerning his authority, as we will see.

The honest scholar must remember that it was Barnabas who, at a most opportune moment, expressed faith in Paul, was successful in bringing him before the several disciples, and started him in his lifework. That, of course, did not begin for another fourteen years after this first meeting in Jerusalem. Barnabas was held in the highest esteem by the Apostles, who gave him a new name, “Barnabas, son of encouragement.” He constantly discovered and educated others who overshadowed him, as proven by his selection of Paul and John Mark.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 468)

Now, Barnabas is cast aside, Silas takes his place, and Paul takes credit for mentor’s work in Corinth, Iconium, and Lystra.

This is reported in Acts 4:36; 13:1; 1 Corinthians 12:28. Timothy is also chosen to take John Mark’s place, who left Paul for reasons which will shortly be revealed. (Acts 13:5c; 15:37-38; 17:15) (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 11: Page 254)

Paul’s character would never permit another to be known in this light, for it immediately cast doubt on the claim that his authority and his call did not come from mortal men! Especially with Barnabas’ work in Antioch, Corinth, Iconium, and Lystra, and being widely renowned throughout the Jerusalem Church.

But why did John Mark choose not to continue his journey with Paul?

“And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Come, let us return and visit the brethren in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” And Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. And there was a sharp contention, so that they separated from each other; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed…” (Acts 15:36-40; RSV) (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 208)

Though not known for certain, this student believes that Mark saw what Paul was about, his manner and his method, and disapproving, separated himself from the man.

After all of his hard work in establishing four churches which Paul later takes credit for, Barnabas is suddenly gone from the remaining epic. We will never know the true story since the author of this narrative is the one who caused the removal of these two missionaries much as he erased the place of Ananias in the story of his ‘conversion vision’.

Stranger still, while under continuing protective custody and toward the end of his life, Paul asks specifically for John Mark, claiming that he is very useful in serving him. (II Timothy 4:11) This is something of a discrepancy.

We must also make mention of Paul’s use of the proper name, Jesus Christ, and we are told that he meant it as such! The name, as used by Paul, appears ten times. It is, obviously, a phrase coined by Paul of which we see much as his theologies grow. ( Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 19)

It is, in fact, an improper name for, Jesus who is called the Christ; who is God’s Messiah.. It was coined and used by Paul regardless of the fact that it was incorrect. That it has become a common term within the bounds of Christianity, is only one small example of the effect this individual has on our modern theological practices.

“For we know, brethren beloved by God, that he has chosen you; for our gospel came to you not only in the word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5; RSV)

Paul’s obsession with his own person, his own authority, his own gospel, begin to make their mark and professional interpreters agree with this fact. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 11: Page 261)

First, I address the terminology used by Paul, ‘our gospel’. This is a term that Paul uses constantly, and although it appears quite innocent at this writing, later it takes on much greater significance. Of first note, it tells us that other gospels were being actively spread through this same territory.

Second, Paul says that this gospel, “…came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit…” (1 Thessalonians 1:4; RSV)

Where did Paul receive this gift? It was not bestowed upon him by the Apostles, and most assuredly not by Jesus. He was not present at Pentecost. What we seem to have is Paul’s generalization of a very specific, physical act in which certain individuals are given the gifts of God’s Spirit. Paul uses it here to expound the authority of his gospel, but no ‘gift’ as is usual with this agency is in evidence.

Our professional interpreter’s have nothing to say about this oddity, which today, is in common use within the body of the church. It is expressed whenever any one wishes to impress others with the authority or importance of an act or statement, when no such power has actually been given. Paul obviously uses it in this context in his writing. Peake’s Commentary, however, seems to give reason to Paul’s writing, and we shall not leave their thoughts out. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; page 997: 870b)

The Greek text uses the term, pneumati agio, which is not indicative of the Holy Spirit himself, but of his gift. In this case, Paul considers his gospel to be a gift of the Spirit.

As a personal comment by this student, I would venture a word of caution. Those who comprise the body of the church today have adopted a very dangerous concept. It is, expressly, that no other spiritual power can possible evidence itself in the works of man in his ‘congregation’ other than God or His Holy Spirit. There is, however, another power that any sane individual must always take into account when pursuing matters that are beyond mortal concepts.

Jesus warned us of it in a most serious manner, but we have chosen to make light of that source of spiritual energy. Here, we note a comment of the translator’s that might best be taken with a grain of salt, for there is one power beyond all others save the Lord God of Hosts and His Holy Spirit, which can also lead man astray without his ever being aware of that interference. It is beyond foolishness to make jokes, or to wave aside as insignificant, an enemy that has the power to seduce and destroy us without effort.

To believe that we have the power to overcome that One, to laugh at that existence when one has never faced it flesh-to-flesh, breath-to-breath, and face-to- face is to invite certain disaster. In this instance, when the shadows are being lifted from the character of Paul for the first time, it would be best to reserve our judgment as to which power was leading the direction of the ‘church’ and the man.

When involved in mortal combat, it is always wise to know your enemy. In our case, we have chosen to ignore him. But it is time to continue with Paul’s letter.

“…Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” (I Thessalonians 1:10; RSV)

Since Paul envisioned Jesus’ return in his own lifetime, it is likely that Paul also conceived of a ‘timeless’ savior (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 11: Page 265) who would deliver those who believed in him from the Day of Judgment, the Day of God’s wrath. Unfortunately, Jesus is reflected in Revelation as stating just the opposite.

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12; RSV)

It is also interesting to note the problem that Paul had at Philippi. In this letter, Paul does not bother to explain what problems they had encountered. He simply states that they were, “…shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know…” (I Thessalonians 2:2)

However, if Luke is to be believed in this scenario, Paul’s quick temper and irritable nature provide the vehicle for their being put into prison. If Paul had such power, than this would be the only evidence of it in his entire ministry. Paul never mentions it, and might well have been embarrassed by the revelation of his uncalled-for deed.

“As we were going to the place of worship, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by soothsaying. She followed Paul and us, crying, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul was annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.” (Acts 16:16-18; RSV)

“…’spirit of divination; literally ‘python’, a name derived from the serpent slain by Apollo at Delphi. Since the Delphic priestess was inspired to give oracles, a ‘python spirit’ meant a spirit of soothsaying.” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; page 911: 793 L) This statement is quoted here as a matter of definition, and nothing more.

The resulting outcry is not what concerns us here, it is the matter of Paul casting out a gift of the Spirit because it annoyed him. This ‘gift’, one of many that were manifest at Pentecost, and of which Paul spoke as being evidenced within the ‘church’ as the gift of prophecy, originally meaning, ‘foreseeing’, was surely given by the Holy Spirit, for it apparently proclaimed the authority of God and His Spirit. There is no conclusion made that it was an evil spirit.

The woman makes use of the title, “Most High God.” See, Luke 8:28 where, as here, it occurs in the utterance of a demoniac. It was used in syncretistic cults as a title for a supreme deity, being derived from Judaism. There is no reason to believe that this woman, or her owners, belonged to such a cult. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 911: 793j)

The theologians attempt to convict the girl as a ‘demoniac’, but there is no such charge established or even hinted at by Paul or Luke. It is absolute rubbish to attempt a cover-up for this act of outright ‘vandalism’ with unauthenticated accusations. And if the truth be known, Paul himself was influenced by his Pharisaic education, his Hellenistic upbringing, and the pagan religions that influenced him and his times.

One must surely keep this negligent act in mind when evaluating the nature of the man. If this is truly the reason for their ‘shameful treatment. It was Paul who brought it on himself, and not those who resided in Philippi. And it was not caused by his preaching any gospel. Regardless of the spirit’s ‘residence’, or the owners’ profession, he had no right to do what he did, especially because he, “….was annoyed.”

Keep in mind that the gift of ‘prophecy’ is highly regarded by Paul. The powers of ‘divination’ and ‘soothsaying’, are no less than the gift of prophecy.

It is here that Paul makes his first claim to a questionable authority. It is a claim that will bring immediate and harsh response from those in the Jerusalem Church. The Twelve and the church elders, who are to remain Paul’s constant adversaries, are quick to respond to his outrageous claim.

“…nor did we seek glory from men, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.” (I Thessalonians 2:6; RSV)

Paul has grown in stature. From a mysterious vision near the Damascus Road, to being the bearer of ‘his’ gospel, to being “…approved by God…” (I Thessalonians 2:4; RSV) to being an apostle. The fact that this statement is openly challenged comes to light through Paul’s own written word, which we will investigate within this thesis.

The point here is that until that moment, the ‘Apostles’ were the ‘Twelve’, chosen by Jesus! Although this was fully discussed in, ‘In Defense of the Apostles Faith’, we must note that there can be no higher calling than to have been chosen by the Christ himself. This was not the case with Paul, who in an effort to begin casting the frame of a self-pronounced authority, reduces the meaning of ‘apostle’ to some lesser definition.

In this instance, he proceeds the term with, ‘WE’.. It is very shortly to become, ‘ME’. There is no explanation given by theologians or interpreter’s for Paul’s sudden use of the title except to apply it to himself whenever his name is mentioned. Yet, there is no evidence as to how he attained this position save by his own proclamation.

See: Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 997: 870g

It is not clear if this statement by the theologians points toward the, Twelve, or Paul’s group. There is certainly no evidence that Paul or any of his following were commissioned by Christ as his apostles. But the modern church has gone Paul one better by proclaiming him to be, Saint Paul.

It is also stated that they are preaching, “…the gospel of God.” (I Thessalonians 2:9; RSV)

“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as what it really is, the word of God…” (I Thessalonians 2:13; RSV)

This claim is to be extremely revealing in future correspondence. The statement becomes extraordinary later as Paul’s thinking becomes more telling and his battle against the Gospel preached by the Apostles, escalates. Paul is saying that the church is to take the gospel he preaches as the word of God Himself, not as a gospel preached by men. The authoritative tone is striking.

Paul then makes an all-condemning statement which, in later ages, the church takes up with a vengeance.

“…for you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out…”

We have already learned that Paul was a Diaspora Jew, and one proud both of his heritage and his standing as a Pharisee. He would be whenever convenience demanded it. Now however, he turns on his own countrymen as he will later turn on all that he learned, “…at the feet of Gamaliel, educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers…” (Acts 22:3; RSV)

Paul’s words are even questioned by professional theologians who find his attitude severe, and unreconciled with his normal view of his fellow Jews. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 998: 870h)

Even in this passage the theologian makes the daring statement that the Jews were guilty of the crime of crucifixion. I would remand all students and teachers alike to review the Gospel stories with great care.

The Jews as a people, and especially the Palestinian Jews, had nothing to do with seeking Jesus’ death. And although the Pharisees, the priesthood, sought to have him killed they did not crucify him and he was not put to death for any religious crime, i.e., heresy, apostasy, or sacrilege. It is in order to note, however, just how Paul’s ideas have filtered down to our modern minds.

Paul continues with this unhappy disposition. Giving voice concerning his previous plans to visit Thessalonica, possibly on more than one occasion, he tells us that he was deprived of that meeting, claiming that, “…Satan hindered us.”

This statement takes us back to the ease with which spiritual terminology flows off the lips of men, especially Paul, for it is highly questionable as to whether he faced that One in the flesh. It also brings an interesting statement from the Interpreter’s Bible.

Luke, in Acts 16:6 tells us that Paul is said to have been “forbidden by the Holy Spirit” to preach the word in Asia. According to Acts 16:7, when he wanted to go to Bithynia “the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them” (cf. I Cor. 16:9). Again, professional Christians question how Paul was able to determine whether it was Satan or the Spirit who changed his plans.

This writer is one who believes that the decision was made according to Paul’s mood and what he desired. If he wanted to do something and unfortunate circumstances prevented it, then it was Satan who plotted against him. If he languished about a journey, or was hesitant about doing something and decided against it, then the Holy Spirit had intervened on his behalf.

Paul was, in fact, much like the church today, users of words but less acquainted with the ‘spirituality’ of the thing than they would have us believe. Too many things are said for convenience sake rather than from a true knowledge of the entities involved. Claims are made about the Holy Spirit without a real experience with God’s Spirit. Claims are made about the Evil One without a factual confrontation with that being.

Paul’s letter has dealt with things past, and he recalls having sent Timothy to check on the community. Now he revels in the present with Timothy returned bringing good news. However, Paul’s communication gives evidence that someone is attempting to ‘undermine’ his work.

“…we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s servant in the gospel of Christ, to establish you in your faith and to exhort you, that no one be moved…” (I Thessalonians 2-3; RSV)

As was usual with Paul, terms that he uses are found nowhere else in the Greek scriptures. The words here mean, to be ‘deceived’ or ‘led astray’. This would seem to indicate that others might be at work to hinder Paul’s gospel. The scholars of, The Interpreter’s Bible, agree. (The Interpreter’s bible; Volume 11: Page 285)

“…for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and that our labor would be in vain.” (I Thessalonians 3:5)

Was Paul speaking of the Evil One, or some party who might believe that Paul’s gospel was not the correct gospel? This is a growing theme, not only in Paul’s mind, but also in his writings to the various churches. In this case, Peake’s believes that he is referring to Satan, but that One does not come to Paul as himself, but is reflected in Paul’s mind, “…in the person of the Jews who were trying to undo all the achievements of the campaign (cf 2:1-12).” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 998: 871d)

We must keep in mind that the, Twelve, were Jews; that the Jerusalem Church, was the Judaic-Christian movement, and that Paul was preaching without a first hand knowledge of Jesus’ life actions or teachings. His gospel was coming from his interpretation of what he had heard from third parties via an oral tradition and not from an actual life experience.

We must also keep in mind that Jesus’ mission was a Palestinian movement, and a Galilean. Paul, being a Dispersion Jew, would not place the same definitions and values on religious matters as Jesus and the disciples did. This can be verified by the fact of their different views and dates of celebration of, The Passover.

We must continually remind ourselves that the misfortune experienced by the Thessalonian congregation was brought down on them by Paul. He has, however, once again escaped the pain and anguish that he has caused others. This time there appears to have been great anxiety on his part, perhaps from feelings of guilt.

Paul goes on to indicate that he and his associates had taught the Thessalonians how they, “…ought to live and please God, just as you are doing, you do so more and more.” (I Thessalonians 4:1)

He then goes on to outline what has already been instructed about immorality, marriage, and social behavior. But Paul does not include us in the particulars of these concepts and we are left to gather them from later writings. He does, however, leave us with a threat of God’s vengeance. “…for whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.” (I Thessalonians 4:8; RSV)

It is indicative of Paul’s nature that he supports the authority of his teachings with a threat of violence that will be occasioned by The Almighty should anyone disregard his word. Quite obviously Paul believes that his instruction, his ‘word’, is the word of God, and to deviate from his instructions is to bring the wrath of God down on their heads. Having completed this part of the letter, Paul states his theology very clearly. His utmost expectation was that Jesus was going to return at any moment, without fail, during his lifetime.

“For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep… And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians: 4: 14-17; RSV)

As uncertain as any one else, Paul opens a part of the letter that would appear to be derived from Jesus teaching about the coming of the Kingdom. It is completely foreign to any of Jesus’ teachings about the Kingdom of Heaven, and in the Gospels, this parable has political overtones. Here, Paul uses it to refer to the return of, Jesus. Theologians and translators alike, however, have difficulty with this.

“You yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” (I Thessalonians 5:2; RSV)

As to Paul’s teaching on how to live, we have no indication as to how they came to this knowledge. It is the theologian’s belief that it is Paul’s teaching, as elsewhere in the letters to the Thessalonians, and not God’s. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 11: Page 308)

In other words, this is probably Paul’s personal belief concerning the parousia. Even though it corresponds with the Gospels, as we have already pointed out, it is in a completely foreign context to that which Jesus was teaching. Paul continues with the very core of Christian belief, the sacrifice of Jesus’ life for our salvation.

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we wake or sleep we might live with him.” (I Thessalonians 5:9-10)

The traditional act of the blood offering of a human sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, is as ancient as man. It has appeared in every society at one time or another. It has eventually been replaced by a God of love and compassion who has forgiven those who follow His ordinances and attempt to lead a righteous life through the path He has chosen for them. This is true in every case, with the exception of Christianity.

This custom is propelled by Paul throughout his ministry and continues to be the very center of the Christian faith.

Paul ends the letter beseeching the Thessalonians to commit themselves to ‘righteous’ living and kindness to one another. In doing so, we must pay attention to his final admonition.

“Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophesying, but test everything; hold fast to what is good, abstain from every form of evil.” (I Thessalonians 5:19-22)

From the example we have of Paul’s actions in casting out the spirit of ‘divination’ in Acts, it might be proper to note that he is apparently asking his followers to, ‘Do what I say, not what I do.”

One other matter must be considered before we end this examination of 1 Thessalonians. Timothy has been referred to as being alone in Thessalonica. But as we are to learn, when Paul sent someone to ‘correct’ or ‘admonish’ a congregation, he never sent them without an escort of three or four of the ‘brothers’. This is to be proved later in our study, but for the moment, suspicion reigns.

Having already discussed the relevance of II Thessalonians, it would still be a good idea for the honest student to read through that epistle. The differences should be obvious to even the least informed reader, for in it, Jesus becomes the destroyer, (II Thessalonians 1:6-9) there is reference made to letters, “…purporting to be from us…”, (II Thessalonians 2:2) which indicates Paul’s growing paranoia concerning his teachings, i.e.; his gospel.

There is a tone of apocalyptic nature in the description of the ‘rebellion’, and a, ‘man of lawlessness, the son of perdition’. (II Thessalonians 2:3-4)

None of this is evidenced in any other of Paul’s writings. Aside from this, more perfect forms of the high Greek are used which are not a part of Paul’s usual writing style or ability. And professional Christian theologians agree that it is not of the Pauline corpus. For study’s sake, the reasons are repeated here. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 996: 869e)

With this in mind, we move on to that which is usually considered Paul’s next letter, I Corinthians.


I Corinthians

This letter dates approximately 54-55 A.D., and is written in the city of Ephesus. Peake’s Commentary, dates it slightly later. (“If time is allowed for his journeys since he left Corinth, Paul’s letter may be dated c. A.D. 55-6, its place of origin being Ephesus.” Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 954: 829a)

It was a city which had fostered a society of ‘loose moral character’, and even having accepted Paul’s teachings, saw no reason why they should have to give up their sexual practices.

Obviously this problem would be accentuated in Paul’s mind since he took a stand on the opposite side of the scale, absolute abstinence. How then might he consider himself an authority on marriage, and the social and marital differences between husband and wife? Your guess is as good as mine, but he does.

The meat of this writing, however, begins in another direction. As we have already noted, Paul used the title of, apostle, with the pronoun, ‘we’. Now he uses it of himself.

” Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus…” (I Corinthians 1:1; RSV)

Keep in mind that the meanings of the terms, apostle, Christ Jesus, and saints, are inventions of Paul’s mind. The name Jesus, and the title, Christ, are used extensively in this letter, and most improperly as the Interpreter’s Bible notes. In the first ten verses, the name appears ten times. Christ is no longer used as a title, but a proper name. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 19)

In this letter, the first known challenge to the use of the self-proclaimed title appears. Paul must make a defense and so begins with the use of a commission, which correctly belonging to only twelve men, by the will of God through the direct proclamation of the living Jesus. Taking the tone of his letter into account, and the character of the man, Paul makes certain that he answers the challenge by claiming the commission to himself, “…by the will of God.” (I Corinthians 1:1; RSV)

Paul’s thinking is empirical as he tries to defend his self-proclaimed apostleship. He claims that his calling is by Christ Jesus himself. This, therefore, would be in accord with the will of God. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 14) This type of claim is beyond argument and cannot be questioned by man. One may accept, or reject, the claim but it cannot be argued. Unfortunately, Paul’s congregations chose to remain silent.

Other than the mention of this commission in I Thessalonians, Paul has made no claim that the ‘living’ Jesus had appointed him as an apostle. It had no part in any of three renditions of his conversion vision, but might be explained due to the work of others and the respect they were given by the ‘church’ in general.

Barnabas, Timothy, Apollos, and even Cephas were agreed by all to have authority in the cities which housed the new church. Cephas especially since he was an Apostle appointed by the living Jesus. These men had labored far and wide in organizing and establishing congregations in the various cities, now it would seem that Paul must have a ‘badge’ in order to carry on his work.

Is this then, a sign of jealousy? Perhaps it was Paul’s way of saying, “I am as good as you, see what I am doing in Jesus’ name?” Later, he does make this claim, but time will tell. T here is more that we must make note of at this point.

Paul’s use of the word, ‘called’. Paul is ‘called’; the congregation is, “… called to be saints…” (I Corinthians 1:2; RSV)

Though it will be discussed later, we repeat the fact that Paul was a Jew, and a Pharisee. In the letter to the Romans, Paul also expounds on this word, which becomes a theology of ‘election’, which will be fully explained at that time. The Chosen are ‘called’, ‘predestined’ by God. This becomes a major theme in the life of the modern church and its most gifted theologians, including Luther. Keep in mind that ‘predestination’ was a major theme of the Pharisees, Paul’s Jewish sect.

It is also proper to call one’s attention to the guile with which the man operated, even at a distance from the various congregations. First, he applauds them.

“I give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge – even as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you – so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift…” (I Corinthians 1:4-7; RSV)

When they have been taken in by this apparent compliment, he turns on the congregation and denounces the very matters on which he had just congratulated them.

The letters in general, began with a ‘thanksgiving’, and were followed by a salutation. In this letter, it is slightly ironic. Paul gives thanks for some of these ‘spiritual’ gifts, but he becomes very critical of them in the body of the letter. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 18-19)

Paul criticizes the Corinthians and their claims about speaking in tongues (chapters 12-14). (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 19; Para. 5-9)

Paul immediately addresses an urgent problem in the Corinthian brotherhood, there are those who have taught there beside himself; Apollos and Cephas (Peter). Evidently they have taken novel approaches to the gospel, or have been so accomplished in their teaching that members of the congregation are attracted by the magnetic personalities of these two men.

Paul immediately takes exception to this natural reaction. But rather than facing it on the basis of his own envy, he makes it appear as though the two men are attempting to lead the congregation away from Jesus.

“What I mean is that each one of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas…” (I Corinthians 1:12 RSV)

But Paul adds another, “…I belong to…” in an effort to keep the gathering his own. It is a pretense pure and simple.

“…or “I belong to Christ.” (I Corinthians 1:12; RSV)

One would seriously doubt that a congregation called together in the name of The Christ, would suddenly cast him aside. Neither Apollos or Cephas would ever preach in a manner detrimental to Jesus. What seems to have happened is that members were attracted to one or the other teacher, a simple, human reaction. Paul, however, must take it to the extreme.

Obviously, since Cephas’ and Apollos’ taught the Gospel of Jesus, and their teaching was so enjoyable and attractive, it would lead the Corinthians directly to a closer life in the Christ. They certainly did not preach for personal gain, nor did they preach a gospel other than Jesus as Messiah. Paul’s true purpose is clear. The actual problem that Paul sees in their idolizing one or another person as a teacher, is the fact that it takes away from his authority.

