Paul: At the Feet of Gamaliel?

Paul claims to have been educated by Gamaliel, one of the premier teachers of the Law in the first century. Gamaliel taught between A.D. 22-55, giving us an approximate early date for Paul’s education. If Paul began study at the latest age of 16, we can guess a birth year of about 6 at the earliest. Polhill observes that several rulings of Gamaliel appear in the Mishnah, mostly having to do with marriage and divorce.  Perhaps Gamiliel’s views influenced Paul’s personal comments on marriage in 1 Corinthians 7 (Polhill, Paul and his Letters, 30).

Gamaliel was himself a Pharisee in the tradition of the great Hillel.  A generation before Christ there were two great rabbis, Hillel and Shammai.  While this is a generalization, many of the rabbinic debates of the first century come down to the opinion of Hillel versus Shammai.  With respect to Hellenism, Hillel was more open to Hellenism than Shammai and was therefore more open to cooperation with the Romans.

Evidence for this more accommodating opinion is found in the book of Acts. Gamaliel is reported to have offered somewhat lenient advice concerning the early preaching of the apostles in Acts 5:34-39.  Basically, he said that if the movement is from God then it cannot be stopped, if it is not then it will not succeed. Gamaliel is reflecting the Hillel tradition of non-violence and allowing God to deal with parties that against the Jews (Polhill, Paul and His Letters, 31).

This is certainly not the opinion of his young disciple Saul when we meet him in Acts 9 and according to Paul’s own self-description. He was a ruthless persecutor who sought to stop what he saw as an aberration within Judaism.  The people who Paul persecuted were diaspora Jews who accepted Jesus as Messiah and claimed that he was raised from the dead.  How can we account for this violent reaction in a man trained by Gamaliel?

It is possible that Paul was not of the Hillel form of Pharasism, but rather the more radical Shammaite party.  N. T. Wright describes the Shammaite Pharisee as a militant “hard-liner” that was not willing to work with Rome as long as they could study the Torah, as Hillel had said (What Saint Paul Really Said, 26). Paul was a Diaspora Jew who claimed to have been raised in a family which kept the Jewish traditions without fault.  He was an ultra-conservative reacting to what he perceived as a dangerous liberal view (Jesus was the Messiah and the High Priest killed him!)

122 thoughts on “Paul: At the Feet of Gamaliel?

  1. More Wright supposition! Jesus as the Messiah was not so much a liberal view, as one of supposed profane or contemptuous speech, i.e. blasphemy! (John 10:33) This is still the issue with many Jews, God simply cannot become fully “Incarnate”.

  2. I think the point was not that Jesus was the Messiah, but rather that Peter and John are stating that the High Priest killed the Messiah and God vindicated him by raising him from the dead. There were plenty of other messianic pretenders besides Jesus, the difference is that some claimed that he was raised form the dead. Wright (and others) point out that Gamaliel II seems more, er, pacifist Acts, while Paul seems to want to zealously pursue those who are accusing the High Priest of killing an innocent man.

    For Rabbi Saul, the idea that the messiah could be killed is wrong – but is it enough to account for a violent reaction like Acts 7 and the stoning of Stephen? There is more to Saul’s violence than preaching Jesus as Messiah.

    • Quick question (not one of my posts), was Paul around/among those that put Jesus to death?? Was he working around/with the High Priests, or would he still have been studying under Gamaliel?

      • I did not see this question before, sorry. IMHO, Paul was not an eyewitness to the crucifixion. I would think that he would include that in his self-description as the chief of sinners.

      • Scripture does not state whether Saul was or was not in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion.

        Supposition and/or conjecture certainly can allow for a yes that he was “probably there” because a Pharisee would most likely have gone to Jerusalem for the Pasch, Passover.

        He also intimately knew Gamaliel was was there, at least at The time of Pentecost.

        To date, there is either historical nor tradional evidence to support Saul’s presence. For that matter, was he even n the “observing crowd” at the time of the 1st Pentecost speech by Peter?

        Somehow Barnabas who was at the Pentecost knew Saul! When and where did they first meet. Perhaps in a synagogue, either Hebrew or Hellenistic?

  3. Dang, I wrote that and didn’t respond to your last point. I am not sure
    “God as incarnate” is the issue, that is certainly not what is preached in Acts 2-3. I think Jesus was God incarnate, but the preaching in Acts 2-3 that brings the increasingly violent reaction is that the Jews killed their true messiah and God raised him from the dead, *and* that he is coming back to judge the nation (starting with Caiaphas?).

    • Yes, this subject can get indepth, but I think it is better myself to keep it simple, and what we can know, from Scripture itself. Rather than the many trails of supposition. There is so much theological supposing these days! St. Paul was always proud of his Roman citizenship, indeed I think we can surmise biblically, that Paul was always something of a Jewish Pharisee, and too a Jewish-Hellenist, but foremost caught-up in his calling as an “Apostle” of Christ! (Rom. 1:1, / 1 Cor. 15: 8-11 etc. / 2 Tim. 1:3 ; 1:11-12, etc.)

  4. Supposition isn’t the problem. There will always necessarily be a need for supposition and inference. It’s nice and tidy to say “I just accept what the Bible says,” but whose interpretation? We can’t read without any number of lenses (Suppositions) coloring our reading.

    It’s no stretch to say Gamaliel was a Hillelite and Saul was a Shammaite. Both clearly exhibit traits of each respective tradition.As to Paul’s Hellenistic tendencies and use of his Roman citizenship, we only see him make use of those things POST conversion. We have no evidence that I know of to describe his attitude toward those things prior to his Damascus Road and Arabia experiences. As a side note, Wright has an excellent article on that on here:

    As to paul’s seemingly at odds relationship with his teacher Gamaliel, it is no odd thing for a student to differ from a teacher, especially if the student is quite a zealous one.

    I differ from many of my former teachers, though I still appreciate their perspective. 🙂

    • “But whose interpretation?”

      Is the Word of God a revelation to man? If we need a man or a group of men to interpret the Word for us, that would make it a revelation that needs to be revealed. We can know God’s will. When Christ was first preached multitudes “gladly received the word”. We can now understand as they did then, what God wills, what Christ said, and His ambassadors taught. The will of God is plainly revealed, showing all that man is to do, to be, to suffer, and enjoy.

      It makes sense to affirm that the God Who made us gave us a revelation of himself that we can understand. Surely it makes no sense at all that our loving Creator could or would give us a message we cannot understand. God made us and loves us and He does reveal His will in language we can gladly receive, comprehend and obey. The Lord Jesus clinches this point: “if ye abide in my word, then are ye truly my disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:31-32)

      See also John 17:17; Eph 5:17; Acts 2:41.

  5. “we only see him make use of those things POST conversion,” this is true enough, but we do not really have a very large database of material to assess Paul’s Hellenistic worldview prior to his conversion.

    On example: I think that it is likely he on his way to being a master of Greco-Roman rhetoric prior to conversion. I do not think that after conversion he started reading manuals of style in order to communicate better with Gentiles, he already was well aware of these styles because the were pervasive in the culture. All Jews were Hellenized to some extent, perhaps Paul made more use of Hellenisitic categories after the Damascus Road, but as a citizen of Tarsus it is impossible for him to be completely and solely “Jewish” in his thinking.

  6. Phillip, thank you. Helpful. Provocative. Thanks also for your series on New Perspectives. Helpful.

    I keep wondering how far N.T. scholars can go in making probable rather than possible (speculative) inferences?

    For example, are we missing any casuistry from Gamaliel which might demonstrate Gamaliel’s dissent from Hillel in specific cases presenting unique facts? On analogy to Supreme Court Justices dissenting in limited and specific cases (anomolies) as a dissenting minority against a majority with whom the dissent would normally agree? For another example, individual jurists can be notoriously incongruent and self-contradictory under just the right environmental pressures – I’d need to look at liberal justices becoming conservative post 9-11 to relax protections for civil liberties. Is it possible that Paul did conceive of certain individual missions against Christians as consistent with a rendering of ‘mercy’, that is, mercy to the stability of cultural Judaism rather than ‘mercy’ to minority Jews (i.e., Christians)? If the Hillel tradition did not offer plasticity enough to justify Paul’s missions against Christians, is it possible that Paul felt that he stayed basically faithful to Gamaliel/Hillel’s school and to mercy because the predominant number (majority of cases) of Paul’s concrete cases against Christians did not require threats of death (i.e., how many Christians caved in?). Or is it possible that Paul privately harbored more overall agreement with Gamaliel/Hillel than with Shammaite Pharisees, and that Paul felt himself to be a lone dissenter in rare cases (Christians) against his former master’s legal hermeneutics of mercy? Are the lines differentiating Gamaliel/Hillel from Shammaite Pharisees sufficiently filled out by robust bodies of exhaustive casuistry? If yes, then are Paul’s subjective states really discernible as correlates to these two different schools based only on Paul’s texts? If ‘probably,’ then how would we know whether Paul ever pulled a rare Justice Rehnquist move, where Rehnquist sides with liberal Justices and dissents against conservatives in weird and inexplicable single cases or two?

    I feel that (not competent to know) clusters of questions like these make me second-guess just how far N.T. scholars can go in offering probable rather than speculative inferences?

    No need to answer. Just babbling out loud.


  7. Phil,

    My problem is with your assumption that just because Paul differs from Gamaliel makes him a radical Shammaite Pharisee. You cite NT Wright as describing the Shammaite Pharisee as “a militant ‘hard-liner’ that was not willing to work with Rome as long as they could study the Torah.” I do not, however, see this as the case in the rest of the book of Acts, where Paul “works” the Roman system in his favor. This does not seem so radically opposed to Rome. He is also quick to associate with gentiles, so he does not have a deep-seated hate for Romans in general as well. While it is true that Paul did persecute early Christians, it was for his love of the Torah and not because he was rebelling against Roman oppression. Granted Shammaite pharisees love their Torah to that extent as well, but it is not a distinctly Shammaite practice.

    In my reading, it would seem that many doubt the claim that one as zealous as Paul could not have sat at the feet of Gamaliel. Critics also say that Paul’s exegesis takes from later documents. Both, it would seem, are not the case. As has been said multiple times above, it is fairly common for a pupil to break off from his teacher’s opinion. It is also possible that Paul adopted many of Gamaliel’s teachings but, due to his youthful age, he decided to be more proactive. I find this convincing since Paul seems, at least in part, to return to Gamaliel’s tutelage after his conversion. This also convinces me that even though it seems he split from Gamaliel, early on, that did not change him into something completely opposite. He comes back to nonviolence and tolerance in his ministry (how he handles the riots and the scourgings).

    “Some of its magic, some its tragic, but I’ve had a good life along the
    way.” -Jimmy Buffett

    • Good to see the parrot-heads well represented here. I will punt the description of the Shammites back to Wright, I have read extensively on the topic, but the characterization he gives in *What Saint Paul Really Thought* is a bit more than I think the evidence can bear. Maybe Shammites were more conservative, Hillites more liberal, but that is only relative – from the perspective of the Essenes they were all too liberal on the Law!

      Sticking with Acts, Gamaliel counsels caution in Acts 5, Rabbi Saul seems to abandon caution by Acts 7. I think Sam is right (somewhere up the thread), one can differ from his teacher, sometimes radically.

      • I would agree that Saul takes a different approach than Gamaliel to the upstart church at the beginning of Acts, but I will insist that he returns to the teachings of his youth after his conversion (no doubt in no small part due to the Holy Spirit). He just doesn’t suddenly become submission to government and punishment, or in his words “a prisoner of Jesus Christ.” He is, at least, in some small way returning to what he could have been taught by Gamaliel. “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22.6). Paul being the “prodigal student,” as it were, and departing from his mentor to do whatever he wants, abandoning his teachings, and then returning later when he realizes how foolish he was.

        I also imagine Yoda being Gamaliel and Luke Skywalker being Paul. Perhaps this may not be too much of a stress, no? (I dare you to use this in your class)

        “I know a girl made of memories and phrases, lives her whole life in chapters and phases…” -Jimmy Buffett

      • That is absolutely incorrect. There is no conservative or liberal spectrum regarding Judaism or the 32 sects of Judaism during the time of Yeshua. Youre putting your western views on a Hebraic book that is of near eastern culture.

        The reason why the Essenes left and went into the desert was because they believed the Pharisee were to lax in their laws and punishment in the Sanhedrin. Pharisee ruled that executions created a bloody Sanhedrin and if you had more than one a year, it was considered a bloody Sanhedrin. Taken directly from Talmud.

