Just Some Random Thoughts About The Bible
The ProblemWednesday, May 18, 2022
When I first started looking into Paul, there were two verses in the New Testament that really stood out to me. The first was in a letter that Paul wrote to Timothy in 64 AD. “You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me¹, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.” (2 Tim 1:15) The second was something John wrote in 95 AD, quoting Jesus. “I know your deeds and your labor and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil people, and you have put those who call themselves apostles to the test, and they are not, and you found them to be false.” (Rev 2:2)
Other concerning evidence came up as I studied warnings from Jesus, warnings in the Old Testament, and of course Paul’s writings. (I will continue to post some of those on this site, but won’t go over them here.) But even without any of those, Rev 2:2 seems to be an accusation with no retort. (The best I ever hear is, “But Peter called him a brother!”, which I will address later.)
Then I looked deeper into all seven of the letters to the seven churches. I would encourage you to take a minute and read Revelation 2-3. It’s not long, but for this post, I’ll quickly sum it up.
Ephesus found, and sent away, a false apostle, but they stopped doing the good deeds they once did. Smyrna had done well withstanding persecution. Pergamum stood firm in an evil city, however they ate meat sacrificed to idols and were sexually immoral. Thyatira persevered and did many good deeds, but like Pergamum, they practiced sexual immorality and ate food sacrificed to idols. Sardis was doing good works, but were dead inside. Philadelphia did good deeds, did not deny His name. Laodicea had grown lukewarm.
It’s not so much what is said that is at issue here, it’s what isn’t said. Why didn’t Jesus rebuke the churches for abandoning the Gospel?
Think about this for a second. Approximately 30 years after Paul told Timothy that the churches in Asia turned away from him, Jesus sends messages of praise and rebuke to each of those same churches for how they have behaved. But Jesus never rebukes any of them for turning away from the Gospel! If the church rejected Paul’s gospel (as Paul says), and Paul’s gospel is the same as Jesus’ Gospel, then where is the rebuke for turning away from God? In fact, how could Jesus commend a church for anything, if the church had turned away from Him? But if the churches in Asia remained true to God while rejecting Paul, what does that say about Paul?
¹ I find the wording curious; The churches turned away from him (Paul) not Him (Christ) who Paul was supposed to be preaching.
Questions About PaulTuesday, May 17, 2022
Why does no one says Paul is an apostle except for Paul?
When Paul meets the Apostles in Jerusalem (Acts 15) they don’t even know who he is. All the things that Jesus shared with his Apostles, why wouldn’t He have mentioned Paul? He warned them about false prophets but never gave them a heads up about a new legitimate apostle? The only time one of the apostles even mentions Paul (2 Peter 3), instead of saying that he’s an apostle, Peter calls him a brother (the original language is “of the same nationality”).
Why isn’t there a single prophecy about Paul? Or why didn’t Jesus at least tell His disciples?
If God is going to give Paul a new message, why isn’t this ever mentioned anywhere in the entire Bible? Almost every part of Jesus’ life is prophesied about, and yet there’s not a single prophecy about Paul. And Jesus didn’t even mention it once to His closest friends? How does this square with Amos 3:7, which says, “Certainly the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret plan to His servants the prophets”?
Why is the sign proving Paul is an apostle the same signs of a false prophet?
Paul “proves” his apostleship by performing signs and wonders (1 Corinthians 12:12). The same signs and wonders Deuteronomy 13 warns us about when we are to watch for false prophets.
Coincidentally, Deuteronomy 13 also contains one of the greatest commandments, according to Jesus, “Love your God with all your heart and with all your soul”; which is the commandment that Paul ignores when he describes the “whole of the law” in Romans 13:9 and Galatians 5:14.
Why does Paul refer to his opinion over 50 times in his letters?
Instead of telling us anything Jesus had to say, Paul gives instructions to the churches by saying, “I say”, and “in my opinion.” Paul gives his opinion over 50 times, and doesn’t give Jesus’ opinion once.
If Paul was set apart in the womb, why did he kill Christians?
Paul claims to have been set apart in the womb (Galatians 1:15) so that he could preach the gospel among the Gentiles. But if he was set apart before he was even born, why wasn’t it until the road to Damascus that Paul converted and became a Christian? Why would someone who was set apart before birth, kill Christians?
Why does Paul constantly mention his suffering and never mentions Jesus’ sufferings?
“To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure;” (1 Corinthians 4:11-12). “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). “I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure” (2 Corinthians 11:23-27).
Where do we get our instruction from?
Paul says now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor (Galatians 3:25), so where do our instructions come from if we no long have an instructor?
Why would Satan be interested in keeping Paul humble?