Even professional theologians have enough insight to recognize what is going on. As they state, Paul’s complaining was not, “…primarily theological but personal,” and “…the real cause of dissension lay in allegiance to individual teachers.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 20-21)

Paul explains that he is happy that he did not baptize many lest they begin to say, “…they were baptized in my name.” (I Corinthians 1:15; RSV)

Of course, he must immediately list all those whom he has baptized since his egoistic nature will permit nothing less. Never lacking for words, Paul continually gives himself away. He has also revealed something which he might better have kept secret. Disclosing his agents does away with their ability serve him in the future.

“For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brethren.” (I Corinthians 1:11 RSV)

Whether in the congregations themselves, or within the parties that Paul sent out to them, there were those loyal to Paul who were ready to report to him on everything that took place within the ‘church’.

His dialogue then goes into a discussion of ‘power’ and ‘wisdom’ as things of the world.. To him, they are useless in coming to know God. At this point, his writing leaves even the learned theologians and translators in the dark as to his meaning. If he considered these congregations as simple and lowly, they would certainly have been lost in Paul’s, ‘technically philosophical phrases’. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 33)

“…but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are…” (I Corinthians 1:27-28; RSV)

The bravest of theologians can only surmise that this statement was possibly a, “… technical philosophical phrase.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 33)

Paul makes little of wisdom and knowledge, they have become of no account to know God’s will or His way in this world.

“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” (I Corinthians 1:17; RSV)

How Paul could consider that his preaching of the gospel, in any manner, could lessen the cross is beyond my understanding and the understanding of others. It is enough to realize that at this point, having congratulated the Corinthians on their knowledge, he now deflates all that he has built up in them.

If the gospels tell the truth, the ‘rulers of this age’ did not crucify Jesus, (I Corinthians 1:17; RSV), but used a path of deception through Pilate, to save Jesus. This must be considered on behalf of a billion and a half souls who do not believe that he died on the cross. In truth, Paul knows nothing of Jesus’ trial or his apparent crucifixion. He certainly could not have heard it from the Apostles, for they were not there either.

Paul has laid claim to several things at this point; a vision that marked him for a service that he had attempted to destroy, a “Nazarite” calling, predestined as a ‘chosen one’ of God, an apostolic commission, the sole founder of several groups of believers, and now the full power of the Spirit of God so that he and the ‘saved’ might, “…interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit… The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (I Corinthians 1:17; RSV)

Beware, for Paul makes this an innocent statement in order to reprove the Corinthians, but in his mind Paul considers himself to be that spiritual-minded being who is above judgment. Worse, Paul here takes aim and openly attacks another in anger, broaching his slander by telling the readers that he cannot speak to them as a spiritual being as long as they are divided.

“For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men?” (I Corinthians 3:3; RSV)

The point of Paul’s displeasure finally makes itself plain.

“According to the commission of God given to me, like a skilled master-builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it.” (I Corinthians 3:10; RSV)

Realize that all of this furor because two other men, one of whom is his own disciple, Apollos, and the other a chosen Apostle of the living Jesus, Peter, had taught within the Corinthian congregation. And at that with greater popularity than Paul was able to muster, for he admits later that he was no equal of these other men when forced into public speaking.

“…a weighty letter writer but an ineffectual and contemptible speaker.” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 966: 844e)

But even now, Paul must prove himself master above all other men, he must be the only one in authority, the only one approved above all others. Paul must assert in absolute terms, that which he has done cannot be improved upon by any man.

“Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 3:11 RSV)

From the lips of those who would deify Paul, we have the following. Despite any facts to the contrary, the basic concepts of the ‘church’ must be protected. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 47)

They also insinuate that Paul did not build on the work of others, despite the fact s that speak of Barnabas’ work, and that of Peter and the disciples. And as if to justify an outright lie, they quote Paul’s writing to the church in Rome, in which he had no part in founding. Yet he had the audacity to write to them announcing that he was coming to them, as their ‘leader’, to set them straight.

However, with his disclosure, Paul announces the penalty.

“…each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done… If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through the fire.” ( Corinthians 3:13-15; RSV)

Paul has become the voice of the destroyer, and we will shortly see what he means by being saved, “…as through the fire.” It brings us clear insight into the workings of the man’s mind, which has just begun to hint at his jealousy of the Twelve, and his inordinate need for unquestioned authority.

As important, is the influence that Paul had on the infant church, the Papal authority during the dark ages, and even on the church as it exists today. This growing picture of the missionary is also exhibited in the works of good Christian theologians, so this thesis cannot be far afield in its statements.

The statement is made that God commissioned Paul, by grace, which made him an apostle. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 47)

Of course, even the professionals have no evidence of this except Paul’s own written word, and their conjecture at this point is as dark and meaningless as Paul’s statements. But to go on.

The theologians wonder if the ‘Cephas’ faction considered Peter their leader because of Matthew 16:18? (Upon this rock I build my church.) They think it is possible, and they even consider that Paul might have had such a tradition in mind. Obviously, he would have resisted such an idea. They refer to (Gal. 2:11), where he openly embarrasses Cephas to his face. He would not allow any opposition to his authority, and would not lose an opportunity to make little of the disciples.

This certainly must have been an oral tradition, obviously the Gospel of Matthew was unknown at this time. Then, is this a valid argument on the part of professional theologians?

Paul was in absolute conflict with the Twelve, especially Peter and his calling by the living Christ. Later we will see that the same attitude, if not hatred, was exhibited against Jesus’ brother, James. And as is already evidenced, Paul’s self-appointed dominion was not to be challenged by any one. If Jesus’ choosing of Peter was even known to Paul, he most assuredly would have acted to oppose and ignore it.

And at this point we must face the fact that the church is absolutely aware of Jesus’ word in this matter, yet the church is totally Pauline. Paul’s teachings, Paul’s tradition, and Paul’s authorship are the modern church. Peter is only a figurehead to the Catholic Church, and to all Christendom; Jesus is the godhead, the object of their worship. The very thing that he warned us against.

“…Oti Ego Eimi…”, I Am, (The New Testament: Mark 13:6: The interlinear Greek-English New Testament).

If we were to admit that Peter was to be the ‘head’ of the church, the foundation upon which it was to be built, then we would have to look to the Jerusalem Church for the basis of our religious practices and our traditional beliefs. But the church that he and the Twelve gave birth to no longer exists, it was inevitably destroyed by the work of Paul, or was it?

“And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.”(The New Testament: Revised Standard Version: Matthew 16:17-18)

Was Jesus in error, was his edict not to be followed by those who claim to be his disciples? Or, as others infer, have we all translated the Greek text in error. Paul totally changed the destiny of Christ’s intended congregation, and the church has obviously ignored Jesus’ pronouncement. For certain they, at the least, put another translation on his words.

And there is also the chance that rather than allowing others to destroy the true Church, the Lord God hid His house from those who were to prove unworthy of His judgment. Let us continue to examine how this came to pass.

Paul now introduces the concept that God dwells in each of us, in the mortal confines of man, and therefore, we are holy. To destroy that ‘temple’ is to be guilty of sacrilege. Of course, the innocent have no idea of what the act that condemns them might be except for Paul’s teachings. Once again Paul sets up a condition of punishment through which men might become fearful, and through fear Paul can manipulate his congregations.

The statement: If God’s temple is holy, and we are the temple, man must be holy. Thus Paul opens the way, in ch.. 5, for a tirade on the moral degradation within the church.” (The interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 49) (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible does comment on this verse.)

“If any one destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him.” (I Corinthians 3:17; RSV)

Without question, Paul was a master of words and achieved far more from his letters and memorandums than he probably did in his personal appearances. We may draw that conclusion from his own words about the immense popularity of Apollos, Barnabas, and Cephas. And being a genius of literary manipulation, Paul renders his designs as the true virtuoso, even though he may contradict himself in order to draw all men to his web.

“But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself… Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes.” (I Corinthians 4:3-5; RSV)

This said, Paul is about to make a judgment which must draw our attention and our understanding. First however, Paul once again insists on his commission as an ‘apostle’ in matter of fact terms, as though the title has been approved and understood.

“For I think that God has exhibited us apostles…” (I Corinthians 4:9; RSV)

And he adjures the congregation to see him as their father and to imitate him.

“For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you then, to be imitators of me.” (I Corinthians 4:15-16; RSV)

The implications are plain, no explanation is necessary. The gospel Paul refers to is his own.

Paul then exhibits what this student can only understand as a threat, and at this point in time with the organization he had at hand, Paul could enforce it.

“Therefore I sent to you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.” (I Corinthians 4:17; RSV)

By the list of his staff, the student should be aware that Paul had a large number of individuals that he could send to the various ‘churches’ to ‘enforce’ his teachings, to check on the activities of the congregations, and to oversee that his rules were adhered to. Later we will see the sinister overtones of this system when we discuss Paul’s letter concerning the ‘donation’ to the church in Jerusalem, and his pronounced punishment of the congregational leader at Corinth.

Also keep in mind though Paul may name a single emissary, such as Timothy, he never sent them alone.

“Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power.” (I Corinthians 4:18-19; RSV)

If anyone believes that this student is alone in understanding Paul’s methods, take note of what good Christian scholars have to say. “…Paul ends with a threat…” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 58)

If one were to substitute the modern idiom, Paul might well be saying, “You talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?” This student cannot but imagine the great consternation with which the church anticipated Paul’s arrival. They must surely have been afraid of him. In all, this sounds a great deal like a religious sect that holds its ‘family’ together by threat of punishment and fear, one that is subject to the anxiety of constant surveillance.

Chapter five gives us the opportunity to see Paul’s character in action. Withholding judgment; love, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness dissipate in a moment.

“It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among the pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife…. Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (I Corinthians 5:1-5; RSV)

First, it is obvious that Paul’s authority has grown beyond human bounds. Paul judges, not by his own power, but in the name of Jesus! He asserts that even if he is not with them, when the congregation assembles, his spirit is present with them with the power of Jesus. The missionary appears to have reached the point of paranoia. Delusions of grandeur flower his thoughts and speech, and his power is most assuredly evidenced by his ‘judgment’, although it is purely a physical power.

The first horror is that he judges the person without even being present, which means he never even faced the party. He did not speak with the person, nor did he give that individual the opportunity to defend himself, or to deny the accusation. The second horror is even more terrifying.

His decision to, “…deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh…” could only be accomplished by putting him to death. And to what purpose? “…that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

Did Paul actually believe that a sinner’s soul could be saved in the day of the Lord, by condemning him to death? Destroy the physical body and the sin would be put away. Then the ‘cleansed’ soul could still reach salvation? This is far beyond any concept held by the Jewish faith, or the Pharisees’ religious philosophy, but it was most certainly a revered understanding within, Mythranism, a pagan religion of Paul’s time.

And if one is put off by the suggestion that Paul wanted this ‘sinner’ put to death, then I refer you to professional scholars and interpreters.

Some individuals believe that Paul’s reference, “To deliver…to Satan”, meant excommunication. But to the theologian, and interpreter of this text, “…Satan for the destruction of the flesh”, can only mean death. Paul calls for the man to be put to death.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 62)

“The Corinthian church had tolerated one of its members living with his stepmother.” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 956:832a)

Though Peake’s Commentary links Paul’s statement with excommunication, they also admit that physical death, as well as spiritual death, is expected. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 956: 832b)

Paul condemns himself by his own words, and they have been set in granite for two thousand years. Where is mercy? Where is patience? Where is the love that Paul writes about? And where is the forgiveness of the Christ? Evidently that Spirit and Power were not in Paul, for Jesus’ life experience and actions were foreign to him.

Where did Jesus condemn rather than exhorting the evil to, ‘come out’ of the sinner? Where did Jesus condemn rather than tell the sinner to, “…go and sin no more.” Where did Jesus condemn rather than embrace the sufferer and bring that one into his being through a healing? Where did Jesus condemn without facing those accused?

“The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?… he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”… and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.” (John 8:1-11; RSV)

But Paul judges without even being present, and condemns the man to death! This is the ‘fatherly’ figure he wishes ‘his’ children to imitate.

It is unfortunate that for centuries, the ‘church’ put into practice Paul’s tradition of excommunication and the execution of sinners, those who did not fit the measure of the ‘church’. Hundreds of thousands met an agonizing end as a result of Paul’s ‘gospel’.

Even the learned question Paul’s course of action? They ask if Jesus would have done this, or would he have been more merciful? A bitter question is asked by the theologians. “Is this the love which Paul is later to commend which “bears all things… hopes all things?” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 63)

Paul was a master of words, and words come easily to a hypocrite. It now appears that he might also have been a master of contradiction and deception, for as he himself has stated, he was all things to all men, a Jew to Jews, a Gentile to Gentiles, a Greek to Greeks. Even Jesus never accomplished that feat.

Surely, the convicted and the congregation would have been better served had the man been assigned to them for instruction, his membership being paroled until he satisfied the governing body that he had repented of wrong doing. He might have been saved and a worthy member reinstated into the body of believers. At the worst, they would have proven the true nature of Jesus within themselves.

Paul then reflects on those whom he would judge, those within the church. He admonishes his followers not to associate with any one who, “…is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber – not even to eat with such a one… is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. Drive the wicked person from among you.” (I Corinthians 5:11-12; RSV)

No more foul, oppressive atmosphere could have been created for those who wished to exist within the body of believers. Not to speak of its dangers, for it manifested itself in spying, accusations, and excommunication over the centuries to come. And if one is quick of mind, the aspect of judging seems an absolute contradiction to the teachings of Jesus, and Paul’s earlier statements.

“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:11-13)

One must wonder if The Christ would have been accepted in Paul’s congregation. He has done, and said, what Paul forbids.

Nothing could be a more grievous stroke against Paul’s character. What is revealed is the fact that Paul wanted absolute authority within his ‘saved’ congregations. He wanted nothing to do with the ‘world’, and by his influence, now relegates the rest of the world to God.

“…Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?” (I Corinthians 5:12-13)

And one further note adds to the complex workings of the man’s mind. Paul’s unconditional belief that Jesus died as a human sacrifice is stated without fear of contradiction.

“For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed.” (I Corinthians 5:7; RSV)

It must be understood that in his preaching to the Gentiles in the Corinthian church, Paul continually falls back on his knowledge of Jewish law and the Holy Scriptures. (The Old Testament, but probably not the Masoretic text. Paul most likely, as a Hellenist, used the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Holy Scriptures.)

Excommunication, abstention, and the belief that the saints would judge the angels, are all based in Judaism. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 70 (in reference to I Corinthians 6:3)

In this case, however, the ‘saints’ are all those who are to comprise the new church. To them, he institutes his rule of disassociation with the world. But this is only the beginning. Paul is to set many regulations for his followers, which today, most of us find heinous.

Within the scope of criminality, Paul’s list grows, and it is Paul who will decide who fits into which category.

“Be not deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (I Corinthians 6:9-10; RSV) The Interpreter’s Bible: See Volume 10; Page 76 (Paul writes not from the Greek point of view but from the Hebraic…)

Paul not only comments about marriage, but makes it a living rule within the church, and the life he imposes upon women is monstrous. This is a matter which we must take one step at a time. We are dealing with a person who has no first hand knowledge of women, let alone marriage. We are dealing with a person who looks upon the female of the species as sub-standard, some sort of bond slave, even by Jewish standards.

Gen. 2:18, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” Paul believed the opposite, thereby setting himself at variance with the usual Jewish point of view.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 76)

Celibacy was not a Jewish practice. Paul was unmarried and may have decided that being single was best in view of his Messianic expectations. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 957: 834b)

For the most part, it would appear that Paul approved of marriage for one purpose only, so that believers would not fall into the trap of sexual immorality. This we will look at in detail since it discloses, even more deeply, Paul’s increasingly irrational thought patterns.

“It is well for a man not to touch a woman. But because of the temptation to immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” (I Corinthians 7:1-2; RSV)

Paul states it plainly. In order to avoid sexual misconduct, marriage is allowed as a concession, a concession of Paul’s. He reiterates the same purpose for marriage involving the unmarried and widows.

“To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.” (I Corinthians 7:8-9; RSV)

Are we speaking of a narrow-minded bigot? The only reason that Paul sees for marriage is, sex. To his mind there was no other reason for marriage.

Paul also insists that the husband, and wife, should give each other their conjugal rights. (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary: Conjugal rights; the sexual rights or privileges implied by and involved in the marriage relationship; the right of sexual intercourse between husband and wife. (See I Corinthians 7:3; RSV)

He admonishes man and woman not to refuse each other except by agreement in order to devote themselves to prayer, “…lest Satan temp you through lack of self-control.” (I Corinthians 7:5; RSV)

It is obvious that Paul’s singular view of marriage concerned itself with sex.

Paul speaks of divorce in the sense that it is best not to divorce, but if it becomes the case, the individual should remain single. The Interpreter’s Bible, makes a grievous error here in an inexcusable attempt to parallel Paul’s treatment of this subject with Jesus. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 79)

Mark 10:12 is explicit in a wife’s right to divorce her husband. Her right to divorce is not rejected here or in the Law. But if she uses that right, then she must remain single, or it bears the penalty of sin.

“…and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

On the contrary, this statement of the Law by Jesus affirms the woman’s right to divorce. The difference here is that Paul does not give any reason for the wife to remain single. He absolutely defies Jesus’ teaching on the subject.

From that precipice, Paul leaps into believers and unbelievers being married. Jesus never even contemplated this event, but Paul considers that the believer consecrates the unbeliever. (I Corinthians 7:12-16; RSV)

In Judaism, in a Jewish state, the question would never be broached. They married within their own society and faith, even going so far as to command an absolute prohibition on marriage to Samaritan Jews.

Once again, we must contend with Paul’s generalization of religious terminology. God’s calling to individuals is a very specific, personal experience which involves a ‘real’ communion with the Lord God. Paul uses it as an everyday, common occurrence.

“Only, let every one lead the life which the Lord has assigned to him, and in which God has called him.” (I Corinthians 7:17; RSV)

Apparently, in Paul’s view, a calling was based on the individuals’ decision rather than an actual ‘calling’ by the Lord God. This gives away the reality of Paul’s ‘conversion’ vision. And how can we take this position? Because after all is said and done, Paul gives himself away.

“This is my rule in all the churches.”

“And so ordain I in all churches.” (I Corinthians 7:17; KJV)

Paul rules, Paul commands, Paul orders. At the least, he compromises, gives permission by concession, but he is the standard by which all things are set. And if any one dare to think that we have escaped these dictatorial circumstances after two thousand years, they are sadly mistaken, for Paul rules the church to this very day.

In his ‘advice’ concerning the state of marriage, Paul shows us that he was ill informed on the basis for marriage and its irreconcilable consequences in being devoted to God.

The Interpreter’s Bible, possibly tired of attempting to defend an indefensible position, finally makes a valid statement that this student can agree with. And in the end, declare what should be obvious to everyone. “Paul is here rationalizing his prejudices.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 86)

The theologian is being kind, for there is another good reason that Paul did not simply come out and demand abstinence. Injecting himself into every facet of the congregation’s private lives, he is obviously attempting to strengthen his rule over the community. But he does not yet have sufficient control to demand an end to marriage and sexual intercourse among the believers. As previously noted, the further we go into the organization that this man devised, the more it rings familiar as a sect under rigorous scrutiny and strict regulation.

As though to accentuate this very premise, Paul himself makes the point.

“A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If the husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. But in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I have the Spirit of God.” (I Corinthians 7:39-40; RSV)

In his egotism, Paul reduces a woman beyond subservient level. By ‘bound’, does Paul see women as ‘bond servants’? Possibly, for his opinion of women is also about to be espoused, and it is prominent in certain Baptist churches today, with all its conditions of servitude.

But the final straw is his blatant, swollen opinion of himself. “And I think that I have the Spirit of God.” In other words, ‘I am speaking as the Almighty, and my word is law.’ (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 89)

One might believe that he was totally unqualified to make suggestions on the subject, but that, of course, did not stop Paul. From there he goes on to instruct the church on food offered to idols. This is interesting because it involves Moses Law, and in denouncing the Law of God, Paul is forced to do some serious double-talking.

Paul has already stated that, “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.” (I Corinthians 6:12; RSV)

Paul dares to insinuate that he accedes to nothing except by his own choice. After all, he has stated that he has the Spirit of God, therefore he is not even subject to That One. If Paul were knowledgeable enough to be referring to Mark 7:15, where Jesus says that, “…there is nothing outside a man by which going into him can defile him…”, he is off the mark! Jesus’ statement had nothing to do with God’s dietary Laws.

Mark 7:19; “Thus he declared all foods clean.”

Christian theologians and scholars agree that Jesus would never have advocated eating any foods forbidden in the Law, to his followers. And that his statement was meant to show the importance of moral cleanliness over the ceremonial. One must connect the context of the statement with goes before and after it. They consider that verse 19 is only found in later manuscripts and appears to be an addition to the original text. This is a common practice throughout the later centuries. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 7: Page 752-753)

Jesus statement would not appear to include a spirit entering into a man, for were not the demoniac and the possessed child both defiled?

And here we have another example of Paul’s refusal to admit to any authority other than his own, for we have been told that these edicts, concerning the dietary laws, came down from a decree of the Jerusalem Church.

“As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions which had been reached by the Apostles and elders who were at Jerusalem.” (Acts 16:4; RSV)

In this letter Paul takes up these issues as though they were his decrees. The authorities in Jerusalem are not mentioned, as though all of this were Paul’s decision.

Paul gives the impression that these issues had not yet been decided in an authoritative way. Therefore, he brings Luke’s writing, Acts 16:4, into question again. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 89)

It is not so much that Acts is incorrect, but the fact that Paul keeps changing events to lean in his direction. He lies! Did the twelve and the elders issue an edict concerning such things, or is it all Paul’s ‘superior’ knowledge? Rather than discrediting other authors, it would be best for Christian theologians to consider the true nature of Paul rather than trying to justify him.

Paul begins, “Now concerning food offered to idols…” and he immediately embarks on, “…we know that all of us possess knowledge.” “Knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up. If any one imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.” (I Corinthians 8:1-2; RSV)

Then Paul goes back to, “Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols…” (I Corinthians 8:4; RSV)

The entire statement is nonsensical, it means nothing and his line of thought is irrational. He has already ‘stoned’ wisdom, and now he is ‘bashing’ knowledge. Paul tries to rationalize his statement by saying, “…we know that “an idol has no real existence,”…” (I Corinthians 8:4; RSV)

We may also take this verse as it exists in the King James Version, and in this instance, perhaps it is more to the point.

“…we know that an idol is nothing in the world…” (I Corinthians 8:4; KJV)

We are in total disagreement with this idea, and so are God’s Holy Scriptures. If idols were ‘nothing’, or had no ‘real existence’, the Lord God would not have struck down the Jews that followed Aaron to worship the molten calf made of gold, while Moses was on the mountain. The ‘golden calf’, and its adherents were done away with because of the power it possessed through the minds of its worshipers. (Exodus 32; RSV)

If idols held no power and had no real existence in the world, why did the Lord God furnish Aaron with a staff which was a bronze serpent, and through this ‘idol’, heal the ills of the people in the desert?

“And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” (Numbers 21:8; RSV)

And did not Paul himself make an idol out of Jesus’ cross? You see, an idol of itself is not evil, it is merely a graven image (though they are banned by the First Commandment). Even as Joshua, before crossing the river Jordan, counseled the tribes to leave the gods of their fathers and join him in the worship of the One God. The gods were not spoken of as ‘evil’, for they most certainly existed in the world and had power.

“Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel… And Joshua said to all the people… now therefore fear the lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the river, and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:1-18; RSV)

There is no connotation that these gods were evil, or that they were powerless in the earth. It was a question of one nation serving the One God who had led them out of Egypt and through the desert, rather than remaining divided in their spiritual loyalty. The people who worshiped these gods were not considered evil either, nor were they chastised.

So by the example of God’s Word, Paul is wrong, but then he is not preaching God’s word, but Gods’ word as Paul perceives it. In doing so, Paul flaunts the command of God and ordains a path that the church has followed to this day in denying God’s dietary Laws as being superficial and meaningless.

The truth stands aloof, for even if God’s rule was meaningless, do we not uphold it simply because God commanded it? This was the basic reasoning of Jesus when he upheld the Law, we obey because God ordained it, not because we understand His wisdom. Paul denies all.

“But some, through being hitherto accustomed to idols, eat food as really offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.” (I Corinthians 8:7-8; RSV)

On the basis of this student’s previous statement, Paul is in error, and in teaching his followers to disobey a simple command of the Lord God, denied the teachings of Jesus, and has misled the church. In its place, Paul substitutes his own ordinance. ‘The condition of sin is not breaking God’s commandment, but leading others astray by your actions’.

“For if any one sees you, a man of knowledge, at table in an idol’s temple, might he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak man is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died.” (I Corinthians 8:10-11; RSV)

Peake’s Commentary agrees with this suggestion, and brings it to a head. They define Paul’s words as saying what we eat or do not eat won’t be questioned on judgment day. Our sin would be in leading others astray by our actions. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 958: 835a)

It does not matter how one tries to justify Paul’s beliefs, on the day of judgment we will be judged by the things we have done. That includes how we have followed, or tried to follow, the ordinances set down for us by the Lord God. And if He sent His son to guide us in these things, we have an obligation to honor him.

Then which will have been better for us, to break God’s commandment for the sake of men, or suffer in the eyes of men in order to follow God’s will. Ignoring the God of Creation just because it insults another, would seem a willful disobedience, even at Paul’s demand.

You see, ‘All things are lawful for me,’ has brought Paul to this conclusion, that, “…sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is the cause of my brother’s falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall.” (I Corinthians 8:12-13; RSV)

Jesus said many times, ‘If you have ears to hear, then hear; if you have eyes to see, then see.’ If the character of the man named, Paul, is not becoming clear by this time, wait, for the best is yet to come.

It is now obvious that Paul’s claim to apostleship has been challenged, and by the highest authority. He makes it clear that the objection has come from the Twelve, and his venom is released against them in defiance. His dislike for the Twelve, including James, Jesus’ brother, is never hidden. Perhaps we should not use the word, ‘dislike’, envious or jealous, would be far more appropriate.

He has already disagreed with Luke’s account of his first visit to Jerusalem where Luke states that he met the disciples. Paul says he did not! He disagrees with Luke where that writer, Paul’s companion and friend, states that the decree concerning food came from the Jerusalem authorities, i.e.; the Apostles. He claims that it is his own and ignores any connection with the Twelve! And now that Paul has used the title ‘apostle’ publicly, the word has obviously been received by the Apostles in Jerusalem, who must have objected strenuously.

“Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?” (I Corinthians 9:1; RSV)

What does Paul mean by ‘free’? Free to use the title of apostle? Free to use whatever designation he chooses whether it be true or not? Free to choose any commission he needs in order to establish his authority?

Paul was most assuredly not an apostle. He was not chosen by the Living Jesus, he was not numbered among the Twelve, whom he despised. Theologians offer an explanation to this claim which is as ridiculous as Paul’s, but we spare nothing to continue man’s tradition though it has no substance.

These learned men want us to believe that Paul’s claim was valid because he introduced himself in his letter that way. I pray they are being sarcastic. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 98)

This insidious dribble opens a door which would allow anyone who addressed a letter as an ‘apostle’, to be worthy of that title. This sort of professional bantering is a poor excuse on which to base Paul’s claim, and he agrees, for in the next breath he admits his chicanery, for someone has obviously challenged him.

“If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you…” (I Corinthians 9:2; RSV)

To paraphrase this statement would be ludicrous. ‘Well, I may not be an apostle like them, but at least I am as far as you are concerned.’ He is challenged, and he backs down, but not before he uses the church to convince them that they are the proof of this fraudulent title.

“Are not you my workmanship in the Lord?” I Corinthians 9:1; RSV

“…for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.” (I Corinthians 9:2)

Paul has generalized a specific commission, one that was appointed by Jesus with the full consent of his Heavenly Father. Now anyone, especially Paul, could appropriate that designation on the basis of his works. It is as if he is saying, ‘If Jesus did not choose me, then let my works speak for my right to claim my apostleship’.

Paul’s theology is that works do not justify the individual, nor do they elevate the person. Faith alone is sufficient, but here it is convenient for him to change ships in mid-stream, a common tool of the expert impostor who is attempting to justify an untenable position.

And as far as his claim to have seen Jesus, it is another of Paul’s un-witnessed assertions that changes in the telling of the story.

Revisit Galatians 1:16. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 98)

This student refutes this statement for Paul never saw the ‘living’ Jesus, nor did he receive his ordination from Jesus. Like Paul, the writers of that text have forgotten, Ananias, who was chosen to instruct Paul after his ‘vision. And in like manner, they have forgotten Barnabas who led Paul to Jerusalem and his future vocation.

The verse that the theologians have chosen to prove their text is one that tells us just the opposite, and in fact, admits Paul’s contradiction of Luke’s version of the story. Remember his claims to Nazarite calling, that he is the living rendition of Jesus, and that he did not confer with Jesus’ disciples in Jerusalem.

“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood; neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were (A)apostles before me…” (Galatians 1:15-17; The Authorized KJV)

Poor Luke. But having made a poor defense of his position with no help from our modern translators, Paul does not give up. His attack narrows and allows us to see his target quite plainly.

“This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to our food and drink? Do we not have the right to be accompanied by [a sister], a wife, as the other Apostles and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?” (I Corinthians 9:3-6; RSV)

The Twelve followed Jesus’ command and received their daily bread from those into whose homes they were invited. They carried no purses but received compensation from those they served in Jesus name. They did not go hungry. If Paul wished to mimic the Twelve and bow to Jesus’ behest, then he had the freedom to do so even though it still would not have made him an apostle.

Again, it is convenient for Paul to change positions once more, complaining bitterly because he does not have the comfort of a wife, or sister, to accompany Barnabas and himself on their journey. This from the same person who just belabored the church at Corinth about remaining celibate! Who wished that all the church would remain single as he has done!

And then Paul uses the Law of Moses, which he claims over and over again is of no value and of no avail to man, in trying to assert his rightful claim to a share of the profits of the church.

“For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not speak entirely for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of a share in the crop… If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits?” (I Corinthians 9:9-11; RSV)

The point is met, for if we preach the Gospel in hope of benefit of any kind, then we are judged by the Gospel. It is as Rabi’a prayed to God, a lesson for us all in seeking God’s kingdom with a sight toward reward of any kind.

“Perhaps her most famous saying was that in which she prayed to God that, if she worshiped Him out of fear of Hell, then He should consign her there; and if she worshiped Him hoping for Paradise, then He should exclude her from there; but if she worshiped Him for His own sake alone, then He should not keep His eternal beauty from her.” (A Popular Dictionary of Islam; Billing & Sons Ltd; 1992: Page 209)

According to Jesus, the reward of the disciple must be offered, not demanded or sought after. Paul does not have Jesus in mind, but rather his enmity against the Twelve. He has changed from shifting ground to shifting ground until even theologians must turn against him on this point.

They state that the Law here does deal with domestic animals who work for men. Paul could not believe that God would care for oxen. He thinks that (Deut. 25:4), deals with ministers of the gospel and their right to be paid. They insist that he is wrong. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 101)

Paul then leaves an argument which has suddenly turned from the disciples to the very church at Corinth.

“But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing to secure any such provision…” (I Corinthians 9:15; RSV)

Then why did he bring it up! Of course, such an impassioned argument would bring the desired results, an offering of provision from the church. But Paul’s gospel is, “…free of charge”, or so he says. (I Corinthians 9:18; RSV)

Within the body of this letter, Paul began by defying the Twelve, by complaining about his right to be equal to them, wailing about his right to take his share of the ‘harvest’, to ‘boasting’ about his personal sacrifice for the ‘unsaved’. What he does is to reveal himself as the chameleon, ever changing as the need and the opportunity arise.

“To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews; to those under the law I became as one under the law – though not being myself under the law – that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law – not being without law to God but under the law of Christ – that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (I Corinthians 9:20-22; RSV)

To Jews he is a Jew, to Gentiles he becomes a Gentile. He is within the law, but above it, he is outside the law yet has no need of it. He is the perfect hypocrite.

Not even Jesus himself accomplished this feat, nor did he try. To do so would have been to subvert the true message of his Heavenly Father. Jesus never tried to accommodate men, but rather challenged them to know the legitimate meaning of God’s Law. Jew, Gentile, free or slave, Jesus did not bend to their will or their mannerisms, and for this he earned their hatred, their contempt, and their fear.

Paul forfeits the Law of God, leaves the path that Jesus set his disciples on, and proceeds to run a race. For what?

“…that I might by all means save some.” (I Corinthians 9:22; RSV)

This is another of Paul’s inventions that must be questioned, and no theologian or interpreter can assist us, for what does it mean to ‘save’ someone? Save them from death? We all die! Save them from eternal damnation? Who can know the state of another’s soul? Who has the power to ‘save’ or ‘condemn’ other than That One who can give Life?

It is another ‘spiritual’ phrase that so easily flows off the lips. And to conclude this amazing statement, Paul gives us the reason for his endeavors.

“I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I might share in its blessings.” (I Corinthians 9:23; RSV)

Not for the sake of helping others to understanding, not to satisfy God’s Law, not for filling the empty heart, but to earn for himself a share of the ‘profits’. The same discourse he followed in bringing up his right to share in the material profits of the church.

What did Jesus suffer for? Obeying the will of his Heavenly Father… obedience, not for his own sake but for love’s sake, the love of his God.

“Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedeck.” (Hebrews 5:8-10; RSV)

Paul did not know this and Paul would not have accepted it. To him, Jesus was not the source of salvation, but the sacrifice for salvation. He would not have Jesus living, but the tradition of Jesus dead and risen. And he continues to bring up his ‘rights’, and the ‘free’ gospel.

“…that in my preaching I may make the gospel free of charge, not making use of my right in the gospel.” (I Corinthians 9:18; RSV)

If one has studied the letters we have covered to this point, it is obvious that Paul’s gospel is not free. To accept it, to become part of it, one must be subservient to Paul. One must follow Paul’s rules and Paul’s understanding of Jesus’ purpose in the earth. One is not permitted to think for himself, only to obey. But more of this will be covered later, the point will be proven by the man himself.

And again we hear the constant banter about his ‘right’. It is as if to impress his followers, to impress those captured in his ‘spiritual’ web, that he has ‘rights’ earned, deserved, as an ‘apostle’. It is a constant, unending message that goes on through all his writings. If it is not openly stated, it is inferred, spoken with the consummate skill of the practiced contriver.

The proof is not long in coming, for in this same letter, Paul brings up the question of food again. This time, his words give him away without question. Paul speaks of shunning the, “…worship of idols.” (I Corinthians 10:14; RSV)

Paul has already condemned idols as being of no account, of being unreal, so food offered to them may be eaten without fear of conscience. Of course, a man of good sense would not worship something that did not exist! But without thought of the consequences of his next statement, Paul offers us worse.

“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ?” (I Corinthians 10:16; RSV)

Moments later, a line is drawn between this ‘participation’, and eating food offered to idols.

“What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God… You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.” (I Corinthians 10:19-21; RSV)

This student asks one question, is partaking of the blood of a human sacrifice not demonic? Is it not partaking of the table of demons? And in a more sober vein, Paul agreed that circumcision would not be necessary, but abstaining from, blood, would be one of the four requirements for Gentile converts. Paul not only breaks his agreement with the Apostles, but also his oath as a Jew, a Pharisee, and a Nazarite!

But Paul asserts throughout that salvation lies within that act, and it leaves theologians and interpreter’s totally confused.

Theologians ask a telling question. “Why does Paul, instead of speaking directly of sharing in Christ, use such a phrase as participation in the blood of Christ and in the body of Christ?” What was apparent to some before, should be obvious to all now. Cults, pagan rituals may well have influenced Paul’s thinking. They finally suggest that perhaps Paul, “…had in mind such an interpretation of the Christian Eucharist.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 114) (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 960: 837e)

Where or why Paul conceived of this doctrine, his theology has come down to us through the Catholic Church. It is dogma which insists that in the cup and the loaf we partake of the actual flesh and blood of Jesus.

At this point, having blundered into an indefensible conundrum, Paul gets even deeper into trouble.

“If one of the unbelievers invited you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. (But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then out of consideration for the man who informed you, and for conscience’ sake – I mean his conscience, not yours – do not eat it.) For why should my liberty be determined by another man’s scruples?” (I Corinthians 10:27-29; RSV)

Obviously, Paul did not minister by example! To him, all things are lawful, so why worry. Ignore God’s Law, ignore Jesus’ absolute dedication to the Law, and for heavens sake, try not to offend anyone!

“Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please all men in everything I do…” (I Corinthians 10:32-33)

In what manner a human being could honor all three points of Paul’s edict at the same time, this student could not begin to tell you. But this is plain, it is a mistake to incur God’s wrath by trying to please men, rather than God. In pleasing God it is right to scold a man when his principals are in conflict with God’s. This is Jesus’ example. What did his disciples suggest to us by their works?

“So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:18-20; RSV)

Paul is speaking not only of God’s Law, but of our moral standards. They are one in the same, for contaminating ourselves through our ‘habits’ deals with our ‘ethics’. Paul ordains that the only consideration for our ethics should be whether or not we insult other men. Beyond this, I would offer an example of my own, and you judge what is right.

Suppose we accept an invitation to the house of a friend and the height of his hospitality, his moral conscience, is to offer us his wife for the night. In consideration of the man and for his conscience sake, should we not accept her? This was the practice of certain American natives and Asian countries, for many years, and not in the all too distant past. Should we respond by giving terrible offense to that man and his beliefs and refuse his offer, or should we compromise our God and his Ordinances? No, it is the same thing, for in either case we defile the body, and Paul has instructed us that the body is the Temple of God.

It would seem that to follow Paul’s advice in these matters would be to invite calamity. But, he desires that we do so.

“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (I Corinthians 11:1; RSV)

This is extremely problematical since Paul’s writings indicate that he appeared to have known little about Jesus, except to profit by his death. In any case, the statement is about as self-indulgent as one can get. It is the height of arrogance, since Paul claims; “For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting.” (I Corinthians 9:16; RSV)

The King James is even more direct.

“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe unto me, if I preach not the gospel.” (I Corinthians 9:16; KJV)

Yet here, Paul boasts as being the ‘perfect’ example. Then he goes a step further, and it is important that he do so, for at this point if he does not impress everyone with his importance, what is to come next might end in complete revolt.

“I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you.” (I Corinthians 11:2; RSV)

What traditions? He certainly knew nothing of the orthodox view of Creation of man and woman. He has completely disregarded the Creation story in which God created man and woman at the same time and as equals.

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness… So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply…” (Genesis 1:26-28; RSV)

If this is not enough to convince everyone that man and woman stood on a level footing from the beginning, then God’s word is for nothing. If we must take the second report of the creation, which is not the orthodox view, we still stand on granite, and opposed to Paul.

“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:18; RSV)

The Hebrew is, ‘help mate’, and consigns neither to a lower position over the other. Most certainly woman was not to be a ‘bond servant’.

“So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs… and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman…” (Genesis 2:21-22; RSV)

This is Paul’s argument for the superiority of man over woman.

“The head of a woman is her husband.” (I Corinthians 11:3)

“…since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. (For man was not made from woman, but woman from man.)” (I Corinthians 11:7-8; RSV)

Paul is in error. Paul is wrong according to God’s word in Genesis, and according to orthodox theology and belief. The word ‘rib’ in the Hebrew is, Tsela. However, the very same word, Tsela, means, ‘side’. As in, ‘the other side of’.

The orthodox view as stated in the Rabbinical schools of the time, indicated that the first view of Genesis was correct, and that Genesis 2, exhibits an edited version which originally indicated that the ‘female’ was the ‘other side’ of man’s nature, ‘Tsela’. This student would accept this view since it comes from the highest authority, and its validity is indicated by the following scripture.

“…and they become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)

In the beginning God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And they were, ‘Tsela’, both sides of one nature, one being, and one flesh. Obviously Paul did not get this instruction from the school of Gamaliel, nor from the most learned Philo, nor from the historian Josephus, none of whom ever make mention of the itinerant missionary, Saul of Tarsus.

And in passing, the three volumes, “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” offer a superb history of the Christian faith and its spread through the world. It includes all the congregations we have, and will, speak of. Paul’s name is not mentioned once. It is as though he had never existed. But on to Philo.

“And he says that the world was made in six days… for of all the numbers, from the unit upwards, it is the first perfect one… so to say, it is formed so as to be both male and female, and is made up of the power of both natures; (tsela) for in existing things the odd number is the male, and the even number is the female; accordingly, of odd numbers the first is the number three, and of even numbers the first is two, and the two numbers multiplied together make six.” (The Works of Philo; On The Creation; Page 4:III (13))

“And very beautifully after he called the whole race “man,” did he distinguish between the sexes, saying, that “they were created male and female;…” (The Works of Philo; On The Creation; Page 11: XXIV (76))

And so we are not alone in saying that Paul was in error, and upon this error, this lack of knowledge, howbeit, caused him to form the most discouraging and insulting view of women possible.

“For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man made for woman, but woman for man.” (I Corinthians 11:8-9; RSV)

Paul completes this inaccurate statement with a perplexing bit of chicanery which baffles everyone. Double talk was his great ally.

“That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because of the angels.” (I Corinthians 11:10; RSV)

With this out, Paul begins to make rules, and they are not insignificant but are totally contradictory. Paul uses the negative to state that it is improper for a woman to pray with her head uncovered, but then makes the astute observation that, “…but if a woman has long hair, it is her pride? For her hair is given to her for a covering.” (I Corinthians 11:13-15)

Then why does she need a veil for a covering when God has given her a natural one, as Paul has just stated? And why are these two ideas separated by the following rule.

“Does not nature itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair is degrading to him…” (I Corinthians 11:14; RSV)

No, nature does not show me this for in nature the male is usually the most ornate. He has the most color, the longest feathers, the finest tail and manes, and the longest fur. And what men in his age did not wear long hair? Certainly Jesus and John the Baptizer did! Most assuredly, the Rabbi’s did! And if Paul was truly ‘Nazarite’ as he said he was, he would not have been permitted to cut his hair. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 129)

In addition, one who has proclaimed the calling of, Nazarite, was forbidden to cut their hair, or to ingest blood. Yet Paul himself proudly proclaims that a man with long hair is an abomination to God. Worse, he institutes a so-called, sacrament which demands that his adherents, ‘drink the blood of a human sacrifice.’

Peake’s Commentary, needs to be added to the vote against Paul. They point out that anyone who objected to Paul’s statements might well have stated that in Jesus, “…there is neither male nor female …” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 960:838a)

Well, as Paul discloses to us it is not for righteousness sake, for appearance sake, nor for propriety, but so that Paul could enforce his authority and set down rules that the church had no choice but to follow. What is fitting is what Paul feels is fitting.

“If any one is disposed to be contentious, we recognize no other practice, nor do the churches of God.” (I Corinthians 11: 16; RSV)

There we have it in his own words.

Again, we have it from Christian scholars who question the wisdom of Paul’s ‘ordinances’. In the end, he must fall back on the declaration of his own authority. At best, he has confused everyone. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 129-130)

Contradictions and self proclaimed conclusions, evidence that Paul’s teachings were not even drawn from the ecclesiastical background that he claimed, and they became a discrimination that colored the churches prejudices for centuries. All of this he did for the purpose of exerting his ‘authority’ over an unwitting congregation.

Paul then sets his mind on the “Lord’s Supper”. Those in Jerusalem, Jesus’ Apostles, practiced a communal meal that was more in the order of continuing the fellowship they had enjoyed with Jesus. It was not a ‘remembrance’ of Jesus’ death, or the ‘last supper’ they had shared together at Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem common meal had no relationship to the Sacrament Paul devised. It was a fellowship celebrated with joy and happiness, a looking forward to their next meal with their Lord, such as in Acts 2:46. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 131)

But Paul was unhappy with this convention, for it apparently was making some headway into the congregation at Corinth. If this is true, it would have been a challenge to his authority as sole ‘master’ of the church.

The next is devastating, and was a complete surprise to this student. Paul’s concept of the meal was a commemoration of the Last Supper. Paul was concerned about the event celebrated by the Jerusalem Church. It did not fit his somber nature, and it was a device of the Disciples. To enforce his view against that of the Apostles, he inserts the words, this do in remembrance of me. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 132) (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 961: 838f)

Mark this well, that he, Paul, inserted the words, ‘this do in remembrance of me.’ They are not a part of the original gospels, but are an addendum taken from this letter.

While the Apostle’s meal was one of joy, brotherhood, and optimism, Paul’s was a somber meeting that proclaimed the ‘Lord’s death’.

“Paul insists that it should be a solemn commemoration.” (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 10: Page 131) (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 961: 838f)

Thus we learn that the Communion, in its present form, is not something instituted by Jesus or his disciples, but by Paul. What more damning evidence do we need to convict? With what horror do we now see that which has been brought into the light, as Jesus promised? The entire principle upon which the modern church is founded, and its primary sacrament, is not from Jesus or the gospels, but from Paul.

His contentions with the Apostles goes on, his efforts to change that which the Jerusalem Church has practiced long before he began to introduce his personal theories, must continue. It is shocking to discover where our traditions come from, and unhappily, the ending here would eventually be the end of the Apostles faith and the Jerusalem Church.

Divisions have appeared, as Paul notes, and there can be many reasons but they are unimportant to our study. It is sufficient to note that which has already been stated, that one of the interruptions to Paul’s edict may well have been the practice of the Jerusalem Church and the Apostles. This student does not doubt that. Paul insists that he received the tradition about the Last Supper directly from Jesus.

“For I received from the lord what I also delivered to you…” (I Corinthians 11:23; RSV)

As the Interpreter’s Bible points out, Paul was not present at the supper.

Paul said, in writing, that he received the sacrament from “…the Lord.” We know he wasn’t part of the Passover meal celebrated in the upper room, so once again we are faced with another of Paul’s ‘visions.’ (Gal. 1:12)… (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 135-136)

Peake’s Commentary insists that Paul received the tradition from the Mother Church, and not from Jesus himself as he would have us believe. But within the structure of the Jerusalem Church, there is no mention of a meal used to celebrate Jesus death. Certainly not in the minds of any of the Apostles, since they were absolutely forbidden to eat blood, as were the Gentiles in Paul’s congregations. This was something he agreed upon when the Church compromised on the subject of circumcision. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 961: 838g)

Also, this statement is incompatible with the information these same theologians have just given us, i.e. that the Jerusalem church did not celebrate a meal in remembrance of Jesus’ death. If this is true, then how could Paul have obtained his information from a source in which it did not exist?

