Insight into Understanding the Epistles of Paul the Apostle

word-lightThe following post has been written with the assumption that you believe, as I do, that God has never changed and neither did His Son, Jesus (Yeshua).

If your God changed somewhere around the BC/AD division of time, you may have a very hard time with what I’m about to show you. If this describes you, I would highly recommend that you read the following posts before you continue:

Paul and Controversy

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the apostle Paul and his relation to the Law of Moses. And for good reason, some scriptures seem to be in support of obeying the Law of Moses:

Romans 3:31
“Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.”

… and some seem completely opposed to the Law of Moses.

Galatians 2:19
“For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.”

Peter Thought Paul’s Writings Were Confusing

Paul’s fellow apostle, Peter, spoke of this issue in one of his epistles.

2 Peter 3:14-18
“Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation–as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable [people] twist to their own destruction, as [they do] also the rest of the Scriptures.”

We Are Products of Knowledge and Bias

learnNow, many of us think that we have our theology down pat, but the Truth is, we filter our interpretation of the Word of God through the lens of how we were taught.

If you grew up Pentecostal, you usually tend to lean toward their interpretation … if you grew up Baptist, you tend to lean towards theirs, and so on.

You can try to deny it (and many have tried), but it’s the Truth … we’re products of how we were raised and taught.

It takes a miracle of God to change our mindsets to line up with His Word in the Way that He intended.

This is why it is vital to approach the Word of God with humility, understanding that maybe … just maybe … we might be wrong.

Peter, 2000 years ago and several languages removed, said that Paul was difficult to understand. What makes us think that we can understand Paul with little, or no, problem?

Paul – How Many Laws?

Paul’s many references to “the law” are usually what throw people into confusion. In the following passage, Paul speaks of 5 different laws, and only 1 of them is the Law of Moses!

Romans 7:21-24
“I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

Here are 5 different laws … in only 3 verses!

  • The Law that evil is present with Paul
  • The Law of God
  • The Law in Paul’s members
  • The Law of the mind
  • The Law of Sin

Granted, that’s probably the only passage in the New Testament where Paul makes mention of that many laws in such a small space. I just wanted to provide it as an example so that I can make the following point:

When you read Paul’s epistles, it is VITAL that you understand what “law” Paul is talking about. I’m pretty sure that Paul mentions “the law” in every epistle that he ever wrote, but I know it’s NOT always the Law of Moses.

Paul’s Relationship to the Law of Moses

Most people are unwilling to face this Truth:

Paul was obedient to the Law of Moses … NOT because he thought he needed to earn his salvation, but because he was SAVED.

Act 21:24
“Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave [their] heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but [that] you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law.”

Act 24:14
“But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.”

Acts 25:7-8
“When he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood about and laid many serious complaints against Paul, which they could not prove, while he answered for himself, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all.

Romans 3:31
Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.”

Twisting the Truth

As it was in Paul’s day, so it is today (and even more so) … people militantly try to propagate their own doctrines by isolating certain verses in Romans and Galatians (to the exclusion of all other context) and twist them to fit into their own “canned” theology. This issue was also addressed by Peter. Let’s look at the verses that follow in the passage initially set forth in this post (2 Peter 3:14-16).

2 Peter 3:17-18
“You therefore, beloved, since you know [this] beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him [be] the glory both now and forever. Amen.”

Even back in the first century, ignorant and unstable men were taking Paul’s letters and twisting them to support a lawless gospel. In the verse above, Peter was warning the readers AGAINST such people. The term “wicked” in the Greek is “athesmos” – which means “one who breaks through the restraint of the law to gratify lust.”

G113 - athesmos

The Error of the Wicked/Lawless

speak-truthWhen we interpret Paul’s writings, it is important that we are very careful NOT fall into the “error of the wicked/lawless” that Peter mentioned in the preceding verse. If so, according to the same verse, we will fall from our own steadfastness.

Paul’s writings are, without a doubt, inspired by the Holy Spirit – but we must understand that Paul’s words (or our interpretation of his words) do NOT overrule the Messiah’s words, and they do NOT overrule the Old Testament either. Rather, Paul’s writings underscore and augment what has already been written by the Creator.

Let us all follow Paul … as He followed Christ.

