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  • Discussion Paul Calling Himself A Pharisee

    The Apostle Paul claimed to be still a Pharisee. Why did he continue to make this claim? Was he a new type of Pharisee or was he always a different type of Pharisee? Ac 23:6 - But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.




    What was a Pharisee- Pharisaios
    1. A sect that seems to have started after the Jewish exile. In addition to OT books the Pharisees recognised in oral tradition a standard of belief and life. They sought for distinction and praise by outward observance of external rites and by outward forms of piety, and such as ceremonial washings, fastings, prayers, and alms giving; and, comparatively negligent of genuine piety, they prided themselves on their fancied good works. They held strenuously to a belief in the existence of good and evil angels, and to the expectation of a Messiah; and they cherished the hope that the dead, after a preliminary experience either of reward or of penalty in Hades, would be recalled to life by him, and be requited each according to his individual deeds. In opposition to the usurped dominion of the Herods and the rule of the Romans, they stoutly upheld the theocracy and their country's cause, and possessed great influence with the common people. According to Josephus they numbered more than 6000. They were bitter enemies of Jesus and his cause; and were in turn severely rebuked by him for their avarice, ambition, hollow reliance on outward works, and affection of piety in order to gain popularity.
    At its most basic definition it meant to be separated or sanctified (holy) for God's use. It comes from the Hebrew root word parush. Its founders originally had good intentions, and some of its followers at the time of Christ had good intentions as members of the Pharisees as well. It was one of five school of thought or denominations at the time of Jesus. There is nothing different about to day concerning us following the same pattern of set different schools of thought and institutions.


    We read a lot of stories of how Pharisees were converted to the Way of Jesus. Why? It has something to do with some of them being honest God seekers like Saul. Not all the qualities in the above definition are bad or could be applied to every Pharisee.

    Here are some more honest Pharisees:
    Joh 3:1 - There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.

    Mr 15:43 - Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. (Jesus was buried in a tomb meant for a member of the Sanhedrin which had to be either a Pharisee or Sadducee since you had to be one in order to an Elder, you had to pick a side to get some where in politics like today's political parties, ain't nothing new under the sun.)

    Ac 6:7 - Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. (You could not be a priest at this time which was incorrect since some where not from the tribe of Levi unless you were a Pharisee or Sadducee)


    Hence why is Paul still calling himself a Pharisee?


    I think he meant something by it that we do not understand today. To be a Pharisee meant multiple things, some good and some bad depending upon the person.

    They were the shepherds and pastors of Israel at the time and Jesus commanded the people to obey them. Matt 23:1-3 1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. 3Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.


    http://www.biblicallifeassembly.org/library/pdf/toap.pdf
    Last edited by manichunter; Aug 6th 2008, 07:02 AM.
    Edify the brethren, love the brethren, and forgive the brethren until I have nothing left.

    www.woc-church.org

  • #2
    Looking at Strong's, that word I am can also mean I was or I have been.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by manichunter View Post
      The Apostle Paul claimed to be still a Pharisee. Why did he continue to make this claim? Was he a new type of Pharisee or was he always a different type of Pharisee? Ac 23:6 - But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.


      What was a Pharisee- Pharisaios
      1. A sect that seems to have started after the Jewish exile. In addition to OT books the Pharisees recognised in oral tradition a standard of belief and life. They sought for distinction and praise by outward observance of external rites and by outward forms of piety, and such as ceremonial washings, fastings, prayers, and alms giving; and, comparatively negligent of genuine piety, they prided themselves on their fancied good works. They held strenuously to a belief in the existence of good and evil angels, and to the expectation of a Messiah; and they cherished the hope that the dead, after a preliminary experience either of reward or of penalty in Hades, would be recalled to life by him, and be requited each according to his individual deeds. In opposition to the usurped dominion of the Herods and the rule of the Romans, they stoutly upheld the theocracy and their country's cause, and possessed great influence with the common people. According to Josephus they numbered more than 6000. They were bitter enemies of Jesus and his cause; and were in turn severely rebuked by him for their avarice, ambition, hollow reliance on outward works, and affection of piety in order to gain popularity.

      At its most basic definition it meant to be separated or sanctified (holy) for God's use. It comes from the Hebrew root word parush. Its founders originally had good intentions, and some of its followers at the time of Christ had good intentions as members of the Pharisees as well. It was one of five school of thought or denominations at the time of Jesus. There is nothing different about to day concerning us following the same pattern of set different schools of thought and institutions.


      We read a lot of stories of how Pharisees were converted to the Way of Jesus. Why? It has something to do with some of them being honest God seekers like Saul. Not all the qualities in the above definition are bad or could be applied to every Pharisee.

      Here are some more honest Pharisees:
      Joh 3:1 - There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.

      Mr 15:43 - Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. (Jesus was buried in a tomb meant for a member of the Sanhedrin which had to be either a Pharisee or Sadducee since you had to be one in order to an Elder, you had to pick a side to get some where in politics like today's political parties, ain't nothing new under the sun.)

      Ac 6:7 - Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. (You could not be a priest at this time which was incorrect since some where not from the tribe of Levi unless you were a Pharisee or Sadducee)


      Hence why is Paul still calling himself a Pharisee?


      I think he meant something by it that we do not understand today. To be a Pharisee meant multiple things, some good and some bad depending upon the person.

      They were the shepherds and pastors of Israel at the time and Jesus commanded the people to obey them. Matt 23:1-3 1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. 3Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.
      I believe that he meant it in the same sense that a jewish man will move to America, become an American citizen, and STILL call himself Jew.

      Nicodemus did not stop becoming a pharisee, and neither did Paul. He simply disagreed with much of their teaching, and believed in Jesus.

