Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Was the Apostle Paul Anti-Semitic?

Some have charged that the Apostle Paul was guilty of anti-Semitism because in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 he wrote:

"For you, brothers, became imitators of God's churches in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, since you have also suffered the same things from people of your own country, just as they did from the Jews.  They killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and persecuted us; they displease God, and are hostile to everyone, hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved.  As a result, they are always adding to the number of their sins, and wrath has overtaken them completely" [HCSB].

However, this accusation clearly misunderstands the text, as the study notes in the Apologetics Study Bible explain:

First of all, "Paul-a Jew himself-was not speaking of all Jews but only of the small minority in Judea involved in anti-Christian persecution.

Furthermore, logically Paul could not have meant "all Jews," because many of those who followed Jesus (including himself) were Jews.  Paul taught that our sins are the reason Jesus died; we all share responsibility in His death (Rm. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:3; Gal. 1:4; 1 Tim 1:15)." [1]

This is a good lesson for both the Bible believer and the Bible critic- always read verses in their context using good reason!

Courage and Godspeed,

1. The Apologetics Study Bible, see study notes, p. 1791.

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