Paul and James in conflict. Jesus agreed with his brother.

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Categories: Bible, Christianity

13 replies

  1. Actually, even Paul gave in to James’ authority to perform the Nazirite vow in the temple (Acts 21). If Paul was certain that the Mosaic law was no longer applicable, he would not have taken the vow. So, either Paul was pretending to obey James or he sincerely believed that the law should still be followed. Even Raymond Brown noted the contradiction:

    “…there are ambiguities in Paul’s attitude. His admonitions and imperatives in the second parts of many of his letters show that clearly he expected all Christians to live by the Ten Commandments and by the high morality of Judaism. Acts 20:6, 16 suggests that he kept Jewish feasts…mandated in the Law; and Acts 21:26 has Paul worshiping in the Jerusalem Temple even as did the Jewish Christian leaders who lived in Jerusalem” (Raymond E. Brown and John P. Meier, Antioch and Rome: New Testament Cradles of Catholic Christianity (Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1983), p. 5.).

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Paul didn’t take the Nazarite vow. That’s your over-zealous eisegesis. James had no authority over him either. He paid for the sacrifices of the jewish brothers, so it would seem, but that’s all.

    He probably treated James as a weaker brother whose understanding and knowledge needed to grow. Much of the NT still had to be written at this time. We shouldn’t judge people so quickly who were acting in a unique period of transition. They didn’t have the benefit of a complete revelation of the NT as we have. Paul was given a fuller understanding of the gospel which first had to be written down in his epistles especially his magnum opus the book of Romans.


    • Madmanna,

      I don’t know why you think you can pull a fast one when I can very easily show that your claim is complete nonsense. When we read Acts 21, it is very clear that Paul took part in the rituals and did not simply pay for the sacrifices. It seems that in your over-zealous attempt to protect Paul’s credibility, you are willing to misquote your own scripture!

      “The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them” (Acts 21: 26).

      As you can see, he “purified himself along with them”. He even notified the temple authorities so that the “offering would be made for each of them”! This is significant Christians believe that Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient for them. Evidently, James and the other disciples did not think so, and Paul obeyed their commands!

      You claim that “we shouldn’t judge people…” This is ludicrous. Were they not under the direction of the Holy Spirit? What difference does it make if the scripture was not yet “complete”? You are being disingenuous and dishonest.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Faiz,

      I think this passage favours my interpretation on balance, even if it does not prove conclusively either way.

      Why does James say to Paul “that they may shave their heads” to refer to the other men and exclude Paul from the “being shorn” as it were?

      ” 23Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; 24Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.”

      The command to purify could just mean that James wants to make sure that Paul is not defiled and causes the Nazarites to be defiled as a result.

      Chapter 18 of Acts definitely tips the scales in my favour because there Paul actually breaks the law by shaving his head away from the temple contrary to the law of Moses:

      Paul Returns to Antioch

      “8And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

      Numbers 6 v18 And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings. 19 And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazarite, after the hair of his separation is shaven: 20 And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine.”

      By the way if Jesus upholds the law of Moses in it’s entirety, as Paul Williams argues, he must also be upholding the right to drink wine. The Nazarite was forbidden to drink wine during the time of his vow. After the time of his vow was ended he was expressly given permission to resume drinking wine, if he so wished.


    • Faiz read Hebrews 8 it will answer your question regarding ” it is very clear that Paul took part in the rituals and did not simply pay for the sacrifices.”

      “In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” Hebrews 8:13


    • The Book of Hebrews is a forgery. Even if it wasn’t, the fact remains that Paul was caught red-handed. When it suited his purpose, he was willing to compromise his faith. In his other letters, his views on the Law were contradictory. See the quote from Raymond Brown above.


    • The book of Hebrews is a forgery? LOL who forged it?


    • LOL JAC! Are you really that stupid? Obviously, a forger would not tell us who he was and that he forged the Book of Hebrews! Stop smoking all that pot! It’s clearly affecting your ability to think!

      Scholars agree that Hebrews is a forgery from the internal evidence. Even the Christian apologist Daniel Wallace agrees:

      “Though Hebrews was almost certainly not written by Paul, it has been a part of the Pauline corpus “from the beginning of extant MS production.”

      “…there are severe problems if we date Hebrews within the lifetime of Paul. When would he have been in prison except after the writing of 2 Timothy? He shows up on the pages of the NT as a free man, working with Paul in Corinth, bringing the letter of 2 Thessalonians in c. 49 and perhaps working with Paul in Thessalonica; Paul dispatches him to the Corinthians (1 Cor 4:17) in the mid-50s; he is with Paul in Rome, but not as a prisoner (Rom 16:21; Phil 2:19), and is left in Ephesus when Paul finds himself in prison in Rome a second time (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy). Timothy’s imprisonment, therefore, is one of the surest evidences that Hebrews was written both after 2 Timothy and after Paul’s death.”

      How will you get out of this one? LOL!! 🙂


    • LOL so if it was forged who wrote the original that was forged from ding bat. Where is your evidence of this?


    • LOL, the dingbat Christian loony just doesn’t get it! It was a forgery because someone wrote a letter professing to be Paul. Get it, you dingbat?

      Do you have an actual response to the internal evidence that your fellow apologist Daniel Wallace so honestly points out or are you going to continue to ignore it, like the coward your are? 😉


    • Faiz see how dumb you are, Paul didn’t write Hebrews lol, The Author is UNKNOWN lol


    • Madmanna,

      This only shows that Paul was flip-flopping at his leisure. When he was confronted by James, he simply gave in. Perhaps, he was only pretending and his heart was not in it. But if that was the case, then he was just a liar. When confronted, he sheepishly gave in. Also, as I already pointed out, even later on, he was flip-flopping. As Raymond Brown pointed out, even in his later letters, his view on the Law was “ambiguous”. So, either he was confused or he simply changed his mind and back and forth when it suited his purpose.


  3. JAC, the pot-smoking hippy said:

    “Faiz see how dumb you are, Paul didn’t write Hebrews lol, The Author is UNKNOWN lol”

    LOL! If the author is “unknown”, then why is this book in the New Testament in the first place? Then again, why are all the gospels in then New Testament? We don’t know the authors were either, except perhaps of Luke’s gospel!

    Also, you are too dumb to realize that the “unknown” author tried his very best to make it look like one of Paul’s letters! Therefore, he was forging the letter using Paul’s authority! Get it now, you dumb hippy?

    Also, most fanatic and lay Christians remain convinced that Paul was the author, but scholars (including some Christian scholars) now know better. As one Christian website states:

    “Church tradition teaches that Paul wrote the book of Hebrews, and until the 1800s, that issue was closed. However, though a vast majority of Christians—both and scholars and the laity—still believe Paul wrote the book, there are some tempting reasons to think otherwise” (


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