Paul – The Roman Citizen and Jewish Teacher

This Sunday, I mentioned that it was possible that the Apostle Paul’s father was a Gentile. This is a theory which cannot be absolutely proven, but it is based on two premises:

1. Paul was a Roman citizen.

Three times in the book of Acts, Paul makes declarations of his citizenship:

But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” (Acts 16:37-38, ESV)

But when they had stretched him out for the whips, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog ra man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?” When the centurion heard this, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.” So the tribune came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.” The tribune answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I am a citizen by birth.” So those who were about sto examine him withdrew from him immediately, and the tribune also twas afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.” (Acts 22:25-29, ESV)

If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar. (Acts 25:12, ESV)

At the period when Paul lived, Roman citizenship was quite limited and most definitely did not include Jews as a rule. Jews could not receive citizenship in any way except being born to a Roman citizen prior to 212 CE.

Paul’s declarations make it plain that he claimed one of the higher forms of citizenship and that it was a right of birth. He was not a peregrinus, some of whom had limited citizenship. The fact that he came from Tarsus meant he also was not one of the socii or foederati.

We cannot be certain, but it is likely that Paul’s citizenship was of a class called civus romani non optimo jure. This meant that he had the right to property (jus comercii) but could not serve as a magistrate. It was also a hereditary citizenship, passed through the father. It was granted to tradesman and merchants, serving as a protection throughout the empire.

Citizenship in all its forms, however, did not extend to women. While the wives and daughters of citizens received the benefits of their husband’s citizenship, they could not vote or receive any of the benefits of citizenship separate from their fathers or husbands. In order for a boy to be born a citizen, his father must be a citizen and then by right of paterfamilias recognize his son. He need not be civilly married to the mother in order to extend citizenship.

That means Paul’s citizenship must have come from his father, and since his father could not have earned his citizenship if he was a Jew, it is very likely that Paul’s father was a Gentile, even if perhaps a convert to Judaism (which would have made him quite an anomaly).

2. Paul was a Pharisee of the Pharisees.

It is also abundantly clear that Paul was a Pharisaic Jew, educated at the school of Gamaliel – a rabbi we know from secular history in Josephus, the Talmud and the Book of Acts. In order to be a Pharisee, one had to not only be a Jew but to be a very devout Jew.

Unlike his fellow Pharisees, Paul seemed to have been eager to prove his faithfulness (Acts 9:1-2). Could this have been because he was fully aware of his foreign extraction and had something to demonstrate to his fellow Pharisees?

Judaism is not the same a Christianity. In modern Christianity, belief defines whether you are considered a Christian or not.

Since the rabbinical period (the first couple of centuries of the Common Era), a Jew was defined as someone whose mother was Jewish. While one can become a Jew through conversion and submission to the mitzvoth, Jewishness was not defined by belief but by descent.

This practice was present already in Jewish thought when the Mishnah was put to paper and may be one of the oldest components of the Halakha, dating perhaps to the early Pharisaical period (possibly as early as 500 BCE) and the definition was universally accepted in Judaism. It has only been in modern times that the a group of what we might consider “literalist fundamentalists” called the Karaites have questioned the practice. While official capacities (king and priest) are based on patrilineal descent, one’s Jewishness is determined by your mother.

Conclusion

Thus, in order to be a Roman citizen, Paul’s father had to be a citizen and might have been a Gentile. There’s no way to even know whether his parents were even legally married. One way or the other, he was fully Roman citizen of Tarsus – with all the rights pertaining to that citizenship.

(Interestingly, citizens could lose their rights and be downgraded if they relocated to a city of lesser status from their hometown. Paul was a citizen of Tarsus, a provincial capital, and then made Antioch, the capital of the Syrian province, his home for his ministry work. This probably had as much to do with the protections it afforded him as the group of believers worshiping there.)

But in order to be a Pharisee, his mother had to be Jewish. It was not enough for him to accept the tenets of Judaism. He had to be raised as a Jew in order to be educated in the most prestigious Jewish school outside of Babylon at the time.

Paul provides us with a unique bridge between Jewish Christianity (which evolved into the Ebionite movements) and Gentile Christianity. He was both – legally and fundamentally – and that gave him a unique perspective. Although highly literate, with an intellect worthy of his Roman citizenship, he was also an immensely knowledgeable student of Torah. He could see the worlds he lived in and the new kingdom that was emerging from the fusion of the two.

