This feature balances the columns heights. To use this feature you must enable javascript.

skip to main content, skip to site links, or skip to search

Jude Miinistry Blog Jude Ministries


Current Events
Web Site


Login Login


wk S M T W T F S

Search the Blog For

RSS Feed Get Blog as RSS Feed

God's Free Gift

Christianity >> Paul, Commentaries, and Perspectives

I know, I am among the "odd ones" in that a good quiet evening of pleasure for me would be to curl up in front of the fireplace with a good biblical commentary.  The trouble with this is . . .

Do you like to read?  If so, do you spend a lot of time reading good Christian books?  I am a little different than most, in that my favorite reading is commentaries.  I especially like the book of Romans.  I wrote my own version of commentary to teach from several years ago, but in preparation for that teaching, and for my own growth and enjoyment, I have probably read a hundred books on the book of Romans.  I really enjoy it.

Over the past twenty years or so, there has been a growing tendency within the scholarly circles to find a "new perspective" on Paul.  This new view discovers that Paul was not creating a contrast between salvation by the law via works versus salvation by faith through grace via Jesus.  Rather, the Jewish community has been misread.  It is a covenant community and the Jews did not see themselves as obtaining salvation by keeping the works of the law. 

Of course, it is more complicated than this, but the issue dilutes down to a question of justification by faith -- what did Paul mean, did Luther misread Paul so that the Reformation was based upon a wrong biblical interpretation, etc.

In my mind it is the new perspective that is incorrect, but I enjoy sparing with the various authors as I read their manuscripts.  One of the difficulties I encounter is that many (not all) of these new view folks have a tendency to skip or gloss over some of the major interpretative positions that I think are required by the Scriptures.  For example, in a work from 1995, Robert Morgan states: "Humanity's right relationship to the Creator has been dislocated by Adam's transgression -- whether Paul understood that symbol ('Adam' = man) to refer to a historical figure and event or not (we cannot be sure and it does not matter)." [Morgan, Robert, Romans, New Testament Guide, Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995]

I take strong exception to Mr. Morgan.  It does certainly matter.  If God is a God who does not lie, then when the Bible says that Jesus as a Man came to earth and died on the Cross, this is a historical event.  Further, Paul claims to have received revelation from Jesus directly (Gal 1) as part of his learning process, so this is a historical event from the risen, living Savior.  Paul believed and taught a true, historical Person and Event.  His theology cannot be separated from the living Christ, the historical Person. 

When a writer questions the issue of the Gospel being an historical event versus a symbol or fictional tradition, that author questions the truth of the Bible.  This leads one to question which parts are true and which parts are story.  The Bible becomes subjective.  Thus, the reader can then decide which parts are truth to follow and which portions become story to interpret as he or she sees fit.  This leads to "new" persepctives which do not follow the teaching of the Bible.

One of the great proofs of the Scriptures is the unity of the biblical story.  There are no contradictions from beginning to end.  Thus, one must make practical assumptions, such as, Paul did not write in a vacuum.  There was an oral tradition about Jesus and His sayings that Paul was exposed to.  This exposure came both from the risen Lord as well as from the Apostles and those the Apostles taught, such as Barnabas, Paul's traveling companion during the first missionary journey.  Paul's writings sit within this framework, so they are based upon what is ultimately the teachings of the Gospels.

One must read all of the Bible to conclude what the issue is with the Jews.  Jesus and Paul fight the same problems, not different ones.  Peter tells us, in discussing how hard Paul's sayings may be, that the Apostles knew they were God's prophets writing God's message.  They may not have envisioned they were writing a new portion of the actual Scriptures, but they new they exposed God's Words to the people. 

It all fits together.  You cannot dissect it they those attempting to create the new perspective seem to want.  Morgan, for example, uses his approach to conclude that Paul's teachings on matters such as homosexuality or food rituals were unique to Paul's generations and not truth statements for all times.  Yet, Paul's perspectives fit a line of teachings that go back to Deuteronomy.  One part (homosexuality) has never been changed - the Bible maintains a standard here for all times.  The other part (food rituals) have been modified and much of the theology of Romans (as well as the Gospels, in fact, the entire New Testament) explains why this change has occurred in the advent of Jesus.

So, for those following the new perspective, or any other new teaching, you need to go back to the beginning and decide what you believe about the Bible, about Jesus Christ, and about God, before you discover new theology.  Afterall, the Bible, Jesus, and God the Father are all TRUE and have never changed.  We may not always interpret them correctly, but we do not have the luxury of deciding that it does not matter if they are historically true or not.

Jim A

Posted On: 2006-01-04 15:56:13 || Comments (0 ) || Add a Comment
This page printed from

Copyright © 2001-2023 James G. Arthur and Jude Ministries
Jude Ministries Website Privacy Statement
Comments or Questions? Email Us
June 8, 2023

This site is prepared with
Made with Macromedia Studio and extensions from InterAKT Online Dreamweaver Extensions
Powered by PHP

Powered by MySQL

Interested in web standards and compliance? You can validate this page at the links below,
but see comments in the Blog (Topic - Web Site) about why some (most) pages will not validate.
XHTML  508 UsableNet Approved (v.    CSS