The professionals have tripped themselves up here in attempting to avoid the truth, that Paul invented the ‘communion meal’ as the central sacrament of his newly created religious practice. It is that single device through which the congregation could partake of the blood offering of Paul’s human sacrifice.

The character of the man is framed by his own words and his absolute refusal to credit to any man, for the basis of his work. Paul was dependent on many, but vanity refused to allow him the grace to acknowledge the truth. Happily, this student is far from being alone in this conclusion.

However, Paul goes further in his efforts by changing that which was original to the Gospels.

“…and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” (I Corinthians 11:25; RSV)

As much as we dare object to this amazing revelation, theologians continue to press the matter. In Mark, there is a request to eat, but not of, “this is my body.” The Greek of Mark’s gospel does not permit it. The request to eat is lacking in Paul’s writing, and here he adds the infamous order to repeat the act in remembrance of Christ. The Interpreter’s Bible, insists that long version of Luke,(22:19b-20) is most assuredly an insertion based on this letter. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 137)

We must remark again, we are forced to repeat that, ‘Do this in remembrance of me’, is Paul’s personal addition to the tradition. He had to change the main body of the proceeding or it certainly would have been obvious that he had received the tradition from the Jerusalem Apostles. With these changes, including the mood of the meal, it became Paul’s and Paul’s alone.

It is useless to continue banter on this subject. Paul lays exposed, instituting a practice that had no basis in Jesus’ teachings or actions and which was intended to challenge, and even replace, the practice of Jesus’ chosen disciples.

Once we are made aware of Paul’s intent, and the fact that these words do not appear in any of the Gospels, we can hardly insist that Jesus spoke them. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 137)

The Apostle’s view was one of comforting one another and looking forward until they would share the meal with Jesus himself in the Kingdom. Paul’s view was one that proclaimed, “…the lord’s death until he comes.” (I Corinthians 11:26; RSV)

At this point it would be proper to raise a very important question concerning the ‘communal’ meal versus the ‘last supper’. If the Jerusalem Church celebrated a Pauline ‘last supper’, it would have been at the time of the, Passover, since that was the final meal they shared with Jesus. There is nothing to indicate that they did, even at the Passover.

Paul, however, having had his way in forming a ‘sacrament of death’, is not satisfied with this new meal, but must add a threat to it. It is a threat of damnation which he must have felt would bind the ‘captive’ community to his will.

“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord… For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.” (I Corinthians 11:27-29; RSV)

Of course, the King James Version, is far more expressive.

“For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” (I Corinthians 11:29)

To this, Paul adds what to him is proof of this intimidation.

“That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.” (I Corinthians 11:30; RSV)

This student has no idea as to the state of another’s soul; who takes Paul’s ‘communion’ worthily or unworthily. However, since there has been no recent word of deaths or illnesses attributed to the taking of the ‘communion meal’, we must assume that everyone who has taken it has been worthy, or Paul is wrong.

No, Paul was only following his usual pattern of moving to disorient Jerusalem’s ordinances and traditions, which they did receive from the Lord. He reinterpreted, changed the work of others, then instituted it as his own, and added a ‘threat’ of heavenly destruction if anyone dared to challenge his authority.

Paul’s statement here does not go so far as to evidence those scriptures which deny a connection between sin and misfortune. (John 9:3; Luke 13:1-5). And of course, Paul would not dare to indicate that his affliction came from that same source. But this too, will soon change. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Pge 143)

In other words, even if his conclusions were not based on scripture or other theological evidence, Paul liked to threaten those over whom he had control. Fear is a massive weapon to use in order to hold others under one’s sway.

Where Jesus saw sin and ill health as cause and effect, Paul saw it as a punishment for disbelief and unworthy participation in his newly created sacrament. It is easy to see why these theological presumptions caused the great horror that was to follow some thirteen hundred years later.

Paul then goes through a listing of gifts of the Holy Spirit, which becomes a general dispersing of such things as the utterance of wisdom, the utterance of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, the ability to distinguish between spirits, tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. But did Paul mean that everyone in the church was given a gift?

His analogy is that any one who can say, “Jesus is Lord,” (I Corinthians 12: 3; RSV) has the Holy Spirit. And so Paul generalizes something that is a ‘very’ special moment, realized by ‘very’ few, in ‘very’ special circumstances. Paul’s ‘generalization’ continues in a manner that confuses the very interpreter’s who seek to glorify the man. It is an appalling statement because he takes away any special meaning to commissions that the Lord God has chosen to be extraordinary.

“And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues.” (I Corinthians 12:28; RSV)

Paul contradicts himself again, for having given relative importance to various gifts, he denies what he said earlier, that spiritual gifts came from the same source and were equal in importance. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Pge 163)

No sooner said than Paul contradicts himself, but worse, apostles are now a dime a dozen, they can no longer be distinguished from the Twelve. Paul does not have to assert his ‘appointment’, now God appoints apostles by Paul’s choosing.

Did not God choose His prophets before their very birth, were they not, Nazarite? They worked miracles, healed, and taught. Then what were prophets to be? Numbered in the many, soothsayers, diviners, but unlike God’s prophets, deprived of all the powers that proved their election.

The Interpreter’s Bible reiterates its objection to Paul’s changing values, and goes so far as to ask, “…how one may expect higher gifts simply by earnestly desiring them (vs. 31).” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 163)

Aside from the challenge Paul had met from Jerusalem, now the theologians question Paul’s actions as an apostle.

They simply state that there is no evidence anywhere that the Apostles could delegate their authority to others. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 163)

Here, the same text gives an accurate definition of the twelve Apostles, and the manner in which that title has always been accepted. Paul is not included. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 163)

This would seem to validate the conclusions of this thesis, and to leave an open question as to Paul’s authority. It is answered only when one admits that his apostleship and his supremacy were self-proclaimed and self-appointed. Thus, apostles rank first, the highest order of gifts. It is urgent that Paul be superseded by no one.

We have admitted that Paul was a master of words, a genius in literary communication. His poem of love has rarely been equaled by any human device and is often repeated, but by what sort of being? Love spoken of by one who has shown no compassion, love from one who will abide no usurpation of his power, love from one who will accept no contradiction, who will endure no criticism. Love from one who condemns, threatens, and rules by fear.

Jesus once taught us that if we love only those who love us, we do no better than the Gentiles. Paul insists that the members of the church, love one another, but he condemns unbelievers and those who break his ‘ordinances’. In Paul, we have no apostle speaking, but a rogue.

Now Paul goes into a lengthy recitation concerning the relative values of speaking in tongues versus prophecy. Regardless of the reason for this discussion, he makes another statement in order to continue the elevation of his own position among the congregation.

“I thank God that I speak in tongues more than you all…” (I Corinthians 14:18; RSV)

Once again, and oft repeated, we point out that Paul does more than anyone else no matter what the subject may be. Now he speaks in tongues more than anyone else, he has more gifts than anyone else, and most assuredly he would have us believe that he loves more than anyone else.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal…” (I Corinthians 13:1-13; RSV)

Indeed, his bell rang loud and long. And in the midst of his attempt to subordinate the value of speaking in tongues, Paul attempts to use Old Testament scripture to make his point.

“In the law it is written, “By men of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” (I Corinthians 14:21; RSV)

Paul is either ignorant of Holy Scripture, or he is once again attempting to mislead his readers. Here, he misuses and misquotes Holy Scripture to serve his own purpose. It is not the first time, or the last.

The O.T. tells us that men will not listen to speech in strange tongues. This verse does not come from the law, but from Isa. 28:11-12. Paul changes the ‘person’ of the verb, changes the time, and uses the scripture in a context totally different than its original purpose. Then the theologians note, almost with amazed surprise, “What support he had for these changes we have no means of knowing.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 203-204)

Paul continues to show absolute contempt for God’s word. Evidently Paul needed no support, for he shows no concern for man or God. He did things to satisfy his own needs regardless of their validity. He was willing to do anything to reach his own ends and to further his own cause.

Paul spends much time in berating the gift of “speaking in tongues”, and then must go backward to insist that he is not forbidding it, and becomes so entangled in his own dissertation that a lengthy explanation of what he is trying to say, confuses everyone. But once again, the relative value, the superiority of one gift over another, confutes Paul’s earlier words. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 199)

But greater troubles lie ahead.

“As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says.” (I Corinthians 14:33-34; RSV)

Paul, his utter disdain for women revealed in no uncertain terms, contradicts what he has said previously in this same letter. There is no way he can extricate himself from this situation.

Paul doesn’t bother to explain what unmarried women were supposed to do! Those who took his advice and remained unmarried. Following his master’s line of thought in, I Timothy 2:11-12, a later Paulinist writes: “Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 212) and further contradictions… (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page212-213)

Consider that when Paul first started his mission, he was absolutely dependent on women, as their homes were the only places open to him for meetings. Once his power had grown, and Paul was able to minister to larger congregations in established meeting halls, synagogues, and civic buildings, he no longer needed their good will. As always, Paul discarded those who had once aided his ‘ministry’.

No compromise could ever heal a wound that led to the servitude of ‘women’ for centuries, that bound her in a position of abject spiritual poverty for almost two thousand years. In many sects of Christianity, this subjugation goes on today. But even Jesus found this attitude insufferable.

“Simon Peter said to them: Let Mary go out from among us, because women are not worthy of the Life. Jesus said: See, I shall lead her, so that I will make her male, that she too may become a living spirit (pneuma), resembling you males. For every woman who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven.” (The Gospel According to Thomas; Page 57: Log. 114:19-26)

The sarcasm of this statement, this rebuke of Peter, might well have been leveled at Paul, as well as others in our Southern Baptist Convention.

Peake’s Commentary takes up the same issue as a possible interpolation, yet goes on to say, “… yet this may not be so much a sign of interpolation as of the bewilderment of the Western scribe(s) at the apparent contradiction.” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 963: 840g)

Paul absolutely believed in the subordination of women (Col. 3:18) He was convinced that releasing them from this ‘slavery’ would violate the divine order.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 213)

“If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.” (I Corinthians 14:35; RSV)

Again, widows, and those who remained single at his behest, what are they to do? Remain in ignorance? Become concubines?

There is little that can be said, yet much can be asked. Why didn’t God fearing, intelligent individuals question this profane edict? By what reason were they forced to fall victim to Paul’s domination? And by what madness do men and women today copy the ancient curse imposed on them by such a being?

Once more Paul illuminates the nature of his pious character by his own words.

“If any one thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord. If any one does not recognize this, he is not recognized.” (I Corinthians 14:37-38; RSV)

Paul has become the voice of God! He is demanding, he is assertive, he is become an egomaniac. It is not enough for God to bestow his special calling on men, it must also be ordained by Paul or it is not authentic.

“To conclude, any claimant to a prophetic or spiritual gift must allow that Paul’s message is on a par with God’s command…” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 963: 840g)

Paul was making demands of others who already believed that their gifts were given to them by God. Now that is not enough, since Paul speaks with the voice of God, it must be commended by him also. And no one dared to stand up to this man? Surely, Festus was right! And the interpreter’s ask the same question. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 213-214)

How does one justify the fact that this one individual has so influenced the ‘church’ that he bends like a threatening shadow over the congregation even today. No human being retains such power, and as such, power must have been bestowed by another. As Jesus was empowered by the Lord God and His Holy Spirit, Paul must also have been empowered in order to command such dominion. This student does not believe that it was the power of a benevolent creation. But it will prove itself out if we trust to God’s guidance.

Even in admitting his position as measured against Jesus’ chosen Apostles, Paul is not content to play a subordinate role.

“For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle… On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them…” ( Corinthians 15:9-10; RSV)

It is madness for us not to see the deception at hand. Paul prays more, travels more, speaks in tongues more, prophecies more, preaches more, works more, and suffers more, than any one else in the earth. It is egomania repeated again and again in his writing, uncovering the sickness that was devouring this individual.

His obvious jealousy also continues to be a prime factor in his writings, not only here but through his last letter. Such envy and hatred must have been a terrible sore for him to carry all his life, if not the, ‘thorn in the flesh’, that he complains about, most likely far more painful. But he was victorious in one instance, he managed to destroy the Jerusalem Church, and the knowledge and practices of Jesus’ chosen disciples.

The true faith and the true worship lay with them. Only one power in heaven and earth could have destroyed it and hidden the remains for twenty centuries.

At this point we will not proclaim an issue concerning the resurrection of the body as developed by Paul. It is, of course, his ‘theory’ concerning the ‘raising’ of a spiritual body and not one of the flesh, as was the common belief in his time. A master of words and a keen analytical mind, which we have already conceded, bring Paul to his concept of a ‘resurrection’ at the judgment day. It also becomes that of the church, to be built upon, as was the ‘communion’, by those within the structure of the medieval church.

There is no doubt that when one embellishes on an erroneous concept, that which results is far from the truth and even more distant from that which is proper. When one bases their concepts of Jesus’ sole purpose and ministry as a human sacrifice, the result becomes almost obscene.

It also results in confusion. Paul’s instruction into the resurrection and the gospel that he preaches becomes so involved that this student doubts many today, let alone those poor souls in Corinth, would have the substance to understand him. Certainly we can theorize about his meaning, but the essential point to note is that the charlatan perfects his ruse by creating confusion, and then builds upon it. (1Corinthians 15:12-36; RSV)

That Paul freely changed God’s Holy Scriptures, is not questioned. We have shown this to be a characteristic of his, but to affirm his continuing use of such fraudulent acts to prove his own point, we render the following.

“O death, where is they victory? O death, where is they sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” ( Corinthians 15:55-56; RSV)

“O death, where is they sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” ( 1 Corinthians 15:55-56; KJV)

Paul does not quote the original Hebrew text. The KJV follows the koine Greek and reads grave. Paul is in error. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 252)

“Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from Death? O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your destruction? Compassion is hid from my eye.” (Hosea 13:14; RSV)

Then, of course, we have the original Hebrew text, which differs quite readily from the Greek translation of that text which we have just quoted.

“Shall I ransom them from the power of the nether world? Shall I redeem them from death? Ho, thy plagues, O death! Ho, they destruction, O nether world! Repentance be hid from Mine eyes!” (The Holy Scriptures; Masoretic Text: Hosea 13:14)

Obviously, no one could leave anything alone, certainly not in its original form. But so the practice is continued by Paul, and then by all of Christianity. (Mark 1:2 versus Malachi 3:1)

“Now concerning the contribution for the saints…” (I Corinthians 16:1; RSV)

Paul speaks of the Galatian church, and the order for their participation, as already having taken place. The two letters were dated very close together, and though one may have predated the other, it was not by much. As we will learn, the concerns that we have had in I Corinthians, are amplified in the letter to the Galatians.

Please understand that in generalizing terms, Paul shines once again. When he refers to the ‘saints’, he is referring to all Christians. In this case he is speaking of those in Jerusalem. More of the gathering of these funds will be discussed later, but at this point it is important to realize that Paul gives no reason for the contribution.

He also indicates that the Corinthians are to choose those who are to take the money to Jerusalem, with an addendum that if he sees necessary, Paul himself will accompany them.

“And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me.” (I Corinthians 16:3-4; RSV)

His letter ends in admonitions to the church to continue as he has directed, and to look forward to his coming visit. This student would have viewed such a future event as terrifying. It would not be surprising to discover that many at Corinth felt the same way since it appears that Paul dealt with his congregations by threat and through fear.

At this point in time, he had already developed an organization strong enough to be an ominous force. Those he mentions to the church at Corinth are an imposing group who are dedicated to his service and sworn to his gospel. They include; Chloe, Timothy, Apollos, Stephanas, Fortunatas, Achaicus, Aquila, and Prisca.



Paul declared that his gospel was independent from men, free of dependence on all authority figures, institutions, and laws that interfere with “the direct communion between the individual and his God.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 429)

Unfortunately this is not a true statement, for Paul’s concept of, “…direct access of the individual to his God,” was dependent on several strict regulations which he had instituted. One had to be a constituent of the Pauline Christian community. Without that membership you were excluded from this offer. One had to be part of the ‘body of Christ’, an invention of Paul’s theology, which included a total acceptance of his gospel.

One had to conform to Paul’s ‘dress code’, i.e., clothing, personal appearance, and proper posture and attire for prayer. If any of these standards were not met, Paul’s solution was very simple. You could leave and be part of the heathen world where Satan ruled, bereft of salvation! In other words, excommunication.

“If any one is disposed to be contentious, we recognize no other practice, nor do the churches of God.” (I Corinthians 11: 16; RSV)

Aside from the ‘small print,’ in Paul’s ‘free gift of salvation,’ it was also his declaration of freedom from every earthly institution that God had declared for mankind. It was a repudiation of all that he had learned, “…at the feet of Gamaliel…” (Acts 22:3; RSV) and every teaching that Jesus had ever given us concerning the Law and its Source. It was Paul’s statement of freedom from any obligation he might have toward the disciples, the Jerusalem Church, or any other human being.

It was Paul’s assertion to the unenlightened that the totality of Jesus’ purpose on this earth was to give up his life as a human sacrifice whose offering of blood expiated the sins of all men. And that in his death, he wiped away all that God had established from the Creation on. The Law of Moses was the cradle of sin and its issue was eternal punishment and damnation, for no one could keep the Law in its sum total.

Paul sermonized Jesus at every chance, but always as Christ crucified. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 429)

And to whom did he present this edifice of which he knew nothing else?

Some were Jews, but most were Gentiles who, he claimed, did not know the true God. Their religions consisted of holy days and seasons, which Paul considered slavery. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 429) In this, he damned tradition and gave these same people special days, and seasons, and doctrine that were his own.

In doing this, Paul denied the ancient practice of sacrifices. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 429)

In the place of their animal sacrifices, he gave them his one great, human sacrifice, Christ Jesus dead on a cross. And with it a proclamation that all were saved on the basis of faith alone, without works, without effort, without reason. It was the great ‘free’ gift of God to all men, and as a ‘free gift of God’ it required nothing but that one accept Paul’s doctrines and regulations as gospel. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 429)

We have already listed the several ‘stipulations’ that were necessary for one to accept this ‘free’ gift of salvation. It is amazing that the inherent hypocrisy of this line of reasoning has lasted into the twenty-first century.

And with this break from all things religious, Paul asserts his independence from the Jerusalem Church and the Apostles. From the opening statement of this letter Paul lets us know that he had broken away from everything decent that had managed to restrain him up to this point. Evidently he was grown strong enough to sustain his own ministry, no longer dependent upon the good will or approval of Jesus’ disciples.

In attempting to justify Paul’s stand of independence, theologians make a statement that hits the nail they are attempting to avoid, right on the head. What they accuse the Judiazers of trying to discredit Paul with, turns out to be the truth. And if the truth were known, the Judaizers were none other than Jesus’ disciples and the elders of the Jerusalem Church.

And for proof, at a later date, Paul is summoned to Jerusalem by the Disciples to answer these exact charges. The accusations have been delivered through those empowered by the elders of the Jerusalem Church. They, at least, have the decency to face the accused and give him the chance to deny the charges, or to make amends. As we have seen, this sort of decency was not part of Paul’s character. The charges were that:

(1) He used the title of apostle, but was not one of the original apostles. (2) He had distorted the gospel which the elders of the mother Church, and the Disciples, were preaching. (3) That he preached the abandonment of the Law of Moses and in doing so, was contradicting the teachings of Jesus. (4) They intimated that his, faith without works, was his way of pleasing all men by promising them a cheap admission to God’s kingdom. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 430)

And they were absolutely correct!

Paul was no longer attempting to preach a gospel of God, but a gospel that was in total opposition to anyone who had known and heard the living Jesus. And if these theologians presume that the Apostles thought that through Paul’s destruction of the church, “…men would believe and be baptized but keep on sinning”, (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 430) they were forecasting a future for mankind that has proven completely accurate.

As we begin the study of Paul’s letter, it is good to note that he may have had no other alternative but to sever relations with the Apostles and the Jerusalem Church. He was the perfect example of one who burns his bridges behind him. He was totally opposed to Christ’s Apostles and to any gospel they might preach; he was envious of them to the point of hatred and disdained any practice that they instituted within the church.

It is obvious from the first line that his pretense toward apostleship had been challenged once again, and harshly so. In this event, he would have been able to do nothing but to turn his back on Jerusalem and present his own specious theology to the growing church. And to relieve himself of this persistent accusation, he took the only relief that man could not question rationally.

“Paul an apostle – not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father…” (Galatians 1:1; RSV)

Paul’s commission came neither from a human source nor through man, but directly from and through God, and was therefore as valid as if he had been one of the twelve apostles.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 443)

Paul depends on this claim to validate his self-appointed title of apostle, emphasizes that it is now proclaimed by divine authority. His antagonists in Galatia denied the claim. Now his entire labor is set in vindicating his claim. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 974: 851a)

It was not so much his ‘opponents in Galatia’ but his absolute envy of the Twelve. To those whom we have already mentioned as part of Paul’s entourage, we must add Sosthenes, Titus, Silvanus (Silas), and at one time, Barnabas and John Mark. Mark, whom this student believes saw what was going on, left Paul and returned to Jerusalem.. For the most part, these formed a solid group sworn to his service, much as any sect today who follow the charisma of special religious leader rather than their alleged god-head.

As if to substantiate the selfishness of his ‘missionary’ work, we may quote from Peake’s Commentary.

“Paul, determined to justify his personal claim, now uses the basic message of the Gospel, to defend his own status as an apostle. He considered an assault upon one, as an assault on the other.” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 974: 851a)

Paul has now changed boats again, for in insisting on his complete freedom from the authority of man, he has gone from tradition to personal experience. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 443)

It seems so difficult for those purporting to understand religious history to admit to the animosity which existed between Paul and the Apostles. But we must understand that the friction existed as a goad that inspired Paul to do his worst. The power through which he operated was most assuredly beyond the scope of human endeavor.

The reason for Paul’s letter becomes apparent, his gospel is being distorted, actually being altered. It would seem that their ‘desertion’ from Paul’s gospel was a turning toward another gospel, most likely the gospel of the mother church and the Apostles (possibly through their spokesmen). One must remember that both Mark and Barnabas, one of the finest teachers of the mother church, are back in Jerusalem working with the disciples.

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel.” (Galatians 1:6; RSV)

Now I must disagree with other theologians and interpreter’s (note that I have just used a Pauline ‘turn’ by using ‘other’, indicating that I am a theologian and an interpreter.) To evidence the authority of these self-acclaimed titles, I need now only state that I was appointed to them by God’s call and grace, and though you may say that I am an interloper, you cannot dispute it logically. Indeed, I am neither.)

The Interpreter’s Bible, chooses to indicate the possibility of Paul’s claim. I choose to oppose that view, but give the text note here, in attempting to be honest in my appraisals. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 450)

This student believes that Paul is referring to himself. It is his usual method to take all disappointments and setbacks as a personal insult. But now in another verbal blunder, Paul exposes his true colors and his authoritarian claim that his gospel and his alone is “the” gospel.

“For I would have you know, brethren. that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel…” (Galatians 1:11; RSV)

Paul indicates that he is the deliverer of the gospel spoken of in Galatians 1:6.

