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“You Yourself Also Live in Observance of the Law” ~ James to the apostle Paul | Acts 21:24

Act 21:18-24 18On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him (Paul), “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. They are all zealous for the law, 21and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. 22What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; 24take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus, all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself (Paul) also live in observance of the law.

In the verses above, James was concerned because he knew there was ‘hearsay‘ about Paul; ‘rumors‘ that he taught against Moses and circumcision. However, James knew this to be false, as he clearly stated in verse 24, “there is nothing in what they have been told about you” (Paul). What were they told about Paul? Verse 21 states, some were told that Paul taught ‘to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs’. This was a false accusation brought against Paul according to the Holy-Spirit-inspired Luke, who wrote the letter of ‘Acts’ (please read ‘Paul’s Day in Court‘).

This passage is perhaps the most obvious verse in the Bible that proves the Apostle Paul himself, kept the Law of God given through Moses. James knew that Paul was misunderstood (as Peter warned us, 2 Peter 3:16-17). So, James encouraged Paul to prove that he did not teach against circumcision nor the Law of Moses, in order to establish that there is nothing in what they have been told about him and that he lived in observance of the Law, as James said in verse 24.

What does the text say?

Acts 21:24bThus, all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself (Paul) also live in observance of the law.

Here in verse 24, the word live in the Greek is Strong’s G4748 στοιχεῖς/stoicheis which is in the Present Tense (years after the cross). This is derived from steicho: to march in (military) rank (keep step), i.e. (figuratively) to conform to virtue and piety — walk (orderly). Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states stoicheis to mean: to walk, to direct one’s life, to live.

Also, in verse 24 and in the Present Tense (years after the cross) is the word “observance“. In the Greek, this is Strong’s G5442 φυλάσσων/phylássōn, and Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states this to mean: to guard, i.e. to care for, to take care not to violate; to observe.

What does the “Word of God” say about the Apostle Paul and the Law of Moses?

It says he “marched to”, kept in step with” and “directed his life to guard, observe and not violate” the Law of Moses. This is declared many years after the ascension of Jesus.

Therefore, according to the Holy-Spirit-inspired Word of God, those rumors about Paul, that he taught others to forsake the Law of Moses and to not circumcise the male children, were “nothing“; they were false accusations” (Please read ‘Zealous for the Law‘).

The “false accusations” in Acts 21:21 are either ignored, or they are being taught as true accusations by today’s mainstream theology.

Not only does the ‘Word of God’ state that Paul did not teach against circumcision or the Law of Moses, but the Holy-Spirit-inspired Word of God states that Paul himself was living his life observing/guarding the Law of Moses when James spoke these words!

Yet, mainstream theology has claimed for centuries that the Apostle Paul condemned the Law as bondage, teaching that it was abolished and done away with.?.?.

Tragically, the current mainstream doctrine teaches the opposite of what the Word of God teaches.

If the mainstream establishment doesn’t hide this information by ‘sweeping it under the rug’, the most common way to excuse away this scriptural fact about Paul is to haphazardly declare, “Well, Paul was a Jew and not of the nations/gentiles”. The argument that “Paul was a Jew and only Jews can keep the Law” is illogical, hypocritical and unscriptural.

That “excuse” is unsound for three reasons:

  • First, the Law of Moses is either abolished or it’s not. Period. How in the world could it be abolished for the nations/gentiles, who never had it in the first place, but current and valid for ‘the Jews’? This illogical line of reasoning has led to a similar type of misinterpretation in ‘Galatians’; please read ‘Galatians Part 1: Freedom or Bondage‘.
  • Secondly, if Paul preached that the Law of Moses was abolished, revoked, canceled and done away with throughout the known world but kept it himself then, as a hypocrite, he was teaching unsound doctrine.
  • Lastly, there isn’t a single Scripture to back up the idea that the Law of Moses is current and valid today for “believers of Jewish origins” but abolished for the “believers who used to be of the nations/gentiles”.

This ‘excuse‘ is man-made dogma and should be summarily dismissed as blasphemy; it makes God a respecter of persons.

There are, however, numerous quotes ‘out of Paul’s own mouth’ that state there is no difference between Jew and Greek, there is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles in the body of Christ. In Christ, whatever ‘doctrine’ is right for one, is right for the all.

What does the text say?

Romans 2:9-11 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.

Romans 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one bodyJews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Galatians 3:28-29 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Ephesians 3:6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

ALL are the same before the LORD. According Paul, there is no Jew and there is no Greek before God; “If”… if you are in Christ, then you are “Abraham’s offspring”! According to Paul, “all in Christ” are the same. The same father Abraham, the same offspring and the same heir. Not one set of rules for the believer of Jewish origins and a different set of rules for the believer of non-Jewish origins. The same offspring, the same body, the same heir.

According to Paul, all are the same. All are equal in the body of Christ before God.

Even with all the ‘misunderstood’ verses in Paul’s letters, these verses in the ‘Acts of the Apostles’ listed at the top of this page, conclusively settles the matter. Paul did not teach against the Law of Moses nor circumcision, but he did personally observe, guard and keep the Law of God given through Moses decades after ‘the Cross of Christ’; at least according to the Word of God!

