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Thread: The Hypocrisy of Paul

  1. #1 The Hypocrisy of Paul 
    Jon
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    Introduction

    In this post I would like to discuss the teachings of Paul as written in his first letter to the Corinthians regarding the issue of marriage. I will open with a passage from 1 Timothy—also believed to be a letter from Paul—, and juxtapose that passage with passages from 1 Corinthians. In doing this, I will attempt to show the following things to be true: that Paul is a hypocrite as defined in 1 Timothy; and that he could not have written both 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians as evident by their contradictory nature.

    References

    1 Timothy 4:1 -- But the Spirit says expressly that in later times some will depart the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and teachings of demons [2] By means of the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, of men who are branded in their on conscience as with a hot iron, [3] Who forbid marriage and command abstaining from foods, which God has created to be partaken of with thanksgiving by those who believe and have full knowledge of the truth. (Recovery Version)

    1 Corinthians 7:7 -- Yet I wish all men to be even as I am myself; but each has his own gift from God, one in this way, the other in that. [8] But I say to the unmarried and to the widows, It is good for them if they remain even as I am. … [27] Have you been bound to a wife? Do not seek a release. Have you been released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. … [39] A wife is bound for so long a time as her husband lives; and should the husband fall asleep, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only to one the Lord. [40] But she is more blessed if she so remains, according to my opinion; but I think that I also have the Spirit of God.

    Discussion

    First, so as not to be accused of quote-mining, Paul in Corinthians does admit that marriage is not a sin (1 Cor. 7:28 ), but he clearly preaches for abstaining from marriage. In fact, it seems that he only offers it as a compromise to promiscuity (1 Cor. 7:1-2). He states that his words are from himself and not the Lord (1 Cor. 7:10), yet says ‘I also have the Spirit of God,’ effectively serving to declare himself a giver of God's word.

    Next, let us move on to the key points I was wishing to address. Point one is that Paul is a hypocrite. Review the two passages, and you will see that by the 1 Tim. definition of a hypocrite Paul is such. Also, as to whether Paul wrote both letters is questionable, and the fact that they speak contradiction might be reason to believe they were not both written by Paul.

    Reconciliation

    My question to believers, especially literalists, out there is this: how do you reconcile these two statements? The footnote in the Recovery Version to the passage from 1 Tim. reads:

    Marriage and eating were ordained by God. Eating is for the existence of mankind, and marriage is for the continuation and multiplication of mankind. On the one hand, Satan causes men to abuse these two things in the indulgence of their lustful flesh; on the other hand, he over stresses asceticism in forbidding men to marry and in commanding men to abstain from certain foods. This is a demonic teaching!

    What do believers make of this?



    Regards,
    Rv. Jon


    :-)
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  3. #2  
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    There are several things to consider here.

    First of all, these two verses are not the sum total of what Paul had to say about marriage, so it is inappropriate to single out two comments and suggest they represent two opposing views of marriage.

    Second, the selection from I Timothy is not really about marriage and most certainly cannot be taken to be a main theme of Paul's teaching on marriage. It is about false teaching.

    (It is interesting to note that he speaks of two types of false teaching -- one prohibiting marriage and the other prohibitting the eating of meat.
    What we see in society today is an attack on traditional concept of marriage as being one man to one woman. Plus there is another segment of society which just ignores the idea of a formal marriage and would eliminate that as a basis for determining whether a marriage does, indeed, exist. And we see a lot of vegetarian ideology attempting to ban the eating of animal products.)

    Parts of passages from I Corinthians are also not direct comments on marriage and cannot be taken to be a main theme of Paul's teaching on marriage, either.

    It is an aside in which he points out that marriage is a huge responsibility and time consuming aspect of one's life. As a result, it will take away some abilities to focus on other life endeavors (one could add that it applies whether it be religious or some other profession or even hobby).

    Yet, he admits, many people need that form of companionship and if they are unable to live a single life, they should most certainly go ahead and get married. And if already married, they should stay that way (I assume relating back and meaning that one should not divorce to concentrate on career).

    I see no conflict in Paul's thinking in these two sections. He says it a good idea to remain single if you wish to concentrate on a career, but it would be wrong to legally deny the people the right to marry.

    So how is that contradictory?


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  4. #3  
    Jon
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    There are several things to consider here.

    First of all, these two verses are not the sum total of what Paul had to say about marriage, so it is inappropriate to single out two comments and suggest they represent two opposing views of marriage.

