What exactly DOES 1st Corinthians 9:19-22 mean, anyway?

pretzel face

Ohhhhh, the ways this passage is twisted, and perverted, and turned on its head by the oh-so-hip, oh-so-cool, oh-so-relevant “pastors” of the many seeker-sensitive, non-offensive, cross-less “churches” that pepper the American religious community today. They take the words of the apostle Paul, and they use them as an excuse to perform all kinds of free-for-alls by inviting all kinds of filthy, heathen, Satanic methods into a place that is supposed to be sanctified, consecrated, and set apart for the worship of Almighty YHVH.

And what is their excuse? “See??? Paul said he was ‘all things to all men!’ So take that you Bible-thumping Pharisee!” And we who love the precious word of God and consider ourselves slaves to it, shake our heads and groan on the inside, knowing that one more person has just allowed themselves to be conformed to this evil world, whilst trying to hold on to Christ. So, for the sake of clarity, let us examine just exactly what the apostle meant. Here are his actual words:

1st Corinthians 9:19-22 (New King James Version)19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

But, let’s take the attitude of those who would say, Of course they played Marilyn Manson music in church this morning! They were reaching out and being relevant to Marilyn Manson fans! I mean, how else are they going to draw them?” And let’s draw it out to its inevitable conclusion. This is what they would have Paul say–

1st Corinthians 9:19-22 (New Seeker-Sensitive Version)For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I may win more; and to the murderers I became a murderer, so that I might win murderers; to the blasphemers, as a blasphemer, so that I might win the blasphemers; to the pornographers, as a pornographer, so that I might win pornographers. To the pagans and Wiccans and Druids, I became a pagan and Wiccan and Druid that I might win the pagans and Wiccans and Druids; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.

But is that what Paul was saying? If you think it is, then stop reading right now and go back to reading Rob Bell or Doug Paggitt. Because you will not like what I am about to say. Paul was not saying that he committed acts that were sinful, neither was he saying that he brought Satanic rituals into the church, nor is he saying that we should be conformed to this world so that we can be “all things to all men.”

Verse 19. For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more. Here Paul hearkens back to the words of our LORD Jesus. For what did He tell the two brothers who would have had Him give them thrones? Matthew 20:26-27“Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave.” Paul would later tell the church at Philippi to Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:3-5 NASB). So, in order that the gospel may do its perfect work in saving those whom the Father is drawing, Paul says that he has become less than the ones he preaches to.

Verse 20a. …and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews… Now, we know that he was born a Jew. That he was circumcised the 8th day. This is obvious from even a cursory reading of Scripture. Romans 9:3-4I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites Philippians 3:4-5If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews But Paul is not talking about how he was born. Keeping context in mind, he has made himself a slave to the Jews by “becoming as a Jew.” In other words, when he went to the Jews to preach the gospel, he set his mind to teach them from what they knew–the OT Scriptures. His thinking, going in, was “These men know the Tanakh. They know all the rituals and sacrifices and offerings. I will show them how these things point to Christ.” Which he did in 1st Corinthians 5:7For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. And in Galatians 3:15-16Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. And, if Paul is indeed the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, he spelled out how pretty much the entire Tanakh was nothing more than a foreshadowing of Moshiach.

Verse 20b. …to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law… He was an expert in the Mosaic Law. And as he was studying that Law so fiercely under Gamaliel, and seeking to become the greatest teacher of the Mosaic Law that the world of Judaism would ever know, he did not think that God was the one who was making him that expert. But now, he is an expert, and can dialog with the experts in that Law almost as well as the author of that law, the LORD Jesus Christ Himself. Philippians 3:4-6If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel…concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. Acts 22:3-5I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.”

But, what happened one day as he was carrying the extradition papers to bring the Damascene Christians to Jerusalem to face the sword? Acts 22:6-11“Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’” He was called by the risen Christ, and shown that salvation does not come by keeping the Law, but by faith in Christ. And upon learning this great truth, he gave himself all the more to the study of the OT, to the Law and the prophets, to show those who were still slaves to the Law and the prophets the true way to life eternal. Romans 3:27-28Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Galatians 3:21-22Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

And in the Scriptures, we have an illustration of Paul showing these who were “under Law” just how useless the keeping of that Law is. In Acts 16:1-3, Paul and Silas meet a young man named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek. He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted to have him go on with him. There was just one problem. Because Timothy’s father was Greek, he did not have his son circumcised. And in order to have this young man heard by the Jews in that area, he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek. And what is so ironic about this incident is that Paul had, in his hands a decree from the apostles James and John and Peter (as well as Paul himself) stating that a man does not need to be circumcised to be a Christian. In fact, I doubt the ink was even dry on the parchment. But, since circumcision is NOT against the Law, he talked Timothy into being circumcised. And this, as if to say, “Fine! Now look, you’ve mutilated the poor man. But Men of Israel, this man is no more saved now that you have mutilated him than he was before. And he would have been no less saved if you had sheathed your knives!” What would Paul say later about these men? Philippians 3:2Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! Galatians 5:12 (NASB)I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.

Verse 21. …to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law. Here he is speaking of the Gentiles. These are the ones “without law.” Romans 2:14for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves. Do the Gentiles also have a part in the Kingdom of God? Well, of course!! Romans 3:29-30Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. And now, Paul having been shown that salvation is apart from the law, and is not for the Jews only, has gone to the Gentiles preaching faith in Christ Jesus. And that these Gentiles are not bound by Law, but are actually free from the Law. Colossians 1:8-16Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ…Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

And of course, there would still be many Gentile Christians who would think that if they did not keep the Law perfectly, they would again fall under the wrath and condemnation of God. So to dispel that notion, he wrote Romans 8:1-4There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Verse 22a.to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak… What about the one whose faith is not a threefold cord, but is rather a slender thread? He has taken them into account. In fact, he rebuked the apostle Peter for acting in a way that had the potential to damage the faith of the weak Jewish Christians. Galatians 2:11-13Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

Paul had a compassion for weak brethren that was as near to equaling that of our LORD Jesus as is possible in a man. And he was not shy about letting that be known. In fact, in this same letter to these Corinthians, he says Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you (1st Corinthians 11:20-22). If this is not a rebuke of “bring anything you want into the house of God” doctrine that many churches follow, I don’t know what is. Here were people bringing evil into a gathering of the body of Christ–and Paul rebuked them for it!