“…not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:7-8; RSV)

Well, there is only one power in heaven and earth that would dare to curse God’s angels. Paul has not only unmasked himself, but the power that lies behind his mission. In one breath of the pen, he has cursed the Apostles, the Lord God, God’s angels, and God’s ministers.

“As we have said before, so now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:9; RSV)

Paul believed, or at least intimated that Satan and his agents could appear as angels of light (II Cor. 11:14-15). The Interpreter’s Bible, here notes that it was almost impossible to tell which side a minister supported, especially when he performed miracles (Acts 8:9-24; Acts 14:8-18). (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 451)

And who tells us of this deception? Not Paul’s letters. There is not a single verse stated which does not come from Paul’s own mouth. Are we totally blind? Paul is warning the congregation about Paul, for one of the specialties of confidence men is to tell their prey to beware of men who practice exactly what they themselves are practicing.

This student must consider that in speaking of an angel, Paul could not have been speaking about one of God’s messengers, for the Evil One has not yet corrupted all of heaven itself. But Paul is not done, he has greater aspirations.

Of all the claims that Paul has made, including that of being an apostle, the greatest comes with the revelation that he is now, as has been mentioned previously, Nazarite! God’s prophets were, Nazarite, Melchizedeck was Nazarite, John the Baptizer and Jesus were Nazarite, called and consecrated by God before their birth, while still within their mother’s wombs. All were invested with the full power of the Holy Spirit before their births.

“But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace…” (Galatians 1:15; RSV)

So Paul grows even in his own mind, or is his mastery of words generalizing another of God’s most high commissions? At that, even Webster’s differs with Paul’s hypocrisy.

“A Jew of biblical times consecrated to God by a vow to avoid drinking wine, cutting the hair, and being defiled by the presence of a corpse.” (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary: A Merriam Webster; G. & C. Merriam Company)

Contradictions appear between the nature of Paul’s calling and his imposed regulations for the church. It is Paul who forbids men to wear their hair long, breaking the first rule of the Nazarite oath. It is Paul who degrades and humiliates women, and it is Paul who defies the Lord’s dietary Laws, eating that which is defiled by its offering as a sacrifice to alien gods (a corpse in itself).

It is Paul who openly states that one must be guided by ‘pleasing’ all men at all times rather than obeying God’s commandments.

At this particular point the work in progress would be wasted in quoting further from the Interpreter’s Bible, for their only concern is to justify Paul’s claims and to persuade us to accept his authority. However, in fairness, I am footnoting the required pages for reading. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 460-461)

To this student, at this point in time, their assumptions are totally invalid. The Apostles did not recognize Paul’s claim to apostleship as is evidenced by the continuing opposition from them on this point. His theology and his letters do not indicate that he had sufficient knowledge of Jesus’ teachings and ministry or he would not have preached a gospel so contrary to them and that of the Twelve..

The persecution that he involved himself in had nothing to do with Jesus, his beliefs, or his indictment as a seditionist, but was rather an assault against Stephen and the Hellenists. He could have been no more successful in proving Jesus guilty of a religious crime than were the High Priest and the Pharisees.

He had no concept of Jesus’ life or ministry, and fifteen days was hardly enough time for Paul to absorb what it had taken the Apostles more than three years to assimilate. Not to speak of Jesus’ entire ministry, or even just the parables, and he could not have learned about the crucifixion or the trial from the Twelve since they were not there.

Beyond that, the trial and the crucifixion as described by the Gospels do not verify tradition or Paul’s concept of those events. Having claimed that Luke is in error in every count where Paul denies what ‘the beloved’ Luke has written, are we now to discredit the Synoptic Gospels because they do not agree with Paul’s accounts?

Paul details the first seventeen years from his conversion, and by his own admission, still has not begun a ministry. We are talking about seventeen to twenty years, possibly closer to twenty, before Paul begins his mission.

“And I was still not known by sight to the churches of Christ in Judea; they had only heard it said, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” (Galatians 1:22-23; RSV)

It was not until Barnabas took Paul to Jerusalem and persuaded him to begin a ministry, that Paul begins his journey through biblical history. (“It was Barnabas who at the critical moment had expressed faith in Paul and got him started in his lifework as an ambassador of Christ.” The Interpreter’s Bible; Vol. 10: Page 468)

Now, with an organization strong enough to defy the mother church, Paul relieves himself of the Apostles. He takes over congregations that others had once started, along with those he claims as original to himself. He departs on a theological rampage of his own creation which eventually overwhelms and relegates the Jerusalem church to certain destruction and which ultimately influences the Synoptic Gospels. (See footnote 1 Corinthians “This do in remembrance of me.”)

Paul claims that his visit to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus was a matter of ‘revelation’, but in fact, it was by order of the Apostles. (Galatians 2:2; RSV)

“I laid before them (but privately before those who were of repute) the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles… But even Titus, who was with me, was not compelled to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.” (Galatians 2:2-3; RSV)

See also: The King James Version, text on these verses. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 470-471)

Paul makes short work of an issue that was not decided quite so easily. This has created difficulty for theologians because of Paul’s wording. Even Luke contradicts this statement.

“Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews that were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.” (Acts 16:3; RSV)

Once again, brother Luke contradicts Paul, and once again certain theologians state that Luke must be ignored in view of Paul’s writing. Is Luke then to be denied his proper place in the Church’s, New Testament? (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 472)

However, Peake’s Commentary on the Bible, considers this apparent contradiction between Acts and Galatians as, “…one of the most complicated problems in New Testament criticism.” and, “…one to which there is no generally accepted solution.” (Peake’s Commentary of the Bible; Page 974: 852a)

The solution is simple, Paul lied!

Paul deceived rather than let anyone think that he had been forced to yield to the authority of the Apostles or the elders of the Jerusalem Church. Paul’s method of operation was one of deception, which he practiced whenever it was convenient to do so. He lied to King Agrippa, and he lied to the Apostles, as we shall shortly see.

So who are we to believe? If he had to have Timothy obey the law, why not Titus? There is an unresolved disparity here, and there are many in Paul’s work. During this same time period, Luke gives us another contradiction to deal with. Paul said that he went up to Jerusalem because of a ‘revelation.’ There he discussed his gospel with them and received their approval.

“As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions which had been reached by the apostles and elders who were at Jerusalem.” (Acts 16:4: RSV)

Luke indicates that Paul was instructed as to what message he should take to the churches. This indicates that he was summoned to Jerusalem, not by ‘revelation’ but by his superiors. Paul takes instant objection to this.

“And from those who were reputed to be something (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) – those, I say, who were of repute added nothing to me…” (Galatians 2:6; RSV)

“…those who were reputed to be something (RSV) “who were of repute…”refers to the Disciples. Their authority came from having been chosen by Jesus, and having been with the Master during his ministry. Most prominent were James the Lord’s brother, Peter (Cephas), and John son of Zebedee. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 473)

Paul has little regard for the Apostles, but makes it clear that, “…(for he who worked through Peter for the mission to the circumcised worked through me also for the Gentiles), and when they perceived the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship…” (Galatians 2:8-9; RSV)

After the sarcastic remarks just made, in writing, concerning his contempt for the Apostles, Paul could not have taken his own words here seriously. And if any one else takes this to mean that the Twelve recognized Paul’s right to claim apostleship, they are sadly mistaken. Paul never stood face to face with the Twelve and claimed apostleship, of that you may be assured.

If Paul, or any one else, takes it to mean that the Twelve approved of Paul’s preaching a salvation through faith without works, they do not appreciate Jesus’ message, and they are witless concerning the letter of James refuting Paul’s gospel. If any one takes it to mean that the Twelve approved of Paul’s total abandonment of God’s law, they are hypocrites.

How far does the, ‘right hand of fellowship’, go with Paul? In absolute arrogance, he speaks openly of insulting Peter in public, humiliating Jesus’ disciple without mercy. He, in fact, takes great pride in having publicly abused him, and on what basis?

“But when Cephas came to Antioch I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.” (Galatians 2:11-12l; RSV)

“But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the gentiles to live like Jews?” (Galatians 2:14; RSV)

What was it that Paul said?

“To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews; to those under the law I became as one under the law…” “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men that I might by all means save some.” “Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please all men in everything I do…”

Was it not Paul who said that, ‘I am a Jew to Jews, a Gentile to Gentiles, and a Greek to Greeks…’ When with those outside the law, he eats and does what they practice, and to those within the law, he eats and does what they practice. Paul’s offers as his excuse that he wanted to offend, ‘no man’.

When Peter acts the same way, with the same intent, doing exactly what Paul recommended for his congregations, he uses it as an excuse to debase the Apostle in public and to applaud himself. What he does is to prove himself the great hypocrite, ‘the one from whose mouth come lies” (The Dead Sea Scrolls; The Nag Hamadi Library: The Damascus Document), contradicting his own words and actions.

Peter, a good man, acted in a conservative manner. If Peter was being insincere only Peter and God will ever know. “Paul could not prove his charge…” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 481)

Whether Paul was right or not, his action was crude and absolutely an affront to the teachings of Jesus. This is the man who writes to us about love absolute, who is not civil in his manner, who is without compassion for others, let alone love.

We must also note that the question of circumcision had not been settled, as Paul would have us think from his words earlier in this letter. This must be kept in mind, later it is convenient for Paul to reverse this opinion.

But suddenly, with no explanation offered from theologians or interpreter’s, Paul suddenly loses all contact with the subject of his story, Peter, and goes off on an extended dissertation concerning the uselessness of works under the law. (Galatians 2:15; RSV)

“His report of his words to Peter merges into an exposition of the Gospel, and by the end of the chapter he has lost sight of Peter and Antioch.” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 975: 852j)

His ‘raving and ranting’ to dispel any validity to the law leaves us with much to consider about his mental state, and no explanation is forthcoming from his modern day ‘disciples.’ The very Gentiles he was ‘protecting’ against Peter, one line before, now become, “…gentile sinners.” (Galatians 2:15; RSV)

The response to this heresy is James’ letter, a retaliation against Paul and his irreverent treatment of God’s Law. Jesus spoke constantly of fulfilling the Law, honoring the Law, and doing the greater part of the Law, even extending to the Law the fact that it prophesied about him.

In the delivery of this flaming oratory, Peter is forgotten, lost in the confusion of Paul’s mind. Thankfully what we have in the end, is Jesus’ promise that all men shall be judged for the things they have done. (Revelation 22:12)

But what Paul started goes on even today. For those in Rome who demanded proof of ones faith by action, while murdering hundreds of thousands for the lack of that proof, now wish to conciliate with other faiths in the discourse that Faith without works is sufficient for salvation, or shall we call it, ‘redemption’.

“We ourselves, who are Jews by birth, and not Gentile sinners, yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified.” (Galatians 2:15-16; RSV)

“I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose.” (Galatians 2:21; RSV)

Paul uses Jesus on the cross constantly, offering nothing else to the congregations of the church than Jesus’ death and his own interpretation as to the meaning of that death. As we have seen how he inaugurated his own definitions to a ‘communion supper’, and how he influenced the wording of the gospels, we have also been witness to Paul forming the basis of Christianity’s means of salvation.

But then, Paul blunders again and opens up a, Pandora’s Box, filled with contention and debate. In this student’s eyes, and the eyes of professional theologians, his own words destroy his argument.

“Thus Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham.” (Galatians 3:6-7; RSV)

Paul uses the example of Abraham as one justified by faith alone, but Paul’s argument is flawed. He never gives thought to the fact that Abraham’s act of obeying God and offering up his son as a sacrifice was a work of faith without which his faith alone would have been empty. But this student’s contention is not enough to disprove the words of Paul. God speaks with power and proves Himself!

“Then Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for NOW I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” (Genesis 2:10-12; RSV)

Paul goes on even with, The Holy Scriptures, speaking against him and his reasoning falls apart. A logical human being would soon realize that he has tripped himself up, but the power that has corrupted God’s word through Paul continues to curse the very Law that God has ordained for man.

“For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them.” (Galatians 3:10; RSV)

Those who follow Paul and his reasoning are like the blind following a blind leader. They have no choice but to try to validate his thinking because the entire realm of the church is built upon Paul and his theology, Paul and his contentious character, Paul and his contradictions. For in doing that which God asked of him, Abraham was not attempting to follow any of the Law. It was not a matter of the Law, but of obedience.

In this manner, theologians produce an argument built on Genesis 15:6. (“And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.” RSV)

Unfortunately, this comes years after Abraham has been found righteous in God’s eyes, years after his act of faith. Still, the attempt goes on, and goes so far as to question Paul’s originality.

The curse Paul is speaks about is Deut. 27-30… But the context to which Paul applies it, does not exist in this time frame. Paul has used God’s word again to his own advantage, and in fact, conceives of an image which comes from Greek and Persian mythology. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 505)

The Interpreter’s Bible, is correct when they state that, “Great care is needed to understand Paul here.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 505)

It has to be plain as the nose on your face. Who ordained the Law, the Law itself? No, God commanded the Law through his mighty prophet, Moses. But Paul, ‘instructed by the mind of Christ,’ knows better than God. The Christ who never defied the Law, who never spoke against the Law, who never prohibited one iota of the Law, instructed Paul to smite the Law of God?

It is the same today when millions of so-called Christians defy God’s dietary Laws. Why? “It wasn’t meant for us, but for the Jews… It was proper for those who lived centuries ago, but we know better now.” And the most heinous of all heresies, “Jesus proclaimed a new law!” That Power, spawned in Paul, now comes down to us full force.

If God made these things Law, why are they not Law now? If God did not change the Law, even if we know better today, why do we not obey it simply because it is God’s will? Because we have been taught, and hold as tradition, the right to disobedience. On the basis of a false teacher we have forsaken what God built up, not to condemn or confound us, but to protect us.

Be reasonable in your assessment, for not every man comes into contact with every facet of the Law. How ridiculous to even imagine that every person must perfect every facet of the Law, for we come into contact with such a small part of it in our lifetimes, that we would have to go ‘looking for trouble’ to find it. And in truth, only those who break the Law need fear it!

But matters of obeying God, the Dietary Laws, the Laws of fair conduct in business, the basic concepts of civilization that it outlines for us, the prayer and meditation that it guides us to, are major points in our life that we are responsible to follow. And as Jesus taught us, the most important part of the Law is God’s love for us. We return love by obeying our Master, and sharing that life with others. It is not that the Law is above all things, God alone is. And for that reason, His ordinances for us should be obeyed.

Paul now makes the leap from the ludicrous to the unimaginable. Abraham’s seed, (the plural being ‘seed’) suddenly becomes ‘singular’ in the mind of Paul. Abraham’s offspring (the plural being ‘offspring’) suddenly becomes singular in Paul’s vocabulary.

“It does not say, “And to offspring,” referring to many; but referring to one, “And your offspring,” which is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16; RSV)

Another innovation of Paul’s now claims that the very one he stated was with God in forming the creation has suddenly become the offspring of Abraham. But the greatest contradiction is yet to come. As Paul moves on through his chastisement of the law, he makes an awe-inspiring statement.

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus…” (Galatians 3:28; RSV)

Is Paul now making women the equal of men? Are women free to express themselves now? May they speak in the church? Are the rules of silence and bond servitude forgotten in this baptism? I think not!

Theologians immediately try to justify Paul’s original claim that a wife was the property of her husband, and her status ranked with slaves and children. They agree that Paul was not promoting a social revolution. The slave still had to obey his master, and “male” and “female” remained in their normal situations. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 519)

The hypocrisy reaches down to this very age, where Baptist conventions follow the decree of a man now dead for two thousand years. Women are subject to their husbands. The proper term is ‘subjugated’ by their husbands, and this sect is not alone in its cruel and illicit treatment of women.

Paul never mentions Jesus’ historical life, Paul never mentions Jesus’ ‘equal treatment’ of women. Paul never mentions Jesus’ healing power extended to women, Paul never mentions Jesus’ compassion and understanding extended to women. Paul never mentions the women who were alone with Jesus at his trial and crucifixion, Paul never mentions the women who were the first to see the ‘risen Christ’. Paul never mentions Jesus’ mother in a historical sense, or by name, for he is a hater of women.

Trouble in Galatia, and Paul tries to soothe them, the honey is thick on his tongue.

“Brethren, I beseech you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong; you know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first; and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 4:12-14; RSV)

Obviously, Paul’s blindness had not been healed as he and Luke claimed. He continues to mention his eyes all the way through his missionary journeys. He must write in large letters (“See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.” Galatians 6:11; Revised Standard Version), he speaks of his eyes being a painful experience, and here…

“If possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.” (Galatians 4:15; RSV)

Not only does the Interpreter’s Bible, agree, but they comment on his ailment as being, “…a repulsive physical weakness. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 429)

But to go on with Paul’s dissertation, he then makes reference to Abraham’s sons. Ishmael, his first born, and Isaac. But here, Paul falls into error again. Hagar was not a slave, she was known as the ‘woman of Egypt’, a concubine, or, second wife of Abraham’s. Where the word “slave” is used in the Septuagint the word in the Hebrew is “handmaiden”, and as Abraham’s concubine, Hagar may well have been subordinate to, Sarah.

“But his family life was marred by favoritism and friction of polygamy and concubinage, which were to poison the future with feuds between Israel and his neighbors.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 539)

This statement is meant for nothing other than to instruct us as to Abraham’s marital situation, and implies nothing about Paul or his condition. Abraham had many wives, but for now, two things must be considered, just for common knowledge. If Hagar had been a slave of Sarah, the giving of that slave to her husband would have been, under Jewish Law, the same as giving herself to her husband. Even Jesus taught that in a matter of servitude, the slave was the same as his master.

Ishmael, his first born, would still have been heir to all that was Abraham’s, including God’s promise.

Second, Sarah was not deemed righteous by her faith, for she had no faith in God’s promise, and for that reason, Isaac’s name means, ‘one who laughs,’ for Sarah laughed at the promise of God believing it to be impossible. (“So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?” The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the lord?” Genesis 18:12-15 RSV)

And with Hagar a legitimate wife of Abraham, though not the principle wife, Ishmael was first born and heir to all that Abraham had, including God’s promise.

So why is Isaac prominent? Because the Holy Bible is written by Jews and not by Moslems, and if we think that Isaac is prominent, we need read Genesis again.

“As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him and make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly; he shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.” (Genesis 17:20; RSV)

“And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman (hand maiden) also, because he is your offspring.” (Genesis 21:13; RSV)

“And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not; for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation.” (Genesis 21:17-18; RSV)

So Paul is in error once again! By the way, Ishmael was either twelve or thirteen years old when Isaac was born, and though the story sees Ishmael sent off to the desert, the victim of an inner-family conspiracy, the two are strangely together again in the life of Abraham. They are also together at his death, where both are said to have attended to his burial.

“Isaac and Ishmael his sons, buried him in the cave of Machpelah…” (Genesis 25:9; RSV)

There is more to this story than meets the eye.

But what does the scripture say? “Cast out the slave and her son; for the son of the slave shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” (Galatians 4:30; RSV)

Paul also freely embellished on God’s word here, without authority, for the Bible does not say this! And the words are not God’s but Sarah’s. Paul is in error.

“So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman (handmaiden) shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” (Genesis 21:10; RSV)

The blunder here is that Sarah knows that Ishmael is heir to Abraham, he is Abraham’s seed begotten from a second, or, lesser wife. Ishmael is Abraham’s progeny and for that reason Sarah wants him put away. Like a good ‘murder’ mystery, with the apparent heir out of the way, the secondary heir will inherit.

Sarah speaks these words, and she exhibits her fury against Hagar and Ishmael.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 543)

Paul uses indefensible examples that are filled with error and freely retranslated scripture, traits that are prevalent in Christian ministry today.

As if to continue to abandon the law and Judaism, Paul attacks an old, festering sore, circumcision. He not only attacks it, but condemns those who become subject to it.

“I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ…” (Galatians 5:3-4; RSV)

Christ, who himself, was circumcised!

“And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called, Jesus…” (Luke 2:21; RSV)

In addition to this, and much to Paul’s detriment, Mary and Joseph obeyed the, “… Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord… and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:22-24; RSV)

Paul is off on his own agenda, in his ignorance using the very epitome of that which he his arguing against. As always, Paul demands that no other opinion, no other gospel, be accepted but his own.

“I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine…” (Galatians 5:10; RSV)

Is Luke wrong again? Is Paul to be taken as gospel because he contradicts Luke by asserting his own word? And in the love that he preaches for others to follow, he concludes this section with his usual practiced charm.

“I wish those who unsettle you would mutilate themselves.” (Galatians 5:12; RSV)

And then has the audacity to say, “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14; RSV)

In this period of Jewish history, your ‘neighbor’ was your fellow Jew. If Paul was taking this statement beyond Jesus’ understanding of it, it was a poor showing of love to want others, no matter how offensive, to mutilate themselves. (The strict translation of ‘mutilate’ is to, ‘castrate.) If he was only including other Christians (believers), then Jesus’ words speak against him.

“For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” (Matthew 5:46-47; RSV)

As if further proof were needed to underline the contradictions that abound in Paul’s character, we need only look to this same letter to find them.

“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” (Galatians 6:1; RSV)

WHAT? I beg your pardon? His solemn wish is for those who ‘unsettle’ his congregation to mutilate themselves. Also bring to memory, Philippi and Corinth.”

“When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (I Corinthians 5:1-5; RSV)

And now we have, “…restore him in a spirit of gentleness…”? Paul contradicts himself, and so we go on with our investigation.

“Henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” (Galatians 6:17; RSV)

Was Paul speaking of stigmata? Or is this another dramatic exposition by the practiced confidence man? No explanation is forthcoming, but there is no evidence whatsoever that Paul had a factual knowledge of the crucifixion. If so, he would have known that there were no marks except the spear wound in Jesus’ side. The gospel according to John wasn’t even a dream in the author’s head, and it was one hundred and thirty years away in the future.

From those who still attempt to glorify Paul’s’ character, we have the following.

Everything goes by the boards when Paul’s sworn, 21st century disciples try to validate his credentials. Those who remain unnamed who “…stir up difficulties for him…” are the Disciples and the elders of the Jerusalem Church. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 591-592)

From the history of the man, it is obvious that Paul created animosity and discord everywhere he went. It is far more likely that he created his own problems by preaching a gospel that was completely alien to the Twelve and the Jerusalem Church. He preached a gospel that condemned, and that was foreign even to Judaism. Worse, it was totally out of place with anything that Jesus ever taught.

To conclude the criticism of this letter, nothing better could be added other than Jesus’ own words of caution.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 6:15; RSV)

The harvest of Paul’s theology resulted in the persecution and deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent victims. It perpetuated a history of dishonesty, apostasy, greed, avarice and murder.

It caused the ‘faithful’ to follow a path of deception that has led to a world drowning in wanton activities and a church without God’s Spirit and power. And now the religion he so deeply influenced is fading in the light of the truth.

It is time for us to examine a direct response to Paul’s ‘faith without acts’ theology from one who had authority.



The general opinion of theologians and interpreters is that the author of this letter is unknown. The fact that many may assume it was written by James, the Apostle and Jesus’ brother, is pure conjecture. Of the three James’ who have been considered as authors, the most generally accepted was, as noted, James the Lord’s brother.