56 thoughts on “Paul – The Roman Citizen and Jewish Teacher

  1. Exactly, you have hit at the heart of the dual nature of Paul. Pharisee/Roman, persecuter/converter and it echoes the warning of Jesus:

    “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

    Also, amazingly fitting the description of the “Liar” in the Dead sea scrolls

    The “Liar”, an outsider who was admitted to the community, then turned renegade, quarrelled with the “Teacher” and hijacked part of the community’s doctrine and membership. According to the Habakkuk Commentary, the Liar “did not listen to the word received by the Teacher of Righteousness from the mouth of God”. Instead, he appealed to “the unfaithful of the New Covenant in that they have not believed in the Covenant of God and have profaned His holy name”. The text states explicitly that “the Liar…flouted the Law in the midst of their whole congregation”. He “led many astray” and raised “a congregation of deceit”. He himself is said to be “pregnant with {works) of deceit”.

    These, of course, are precisely the transgressions of which Paul is accused at the end of Acts.

    • Its great to read the comments of someone who has actually seen right through the Apostle Paul. This is what I find personally, if you express doubts about Jesus as the Messiah, people will rally round and help you out, discuss with you and try to win you over. Fortunately I don’t have any doubts about Jesus.

      However, if you express doubts about Paul, even in the most diplomatic way, you either get the silent treatment or you get a boot in the backside. No one can possibly comprehend that Paul is a false apostle – its inconceivable. They adore him. He is like a father to them. So hardworking, so kind, so loving, so powerful. Yet they could never explain convincingly how the man thinks or reasons.

      And we must never forget how Paul blows hot and cold with arrogance / humility. So humble, the apostle Paul, or so he keeps telling us…. then says hes equal to the “super-fine apostles”. Huh?

      Paul is quoted far more than Jesus in any Christian church or sermon or Christian website. They go to seminars and weekend workshops and spend hours trying to analyse what Paul is trying to say. Books and countless articles trying to work out what he is on about. However no one is more confused about Paul than Paul is. He just cant seem to finish off his thought pattern, and keeps running off on a tangent. What a waste of life trying to work him out, when we should be concentrating on the teachings of Jesus. So easy.

      Well, the Apostle John told us to “test every inspired expression to make sure its from God, for many false prophets have gone forth into the world”. Once you do that with Paul, there is no going back.

      It takes a leap of courage to do this, as its not a popular thing to do within Christian circles, but I am so happy I did it. Every day I learn something new. Its like leaving a false religion and finding Christ for the first time.

    • Paul was supposed to be a learned Pharisee, who study the law day and night.

      However if you look at the quotes he used from the Old Testament to back up his thoughts and ideas, they are either taken out of context or are nothing to do with the subject matter.

      I only found one or two quotes that actually fit in with what he is saying.

      His knowledge is either very sketchy or he is a fraud and deliberately setting out to deceive.

  2. Matt 5:17

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.”

    Matt 22: 36-40

    “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

    Luke 6:40

    The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.

    John 14:12

    Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father

    Matt 28:20

    and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    Luke 16:24

    Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you–that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.”

    A lot of people ask “what would Jesus do” but totally ignore what he has already done. Not only did he advocate the law, he implemented the law. The Jewish Christian community including James the Just followed the words and deed, the letter and the spirit of the law. However what Paul presents is an abandonment of the most basic and underlying principle that permeates through and connects the Old Testament and Jesus. However, if you listen to any contemporary sermons, Jesus words and actions are IGNORED, in present to letter of a questionable and unauthentic so called disciple.

    • So, you disallow the writings of Paul?

      What do you do with Peter’s clear reference to the teachings of Paul as a peer?

      Under what authority then do you accept the Gospels, since they were written and preserved by the Christians whom you clearly do not agree with?

      • 2 Peter – the verse that advocates Paul. Please look at the history of this book, because the writer of 1 Peter is not the same as 2 Peter. 2 Peter got into the cannon by the skin of its teeth, because the scholars believed it was not genuine and the writing styles are completely different, there is no doubt that one of the books is not from Peter.

        Please research this! Its common knowledge among scholars. Also Peter writes “this is what our dear beloved Paul wrote in his letters…” regarding a subject Peter was talking about, i.e. the patience of God means we have more time for salvation. But Paul never wrote anything on that subject of that in any of his letters!

