Are The Writings of Paul More Important?

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Dear J____,

You asked about the truths Paul stated in his letter to the Romans. You used the phrase in so far as his letters are of particular concern to us, the Gentiles of the nations… Eph 2:11 says we were Gentiles and verse 12, we were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel. Then verse 19 comes out and says we are now fellow citizens with the saints and are built on the foundation of the apostles – all the apostles, not just Paul, and prophets – Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. This, of course, agrees with what Paul says in Rom 2:28-29 that we (true Christians) are now Jews; we are the spiritual circumcision (also Php 3:3). Paul even goes so far as to say the Jews are no longer ‘Jews’; for he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly (Rom 2:28).

In Gal 4, Paul says that the descendants of Sarah, those who were at Mt. Sinai and received the law, are the descendants allegorically of Hagar, the bondwoman and her son, Ishmael. He repeats his point that Israel is cast out and is no longer to be considered an Israelite. “…Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman” (vs. 30). He concludes this thought with the same statement he makes in Rom 2 and Eph 2: “WE (not the physical Jews) are not the children of the bondwoman, but of the free” (vs. 31).

But you asked, are Paul’s letters more important. Personally, I could never say that anyone’s letters are more important than the words of Christ in the gospels and the sermon on the mount. Let me point you to 2Pe 3 which concerns the return of Christ. Verse 12 mentions “looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God” and in verse 13 we “look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness”. Now, verse 14 says …seeing that ye look for such things [ as in verses 12 and 13; and are the same things of which Paul speaks in his epistles]… In verse 16, the apostle Peter refers to Paul’s epistles and says “…speaking in them of these things…” “These things” of verse 16 refer back to the “such things” of verse 14, the day of God. Peter says that anyone that doesn’t understand the things about which he and Paul write “are unlearned and unstable” (vs. 16). He ends his epistle encouraging us to grow in grace, just as Paul does.

In 1Ti 6, Paul exhorts us to be subject to our masters just as Peter does (vs. 1-2). Then in verse 3-4, he says if any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ…he is proud, knowing nothing.

It has been my experience that too many people think that the transition period of Act 15 is a wedge between the apostles. Some apparently believe Paul had a completely different gospel from Peter, with different promises and different rewards. This always leads one to teaching some sort of salvation by works. This, of course, is opposed to what Paul teaches in Eph 2 that by grace are you saved through faith. They actually teach that the Jews (the physical Israel) are saved by works.

Of course, the message of the Old and New Testaments- Job, David and the prophets- is that our righteousnesses are as filthy rags before God.

While Paul obviously did more writing than any other apostle, I don’t see that there is a difference, certainly no contradiction, between Paul and James. Both taught grace, and both said that “faith without works is dead” (Jas 2:28). Paul puts it this way: be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Gal 6:7). And Rom 2:6 tells us who will render every man according to his deeds. Naturally, we realize this is referring to each person’s reward, NOT the free gift of salvation. Far too many people confuse the ‘free gift’ with the ‘prize of the high calling’ and ‘winning the crown for running the race.’

All of the ten virgins were virgins, but only five were wise virgins. While you and I both believe that all ten will be saved, the foolish ones will apparently be saved at the great white throne. I believe that the foolish virgins confused the free gift with the prize.

I hope you are familiar with George Wigram’s Greek and Hebrew Concordances. E- sword, which I have on the computer, has the same things, but the books have the advantage of allowing you to view all the entries at the same time for how each word is translated into English. I mention this because the Greek word for work is ergon (Strong’s #2041). This is the word used where James says faith without works is dead.

Jas 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

As is immediately apparent when you are looking at the word with a Wigram’s in front of you, you see Paul uses this word more than all the apostles put together. In the book of Titus, Paul dwells on good works.

Tit 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
Tit 2:7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works:…
Tit 2:14 … a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Tit 3:1 … be ready to every good work,
Tit 3:8 … that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works….


Tit 3:14 And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.

Being fruitful according to Paul, is intimately tied to good works, which is exactly what James and Peter taught.

One more scripture I would bring to your attention while we are in Titus Isa 2:11-12.

Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

The word ‘teaching’ (paideuo – Strong’s #3811) is the same word translated ‘chastens’ in Heb 12:6. Whom the Lord loves, he chastens and scourges every son he receives. This is the true scriptural definition of grace, and this is how ‘where sin abounds, grace does much more abound.’ In other words, as Andrew Jukes says, Christ did not die to the flesh so we could live in it, but so we could also die to the flesh.

I hope this answers your question, but to be more direct, no, I don’t think Paul’s letters are more important, but as there are more of them, they cover more ground and contain a greater amount of truth. To conclude, I will let Paul sum it up:

Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Eph 2:16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
Eph 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

There is no “bride of Christ versus the body of Christ.” Both Jews and Gentiles in Christ are the bride AND the body of Christ (2Co 11:2).

2Co 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

Please feel free to address any questions you may have on the article about how the apostles understood the word of God, or any other issues. I’m not set in stone on anything, except the word of God, so I appreciate those who also are scripturally based in their discussions.

Enjoying your ‘fellowship’.
Yours in Christ, Mike

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