Paul says he was given a messenger of Satan to keep him humble. And even though he asked God several times to remove it, God said no (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Why would Satan be interested in keeping one of God’s apostles humble?
Why does Paul say salvation comes from faith alone?
Paul says you can only be justified by faith (Galatians 2:16), while James says faith without works is useless (James 2:20).
Why doesn’t Paul follow Jesus’ instructions when he rebukes Peter?
Jesus gives specific instructions on dealing with a brother who may have done something wrong. Talk to him in private; if that fails, go to him with one or two people; if that fails, take it to the church (Matthew 18:15). Paul rebukes Peter openly in a letter to the Galatian church when they had nothing to do with the disagreement Paul had with Peter (Galatians 2:11).
What Spirit is Paul following?
Mormons believes they are following the Holy Spirit.
Mustard SeedTuesday, May 10, 2022
Try to forget everything you’ve ever been taught about the parable of the mustard seed for a moment. I’d like you to look at what Jesus says, and then think about what He is describing.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” (Matthew 13:21-32)
What do we know about the mustard seed and what comes from it? We know that it becomes like a large bush or tree, taking over everything in the garden. The plant bears no fruit. Birds nest in it. Then it dies after a year and has to be uprooted and replanted.
Does any of this sound like something you would want in your garden?
In Matthew 7:19, Jesus tells us “every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” In Matthew 13:19, He says the birds represent the evil one that snatches away the good seed. Did His definition of the birds of the air change from verse 19 to verse 21?
Here is a typical explanation the church gives for this parable:
“This was to show that although Christianity had very small beginnings in Jesus, a day was coming when it would grow into a worldwide community of believers (roughly two billion today) and its greatness and impact would be seen by the whole world.”
What does the church get right in their explanation?
The mustard seed represents “faith”, based on other words of Jesus. Faith alone, which is the gospel that Paul taught, has resulted in modern Christianity: billions of believers, believing in the wrong thing. Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) Two billion people does not sound like “few”.
The tree that develops from the mustard seed grows fast and large, the evil one rests in its branches, and it dies off at the end of the season. The common explanation may be more right than wrong; this parable does seem to be speaking about the church. But I think it’s a warning from Jesus, not adulation.
Unique to PaulTuesday, May 10, 2022
Many people say that Paul’s gospel is Jesus’ gospel, and that Paul doesn’t teach anything unique to what Jesus and the Apostles taught. The following is a list of things that Paul taught that no one else in the Bible taught. Amos 3:7 says, “Certainly the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret plan to His servants the prophets.” Yet somehow Paul was given a number of new things that were never given to any of God’s servants or prophets.
Paul is an apostle
Jesus never tells us of a coming apostle besides the 12, and none of the 12 ever recognize Paul as an apostle¹. Even Paul’s own accounts of his conversion in Acts 9, 22, and 26 state that he would be a witness (original language: martus), not an apostle. Secondly, the only one to back up Paul’s calling is Ananias, who cannot be verified as a prophet by anyone except Paul. Lastly, Paul never met the qualifications to be considered for apostleship.
Jesus never spoke of a rapture, neither did the disciples.
A new gospel
Paul claims Jesus gave him a new gospel, and it was something only revealed to him. (Romans 16:25 and 1 Corinthians 15.1-4)
Faith alone is necessary for salvation
Salvation according to the gospel of the kingdom was to repent and be baptized, believing Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God (Matthew 16:16-17 and John 11:25-27 and Acts 2:38). Paul’s new gospel is the gospel of faith, which was never taught by Jesus nor his disciples.
The church as the body of Christ
If you search the entire Bible, you won’t find a single mention of the body of Christ aside from Paul. Everything that the church is, has been defined only by Paul.
Fruits of the Spirit
Neither Jesus nor his disciples ever mention the concept of the fruits of the spirit. This is unique to Paul and borrows heavily from Gnosticism.
Paul is the only person to mention spiritual gifts, and his list changes depending on who he’s speaking to.
Speaking in tongues
The only mention of anything like speaking in tongues is found in Acts, when the disciples spoke and everyone heard what was said in their own native tongue. What Paul speaks of is quite different. Paul often refers to “the tongues of angels”.
World leaders are put in place by God
Satan tempted Jesus by offering him the kingdoms of the earth. Only Paul says that “the authorities that exist have been established by God” (Romans 13:1).
There was only one baptism
And it’s not water baptism. (Ephesians 4:5 and 1 Corinthians 12:13)
¹ Contrary to popular opinion, Peter never vouches for Paul as an apostle. He refers to Paul as a “brother”, or “of the same nationality” in the original language.