  3. Hellenization of Jesus

    “Although I am free from everyone, I have enslaved myself to all of them in order to win a larger number. To the Jews I behave as a Jew; to those under the Law as one who is under the Law, although I am not under the Law, to gain those who are under the Law. To those who are without law I am without law, although not lawless toward God but committed to Christ’s Law, in order to win those who are without law” (1 Corinthians 9:19)

    It comes at no surprise it would be Peter, this is the very “disciple” who the Roman Catholics trace the institution of the papacy to, which most non-Catholics would disagree with. However the reason and rationale is quite clear.

    It’s the same reason, why the Sabbath day that Jesus kept and the ten Commandments- command be kept ultimately had to be change without scriptural authorization and in rebellion to the scripture. The same reason why James Just the brother of Jesus is minimized. IN ORDER TO WIN A HIGHER NUMBER.

    Peter and Paul represent the legitimization of the Gentile Church, something Jesus did not do. By the same token it de-legitimizes the Jews and the keepers of the Law. Jesus quotes and references the Law and the prophets repeatedly throughout his ministry. However, in order to WIN A LARGER NUMBER amongst the Romans, of course you have to get rid of the law and works. The language utilize above would never have been uttered by Jesus, who was quick to call his fellow Jews vipers and snakes. Not only Jesus but the Prophets of old.

    Can you give me a commentary of the above verses and Paul being all things to all mean in order to win a larger number?

    Can you refer me to any passages in the letters of Paul that quotes Jesus?

    Can the contemporary beliefs of Christianity be traced back to Jesus’ word and not merely what people say about Jesus? Or has the student excelled the teacher?

    • Paul repeatedly quotes The Law and the Prophets. Without Paul and the other apostles, we would not have the Gospels.

      • Jesus was never “all sorts of things to all sorts of people, in order to gain some”. If you do that, you compromise who you are. Paul is nothing like Jesus at all, even when arrested he did everything to save his own skin, unlike Jesus who kept quiet and took the punishment. Paul was also a strong believer in pre-destination, which is totally alien in the teachings of the bible,

        To reject Paul is to reject Christianity? What the hell are you talking about? To reject Christ is to reject Christianity. Paul is just a man, like any one of us, and we are constantly told in scripture never to follow men.

      • The apostles gave us the New Testament. Paul gave us ALMOST ALL we know about the early Church (Luke/Acts, the epistles).

        Without Paul, we do not have the full revelation of the Scriptures. Therefore, if you reject Paul, you reject Christianity.

        If you don’t like it, take it up with God. He’s the one who called Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles.

      • If Paul had never been born, would we all be groping around in the dark? Hardly. The gospels are enough for me and they should be enough for you also. Paul turned up and complicated a simple message of love and truth and doing good to others.

        You make him sound like hes the cornerstone of Christianity. Around 300 years after his birth, the church chose Pauls letters over all others around at the time to be included in cannon, and for that reason we have a one-sided view of the birth of the church, almost as if Paul started it all single handedly, and everyone else dragging their heels with the preaching work.

        Paul was just a small cog in a big wheel, literally thousands of these types of letters were circulating around the same time, but the church could only include a small amount, and Paul was chosen for various reasons, but some of the decision makers were opposed to him being added. Please do your homework on this.

        I for one believe the church would be a better and more united place if Paul had never been born, in fact I believe his teachings have caused damage and divisions. If God strikes me down for saying that, so be it.

      • You should try reading history. The canon was RECOGNIZED at Nicea in 325, but Paul’s books were already accepted as authoritative in the first century – by the Apostle Peter himself.

        You are spouting a revisionist version of events, and I do not accept it because it is – well, wrong.

        Paul was CHOSEN by God as the apostle to the Gentiles. GOD chose him. For you to reject him is to defy God.

      • The canon was put together at Nicea, it was not authenticated until that point. There were thousands of letters which were rejected because of their sheer number, and Paul appealed the early church because of his anti-law beliefs, which meant the Gentiles would not need to observe anything except the law of “grace” (salvation by grace and not by works) which suited the church absolutely.

      • If you believe that the canon was not established until Nicea you have obviously been reading some very liberal and uninformed “scholars.” If you read the works of the next generation of church leaders such as Polycarp and Ignatius – two disciples of John the Apostle – it is obvious that the accepted the writings of Paul as scripture and quote him frequently. And are you going to completely dismiss the testimony of Luke in the Acts?