  8. I find it interesting to look at this perspective that you pointed out, PLong: “He was an ultra-conservative reacting to what he perceived as a dangerous liberal view.” Everyone seems to give Saul a bad rap (and rightly so) for his actions towards believers before his conversion, however, this at least gives us a context to understand him better. I also was struck by the context in Paul’s frequent use of athletic analogies. He uses this in Philippians 3:12-14 to describe the Christian walk. He uses these references quite often throughout many of his books in the NT. While Paul was studying under Gamaliel he was exposed to Hellenism, including the gymnasium. “Paul’s athletic references are too pervasive in his letters for him to have shared the antipathy that some Jews felt toward the games”. (11)

    • “Paul’s athletic references” – good point Emily. Similar to my discussion with Sam above, the evidence for Paul’s athletic metaphors is late, maybe 20 years after conversion. Plenty of time for him to get familiar with popular Greek culture in order to draw appropriate analogies. If I were a missionary to England, I would certainly want to learn all I could about football, tea, and Doctor Who.

    • I found Paul’s athletic references to be really intriguing as well Emily. As an athlete and sports enthusiast, the references really stuck out to me and are passages of scripture that I have read multiple times. I’m not sure if there is any evidence of Paul having any athletic prowess on the field but his understanding of Greek athletics is well documented. His knowledge and metaphors have helped me relate more to what his letters say. For example, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27 ESV).” In athletics and my walk with Christ, I must remain disciplined in all that I do. Polhill goes on to talk about Paul studying Greek and by him studying under Gameliel and Hellenism, he would be around the gymnasium. “This was where the institution derived its name, gymnos being the Greek word for “naked.” For Jews, nakedness was religiously offensive (11).” By Paul being Jewish and involved in the gymnasium, he was going against the norm. This was like most of Paul’s ministry, always doing what God told him and doing what was against the grain. In his letters to the Corinthians he says, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some (1 Corinthians 9:22 ESV).”

      • I cannot imagine Paul competing in the gymnasium, even if he was Hellenized. IMHO, most of the sports analogies are from the Olympic styled games which were found throughout the empires. I can use football analogies even if I have never actually been a football player.

      • The reason why Paul is talking about athletics is due to Imperial Court. The Olympic games were created to honor the gods and Emperors were considered gods. This included sacrifices and multiple gods before and after the games. Gymnasiums were built for these people who participated in game in which they engaged in sports naked. These towns created laws that anyone in the town must worship these gods in order to buy, sell, trade or commute in the city.

        Completely different mindset in Jerusalem which forbade such things. There were several rebellions in Jerusalem regarding the building of gymnasiums

  9. I am surprised that no one has brought the tradition that Gamaliel was sympathetic to “Christianity,” if not himself baptized. Forgive me, but it easier to cite the following from the Wikipedia. Paul might indeed have been a follower of the School of Shammai, but his mentioning Gamaliel’s name might have been intended to his (Paul’s) having studies in Jerusalem when Gamaliel was head of the Sanhedrin.
    “Ecclesiastical tradition maintains that Gamaliel had embraced the Christian faith and his tolerant attitude toward the Early Christians is explained by this. According to Photius, he was baptized by Saint Peter and Saint John, together with his son and Nicodemus. The Clementine Literature suggested that he maintained secrecy about the conversion and continued to be a member of the Sanhedrin for the purpose of covertly assisting his fellow Christians.[22] The Roman Catholic church views him as a Saint and listed him in the Roman Martyrology for August 3. It is said that in the 5th century, by a miracle, his body had been discovered and taken to Pisa Cathedral.[23] The Orthodox church also venerates Gamaliel as a saint, where he is commemorated on August 2, the date when tradition states that his relics were found, along with those of the Apostle and Protomartyr Stephen and Nicodemus.

    The Jewish account maintains that he remained a Pharisee until his death. Contemporary Jewish records continue to list him first among the Sanhedrin.[24]”

    • This is a good point, although I am not sure that the tradition is totally reliable. Something I would like to believe, though!

      I will say, “The Jewish account maintains that he remained a Pharisee until his death” makes perfect sense since we know that there were other Pharisees who were Christians in Acts 15, and Paul still claims to be a Pharisee when he testifies before the Sanhedrin in Acts 23:6. Christian Pharisees were not unknown, even if we cannot know for sure if the wishful thinking of the traditions is true about Gamaliel and Nicodemus.

      • Indeed in this case Christian tradition cannot really be trusted, in my opinion. But we surely can trust that Paul was as Acts 22:3 states: “I 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.”

  10. It is interesting in seeing the difference in view points of Saul and Gamaliel. Their differing viewpoints do not seem like enough cause, to me, to doubt that Saul studied with Gamaliel. it is not uncommon for a student to disagree with his teacher’s viewpoints. Polhil states that “…perhaps around the age of fourteen to sixteen Paul went to Jerusalem to study under Gamaliel (Acts 22:3),” (30). Being in his mid-range teens allows for plenty of time for Paul’s family to teach him the strict conservative Jewish ways that he often brings up. But there is a notable difference in Paul from pre- to post-conversion. (I know, captain obvious). But this seems to be where the peaceful teachings of Gamaliel shine stronger. Not to say that Paul completely left his Jewish heritage (that’s a separate blog) and the almost violent passion with which he held onto them (see Galatians 5:12).

  11. Reliability is certainly an issue. But until 1956 he was Saint Gamaliel according to the Catholic Church’s Roman Martyrology. (Two other saint also removed at that timer were St. Philomena and St. Christopher. Needless to say, many still revere Philomena and Christopher as saints. As Gamaliel’s “Christianity” is attested in the Clementine Literature, one may, with care, posit an early date for the tradition. But it begs the question” Why would early Christians claim Rabban as one of their own? Perhaps on the basis of a preserved tradition that he oversaw the body of St. Stephen.

    • Do you have a reference handy mentioning Gamaliel in the Clementine lit? As for burying Stephen, even if Gamaliel was not a Christian he would have been motivated to care for the dead, as demonstrated in Tobit.

    • The biblical Christian has but one authority and “tradition”, trust and Sola…Holy Scripture! Note I was raised and somewhat educated Irish Roman Catholic, so no axe to grind here! But I am a Reformed Anglican. 🙂

  12. I almost wonder if his upbringing had anything to do with the way that he thought and he acted towards Christians. Polhill does say “So perhaps around the age of fourteen to sixteen Pawl went to Jerusalem to study under Gamaliel (Polhill 30).” So even if he did go off at the age of 15 then that is still 15 years of being influenced by his father. If his father was a very zealous man as well, then there is the possibility that that affected the way that Paul thought even before he entered into the teaching of Gamaliel.

    Also Gamaliel was apart of the Sanhedrin which were the people that ultimately were the people who decided Jesus’ fate and persecuted many of the Jews. Even though Gamaliel was the one who stated in Acts 5:34-39 that if this “Jesus movement” were from God there would be no way to stop it, they should just let it run its course, Paul was still influenced heavily by the persecution mindset that the rest of the Sanhedrin had.

  13. I would need to find an online edition of the Clementine Literature and hope there is a “search” capacity. Of course Gamaliel might have buried St. Stephen as an act of charity, given his stature in the community, not withstanding the hostility of the public. Tobit is a good reference In the Babylonian Talmud, Zevahim 97b and 100b there are statements given in the name of Rabbi Akiva that in the case of an unclaimed body, if no one is attending to it, the responsibility for the buriasl of this corpse falls on this person, who must do it despite any obstacles, regardless if one is a High Priest or Nazirite, neither of whom are allowed to become tamei, ritually impure.

  14. “He was a ruthless persecutor who sought to stop what he saw as an aberration within Judaism. The people who Paul persecuted were diaspora Jews who accepted Jesus as Messiah and claimed that he was raised from the dead. How can we account for this violent reaction in a man trained by Gamaliel?”

    As a devout young Jewish man who was taught by quite a peaceful, “que sera sera,” member of the Sanhedrin, it is somewhat surprising that Paul (Saul at the time) would be one to persecute Jewish Christians so vehemently. Pohill points out that Gamaliel seemed to be very resigned about this new Jesus movement, saying that if Christianity was not of God’s will, they would end in disaster just like the false messianic movements in Israel’s past did (pg 31). Paul, however, I think was so strongly devoted to the strict teachings of the Torah, that he had to fundamentally had to disagree with his teacher. While Gamaliel was seemingly somewhat relaxed in his view of the Torah, Paul seemed to take it so seriously, that he believed the Christians truly did deserve to be persecuted for believing in a “false” Messiah. (Acts 8:1-2, 9:1-2)
    It is easy to gather from his writings that Paul was a very passionate person all around. This passion is evident in his active persecution of those he saw as going against what the Torah taught about the Messiah. After Paul’s conversion, his passion seems to push him to even greater lengths as he then proclaims the very Jesus he had persecuted! (Acts 9:20-22) I think his training with Gamaliel was a large influence on his passion though. Without such a solid basis in the Torah and the Jewish Law that he got from studying under Gamaliel, I doubt Paul’s conversion and ministry thereafter would have been as impacting or provocative. It is the drastic nature of the difference in his life after he surrenders to Jesus that testifies to the Power and Truth of who Christ is, as well as to the wonder of the great mystery that is later revealed to Paul! (Eph. 3)

    • There are some points I agree and disagree with. Paul was so entrenched in corrupted rabbinics (MA’ASE HATORAH ) that it clouded the vision of Messiah until Damscucs road. Which is why he had to go to Sinai (which is in current day Saudi Arabia). The issue wasnt the Torah, the issue it was the corrupted law that man attached to the Torah. Something Paul preaches repeatedly.

      I agree that the teaching of Gamaliel did influence his life and was the foundation of his ministry because he is a Talmudim from that school.

      People tend to forget that Yeshua himself stated that we are to listen to the Pharisees for they sit in the seat of Moses. Not the Baptists, Lutherans etc. The Tanak wasn’t the issue. However the church now says the law has been done away with and they have replace Israel. That is an issue and is creating confusion regarding the Brit Chadashah (Renewed Testament)

      The followers of Yeshua and Shaul were not called Christians. THey were called Nazarites or Netzarim (plural) or believers of the MEssianic movement (of that time) and were a sect of Judaism.

      Modern day Christianity has more of its roots in Constantine.

  15. According to Polhill “there were many individual groups in First century Judaism before the war of 66-70… The different groups had much in common… But each had its own combination of characteristics” (Polhill 28). My question is, is it too outrageous to see Paul’s tendency (pre-conversion and post-conversion) as one that is either starting up a new hybrid of Jewish thought or a member of one of the smaller groups already formed? Paul may very well have studied under Gamaliel and from there established the groundwork from which to build a new movement. This idea can even be applied to his post-conversion work seeing how he sought to integrate the Gentiles into the Church when it was still a controversial issue. I admit this is all speculation and I don’t have a shred of evidence for any of this but it makes me wonder if Paul was trying to start something extraordinary within Judaism (As he mentions in his defense in Acts 22) and God harnessed that ambition for the glory and advancement of His Church.

    Within Acts 22 he mentions how he zealously persecuted the followers of the Way, something that up until that point, had not been done by anyone within Judaism to that extent. The Zealots were against the Political oppressors, the Sadducees were complacent and the Pharasees were die hard conservatives that had a history of killing over the strict preservation of the law (Polhill 27-28). As sort of my own counter point against my first paragraph, It is not surprising then that Paul acts out the way he does. Paul may be seeing this as another threat to the Law and acts as his predecessors did to preserve the culture and traditions of the Pharisaical movement and interpretations. While he agrees with Gamaliel, Paul wants to protect that which he loves.

  16. It was very interesting to me that it was likely that Paul was raised in a very Jewish home, trained in all the Jewish ways and teachings, and a student of Gamaliel…and yet he did react to Christianity in such a violent and zealous form. When P. Long said above that he was an “ultra conservative reacting to what he perceived as a dangerous liberal view”, it made me think of this situation more in terms of the present times. To Paul, Christianity was dangerous, and to his Jewish thinking, very wrong. I believe that his reaction was not majorly a reflection of his upbringing and teaching, but rather of a fear that the tradition and comfort of the Jewish ways was being challenged by a “dangerous liberal view” (P. Long), and he thought it his duty to protect his lifestyle and beliefs as a “Hebrew of Hebrews”, a “Pharisee”, and of the “Tribe of Benjamin” (Phi 3:5-5).

