Oh Paul, So Stuck In Your Ways


I have been working through the daunting task of reading the writings of Paul.  He was used to spread the gospel to so many, and so far, but I have to say, that he should have set himself aside and his deeply engrained ways aside so he could simple preach Christ and Christ alone.  If he were just to echo all that Jesus said and did, if only.  But he does not, in fact for some reason in his writings he is often speaking things in direct contrast to what God said in Genesis, where God said “it is not good for man to be alone”, and indirectly, “Go forth and multiply”.

Specifically I am reading through 1 Corintians 7, and there is much said that I can not get on board with.  I understand that there is much that can be inferred into writings that is not there in the first place, but I can not help but get the feeling that there is a measure of arrogance as Paul speaks of marriage.  In 1 Corinthians 7:1 he starts by saying “Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman”.  Now maybe I am reading it wrong, maybe Paul is saying that they wrote to him saying it is good for a man not to touch a woman, and then he was addressing that, but without the quotes, it is left looking like Paul is saying this to them in response to the letter Paul received.  But here comes the touch of arrogance that starts weaving in; 1 Corinthians 7:5-9:

Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment.  For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.

But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am;  but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

I see parts of this as completely reasonable, and who am I to say that being able to be alone without issue is not a gift from God, but to say that it is only the lack of self-control that is a reason for a man and a woman to be married, that is not truth, as God himself said “it is not good for man to be alone” and then He created Eve for Adam as a helpmate.  Now people joke that in the garden, perhaps it was because Adam was looking at the animals a little funny (read, burning with passion), that God decided to create Eve, but that is not what is said.  I believe there are many reasons that it is good for a man to be married to a woman.  Just as God said, a helpmate, yes, I can absolutely say that my wife is the biggest human helper I know in my life.  She takes care of so many things, and with us working together so much more can be accomplished, yes, even so much more can be accomplished for God.

I was accepting of being alone for the rest of my life, but God knew better.  He knew I needed someone, even though it was not apparent yet.  I had not gotten seriously sick before, been without work before, bought a house before, or had a child before.  God knew what He had in store for me, and he knew I could not do it alone, and so He chose the perfect match for me, a self proclaimed freak, an oddball, so unique I could not relate with others.  I think differently, I act differently, I relate to people differently, and I see things differently than the majority of people I have met in this world.  He found a beautiful woman who would stand by me and support me no matter what.

I guess my main point is, people are not perfect, no matter if they have writings in the bible or not.  Paul was far from perfect, in fact, I have referred to him as a pompous ass at times, and other things.  He is human, God touched his life, but he is still him.  He has to fight against who he was brought up to be, and God used him and his strengths for much good, but it did not mean he did not have a bunch of worldly funk still attached to him that he has to fight against to keep God’s word and heart flowing without being over colored by him, a legalistic, hard, emotional guy.  This is a powerful lesson for all of us as we walk with God.  Never think anyone is perfect, except for God and Jesus Christ.  I am not saying to not trust anyone, but I am saying never get to the point where you treat everything that a person says as 100% perfect, unless you are talking directly to God or Jesus.  You must weigh what you hear, with the character of Christ, you must know Jesus that well, the heart of God.  If you don’t, then you risk being tossed by the waves, no matter who is making the waves.

The concept that the bible is infallible, is in itself a powerful deceptive tool.  It was written by men, God is reflected in there, but so are the ways of men, and written on the pages of the bible are the historical accounts of the horrible concessions God had to make, when there were only bad concessions open.  God’s plan was not genocide, murder, theft and death.  It was to make a place for a people who were to be a light on a hill, showing God’s love to the world and teaching people, ushering them into God’s way of living, the way He created His people to live, and ushering them into the knowledge of who God is, and how He wants the best for every one of His children on the face of the planet, the entire human race.