      • We seem to be going around in circles. So I will just reply to this:

        You cannot dispute that Luke is a compilation of “eyewitness” accounts (Luke 1) he said so himself, The reason being is because he wasn’t a convert at the time of Jesus and the early years. Luke and Acts is one whole book cut in half for easy reading. So we are getting the story from a second hand source. This rules out “inspiration”.

        It also accounts for the differences in Lukes gospel in relation to Matthew, Mark & John. Matthew and John are more reliable because they are firsthand witnesses, Mark is a copy of Matthew, again a second hand eye witness. How did Luke authenticate the witness accounts he wrote down? We can only wonder how he accepted everything without question, maybe he based his decisions on the character of the eyewitness to help him.

        Acts is again, an extension of Luke. We have no idea how much imput Paul had in this, or how much he had told Luke, which Luke then recorded.

        Remember Paul calls Luke his “friend”, so friends tend to write more about their friends than perhaps the ones they know nothing about.

      • So, rather than take the clear statement of Scripture that Luke was a companion of Paul, you are going to do all kinds of mental and exegetical contortions to make Paul unnecessary. That is anti-Scriptural self delusion at its best.

        I believe Luke’s account in Acts to be inspired of God, and there is no escaping the fact that Paul is the central person of the second half of his account.

        I believe Paul was chosen by God, as the Scriptures say, to be the Apostle to the Gentiles.

        I believe the epistles of Paul were recognized by Simon Peter as Scripture.

        And none of your contortionist pseudo-scholarship is going to sway that. So, go sell your apostate rejection of the Scriptures and the apostles somewhere else. This blog is not a platform for your opinions. Go start your own.

      • Your god must be so tiny.

        How does the fact the Luke interviewed eyewitnesses to assemble his Gospel account rule out inspiration? If God was able to use non-believers like Cyrus and Caiaphas to bring about His will why could He not inspire Luke as to the manner in which he relayed the events he recounts? And not everything that Luke relates in Acts is second hand. He was careful to distinguish between what he is relating from other sources and the things in which he himself participated, witness the “we” passages.

        You need to remember that Luke was not recording these things in isolation. I find Luke’s Gospel account very elegant, and, in a sense, more complete than the others two synoptics. I have always chocked that up to the fact that he did interview so many eyewitnesses. The Twelve were on the only eyewitnesses to all that transpired. We do not know who all Luke may have spoken to, but he would have had access to all of the disciples at Jerusalem, possibly including people like Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Cleopas, Joseph of Arimathea, etc, He certainly had access to James, Jesus’ half-brother, who was an elder of the church at Jerusalem. James could have been a source for Luke’s version of Jesus’ birth and childhood if their mother Mary was no longer alive. As the persecution increased, and particularly after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, eyewitness believers from Jerusalem moved out into the rest of the known world. They were everywhere and able to corroborate what the apostles wrote. Their writings were distributed widely among the churches and if it had been inaccurate they would have been rejected by the church as a whole. The churches in Asia, Galatia, Macedonia, and Greece were full of Paul’s associates who would could have corrected anything related to his testimony among them. Aside from the testimony of the Holy Spirit to each believer, that is why we know the false “gospels” and doctrines from the genuine. Because the people that knew better rejected the false teachings.

        Now there is plenty of information on harmonizing the Gospel accounts. I don’t have anything specific to recommend there because I have never run across a antinomy that thoughtful study or a good commentary did not explain.

        And Mark is not a “copy” of Matthew. Tradition tells us that John Mark, whom Peter called his “son” (1 Peter 5:13) recounted the testimony of Peter. There is information on that compiled here: http://www.systematicchristianity.org/TheGospelAccordingToMark.htm

        And most scholars believe that Mark served as source material for Matthew, not the other way around as you assert.

        A good source for beginning to sort a lot of this out is Lee Strobel’s first book, “The Case for Christ.” He interviews top scholars on all of these issues and includes extensive bibliographies for further study.

      • All well said. Unfortunately, when someone has adopted an anti-Scriptural stance, they will go through any amount of contortion to support their position. It is quite clear that “Jan” has already seared her conscience against any possibility of true inspiration of the Scriptures and the authority of the apostles.

        Jan is the third or fourth person who has tried to hijack this post in order to fill the comments with anti-apostolic arguments, and to be honest, it is quite annoying. (One of the dangers of the internet is that everyone thinks they are an expert.) As a result, I am going to shut down the comments section on this particular article.