    • He was raised in a Jewish society and home because everyone in the entire New Testament are Jews (or converts) who followed Torah. The New Testament was not written nor codified till well after both Yeshua and Shaul were gone. it was mandatory for all males at some point to go to yeshiva this applies to Yeshua and his disciples as well.

  17. I am trying to understand this whole post, but think the discussion is mainly about Paul and why he acted the way he did in persecuting christians after studying under Gamaliel who was more concerned with non violent acts. On page 38 Polhil writes, “Paul certainly showed more the attitude of the zealots than of Gamaliel.” Polhil also mentions in Phillipians 3:5-6, “Paul refers to his persecuting in close connection with his zeal for the law.” Polhil then mentions that a modern Zionist would have a ‘yearning for the independence of the nation and the restoration of the glory of the temple by the Messiah.” After reading our sections it seems to me that although Paul studied under Gamaliel, his actions resembled more closely to the Shammaite party. If anything Paul reacted on his duty to do what he thought was right and purify what was most important to him, the law. Christians threatened his view and interpretation of the law until his conversion in Acts 9.

  18. I have been looking and wanted to know about the Gamaliel , because in Nepal we have competition for the ranking and I’m bit aware of this and I have burden for our people in Nepal not go this way and I want to teach as a teacher to be out from this kinds of Gamaliel position, who just want to be in the meeting not taking burden of their neighbor who need Jesus than taking a position in the Gamaliel meetings.
    I got lots of note on it I thank God and I praise God.
    Pastor Niko Thapa

    • Hello Pastor Thapa – your problem is not unique to Nepal, people everywhere like to rank themselves above others. But Jesus said, do not take the best seats (Luke 14:7-11), and to be like a child (Luke 18:15-17). Gamaliel is not a Christian, but he certainly demonstrates that attitude in this story!

    • That is a good question, I am not sure if anyone has ever asked me that before! A scribe would be among the most highly educated in Judaism, and since “at the feet of Gamaliel” implies a mentoring relationship, it seems to me that a near-equivalent would be a serious specialized Master’s Program, if not a PhD. This is not the sort of education most people would even want, so it is not really a college degree.

      There are Rabbinic schools today, of course, who would study the sorts of things Paul would have, so perhaps a yeshiva is a good parallel to Paul’s education. (check out wikipedia on yeshiva, that will give you a feel for a Torah / talmudic education,

  19. I could careless who Saul aka Paul studied with ,the fact that someone studies does not hold anything within that person thinking or make up.
    and I get upset as we read the bible and let someone with their interpretation do interpret for us … ,no one can haggle the word of God.
    and to make a point in this conversation,where did you get the idea that Saul (Paul) was Jewish.? because he said so.!…hum !! I wonder what would happen if by his own mouth ,he will say “I’m Roman” now what do you call someone that say things and then change .. I will call him a liar .
    get up set if you want ,,but Paul was that , don’t believe it ?
    is his own writings Acts 22 22-29.
    now there is the whole case of Paul a true liar……….
    unless some else takes credit for writing these words

    • Eryk, have you ever heard of dual citizenship? Paul is not a liar; he just has a dual citizenship. Your ignorant slander of Paul shows a deep seated hatred toward God and His word. I pray that you will be blessed with the knowledge of Jesus Christ and God’s love through the cross for you. 

      • Good point. I started following this discussion because I wanted to find out more about Gamaliel, but this thread has thrown up many more points about the Apostles and St Paul in particular. There is also a fair bit of controversy about Paul…. He is never popular, but always interesting!

    [sing it to the tune of “Rapture” by Blondie]

    I’m Boss Paul, the Pharisee
    My hypocrisy’s plain for the world to see
    I travel the land and travel the sea
    to make a convert who is just like ME

    “All have sinned” – we know that’s true
    but it never means ME – it only means YOU
    My sins are all theoretical
    “I’m the worst of sinners”- but don’t ask where

    To be more like Jesus is what some strive
    except for me – I’ve already arrived
    I’m the perfect model since the road to Damascus
    What were Paul’s sins? Don’t ask us!

    I justify everything I do
    If I testify about myself it MUST be true
    I’m the only man in all history
    whose testimony doesn’t need two or three

    If I did something it MUST be right
    Don’t use the Scripture to shed any light
    Don’t do as I say, do as I do
    and then you can be a Pharisee too.

    • Hes actually stating his lineage and why he should have the floor to speak. He states not only is he a Pharisee, but where he studied and what tribe he is from. That is the order of address in near eastern culture and especially the Sanhedrin, being the Nazarite or the one ran by corrupted Pharisee and Sadducee.

      This is what happens when you dont study near eastern culture and context before reading scripture.

  21. Which is the most important?
    Jesus was asked twice, by two different men, the same basic question about which is the most important or greatest commandment in the Law. Here is how Jesus answered that question:

    “One of the teachers of the law… asked him [Jesus],
    ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’

    “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, of Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than THESE.” [Mark 12:28-31, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Leviticus 19:18]

    …an expert in the law, tested him [Jesus] with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’”

    Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these TWO commandments.” [Matthew 22:36-40, Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus 19:18]

    But in contrast with Jesus, Paul the Pharisee didn’t know the greatest, most important, first commandment according to Jesus. Paul made up his own rule. Paul wrote:
    “The entire law is summed up in a SINGLE command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” [Galatians 5:14, Leviticus 19:18]

    And again, Paul wrote:
    “He who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not covet, and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this ONE RULE: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” [Romans 13:8-10, Leviticus 19:18]

    Jesus said it’s TWO commandments, with the greatest, most important, first command to
    .1) first, love God with everything you’ve got, and
    .2) second, love people.
    Paul said no, it ONE commandment- to love people.

    This is very similar to The Beatles- “All you need is love. Love is all you need. Love, Love, Love.” (In other words, the second commandment, the love of man, without the love of God. Love as me, myself and I define love to be, and continuously redefined by sinful men.)

    In essence, it is also the same principle as what Eve did in the Garden of Eden, forgetting about the Tree of Life, which is the first tree in the middle of the Garden, and instead referring to the second tree as “the tree that is in the middle of the garden.” [Genesis 3:3 & 2:9 2:17, 3:24]

    Kind of like the Pharisees with Jesus, who were pushing the false idea that we can consider ONE commandment in the Law, alone in isolation, to be “the greatest commandment in the Law.”

    Or like today, false teachers in the Chrislam – Purpose Driven – Seeker Sensitive – Emergent – Liberal – Ecumenical – New Age – world church movement pushing the false idea that the ONE RULE is “Loving God and Neighbor together.”

    The Lord God Jesus the Jewish Messiah, Son of Yahweh the Most High God of Israel, said:
    “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these TWO commandments.”
    Not one. TWO.

    Sometimes, Paul was wrong. Jesus is always right. I’m following Jesus.

    Here are answers to 2 common objections:
    .a) What about the so-called “Golden Rule”?
    Jesus spoke the 3 chapters of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7, including 7:12. Jesus didn’t make PART of this one verse out of context into “The Golden Rule” or “one rule.” Jesus did not use the term “Golden Rule,” it’s simply a tradition of men. The sentence begins with “So” in the NIV and Amplified Bibles, and “Therefore’ in the NASB and King James Bibles, which ties 7:12 to the previous sentences. So 7:12 cannot stand alone as One Commandment.

    .b) What about the so-called “Great Commission”?
    Jesus spoke the words recorded in Matthew 28:18-20, including “make disciples of all nations.” Jesus never used the term “Great Commission,” it’s simply a tradition of men. Yes I agree it’s a commandment given by Jesus, it’s not optional, and it applies to us today. We need to carry this out, with our own God-given abilities and talents, using the skills, and circumstances we have. But we don’t need to put words in the mouth of Jesus, we can let Jesus speak for himself, and we can listen to Him – and obey Him.

    Evangelism is part of the Second Commandment given by Jesus, to Love people. Evangelism is not the most important commandment, and it isn’t the entire Second Commandment. So if our priorities are “The Great Commission and the Great Commandment,” we have our priorities upside down and confused, and we are not listening to the voice of Jesus. Never mind what Paul said. Let’s listen to the voice of Jesus first, and get our priorities straight.

    The people who will protest most loudly against this truth are the modern “Pauls:” traveling evangelists, speakers, writers, abusive absentee mega-church pastors, Crusaders, and self-appointed “apostles” like Paul, who find it “profitable” to “be like Paul” rather than follow Jesus the Jewish Messiah.

  22. The Evangelical “Mexican Hat Dance”

    Sin is always specific, not general.
    The “Hat” is, “What were Paul’s sins?”

    The music starts, with a cheery blast of trumpets in a melody that is familiar to most North Americans- the “Mexican Hat Dance.” (The national dance of Mexico, taught in Mexican public schools since 1921, and officially named “El Jarabe Tapatio.”)

    A couple in rather elaborate traditional costumes begins the dance. The man throws his huge sombrero hat on the floor, and the couple dances around it, but never steps on the hat. (The “Hat” is, “what were Paul’s sins?”) Here are the basic steps- (there may be one or two other basic steps, but they are very similar to these.)

    What were Paul’s sins?

    STEP 1) Paul said; “I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man.” [1 Timothy 1:13]
    (Response- Those were Saul’s sins, before Jesus called him. What were Paul’s sins as a Christian? )

    STEP 2) Paul said; “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners- of whom I am the worst.” [1 Timothy 1:15]
    (Response- Sin is alwasy specific. What were Paul’s specific sins as a Christian? )

    STEP 3) Paul said; “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” [Romans 3:23]
    (Response- Again the same question; What were Paul’s specific sins as a Christian? )

    STEP 4) Paul said; “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.” [Philippians 3:12-13]
    (Response- They say third time’s a charm. Same question; What were Paul’s specific sins as a Christian? )

    STEP 5) Paul said; “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do- this I keep on doing.” [Romans 7:15-19]
    (Response- One more time! This is getting boring. Same question; Specifically, what were Paul’s specific sins as a Christian based on specific verses of the Bible? )

    STEP 6) LOOP- REPEAT steps 1 through 5, until your dance partner gives up, the audience gets bored, or the music stops. The rule is- never step on the “Hat,” just keep dancing around it.

  23. Parable of the 12 heavenly chalkboards

    What is a common analogy for a permanent decision?
    “Written in stone.”
    What could be more permanent than that?
    How about written in stone in heaven (in other words, for eternity.)
    And what kind of a stone is the most solid, permanent, and unchangeable?
    Perhaps a foundation stone?

    The Book of Revelation written by the Apostle John, chapter 21 verse 14 says… “The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostle of the Lamb.”
    Nothing about a “13th Apostle” or an “Apostle of the Gentiles”…. Hmmmm…..

    Parable of the 12 heavenly chalkboards

    Imagine “Wackyjesus” in “Wackyheaven”, built on the foundations of 12 chalkboards:

    “Matthias, you should have developed your skills in writing and public speaking. Your name never appears in the Bible after your appointment as the 12th Apostle in Acts 1. [erase erase erase]

    Actually, the same is true for you Thaddaeus, after you were appointed. You should have hired a PR firm to promote your name and make if famous. [erase erase erase]

    Of course, you both are specifically mentioned in Acts 6:2. “So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together.” And this is before Saul/Paul is even mentioned. But let us not confuse the issue with facts. Paul did a much better job of marketing himself, and he wrote about himself hundreds of times. Share of voice equals share of mind. And most Evangelical pastors who read the Bible spend most of their time listening to the voice of Paul, so they become “like Paul.” But I digress…

    James, we had a good run. I didn’t think King Herod would knock you off so quickly. [erase erase erase]

    Oh well. Wow, they’re dropping like flies. Now I’ve got 3 slots open. I’d better buy a case of chalk and some more erasers. I’ll have to change the names on these 12 chalkboards hundreds of times in the next couple of millennia.

    I guess I had better plan ahead, and save a slot for the last Pope, Francis. And the head Mormon Apostle. And I need to save a throne for my mom, or she’ll be mad. And one for Muhammad too. Who needs truth in relationship, when I can quickly get market share, and totally dominate the market, through mergers and acquisitions?

    And one throne for that other guy named Peter. When he was younger, he used to have the great theological insight about territorial spirits and wrestling with dark angels. What was his last name? Begins with a consonant. Sounds almost like he was in the personal transportation industry back in “sword and sandal epic” days… “Peter Charioteer?” Maybe not. This isn’t the “fullest” description of him, but it’s full enough. Anyway, I should save a throne for him too.”