He would go on to tell the Roman saints, Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks (Romans 14:1-6). He would go on to say, in that same chapter, that It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak (Romans 14:21). In other words, if there is a chance that a weak brother may come into the house you claim to be a church, and they hear you playing Satanic music, and they walk out and go back to their old sinful lifestyle–you have made that brother stumble, and you will give an account!! those aren’t my words. Those are the words of Scripture.

Verse 22b. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. If you have not gathered, from the preceding verses, how mixed up and muddled the “Anything Goes in the House of God” crowd has made this verse, then please go back and read it again. I don’t know how much clearer I could make it. Or have you seen something in Paul’s actions–ANY of them–that have given you even a hint that he would allow satanic practices in the house of God. “Oh, but I was drawn to this church by them playing AC/DC music!” Really? Then you have given the glory to Satan. You are saying that it was Satan who was responsible for you going to that “church.” Does it mean you aren’t saved? I can’t make that call. But if you continue to listen to Satanic music, and you do not repent and if you do not call that which is Satanic “Satanic,” then I do fear for your soul.

And don’t give me that lame old “Well, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery and God used it for good!” That is an excuse. That is a very tired, very old excuse used by those who want to hold onto the things of this world while still claiming to be Christian. I will allow God’s word to answer that. James 4:4-5Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously? 1st John 2:15-16Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. 2nd Corinthians 6:14-18Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord. “Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,” says the LORD Almighty.”

And yet, there will still be those who will search for loopholes in the word of God. They will craft arguments so as to avoid the clear teachings of Scripture. They will appeal to their own intellect and their own reasoning and their own desires in order to nullify the word of God. And they will push the boundaries God has laid down so that they may appeal to the basest instincts of those who follow them. They will be popular. They will win applause and admiration from men. They will go through life thinking that they are doing something good and noble (no pun intended). And they will not consider that one day God just may push back.

27 thoughts on “What exactly DOES 1st Corinthians 9:19-22 mean, anyway?

  1. James Pratt says:

    I think an important point in the method of the worldly “church’s” evangelism is that they think it is they that do the drawing. CHRIST by HIS Words says that the FATHER draws. Paul understood this, they do not understand this point. Paul did everything in CHRIST’S strength, not his own. Paul knew that it is all: in; by; and through CHRIST. They think it is by their cleverness, their ideas, their strength. When will they read Hebrews 4:12-13 and realize that the Sword of the SPIRIT needs to be wielded by professing Christians. And let GOD, with HIS Word, slay us where we stand. It is GOD’S Word that testifies against us evil men, and testifies to the Greatness of HIS Glory, HIS Mercy, HIS Salvation, HIS Loving Kindness, HIS Long Suffering, HIS Holiness, HIS Grace, HIS Forgiveness, etc, etc, etc, because HIS Greatness is unending and unceasing. To GOD alone be the Glory forever and ever, Amen.

  2. Fourpointer:

    Good post. Thanks for the time you spent working on this.

    You said:
    “1st Corinthians 9:19-22 (New Seeker-Sensitive Version)–For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I may win more; and to the murderers I became a murderer, so that I might win murderers; to the blasphemers, as a blasphemer, so that I might win the blasphemers; to the pornographers, as a pornographer, so that I might win pornographers. To the pagans and Wiccans and Druids, I became a pagan and Wiccan and Druid that I might win the pagans and Wiccans and Druids; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.”

    When one misuses the original text of this Scripture as so many do, taking it to its logical conclusion reveals the absurdity of it. May I add that Paul also didn’t say “I became an intravenous drug user so that I might win intravenous drug users. I became an abortionist to win abortionists. I became a homosexual to win homosexuals.

    You also said:
    “And yet, there will still be those who will search for loopholes in the word of God. They will craft arguments so as to avoid the clear teachings of Scripture. They will appeal to their own intellect and their own reasoning and their own desires in order to nullify the word of God. And they will push the boundaries God has laid down so that they may appeal to the basest instincts of those who follow them. They will be popular. They will win applause and admiration from men. They will go through life thinking that they are doing something good and noble (no pun intended). And they will not consider that one day God just may push back.”

    So very true. And although at its core it is a simplistic observation (or should be), it is very profound. These people run around as if they’re in control. They do things their way and consider it better than God’s way, otherwise they would not be marketing salvation. But one day God is going to push back and boy will it be ugly . . . but completely justified and righteous! Even so, come Lord Jesus.

    – The Pilgrim

  3. Hal says:

    I have to humbly admit that I have become skeptical, even paranoid of Saul/Paul even though he has written some of my previously favorite verses in Ephesians. I try to avoid his books now for a number of reasons.

    1. He seemed to be far too proud of his Roman citizenship for a Christian. The more I have learned of the Romans, the less I find this a Christian trait.
    2. He murdered many Christians, and I have to wonder if a Leopard can completely change his spots. Are the martyrs convinced?
    3. Many of his scriptures like above and Romans 13 , can and have been interpreted and used to support what is contrary to the teaching of Jesus.
    4. I do not understand the name change from Saul to Paul, except as a crypto-Jew thing. To be honest the conversion story sounds as contrived as any pagan myth. Any witnesses?
    5. I attended a Bible church during my high school years where the pastor continued to dwell on Romans for year after year even after some protested, and finally went off on superiority rants about how much better he was the the congregation. (He later became Greek Orthadox.) He also pushed the Scofield Reference Bible which I later learned was part of a Zionist scheme to include notes that suppported a new state of Israel, and I believe written by Darby, a con man and published by Zionist Oxford Press.
    6. I just have a strong feeling that Paul adds more confusion than understanding to the New Testament and can do fine without his numerous books. I am very thankful he did not author the book of Revelation.
    7. I do not understand why He claims to be the apostle to the gentiles. I adopt Peter, a man of action as well as words, even with understandable faults.
    8. The verses that I liked, I now see as more poetic than something I could go into battle against a unbeliever with.
    9. Like a true prophet needs to be 100% accurate, I would think that Paul would need to be clear as a bell instead of subject to subjective interpretation.

