Even Paul Was Not Perfect

The Apostle Paul was not perfect, this to his own admission.  He talks about the mysterious “thorn in his side,” and sometimes he writes about his own shortcomings and failings.  As we read his letters to the early churches, we must string our way through customs and norms of his day to the heart of his message, a belief and trust in our Lord for guidance.

Paul, through his letters, paints a picture of the true Christian ideal, the thought patterns and behaviors of a Christian community, willing and ready to join the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth, where it all begins.

This ideal does not happen through magic, and it does not necessarily happen only through our own competencies.  It begins with the engagement of the individual to the in-dwelling Christ, who guides and corrects us as we travel through our relationship with Him.  Paul has a lot to say.  What he has to express has its beginnings only through Christ.

Paul contends, and so do many other followers, that Christian behavior is not a result merely of doing good works on the human level.  Christ is the center of Christianity, and our Christian behavior and learning flows through Christ by means of the Holy Spirit.  We may be enlightened and progress in our Christian walk through the Holy Spirit.

Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians, “Are you so foolish and so senseless and so silly? Having begun [your new life spiritually] with the [Holy] Spirit, are you now reaching perfection [by dependence] on the flesh? “ (Amplified Bible.  Galatians 3:3.)

Christian behavior flows from within.  It is a partnership, a parent-child relationship, a little like dancing on our father’s toes or learning to drive on our father’s lap as a child.  It is that tiny mustard seed that grows into a plant as large as a tree, large enough to encourage the life of others.

And, most of all, Christian behavior grows and matures, just as our relationship with Christ matures.  Sometimes I think that this is the reason we find so many more senior citizens in our church pews than any other age group.  Our elders have lived, come to know Christ, and have progressed in thanksgiving and praise.

No, Paul was not perfect, but he is one of the best barometers we have in our Christian walk.  Have faith.

W.S.

Paul’s letters can be found in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, especially:  Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.

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4 Responses to Even Paul Was Not Perfect

  1. robakers says:

    WS,

    I have a question. I would like to ask your interpretation/opinion of Timothy 2:11-14. I ask because Paul wrote it.

    rob

    • wsforchrist says:

      Enjoyed your comment, Rob. If you are referring to 1 Timothy 2:11-14, I held off as long as I could (63 years) but then came the internet, and the cat was out of the bag.

      (Amplified Bible) 1 Timothy 2:11-14, Paul writes:

      “Let a woman learn in quietness, in entire submissiveness. I allow no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to remain in quietness and keep silence (in religious assemblies). For Adam was first formed, then Eve; [Gen. 2:7, 21, 22.] And it was not Adam who was deceived, but [the] woman who was deceived and deluded and fell into transgression. [Gen. 3:1-6.]”

      I agree with this scripture one hundred percent. It is in the understanding of the male vs. female where the misunderstandings occur. The spirit is male, God is Spirit. The spirit of mankind is in the image of God. The sum total of God’s earthly creation is female, the rocks, trees, bodies, and brains in the bodies.

      The teaching should come through the spirit, and sometimes there is an inspirational assist from the Holy Spirit of God. Spirit equals male/body equals female. God equals male/earthly creation equals female.

      During the time Paul was teaching in the early churches, perhaps too many people were trying to assert themselves, as mentioned in the earlier verses of 1 Timothy. There may have been some one-ups-manship. Add to that the possibility of often uneducated women trying to assert themselves during the time of Paul, and what do you have? Paul, and I believe God, was trying to make the church think in a straight line. Too bad it has held a lot of woman down and led to misunderstandings.

      • robakers says:

        That is interesting. I have not thought of it like that before. I will put that into my brain and let it rattle around for a while.

        What do you make of Paul’s statement “I allow….?” To me this is the important section of the passage. How do you see it?

  2. wsforchrist says:

    Ultimately, it would depend upon the place women held in the culture during the time Paul was initiating the Christian church. Just as some passages take some time to digest, I suggest letting the whole concept rattle around your brain, as you put it. I am not the “Shell Answer Man/Woman.” Although I have looked at the story of the creation and fall in the way I describe above for some time, I have never before this post shared my view. Yet, to me it makes perfect sense. I have long accepted that God is male, and God is Spirit. It might naturally be more difficult to think of all our earthly bodies, and all the earthly physical creation as the female component in God’s equation. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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