    So what is the application of this parable?
    Beware of the NAR whale – it’s really a killer whale with a man-made horn strapped on top. The only place in the New Testament that mentions anything like “Seven Mountains” is Revelation 17, “seven hills on which the woman sits.” (The Great Prostitute, that is.) Rome is the city that sits on seven hills, the perfect place for Peter the Roman, the New World Pope for the New World Order, to replace the original Apostle Peter in the apostate church of the Antichrist.

  24. 1973 – Inside the mind of a “Jesus Person”

    Wow, that “Love Song” concert was groovy, man. They are Right On! The Holy Trinity isn’t “Jesus, Paul, and Chuck”. Besides Jesus, all the characters in the Bible had frailties- like Jonah and Paul. God told them to go one way, and they disobeyed God and did the opposite- but God still worked through them eventually, after they repented. It’s encouraging that God can use imperfect messengers like them, because it proves He can also use an imperfect man like me to advance His kingdom, when I humble myself, repent, and obey His commands. Cool !

    But what do I do with this truth? I don’t know of a single church that simply teaches the Bible simply and preaches the whole counsel of God, including Paul’s sins and mistakes. They all teach “we should be like Paul” and “we should listen to Paul” without examining Paul’s life and Paul’s teachings in the light of the teachings of Jesus in Scripture. They all make Paul and his teachings the one absolute standard of right and wrong, rather than God’s commandments and the testimony of Jesus. They make Paul the center, not Jesus. I want to bring my hippie friends to church- but how to I explain to them that it’s taboo to mention Paul’s sins and doctrinal errors in church?

    How can I make them understand that they should deal with “Paul Worship” the same way that I deal with smoking weed? When I’m at the beach with the hip crowd, I won’t take a stand in public. I won’t say “I’m high on Jesus, and so using a mind-altering drug for recreational purposes is wrong, because Jesus is better.” I don’t want to be rejected by my peers. So I’ll smoke with them, but I won’t let the weed alter my own mind, because “I didn’t inhale!” In order to be accepted in the Establishment church fellowship, you have to smoke the weed of “Paul Worship”- just be true to yourself and “don’t inhale.”

    Maybe I could speak in code, like they did in the New Testament church with the fish symbol. I could just say “Jesus is our model.” But never discuss the Scriptures that show why Paul is NOT our model. Then the Paulist Establishment church won’t persecute me, but the other Jesus People will know that I’m still keeping the faith and “not inhaling.”

    What I really need is a short catchy slogan to let my fellow hippies know what is expected of them in the Establishment Church now in 1973, regarding the issue of Paul the Pharisee’s sins. Lets see……. “If you don’t ask about Paul’s sins, I won’t tell about them”…. hmmm. Kind of long and wordy. I need to refine that. Maybe there is someone I could bounce this off, to get some ideas. I know! My buddy has a new friend from a Baptist background that seems really smart and good with words. I don’t think he’s involved in church much, but I could talk with that guy. Clinton. What was his first name? One syllable, beginning with a consonant…. George Clinton?… maybe not. Anyway, I’ll talk with Clinton and see if he has an idea for a short catchy slogan- maybe boiled down to four words or so…

    It’s not easy for me now in 1973, as a young man just trying to start out in ministry. We’re in a recession, the economy is terrible, jobs are scarce, immorality is rampant, and in many ways the country is falling apart. For years now America has been stuck in a seemingly endless, unwinnable guerilla war in an Asian nation that borders China. The Middle East is very unstable. Based on what’s happening in Israel, it looks like Jesus could be returning soon.

    I don’t have any position or influence in the Christian world. I know from the Scriptures that “Paul Worship” is wrong, but the entire Church Establishment says it’s right. Who am I to challenge hundreds years of false man-made tradition, like Jesus, Martin Luther, Columbus, Copernicus and Galileo? I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds me (and my family).

    I really will “Stand up, stand up for Jesus, and wave his banner high”- just not right now in 1973. Later, when I’m at the height of my career, and I’m financially secure and I don’t have to worry about finding a job or keeping my job, and I have some real influence- maybe 40 years from now, when I’m, like, in my sixties, say in around 2013- that’s when I’ll really be able to stand up for Jesus. Things will be different then. I’ll do it then.

  25. What were Paul’s specific sins as a Christian? Here are 5 to get the discussion started:

    .1) Paul’s boastful conflicting false testimonies, exaggerating and making things up about his conversion experience in Acts 22 & 26, compared to what actually happened (recorded by Luke in Acts 9).

    .2) Paul lying to the Ephesian elders saying he was “compelled by the Spirit” going to Jerusalem, when in truth he was clearly disobeying God. [Acts 19:21 – 22:21]
    3) Paul exaggerating his ministry in Ephesus claiming it was “3 years night and day with tears” when really it was 3 months in the synagogue and 2 years daily in a lecture hall.
    [Acts 20:31 vs Acts 19:8-10]

    .4) Paul abandoning the Church in Corinth after a year and a half for no obvious reason, and going off on another long trip, mostly on his own, without appointing anyone else in Corinth as overseer, or giving anyone else any specific authority in the Church in Corinth.
    [Acts 18}

    .5) Paul acting as an abusive absentee overseer / pastor to the Church in Corinth years after he abandoned them, and clinging to all power and claim to control of money and all aspects of the church ministry, while he was hundreds of miles away teaching full-time in his own school in Ephesus. [1 & 2 Corinthians.}

    Paul is the “model pastor” for many modern “Pauls” like;

    a) Bob Coy, who still owns all the assets and controls all the money at his cult known as Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, in spite of his recent resignation as “Senior Pastor” there due to adultery with multiple woman and other major sins that he still has never specifically admitted to personally.

    Greg Laurie, the Boss of a wide-ranging personal cult empire that generally goes by the name of “Harvest.” Greg lives in Newport Beach, commutes by helicopter, and exploits the very large church he founded in Riverside from a distance, while he does his own thing in Orange County and travels around wherever he feels like, building a personal business empire with himself as the center, not Jesus.

  26. “What is an Apostle?”
    Here is the answer based on the original sources:
    The words and actions of Jesus and the Original Apostles in the text of the New Testament.

    .1) Gospel of Mark – time lag between being appointed and being sent
    “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him…” [Mark 3:13-14]

    Three chapters later,
    “Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.” [Mark 6:6-7]

    .2) Gospel of Luke – time lag between being appointed and being sent
    “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon…..” [Luke 6:12-14]

    Again three chapters later,
    “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” [Luke 9:1-2]

    .3) Gospel of Matthew – which is organized by theme, not necessarily in chronological order.
    “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon…” [Matthew 10:1]

    Without any clear time reference, continuing on the theme of the Apostles, Matthew does record “These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions…” [Matthew 10:5] Matthew never said that the Apostles were “sent out” immediately after being appointed. If we didn’t also have the clear records in Mark and Luke, it would be a fairly logical assumption that Jesus sent them out right away, but it would still be just an assumption. In this case, that assumption would clearly be wrong. The Twelve Apostles were absolutely NOT sent out right away after being appointed Apostles, according to Mark chapters 3 through 6, and Luke chapters 6 through 9.

    So being an Apostle of Jesus involves being sent by Jesus, yes. But that isn’t the only meaning, or even the first and primary meaning. The first thing was “that they might be with Him” personally, together, for His entire earthly ministry, from the time of John the Baptist until Jesus rose to heaven. Jesus poured his life into the 12 Apostles for 3 ½ years very personally training them to be the leaders of the church, and Jesus chose Peter as first among equals.

    The NIV translation inserts the heading “Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas” for the passage Luke wrote in Acts 1:12-26]. The NIV headings were not part of the original text, and sometimes they can be misleading, but in this case I believe the heading is right on.

    Jesus and the Original Apostles knew what an Apostle is better than anyone else in the world. Why is this a strange idea? Why do so many people frequently attack and tear down and dismiss the Original Apostles, particularly Peter, as if they were all incompetent, stupid, and wrong in so many ways, and they didn’t even know what an “Apostle” was? The answer to that question is, they have been listening to the voice of Paul, rather than the voices of Jesus and the Original Apostles.

    As we consider the question “what is an Apostle”, we should carefully listen to the words of the leader that Jesus personally appointed as first among the Apostles, and trained personally for 3 ½ years, Peter.

    “It is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” [Acts 1:21-22]

    Neither Paul, nor James, nor Luke were with Jesus and the Apostles the whole time, so they were not qualified to be a “witness with the Apostles of Jesus’ resurrection”, which is what it means to be an Apostle. Matthias was qualified, appointed, and later recognized as part of The Twelve. No one except Judas ever lost his apostleship.

    Responding to a question from Peter,
    “Jesus said to them:
    …you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” [Matthew 19:28]

    We cannot prove that Judas was present at that time, and we cannot prove that Matthias was absent at that time when Jesus spoke those words. Even if Judas was physically present, as we all realize now, he was not a true follower of Jesus. And even if Matthias was physically absent at that particular occasion, Jesus is still establishing the basic qualification for having one of the twelve thrones as being “you who have followed me,” not someone who will follow Jesus in the future, like Paul, James, Luke or anyone else in the world.

    At the Last Supper, Jesus said to His Apostles:
    “You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred on one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” [Luke 22:28-30]

    Was Judas present when Jesus spoke those words? Even if someone wants to be argumentative and say we can’t prove that Judas wasn’t there at the time, we certainly can’t prove that Judas WAS there. Judas obviously didn’t stand by Jesus in his trial, as the whole world knows. But that was the requirement Jesus gave to “sit on thrones:” “You are those who have stood by me in my trials.” “You”, speaking to His 11 Apostles who had been walking with Him faithfully for 3 ½ years. Not others in the future who will follow the risen Jesus Christ. Notice that at the Last Supper, when Judas lost his throne and Matthias was definitely absent, Jesus chose to speak of “thrones” rather than “twelve thrones” as he had previously.

    The Apostle John recorded about the New Jerusalem,
    “The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” [Revelation 21:14]

    The Apostles are 12 faithful eyewitnesses who walked with Jesus during His entire earthly ministry, and Matthias is the 12th. That’s the short version of my definition of “what is an Apostle.”

  27. According to Jesus, which Commandment is the Most Important?

    This is a question of fact about the content of the text in the 66 Books of our Bible. It is comparing the words of Jesus with the words of Paul (and other men) regarding which one is the Most Important Commandment and which one is the Second commandment, which together fulfill the Law and the Prophets. (Not The Law the Prophets & the Writings, not “All Scripture,” not “The whole Bible”)

    It isn’t a question of men’s opinions about “what Paul really meant” or “what Paul must have known” or “what Paul was actually referring to here” or “what Paul was clearly implying” or “what we must conclude that Paul was assuming”, etc. etc.

    These lines of reasoning all go back to the false idea that “Paul must have been right and Paul couldn’t possibly be wrong, so whatever Paul was thinking at the time must have been correct, and we just have to figure out what Paul’s intended meaning was and what Paul was really thinking when he wrote these words.” That would mean that your opinion about the unknowable unwritten “mind of Paul” becomes the “Word of God.” No. Wrong.

    Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. The words spoken by Jesus, recorded in our Bible by Matthew Mark Luke & John, should be above all other words. This has literally been the Orthodox position for almost 2000 years. Paul is inferior, Jesus is superior. The words of Jesus are superior to the words of everyone else in the Bible and to everyone else in the world. Jesus is in agreement with the Law and the Prophets and came “to fulfill them.” [Matthew 5:17-20]

    What Jesus clearly and specifically said is also superior and more important than your opinions about what you think Jesus meant or implied, but didn’t say elsewhere. For example, when Jesus was speaking about “a new command I give you,” Jesus didn’t say THE new commandment, or the FIRST commandment, or the MOST IMPORTANT commandment, or the ONE commandment, or the GREATEST commandment, or ONE RULE.

    The false teaching about “one rule” is the false teaching of the Pharisees of Paul’s day, and Paul the Pharisee was pushing this false teaching. This contradicts the clear specific teaching of Jesus about the first and greatest commandment and the second. Jesus warned us about the Pharisees in Matthew chapters 15 & 16, and quoted the Prophet Isaiah regarding them:
    “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”
    [Isaiah 29:13]

  28. As is his conventional style, NT Wright is overly presuppositionsal in so much of his theology generally that I cannot personally ascribe to him much status as a scholarly commentator . While his academic eloquence and Oxbridge accent package his presuupositional as carrying high credibility, it too frequently in substance simply does not.

