Paul and Jesus fundamentally disagreed on the law. Or at least, that’s the only interpretation that a literal reading of the New Testament allows you to reach.
In this episode of Chalke Talk and podcast series, Steve argues that if you take every word of the Bible literally, big differences between Jesus and Paul’s understanding of the Hebrew law have to be accounted for. As Steve puts it, "[Jesus' actual words] – if understood in the same legalistic sense that some argue is the only way to understand the Bible – are out of sync with Jesus. Whilst Jesus insists there are two great commands, Paul appears here to have reduced it to just one ‘Love your neighbour as yourself." For example, while it is well known that Jesus summed up the law in just two commandments, to love God and to love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22: 37-40), Paul actually manages to condense it into one command: to love your neighbour (Galatians 5:14).
Steve returns to his original question, "If you want to take every word of the New Testament literally, did Paul disagree with Jesus about the Jewish law?" The answer is to avoid reading the New Testament literally. Steve asks:
I said that when, it turns out that, God disapproves of all the people you disapprove of, you can safely conclude that what you’ve actually done is fallen into the trap of recreating the creator in your own image.
Do you agree – or disagree – and what does that mean for our society and your local church?
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