    I am just wondering if there are other Christians that question the value of Saul/Paul, and is there any validity to my concerns. Maybe I am just getting old and overly concerned by all the deception I see going on. I have heard something a Pauline this or that, but cannot remember anymore.

    I know there are many who have studied this far more than I have, so just wanting to give Paul a fair chance. If anyone has some ideas on regaining my trust in the complete New Teatament, or other Christians with similar concerns; I would be glad to read them.

  4. Hal,

    Quit looking at men and look unto the Lord Jesus, Who is the Christ. Men are prideful and self-centered. Even Christian men sin, so it should not surprise us when a preacher errs.

    When one is regenerated, redeemed, born again of the Spirit, he is a NEW creature in Christ. Not all are as dramatic as the conversion of Paul the apostle – but he was the Lord’s special ambassador to the Gentiles of that era.

    If you don’t accept the writings of Paul, what else of the Bible do you discount? Perhaps you should read http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0736910549/ref=oss_product or another solid work on the authorship of the Scriptures.

  5. Hal,

    I will do my best to address your questions, one at a time:

    1. He seemed to be far too proud of his Roman citizenship for a Christian. The more I have learned of the Romans, the less I find this a Christian trait.

    Where does he boast of being a Roman citizen? The one time he did declare his Roman citizenship was when the roman commander was preparing to scourge him (See Acts 22:24-26). One other time he uses his rights as a Roman citizen so that he can make an appeal to Caesar himself, when he can see that the local magistrates and governors will not judge his case properly. Otherwise, where does he “boast” of being Roman?

    2. He murdered many Christians, and I have to wonder if a Leopard can completely change his spots. Are the martyrs convinced?

    Yes, murderers can repent, and believe, and be saved (see Luke 23:39-43).

    3. Many of his scriptures like above and Romans 13 , can and have been interpreted and used to support what is contrary to the teaching of Jesus.

    And Satan used Old Testament Scriptures to tempt Jesus. Just because sinful men twist and pervert the word of God does not mean that the writing is not true.

    4. I do not understand the name change from Saul to Paul, except as a crypto-Jew thing. To be honest the conversion story sounds as contrived as any pagan myth. Any witnesses?

    First, the name change was for the sake of his Gentile audiences, to let them know that God is not only the God of the Jews, but also of the Gentiles (see Romans 3:28-30).
    Second, yes there was a witness–Jesus Christ Himself. He went ahead and told Ananias to receive Saul (see Acts 9:10-19).

    5. I attended a Bible church during my high school years where the pastor continued to dwell on Romans for year after year even after some protested, and finally went off on superiority rants about how much better he was the the congregation. (He later became Greek Orthadox.) He also pushed the Scofield Reference Bible which I later learned was part of a Zionist scheme to include notes that suppported a new state of Israel, and I believe written by Darby, a con man and published by Zionist Oxford Press.

    Again, you are talking about a fallible man’s interpretation of Scripture. Not a good basis for determining whether what is written is truth.

    6. I just have a strong feeling that Paul adds more confusion than understanding to the New Testament and can do fine without his numerous books. I am very thankful he did not author the book of Revelation.

    Fallible human feelings are not a good indicator of whether something is truth.

    7. I do not understand why He claims to be the apostle to the gentiles. I adopt Peter, a man of action as well as words, even with understandable faults.

    Yet Paul had to correct Peter’s actions, when Peter would leave the table of Gentiles when Jews would come along (see Galatians 2:11-14).

    8. The verses that I liked, I now see as more poetic than something I could go into battle against a unbeliever with.

    Why do you say that?

    9. Like a true prophet needs to be 100% accurate, I would think that Paul would need to be clear as a bell instead of subject to subjective interpretation.

    Considering that the Holy Spirit spoke the words to Paul, (see 2nd Peter 1:20-21) and the Holy Spirit is always “clear as a bell” then the problem with “subjective interpretation” is the fault of sinful, fallible man.

    I hope you can see now that Paul was a very credible author, and the words he wrote–which came from God–can be trusted and used to convict and instruct and lead in paths of righteousness.

  6. DavidW says:

    Hal:

    Thank you for the honesty of expressing your concerns.

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

    Notice that Peter verifies not only that Paul is his brother in Christ, but classifies Paul’s writings equal to the rest of Scripture, and that those who do not understand Paul’s writings twist and distort them as they do the other scriptures. Thus, Paul’s writings are as God-breathed as the writings of Moses, Peter, Isaiah, and all the other writers of God’s word.

  7. jonathan says:

    Hal, you said; He murdered many Christians, and I have to wonder if a Leopard can completely change his spots. Are the martyrs convinced?
    I can tell you where it has happened….In me, The God of heaven through His Spirit opened my eyes to the me and my sins and that there is no good in me….Showing me I was without hope in and of myself….no works that I could do to bring Gods grace to me! Then the most emportant thing happened,that is he showed me the cross with his son on it bloodied and bruised unrecognizable. Oh that he call me to the cross and would show me, a sinful rotten sinner the righteousness of His son and that he would call me to the trust that I find in him.
    My father who died had the same thing you are going through, thats why my brother disowned him, and he can’t even see the beam in his own eye. But I tell you Paul is in the family of God and through Gods Spirit working in him through his writen word.
    The thing you are having problems with is this government thing. Go read chapter 12 of Romans and then on into 13.(Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:)
    Then read 1Corinthans 12; 27, 28. Then in Peter there he says and tells us not to be law brackers and to show our understanding that God is incontrol of even the governments, but mostly what I think he is talking about is the government he has set up inside the church, like Jude tells of of some that have creept in and brought comdemnation on them selves like those who were brought out Egypt and went against Moses.
    Yet we know that those who are in government are put there by God…some for their own distruction like Revelations tells us, and some for even to bring wrath on his people that turn from him like he did to the Israelites. So how are we to be in these last days that are for sure full of evil, if in fact it is that close ? Even if not, we should be showing the world the praise of His glory through the grace that is given us through his Spirit showing those who are without the peace that is found in his son, don’t worry about the Govenments other than show their lawlessness is no more than the avarge sinner on the street, that is the world, it is inmity against God. Don’t be overtaken with the worrys of this world…god is in control. and if they are going to take all our goods…so what. We brought nothing into this world and its certain we will carry nothing out.
    Quit looking at the world with hope, our hope comes from heaven the throne of God and His son that interceeds for us. And whether or not if Paul was talking about the government in the church or the world chpt 13, What counts is giving God the glory.1Pe 2:19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
    1Pe 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
    1Pe 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

  8. Hal says:

    Just wanted to let you know, you have me reconsidering my doubts about the value of Paul’s writing, and thinking about new reasons why the Lord would legitimately want to choose him for reaching the gentiles of the Roman Empire in his time. It will take a while to reseach these points, but your points have been a great help.

    I will say that I am somewhat of a “doubting Thomas” on some points, and almost need to hear the Lord to convince me directly. There is probably some personal reasons that I have to struggle with for complete reacceptance of Paul’s standing as a teacher that is not just providing more confusion than guidance. However, you have given me some valid points to consider and I will.

    Here are few more questions that have plagued me.

    1) Why would God chose a murderer of His own Christians to convert almost by force when this person is not even searching for salavation, and in fact on his way to arrest more Christians to be tortured and murdered? Why did he not grab Stalin and covert him if wanted mass murderers of Christians? He made Hitler look like a choir boy.

    2) Did God need a Roman Citizen/Jew that bad, just so he could freely travel the Roman Empire to reach the gentile world? Maybe so.

    3) I may be a crude Christian, but I admit that Paul starts to sound like a nagging “old lady” after a while. Maybe it is how much I admire the Lord giving us only three commandments, still saving us from these. The beauty of how simple it sounds, and how difficult/impossible they still are to carry out. It is more than enough for me to struggle with.

    4) Beyond the academics, I seriously doubt that God has placed the evil people in government today, but has only let us let this happen and knew it would happen because nominal Christians have become lazy, easily deceived, cowardly, and “politically correct” idiots. True Christians are now a minority, which is why I value you highly.

    I cannot blame the Lord for what I see today, and what began generations ago, as our status as free people continued to be eroded by aristocrats and Tamudic Jews. The Babylonian Talmudic Jewish religion by which State of Israel operates, actually condons all of the arrogance, deception, elitism, murder, sexual sins, organized crime, cheating, spying, blasphemy, and treating the rest of world as animals. What other religion does this, not even pagan heathens? God bless Dr. Martin Luther and others who have tried to teach this at great risk.

    I will never lie down to an evil government. I believe in the armed neutality policy of the Swiss and the more citizens and Christians proficient with a .308 and a 12 gauge the more peace and freedom we will have. I do not believe God has promised any rapture and it is up to each Christian to accept responsibility and be prepared for a truly evil world that hates us, uses us, and hates the truth.

    We grew up with the confusion and misinterpretaion of Romans 13 (that is an unforgivable trap in my opinion), hearing high sounding words, and even believed we had checks and balances in place, ethics, fudicary duties, honor, usuary, laws and constitutions to protect us. If you do not know that these things are next to worthless and just a fascade at this point, then God help you to gain some insight.

    Paul seems to support this Roman citizen viewpoint of going along with government as a religious institution. The truth is that anything except a Christian controlled government is no friend to Christians. Maybe for a specific period he needed to spread the Gospel, but it is not my interpretation to continue to enable an evil empire as Godly.

    My mother, living through the Depression and WWII was inamoured with institutions and pensions and job security, etc. We now see how God is our only source of safety and security, not governments.

  9. DavidW says:

    Hal:

    Some thoughts on your questions:

    “Why would God chose a murderer of His own Christians to convert almost by force when this person is not even searching for salavation, and in fact on his way to arrest more Christians to be tortured and murdered?”

    1) In God’s sight, all men have sinned, and all are unrighteous. Thus the “little white lie” is as evil in God’s sight as murder, rape, etc. (Jesus said to look with lust at a woman is as the sin of adultery, etc.). We tend to hold to degrees of sin. God does not abide by our sliding scale of values. So Paul was no different than the goody two shoes who does “good works”, yet is not a follower of Jesus.

    2) Paul had gained such notoriety as a murderer and waster of the Church, that his conversion testified of the power of God not only to “save a wretch like me”, but to utterly transform into Christ-likeness. And Paul was truly, and dramatically transformed. Such dramatic transformation testified to the existence and power of Jesus Christ.

    You asked: “Did God need a Roman Citizen/Jew that bad, just so he could freely travel the Roman Empire to reach the gentile world?”

    God didn’t need Paul for anything. He’s used a donkey, a runaway disobedient prophet (Jonah), a shepherd boy (David), a harlot (Rahab), and countless others to do His work, preach His word, accomplish His will. He even used ungodly, unsaved, unrighteous people at times, to accomplish His will. Paul is merely a human that God chose to use, for His reasons, for His purposes.

    You said: “I may be a crude Christian, but I admit that Paul starts to sound like a nagging “old lady” after a while. Maybe it is how much I admire the Lord giving us only three commandments, still saving us from these. The beauty of how simple it sounds, and how difficult/impossible they still are to carry out. It is more than enough for me to struggle with.”

    I don’t know what you mean by “the Lord giving us only three commandments, still saving us from these.” I’ll need you to define what you mean before answering that. Perhaps Paul sometimes sounds nagging to some, but the churches he was addressing at times needed everything from “nagging” (consistently reminding them of the basics they were continually ignoring) to strong rebuke. Paul was incredibly patient with stiff-necked, disobedient early Christians and churches. It must be remembered, Paul was dead serious at not allowing ANY false doctrine, or ungodly attitudes to enter the early churches (and God is no less serious). He knew that when he was gone, men would rise up from within the churches to lead many astray. So he earnestly sought to keep them on the straight and narrow path.

    In your reference to evil government, you said: “the more citizens and Christians proficient with a .308 and a 12 gauge the more peace and freedom we will have. I do not believe God has promised any rapture and it is up to each Christian to accept responsibility and be prepared for a truly evil world that hates us, uses us, and hates the truth.” After your opinion, you move to: “Paul seems to support this Roman citizen viewpoint of going along with government as a religious institution. The truth is that anything except a Christian controlled government is no friend to Christians. Maybe for a specific period he needed to spread the Gospel, but it is not my interpretation to continue to enable an evil empire as Godly.”