        But thank you for your support of the orthodox view of the Scriptures and apostolic authority.

      • We only have Pauls words for it that he was called to be an apostle to the Gentiles, no other writer in the bible gives him this description or title. By Pauls own hand he calls himself an apostle and in Galatians 1-3 he positively undermines the authority of the 12 apostles and boasts about his own abilities, his strengths and his achievements.

        Paul constantly boasts, then exudes humility, as a way of tempering his self-glorification. And he was never shy of asking for money, feeling that it was his right to be looked after by the brothers, using the example of the Levite priests to assert his case.

        Take a closer look at Paul, if you can read it without any pre-conceived ideas.

      • You do realize that we have only the apostles’ word that ANY OF IT happened, right? The gospels were ALL written by the apostles – and therefore we have only their word.

      • I will keep leaving comments in the hope that some reasonable person out there will really examine the facts rather than keep wearing those comfortable blinkers.

        One day when Paul has been rumbled and the church gasps in shock, probably only on the return of our Lord, I hope you will recall this conversion we once had.

      • Ah, to be willing to disregard all of church history to support some kind of primitive ecclesiology that God has apparently allowed to be supplanted.

      • You are obviously the type of person who will not examine the facts of very learned scholars (I am not a scholar!). So what can I do? People that avoid examining things because their mind is already made up should take a leaf out of the apostle John’s book:

        “Test the inspired expression, to make sure it is from God, for many false prophets have gone forth into the world”.

        If we are not prepared to test, then how will we know?

      • And you have not noticed the glaring differences in greek syle between 1 Peter and 2 Peter. Are you sure?

      • Do you read Greek well enough to make that evaluation yourself or do you rely on others to do it for you?

        That argument is based on a faulty premise. The books are not long enough to make that kind of analysis with any degree of certainty. It is smoke screen pseudo-scholarship.

  4. Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity
    Hebrew 6:1

    I beg you to point me, in the right direction, where Paul quotes any statements, sermons, events, parable or actions of Jesus, besides his birth or deaths !

    Paul mentions the Law only to depart from it. Show where is acting in the defense of the Law.

    • To be honest, I am not interested in playing comparative, combative interpretational schemes.

      Without Paul and the apostles, there would be no words of Jesus for you to quote. Separating Jesus and the apostles is impossible because the apostles are the method by which God gave us the words (and more importantly, the deeds) of Jesus.

      I am glad you have found what you believe to be adequate reasons for taking your position. It is far too narrow for me, but your views are not my responsibility.

      Thanks for stopping in, but you’re going to have to accept that I am not interested in being grist for your mill.

  5. In all honesty, I’m not playing a game, it is a search. In that search it was surprising to me how little Paul speaks about Jesus, outside of his death or resurrections. Jesus has such wonderful sermons, parables, and events that hallmark his life that most Christians are familiar with. Is seems he mentions Jesus names just enough to get the people’s attention.

    My search has certainly not been exhaustive, so I was hoping there were verses I missed or overlooked in which he quoted Jesus or events of his life. Thanks you for time and assistance.

  6. Paul was all things to all people to spread the gospel. He like Jesus taught things farmers were aquainted with and things city dwellers knew about. He preached the same message to all only using examples each group would best understand.

  7. It is highly doubtful that Paul’s father was a Gentile. In Acts 23:6 Paul declares, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee” and in Philippians 3:5 he states that he was “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee”. The phrase “Hebrew of the Hebrews” is a well noted claim of racial, cultural, and religious purity. Those who claimed such were distinguishing themselves from the Samaritans who had intermarried with the Palestinians during the Babylonian exile and had mixed pagan way in with Judaism, and the Hellenistic Jews (the Diaspora) who had lost cultural purity by living among the Gentiles. If his father were a Gentile Paul could not make such a claim.

  8. It is highly likely that Paul was descended from a Freedman (Acts 6:9). In 63 BC, the Romans under Pompey took a number of Jews back to Rome as slaves. This group of Jews was later freed and exiled from Rome in AD 19. They would have most likely been freed under the law of manumission. Under this law they would have been given Roman citizenship and their descendants would be citizens as well.