    His epertise in Sitz im Leben however, if not normally impeccable, is usually of a high academic calibre indeed. Here however it plainly is not. The overwhelming internal evidence of The New Restament and mishnaic sources on the Schools of Shammai and of Hillel support the liklihood of Paul being from the School of Hillel.

    J. Jacob Prasch

  29. In Gospel of John chapter 10, the Apostle John records many words of Jesus, including:
    “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

    I recommend reading the whole chapter (10), and listening to the voice of Jesus first – (rather than the voice of a “stranger” like Paul first.)

  30. Phillip,
    In your other post on “Paul and Gamaliel”
    You said, QUOTE:
    “There are some good reasons to investigate Paul’s claim to have been educated by Gamaliel. First, Gamaliel was one of the premier teachers of the Law in the first century. By claiming to have been under the teaching of this particular rabbi, Paul is claiming to have been educated in a most impressive way. In fact, it almost sounds as if he is name-dropping in order to impress people!”

    I agree with you.
    I think we take Paul’s claim here WAY too seriously. Paul has a track record in Scripture of boasting, exaggerating, and stretching the truth to promote himself and make himself appear more important than he really was.

    It would be like me claiming that I was educated in worship by Marco Barrientos at Christ for the Nations in Dallas Texas – he is the worship leader famous in Spanish Language Charismatic Christian circles for his song based on Isaiah 11:9
    Será Llena la Tierra

    Is it true? Well, I did take a few music classes there part-time for two or three semesters, and one time, Marco Barrientos was a substitute teacher in one of my classes for maybe 45 minutes. So if I wanted to “be like Paul’ I could stretch the truth and claim that Marco Barrientos was my worship teacher- but really that would be “name-dropping in order to impress people!”

  31. Quote from The Atlantic Monthly Magazine, January 1999
    Article titled “What is the Koran?” by Toby Lester

    “The Orthodox Muslim view of the Koran as self-evidently the Word of God, perfect and inimitable in message, language, style, and form, is strikingly similar to the fundamentalist Christian notion of the Bible’s “inerrancy” and “verbal inspiration” that is still common in many places today. The notion was given classic expression only a little more than a century ago by the biblical scholar John William Burgon.

    QUOTE ‘The Bible is none other than the voice of Him that sitteth upon the throne! Every Book of it, every Chapter of it, every Verse of it, every word of it, every syllable of it….. every letter of it, is the direct utterance of the Most High!’

    Not all the Christians think this way about the Bible however….”

  32. Do you “believe” in “Jesus”?

    It depends greatly on which “Jesus”, and what you mean by “believe.”
    The underlying basis is, “what is the supreme written Word of God, above all others?”

    I believe in the Jesus of the Gospels (Matthew Mark Luke & John in the Christian Bible.)

    Not the “Jesus” of the Koran, written by Muhammad the self-appointed prophet, and not the “Jesus” of Paul the Pharisee, the self-appointed apostle.

    • Silence since March – now it’s June.
      How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD Yahweh, and His Son Yeshua the Jewish Messiah is God, follow Him; but if Paal is God, follow him.

      If you Torah-observant Jews don’t believe that the Yeshua (Jesus) of the 4 Gospels is really the Jewish Messiah, can you back that up with Torah and Nabi’im ? Don’t be put off by the ravings of Paul the Pharisee that so many “Bible-believing Christians” push so hard. Just open the Gospels, especially Mathew, which has you in mind, and listen to the voice of Yeshua. God wants to welcome anyone into His family who has the desire to seek, follow, obey, trust, and love God. You will seek Him and find Him when you seek Him with all your heart..

  33. To my “Bible-believing Evangelical” friends:

    If you have been reading some of my posts and you feel a spirit rising up inside you telling you: “He’s wrong !!! He’s an “Liberal” heretic !!! How dare he question the words of our Great Apostle Paul ? “
    Maybe that spirit isn’t the Holy Spirit of Jesus, maybe you are bound in spirit by the evil spirit of Paul the Pharisee.

    If you think I’m wrong, Jesus commands you (Matthew chapter 18) to show me my fault. That means open your Bible and be specific. (“Paul said so” is one witness, but you need to establish every matter by the testimony of two or three witnesses. Paul cannot “stand alone” in opposition to Jesus and everyone else.)

    If you can’t prove me wrong, you don’t have to say I’m right, you don’t have to agree, but don’t say that I’m “wrong.” If you are sure I’m wrong but you “don’t have time to prove it”, that means you are either lazy, willfully ignorant, or are breaking the 9th of the Ten Commandments, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”

    Blessings following the Jesus of the Gospels.

  34. Who was leading the church in Corinth?

    As “Bible-believing Evangelicals,”
    after 2 months of silence, we could ask ourselves…. Why is it so hard to give a straight answer to this simple question? Why does it make us so uncomfortable?

    If you say “we don’t know enough”, or “it isn’t clear”, you are not familiar with the text of the New Testament. If you don’t agree with my interpretations and applications of the facts, fine. But let’s agree on a fact about what is written in the New Testament text.

    .1) There is more New Testament text written specifically about the Church in Corinth than any other church, by far. Paul wrote 29 chapters to this church that he founded and then left after 18 months, and also we have Luke’s biographical account starting in Acts 18:1.

    So when Paul wrote his two letters to the Church in Corinth, who was overseeing all aspects of the church?

    • The leaders of the various house churches, Apollos by name, perhaps “Chloe’s household” is another church. People trained by Paul to carry on the work after he left. Why do you want Paul to act like a Pope in Corinth, someone who oversees all aspects of the church? You seem to want to impose your views of the modern church on ancient house churches.

      I am not uncomfortable with you at all, although some other users have suggest you be banned for your rather odd way of thinking.

      I regularly answer your lengthy and off topic responses. I have regularly recommended you start your own blog and have these sorts of discussions there. As much as I appreciate you keeping an almost 4 year old thread alive, you just do not contribute much to the conversation. Stop pitying yourself, you are not being persecuted.

      • Do you have a Biblical basis for your response? I don’t see this in the text.

        No, I DON”T want Paul to act like a Pope controlling all aspects of the church from a distance – yet reading Paul’s 2 letters to the church, it is clear to me this is exactly what he was doing. So the biggest problem with the church in Corinth was Paul himself, and his abusive absentee leadership style.

        I see zero Biblical basis for the idea that Paul trained Apollos, or that Paul granted specific authority to any other individual in Corinth other than himself. Very much the contrary. Paul undermined Apollos and heretically claimed “I became your father…. imitate me.”

        I don’t see specifically that Paul trained leaders of house churches to carry on the work after he left- but maybe I’m missing something. May I ask which verses of Scripture you are basing this on?

      • In Acts 14:23, we read:
        ‘Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church…”

        But after Paul “went solo” without Barnabas [Acts 15] I see no record that Paul ever appointed any elders in any church anywhere…. did I miss something?

  35. I interpret 6 months of silence to mean:
    even if no one here has the courage to “agree” with me publicly,
    no one in the world can open a Bible and “prove me wrong” from the Bible text on these specific points I’ve raised here.
    I’m glad no one disagrees with me.

    Many self-professed “Bible-believing Evangelicals” won’t listen to the words of Jesus, because they are brainwashed through reciting their “mantra” – “all scripture is God-breathed.”

    This “Evangelical Mantra” has been accepted by the collective subconscious mind of “The Evangelical Church” without thought, question, reflection, or even 2 witnesses from the Scripture itself. It’s based on a misinterpretation, out of context, of one verse in one letter written by one man, Paul the Pharisee, who was unfamiliar with the personal ministry and teaching of Jesus.

    But, “Once an idea has been accepted by your subconscious, it remains there and it governs your behavior until it is replaced or changed.” [ as a pastor named Bishop Dale C. Bronner observed in one of his sermons]

    (Definition from the American Heritage Dictionary.) Mantra (noun) (Hinduism.) A sacred formula believed to embody the divinity invoked and to possess magical power, used in prayer and incantation.

    When cult members repeat their mantra, it makes them deaf to the voice of God, unable to hear God. Instead, it puts their focus on their one “special man” above all others – his personality, words and teachings, character, life example, feelings, experience, intentions, mind, will, emotions, etc. Their cult leader is their hero – he is always right, could never be wrong about anything specific, and he must be obeyed in all things and never questioned. He will give himself a special title, write at least one special book, and claim special authority, with no need for a second witness to back him up.
    Here are 3 examples.

    .1) Fuhrer. The title of Adolf Hitler as the leader of the German Nazis, author of “Mein Kamph”. Mantra: “Heil Hitler.”

    .2) The self-appointed Prophet Muhammad, author of The Koran. Mantra: …..”and Muhammad is his prophet.”

    .3) Paul the Pharisee, the self-appointed Apostle to the Gentiles, whose 13 letters comprise one third of what, today, we call the “New Testament.” (The first, original “New Testament” was composed by the second century heretic Marcion, and he coined the term “New Testament.” His new “book” contained nothing except 10 of Paul’s letters and an abbreviated Gospel of Luke. There were no other “New Testament” books, and the Hebrew Scriptures were the “Old Testament” which was irrelevant, according to the heretic Marcion.) Mantra: “All Scripture is God-breathed….”

    I got my Masters Degree at Dallas Theological Seminary. I was attracted to the school because they put Paul’s mantra of “All Scripture is God-breathed” above everything else, and I wanted to heed Paul’s command and “Preach the Word” like Paul….

    This mantra is a misinterpretation out of context of 2 Timothy 3:16. It ignores the previous verse, 2 Timothy 3:15, which clearly indicates that Paul was NOT referring to his own letters when he wrote the words “All Scripture.”

    Paul was probably making reference to some of the Hebrew Scriptures, quite likely including the Law and the Prophets. We cannot be completely certain exactly which “Scriptures” Paul meant in “All Scripture”, and what Paul meant by “God-breathed.” Why can’t we be certain?

    Because we must establish a matter by the testimony of two or three witnesses, especially something as important as “What is the Word of God.” No one else in the pages of the Bible besides Paul ever said anything like “All Scripture is God-breathed”. And Paul only said it here, one time, in the middle of a personal letter.

    The Apostle Peter made reference to “Prophecy of Scripture,” not “All Scripture,” and no it’s not the same thing at all. Jesus never said anything like that. And no one, not even Paul, ever said that all Scripture was equal.

    I remember the general approach to the Bible at Dallas being that “every word in the 66 Books is the Word of God”….. and we should interpret it based on “the intended meaning of the author in the historical grammatical context.”

    That is the basic idea of the heavy-duty seminary language we were being trained in. It sounds so right, so intelligent, so professional, so “godly”….. but it is fundamentally flawed.

    When we look at Paul’s teachings and testimony about himself, (in his letters that make up 1/3 of the New Testament,) we should NOT immediately ask ourselves; “what did Paul say, what did Paul mean, and how does this apply to my life?” The fundamental question is NOT “what was in the mind of Paul?”

    Before any of that, the FIRST question to ask is; “does Paul agree with Jesus, who came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets?”

    Paul contradicted himself, and his teachings and testimony about himself don’t harmonize with the teachings of Jesus (or with Luke’s record of his life.) Let’s not waste our time with endless debates about “what Paul really meant” with his wacky teachings about “baptizing the dead” or “there is neither male nor female.” Paul was wrong. Jesus reminds us from The Law “at the beginning, the Creator made them male and female.” [Matthew 19:4, Genesis 1:27]

    As to the question of “whether the Bible is ALL truly Gods WORDS”…

    The underlying unspoken assumption is that “The Bible” (66 Books) was given to us by God as “one book” and it’s all “equal” in level of authority, priority, and importance. This comes from inconsciously believing Paul’s mantra, the “Evangelical Mantra”, that “All Scripure is God-breathed”, and falsely assuming Paul was referring to every word in the 66 Books of the Bible. Yet even here, not even Paul, not even once, ever said that “All Scripture is EQUAL” in authority, priority, and importance.