    First, I do not see anywhere in the New Testament where Jesus, John, Peter, or ANY of the writers of God’s word advocate taking up arms against any government. Nor do we see that practiced by the early church. Paul said the weapons of our warfare are NOT carnal (swords, spears, or modern day bullets), but are SPIRITUAL, because we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against spiritual powers in high places. It is important that we do not discard that because we want to believe differently. Or that because Paul wrote it, we need not heed it. What Paul wrote was actually displayed by Jesus, Who said His kingdom is not of this world, otherwise His followers would (physically) fight for Him. Elsewhere, some of the disciples wanted to call fire down from heaven on some, and Jesus told them “you do not know what spirit you are of”. The disciples were also chomping at the bit for Jesus to set up His kingdom on earth. We see in the Revelation to John, that won’t happen until He returns.

    Nowhere does Paul support the (unsaved, worldly) “Roman citizen viewpoint of going along with government as a religious institution”. I really don’t know where you get that idea. In obeying the laws of the government, we are rightly submitting to the authority that God has placed over us. Daniel displayed this beautifully in Babylon, as did Joseph in Egypt, and Paul himself in chains before the Roman governmental authorities. And what were the results of such submission? A testimony of Godliness to an ungodly, unsaved world. We read that many who were thrown to the lions in the Roman arenas during the times of the early church persecutions bore such a strong witness to their innocence and righteousness, that many of the unsaved spectators were convicted of their unrighteousness.

    Your statement: “The truth is that anything except a Christian controlled government is no friend to Christians”, is a fact of life. Of course the unsaved are no friend to Christians. They are of the flesh, Christians are of the Spirit. They are of the unsaved world, it’s values, it’s “morals”, it’s system. But nowhere in Scripture are Christians commanded to control any worldly government, either. The Inquisition (over the course of hundreds of years, in lands all over Europe), as well as the Crusades, displayed the utter failure of trying to mandate and control the unsaved world by “Christian” (Catholic) government. Similarly, many early “missionaries” utterly failed to bring “Christianity” to primitive tribes by physically making them dress, talk, live and behave like “Christian” Europeans (and punishing them when they didn’t).

    Your statement: “Maybe for a specific period he needed to spread the Gospel, but it is not my interpretation to continue to enable an evil empire as Godly.” Paul, as all Christians do not have “a specific period to spread the Gospel”. We never commanded to stop spreading the Gospel. If your interpretation is that Paul enabled an evil empire as Godly, I believe you have grossly misinterpreted Paul’s writings. Paul never once referred to the Roman Empire as “Godly”. Again, we get back to what governments God allowed to exist for His purposes. We can go back to the Egyptians for the 430 years Israel was enslaved to them, to the captivity from the Assyrians and Babylonians, Medes and Persians, to the Roman occupation. These unsaved worldly nations were not “Godly”. But God certainly brought them to power to use them for His purposes. And that concept we can’t blame on Paul, because we see that described beginning in the writings of Moses (whose writings Jesus calls Scripture).

    Hal, I encourage you to dig deeply into God’s word. It appears you have interjected your own opinions upon what you have read, which has caused you great confusion, even causing you to doubt some of God’s word as unauthentic (Paul’s writings).

  10. Hal,

    If you haven’t read through DavidW’s reply, you would do well to do so. I hadn’t had a chance to get back with you, but I would echo everything he has said. Especially about those in positions of power within governments being put there by God. Don’t forget, even Daniel said that God had made Nebuchadnezzar to be king (see Daniel 5:17-19).

  11. Hal says:

    DavidW, here are three commandments I was referring to. I thought I had just read them all in one place, but can’t remember the reference:

    Matthew 22: 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. .
    3) John 15: 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

    Thanks for giving me more to think about, but I still believe we are back to where we started around the time of Christ with the government given the status of an ungodly religious institution that no longer represents me as a Christian. I do know that the Romans considered the republic as a religious entity, especially the Katonians, later Emporers as gods.

    If God hated the Nicolaitanes, and the Synagogue of Satan, surely He must hate the present institutions leading this world today far more.

    I can understand Paul as a evengelist of the Lord to travel the Roman Empire (period) freely where the other disciples could not. Otherwise why would he or another like him even be needed? God help me, but I find it impossible to give him unconditional approval as a teacher when we have Jesus’s teachings available in this day.

    Hitler used Romans 13 to his advantage, and I believe that Christians must use common sense to determine when a government is not of God. When it is not representing any shread of Christian beliefs, when it is being used as a ungodly dictatorship for a very few. I do not believe that God has placed what amounts to Satan in authority over me.

    God help me, but I do not want to go back to a world with crusified people lining the highways, people being treated like animals, fraud at every level, or watching my family being tortured to death and just suck my thumb. I guess Christians can have varying convictions, but again, I find no fault with a strong defense while still praying for the Lord to return. I do find fault with the culture that persecutes Christians trying to live Godly free lives, and throws away freedom people had to struggle so hard to achieve.

    The Crusades, Inquisition and other wars were not a defensive operations, and the slavery was a well deserved after continually disobeying God. Israel and Judah were supposed to the God’s preists to the world, not the Synagogue of Satan.

  12. Hal says:

    Fourpounter, I believe He allowed him to be king, and to conquor Judah for a good reason. I am not turning from God, but hate what He hates. I have not had warning after warning, or turned to other gods like a spiritual whore, nor incorporate their corruption into my beliefs. My government is sleeping with the same people, and acting like an oppressive god itself. I want to change that in any peaceful way I can, but, as a pawn, that could be out of my hands at some point.

    “As powerful as Nebuchadnezzar was, he did not conquer the people of Judah of himself. God didn’t just allow it to happen, He actually brought it about. (2 Chronicles 36:15-20). The people had become extremely corrupt and idolatrous. They ignored all of the Prophets that God had sent to warn them (2 Chronicles 36:15-16), and they refused to repent. They trusted in themselves, in the city of Jerusalem, even in the physical Temple, rather than in The Lord Himself. So, God, through Nebuchadnezzar, destroyed it all in order to make them realize, in no uncertain terms, that they had turned their backs on Him.”

  13. jonathan says:

    Psa 44:22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

    Rom 8:33 Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth;
    Rom 8:34 who is he that condemneth? It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
    Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
    Rom 8:36 Even as it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
    Rom 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
    Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
    Rom 8:39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  14. Hal says:

    Hi Bill, I think they are reviewing a long respone that had the answer, but here are the verses. I think I saw them all in one place somewhere, and if anyone has that reference I am having hard time finding it again.