  9. I appreciate your search for truth in all of this. One thing, I noticed you cited the gospel of Luke in a response above. Just so you’re aware, if you get rid of Paul you have to get ride of Luke too (and Acts as well, but perhaps you’ve already done this). The gospel of Luke was given canonization because Luke was a companion of Paul, someone the early church saw as a legitimate apostle. So if you say Paul’s not an apostle, Luke is not authoritative either. Just so you know.

  10. Very few people really comprehend the type of person Paul was. He was out to destroy the law which Jesus said should never be abolished. He advocated eating food sacrificed to idols, which would also include food strangled and unbled (he said you can eat anything offered in the market) however, this was ruled out by the Apostles and elders in Jerusalem and forbidden (Acts 15:20)

    Paul was a Maverick and self-promoter. He had his own gospel. It was the gospel of uncircumcision and “lawlessness” (that means someone who does not keep the law). Even at the end of Acts, Acts 21 shows he still advocated the abolishing of the law but the Apostles and Jewish converts still kept the law religiously even 25 years after Jesus died (Read all of Acts 21).

    2 Peter – the verse that advocates Paul. Please look at the history of this book, because the writer of 1 Peter is not the same as 2 Peter. 2 Peter got into the cannon by the skin of its teeth, because the scholars believed it was not genuine and the writing styles are completely different, there is no doubt that one of the books is not from Peter. Please research this! Its common knowledge among scholars. Also Peter writes “this is what our dear beloved Paul wrote in his letters…” regarding a subject Peter was talking about, i.e. the patience of God means we have more time for salvation. But Paul never wrote any of that in any of his letters!

    Just because books are in the cannon, does not mean they are inspired or advocated by God. It was the Roman church that put the cannon together, not the original Apostles. Jesus said oppresive wolves would come in after he died, so what do we expect? The first thing the wolves would do is infiltrate right in the centre of the fold, pretending to be sheep, and shepherds.

    Do you for one minute think Satan gave up after Judas had been used? Who are you kidding?

  11. Rev 2: Jesus is very upset with 2 churches. Why? because they ate food sacrificed to idols, the very thing Paul said its OK to eat.

    Rev 2: Jesus is very pleased with 2 churches. Why? Because they recognised those who claimed to be apostles and were not. They also recognised those who said they were Jews and were not.

    Interestingly all the 7 churches Jesus is speaking about are the ones Paul helped establish, on his 3 missionary tours, and they would all have been very well aware of Paul. Tarsus is very near the area of these 7 churches in Asia Minor (now Turkey)

  12. No one recognised Judas as the traitor. Not even an inkling. They had been together for years, day in and day out. yet on the night of the passover, the disciples kept asking Jesus, “It is not I, is it Lord?”. No one said “Is it Judas, Lord?”. A wolf is an expert at hiding his real inner self.

    If Judas can pull the wool over someone’s eyes while living in their pockets, how much more so a man who visits your church while passing through and writes gushing letters about his love of Christ and how he has learned everything through revelations directly from the Lord?

    Surely someone with a background like that and a miraculous conversion from hater to lover in the blink of an eye must be genuine? Why, of course he is…..

    “Look out for the teaching of the Pharisees”. So saith the Lord.

    Sorry, Lord did you say Pharisee?

  13. Paul says the mark of an apostle is his powerful works. This proves he is an apostle. (2 Cor 12:12)

    Jesus says “Many will say to me in that day Lord, Lord did we not do good things in your name and perform many powerful works in your name, and yet I will confess to them, I never knew you, get away from me you workers of lawlessness” Matt 7:21

    Not only were they doing great works in the name of Jesus, they were also “lawless”, which means those who are “without law” – at the time of Jesus this would only be understood to mean the law of Moses, which Paul set out to destroy. So, in the same way, Paul was “law-less”.

    This is so often missed by people who study the bible, as they assume it means those who do not keep the law of the land.

    • To reject Paul is to reject Christianity? What the hell are you talking about? To reject Christ is to reject Christianity. Paul is just a man like any of us, and we are constantly warned in the bible not to follow men.

    • Paul lied 6 times when under arrest before he was deported to Rome. he was arrested for causing a riot because of his anti-law teachings, but Paul claims the riot was caused because of his belief in the resurrection. Each time he lies (over many years) his sentence becomes worse. He could have been released had he not appealed to Caesar – can you imagine Jesus appealing to Caesar? Never!!!

      • So, you reject Paul – which means you reject the New Testament and deny the testimony of Simon Peter? (2 Peter 3:14-18)

        Sounds to me like you prefer your opinion over the Scriptures.

