Letters From Paul… Specific Audiences, Easy to Misunderstand

It is good for us to remember as we read the letters from Paul, that they were written to very specific audiences to address very specific situations. Much of it can and does still apply broadly, but we should take care and examine all his writings through the lens of the specific time and place and audience it was written to. Titus provides a good example, but almost all the letters show this focus. Paul was not writing a gospel in the way Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are written to address broad audiences and broad situations or applications. He was mentoring privately and guiding individuals in the church.

Titus 3:12-15

Personal Concerns

      12When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them. 14Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.

      15All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith.
Grace be with you all.

Many take Paul and confuse his teaching to a point where it does not even line up with the example that Yeshua lived for us. Somehow it paints the expectations for our lives to be different (sometimes radically so) from the living example of the perfect and sinless Christ. This makes no sense. Our lives should mirror that of Yeshua. He is our example for how to live, not our excuse to disregard the law and instruction of the Father.

We should be watchful that we don’t interpret Paul to be changing or in conflict with Yeshua, the prophets, and the Torah. If it appears a conflict, we are in error and should continue to study. We should ensure we don’t become “Paulites” following only what some say about what he taught. In fact, one interesting test to watch for is whether you find yourself validating your understanding only from Paul’s letters or if you in fact can point to other scripture to validate your understanding of Paul.

2 Peter 3:14-18 (emphasis mine)

    14Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 18but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

What Paul teaches, Yeshua already lived out the example for us. Paul did not bring new teaching or a new gospel. Our unchanging Father has had that laid out and planned since creation and likely before.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

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