The author, however, remains anonymous as do the readers to whom the letter was sent. There is no formal dedication, nor is it addressed to anyone other than, “…the twelve tribes in the dispersion.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 12: Page 3)

James, in the text we have today, is the work of a Christian author, whose training was Hellenistic but whose religious background was Hebrew. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 12: Page 5)

One thing is certain, that in every respect, this letter denounces that which Paul was teaching about the Law and about faith. It is extraordinary that we know from Paul’s letters that circumcision is an argument against which he fought constantly. His stand was that Gentile believers should not be forced to this custom in order to join the ‘church.’

Yet in Acts, after the meeting in which Timothy was circumcised, no such demand was made of the Gentiles. Paul goes on about it constantly, and yet Luke advises us that only four requirements were necessary for the Gentiles to enter the church with the Jews.

“But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity.” (Acts 21: 25; RSV)

We know from the letters we have already covered that Paul immediately found fault with this reasoning too, and took the elders of Jerusalem, including the Apostles, to task. This also explains his instruction concerning eating meat offered to idols, which was diametrically opposed to the Apostles’ edict.

His creation of a Communion meal, in which the blood of Jesus became a principal part, was also in violation of the agreement. Obviously he did these things to oppose the Jerusalem Church and the Apostles.

One must understand that Paul did not want these issues settled. Without them he had nothing to instigate his captive congregations against the mother church or the Apostles. If, as fact shows us, the disciples had already given in to compromise, it was to Paul’s advantage to make it appear as though they had not.

Of course, the reports that came back to the Jerusalem Church were so confounding that the disciples would not believe that Paul had wandered so far from proper conduct and instruction.

“You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed; they are all zealous for the law, and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or observe the customs. What then is to be done?” (Acts 21:20-22; RSV)

Paul bowed to the decision of the Elders and went through the ritual purification. But they need not have worried, Paul was not about to keep any vow, for it seems that nothing was sacred to this man. When his missionary journeys continued, he immediately pressed the congregations to follow ‘his gospel’ as we have already seen.

The converted Jews cannot believe the reports that Paul has taught Jewish converts to forsake the Law. To prove that these accusations are lies, he agrees to show publicly that there is nothing to what his enemies have been saying about him. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 12: Page 7)

Paul lied to the Apostles and the Elders without blinking an eye. We know what he was doing through his own written word. Until the time came that his organization was strong enough, he dared not admit the truth. And after having taken the vows necessary in the, Rite of Cleansing, no small matter to the Jews, and at a distance from the authorities in Jerusalem, he continued his work of undermining the true faith.

The concession of the Apostles and the elders of the Jerusalem Church is hard to believe, but for the Gentiles, they would need only follow the four conditions asked of them. With these items alone, “…Gentiles might be regarded as inheritors of salvation.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 12: Page 7)

Where is Paul’s continuing struggle with the Jerusalem Church? It would seem that the “problems” he is facing are being contrived by Paul himself, for the church had already conceded to his wishes. No commitment to the Law, no circumcision, no observance of tradition for any of the Gentile converts. Is Paul now insisting that this must also be true for the Jews? More struggle, more contention, because he cannot exist without it. And if none is forthcoming, he will invent it if only to continue his attack on the Apostles.

Paul’s reasoning and Paul’s mentality are understood by no one. And far be it for this student to pass judgment, but his intentions were understood by no one but Paul, including the church to whom he preached. To the simple man, the simple mind, he was taken literally and that brought nothing but confusion to them and to the church today.

The letter of James, however, has drawn praise from the highest authorities, including Luther. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 12: Page 15)

Other opinions are important to us in ascertaining the authority behind this letter, and its intrinsic qualities.

Although James has a few addendums, it is pretty much as it was when written. Peake’s Commentary, believes the letter may have been written to Galileans, possibly some of Jesus original followers… the background is very similar to that of the synoptists… The writer believes that one’s faith must show itself by one’s conduct. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 1022: 893a)

The style of the letter is animated; the writer is obviously someone who was skilled in the higher Greek, and was well acquainted with the LXX. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 1022: 893b)

We are dealing with an intelligent, well-schooled mind, one that was necessary to deal with the ‘gospel of Paul,’ toward which this student believes it is aimed.

We must take notice of the Last verse of James, first.

“…let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:20; RSV)

This is a Jewish belief which was fully discussed in the first thesis, ‘In Defense Of The Apostles Faith.’ And although we have seen how interpreters and theologians try to explain the greeting, The Interpreter’s Bible, stretches the rationalization to make it an all-inclusive statement.

They believe it is preferable, “…to explain the twelve tribes as meaning the whole spiritual Israel, i.e., all Christians.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 12: page 20)

How they arrive at this conclusion is entirely speculative. Throughout, these same critics continue to exclaim how Jewish the epistle is, but never bother to explain how Christianity has become the ‘…spiritual Israel.’ From the beginning to the end, even though these scholars admit all of Paul’s crimes, they must defend him, they are forced to defend him. The entire church is based on nothing but Paul’s doctrine.

At the outset, James begins a campaign relating to true faith and its substance.

“… for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” (James 1:3; RSV)

Unlike Paul’s faith without works, faith’s tests must be met, and it can only be met by action. Even to continue in a righteous path of religious exercise one must do so by action. James proceeds to God’s answer to prayer, in much the same light as Jesus did. When one approaches God one must be of an absolute belief that it will come to pass.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:5-6; RSV)

Faith alone is not sufficient, prayer is in evidence, and that without doubt or hesitation. When Jesus explained to us the gifts of the Father, he expressed himself in common, easily understood metaphors. Seek, knock, ask… but without doubt, without a faltering heart. That is putting faith into action.

If Paul’s way is to be followed, one must ask why we are constantly tested. If Paul’s way is to be followed, why are we told that we are never given a cross greater than we can bear? If Paul’s way is to be followed, then Job is an example to no one.

“Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12; RSV)

By interpreter’s standards, vs. 17, is obscure “The terminology in the remainder of vs. 17 is almost hopelessly obscure and the textual evidence equally so.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 12: Page 29)

But it is plain enough when read in context with the entire subject of this part of the letter.

“Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17; RSV)

God is steadfast, there is no change in God’s person or action. There are no hidden motives, nothing in the ‘shadow’ of darkness to be revealed later, i.e., there is no deception in God. The Lord God has no human failings, no hypocrisy.

The difficulty is, as in other places in the Greek testaments and as opposed to the criticism of the Old Testament, that those involved are prejudiced. They are biased in their handling of the New Testament and do everything possible, legitimate or not, to uphold to an erroneous tradition. But, the truth be known, they have no choice.

This is the major reason that they continue to applaud Paul even when he has been proven wrong, not by this student, but by his own peers. Luke is an excellent example of the distortion he raises in his efforts to prove his superiority and his authority.

Again, the theologians of our time refer to James’ writing as ‘Christian’, but note that, it is more akin to Judaism rather than Christianity. (The use of the term, the righteousness of God, is basically Jewish, and certainly not Pauline!) (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 12: Page 31)

At this point, the author begins to take Paul to task. This must be repeated in its entirety.

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves… But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing.” (James 1:22-25; RSV)

The author of James also continues a path that seems to place the rich in a very bad light. He speaks of honoring the widow, and the orphan, and the poor man.

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this; to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained in the world.” (James 1: 27; RSV)

“Is it not the rich who oppress you, is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme that honorable name by which you are called?” (James 2:6-7; RSV)

James raises the inevitable question.

“What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?… So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” (James 2:14-17; RSV)

This is a direct answer to Paul’s irreconcilable, ‘faith alone’. It refutes the Gospel that Paul perpetrated in the first days of the church and brings to us this very day. It is the stand of the Catholic church as it seeks reconciliation in the eyes of Protestant Christianity, bringing this same worthless message in an attempt to bind up a dying religion.

“But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.” (James 2:18; RSV)

It is impossible to prove Paul’s stand other than by admitting action, as God states in His Holy Scriptures. To say that you have faith, or that you believe something, without acting on that statement proves nothing. Paul is playing word games. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 12: Page 43)

James uses the example of Abraham that Paul used, in a valid context.

“Do you want to be shown, you foolish fellow, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” (James 2:20-23; RSV)

In these verses, Genesis 15:5-6, is a forerunner of Genesis 22: 1-14, where a more specific blessing is given due to Abraham’s faith which proved itself in by his specific actions. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 12: Page 44)

Peake’s Commentary agrees with this conclusion, and carries the proof even further. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 1024: 895d)

Faith, yes, surely not works alone, but works are always active when faith is involved or there is nothing. Abraham’s faith was always accompanied by his works, and it was necessary or God would not have tested him to prove his faith. The Interpreter’s Bible, puts it perfectly, and in a simple statement.

“This (vs. 23) is how Gen. 15:6 must be understood!” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 12: Page 45) What startles this student, is how scholars can side with Paul’s faith without works when eulogizing his words, and then show complete agreement with James.

James also brings in Rahab’s works, a work that justified her even though she was a harlot. And he ends with the exclamation, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2:26; RSV)

Paul has spoken about the various parts of the body and how one is interconnected with the other. One cannot operate properly without the other, and yet Paul attempts to separate the two parts of the body that are absolutely essential to each other. One does not function at all without the other.

Paul must wither in the face of such an argument, but this author is not done yet. James obviously knows that the tongue is the most dangerous part of the body. And he implies that one who makes no mistakes is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body. (James 3:2; RSV)

Paul has been seen throughout this entire study as one whose word is the only one to be accepted. He is faultless in his philosophy and in his understanding of God’s mind. These are his own words, are they not? His followers are to accept no other gospel, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:7-8; RSV)

James is aware of Paul’s work, and the power of his words. For this reason, the very first line of this section bears a warning which Jesus himself declared in his ministry. And even more to the point.

“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness.” (James 3:1; RSV)

“Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19; RSV)

Jesus speaks of ‘works’, doing. He speaks of teaching men to disregard and ignore God’s Law. Between Paul and Jesus? I choose Jesus!

If James is not speaking of Paul and his unbridled tongue, I cannot imagine what he is referring to. His statements bring bitter truth to the fore, and are examples of what this student has attempted to point out as flaws in Paul’s character.

“But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” (James 3:15-16; RSV)

James has an eye for understanding character. No better picture could have been drawn of the man, Paul. His own words have exemplified contradiction, hypocrisy, jealousy, and the desire to see men cursed. We have seen abuse of his power, misuse of his authority for personal gain and the preaching of a gospel that even Jesus’ words oppose. And as children who have been beguiled by the words of the serpent, just like Eve, the church has accepted it hook, line, and sinker.

James goes on to preach once again against the rich! Surely not all the rich are evil; surely not all the rich are unsaved, therefore, James must have someone, or some group, in mind. In the midst of this we are made aware of the mind of the author. He is convinced, as was every one else, that Jesus’ return was about to take place.

“You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the lord is at hand.” (James 5:8; RSV)

James has already spoken of asking God with complete faith. Now he brings it up again in a most pointed manner.

“Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” (James 5:13-15; RSV)

All these things are understood in the condition that it must be God’s will, and no one, including Paul, has a knowledge of His mind. But here, the theologians make a most perceptive statement.

It is common knowledge that where profound faith exists, extraordinary cures occur. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 12: Page 71)

James ends with a familiar Jewish belief.

“My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20; RSV)



II Corinthians

Paul has had many problems, serious setbacks that have caused him grief. Accusations have been made against him, not unlike those at Jerusalem. There he denied all, but he bent to the will of the Twelve and went through the purification ritual to assert his innocence. Now the same insinuations are being made again, namely that the apostolic authority he claimed for himself was false. It was said that he was arrogant and self-seeking, “…a weighty letter writer but an ineffectual and contemptible speaker.” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 966: 844e)

Paul was being charged as being a liar, and that when he refused financial aid from the Corinthian congregation, he was plotting to get their money through his underlings. They said, “…got the better of you by guile.” (II Corinthians 12:16.) He was not a true apostle. Paul, who could, “…speak in tongues better than you all.” (I Corinthians 14:18), and told of visions which no one else had witnessed or could verify (Acts 9:3; I Cor. 9:1; II Corinthians 12:2 ), and that he was mentally unbalanced. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Pages 271-272)

Here, in II Corinthians Paul gives the fourth version of his, ‘Damascus’ vision. Was Festus right? This student would prefer to believe that Paul was ‘crazy as a fox,’ shrewd, an egomaniac, but ‘mentally unbalanced’?

Of his excellence with words we have proof, about his skill as a speaker we know nothing, except what he tells us. His self-proclaimed apostleship, only one of many other items, is highly questionable, especially when it is agreed that during Paul’s lifetime the commission of ‘apostle’ was restricted to Jesus’ disciples.

As we have seen by his own words, Paul is overly authoritative, brutal and inconsiderate when it came to dealing with people, one easily consigned to ‘rewriting’ God’s Holy Scriptures for his own interests and without regard to their original context, one who was manipulative and always interested in his gospel, his authority, his standing within his congregations, his work, his suffering, his calling, his titles.

He would accept no picture of Jesus other than his own limited image. He espoused a brilliant theology of his own conjectured images, and he would accept no gospel other than his own, not that of the Twelve and Jesus’ own brother, not even that of an Angel of God. This goes beyond vanity!

Of evidence, we have seen how he has taken credit for his own sense of mission by abandoning Ananias. He claimed that the founding of certain congregations were his own when Barnabas, Peter, and others had actually started them. He wrote to congregations long established, that he had never even visited, as though he were their master.

He was quick to rid himself of those who dared question his teachings and his ‘authority’ such as Ananias, John Mark and Barnabas. And he moved with great dexterity to reaffirm his unquestioned authority when Timothy, Titus, Cephas, and Apollos became more popular with certain congregations where they had preached, than he had been.

We have his own words to confirm these charges. He was challenged more than twice by his own congregations, by the Apostles, and by the elders of the Jerusalem Church. The charges that were made against him by the so-called, Judiazers, are confirmed by Paul’s own words. He taught others to abandon the Law, and he acted in contrary fashion to them himself, and to his purported calling as , Nazarite.

He manufactured a sacrament based on the blood offering of a human sacrifice, and openly induced others to use it in direct defiance of his agreement with the mother Church concerning Gentile admission into the faith.

And last, we must consider once again that at no time did Paul have witnesses to his ‘spiritual’ encounters and visions. On the other hand, Jesus had witnesses at every encounter.

At the baptism, John was present along with the two or three witnesses necessary at every baptism. When Jesus went up onto the mount and spoke with the great prophets, he was not alone. He took Peter, James, and John with him that there might be witnesses to the transfiguration. Nothing that he did was done in secret or alone.

So wherein did Paul’s trouble lie? The name of the person, or persons, who challenged him this time, is not known. There is much conjecture, but theologians refuse to indict the Apostles because to commit to one or another would mean denying the authority of Jesus’ disciples, or turning on their own prodigy, Paul.

The Interpreter’s Bible, speaks of those who came to, ‘deliberately’ undermine Paul’s work, but they refuse to comment on who these individuals were. The reference is listed anyway, to provide others with opposing comments. In all probability, they were from the Disciples and the Elders of the Jerusalem Church. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 266)

Realistically, it was discovered by the Twelve and the Jerusalem elders that Paul had lied to them concerning his teachings about the Law, they had to take action. He had profaned the rite of purification! Missionaries or preachers would have been sent out to replace Paul and to rectify the damage he had done in preaching ‘his own gospel’, and for his heretical acts.

As a result, Timothy was scorned by the congregation, probably because Paul had been indicted as a false teacher, along with other wrongdoing. But this man was not about to give up, and as was the custom with him, instead of going to Corinth himself he sent his ‘agents’, namely Titus, to handle this dangerous business.

But consider this, for Paul is about to reveal himself point blank. If Timothy had been rejected, it is hard to conceive of Titus going to that rebellious congregation by himself. It is more than likely that others went with him, but no such assemblage has been mentioned yet. It is necessary for us to look ahead for the true story, and Paul betrays himself once more by his own words.

“I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by guile. Did I take advantage of you through any of those I sent to you? I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him…” (II Corinthians 12:16-18; RSV)

So, Titus did not go alone, and who was this, ‘brother’? He goes unnamed, a shadowy, mysterious figure. But this is not the end of the matter, for as we shall see, Titus did not go with two, but with several. Not alone, but with a group of Paul’s trusted inner circle.

We must be concerned by the intense manner in which Paul was challenged. The congregation was quite vocal in their dissent, and yet, without explanation, without knowing how Titus, and ‘the brother’, subdued their anger, they suddenly turn and accept Paul and his entire message.

This student must assume that though human nature is fickle and ever vacillating, force of some type, threats of violence, had to have been used. Paul had grown strong, powerful beyond anyone’s understanding and he demanded, contrary to his ‘Christ-like’ teachings, that, “…they punish the open rebel who was leading the opposition.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 266)

There was no forgiveness in Paul, he wanted his revenge, and he wanted those at fault punished.

The Corinthians could not control those from outside the congregation. The Interpreter’s Bible, agrees with this. Paul certainly could do nothing from where he was, so in outrageous anger, he demands that the leader of the Corinthian congregation be punished. Paul would have his pound of flesh. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 266)

So malevolent was this man that when he could not punish those directly responsible, he made a scapegoat of the most available personage. In this case, it was the leader of the congregation. With these things noted, and proven, we move into the body of the letter itself.

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God…” (II Corinthians 1:1; RSV)

We have touched this subject before, but the interpreter’s have chosen to make an open statement concerning the name, “Jesus Christ.” It is necessary to have other comment on this subject.

The word Christ (Christos) is a title, an adjective, meaning, as did “Messiah” in Hebrew, “anointed one.” It was a title for Jesus; he was ‘the anointed one’ of God, promised as the people’s redeemer. But Paul changed this and used it as a proper name. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 277)

Once again Paul lays claim to a God given commission, in a manner which no one can argue with, without witness or proof. Theologians tell us the truth of this matter even though they honor Paul. It lies in the fact that the specific title, as we have noted before, has been ‘generalized’ by Paul himself.

“Paul is careful to say that his apostolic status was conferred by the will of God.” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 968: 846a)

But even, The Interpreter’s Bible’s, scholars would seem to decline the commission, stating, “…and finally in later times was limited to the twelve (Matt. 10:12)…” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 276)

Paul instantly shifts into a confounding game of words which ply between suffering and comfort, comfort and suffering. Once bewildered by this barrage Paul goes on in what must appear to be a babble of words that in the end have no apparent meaning to his purpose. And what is Paul’s purpose?

He speaks of his plans to visit them, plans gone astray, and then describes the unfinished visitation as his own resolve. He explains that he decided not to visit them. As Paul says, “…it was to spare you that I refrained from coming to Corinth…For I made up my mind not to pay you another painful visit.” (II Corinthians 1:23-2:1; RSV)

“But had he proved fickle in altering his plans? Not ‘fickle’ in a worldly sense, which means answering ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ in the same breath.” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 968: 846c)

Paul finally gets to the meat of his ‘purpose,’ for having demanded the punishment of the congregation’s leader because of the rebellion, he finds that the congregation has followed his orders and he says that, “…this punishment by the majority is enough.” (II Corinthians 2:6; RSV)

Why has Paul sought his ‘pound of flesh’, and then recanted only after the punishment has been inflicted, possibly gone too far? His reason is hideous, ridden with a sense of his own personal power.

“For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything.” (II Corinthians 2:9; RSV)

The King James is even more explicit in its wording, and may well ring with a louder bell than the RSV.

“For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye are obedient in all things.”

Obedient to whom, to God? No, obedient to Paul!

Something out of the ordinary had to have happened for these people to be turned in their moment of rebellion against a tyrant, to turn on a prominent member of their own congregation. Why should he have been punished? Had he failed Paul in allowing the dissension to take place? Unfortunately, we will never know, for these things Paul kept secret in his own heart.

Paul demands punishment, Paul tests the congregation. Paul demands their obedience, in fact, he insists on it. Obedience to God, to Christ? No, in this case, to himself, to know ‘whether they are obedient in all things!’

Interpreter’s believe that Paul had to make an example of the cause of the rebellion. Was the leader of the rebellion the leader of the congregation? We are not told that he was. (The Interpreters Bible; Volume 10: Page 296)

The entire matters reeks of a malicious spirit. The next statement Paul makes is heavy with ego, as though a Christ-like figure were speaking. It leaves a bad taste in ones mouth, for he sounds almost as though he had nothing to forgive, even though, for a moment, he was afraid that he might have gone too far.

“Any one whom you forgive, I also forgive. What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake…” (II Corinthians 2:10; RSV)

Paul really doesn’t believe he has done anything wrong, and he even speaks as if he had anything to forgive. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 296)

And then Paul makes a declaration for the ages, one I am afraid that we have all come to regret.

“…to keep Satan from gaining the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his designs.” (II Corinthians 2:11; RSV)

If Paul and the church are so aware of the Evil Ones ‘designs,’ how is it that we find our world plunged into darkness following a tangle of traditions, doctrine, and erroneous information? If Paul was so aware of Satan’s ‘designs,’ how is it that the ‘church’ has become a faltering institution, with a two thousand year past as dark and unscrupulous as any we find in history?

Paul had an opportunity to evangelize openly in Tro’as, but he was so concerned with the situation in Corinth, and anxious to get some news from Titus concerning his ‘position’ with that congregation, that he left. Paul himself states that, “…a door was opened for me in the Lord.” (II Corinthians 2:12; RSV) (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 298)

But Paul decides that his own personal business is more important. Perhaps God was testing Paul to see if he was ‘obedient in all things.’ And once again, claiming a ‘commission’ from God, Paul derides the Law once more, proving that the claims made against him in Jerusalem were true.

“… our sufficiency is from God, who has qualified us to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (II Corinthians 3:5-6; RSV)

The written code is the Law of Moses. Paul states that it kills.

The New Covenant, is another invention of Paul’s Hellenistic philosophy. He places Jesus at its head and claims that in it, Jesus rebuked God’s written law. It is doctrine in the Christian religion.

But what did Jesus say? “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself it cannot stand.” (Mark 3:4) And I tell you in like manner, How can Jesus cast out God? If a kingdom is divided against itself, it cannot stand.

This student has made a claim that Paul misused, misquoted, God’s Holy Scriptures, to suit his own purposes. Some proof text has been brought into evidence, but now we must conclude with a stronger argument and the opinion of theologians.

“Now if the dispensation of death, carved in letters of stone, came with such splendor that the Israelites could not look at Moses’ face because of its brightness, fading as this was…. Indeed, in this case, what once had splendor has come to have no splendor at all… Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not see the end of the fading splendor.” (II Corinthians 3:7-13; RSV)

The least of all students knows that Paul has misused God’s Holy Scripture here. This is not what the story in Exodus relates to us, nor is the meaning that Paul gives to it the truth. Moses’ face was lit with a light that came from speaking with God! The ‘dispensation of death’ Paul speaks of is the, Ten Commandments, and he dares to say that it is fading, that God’s work is temporary and incomplete? Those are his words, it must be his intent.

By, The Law, Paul means not only the ceremonial functions, but the entire legal canon established by the Pentateuch and embodied in Judaism. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 307)

Whether we agree with Paul, or not, the fact is that he put down the Law of God, and that premise is also understood by Christian scholars.