For the Truth,

Kevin Kleint

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  1. Shelly says

    Yes! I agree wholeheartedly! As a believer and follower of Yeshua/Jesus, when I come to a passage that appears to say that the Mosaic law is no longer applicable for new testament believers, I am reminded of what Moses said in Deuteronomy 13.

    My basic understanding of this passage is that if anyone comes and says anything other than what is written in the Torah/law, we are not to believe him. He is a false prophet and is sent by YHWH to try us to know whether we would be obedient to his word or not. With this in mind, I know that I am either not understanding his context OR Paul was a false prophet. I choose to believe the former.

  2. Gordon Neil says

    There is no Wall between the Old Testament and the New Testament for it is God Word. His children do fear Him. We obey ‘to do’ for He loves us. He warns us to ‘do not’ so as to say, “Don’t hurt yourself and others.” The same, same Old Testament and New Testament. HOWEVER, the Old Covenant Law and the New Testament, Testimony re: God’s Own Blood Covenant we a taught by the Spirit, we see and hear directly, personally. Yes, the Old veiled, the New unveiled in the Spirit by our Teacher, our Husband to be and our Father God, the Father of the Creator, our Lord. Lucifer and his followers, now Satan and his followers, were fooling around in the stone age before Adam and Even made in the image of God. There is a war going on and if you do want to be saved, rescued from the war, you must accept fully God’s terms and conditions. So, fear God and grow up by Him and not as the world turns in Christendom but by His Spirit walk. The Romans 8 Church!

    There are not 5 genders approved by God. So, there is a Law of God by the mind of Christ in us written on the Tablets of our hearts. Christian pride is killing them …thinking they are better than the nest guy! Thank God ……..there is still pastors preaching by the Real Holy Spirit.

  3. Hunnytree says

    Keep WHAT law? What law are YOU keeping, Kevin? What law is it that you believe must be kept? Precisely. Exactly. Part of the law? All of the law? I am interested to know the answer to this question. And….as I have read some of your posts, they seem to speak to this end: that if you are NOT keeping the law (whatever the law is that you deem must….must….be kept….) then you are not justified. Are YOU justified by the keeping of this law you keep? To that note – you gave one verse from Galatians 2 out of context. (Gal. 2:19) Let’s look at the rest of the 2nd and even the 3rd chapter of Galatians.

    [inserts Galatians 2 and 3 right here]

    One truth that you allude to is this – yes, our good works proceed out of being led by the Spirit. But if the LAW is still our schoolmaster we do err. It is our faith in what Jesus did at the Cross that justifies us, and it is our faith in the actual living presence of the Spirit of God that leads us. To make more of the law than its purpose is to frustrate the grace of God. Gal 2:21

    • says

      Obedience to the Law doesn’t justify or save, Hunnytree. However, if you are saved, you will obey the Law. God saves us by His Grace – we obey Him out of Love.

      God’s Law is God’s Law. While I confess, some things seem either “difficult” or even “impossible” – it’s because we were taught that way. If you take a closer look at the first few books of the bible, it’s not as difficult as our “beloved leaders” would like us to believe.

      It was called Eternal in the OT (Ps 119:44, Deut 29:29), Jesus said that heaven and earth would pass away before even the SLIGHTEST jot or tittle would be erased from it in the NT (Matt 5:18), and we’re going to be learning it in the Millennium (Isaiah 2:3) … we didn’t get a 2,000 “break” from the Law.

      Your reference to Galatians and the schoolmaster role of the Law is a prime example of what I mean when people take scripture out of it’s context. I’m not accusing you of twisting it, but you’re basically repeating what you were taught. While I don’t have time to write an entire post on “the Law as Your Schoolmaster” at this time … I would encourage you to study Deuteronomy, specifically chapter 28. The law blesses those who obey it and curses those who disobey it …. ah… man, I gotta write a post on this …. meanwhile, here is a link that will help to clear things up (I believe.)

      FAQ – Galatians 3:23-25 – Was God’s Law a Schoolmaster that Has Been Abolished at the Cross?

  4. bernie says

    Nice job Kev. I sure hope this reaches a lot of our other brethren stuck on only one the side of the scriptures. We need to accept that the ENTIRE Word of ELOHIM is for today and forever ( Mt.4:4 ).