    No one in the pages of the Bible ever said or wrote that “all Scripture,” or “the Bible,” is “all truly God’s words”. Jesus never said anything like that, and Jesus did not see it that way. Jesus did not see even the Hebrew Scriptures, what we call the “Old Testament”, as a whole unit or book that was all equal or “all truly God’s words.” Jesus spoke of The Law, or The Law and the Prophets, holding these 2 sections of the Old Testament above the third, least important sections the “Writings.” And Jesus held the Psalms, the first book of the “Writings” section, above the other books in the “Writings” section in importance, since some parts of some Psalms are prophetic.

    Obviously, the New Testament Scriptures were not written when Jesus was walking the earth. But if we want to get closest to The Source, Jesus himself, it makes sense that we should look first to the eyewitness testimony of two of His appointed Apostles who walked with Him faithfully for over 3 years, Matthew & John. (Also to other eyewitness testimony, recorded by Mark and Luke.) This is more accurate, important, and authoritative than personal letters written by Paul the Pharisee, who never knew Jesus personally, had no part in His ministry, and had no eyewitness testimony.

    We should follow the Jesus of the Gospel writers. We should not follow the “jesus” of Paul the Pharisee or Muhammad or any other man, who had their own ideas of who “jesus” was and what He did.

    • There are many of us “Red Letter Christians” out here in evangelical land.

      • Dear Wilson,
        Yes there are !
        It’s too bad that modern “Pauls” control most pulpits, and are constantly bullying the followers of Jesus into silence, ignoring the words of Jesus, and instead leading people to follow PAAL.

  36. Have heard some scholars saying that If Paul was living in the 21 century he would have
    had 5 phd, how true is that

    • I am not sure you can compare Paul’s education to a modern one. He was brilliant and a top-educated person of his day.

      He was most highly trained as a Pharisee, so maybe and OT PhD at the best university today? He may have had Greek rhetoric and oration skills, but not at the top level (or at least he says he is not much of a speaker). He wrote the book on NT theology, and developed a missionary strategy that evangelized the western Roman empire…so maybe three or four degrees at least.

  37. One could envisage that the power of God was already hard wired in the heart some people through faith in his words and by grace in his blood just as Gamaliel proclaimed

  38. He who has ears to hear, let him hear !

    Parable of the House Painters

    A homeowner called his friend, who was a painting contractor. “Friend, I want to hire you and your team to paint my house and my garage. Paint the house first, and I’ll stay in the garage until you’re done. Then when the paint is dry, I’ll move back into the house, and you can paint the garage.”

    The painting contractor hired a new foreman named Paul, and gave him the homeowner’s instructions. (Paul insisted that all the workers show respect for him by addressing him as “Boss Paul.”) Paul called the team of painters together and told them:
    “Boys, we need to paint this garage and house. The quicker we do it, the more profitable it is for us. So get to work! Since the garage is smaller, we can finish that quicker. Then those who finished the garage can go help the others finish the house.”

    One worker objected: “But Boss Paul, those were not the owner’s instructions! We are supposed to paint the house first. Only after the house is finished and the paint is dry can we go and paint the garage.”

    Paul replied: “I’m Boss, you work for me, and you do as I say. We are painters, and we paint. We don’t have time for debates about ‘which one is first’. We need to get to work applying that paint to the garage and house as quick as we can. Which owner would be upset if we finished early? The job is to paint the garage and house – what difference does it make ‘which one is first’”?

    “It makes a big difference to the owner,” the worker objected. To which Paul replied, “you’re fired.” Paul then took his team of painters, and started painting the garage and the house.

    When the homeowner returned in the evening, he was furious. He had nowhere to sleep, and had to go stay in a hotel for several days. The homeowner’s friend, the painting contractor, apologized, and explained:

    “I hired a new foreman named Paul, but that was a huge mistake. He ignored your instructions that I passed on to him. You don’t know him, and I’ve just barely met him.
    To be extremely polite, I could say that Paul ‘says some things which are difficult to understand.’ To be more direct, I could say Paul talks like an arrogant megalomaniac with a messiah complex, proclaiming; ‘I am not under the law’ but yet making up his own laws as he goes along, that everyone else has to obey. Paul said: ‘I became your father…. therefore I urge you to imitate me,’ and ‘I have become all things to all men.’ Paul thinks he’s Boss, and doesn’t need to listen to your instructions that I gave him.”

    In Matthew 22 and Mark 12, Jesus identified two commandments, saying one of them is the first and greatest most important one. Which one is it? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ?

  39. Poem – Looking forward (Rocky)

    Jesus never calls us out
    For what we used to be.
    His voice is so much greater
    Than paul the Pharisee.

    “You are Simon son of John”
    said Jesus, without elaboration.
    No mention of a cloudy past
    No hint of condemnation.

    No accusation against the brothers
    No comments dark and obscure,
    Writing to the Church in Corinth
    “that is what some of you were.”

    Not the voice of the accuser,
    Boss Paul the Pharisee,
    Telling the redeemed people of God
    About what they used to be.

    Jesus never said right is wrong,
    He never said wrong is right.
    He came so we can turn from darkness
    And into His glorious light.

    “Neither do I condemn you” said Jesus,
    to a woman entrapped by dogs.
    The game the dogs play is the same today,
    Except now they do it on blogs.

    “Go and sin no more” said Jesus,
    Don’t relive that history.
    Look forward, not back, don’t dwell on your past.
    “You will be called” Rocky.

    • Here’s part two of this poem – this spot seems the most appropriate place…

      Looking forward – Chapter 2

      “I am he who searches hearts and minds”
      says the Risen Jesus Christ
      “Repent and do what you did at first”
      Don’t be lazy since He paid the price

      Yes, Jesus sees our sins today
      Don’t think that He is blind
      But the words of paul the Pharisee
      Will put you in a bind

      Jesus washed away your sins
      Don’t listen to paul the accuser
      paul abandoned the Church in Corinth
      And then paul became an abuser

      When you put your trust in Jesus
      Yes, your stains were white as snow
      You didn’t need to wear a Scarlet Letter
      Everywhere you go

      “I will repay each of you
      According to your deeds”
      This is Jesus speaking to The Church
      Not a business selling felt needs

      For “those who claim to be apostles”
      Jesus said they must be “tested”
      Priscilla, Aquila, and Apollos
      Persevered and were not bested

      They exposed the false teachings
      Of paul the Pharisee
      So the Church in Ephesus rejected paul
      And had a chance to be free

      All quotes are the words of Jesus, in Revelation Chapter 2

  40. Do we know what language was spoken in Gamaliel’s school – or likely to have been spoken – Hebrew or Aramaic? Thanks, Andrew

      • A limerick

        There once was a phony named Paul
        who lied about God – he had gall.
        Jesus came to fulfill
        Law and Prophets – and He will.
        But Paul’s teachings drive one up the wall.

      • Dear Philip,
        Below are quotes and links from two other blog gentlemen (Christopher, and “UnashamedofJesus”) who disagree with each other. Perhaps you can contribute some insight?

        One of them responded to me QUOTE:
        “In short you believe Paul is the Anti Christ.. Not a new theory… Mostly just misunderstanding Paul’s writings..He never preached to abolish The Torah that’s a misunderstanding”

        The other one responded to me QUOTE:
        “When you referred to Jesus’ words about the greatest commandment, you neglected to mention the context. Religious Jews, who were living under the Law, were asking Jesus (at that time a teacher of the Law) concerning The Law. This message was not the Gospel. It was the righteousness of the law summarized. That is why there was no mention of “Believe and be saved…” The New Covenant was not even inaugurated until the Last Passover Supper and the 2 Commandments are clearly described in 1st John. 1. Believe. 2. Love.”

        So they disagree with each other. I think they are both wrong, because of Ephesians 2:15 and Matthew 5:17-20, among other Scripture passages…… Can you help to bring harmony in the Bride of Christ?

  41. The Star of The Show

    Jesus calls us to Himself
    When The Show begins
    We’re infants – so He humors us
    It’s “Rocky and His Friends”

    Like a little squirrel dressed up
    As a flying superhero
    We give ourselves the Title
    And zoom around the atmosphere Oh!

    I have come to save the day!
    We proclaim with a big smile
    And Jesus is my co-pilot
    So I’m always top of the pile

    God our Father loves his children
    He is patient as we grow
    So we take another step
    It’s “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show”

    As we journey with The Moose
    Faithfully by our side
    We get a revelation
    We have to swallow our pride

    “He must become greater”
    He really is The Star
    “I must become less,” but still
    with Him I’ll travel far

    “You must follow me,” says Jesus
    In His eyes I see a twinkle
    He is not My friend I am HIS
    Jesus is The Star – like Bullwinkle

  42. Happy Pentecost 2017 – All praise be to Jesus.

    God has not changed, and neither has the text of “The Bible”.
    I am one of “those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” [Revelation 12:17]
    No I’m not perfect without sin, and No I don’t know everything now. I didn’t know everything 7 years ago either – but I have grown and learned new things about God and His Word in the past 7 years, as is normal for a growing believer.

    “God’s commandments” are found in the Law of Moses and the Prophets, which Jesus came to FULFILL, (not to abolish, as the false apostle Paul the Pharisee taught.)
    “The testimony of Jesus” is the voice of Jesus, (The “Red Letters,”) recorded by the 11 faithful witnesses, the True Apostles that Jesus personally appointed and trained for over 3 years. Only 3 of these men wrote Scripture in the Bible – Matthew, John and Peter.

    (Mark was intimately connected with Peter since the beginning of the Church, and he acted as scribe for Peter and other Apostles who were illiterate at in their younger years. Mark could be understood as “the first core teachings of Peter and the other Apostles”. It is an observation of fact that much of Matthew is simply copied from Mark. Matthew built on Mark’s work, using it as a “backbone,” and filling out more background details, and references to The Law, The Prophets, and Psalms, etc. in a meticulous, more comprehensive way.
    Thus, Matthew was providing a second written witness, confirming the testimony of Jesus.)

    In practical terms, regarding texts of the Bible, that means that the most important words are the words of Jesus recorded by The Apostles Matthew and John (closely followed by Mark) – in my view. No one in the pages of Bible ever said that all Scripture is EQUAL. No one. Nowhere.

    My view is very similar to the traditional Orthodox view of the texts of Scripture for almost 2000 years. (Eastern Orthodox). They elevate the 4 Gospels above all other Scriptures, giving the 2 highest places of honor to the Gospels of Matthew and John – and they have a special high place for Revelation too.

    I can back up my view with plenty of Scripture – here is just one, written by the Apostle Peter- 2 Peter 3:2. Peter doesn’t point to himself, or his own words, or “all Scripture” or “The Bible”, Peter doesn’t claim his own words are “the word of God”, and he doesn’t claim that he doesn’t need a second witness. (And Peter certainly doesn’t point to the words of some other man, a Pharisee at that, -Paul- and say that this other man’s word is “the word of God.”)

    You can read Peter’s advice for yourself- then open your Bible to Matthew, John, Revelation, and Mark, and listen to Jesus for yourself!

    • Allah has granted you Wisdom!

      You are one of a growing number of followers of the Messiah (p) Issa/Yesha who actually have figured out Paul was a con artist sent to corrupt the movement started by the Nazarene Messiah (p) and if it failed in Paul’s lifetime it succeeded under the Roman Emporer Constantine and it was Paul they revered as “THE Apostle”, even before Nicene Creed was made up.

      The Acts of the 12 Apostles aren’t even Canonical but some trash letters that have brought nothing good to the world are exalted as scripture, which is because Paul says scripture in it, which actually is equal to Aggadah and not inspired or less important. Tha A in TanAch. So Law, Prophets, scripture is what it is divided into.

      But you are still not a Muslim when our Qur’an is incorruptible and agrees with the teachings of Issa (p) more so than theology of Orthodox Church or any Christian denomination!

      To know the truth is a blessing from Allah, if I had to guess you just have not been taught what Islam teaches, and we honor all Prophets (pbut) revere the 12 Apostles and have never acknowledged that Paul was one of Jesus’ (p) Apostles, but have always known he was responsible for the corruption of the Truth about God and the Messiah (p).

      Ibn Taymiyya is the first I know of who said it in writing but obviously it was known as no Hadith mentioned Paul or a 13th Apostle, did name the 12.

      Why are you waiting, be of those who bow to God’s Will if you know that the Bible has lies in it and is corrupt, you must believe that a true religion exists in the world and isn’t a secluded secret for the few who know!

      It’s called Islam and it is True Religion and the fastest growing religion on earth because people are realizing that Christianity is built on a foundation of lies and the religion of the Nazarenes and Ebionites is preserved in Islam.