“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been speaking with God. And when Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him…And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face; but whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out…” (Exodus 34: 29-35; RSV)

Exodus 34:29-35, tells us that the face of Moses shone when he came down from Mount Sinai. In order not to frighten the people, he put a veil on his face. This brightness soon faded. Paul sees this as a sign that although the old covenant was God’s, it has now been, “…superseded by the greater and permanent order of the new covenant…”

Paul purposely vilified God’s Word, it is in black and white. And in the ‘New Covenant,’ an invention of Paul’s mind, he implies that God’s work is transient and insubstantial. Then he has the audacity to write, “We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word…” (II Corinthians 4:2; RSV) which he has just done!

No one is so innocent, no one is so blind that they cannot see this deception, yet Paul is ready for that argument too. If his gospel seems wrong, an aberration of his own mind, then it is because “…it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers…” (II Corinthians 4:4; RSV)

Paul’s opinion, stated in an argument that cannot be reasoned or disproved.

Of course, that is the answer. If we do not believe Paul, then we have been blinded by the god of this world. If we dare to contend with him, to discourse with him about his message, then we are to be thrown to the evil one for the destruction of our bodies.

In God’s name, was there no one to object to this chicanery? Was there no one to object to his lies, to challenge the evil of such a man? These devices are maniacal.

Even more depressing is Paul’s obsession with death, it underlies everything he preaches, and for his gospel Jesus must be dead, that human sacrifice must be made so that we may receive our justification through a ritual of sacramental blood. (II Corinthians 4:10-12; 5:14-15; RSV…”always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”)

And if it has not been mentioned before, this is the hope and desire of the pagan religions that surrounded Paul and his world. To realize and share in the death of their god, will bring them their share of his immortality when that god has risen.

Now it is Paul who has written on “faith without works” being sufficient to justify us. Our faith is sufficient for us to be redeemed, so if good works do not serve for our salvation, by the same argument, bad works can not serve to condemn us! You cannot have one without the other in a dualistic plane of existence, yet Paul contradicts himself.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.” (II Corinthians 5:10; RSV)

In explanation, the theologians have no choice but to be explicit.

“At that time each one will receive a judgment based on and in accordance with what he has done in the body.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 332)

It is no wonder that the entire Corinthian congregation rebelled. This student is amazed that the others did not stand shaking their heads in confusion at the morbid hypocrisy and discrepancies that came from Paul. Earlier, Paul said that Jesus was born like any other man, therefore he came into the world in sin, subject to the Law.

One thing is certain, Paul had no concept of the virgin birth nor would he have accepted the tradition. The Immaculate Conception would have been heresy to one steeped in his own religious theories, especially where a woman was concerned.

Paul had no knowledge of the historical birth and life of Jesus, but is forced to postulate concerning his appearance in the world. It is no wonder that the disciples, who knew the living Christ and his family, his brothers and sisters, and his mother, Mary, were intent on stopping Paul’s outrageous teachings.

“God ‘sent forth his Son’, a man born like other men, and, being a Jew, subject to the law (cf. Phil. 2:6,7).” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 977: 853h; Ref: Galatians 4:4)

But now, Paul says, “For our sake he made him to sin who knew no sin…” (II Corinthians 5:21; RSV)

Paul’s theology is so complex that even he is constantly tripped up by it, yet the church today has accepted it right down to the last exclamation mark. Of all that is practiced as sacrament in the church today, of the dogma that dictates to our religious practices, all of it comes from the mind of Saul of Tarsus. On these vacillating theories we dare to set the foundation of our faith and to justify the horrors that it has caused to be committed through the centuries.

Paul goes on to convince the Corinthians to refrain from existing with unbelievers, to be separate from them, not to associate with them. There is obviously to be no outreach from within the congregation to those outside. Is this Paul’s task alone, and that of his ‘select’ organization? This is not stated, but how could they possibly witness to unbelievers if they are restrained from having anything to do with them?

It would have been a different story if Paul had acted on Jesus’ instructions to, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel…” (Matthew 10:5-6; RSV)

Jesus never relaxed his command concerning the Gentiles. But once this had been accomplished by Paul, he tells the congregation not to deal with unbelievers (do what I say, not what I do). His ‘apostleship’ has grown so powerful that he completely disregards Jesus’ instructions, and in the same breath denies Jesus’ command to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” which the church today constantly mouths as its prime duty. (Matthew 28:19)

In trying to persuade these people to do his bidding, Paul uses the Old Testament again, but this time he combines six separate sets of verses, which are unrelated, as though they were one. And they were delivered to the Jews originally and not to any Christian group, nor did they ever have any such sect in mind. Once again, Paul uses God’s Word to his own purpose.

II Corinthians 6:16-18, are made up of, Leviticus 26:11-12; Ezekial 37:27; Isaiah 52:11 and Ezekekial 20:34. Verse 18; is a combination of, II Samuel 7:8, 14; and Isaiah43:6. See: (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 354)

At this point, Paul again denies that he has done anything dishonest. To illustrate this we must inject remarks between scripture references and they will be in italics to avoid confusion.

“We have wronged no one…” The Congregational leader though he had not been one of the dissenters? The abasement of Peter in public? John Mark? Ananias? Barnabas in taking credit for his work? And women in general, to note just a few examples. Those he left behind on several occasions when he had started trouble, and then left them to face the music for outrages he had committed. (II Corinthians 7:2; RSV)

“We have corrupted no one…” Those who were taught by Paul to ignore the Law of God on the basis of his teachings and his actions! Those he led into worshiping on the basis of a theology, conceived in his own mind, that made the Lord God secondary and the offering of a human sacrifice, primary.

“We have taken advantage of no one.” He constantly threatened in his letters to send his emissaries to see that ‘they were obedient,’ and on many occasions did send his select staff to check on their conduct, and to oversee their activities. He sent Titus, and later admits that a mysterious ‘brother’ went with him, to silence the Corinthians. It reeks of the use of intimidation and fear. (II Corinthians 2:11; RSV)

As if it were not enough for us to make these few points, Paul opens the door wide enough to prove that our suspicions are correct.

“…so our boasting before Titus has proved true. And his heart goes out all the more to you, as he remembers the obedience of you all, and the fear and trembling with which you received him.” (II Corinthians 7:14-15; RSV)

Do the hammer blows fall on deaf ears? “the obedience of you all”, “the fear and trembling…” And Paul’s modern day supporters reckon this reaction as, “they received him with a fear that was due to a guilty conscience.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 10: Page 362-363)

From what has already been disclosed, with the evidence we have in hand so far, this student would not infer that their consciences were guilty, but that they were bullied by Titus and his associates into submitting before the strength of Paul’s threats.

Now the fact that Paul has been victorious over this congregation, enables him to bring us the offering of the Macedonian church as an example as to what is expected of the Corinthians. No ifs-ands-or-buts.

“Now as you excel in everything-in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in your love for us-see that you exceed in this gracious work also. I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine.” (II Corinthians 8:7-8; RSV)

Paul has control, Paul is obviously mistrusting and vengeful. Having threatened the Corinthians, Paul uses another congregation as a slap in the face, and then says it is not a command? Yet they are to prove their loyalty and love? If they are Christ’s, they need prove nothing to Paul. The more Paul writes, the more his church appears to be a series of cults in captivity. But you must decide for yourselves.

Paul uses the Church in Macedonia at Thessalonica, Philippi and Beroea, as an example.. These congregations were in abject poverty, yet they gave generously from what they did not have. It was Titus’ job to make sure that the congregation at Corinth contributed in the same manner. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 971: 847k)

Giving to the plenty out of nothing, joyfully? If one were to read between the lines, it might sound as though Paul bankrupted the church at Macedonia of what little it had. And if he sent Titus, with ‘a friend’ or friends as it turns out, we are given a bit more light into the truth of this also.

And then, at last, Paul writes the truth for all to see. Titus is to go, and that with him, “…we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel, and not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us… As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker in your service; and as for our brethren, they are messengers (apostles) of the churches, the glory of Christ. So give proof, before the churches, of your love and of our boasting about you to these men..” (II Corinthians 8:16-23; RSV)

Titus is tactfully mentioned. But he is not alone, “…two others are going with him, both unnamed in the present text (but were their names erased at some early stage?).” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 972: 847m)

Not one, not two, but several assistants are to accompany him on this journey. Brethren, plus the brother, plus, Titus means ‘several’. The plot thickens, for the names remain unknown to this day, but why the secrecy? Would they have been indicted at a later date due to their activities within the body of the church?

For now, this student cannot but take these words as a threat, and it is impossible to know what fear and trepidation the Corinthian people must have felt. Paul’s strong arm had also grown very long. What may seem as innocent bantering concerning this enormous collection of money from the several congregations, also bears close scrutiny. Paul’s continuing suspicion and ‘threats’ concerning this congregation goes on. He speaks of their earlier enthusiasm having been announced to other congregations, and then the hammer falls.

“…and your zeal has stirred up most of them. But I am sending the brethren so that our boasting about you may not prove vain in this case, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be; lest if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we be humiliated…. So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren to go on to you before me, and arrange in advance for this gift you have promised, so that it may be ready not as an exaction but as a willing gift.” (II Corinthians 9:2-5; RSV)

What Paul sent, was a gang. This student does not need an interpreter, a theologian, or an attorney, to point out extortion when it is thrown up in his face!

To extort: to wrench out; to twist; to obtain from a person by force or undue or illegal power or ingenuity.

Extortion: The act or practice of extorting esp. money or other property; the offense committed by an official engaging in such practice. (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary; G. & C. Merriam Company: Page 406 )

God may love a cheerful giver, as Paul ministers the word, but somehow the meaning is lost on this unhappy congregation. They have been ‘strong-armed’, ‘muscled’, into obedience, humiliated, and threatened, but now they are to be cheerful givers? This student believes that the biblical account of Paul’s rise to power leaves much to be desired, especially since all we have is his own word. Fortunately, he talked (wrote) too much.

“Under the test of this service, you will glorify God by your obedience in acknowledging the gospel of Christ…” (II Corinthians 9:13; RSV)

This line attests to the fact that Paul would not be overruled or disobeyed. Unwittingly, he also sets up the means of the medieval church to commit every atrocity of which it has been found guilty.

As the remainder of his writing shows us, Paul uses his mastery of words to conciliate the Corinthians, and ends by using open threats.

“…I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold to you when I am away! I beg you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of acting in worldly fashion… We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience…” (II Corinthians 10:1-6; RSV)

This student, a layman at law, would dearly love to prosecute this case. Even though Paul attempts to use ‘wordy’ confusion to cover his actual intent, his ego is such that he must boast of his use of authority and power. He thereby exposes the guilt of his actions..

A church, even in Paul’s day was joined at one’s own will, it was not compulsive, nor need it be permanent. But Paul, once again, must protect his authority and to hold sway over this congregation as he has others.

“For if some one comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough. I think that I am not in the least inferior to these superlative apostles.” (II Corinthians 11:4-5; RSV)

There is no question that Paul is talking about the, Disciples! He is still fighting to maintain his self-appointed ‘commission’ of apostle, and we can in no way deter from the position that those he is comparing himself to are, The Twelve. He speaks against a gospel they might preach, he speaks against the Spirit that they might give, and they teach a Jesus that they beheld in life, worked with, cried with, slaved with, and knew joy with. Paul would deny all that.

But then Paul admits that one of the accusations made against him is true!

“Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not in knowledge…” (II Corinthians 11:6; RSV)

One by one, every charge made against him is proven by his own words!

Since the next lines of his letter have to do with ‘false apostles’, and we have no idea who he might be referring to, little comment is better than much. We would hope that he is not speaking of the Twelve, as he contends that they are, “…false prophets, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.” (II Corinthians 11:13; RSV) (Well, of course he is speaking of the Disciples.)

However, we may inquire as to where Paul got the knowledge for his next statement! Where in the Bible is this statement verified? It would appear that as he does quite often, Paul makes use of scripture that is not there.

“And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” (II Corinthians 11:14; RSV)

Was Paul also ignorant of Lucifer’s creation? Was he ignorant of that one’s authority and power? And he studied at the feet of Gameleil? (Ezekial 28:1-8; Isaiah 14:12-15)

And if Paul is not self-centered, an egomaniac, then what he writes in the next of his letter is a lie! Even though he uses the guise of writing as a fool, for the congregations benefit, what he says he is deadly serious about.

“Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one… with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death.” (II Corinthians 11:22-23; RSV)

All this is said in ‘foolishness’, ‘talking like a mad man,’ yet he means every word of it, and his other letters prove it, for he has made the same claims before. He is absolute in his own sacrifice and how much greater it is than those of Jesus’ Disciples. And no matter what he speaks of, or how he speaks about his trials and tribulations, it is always in the first person. Even when his speech is as Allegory, “…I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago… whether in the body or out of… this man was caught up into Paradise…” (II Corinthians 12:2-3; RSV)

And he considers his ‘thorn in the flesh’ a, “…messenger of Satan.” (II Corinthians 12;7; RSV)

Where is the vision at Damascus? Where is the healing of Ananias? Where is this work of God in him? Now it is Satan. Paul says too much about his eyes for us to assume anything else was his problem, but why from Satan? He claims that his sight was taken because of the vision, and was healed after the ‘vision.’ It is obvious that he was not! So it would not have been of Satan, unless the vision was of Satan. Having made no explanation for this failing before, Paul now gives us an excuse as to why he was not healed, when he said he had been.

“Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (II Corinthians 12:8-9; RSV)

Then how is it of Satan? It will have to do because that is all he will give us. It is as good as anything else he might have said, except years ago when he should have admitted that he had not been healed. But immediately, he is back attacking the Disciples again.

“For I am not at all inferior to these superlative apostles, even though I am nothing. The signs of a true apostle were performed among you in all patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works.” (II Corinthians 12:11-12; RSV)

This is the first time that we have heard anything about exorcisms, healings, miraculous feedings, or the raising of the dead, in Paul’s ministry. It is the first indication that a power over the natural world, i.e., storms, water, had been exhibited in Paul’s ministry. Where are they exclaimed in his letters? Certainly these were the powers that the Twelve exhibited after being given the Spirit by the living Christ, and at Pentecost.

“And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity.” (Matthew 10:1; RSV) (Acts 2:5-13; 38)

In ending his letter, Paul could have healed many wounds by kind words and soothing promises, but this was not the nature of the man. Instead, he begins, not by denying the allegations against him, but by laughing at this congregation. In effect he is saying, ‘Hey, you may know it, but you can’t prove it. And if you can prove it, there is nothing you can do about it.”

“This is the third time I am coming to you. Any charge must be sustained by the evidence of two or three witnesses. I warned those who sinned before and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come again I will not spare them- since you desire proof that Christ is speaking in me.” (II Corinthians 13;1-3; RSV)

Actually he says that Christ is speaking, ‘through him,’ which is what this student understands from this statement. More important, it is part of a threat, a threat that comes very close to suggesting an act of violent when face to face with them.

“I write this while I am away from you, in order that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority which the Lord has given me…” (II Corinthians 13:10; RSV)

As for the conclusion of this letter, we allow Jesus to speak for himself.

“He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12; RSV)

“If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35; RSV)

“… for he who is least among you all is the one who is great.” (Luke 9: 48; RSV)



Romans, is the longest letter that Paul had written, and we would hope, of a different tenor than his others. He was writing to a congregation that had never met him, one that if they knew anything about him, had received that information from rumor and hearsay. We do not know whether they had heard the worst or the best, but at this point we are searching for anything that would speak in Paul’s favor.

The study of this letter, through its introduction on the part of professional theologians, also gives us greater insight into the claims Paul had made concerning his creation of the majority of existing churches during that time. Depending on which authority you read, the letter dates somewhere between 54 A.D. and 59 A.D.

There is no evidence in Acts, or Romans, that Paul founded the congregation in Rome. In fact, until the last, he had never been to that city. (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible; Page 941: 315f)

As at the church of Antioch, an influx of Hellenists from Jerusalem originally populated this area. Those who fled the great persecution, appear to have established the first Gentile churches there.. Concerning Acts 11:20, The Interpreter’s Bible, enlightens us to the possible truth of the matter.

Those scholars tend to believe there is sufficient proof for us to understand that Paul had nothing to do with preaching the gospel to gentiles in this area of the world. In fact, it was done in many places simply because of the movement of the early Christians. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 145)

We are also told by historians and theologians that Paul was not the corner stone of Greek Christianity. The Hellenistic churches, i.e.; Antioch, Damascus, and Tarsus were the basis upon which Paul did his work. As we have noted before, Paul took credit for the work of other missionaries, namely the Palestinian Church, and also the natural development of various congregations due to the simple movement of a people already based in the religion. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 146)

Indeed, here we have another opinion that validates this student’s belief that Paul did, in fact, take credit for the work of others.

As far as Antioch is concerned, our major example, it is closely associated with Peter, even referring to him as its first bishop. Likewise, Barnabas is a far more important figure than Paul in the development of the early church in this city.

Barnabas, already pointed out, was a much more important figure in the early church than he is given credit for. He led the movement which resulted in changing the base of operations for the church from Jerusalem to Antioch. Another point in fact which excludes Paul from the creation of this congregation. Paul occupied a secondary position to Barnabas. In fact, it is possible that Paul’s ministry may have owed more than is acknowledged to the motivation of Barnabas. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 147)

Paul’s letter to the Romans indicates that the church at Rome was a strong and well-established community before his intended visit there. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 361)

The fact that Paul built his theological concepts on the broad foundation of a Hellenized philosophy, is not surprising. What does draw our criticism of Paul are his statements that he did not build on the work of other men, and that he received nothing either from the Apostles or from others who were involved with him at his earliest known moments. This would appear to be an outright fabrication.

By the time this letter was written, Paul’s theology had been fairly well set in his mind. It was to become the very foundation of the Church, upon which virtually all of its doctrine is based. Therefore, when one rebelled against the establishment, they were not only dissenting against that body, but against Paul..

Paul saw Jesus as the means of salvation, not by adherence to his teachings or by following his example, not by his light, his life, or his way, but through his death. As a human sacrifice whose blood atoned for the sins of all mankind.

“It will be reckoned to us who believe in him that raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was put to death for our trespasses…” (Romans 4:25; RSV)

“Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood…” (Romans 5:9; RSV)

He conceived of Jesus as being pre-existent with God at the creation, and that he came to earth in human form as God incarnate, but born as other men through the flesh and into sin. This would seem to negate the purpose of the Virgin Birth, of which he apparently had no concept.

Paul’s complex philosophy sees Jesus as being without sin, yet condemns him to sin by being born through a mortal woman, “…into sin.” Contradictions abound in his play on words, but only because he is building his ‘theology’ on the basis of Greek mythological philosophies, existing pagan rituals, and Pharisaic concepts such as ‘predestination’.

But not only does Paul create this ‘phantom’ world from his own flights of imagery, but he imposes on us the ‘communion’ meal as a sacrament, he creates the ‘body of Christ’, or, ‘the body of believers,’ along with innuendoes that are taken from his letters (pre-gospel) and added to the gospels, i.e., “…this do in remembrance of me.”

None of this pragmatic thought ever came from the Gospels themselves, or from the Apostles, or the Jerusalem Church. That which we know as the doctrine upon which the Church operates comes to us from Paul, a person whose character is now under dire suspicion, who neither knew the Lord Jesus, his life activities, or his teachings, and who rebelled against the decisions of the Apostles and the Elders of the Jerusalem Church.

Paul, wanted to go to Spain, visiting the church at Rome on the way. But he must first make a visit to Jerusalem. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 358)

Since the need was a pressing one, it amazes this student that it took Paul well over a year to collect the money, let alone deliver it. The crowning fact concerning this great collection is that no where do we have any text, biblical or historical, including third party, indicating that this final trip to Jerusalem was ever made, or that the money was ever delivered.

Keep in mind that Paul has been accused of taking money from the various churches by guile, and after using false pretenses to obtain the money, he kept it. It is as if those in Jerusalem were saying, ‘If the collection was for us, where is it?’

A note concerning Paul’s economic situation proves quite interesting here. In contemplating Paul’s letter, the interpreter’s notate the following.

“It is also doubtful that Paul would have been as dependent upon the assistance of the Roman church as this view assumes. We learn from other letters that Paul could have been independent of economic assistance, if necessary.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 359)

Aside from this, an intensive look at Paul’s letter has raised other questions in the minds of professional theologians. Why did Paul write to the Roman church at all, and why did he write in the manner that he did. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 358)

After offering their own thoughts concerning these questions, and thinking them quite satisfactory, another question is immediately raised.

It is even more difficult to understand why this is the longest and most technical of all his letters. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 359)

After lengthy study, this student believes the following to be a true answer to these several questions. Paul’s own words may well attest to the validity of this opinion.

Paul was a stranger to those in Rome. The Gospel they had received, therefore, was not Paul’s but the Gospel as rendered by the Jerusalem Church and the disciples. This would have been in direct contradiction to Pauline dictates. It made necessary a statement of Paul’s gospel before his appearance, not only to explain why Paul was going to contest the true Gospel, but to get some idea of the Roman congregation’s reaction to it.

From Paul’s words we most certainly come to the conclusion that Paul intended to visit them, not as a guest, but as the newly, ‘self-appointed’ head of that large congregation.

But it is time to look at the letter itself and determine more of the nature of the man, Paul. Obviously, he would put his best foot forward to those he had not yet had time to incline to his way of thinking.

As always, Paul introduces himself as an apostle, thereby making it known that he has a ‘commission’ that permits him to approach the established church at Rome. He states that he has been set apart, “…for the gospel of God which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures.” (Romans 1:1-2; RSV)

But Paul again uses his own theology, for to him, Jesus is descended from David, “…according to the flesh.” This would have been true of any Jew, but it reflects nothing of Jesus’ birth or his true ancestry. Born, as he has stated before, in sin, in the flesh, like any other man. But then Paul displays his lack of knowledge, introducing his own Hellenistic understanding where it stands out like a sore thumb.

“…and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:4; RSV)

As ordained by God’s Holy Spirit, Jesus was designated, ‘Son’, at his baptism. But once more, Paul deviates from religious history and either deletes the dictates of the gospels, or is ignorant of them.

“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17; RSV)

“Thou art my beloved Son, with thee I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11; RSV)

“Thou art my beloved Son, with thee I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22; RSV)

“Other ancient authorities read today I Have Begotten thee.” (Holy Bible; Revised Standard Version; Collins’ Clear-Type Press; 1972; Luke 3:22:Footnote k Page 57 (The most ancient text read, “This day have I begotten thee.”)

“Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee,” or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son.” (Hebrews 1:5; RSV)

However, this has been dropped from most modern readings since it is in direct contradiction to established dogma. Most accept the fact that Jesus was born God’s son, chosen before his birth as Nazarite, the Christ.

Every gospel agrees, but in any case, Paul is oblivious to God’s determination for Jesus. And no matter what explanation our twentieth century theologians wish to use for Paul’s words, when referencing Holy Scripture, he is wrong.

Another note is relevant here concerning Jesus’ ‘sonship’ in Paul’s mind. Did Paul consider pre-existence, and a ‘begotten sonship’ in his theology? This student would deny the last since Paul considered Jesus as having existed with God from the beginning. His statements concerning Jesus’ natural birth also preclude such an idea. Paul’s own words say he was, “…designated son of God… by his resurrection.” However, pre-existence is another story.