      As to why he identified himself with them. Well, he was to strengthen the claim that he - a rather prominent Pharisee believed in Jesus. It gained some measure of legitimacy in their eyes, which would have undoubtedly helped to win a few over if it were possible to do so.

      In addition, he knew the chaos that would ensue by his statements, he publicly identified himself with the Pharisees, which sort of made them defend him as they defended the claim in the resurrection.

      My .02 anyway

      Be Blessed!

      Comment


      • #4
        Philippians 3:5-8 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

        Paul also makes his opinion of being a Pharisee pretty clear... he considered nothing more than a pile of poopy
        For what mortal has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and survived? ~ Deuteronomy 5:26

        If you're not prepared to risk your very life for your "enemy" you have no right to speak to him of love. ~ Daughter

        Many say they are called... but I am pretty convinced that with many of them it was the wrong number. ~ Project Peter

        Comment


        • #5
          Ah - I see Urban Missionary beat me to it (Thanks!!)

          The Pharisees were the "smart" ones, the intelligensia. Paul was saying if anyone knew about Judaism, he certainly did. And so what? Without Jesus it all means less than nothing.

          He also said:
          Galatians 2

          18 - "For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 - "For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God.
          I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
          - Mahatma Gandhi



          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by obeytheword View Post
            I believe that he meant it in the same sense that a jewish man will move to America, become an American citizen, and STILL call himself Jew.

            Nicodemus did not stop becoming a pharisee, and neither did Paul. He simply disagreed with much of their teaching, and believed in Jesus.

            As to why he identified himself with them. Well, he was to strengthen the claim that he - a rather prominent Pharisee believed in Jesus. It gained some measure of legitimacy in their eyes, which would have undoubtedly helped to win a few over if it were possible to do so.

            In addition, he knew the chaos that would ensue by his statements, he publicly identified himself with the Pharisees, which sort of made them defend him as they defended the claim in the resurrection.

            My .02 anyway

            Be Blessed!

            I believe that it is much as you stated in your first sentence. Paul was also a Roman. Whether he liked it or not, it was the case. He was a Pharisee and he was a Roman but first and foremost PAUL was a Christ-follower.

            Comment


            • #7
              Maybe he was calling himself a Pharisee because he considered himself a religious leader with authority.

              The Pharisees weren't all bad and weren't all evil. Just the higher ups that constantly challenged Jesus.

              Comment


              • #8
                A central belief among the pharisees was the resurrection (as opposed to the Sadducees who didn't even believe in such a thing). Paul was very comfortable aligning himself with the pharisees on this issue since, for him, resurrection was not simply 'a' central belief, but 'the' central belief. Hence the verse you quoted in the OP: "I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question."
                The Matthew Never Knew
                The Knew Kingdom

                Comment


                • #9
                  There is a great gulf between today's christian thinking and that of the first century. Paul claimed to be a Pharisee and He backed it up by his observance towards Torah.

                  1.He kept the Holy Festivals
                  Ac 20:16 - For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost.

                  2.He instructed the Corinthian church to keep the Feast of Passover
                  1Co 5:8 - Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

                  3.He made a vow and commited animal sacrifices in the manner of Torah. He did not rebuke James suggestion
                  Ac 21:26 - Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having been purified with them, entered the temple to announce the expiration of the days of purification, at which time an offering should be made for each one of them.

                  4.He called the Torah holy
                  Ro 7:12 - Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

                  5.He said that he delighted in the Torah
                  Ro 7:22 - For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.

                  6.He bragged on Ananias concerning him keeping the Torah
                  Ac 22:12 -"Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there,

                  7.He obeyed the Torah
                  Ac 21:19-24 19When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, "You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; 21but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. 22What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come. 23Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. 24Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharisee
                  Edify the brethren, love the brethren, and forgive the brethren until I have nothing left.

                  www.woc-church.org

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    He also taught we were dead to the law. He told one friend to be circumcised in order to witness. But he told another to not be circumcised (i.e. don't worry about the letter of the torah). He preached consistently that we are not to live by the letter but rather the Spirit.

                    Simply put, the letter of the Torah is not what's important. Whether one eats pork or not has nothing to do with holiness now as it did in Joshua's time.

                    The Jews tried to kill Paul. There was a lot of conflict. Why? Because he didn't see the torah the same way they did.

                    This thread is what I call a set up thread. Ask a question to make a point later. Galatians is clear that we don't have to "keep Torah" the same way the Jews keep it. We keep it spiritually. We take passover as "oft as ye will" and eat the Lamb in remembrance of Him and what he did.
                    Matt 9:13
                    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
                    NASU

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      That's right Brother Mark. Paul also wrote this...

                      2Co 3:5-11 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.
                      For what mortal has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and survived? ~ Deuteronomy 5:26

                      If you're not prepared to risk your very life for your "enemy" you have no right to speak to him of love. ~ Daughter

                      Many say they are called... but I am pretty convinced that with many of them it was the wrong number. ~ Project Peter

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Paul , theologically, held positions that closely identified with the Pharisees (the tradition in which he was raised). There are books that make that connection (with Jesus as well) But Iím currently away from my library to give references. todd

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          At what point in Paul's observances of the holidays did he advocate that all Christians do likewise?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Good point. Paul also wrote this...

                            Col 2:14-17 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
                            For what mortal has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and survived? ~ Deuteronomy 5:26

                            If you're not prepared to risk your very life for your "enemy" you have no right to speak to him of love. ~ Daughter

                            Many say they are called... but I am pretty convinced that with many of them it was the wrong number. ~ Project Peter

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Urban Missionary View Post
                              Good point. Paul also wrote this...

                              Col 2:14-17 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
                              We have done plenty of rounds on this one (and there's no need for another one IMO) but I feel this passage shows that Gentiles where integrating into a church which had Jewish worship forms and they followed accordingly. todd

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