      • Hello A. Gazali,
        It seems you have a hunger for the truth. Let every matter be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses, as it says in the Law !

        You said that your QUOTE “Qur’an is incorruptible….”
        That’s like many “Christians” saying the “Bible is inerrant.”
        Muhammad is to Muslims as Paul is to most “Christians” as “Mary” is to most Catholics – an idol that they worship, practically speaking.

        One special person, alone, with special words, and a special title, who could never be WRONG.
        Just as Muslims believe that Muhammad “never intentionally disobeyed God”, Roman Catholics believe Mary was “sinless” and Evangelical Christians think it’s heresy to state flatly “Paul was WRONG.”

        The Apostle Matthew recorded that at Jesus’ baptism,
        “A voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
        [Matthew 3:17]

        In Gospel of Mark (Mark recorded the teaching of the Apostle Peter), we read:
        “…a voice came from the cloud: ‘This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!’”
        [Mark 9:7]

        The Apostle John recorded the testimony of John the Baptist:
        “I have see and I testify that this is the Son of God.” [John 1:34]

        In contrast,
        Hundreds of years later Muhammad came along and wrote: “God has no son.”

        I choose to believe the testimony of multiple eyewitnesses who walked with Jesus and who knew Jesus personally. How about you?

  43. Phillip
    you have been an inspiration to me – here is a new poem.

    The message of The 11 (The narrow gate)

    “The eleven disciples went to Galilee”
    “Where Jesus had told them to go”
    They heard His voice and obeyed His will
    Despite uncertainty down below

    Jesus spoke to them at length
    He wasn’t really a Tweeter
    Only 3 of them wrote Scripture
    Matthew John and Peter

    “Feed my sheep” said Jesus, for though
    “Heaven and earth will pass away”
    I have the words of eternal life and
    “My words will never pass away”

    “Enter through the narrow gate”
    The voice of Jesus through the eleven
    Believe in Jesus “through their message”
    And “eat from the tree of life” in heaven

    Jesus commissioned the eleven
    With “everything I have commanded you”
    “Teaching THEM to obey” Jesus
    And “THEM” means me and you !

    “The command given by our Lord and Savior”
    Is not a Pharisee speaking alone
    It came rather “through your apostles”
    Matthew Peter and John

    If a Pharisee boasts proudly
    Those men added nothing to my message
    He doesn’t speak for Jesus
    His words are nothing more than garbage

    All “quotes” in “quotation marks” are from the writings of the Apostles Matthew John and Peter in the Bible, mostly the “Red Letter” words of Jesus. [Matthew, John, Revelation, 2 Peter – NIV]

  44. Jesus “The Good Shepherd” is my Pastor

    Jesus is The Way to God
    The real Jesus of the real Apostles
    But false teachers come and pervert God’s Word
    With twists and turns and jostles

    “My sheep listen to my voice”
    Jesus said for us all to hear
    “I know them, and they follow me”
    He doesn’t run when a wolf appears

    He “calls his own sheep by name”
    It’s not the witchcraft of a distant stranger
    Not just repeating the magic words
    And then thinking you are out of danger

    Our Father in Heaven wants to talk to you
    He can hear you loud and clear
    And He sent His Son Jesus to inhabit the earth
    So that all who want God can draw near

    Real prayer is a conversation
    At least that’s what God wants it to be
    We talk in the garden in the cool of the day
    When we are part of His family

    Only Jesus never disobeyed God
    He’s the only immaculate conception
    The Holy Spirit comes in His Name
    Don’t listen to the voice of deception

    If a false apostle preaches
    I became your father, imitate me
    He doesn’t speak the words of God
    It’s just Boss Paul the Pharisee

    And if a heretic now claims to be
    The Church’s universal pastor
    His words should be ignored
    They lead to nothing but disaster

    Jesus did not just teach The Way
    He IS The Way, my friend
    Repeating the mantra of Marypaulhammad
    Is nothing but a dead end

    Bibliography – all “quotes” in “quotation marks” are the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John chapter 10

  45. Beloved Brother Phillip,

    Why follow a self-appointed voice that has given itself a special title – like “immaculate conception”– “prophet” – “apostle to the gentiles”?

    Why elevate the words of Marypaulhammad to the highest place, and use them as the lens to view and judge everything else?

    Why believe a self-described– “co-redeemer” – “holy spirit comforter” – who claimed; “I became your father, therefore I urge you to imitate me”?

    Why insist that the words of this “one special person” automatically override the words of Jesus and everyone else in all history, and he doesn’t need to have a second witness to confirm his testimony?

    Why never quesiton his testimony about himself that he never intentionally disobeyed God, is the sinless ever-virgin, and said; “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some”?

    Why ignore the words of our Lord God Jesus Christ, Son of Yahweh the Most High God of Israel, who came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets?

    Why not listen to Jesus, and His words written down and passed on by HIS faithful eyewitnesses, the Apostles HE personally appointed, and personally trained for over 3 years, Matthew and John?

  46. Rather curious am I re: the point here?

    It’s not like there is a reason to believe a man who said, “If my FALSEHOODS abound to God’s glory why am I being judged a sinner.?”

    If one lies and is decieved that it somehow abounds to God’s glory, that lying isn’t a sin ESPECIALLY where God is concerned, what WON’T they lie about?

    There is no greater lie than to lie about God. And Christians do it with pride as there is no Trinity and the Bible doesn’t say there is OR that God is more than 1. And 1 as 1. Not 1 as in 3 in 1.

    “The Lord Our God is ONE God worship HIM.”

    Yet Jesus is the object of worship, turned into a false god believed to be confirmed in a book that actually refutes it!

    Gamaliel said success would determine the truth of the movement…

    But it wasn’t worth mentioning to anyone in the first century, except the alleged mention of Jesus brother of James who is called Christ, since Chrestos means “good” it probably is saying James who is called Righteous One and not mentioning Christ or indicating Messiah by saying Christ.

    Either way, by Acts logic every Christian should reject false doctrines but if a new teacher appears and preaches about God the One God, and is called a Prophet, if his mission is as wildly successful, sans the forced conversions Christianity depended on, IS FORBIDDEN at that, obviously Christians are the new Pharisees for rejecting and slandering Prophet Mohammed (saw) and adhering to oral traditions of their forefathers.

    Exactly what Issa (p) al Masih said NOT TO!

    Islam is the truth, Allah Akbar/God is Greatest.
    “There is no god but God…” Shahada part 1 in Islam.

    “The Lord Our God is ONE God…” Greatest Commandment according to the Messiah (p).

    Yes, Christians are the new Pharisees and because of Paul will never figure it out. He is so nonsensical in his opinion and claims that one never reads his Epistles in full without thinking, “Is he for real?”

    Pharisee Saul, inventor of Christianity, the new Pharisees.

    Rabbis are Reubenites. Benjamin was a euphemism for Herodian Jew btw so Pharisee or not Paul was loyal to Herod, his friend was foster brother of “Herod the tetrarch” or Herod something, but Herod.

    • I meant to say for rejecting Mohammed (p) and worshipping a man who said worship God alone, Jesus (p), and adding a third “God” to the 1 and His ‘son’ making a pagan Trinity, Christianity is anathema to it’s worshipped human founder (in name only and in Greek at that) who said “OUR God is ONE worship HIM!”

      Yet Mohammed (saw) reiterated the message as God’s Messenger and like the Pharisees rejected him because their forefathers corrupted the original message.

      Exactly what Issa p al Masih did about 500 years earlier! For this he is slandered with pride by Christians who if believed in the Bible would reject mainstream theology for the lie it is.

      They are stiff necked people

  47. In regards to Gamaliel, based off of Acts 5:35-40, he seemed to be a wise teacher. Although Gamaliel was a wise teacher, he was still a Pharisee, so his teaching was not in line with God. Therefore, what Saul was taught was not based off of God’s truth. Maybe Gamaliel was strict with Saul,so Saul was being rebellious. When Saul encountered the Lord’s voice in Acts chapter 9, it makes me question if Saul had been hearing the Lord’s voice sooner, but he was not listening? In other words, had God been preparing Saul for this breakthrough prior to Acts chapter 9? I don’t think breakthrough in our faith randomly happens. It’s all a part of God’s perfect timing and plan.

  48. We cannot work on assumption that Paul was different to what the book of Acts says. This notion is wrong. The Bible says clearly that Paul in his words said he was a Paharisee and he that he sat under the teachings of Gamaliel. Having other ideas that moves us away from the scripture is tantamount to adding or subtracting from the Word which we are forbidden to do. We need to remnber that scripture was written to do four basic things: Teach, Train, Correct and Rebuke. Therefore, in times when there is no clarity, we should end there and not come up with our own assumptions. There are things which are not revealed and there are things which are revealed to us. Deuteronomy 29:29. Things which are unclear, those must remain that way until the Holy Spirit reveal them to each and everyone of us according to the level of grace , and most importantly, for a particular purpose, We born again believers do not read to know like them, but we read to live. We therefore need to be careful what we say to the young and fragile new born souls. Once we allow things that we can not say with certainty, we give a foothold to the enemy to sow his seed too. Let’s stick to what the Word says and not look for other answers which are not guaranteed but are assumptions. In humbelness if heart, I have made this contribution. I trust that no one is offended and that as a result of this comment, we might get closer to Him, The Truth. God bless you all.

  49. This article is the result of when you remove the culture/context of the scriptures, the Hebraics of the Brist Chadasha (Renewed Testament) and injecting the christian outlook that Sha’ul (Paul) divorced his Jewish roots. Pauls speech and thought directly lines up with the teachings of Hillel. There is absolutely no “Christianity” in the book of Acts.

    No research was taken into account of what the yeshivas of HIllel and Shammi taught and believed. There were a plethora of Pharisee within the Sanhedrin that agreed with Yeshua and Yeshua himself is a Pharisee(plethora of verses that state this as well). Being a Pharisee did not disqualify you from believing in Yeshua. Infact, the sect that condemned Yeshua were Sadducee.

    Peter was from the school of Shammi and Sha’ul was clearly from Hillel and we see this when these two Pharisee argue with each other on various topics.

    For instance, Shammai believed the halachot they created that gentiles could never be saved or be in covenant and to eat with them was idolatry. This is something Peter practiced and had a struggle with regarding gentiles because hes from the school of Shammi. It bothered Peter so much that G-d sent him a vision regarding gentiles coming into the faith.

    Hillel disagreed on this aspect, due to many converts in the Torah ( Ruth, Obidiah, Abraham etc.) and as long as the food was not sacrificed to idols and was kosher you could eat with gentiles. They also believed gentiles could convert and be in covenant but there needed to be structure to convert. This became an issue in front of the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15). Once you have taken the covenant you are native born. Another aspect of Hillel. Moreover, Paul preached that gentiles ingrafted into the olive tree were part of Israel is a teaching DIRECTLY from Hillel.

    Note: ingrafted Gentiles were branches of the tree and not replacements of Israel of the entire tree (replacement theology). That is not what Paul said, he stated once ingrafted in they were formerly once known as gentiles. “You who were formerly known as gentiles”.

    Paul is a Hillel talmudim through and though…

    As a result, Paul calls Peter a hypocrite for following Ma’ase HaTorah or in English “Works of the Law” instead of what following what the Torah actually stated.

    It is best to study what the schools of Judaism taught during that era of that temple. Yeshua quotes many of them and in many cases agreed or corrected their rulings. This applies to the Pharisee sect…

    Sha’ul and Yehusa were both Jews who practiced Judaism, worshiped in synagogues, at the temple and were part of Jewish society and culture. Removing that aspect will cause misunderstanding of what they were teaching.

  50. I appreciate your many responses to this thread….as I wrote this response you have added a few more!

    “This article is the result of when you remove the culture/context of the scriptures, the Hebraics of the Brist Chadasha (Renewed Testament) and injecting the christian outlook that Sha’ul (Paul) divorced his Jewish roots. Pauls speech and thought directly lines up with the teachings of Hillel.”

    I am not at all sure you have read my article accurately, nor really spent much time on this site reading the things I post here. For example, I talk a bit about this issue in these posts:

    Or see the series of posts on Core Beliefs of Second Temple Judaism starting here:

    Or the series on Jewish Christianity starting here:

    I have also posted dozens of articles on the literature of the Second Temple Period, all of which ought to interest you.