The term ‘son’ is an existing, messianic title. Paul thought of Christ as pre-existent with God. Galatians 4:4, seems to be a reference to this belief. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 382)

At this point, having already determined that Paul in no way held to a view of the ‘virgin’ birth, it must be pointed out that at this period in time, Jesus’ ‘sonship’ was not only adoptionist, but occurred after his birth. Adoptionist, means that Jesus became the Son of God at some point after the beginning of his earthly life. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 382)

Again, in contradiction to Jesus’ teachings, despite the fact that he is addressing himself to a people that he does not know, Paul finds it necessary to impress them with his authority.

“…Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about obedience to the faith for the sake of his name…” (Romans 1:5; RSV)

“We”, of course, means Paul. ‘To bring about obedience’, we have come to learn, means by force of arms or intimidation. And he brings this to bear on the Roman church, “…including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:5-6; RSV)

In all honesty the word used here for ‘obedience’ is, ‘upakoen’. (Bullinger; A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English & Greek New Testament)

This means to attain obedience as a result of attentive hearing. We drew our own conclusion, not from this definition, but from Paul’s activities in other congregations, including the one at Corinth.

The insinuation seems rather obvious! Paul continues, desiring to share with that congregation, but his intent slips into the open for those who have come to know his method of operation.

“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you, that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Romans 1:11-12; RSV)

The Interpreters comment is concerned with this most revealing statement.

At this point we know nothing about the Roman church or the manner in which it was managed. Most assuredly, it had not been subjected to the dictatorial administration that the Pauline churches suffered. Paul seems to think that they have suffered some deficiency. In truth, he intimates that he must see to their instruction himself. The interpreter’s seem to feel that Paul may have been justified in his attitude, though they do not see fit to share any knowledge they may have of the church at Rome’s history. It seems they are simply accepting Paul’s word as ‘gospel’, and are making an uncalled for assumption. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 388)

It begins to reek of the spider and the fly; Paul corrects himself lest he appear too forward, even pretentious. He suddenly leaves the subject of the gospel he has been ordained to preach, and goes into a dissertation concerning God and the worship of idols. He then subjects his readers to homosexuality and the unnumbered sins of man that Paul the righteous has catalogued.

To break this letter down into its many subjects is useless to our study, and rather than be confused by Paul’s efforts to do just that, we will reserve our efforts to the major points that he intends to make. Be aware that he is operating as he always did, to create confusion with word games and then, without warning, hit home with a statement of what the gospel of God commands through Paul. Acceptance of a simple statement comes with a sigh of relief from the beleaguered.

Paul who preaches ‘faith without works’ contradicts himself again.

“For he will render to every man according to his works.” (Romans 2:6; RSV)

Paul said that no one can be justified under the law, yet to the Romans, Jew first, Gentile next, he makes the following statement.

“All who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.” (Romans 2:12-13; RSV)

Has Paul come ’round to sanity? He is speaking of faith with acts; works. He is finally speaking of instruction that comes from Jesus. Fear not, for Paul discloses the fact that God’s punishment will come when, “…according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 2:16; RSV)

Here, when he had the opportunity to reference his gospel directly to Jesus’ teachings, Paul raises Jesus to empirical heights by contending that he will be the Judge of all things on the Day of Judgment. The gospels say that too? Paul’s theology and writings came before the written gospels!

Paul cannot help but trip himself up. His play of words, based on his own inventions, continues to go out of control. He jumps from judgment to a glorious poly-philosophical statement of circumcision-uncircumcision, to the equality of Jew and Gentile. Then in Chapter 3, vss. 10-18, Paul uses a string of quotations from the Old Testament which invoke a strong reaction from theologians and interpreter’s alike, all scholars of the word.

“This conclusion, is based on a string of quotations from Psalms 14:1-2; 53:102; 5:9; 140:3; 10:7; Isaiah 59:7-8; Ps. 36:1. These scriptures are a free translation of the LXX, ands are used, “…without reference to their various contexts.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 425)

How much does it take to understand what this person is about? He obviously had no fear of God for he introduces himself and ‘his’ gospel with a corrupt use of God’s word. And repudiating what he said not moments ago, Paul advises us that, “…no human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20; RSV)

This is an absolute contradiction to what he has just said. If we are to be judged by the things we have done, and we have done them properly, we should be judged accordingly, with reward. Paul says this is impossible because God’s Law leads us to sin!

The knowledge of sin came from Adam and Eve when they ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (“You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it lest you die.’ But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5; RSV)

The Law came from God, through Moses, to protect man from sin. It was a contract between God and man that came as a gift for those who wished to become God’s children. It was upheld by Jesus in its sum total, and he practiced it accordingly. No where does Jesus abrogate The Law.

It is amazing that not one person with a knowledge of God’s Holy Scriptures contended with Paul about ‘his’ gospel. One good Jew, one righteous mind, could have preserved the true faith of the Apostles and the Jerusalem church. One keen intellect within any of these congregations could have avoided centuries of terror and bloodshed, but no one spoke up, there was none, not one.

Paul now moves to another familiar theme in his theology. Having debauched the Law, he begins an epic, oft repeated, concerning justification by faith without works. With the effort, he repudiates the statements he has just made concerning the Law, for Paul continues in his efforts to be all things to all men. When one attempts this impossible task it is necessary to compromise one’s ethics and values, which Paul seems to do without effort or conscience.

“For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, Gentiles also, since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of their faith and the uncircumcised because of their faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.” (Romans 3:28-31; RSV)

Whether the letter of James was written for the purpose of disputing II Corinthians or Romans, is not important. The fact is, James makes small work of Paul’s theology and the reason is plain. God does not have a double standard. He does not attempt to please everyone by basing His judgments on what they believe. And that is exactly what Paul has just stated.

He has set one criterion for all mankind, Jew and Gentile alike. It is for us to follow God’s desires, not for God to follow ours.

Jesus did not come preaching two messages, but one. Jesus did not uphold two laws, but one. According to Paul, God will treat with each of us according to what we believe, God will comply. With two sets of rules, it would be interesting to see how Paul intends to uphold the Law. In this manner, however, Paul pleases everyone, everyone can be included, accommodated. All each must do is swear allegiance to Paul and state that they have faith in Jesus.

The agreement he made with the disciples is ignored, it is violated without a thought.

Paul insists on using Abraham as his example which is a poor choice at best, as James and Holy Scripture have already proven. While attempting to qualify Paul’s use of Genesis, the interpreter’s make a definitive point.

The argument that Abraham was justified by his faith hinges on Genesis 15:6. “Believed”, in the original passage, “…is far from including all that Paul meant by “faith”. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume9: Page 439)

Of course, Paul is using the LXX and not the original text, the Masoretic Text. He is using a Greek translation of the Hebrew which could not possibly render a proper meaning for this passage. However, The Interpreter’s Bible, insists that Paul does not distort the Greek, which is menial and far more limited than the Hebrew. And just a few verses ago, the same scholars insist that Paul misused the Greek to his own advantage without any regard for its original context. However, it is pointed out that Paul normally used the LXX.

“While Philo and his Alexandrian coreligionists looked upon the translation of the Seventy as a work of inspired men, the Palestinian Rabbis subsequently considered the day on which the Septuagint was completed as one of the most unfortunate in Israel’s history, seeing that the Torah could never be adequately translated.” (The Holy Scriptures; Masoretic Text; Jewish Publication Society: Preface: Page V)

(Keep in mind that Jesus was a Palestinian Jew!)

Paul further asserts that Abraham was reckoned as righteous before he was circumcised, and therefore, “He received circumcision as a sign or seal of the righteousness which he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believed without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them…” (Romans 4:11: RSV)

Aside from being absolutely incorrect, it pays no mind to Jewish tradition and doctrine. Paul has been caught in a ‘rut’ of his own making by stating that Abraham is the one ‘righteous’ soul, who by his act of circumcision, serves that all in him are ‘righteous’ without circumcision. This was not why God commanded Abraham to be circumcised. The Holy Scriptures tell us this very plainly.

It is unfortunate for both Paul and his supporters, then and today, that they failed to heed God’s Word. Righteousness did not satisfy Abraham’s salvation, but merely made him acceptable to receive God’s perpetual covenant. As, The Interpreter’s Bible, was so kind to point out, “Needless to say, “believed” in the original passage is far from including all that Paul meant by “faith”…”

“And God said unto Abraham; ‘And as for thee, thou shalt keep my covenant, thou, and thy seed after thee throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and thy seed after thee: every male among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of a covenant betwixt Me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every male throughout your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any foreigner, that is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised; and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken My covenant.” (Genesis 17:9-14; Masoretic Text)

Jesus was circumcised. And if we talk of those bought with money, let us talk as does Paul, about the price with which all men were bought through Jesus who was called the Christ. God has one covenant, not two. Yet with all this, Paul would invite everyone and anyone into the ‘house’ without proper credentials. Does this sound Jewish? So was Paul, until it suited his purposes to betray that heritage.

Paul says, “…the promise to Abraham and his descendants, that they should inherit the world, did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.” (Romans 4:13; RSV)

I would like to know just how righteous God would have considered Abraham had he said, ‘I believe, but you’re not cutting on me!’ Or if Abraham had said, ‘ I believe, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to kill my own son!’ Faith without works is a daydream. In every case, Abraham had to begin the action, the work had to be started.

“And it came to pass after these things, that God did prove Abraham…” (Genesis 22:1; Masoretic Text)

The word “prove” means “to be tested.” God, who knows the innermost workings of man’s mind and heart, tested Abraham to see if he was worthy. This is after, long after, he is found ‘righteous’ in God’s eyes. If he is redeemed, then he was redeemed once for all. If he was saved, then he was saved once for all. But that is not what the passages Paul uses, means.

Once more, when was Abraham approved, saved, redeemed? He cut the wood for the burnt-offering, he readied everything, and went to the place God had commanded. He set his son on the altar and put the wood for the fire on him, and raised the knife to kill him. Then, and only then, did God say, “Lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him; for now I know…” (Genesis 22:12; Masoretic Text)

And though Paul will exclaim that Abraham is the father of us all, this student recalls what John the Baptizer said when the Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized.

“Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.” (Matthew 3:8-9; Luke 3:8; RSV)

“They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do what Abraham did…” (John 8:39; RSV)

But Paul denies the works through which Abraham was found acceptable, he makes his own covenant, but with which god? He preaches two laws, two covenants, and a second gospel, ‘his’ gospel, which can only spell disaster for anyone who follows it. Jesus did not say, ‘you would believe as Abraham believed,’ he did not say, ‘if you had faith as Abraham had faith,’ he said, “…you would do as Abraham did.”

If we need to nit-pick, as Paul does in this next play-on-words, Paul is also incorrect when he says, “…sin indeed was in the world before the law was given…” (Romans 5:13; RSV)

Now Paul may consider the ‘law’ as it was given to Moses, and thereafter codified. But there was ‘law’ before sin since God’s command, regardless of its nature, is Law. And by Paul’s own definition, stated earlier in this thesis, without law there can be no sin!

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying: ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.'” (Genesis 2;16-17; Masoretic Text)

Not only is a command given, but a punishment is also prescribed. This is Law! Paul chooses to ignore the finer points. Was this Law given to punish, or to protect? Paul goes along his own path, but not to no advantage, for within the use of Adam as the man of ‘death’, and Jesus, the man of ‘life’, we are presented with another Christian precept, that of the ‘free gift.’

Paul has manipulated God’s word concerning Abraham, Adam, and Jesus until he can say, “If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17; RSV)

Paul speaks of ‘original sin’, so this damnation of mankind also comes from Paul. It is the basic rope with which the church binds its adherents. Paul then speaks of those who have received the baptism of Jesus, having died with him and been raised with his resurrection, to a new life. The echoes of paganism continue in Paul’s thoughts.

The resurrection is another basis for Paul’s growing theology, one also embraced by the modern Church, yet he was totally ignorant of what actually occurred during the three and a half hours involved in the crucifixion. If the possibilities of the end discussed in, In Defense Of The Apostles Faith, turn out to be correct, Paul’s entire doctrine would be without basis. Not a fact, not even a probability, but a point that should be considered seriously.

Another idea needs to be brought out here since Paul is dealing almost exclusively with sin. Paul did not conceive of sin as being a part of natural man, but an ‘alien’ power that had infested our human anatomy and which governs our will. It was not an inanimate ‘thing’ to Paul, but a ‘living’ entity.

The Interpreter’s Bible, also states that Paul considered sin as, “…an outside demonic power.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9, Page 369: First paragraph introduction)

With Paul’s concept concerning the Evil One, this student concurs whole heartedly. In this arena we are of a single mind, and those who ignore this reality are in grave danger.

However, what is most distressing is Paul’s continuing attack against the law as being the cause of, “…our sinful passions.” (Romans 7:5; RSV)

He uses this argument to induce others to break away from God’s Law and to follow a human ordinance. And in the very next sentence Paul exposes himself for the artist that he is in using confusion to escape a contradiction.

“What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet, if it had not been for the law, I should not have known sin. I should not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” (Romans 7:7; RSV)

If this is true, then we must acknowledge that man cannot be guilty of coveting, since he doesn’t know what ‘coveting’ consists of; he cannot murder even if he unjustly, and by forethought, kills another since he has never heard the word, murder, and he does not know what it means. This is the most heinous of concepts man can begin to consider as a defense.

Simply put, any thing or any person which leads another to commit a crime (sin) is an accomplice to that act. If any thing, or any person, leads another to do evil, then that thing or person is also evil. Righteousness cannot lead one to unrighteousness, therefore, the law which was conceived and administered by the Lord God, and not Satan, cannot be evil or cause one to sin. Nor can evil work through it.

A thought is suggested for a second time. Without the Law, if Paul had snuck up behind another and killed him, committed murder, would it not still be murder? Without any concept of God, there is within the human animal a sense of fair and unfair. Even if we are a blank concerning the existence of God, we are not restricted from having a sensibility of right and wrong.

Paul’s argument is extremely juvenile because he assumes that before the Law there was no sin! “Apart from the law, sin lies dead.” (Romans 7:8; RSV)

If there is no law, sin cannot exist. That is what he is saying, but just moments ago he said that before the law there was sin, the sin of Adam and Eve. He is wrong on both accounts.

The web becomes so complex that Paul weaves in an attempt to deceive, that even he cannot keep up with it. All his ‘wisdom’ becomes foolishness. Unfortunately, the deception has worked, and continued for two thousand years. The giving of the Spirit becomes a ‘wholesale’ item, the free gift received, those in the church are no longer saints but the children of God, and if the children of God, then heirs. (Romans 8:16-17; RSV)

And now Paul strikes upon the ultimate theory, and the ultimate confusion.

“We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” (Romans 8:28-29; RSV)

You see, Paul speaks with a forked tongue. God works for the good of those who love him… AND are called! Predestined!

Paul’s concept of God’s plan is complex, and with the terms he uses, there is no way one can avoid drawing the conclusion that Paul is speaking of predestination. Even our Christian scholars agree that there is no way to, “…avoid such a conclusion.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 525)

Can all of this be understood in a simple way? If we are ‘chosen’ beforehand, ‘predestined’ to be a part of something, then in effect there is no, free will. It has been set out beforehand, etched in stone, so to speak. With such a ‘calling,’ the individual has no free choice, they will be what God has ‘chosen’ them to be.

The horror, therefore, is not of being thus singled out for God’s purpose, but for those who never will be, cannot possibly be, for God has made His choice beforehand. If there is a pre-set group who have been ‘chosen’, then man has no ability to choose to follow God, he is condemned, for those who will follow, those who will serve, have already been ‘glorified’ by God’s ‘calling.’

“And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (Romans 8:30; RSV)

Logically then, those whom he did not choose are condemned!

The ‘chosen’ are also known by Paul as the ‘elect.’ The problem with Paul’s theory is that if it were true, his preaching any gospel would be useless. Regardless of what any one tried to do, the ‘elect’ have already been ‘chosen’ to carry out God’s will. All else is in vain!

And if one chooses to say that there is always the chance that one soul might be ‘saved’ by ministry, then we question the “perfection” of God’s works.

Now it is imperative that the theologians and interpreters make a statement about Paul’s character, namely, his use of scripture. And it is proper that having made remarks concerning his ‘misuse’ of God’s word that an additional opinion be called upon. We do so now through those who seek to elevate his authority and position.

Paul regularly used the LXX, rather than the Hebrew text, and he quotes the Hebrew very freely. He also, often, quotes text without any regard for the original context. In Romans 10:18 Paul attempts to prove that the gospel had been preached to the Jews through his ministry, but he does so by using Psalm 19:4, “…with complete and flagrant disregard for its manifest meanings. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 553)

To win at any cost? He lied, he cheated, he deceived those to whom he brought ‘his’ gospel and he seems to have had no conscience about doing it. If this thesis was done simply to prosecute the man, it would have served human interests to ‘fix’ dialogue and to erroneously quote Scripture. Though error may exist, such has not been done with intent, for if this student is in the wrong, correction serves the better interest. Paul did not see things that way. Does this make this student better than Paul? No, just obedient to another cause.

The unfortunate fact is that this practice is common place in Christianity. It is exhibited in the very first verses of Mark’s gospel as well as being used by ‘churched’ ministers and radio and television evangelists everywhere. We must admit, however, that they had a good role-model to follow.

To go on, Paul suggests that, “…if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9; RSV)

That’s it! All of Paul’s meandering through endless philosophy and imagined theology boils down to this. Despite the point being made, Paul goes on quoting irrelevant scripture that in no way was meant to serve the purposes he has in mind. (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 561 (On Rom. 10:16))

This time Paul uses (misuses) Psalm 19:4. A scripture that refers to the sun and the other heavenly bodies, “…are made to refer to the Christian evangelists of Paul’s own day.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 562 (on Rom. 10:18))

Confusion and hesitant translations follow Paul’s words as he speaks of the Jews, his fellow Israelites. Paul must bring up his apostleship again, and in speaking to the Gentiles, states that he is an apostle to the Gentiles. And so as not to seem prideful, Paul explains himself in this manner.

“Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.” (Romans 11;13-14; RSV)

Paul never made any Jew’s jealous, but raised an outcry of rage from them. And how does Paul explain his meaning, how is jealousy going to ‘save’ anyone? He doesn’t, it is for the Romans and for us to figure out. Even the professionals are confused, for time and time again we find statements like the following in their interpretations.

“…[…or better perhaps…], […must he not have meant…], ‘The little word then (oun) in vs. 13, which cannot be got rid of, though some MSS lack it, makes this passage more difficult. […or perhaps…], Does full number mean…; If Paul means… presumably he is thinking…” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 570; 575)

Speculation, every one is reduced to speculation, the amateur and the professional, the proud and the profane. Why? Because Paul was a master at words, but if you will pay strict attention to his meandering, you will see just how he misleads his readers, how he confounds them with a myriad of similes that end up meaning nothing! And he was probably a poor speaker, which he has unwittingly admitted in II Corinthians, because in front of a living audience he did not have the time, or the assistance, to look up or create the images that he did when he wrote it all down.

Here is a perfect example of a statement that is meant to sound as though it were full of wisdom and sobriety, yet it does nothing but confound its hearers. Without great difficulty one could make it mean just about anything they desired.

“As regards the gospel they (the Jews) are enemies of God, for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may receive mercy. For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.” (Romans 11:28-32; RSV)

Does Paul mean that God made all men disobedient just so that He could have mercy on them? Or could he have meant…

Now one may complain that we have not taken these verses in context with the rest of Paul’s statement. The reason we have not is because there is no context. The preceding lines concern themselves with a hardening of Israel, “…until the full number of the Gentiles come in…” (Romans 11:25; RSV), and it is followed by, “…the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11: 33; RSV)

Was Paul, as some believe, demented and unable to carry a single line of thought, or was he a crafty genius at work bedeviling those who would listen to his rhetoric? This student must concede that he is a believer of the later.

It is amazing that Paul can beseech his readers not to be, “…conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2; RSV), and none of the Roman congregation question his suppositions.

It would appear that he is asking them to renew their minds that they might prove what God’s will is.. It would seem that he was telling them to use their minds to discover what is right and acceptable, not just to sit and listen, and calmly accept what they are told.

“Prove here means “know surely,” “have trustworthy knowledge of.” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 582)

However, if one uses a simple Greek Lexicon we find that the proper definition is, “to assay, to make trial of, put to the proof, examine; hence, to examine and judge of; prove by test, approve on trial.” (A Critical Lexicon and Concordance To The English And Greek New Testament; Page 609)

Then are we to have the mind of God? To know His thoughts? To eat of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

Earlier, Paul had decried wisdom and the gathering of knowledge. He announced himself alone as knowing God’s intent and purpose, for did he not say that he had the mind of Christ?

Why did no one challenge Paul? Obviously, there were exceptionally few minds that were able to decipher Paul’s immediate meaning. For the most part, the citizenry were of a simple mind, uneducated and unskilled in the most basic forms of literacy. Not one percent of them could read and most were intimidated by the mysterious world of cults and legend that abounded in their society.

Paul exhibits the highest form of hypocrisy by appealing to this congregation, one he does not even know, about adopting some form of modesty in their self-evaluation.

“For by the grace given to me I bid every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think…” (Romans 12:3; RSV)

This comes from one they obviously did not know, who constantly boasts about his ‘divine’ authority, about his apostolic ‘commission’, and how much better he is than Jesus’ chosen Twelve. We have been shown evidence of this, yet his adherents refuse to accept the evidence set before them.

Here, for whatever has gone before, scholars, Christian men and women, speak out at last, though two thousand years too late.

“Paul appeals to the authority of his apostleship, the highest office and function in the church, but one for which he deserves no credit..” (The Interpreter’s Bible; Volume 9: Page 584)

Paul should have taken his own advice. Instead, he goes on to ask virtues from the Roman congregation that he himself does not possess.. “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them; …do not be haughty, …never be conceited, …pay no one evil for evil, …never avenge yourselves.” (Romans 12:14-20; RSV)

This student can only recall the despicable manner in which he treated Peter, the enmity and disdain in which he held the Apostles, how he dealt with the slave who had the gift of prophecy and the sinner in I Corinthians, and how he punished the leader of the Corinthian congregation.

How he held his ‘commission’ over the heads of his congregations, and used his organization to hold sway over them, how he continually boasted of his authority, his apostleship, and how he wished that those who persecuted him would ‘mutilate’ themselves.

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” (Romans 13:1-2; RSV)

In saying this to keep others from daring to question his authority, Paul ingeniously extends his statement as though to cover all administrations and influences. Since Paul has shown a loathing for government and authority per se, this student would take issue with Paul’s advice.

It would seem to be the reasoning of one who was demanding obedience so that he himself could obtain obedience. Why this attitude? Many of the Jews in Rome were there at the disfavor of the Empire, was he afraid that his teachings would spawn a silent revolt against the State? We are well aware that all governments are not appointed by God, nor do they have His favor.

More often than not, those who ‘govern’ are corrupt. Would Paul do honor to them? More often than not, evil has chosen those who govern so that the present order in the world may oppose God. Would Paul honor them? In Paul’s time those who governed were dictators. We may include the very existence of Palestine under the Roman heel, ruled by the Idumean Herods. Pharaoh ruled Egypt with an iron fist, using his people as well as slaves for his o

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