    “Matthew 22: 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

    John 15: 12 This is my (new) commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

    I believe in loving people as I love myself is tough enough. I do not believe that God expects me to lay down my life for individual, religious, or government criminals; and expects us to hold them accountable to the best of our ability.

    In you have seen the documentary where Micheal Moore attempts to make a citizen’s arrest at Goldman Sachs, it is funny and at the same time very sad that citizens in this nation have almost nothing but protected criminals in government and finance. Obama/Barry Soetoro is at the top of the list.

  15. Hal says:

    Jonathan,

    Sorry, but I am still not much of a fan of Paul. I hope he will forgive me if I am completely wrong, but have a hard time with him in this era when we the teachings of Jesus, Peter, James, and John available.

    Paul was living in a time when Jews seemed to be treated well by the Romans until about 64-70AD, since he was born a citizen (not a slave or foreigner) and at least his mother had to have been a Roman citizen at his birth. He also received a superior greek education and traveled extensively. The Jews seemed to have plenty of gold to buy protection from Rome for Herod’s reign.

    I believe Saul/Paul’s Pharasees were the leading cause of torture and murder of Christians, beyond anything the Romans were doing until around 64 AD, so doesn’t Paul’s statements seem hollow? I am assuming he writes in the period of 30-64AD.

  16. Hal,

    If you can’t accept the new life God gives His chosen ones (look at His line in the Old Testament), then it appears you don’t doubt Paul the apostle as much as you doubt God.

    Read the book of Acts and see Paul’s tender heart toward those whom he as Saul persecuted. See their response to him as they realize God redeemed him and has given him the mission of reconciliation to the Gentiles.

    Moses didn’t have his name changed, but when we returned to the Jews after 40 years in Median, their first response was to consider him the murderer he was when he fled. They learned, several times, that God has revealed Himself to Moses and chosen him to lead them into the promised land.

    All the men chosen by God were sinful before and after being chosen. After, however, their sin is grievous to them, not precious. Only Jesus the Christ is the sinless exception. And He chose Saul to become Paul and sent him out as an Apostle to the Gentiles.

    Be careful who you reject. Your wisdom is not the standard by which Truth is determined.

  17. Hal,

    I believe one reason God chose Paul was because of the fact that he was, at the time, one of the foremost Jewish scholars of the Old Testament. In fact, had he not been converted, he may very well have become the most distinguished Jewish rabbi in history (other than our Lord Christ, of course). That said, who better to show us how the Old Testament pointed to Christ than one who had more knowledge and understanding of those Scriptures!

    In Galatians, we see the reason for the Law (Galatians 3:19-21), how the Old Testament Law–as well as the picture of Abraham being saved by faith alone–was simply a tutor–literally, a “pedagogue”–to lead us to Christ (Galatians 3:23-25), and how Ishmael (the child of the bondwoman and a symbol of the Law) and Isaac (the child of the freewoman and a symbol of the Promise) were an “allegory” of the covenants (Galatians 4:21-31).

    My final plea would be for you to heed the words of the apostle Peter, who considered Paul’s writings to hold the status of sacred Scripture (see 2nd Peter 3:14-16), and to not use the twisting of Scripture by sinful human men as your measure of whether something is of God or not. Remember, even Satan quoted Scripture in his efforts to tempt Christ–will you reject those Scriptures as well? I will pray for you, that you see Paul’s words–given to him by the Holy Spirit–are indeed Scripture, and that God took this man who was His enemy–much like we are–and used him for His glory.

  18. Hal says:

    I am not rejecting Paul as uninspired by God, but give his words less weight than those of Jesus himself and can more easily understand other writers. I also disagree with those who claim Paul’s words are always clear, and would hate to think that Bible teachers rely too heavily on Paul for their lesson sources.

    Romans 13 stands out as the misleading “fly in the soup” for me, but not the only difficult passages. I do not believe that Paul is required to understand the Gospel or how Christians should live.

    It would be disappointing if God requires Paul just to explain his will to me.

  19. jonathan says:

    Joh 6:43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
    Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
    Joh 6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

    Now try as you will to put that into context with your free will, you can even add the verses before it.
    Joh 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
    Joh 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
    and
    Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
    Joh 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

    now ask your self what is Christ job here on earth? TO DO THE FATHERS WILL, NOT MINE OR YOURS. And what is the the will of the Father? That all should be raised up on the last day who he gave to Christ through His calling or drawing, which is really traslated to drag, now that is Christ saying it and now you know where Paul got it and why Paul could say that he him self was taught by Jesus the Christ. And read John 12:37/40 and Math 13:15

    Gal 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
    Gal 1:11 For I make known to you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man.
    Gal 1:12 For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ.
    Gal 1:15 But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me, even from my mother’s womb, and called me through his grace,
    Gal 1:16 to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles; straightway I conferred not with flesh and blood:

    Eph 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

    Col 2:8 Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ:
    I put this last verse in here for you, so if you are getting your ideals from some one else get away from them, and regardless if they put it there or you did it on your own repent….

  20. Hal says:

    I have been studying Paul with an open mind, and still skeptical regarding his conversion (and unclear writings). I realize that it may just be that I have a mental block, and do believe that God used Paul to reach the gentiles of his time. My questions center around the extraordinary the conversion process:

    1) Where was Paul during the life, trial and crucifixtion of Jesus? Was he present and just did nothing, or out of the country? I have not found this answer.

    2) If Paul was a completely knowledgable Jew/Pharasee, why did he never even consider Jesus as the legitimate Messiah before his conversion?

    3) The Gospels seems to indicate that a Believer must believe he is a sinner and requires salvation by accepting Jesus as the Way to obtain salvation from the wrath of the Father. Why was Paul exempt from realizing his sin and need for salvation prior to his conversion? This is a problem for me that he is displayed as the ultimate guide and had no realization of his need to be saved until he was confronted by Jesus.

    It is hard to accept that Saul could feel blameless and not recognize Jesus as the Messiah one second, and the next he is converted with no prior personal thought or desire for it.

    This conversion process confuses me. If the confrontation would have ended without blindness, and Saul was free to decide to accept Jesus or go on his way, then it would ring much more true to me and not as an extraordinary process of holding his sight hostage.

    4) If John the Baptist could recognize Jesus in the womb, why could Paul not recognize Jesus as Messiah until he was literally forced to listen? It seems he was given some exceptional waiver from the conversion of every other Christian. If GOD is not a respecter of persons, how is this possible?

    I believe Paul was transformed by God, but skeptical of the elevated position he obtained dominating the New Testament Church based on what seems to be a unique conversion process. I accept him as a reference as long as he is clear, but not as the ultimate guide for Christian living. (At least give him a wife and kids first, and see how that works out. )

  21. 1) Where was Paul during the life, trial and crucifixion of Jesus? Was he present and just did nothing, or out of the country? I have not found this answer.

    I have a theory about this question, although I have not fully examined it. My theory is that Paul was the rich young ruler in Matthew 19 and Mark 9. Which, if true, goes a long way in understanding how he could recognize Jesus when the Lord met him on the road. It would also explain why he said what he did in Philippians 3:4-9. Again, it is simply a theory, and not a hill I’m ready to die on.

    2) If Paul was a completely knowledgeable Jew/Pharisee, why did he never even consider Jesus as the legitimate Messiah before his conversion?

    Why did nearly every other Pharisee not see Jesus as Messiah? Why only Paul, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, and maybe a handful of others?

    It is hard to accept that Saul could feel blameless and not recognize Jesus as the Messiah one second, and the next he is converted with no prior personal thought or desire for it.

    Actually, this sounds like most all of us. We have no desire to follow Christ, our eyes being blinded by the god of this world (2nd Corinthians 4:4) and by our own selfishness. However, because he knew the Old Testament Scriptures that Messiah must die and rise again, and then seeing the risen Christ, this may have been the confirmation he needed to believe. Also, consider the events which transpired on the Day of Pentecost.

    Acts 2:36-37–“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” These were devout Jews, zealous for the Law and blind to the fact that Jesus was Messiah one minute, cut to the heart and converted the next, with no prior personal thought or desire for it.

    4) If John the Baptist could recognize Jesus in the womb, why could Paul not recognize Jesus as Messiah until he was literally forced to listen? It seems he was given some exceptional waiver from the conversion of every other Christian. If GOD is not a respecter of persons, how is this possible?

    I have known many people (myself included) who did not recognize that they were sinful creatures in need of repentance, nor did they know Jesus Christ as Lord until they were brought to a place of utter brokenness over their sins, and called out to Him in desperation.

    Paul did not “receive a waiver”–he needed to be saved just like all of us. And when he saw the risen Christ, he realized that Christ was Messiah, and gave his life over to the Lord. It was because of his stubbornness that he had to be stripped of all his fleshly power in order to be made into the man God had called him to be. As Walter Grundmann put it–

    “Paul experienced the fact that the weakness and limitation of human existence are necessary for the operation of the divine power which is made perfect in this weakness and limitation. In Paul’s weakness, Christ was present to him with His power…Because weakness was the pledge of the presence of the power of Christ abiding in him, he could boast in it. For in it he found the freedom from self and reliance on Christ” (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. II, p. 317).

    Because Paul was so arrogant and self-sufficient in his pre-conversion life, He could only find “freedom from self and reliance on Christ” when brought to the point where he could not rely on anything within himself, but could only have strength if it was given to him by Christ.

    Finally, concerning your doubts about Romans 13, remember that even Jesus told his disciples to observe the things taught by the Scribes and Pharisees.

    Matthew 23:1-3–Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.”

    Matthew Henry explains this passage from Matthew’s gospel in a way that I believe may clear up your confusion about Paul’s words in Romans 13:

    We must not think the worse of good truths for their being preached by bad ministers; nor of good laws for their being executed by bad magistrates. Though it is most desirable to have our food brought by angels, yet, if God send it to us by ravens, if it be good and wholesome, we must take it, and thank God for it.”

    In other words, don’t dismiss the truth because someone makes a poor use of it.

  22. DavidW says:

    Hal:

    Something that is very important for Christians to accept is that all of God’s word, whether written from the hand of Moses, Peter, John, Isaiah, Danel, Paul, etc., are in fact God’s words. As God’s words, they are in fact all equal to Jesus’ words (Jesus being God, of course). Thus, they all have equal weight. The words of Jesus in red-letter Bibles have no more or less weight than the rest of Scripture. From what I’m hearing, you appear to have a difficulty with Paul’s writings, because they come from the hand of Paul. In actuality, the words are from God.

    Granted, Peter acknowledged some of Paul’s writings are hard to understand. That, however, does not negate the fact they are still God’s words. Peter also said those who are unlearned (not sufficiently studied in God’s word) misinterpret Paul. Thus, the problem isn’t with what Paul wrote, but the reader’s own lack of understanding what he wrote.

    It should always be remembered that Bible study, as well as Bible teaching, must be in full agreement with the whole of God’s word. We could just as easily err in teaching only what Moses said, or only what John the Apostle said, or a combination of only which authors we agree with, etc. All the writers from Moses through John (and everyone in between) make up the whole counsel of God, the whole word of God, the whole revelation of God to man. Remove or dismiss any one of them, and we’ve then become the arbiter of what consists of God’s revelation to man. Not only so, but we have this sobering warning from God: “ and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” (Rev. 22:19). Thus we bring serious judgment upon ourselves in tampering with God’s word. This is a principle we see all throughout Scripture. God does not allow tampering with, or changing His truth. God holds His word above His own name (Ps.138:2). Not only that, the words God has spoken will judge man (Jn 12:48). We do not stand in judgment over it, nor determine which parts we will hold fast to, and which parts we won’t.

    You commented: “I accept him as a reference as long as he is clear, but not as the ultimate guide for Christian living. (At least give him a wife and kids first, and see how that works out.)”. If Paul’s writings are God’s words, then it doesn’t matter if he was ever married or have kids to speak authoritatively about marriage and Christian living. His own personal experience or lack of it is irrelevant if they are God’s words. Once we start picking and choosing what parts of the Bible we will accept or not accept as authoritative, or what parts are or are not MORE authoritative than others, we place ourselves in authority over it. And that’s the problem all cults make.

