Posted by: forfreedomalone | 11/08/2019

But Paul does it!


I often say that if we take the text out of the context we are left with a con and this is what so many do when they quote one verse from a longer passage within which that verse must remain for understanding.


I had it pointed out to me that Paul did this all the time, so it must be okay to pick one verse and use it to make your point. However, this is to misunderstand what Paul is doing. Paul was Rabbi Shaul, taught at the feet of Rabbi Gamliel, possibly the greatest Rabbi of his day and among the greats of all time. Rabbi Shaul was educated in the Scriptures, he would have been able to recite vast tracks of it from memory, as they didn’t have handy pocked Bibles or phones which could rustle up the searched for verse on command.


When Rabbi Shaul quoted a verse, he was, not saying, “This verse is all you need to understand this”, he was saying, “This verse is all you need to find the Scripture which will give you the understanding”. His ‘out of context verse’ is a pointer to the chapter, not licence to ignore the chapter and just keep the verse.


Rabbi Shaul was a Jew, he was a Rabbi educated by the greatest Rabbi of his day, he knew the Scriptures and, contrary to what I was told recently, he did NOT convert and become a Christian; not at any point in his life would Shaul have thought of himself as anything other than a Jew; but a Jew with understanding which was denied to many of his fellows.


When you read a quote from Shaul, go back to the place where that quote came from and read the whole chapter, this is what he expected people to do.


Take 1 Cor 2:16 for example, although we need to go back to verse 14 for context,”The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.
“For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”
This is usually taught as saying, “See, because I have the mind of Christ I am a spiritual man and understand all the things of the Spirit,; no one can judge me”


But that is reading it backwards and to ignore the quote from Jeremiah 23:18 “For who among them has stood in the council of the LORD to perceive and to hear his word, or who has given heed to his word and listened?” which is what Shaul is alluding to.


Shaul did not expect anyone to just accept that quote, he expected them to know what Jeremiah was talking about and that was the prophets and shepherds of God’s flock. In verse 16 he says, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes; they speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No evil shall come upon you.'”


This could have been written for today. Today the ‘prophets’ are saying, “You are saved, delivered, sons of God, perfect, the head and not the tail, able to command and decree at will. You will never come into difficulties, all trouble and all obstacles are from the devil and you have the power and authority to remove them at your word. No evil will come upon you because you are the apple of his eye and he will give you whatever you request”. The command today is just what it was in Jeremiah’s day…..Don’t listen to them. They are in league with the false shepherds who lead the sheep astray, trample down their pastures, muddy their waters and scatter the flock.


Despise, from the Hebrew means “to spurn”. They spurned God’s word by not handling it correctly, or, rejecting it totally.


Then he asks, “Which one of them has, actually, stood in God’s presence and heard what he has to say?” None of them is the answer. They are not spiritual people, they are carnal, they are singing from their own hymn sheet, working to their own agenda, do not listen to them.


Paul is using this concept in 1 Corinthians 2. He is saying IF you are no longer carnal then you are spiritual and IF you are spiritual you have the same mind Christ has…….what mind was that? One of humility, shunning carnality, totally obedient and submitted to God. The mind of one who seeks not his own will be only the Father’s. Who offers no opinions but those he receives from the Father. (John 5:19)


Shaul’s use of Jeremiah is to add weight to the teaching that it is when we are spiritual that we have the mind of Christ, not that we become spiritual because we have the mind of Christ. That teaching is backwards. Yeshuah submitted himself and his will (Luke 22:42) to the Father even unto death. It was his humility, submission and obedience which gave him his ‘mind’; his ‘attitude’, his ‘life’.


How did he come by this mind?Jeremiah tells us. He “stood in the council of the LORD to perceive and to hear his word,” and gave “heed to his word and listened”.


To have the mind of Christ does NOT mean we are better than others because we have a greater mind. It does not mean we know all things, nor does it mean you have any greater understanding of the things Spiritual, it means we have rejected the things carnal. It means we should be humbler and more obedient, just like the one whose mind ( or mindset) we share.
When all of this is usually taught backwards, and, therefore, twisted, how do we sort it all out? We understand that Shaul, otherwise known as Paul, gave a pointer to a Scripture which added meaning and light to what he was saying; not by quoting Scripture out of context but by putting the context back into the Scripture.


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