    Second, the selection from I Timothy is not really about marriage and most certainly cannot be taken to be a main theme of Paul's teaching on marriage. It is about false teaching.
    I already admitted that Paul said other things which may have seemed in favour of marriage, that does not change the fact of what he also said against it.

    As to your second point. You are kidding, right? It tells not to be a hypocrite and false teacher, and gives teaching people not to marry as an example of such. So that anyone teaching not to marry would be a false teacher and hypocrite. We can use this to determine if Paul is such in 1 Cor. Is he?

    1 Corinthians 7:27 -- ...Have you been released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.

    Now,

    Let me quote a slightly more updated version, which contains the ideas of the message, as opposed to a word-for-word translation:

    1 Timothy 4:1-5 -- The Spirit makes it clear that as time goes on, some are going to give up on the faith and chase after demonic illusions put forth by professional liars. These liars have lied so well and for so long that they've lost their capacity for truth. They will tell you not to get married. They'll tell you not to eat this or that food—perfectly good food God created to be eaten heartily and with thanksgiving by believers who know better! Everything God created is good, and to be received with thanks. Nothing is to be sneered at and thrown out. God's Word and our prayers make every item in creation holy. (Message)

    The key part here is: They will tell you not to get married. There are no conditions that go along with this. We cannot say that in 1 Cor. it was perfectly acceptable for Paul to say, ‘Do not seek a wife’ (1 Cor. 7:27). Even if we look at the context, that Paul was telling those divorced not to marry--or even that Paul thought their time better spent on God and the coming of Christ--, it doesn't change the fact that he told them not to get married. And 1 Tim. does not put any qualifiers in. As far as 1 Tim. is concerned, if you tell someone not to marry, context unimportant, you are a liar and a hypocrite.
    :-)
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    Paul does not say one cannot get married. He says that, in some situations, one is better off not to be married and then follows it up with an exception to the exceptionn -- "if you can handle that lifestyle."

    There is nothing in the plain language of those passage which one can remotely construe as Paul forbidding marriage. You are making conflict where none exists. Paul never forbids marriage as he says the false teachers will do. There is absolutly neither conflict nor hypocracy in his views on marriage as expressed in the plain language of the two passages you site.

    I have been a Christian for many years and heard a lot of preaching and teaching on the Biblical concept of marriage and never, not once, has anyone else ever even hinted that Paul forbade marriage.

    Some have suggested that he was kind of down on marriage and some think it may be that he was divorced based on the idea that he claims to be a Pharisee for which it is thought there was a prerequisit of marriage and male heir.

    However, recommending that people remain single in some life circumstances is a far cry from forbidding marriage.

    You understanding of a recommendation as being the same as a sacrosanct law, is erroneous which makes your entire hypothosis error.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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  6. #5 1 Timothy gives no leeway... 
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Paul does not say one cannot get married. He says that, in some situations, one is better off not to be married and then follows it up with an exception to the exceptionn -- "if you can handle that lifestyle."
    ...
    However, recommending that people remain single in some life circumstances is a far cry from forbidding marriage.
    He doesn't recommend it, he specifically says NOT to do it! Again, I will point out that in 1 Tim. context is irrelevant. It does not say, ‘they will tell you not to marry, but those who tell you to not marry in some circumstances are not liars.’ According to 1 Tim. 4, you are a liar if you tell people not to marry. Paul tells the folks not to marry (1 Cor. 7:27), and this he does. When we judge Paul according to the writings in 1 Tim., we cannot do so in context of what else he says, for the verses of 1 Tim. are not given in context.

    Can we judge Paul to not be a hypocrite based on other things in the Bible? Most likely, the Bible is good that way, but when comparing what has been said in 1 Cor. 7 and 1 Tim. 4, we cannot ignore the contradiction.

    I have been a Christian for many years and heard a lot of preaching and teaching on the Biblical concept of marriage and never, not once, has anyone else ever even hinted that Paul forbade marriage.
    No one teaching the Bible in the way you were being taught it will ever point out contradiction. That no one else hinted at it also doesn't mean I'm wrong. Until Copernicus, no one had ever hinted at the Sun being in the centre, was he wrong? Is he?

    Some have suggested that he was kind of down on marriage...
    Kind of down!? He preaches to people that they are better not marrying. He tells people that it is the word of God that he is preaching. One cannot help but to infer his intent: to discourage marriage and any and all costs, even to the point of self-declaration of his Godliness.