    I am not at all removing Paul (or Jesus) from the culture of the Second Temple period, but I certainly more aware of what was happening in the first century that you appear to be. You need to read more than later recollections of what Hillell and Shammai said (ie.,, Mishnah and Talmud, both much later than the New Testament and there is a great discussion in scholarship over how much of that material reflects the real world of the first century).

    As for your denial of a range of opinions in the first century, I suggest a something on the Dead Sea Scrolls, representing a more “conservative” view of practice than the Pharisees or Sadducees. Philo of Alexandria can be thought of as more moderate to liberal on the Law, his brother completely rejected his Jewish heritage (providing the most extreme position possible). To think that all Jewish people were completely unified is to share the same fantasy Christians have about the early church. (seriously, when have a much of Jews or Christians agreed on anything?)

    “Paul is a Hillel talmudim through and though…”

    That is not really the case. Although there are many remarkably similarities between Paul and HIllel, there are serious differences between what might be considered the mainstream of Judaism which survived A.D. 70 (Hillel for the most part) and Pauline Christianity. One hint is the resistance to Pauline Christianity by both Second Temple Judaism and more conservative Jewish Christians like James.Most scholars of the period talk about early Judaisms, plural, since there was in fact a range of practice and belief in the first century. What ends up as what we call Christianity and Judaism today both some out of the turmoil of the first two centuries.

    You are using anachronistic terms to describe a pre-70 Jewish teacher like Paul. Or you are playing fast and loose with the word talmud.

    “There is absolutely no “Christianity” in the book of Acts.”

    This is a matter of defining one’s terms. If Christianity is “the church as it is practiced in 2018” then you are correct, that is not present in the book of Acts. If Christianity means “people who follow Jesus as messiah and savior” then there is Christianity, beginning with Jewish followers of Jesus and moving out to the Gentiles through the Pauline mission.

    A person’s presuppositions about what Christianity is (or is not) is the real problem here.

    • Well considering I am infact Jewish I dont need your advice on what I should read. I will leave that to the Ruah, my rabbi and the Yeshiva (that ive been attending for years) I attend. Whom I might add are much more well versed that you in that subject.

      Yes you clearly are removing them from Jewish culture and using Constantine-Christianity and replacement theology to float most of your website.

      What you consider “mainsteam Judaism” is nothing like the previous sects of Judaism and infact evolved after the temple was destroyed. Considering the writing of the Mishnah and Talumd are collection of previous works from various Yeshivas (ie before the New Testament) clearly shows you have no idea what youre talking about in regards to Judaism and how the text was culminated. Yeshua himself even quotes these writings directly.

      There is no such thing as a Jewish-Christian or a Christian. Clearly youve never taken hebrew or greek in your life. Since Paul clearly gives his yeshiva and his lineage, it shows he wasn’t a Christian before and after Damascus. Youre the one playing fast and loose because youve made nonsense article doctrine even though Paul verbatim tell you where he comes from, his theology. This has already been proven many times over that James the Just was a Nasi, the Nazarites had a Sanhedrin, and per Euseibus the first bishops of the church were Hebrews who taught Torah along with the teachings of Yeshua and you didnt have a gentile bishop until Mark.

      The sect were known as Nazarites or Netzrim and in later writings “Messianics”. Meaning people who believed in the Moshiach as Yeshua. Belivers in Yeshua adhered to Lev, 23 and worshipped on the true shabbat. They didnt celebrate easter, christmas, saunday.

      • “Well considering I am infact Jewish I dont need your advice on what I should read.”

        So, you are posting comments just to correct people you think are wrong?

        Well then, I will stop responding to you since you are not interested in learning anything which does not conform to your already-made-up mind.

    • The cornerstone of Judaism then and now is that although it has guidelines it also leaves rooms for free thought. “Mainstream Judaism” resistance to Paul isnt a sign of absolute proof that he wasnt a student of Hillel. “Mainstream Judaism” also reject Josephus and its evident that he was clearly Jewish.
      Furthermore, youre also essentially calling Paul a liar. Just because Paul disagreed with Gamaliel on one tiny aspect hes therefore a from the school Shammi? Yet he verbatim stated who he was and no one in the court said otherwise but well take your word for it. Ridiculous.
      Yet when I site a blatant argument that Peter and Paul are having is an argument Shammi and Hillel schools had, between each other youre mute.

      Posting links about Judaism doesnt correlate that you actually understand Judaism. Especially to a yeshiva student studying to be a Chazzan. Since the entire ministry framework both Yeshua and Paul are 100% Jewish, meaning adherence oral and written law, you are to view it from that lense. So no there was zero Christianity in the book of Acts. Im sorry to shatter your confirmation bias but YEshua nor Paul were Christians. In fact Paul was called Shaliach and Yeshua was called Rabbi.

      The irony is what youre doing is exactly what Paul said NOT to do. Take a piece of scripture and make nutty doctrines/traditions out of them. In reality youd be considered a Judaizer ( an no its not what Christians think it is because that definition is clearly wrong) and thrown out of the synagogues.

    • The issue is that the massive influx of gentiles into the sect are causing problems by bringing in gentile customs, natural born Jews adhearing to traditions that contradict Torah. This gets Paul in trouble and that section of Acts is basically a dissertation by Paul stating he never taught against the law but adheres to it.

      1. Maase Hatorah -works of the law
      2. Minhags- customs attached to moses and the oral law to make them valid that were infact against Torah and corrupt.

      Phillip J. Long- Sorry i have nothing to learn from replacement theology or of Constantine Christianity followers who believe that somehow eventhough the book is filled with Jews or converts practicing Judaism is magically replaced by ridiculous made up church doctrine.

  51. More instance of Sha’ul the Pharisee:

    Paul states hes a Pharisee Acts 23:6
    Paul States he kept Torah, the law through out his life Acts 25:7-8 and 28:17

    Paul circumcises Timothy after the town rebukes Timothy for going into ministry uncircumcised (Acts 16:1-3)
    Paul attends synogogue faithfully (acts 17:1-2)
    Paul adhering to Passover (acts 18:21-22 and 1 Cor. 5:7)
    Paul takes a Nazarite vow, validate his claim that he doesnt teach against Torah and upholds it. A Nazarite vow entail a MANTADORY sacrifice to the temple. If he came to cancel the law why is he adhering and implementing Torah and following the laws passed by the Sanhedrin? (Acts 18:18) Reference to Torah (num 6:2-6, 13-18)
    Paul leave Philippi after Observing Unleavened bread (1 Cor. 5:7)
    Paul realizes he has missed “The Fast” in Acts 27:9 while on the prison ship. “The Fast” is known as Yom Kippur.
    Paul adhering to the Feast of Pentacost (Acts 20:16)

  52. The overwhelming majority of the epistles is actually fighting against the teachings of Shammai in his time period. Yet hes from the school of Shammi?

  53. Im horrified that youre taking Jewish writings and making crazy stories out of them. This is the reason why Yeshua said that Pharisee should be the the ones teaching.

    • ‘Im horrified that youre taking Jewish writings and making crazy stories out of them.”

      This is not true, you have no idea what you are talking about. You are extremely insulting to me when you ignore what was written and only hear what your own prejudice allows.

      I have said I will ignore you since you are not interested in dialogue. If you continue to post long rambling and inaccurate responses I will ban you from the site. Return to your own blog and post this stuff.

      This is your only warning before being banned for incivility.

  54. No it is true and I do know what im talking about since ive been a Yeshiva student for years and learning under well versed Orthodox and Messianic Rabbis. From your article clearly shows you dont even understand the basic concepts of Judaism nor what those schools taught. Its not prejudice, youre blatantly misquoting Paul, Shammi and Hillel. Sure im interested in dialgoue, however, if youre going to use replacement theology then were going to be at odds because im going to refute with what the bible actually says.

    To teach the bible, it is mandatory to teach from a Pharisaic background. Per Matthew he told his followers to follow the teachings of the Pharisee. He left James as Nassi of his Sanhedrin, who is a Pharisee. He sent Sha’ul to the gentiles to teach his message and he is a Pharisee. Per Euseibus the first 13 bishops the Jerusalem church were Pharisee. Yeshua might know what he was doing. Im sorry that Christians cant come to grips in their confirmation bias that both Yeshua and Pauls ministries was infact Judaism.

  55. ” Im sorry that Christians cant come to grips in their confirmation bias that both Yeshua and Pauls ministries was infact Judaism.”

    This is exactly what I am talking about, I have regularly posted articles on this blog saying the earliest Christians were Jewish and I often say in classes (and I am sure I have said it someplace here) that the earliest Christian theology (either Jesus or Paul) was quite similar to the Pharisees. You are unable to understand this since you assume all Christians believe wrongly about Jesus and Paul. This is simply not the case and you need to read a bit more widely than you have. You have a rather closed worldview and are blind to what I have said.

    Are you the Patricio Abramzon who attended the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center in Houston? Where is your yeshiva in Houston?

  56. That is incorrect. If you look at both the Greek and the Hebrew they were clearly called Netzarim (Nazarites) . Both Yeshua and Pauls ministries are simply another sect of Judaism. There well over 20 sects of Judaism during Yeshua time. In fact in the book of John Jesus is pointed out as a Pharisee.
    Dr. Ron Mosely and the archaeology team has gone through great lengths to disprove your “theory” by presenting actual archaeological evidence.

    The term “To sit at the feet of a Rav” is a term in Judaism for a man (13-20) to know the first five books and the Oral law by memory. Paul is a master of both and since you do not understand oral law, its lead you to believe that Paul is a Shammite of all things. IT should be heretical.

    Yes, 99.9% of Christians absolute gets Pauls writings wrong. They believe after reading his writings the law is done away with, you can eat what you want and he was anti Judaism. Well see in your other articles. You do not know what my background or what ive read.

    No, im based in Missouri. However I do travel to Dallas for Shavuot to visit one of Messianic Rabbis down there.

    • “Dr. Ron Mosely and the archaeology team has gone through great lengths to disprove your “theory” by presenting actual archaeological evidence.”

      Maybe, from what I have seen of him he does not go to great lengths on anything.

      But he certainly reinforces your prejudice and misunderstanding of the New Testament. You seem to parrot some of his words in your replies. The only think I have examined from him (Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church) is occasionally accurate, but often wildly wrong. Like Brad Young, he is deeply influenced by David Flusser but unlike Flusser and Young, he is less in touch with mainstream Jewish scholarship. Moseley is not wrong: the earliest Christ followers were Jewish and no one tried to convert to Christianity, but that is because there was no Christianity to convert to at that point. But he certainly does not handle the NT very well from what I have read.

      FWIW, the name is spelled Ron Moseley. A better resource would be Shaye Cohen, The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties (University of California Press, 2001).

  57. Your comments are ridiculous and borderline stupidity. Mosley is actually studied under Flusser. Not to mention I highly doubt you have a Phd in any area of academia or even known any grasp of Hebrew or Greek. Then again youre the one creating a construct that Paul was Shammai.

    Yes youre a cookie cutter christian typing up Constantine derivative nonese.

  58. Right the man has been in Israel for over 20 years and studied in a Yeshiva and created a University be he knows nothing about “mainstream Judaism” Yet you cant read a sentence of Hebrew to save your life. Have you even stepped inside shul?

    Cant accept the confirmation bias that the Brit Chadasha are jews observing Torah Judaism and removing corrupt fences. So youd rather channel Constantine, anti semetic “church fathers” and bad book from amazon from authors who know absolutely nothing about Judaism or what they are even reading.

  59. If the apostle Paul was a student of Gamaliel then Paul must’ve had a wife since one of the requirements to be taught by Gamaliel was that you were married. Although in the Bible there are verses speaking about Paul’s sister and nephew, there are no references to Paul’s wife.

    • what is your source for that requirement? I agree, It does make sense a Pharisee would be expected to be married, though. I would like to check that reference if possible.

  60. I am enjoying the discussion and information/opinions/wisdom here. My question is who is the artist who did the painting pictured here, possibly of Gamaliel?

  61. This piece (above) is well done. It addresses exactly what I was thinking, and it’s thorough.

    What is this blog? Is it a commentary on the book of Acts in blog form?
    I tried to look for the beginning (Acts 1), because a friend I’m discipling has asked
    to go through Acts with me, and this looks like good supplement material.

    Any help is much appreciated, in advance!

    • Thank you for your kind words.

      The blog started as a supplement to teaching through Acts at my church, then later college classes. But I’ve branched out into quite a few other books of the New Testament, and some Old Testament as well as frequent book reviews.

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