    So the question is, are all of Paul’s writings in the Bible God’s words or not? If Paul’s words are not Scripture, then Peter (who equated Paul’s writings as Scripture) is a liar, and we must throw out him as well. We’d have to throw out Luke also, since Luke wrote Acts, and testified of Paul’s conversion and legitimacy of the Holy Spirit indwelling and speaking through Paul. For that matter, we must dispense with the entire Bible, because it contains Paul’s writings. And where does that leave us? If however Paul’s writings are Scripture (God’s words, not man’s), then regardless of what our opinions may be of Paul, his upbringing, his social status, his education, how he was saved and converted, or anything else related to him personally, his writings are still God’s words, and must be heeded equally as the words of Jesus Himself. It’s one or the other. There is no in between.

  23. jonathan says:

    Just to put in prospective, Fourpionter, some preachers use Romans 13 to justfy their giving into a government tax write off. Making them selves subject to this government instead of paying the taxs in the first place like they were told to do by Peter to subject to the ordinances of man. The preachers in America did’t have to do that, maybe it was for their lust to have more. I think it was Pres.Johnson that came up with that law that states if you get the write off you can’t tell your sheep who and how to vote for or lose your write off. Their mouths have been stopped by the laws of man giving power over their voice that is to preach the word of God. And it’ll get worse too, thats what Hal is trying to say about the Zionist who like in Isreal are still making laws that supress the truth, adding to the books of Moses. See if you can fallow what it is I am trying to say about Romans 13. Or do you think there was chaos in the church then as there are now, And the Apostels tell us in their doctrines of Christ, render unto Caesar the things that are caesars and the things that are Gods to God.

    Act 4:33 And with great power gave the apostles their witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
    Act 4:34 For neither was there among them any that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
    Act 4:35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto each, according as any one had need.

    Act 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered and said, We must obey God rather than men.

    Act 6:1 Now in these days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a murmuring of the Grecian Jews against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
    Act 6:2 And the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not fit that we should forsake the word of God, and serve tables.
    Act 6:3 Look ye out therefore, brethren, from among you seven men of good report, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
    Act 6:4 But we will continue stedfastly in prayer, and in the ministry of the word.
    Act 6:5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus a proselyte of Antioch;
    Act 6:6 whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands upon them.
    Act 6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem exceedingly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

    1Co 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and severally members thereof.
    1Co 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues.

    That was in the Church!

    Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think as to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to each man a measure of faith.
    Rom 12:4 For even as we have many members in one body, and all the members have not the same office:
    Rom 12:5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and severally members one of another.
    Rom 12:6 And having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of our faith;
    Rom 12:7 or ministry, let us give ourselves to our ministry; or he that teacheth, to his teaching;
    Rom 12:8 or he that exhorteth, to his exhorting: he that giveth, let him do it with liberality; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.
    Rom 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

    Rom 12:19 Avenge not yourselves, beloved, but give place unto the wrath of God: for it is written, Vengeance belongeth unto me; I will recompense, saith the Lord.

    then continuing into chpter 13.

    Rom 13:4 for he is a minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him that doeth evil.
    Rom 13:5 Wherefore ye must needs be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.
    Rom 13:6 For this cause ye pay tribute also; for they are ministers of God’s service, attending continually upon this very thing.

    For the spirit in me I can’t see where the ministers of God are the Romans and those who fall down at the feet of Ceasar? I’ll stick to the study of the bible. And not that I am saying that we should disobay governments and the laws of men, But we are to hold Gods laws above all others even if we suffer for it. And the sword He was speaking of is the same one that took out Ananias and Sapphira his wife.But yes peter does tell us to fallow the ordinances of man but with out giving up our obedience to God. And as long as I am on the subject, we are all subjects to God who fallow his doctrine lined out in his word but what we have in the church today is chaos, just look at all the different doctrines???

    1Pe 2:13 Be subject to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether to the king, as supreme;
    1Pe 2:14 or unto governors, as sent by him for vengeance on evil-doers and for praise to them that do well.
    1Pe 2:15 For so is the will of God, that by well-doing ye should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
    1Pe 2:16 as free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants of God.
    1Pe 2:17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
    1Pe 2:18 Servants, be in subjection to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
    1Pe 2:19 For this is acceptable, if for conscience toward God a man endureth griefs, suffering wrongfully.
    1Pe 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye sin, and are buffeted for it, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye shall take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

    And Hal, all you have to do is seach the scriptures. The Spirit is the one who gives life, for you must be born again, when you were dead in sin how dead were you? Dead enough to bring your self back to life and not to subject to sin, I cam across these in my studies today, try and put them into context with the others I gave.
    Act 2:39 For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him.
    Act 13:48 And as the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of God: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
    Rom 8:8 and they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
    Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
    Rom 8:10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness.

  24. 2Tim3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

  25. Hal says:

    I am not trying to offend anyone, but not willing to place Paul or any disciple/apostle to the same level as Lord Jesus in importance. I can accept that there are questions that I don’t feel are answered for me, but will not elevate another human to a diety who cannot be questioned. This is similar to the problem with giving human governments authority they have never deserved.

    “”It is as if, when Jesus was asked about salvation, he should have said, “Well, the truth about salvation will not really be known until the apostle Paul starts to write in 20-30 years, check with him.” While these Protestants do not blatantly ignore their (Jesus, Peter, James, etc) teachings, they will relegate their authority to second class status because of what they call Paul’s superior authority on salvation. “”

    As much as I agree with the heroic Dr. Martin Luther so far, I will also be looking for areas of disagreement.

    Isaiah 64:6
    All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

    Matthew 5:20
    For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

    I would say that the scriptures applies to Paul as well as the rest of us, so will not consider his words equal to the words of our Lord, who is the Word. Humans may be inspired, but not perfect in my mind. The Babylonian Talmud is also considered to be written by “godly” men to the depraved.

    Whoever assumes that all scripture is equal gives the humans who selected what scrolls and interpretations to include and what not to include in the Bible far too much importance, in my opinion. What about Enoch and others who are quoted, why do they not get equal billing as well?

    Revelation 22:18-9:
    “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.”

    I feel this warning in Revelation was made knowing that there are those who will be modifying the scripture to their own advantage (e.g. Talmud), and it must be tested by what is common sense and what is already known beyond a doubt.

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