      • Please go research the authenticity of 2 Peter, it is the scholars who disagree with it being written by peter. There are various reasons why, 1 and 2 Peter are written by two totally different authors due to style, grammer and expressions, 2 peter has a greater command of Greek and is more grandiose in the way it is written, there is no addressee and no greetings at the end, which is extraordinarily unusual with letters written to churches. 1 Peter has greetings at the beginning and end. Many scholars agree that the authors are not the same, and did you also know that 2 Peter got into the cannon by the skin of its teeth? Please check this for yourself! Start with Wikipedia, but books by learned scholars and search out internet sites discussing this.

        Also “Peter” mentions the things that Paul was supposed to have said in his letters – that the patience of our Lord work out for our salvation – whereas Paul NEVER mentions this in any of his letters.

        Just because a book is in the cannon, does not mean it is from the author or inspired of God and we should seriously check out everything claiming to be inspired, as none of us wants to be misled.

        There were a lot of fake letters circulating around at the time, which is why Paul ends his letters by his own signature and even says so that they would know it was he that wrote it, proving without doubt that forgeries were around.

        Paul is an emotive subject so I feel that few Christians would check him out, because of the affection they hold for him in their heart. For this reason, people don’t research. Please I ask you go search this out for yourself.

        Thankyou!

      • I am all too aware of your kind of “scholarship” that rejects the testimony of the Church and picks-and-chooses what of the canon (notice the proper spelling of that word) you choose to follow.

      • You’re not differentiating between what Paul was accused of and the real reason that the Jews were persecuting him. He was being persecuted because he taught the resurrection of Jesus. The Jews were the ones lying, saying he had blasphemed and defamed the temple.

  14. Oh dear I spelled canon wrong, which must condemn me as an idiot and someone without a valid point to make.

    Talk about knit-picking!

    do yourself a favour and research 2 Peter by the people who have studied Greek all their lives, and have no religious motives on their agenda.

    • Try again. I have been studying Greek and the Bible and history all of my life. Those kind of people you’re telling me to read, I am one of them.

      • If you are one of those scholars then please explain to me how you know that the authors of 1 Peter and 2 Peter are absolutely one and the same with Greek language explanations of how you have reached your conclusions.

        I look forward to that.

        Thanks.

      • You claim to be the scholar, not me. Yet you can’t come up with one point to link 1 Peter & 2 Peter to the same author, if only in an effort to convince me that I am wrong, and subsequently any readers of this blog? Is this blog for our eyes only?

        What is interesting is that Wikipedia have accepted a scholarly approach to the question of 1 Peter and 2 Peter and the arguments against are rounded and convincing. This is from a multitude of scholars, not just one. The dispute about the authenticity of 1 Peter and 2 Peter has been going on for over 1,700 years.

        When someone is nonplussed or cornered, they always say “I don’t need to prove anything to you!”. This is another way of saying “I don’t have any convincing argumentation to sway you away from your erroneous thinking, so I will go for the personal attack and put you down instead. Because if I can belittle you, it will make me look ever so much more intelligent and informed “.

      • Oh well, if it is in Wikipedia, it must be true.

        Look, you are so convinced of your own anti-Paul, anti-Scripture views that nothing I say will convince you. It is just fodder for more rants.

        You’ve said your piece. I am going to end this conversation because frankly, I find it nothing more than a distraction. I am closing comments.

      • It is not belittling to call apostasy what it is. To reject the witness of Scripture and the Church in favor of your own personal preferences is apostasy. Paul calls it that, so do John and Peter.

        Jan, you have rejected the Scriptures and wish to affirm your belief by trolling my site and adopting some kind of tone that makes the orthodox belief in Scripture sound like the minority view. You are welcome to your beliefs. You are not welcome to call them Christianity. I would hope ANYONE who affirms the basic tenets of the faith would reject what you have said as apostate.

        Christian love and charity does not extend to accepting lies as truth. And you have come to believe a lie about the Apostle.

    • For some reason, you have chosen to reject the apostle Paul. That’s fine. That’s your choice. But, it does not give you the right to dictate to me that I don’t know the truth. I have studied the history. I have studied the language. I have studied the scholars. And I have come down on the side that the apostle Paul is indeed the apostle the Gentiles. Now, please stop spouting your nonsense on my blog.

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