Final thought: Paul instructs us many times in his letters to imitate him, to do the things he does (See 1 Corinthians 4:16, 11:1; Philippians 3:17, 4:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:9).

What did he do?

The Apostle Paul lived in observance of the Law post-resurrection.

This study can now be watched on YouTube @ You yourself also live in observance of the Law.

  • For further study of Paul’s teachings, as well as the original Greek, please see the ‘Page Links’ at the top of this page or blog posts at the bottom. Be a Berean, and test Paul’s doctrines to the “Scriptures”. Please ‘share’ this study. Thank you for your time!

Why is the Flesh Enmity with God? | Romans 8:7

Romans 8:3-4 3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit… Romans 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

The first half of verse 4 is often quoted as proof that the Law of God given through Moses has been ‘done away with’, ‘abolished’, and ‘no longer required or applicable’ for believers in Jesus.

I touched on these verses in the study, ‘Freed from the law of Sin and Death’, Romans 8:2. However, now I would like to take the time to study in greater depth, what the Apostle Paul is explaining here in the next few verses of chapter 8, especially the words that are mistranslated and distorted in the English compared to the original Greek text.

Let’s start with the primary misconception regarding verse 4. The majority of the modern translations state, “in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled…”. However, the word requirement’ was never spoken by Paul! The word requirement’ is NOT in the original Greek text, and it’s not in ANY translation prior to the 19th century; it has been added by contemporary translators in order to manipulate the contextual meaning of the Apostle Paul’s discourse.

That portion of the verse in fact reads, “in order that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled”…

Next, the English word “fulfilled” is Strong’s G4137 πληρωθῇ/plērōthē. This is a word that has been horrendously defined by mainstream theology. The verb ‘Plērōthē/fulfilled’ has grammatical components (the ‘parsing’) in the Greek, which are missed, or worse ignored, by most modern denominational teachers.

In the original Greek, plērōthē is in the ‘Aorist Tense’ and Subjunctive Mood’ ~

Aorist Tense – When aorist tense is in the ‘indicative’ mood it indicates a past action. However, in other moods such as Subjunctive, it does not indicate absolute time, and often does not even indicate relative time. The word ‘aorist’ is from the Greek α-οριστος/a-oristos; ‘a’ means ‘without’, and ‘oristos’ means ‘defined boundary’. “A-orist” has no reference point, it’s indefinite. An “aorist” verb conveys that something just is, as a matter of fact, without trying to define ‘when’. Even though the verb represents ‘an action’, the “A-orist” communicates the fact of the action, ‘without’ any focus on the time when the action may occur.

Tragically, many modern translators are influenced by modern Greek grammar and NOT the Koine Greek, in which the New Testament was written (or they’re doing it on purpose). Modern Greek acknowledges/uses the “Aorist”, but as ‘Past Tense’. Consequently, most modern translations of the N.T. Koine Greek into English have critical errors in grammar, because the Koine Greek aorist tense rarely indicates when an action takes place in time.

Subjunctive Mood – The subjunctive mood primarily refers to HYPOTHETICAL actions in the PRESENT or FUTURE. It can be used both in the meaning “should” and in the meaning “may“. The subjunctive mood of a verb in Koine Greek is the form generally used to express ‘potential’ or ‘possibility’. The subjunctive word in English is typically translated using the qualifying word “might“.

Therefore, the ‘Aorist-Subjunctive’ verb “fulfilled/plērōthē” in Romans 8:4, is a hypothetical possibility, contingent on other factors in order to come to fruition in the ‘present or ‘future‘. This is why the verse in English will often correctly state “might be fulfilled”. The rest of the verse/sentence explains the deciding factor, which is, “in us who do not walk according to the flesh”. The ‘righteousness of the Law that might be fulfilled in us’ did not take place in the past. Just because Jesus condemned sin in the flesh (v.3), that does NOT mean that the righteousness of the Law being fulfilled in us is guaranteed; if we continue walking according to the flesh, the righteousness of the Law will NOT be fulfilled in us.

Besides the ‘Parsing’, another fact that is never taught by mainstream teachers is the true definition of plērōthē, Strong’s G4137, (especially as it pertains to Matthew 5:17). “Fulfilled/plērōthē” as it is pertains to the Laws of God, is almost always claimed by mainstream theology to mean: ‘done away with’, ‘put to an end’, ‘abolished’ or ‘concluded so no one else has to do them’. Here is what the word actually means as per Thayer’s Greek Lexicon: to carry into effect, bring to realization, realize; of matters of duty, to perform. That is the specific definition as it pertains to Romans 8:4. For a complete study on Matthew 5:17, please read the study, ‘The Law: Fulfilled or Abolished?’.

With that definition of fulfilled in mind, how does the verse read?

so that the righteousness of the Law ‘might/should’ be performed/carried into effect in us who “do not walk according to the flesh”… | Romans 8:4

Therefore, if you do walk according to the flesh you most certainly will NOT fulfill/perform/carry-into-effect the righteousness of the Law.

