Dave makes some really wonderful points here about how Paul the Apostle is often taken out of context and seems to be at odds with the Apostles and Judaism with what he says.
I heard a sermon on the radio today in which the entire scope of the sermon was on how Paul was the “only” authorized Disciple to the Gentiles….it was presented that Paul was essentially the only one we as Christians needed to listen to and worry about listening to in our Bible.
Whether that was the Preacher’s intent or not…that is the message he was handing out quite passionately. He completely ignored the fact that the first person to deal with the Gentiles aside from Jesus was Peter the Apostle (Acts 10) who went to see Cornelius the Gentile and his family. Peter was called upon by the Holy Spirit to go and see Cornelius and his family, and the Holy Spirit told Cornelius to send some men to go and get Peter, whom he had never met before. Peter witnessed this important thing when he went there, that although Cornelius and his people were all Gentiles (non-Jews) God gave them the Holy Spirit also. This was an important thing when it came to the decision of the Apostles about how Gentiles could remain as they were (Gentiles) and still be included in the Salvation offered by God.
Many of our Christian Churches over the centuries and still today have doctrine that takes Paul out of context and forgets that Paul as well as the other Disciples and Jesus, himself…were all practicing Jews…they did not forsake the practice of their faith in order to accept Jesus..they still kept Sabbath and Passover, and the other Jewish Holidays….they were still Jewish until their deaths…although they had recognized and accepted the Messiah as the source of their salvation. Jesus was a devout practicing Jew…he could not have kept the law perfectly if he had not been.
So what does this mean to us? This means that Paul who was a Pharisee who was the son of a Pharisee, who was trained by a famous Pharisee (Gamaliel) was still a Pharisee even while he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He was still a Jew….he still honored Jewish traditions and laws, but he understood that the law is not the source of salvation. He understood that Repentance and acceptance of the Messiah, pursuing God was the source of salvation….relationship with God. As Dave says in this Video…Paul was not a rogue who was separate from the Disciples. He was under the Disciples authority…he was commissioned by them (as well as Jesus – Acts 22:21) to go and preach to the Gentiles. The Disciples understood that Paul had been authorized by Jesus as the Disciple to the Gentiles and they followed the Holy Spirit’s wishes and sent him out to them in obedience to God.
Paul tells us to be who we are…if we are Jews to be Jews who accept the Messiah, and if we are Gentiles to be Gentiles who accept the Messiah. We are to accept Jesus where ever we are and be the person that God created us to be, as we are all unique individuals and God has a plan for each and every one of us in how we are to serve him.
Dave gets a lot deeper into this idea in his video and makes some very impressive points about Paul and his Mission/Ministry. I encourage you to give it a watch.
It is interesting to look at the scripture in the context of how the Disciples would have understood things from their position as Jews.
Source: Paul’s Authority and Mission