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    Rv. Jon
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    Jon needs to read his own versions of the text.

    The I Timothy passage specifically uses the word forbid:

    By means of the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, of men who are branded in their on conscience as with a hot iron, [3] Who forbid marriage


    The I Corinthians passage never uses a word that strong. Paul who is admittedly stating his personal advice rather than a mandate from God says things like "I wish they would be as me [single]; It is good for them to remain[single]; they are more blessed [to remain single]. He does tell divorced women not to remarry, which seems to be a reitteration of what Jesus said.

    There is no way these kinds of statements come up to a mandate of the nature of someone "forbidding."

    In the I Tim. passage, it is clear that the false teachers are absolutely forbidding marriage. In the I Cor. passages, it is equally clear that Paul is extolling the merits of remaining single. I honestly do not see how anyone can find Paul "forbidding" marriage.

    Said it twice before, will say it for a third time -- there is no conflict between these two passages unless telling someone they are better off to remain single is the same as forbidding them to marry at all.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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  8. #7 Re: The Hypocrisy of Paul 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon
    Introduction

    First, so as not to be accused of quote-mining, Paul in Corinthians does admit that marriage is not a sin (1 Cor. 7:28 ), but he clearly preaches for abstaining from marriage. In fact, it seems that he only offers it as a compromise to promiscuity (1 Cor. 7:1-2). He states that his words are from himself and not the Lord (1 Cor. 7:10), yet says ‘I also have the Spirit of God,’ effectively serving to declare himself a giver of God's word.

    Next, let us move on to the key points I was wishing to address. Point one is that Paul is a hypocrite. Review the two passages, and you will see that by the 1 Tim. definition of a hypocrite Paul is such. Also, as to whether Paul wrote both letters is questionable, and the fact that they speak contradiction might be reason to believe they were not both written by Paul.

    Rv. Jon
    Good research and good questions . . .however, Biblical research is more scientific when we observe a few important principles. One is that the old Greek logic: "of two contradictory statements, one at least must be false" is not true. "The Earth is Round" . . ."the Earth is not round" . . . are both true and both false, for example. The Earth is ALMOST round.

    What it means to be accurate is to understand that what the Bible is filled with is not CONTRADICTIONS but INCONSISTENCIES. The Bible claims ABSOLUTE TRUTH, when science claims only a MORE ACCURATE explanation for things and that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ABSOLUTE TRUTH. It is a religious word, and without "truth," there can be no contradictions.

    Clearly, marriage is fundamental to Christianity and it fills the scriptures, but there is a femininity side to the old faith. It had to compete with new versons of the Old Mother Goddess faith and developed with some of its characteristics. The family itself was not so important as it was to freely abandon it in order to serve the interests of Christ and God. So, "family values" is rather low on the order in Christian scriptures even though high on the order in actual practice.

    Also, it is natural for religions to say one thing in their scriptures while practicing something else which is totally identified with the faith and hence a real doctrine even though it is not in or even clearly inconsistent with the scriptures themselves. This is true of not just Christianity but as well, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and even East Asian Marxism.

    People who cannot "get" the "truth" conundrom are too easily jerked around by apologists for the faith.

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  9. #8  
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    Paul is also trying to describe what a mess Adam and Eve made of
    mankind. The Bible being a book of prophecy: describes the fall
    of mankind in sin, and continues to elaborate on sins severity; though to
    the Book of Revelation. By forbidding to marry - I think the term
    - staying pure - comes to mind. All Christian's recognize that they
    are sinners, and have fallen short in glory. If you understand
    that Paul knows that he is a sinner: then wanting all men to be as
    himself; Could mean that he wants everyone to understand the
    Word of God.


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  10. #9 Re: The Hypocrisy of Paul 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon
    Discussion

    First, so as not to be accused of quote-mining, Paul in Corinthians does admit that marriage is not a sin (1 Cor. 7:28 ), but he clearly preaches for abstaining from marriage. In fact, it seems that he only offers it as a compromise to promiscuity (1 Cor. 7:1-2). He states that his words are from himself and not the Lord (1 Cor. 7:10), yet says ‘I also have the Spirit of God,’ effectively serving to declare himself a giver of God's word.

    If a monk life is more christian than a married life then Saint Paul is correct...(it's logic)
    Jesus, in the Gospel ofMatthew, says that if one follows all the precepts then he will be great in Heaven otherwise he will be little, it's easy to understand that only those who have a monk life can follow all the precepts...
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