Why is that?

Well, the apostle Paul continued the context of his explanation into the next four verses. Should we ignore those verses? Should we create a doctrine from half of a mistranslated sentence…?

Continuing ~

Romans 8:5-8 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

The mind that lives/walks according to the flesh is hostile to God.

The English word ‘hostile’ in the Greek is Strong’s G2189, ἔχθρα/echthra. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states this to mean: enmity.

According to Webster’s Dictionary enmity means:

EN’MITY, noun

  1. The quality of being an enemy; the opposite of friendship; ill will; hatred; unfriendly dispositions; malevolence. It expresses more than aversion and less than malice, and differs from displeasure in denoting a fixed or rooted hatred, whereas displeasure is more transient.

I will put enmity between thee and the woman, Genesis 3:15.

The carnal mind is enmity against God, Romans 8:7.

  1. A state of opposition.

The friendship of the world is enmity with God, James 4:4.

Paul stated if you set your mind to walk according to the flesh you are enemies with God. So, what parameter designates a person as one who sets their mind to walk in the flesh; what factor defines this person according to the Apostle Paul?

What does the text say?

Romans 8:7-8 7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

The English word ‘for’ in the Greek is the conjunction γάρ/gar, Strong’s G1063.  Strong’s Concordance defines the word ‘gar’ as: for, indeed (a conjunction used to express cause, explanation, inference or continuation). Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states ‘gar’ to mean: It adduces the Cause or gives the Reason of a preceding statement or opinion; It serves to explain, make clear, illustrate, a preceding thought or word.

Why, then, is the one who walks according to the flesh, and whose mind is set on the flesh, at enmity with God? What does the apostle Paul state is the ‘Cause’ and ‘Reason’ for that mind to be God’s enemy?

for’ it does not submit to God’s Law | Romans 8:7

This is the one and only deciding factor that Paul gave for how someone, everyone, “might” fulfill the righteousness of the Law. That it is what verses 4 through 8 state in context ~

  • v.4 the righteousness of the Law ‘might’ be fulfilled in those who do NOT walk according to the flesh
  • v.5 those who walk according to the flesh set their minds on the flesh
  • v.6 to set the mind on the flesh is death
  • v.7 the mind that is set on the flesh is enmity with God ‘for’ it does not submit to God’s Law
  • v.8 those in the flesh (not submitting to God’s Law) cannot please God

The English word ‘submit’, or ‘subject’ in some translations, is Strong’s G5293, ὑποτάσσεται/hypotassetai. In the Greek, this word is in the Present Tense, Indicative Mood, and Middle Voice. Thayer Greek Lexicon states this word to mean: present middle (voice) – ὑποτάσσομαι; to arrange under, to subordinate; to subject, put in subjection… middle (voice) – to subject oneself, to obey; to submit to one’s control; to yield to one’s admonition or advice: absolutely, Romans 13:5; 1 Corinthians 14:34 (cf. Buttmann, § 151, 30); τινα, Luke 2:51; Luke 10:17, 20; Romans 8:7.

The ‘mainstream denominational system’ has cherry-picked half of a sentence out of Romans 8:4, added the English word ‘requirement’ that is not in the original text, misinterpreted the definition of ‘fulfilled’, and totally ignored the context of the surrounding verses. Is that teaching the Word of God? Sacrilege

Paul blatantly stated in his Present Tense that the one who does not submit to the Law of God, cannot please God, because that person is walking according to the flesh. The one who does not submit to God’s Law is God’s enemy.

Therefore, the one who is ‘not’ walking according to the flesh fulfills the righteousness of the Law, v.4 , and that person is ‘not’ enemies with God, because that person submits to God’s Law, v.7; both verses are in the Present Tense!

Context, context, context.

Romans 8:7-8 7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

After all that I know what your thinking, ‘but we’re not saved by keeping the Law‘ and ‘no one is justified by the Law‘. I agree completely! Those thoughts and rebuttals are the ‘go-to-response’ of the mainstream denominational mind-set; it’s how we were taught to think and respond to “the Law”.

I never stated that God’s Law justifies or saves, because it never has and it never will; that is the disconnect. Please read the studies, ‘Justification vs. Righteousness‘ and ‘Salvation vs. Eternal Life‘ to understand this critical disconnect.

Final Thought: If we read all of ‘Romans’ in context, then we can see that from the beginning and throughout his letter, Paul proclaimed the same message ~

For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be righteous. | Romans 2:13

Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. | Romans 3:31

I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. | Romans 6:19

So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. | Romans 7:12

For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being… So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind | Romans 7:22,25

He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit… For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. | Romans 8:4,7

What will you choose to submit to, your flesh, or God’s Law? Those are the only two choices that the Apostle Paul gave us…

  • For further study of Paul’s teachings, as well as the original Greek, see the ‘Page Links’ at the top of this page or blog posts at the bottom. Be a Berean, and test Paul’s doctrines to the “Scriptures”. Please ‘share’ this study. Thank you for your time!