Bible Studies/continuance of Paul
QUESTION: Very good response, Marilyn. I am not a student of Revelation, nor bible prophecy so I will not venture into those areas without further study. The greek word "suggnome" is made up from 2 other words. I think how the KJV translates it is easily justifiable. Under the explanation I offered, "permission" does make sense. If Paul had Gods permission, God would certainly know what Paul would say. It could very well be that the subject carried an air of authority or authenticity, if you will, coming from Paul. If I can't win you to my view we will have to agree to disagree on that.
You said "Whether Paul physically sat at Jesus' feet during the three year gap between his conversion and his return to the public eye, there is no evidence to back that up" I must take exception to that. In many places Paul said he got his gospel directly from Christ. And Paul didn't lie. If you accept that Paul didn't lie then you must believe he studied under Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:31
"The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not."
"Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)"
"For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed"
We know that Christ will be our judge, so what does Paul mean in Rom2:16 "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel."? Simply, his gospel is the word of God, nothing more, nothing less, the word he got not from man, but from Christ himself.
Now as far as bible versions, I am confident KJV is the best available. Yes I know there are some errors, but none affecting doctrine. (Example: easter..it shouldn't be there). I have several publications I use in conjunction with my study and most assuredly the Spirit is part of that. Strongs exhaustive concordance is especially useful.
I wanted to know that Pauls authority was established, in your view, so that we could further discuss his teachings. I appreciate your answers, as I love sinking my teeth into the meat of the gospel. Thank you very much and have a good day.
I sent this private so that you didn't have to put it up if didn't want to. If you want to post it I have no problem with that. Phil
Jesus certainly knocked Paul off his horse and turned him around 180 degrees. Jesus certainly called Paul to be a witness for Him. Paul was certainly guided by the Holy Spirit. It's fact that his writings are Scripture and constitute a huge part of the foundation of the Christian church. It's true that Paul was an Apostle, that is, personally called by Christ to serve.
We all have "permission," indeed are commanded to share the Gospel. Whether "suggnome" is meant to refer to Paul having permission or meant to say that Paul is giving permission must be decided by the context of the passage, not by our whim. The context of the passage is about couples separating for times of prayer and coming back together again, the context is not about Paul, personally having been given permission to speak so boldly.
Elsewhere, such as in II Timothy 1:7, we see Paul's attitude regarding anything to do with God, God's purposes for us and the message of Truth and Hope: God doesn't want us to be timid, but to be bold. And Paul lived by that conviction while he was a Pharisee persecuting Christians and after his conversion and during his ministry for Christ. He never saw himself as a man in need of a special, dispensation of permission to do what God called him to do or say what God told him to say, but rather a man who operated in the general "permission," rather command, God gives all of us to go say what He tells us to say and do what He tells us to do.
Paul's term translated into English, "my Gospel," means "the gospel committed unto me to preach," see Romans 16:25; 2 Corinthians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Timothy 2:8. It's the same Gospel found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John--essentially, the good news that God became a Human Being and came to earth to redeem humanity and raise them to new life in Him.
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QUESTION: I have heard it said that a lot of Pauls preaching was because it was the custom for men and women in that era. Does Paul indeed relay some customs of the time that need not apply to us today, or is everything he said a message he relays to us from Christ, which is what he claims to do?
First Corinthians 11:2-16 is only place that mentions a woman covering her head or how long a woman's or a man's hair should be in the New Testament. In the Old Testament the men were to cover their heads either with the skull cap or a prayer shawl. In the past women of all denominations covered their heads when they went to church, but these days few women do. Covering the head on the way to church is a symbolic act that had meaning when Paul wrote about it. Today, a woman can be in rebellion against authority even with her head covered, just as the man can be in rebellion with his uncovered. So what was Paul driving at--what was the principle behind this specific instruction?
A deeper look at the context and history of the passage sheds some light on the issue. Corinth was the Sin City of the era. It was on a isthmus where a canal had been cut to shorten the journey for ships engaging in trade between the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea. The temple prostitutes of the time shaved their heads--hence Paul mentions a woman's hair as necessary sign that she is submitting to God and to her husband rather than to a pagan god. The woman's hair did not have to be super long, it just had to be longer than her husband's. A woman with a shaved head announced that she was in rebellion against God serving an idol and had no husband to protect her. Paul wanted the Corinthian church to be set apart from the pagans that surrounded them. For Christians, Christ is the head of all, but for wives and children, the husband is in authority over them, serving them as Christ's representative to them, leading the family. The head covering and/or hair was a symbol that the wife was in submission to her husband and hence to Christ.
The real issue here is not specifically head coverings or hair length, but the condition of the human heart. As mentioned above, a woman can be in rebellion while she is wearing a head covering and man can be in rebellion while he is not. The issue is the condition of the heart. Is the wife looking to her husband as the leader of the home? Does the husband look to Christ as his leader?
The condition of the human heart is paramount to God. Paul resisted the Judaizers who wanted Gentile Christians to observe all the Jewish practices before they would be accepted into the church. Paul argued against circumcision and compelling the Gentiles to observe all the Jewish feasts etc. because those are outward acts and do nothing for the condition of the human heart. It would be a mistake for us to adopt a practice Paul advised Corinthians to observe as if it were an edict that applied to everyone--it would be the same as what the Judaizers did to the Gentile Christians.
Paul did give some instructions for the churches he corresponded with to help them deal with the culture of that time. While the specific instruction may not apply to us--such as women covering their heads--the principle behind the instruction does apply to us and that's the part of what Paul wrote that is timeless.
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QUESTION: Okay, you have answered my query. The bible proves Pauls' authority. Scripture is given to us for OUR instruction and direction on serving God.
2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
I believe it to be a bad thing to think scripture was only directed at a certain people in a certain time. It is eternal and unchangeable.
ALL of it. Not some of it. God made man and woman different for a purpose. We are not to blur that distinction. There is a hierarchy in Gods design and it is not for man to argue or distort it. You acknowledge Pauls authority then dismiss some of his teaching. I fail to understand how you can do that with an open mind and a clear conscience. Nonetheless
it is not my intent to try to persuade you, just to find out how you understand the bible. Thank you, again, for your time.
We humans think that it would be nice if everything the Bible said was clear cut, to the point, simple and easily understood. And we work really hard to convince ourselves that it is that way, but it's not. God doesn't intend for it to be a simple book. He intends for us to grapple with seeming contradictions and confusing information. It's in the grappling and arguing about Scripture that we grow and learn. If things are static and fixed, there is no growing or learning.
People have argued that Paul contradicts himself:
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. (Romans 3:20)
For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Romans 2:13)
Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
For each one should carry his own load. (Galatians 6:5)
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, (1 Peter 3:18)
The wicked is a ransom for the righteous, and the traitor for the upright. (Proverbs 21:18)
There are others. Predestination is a big one. How can a God who has predestined everything (everything that happens has been planned and fixed long in advance), Romans 8:30; Ephesians 1:11 also have work to do, Romans 8:28? How can a person be predestined and also have a choice, Genesis 4; Joshua 24:14 & 15?
Going for a black and white understanding of the Bible is appealing. Unfortunately if any person thinks he's got the Bible completely figured out, he's conning himself.