Should Paul’s Writings Be Thrown Out?
Updated: May 5
Ephesians 4:14-15 ”As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, Messiah.”
Biblical prophecy tells us that there will be many deceivers in the end times. False doctrines will abound and false teachers will be out in mass fooling the unsuspecting sheep. This is why reading The Bible is so important as well as having solid Pastor/Teachers who can help you rightly divide The Word. When you know The Word it makes it more difficult for these false teachers to try and twist it to fit their doctrine or imaginations. This is the same strategy that Yeshua used when being tempted. He simply quoted Scripture and satan was powerless in his temptations.
Did you know there are 4 ways of interpreting Scripture according to the 1st-century method of Hebraic learning? Without knowing this method some of Paul”s writings may be difficult to understand or properly interpret especially when you are not raised with this way of studying Scripture. Also, the context must be a foremost thought when reading and analyzing biblical texts. This may be what is contributing to the emergence of doctrine that wants to ignore every New Testament letter that Paul wrote.
This could come from the inability to properly interpret Paul’s letters. When examining Shaul’s, also known as Paul's, writings remember his background and where he is coming from intellectually. From the devout to the Rabbi’s, Scripture had more than one meaning with the literal meaning being the least important while in western culture the literal meaning is often taken into consideration first.
THE FOUR MEANINGS OF SCRIPTURE:
The consonants of PRDS first appear in the writings of Moses de Leon in the late 13th century although this method of analyzing Scripture was used in rabbinical learning for centuries. This is important to note because some may argue this is a Kabbalistic method of interpreting Scripture. Although it is used in that way today the origins of this method of interpreting predates Kabbalah by centuries.
Peshat: (פְּשָׁט) "surface" - the literal meaning
Remaz: (רֶמֶז) "Hints" - the suggested meaning beyond the literal sense
Derush: (דְּרַשׁ) "Inquire/Seek" - the meaning after the investigation
Sod: (סוֹד) "Secret" - the allegorical, or meaning through revelation
Proverbs 25:2 "It is the glory of YHWH to conceal a word; to search out a word is the glory of kings.
Let's look at an example searching out a word using Remaz in Genesis 1:1 "Beginning..." The first word of Genesis 1:1 is "בְּרֵאשִׁית" (Bereishit). The Redemption of the First Born is hinted at in the phrase "Ben Rishon Acharei Shloshim Yom Tifdeh" ("a first son, after 30 days should be redeemed"), and the acronym of the first letters of this phrase is "Breishit". Hidden within the first word in The Bible is the promise of our Redeemer and First Born Son of The Creator.
This method of learning and analyzing can seem foreign to Eurocentric thinking but is easily adaptable once applied to your studies. It is a renewing of the mind that might help understand Paul a little better. The reason why this is so important is because the Ebionite movement is in full swing again. This movement claims that Shaul (Paul) is a false teacher and apostate while calling for all of his writing to be removed from the New Testament. These same people believe that Yeshua is Messiah but that He is not divine or born of a virgin. Only choosing to follow some of the NT letters it is a wonder that this doctrine is rearing its head once again in the 21st century.
Denying Paul’s writings is once again being pushed by "teachers" who do not have the same level of education or training that many theologians and biblical scholars have gone through in order to properly divide The Word. We must be careful as we search for the roots of our faith that you don't get swept up into iconoclastic teaching and preaching.
Let's look at things from a different perspective. The amount of education for being a teacher or "rabbi" in today's society is approximately 10 years of study in addition to what you would grow up learning as a youth. By the time most kids are 12, in a religious home, they have memorized the first five books of the Bible by heart. That is today! now think about Shaul (Paul) who was top of his class so to speak in the 1st century. Discipled by Gamliel who was instructed by Hillel.
Why does that matter? If there had been a MENSA society it is highly likely that Paul would have been in the top ten. For all of us, including me, interpreting his writings can sometimes be akin to a freshman in high school trying to decipher a college professor's thesis on quantum physics. Peter warned us about this, saying Paul's writing may be difficult to understand to our own detriment.
2 Peter 3:16 "He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction."
Even with that warning, we somehow think that we can rightly divide Paul's words when we don't have anywhere near the amount of education that he did? Paul went out of his way to uphold and prove he kept Torah and the traditions of his fathers and nothing he wrote contradicts that fact. If you want to throw our Paul’s writing then you throw out the Fruits of the Spirit, The Armor of God, and in-depth revelations about Grace. I know there is nothing beyond the capability of the Holy Spirit to reveal and teach but if there seems to be a disparity in the interpretation of Paul’s writings, the faulty interpretation may fall upon you and not Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles.