Jesus vs. Paul


Controversy has arisen regarding Jesus versus Paul as scholars debate the different emphases and messages of Jesus and Paul. For example, Jesus preached the kingdom of heaven. Paul did not. Paul preached justification by faith alone. Jesus did not. What are we to make of this? Can the two be reconciled? The answer depends on what is meant by reconciliation.

Let us be clear from the outset. The messages of Jesus and Paul were fundamentally different. Reconciliation of their messages cannot be done by harmonization. This is a fact we must accept. No one is helped by attempts to lessen the differences by declaring that the gospel is a salvation story for both Jesus and Paul. The differences remain. No benefit comes from theological gibberish that the gospel is the kingdom and the kingdom is the gospel. No light comes from attempts to show that Paul “betrayed” Jesus or “perverted” His message. These offerings of strange fire move us further from the text and sound theology. Instead, we must seek a biblical understanding of the texts to effect a reconciliation.

Good News, Bad News

The good news is that this matter is receiving attention. For almost 2,000 years, Paul has been forced into the gospels and the gospels have been forced into Paul–and this continues. Some theologians have recognized problems in this but most fail to provide sound, biblical solutions to resolve the differences between Jesus and Paul. The bad news is that most theological professionals misunderstand why we find differences between Jesus and Paul. Because of this, they lack a sound foundation to reconcile the differences. Here’s a clue: let the reader consider why God kept Paul separated from the Twelve after his conversion and why Paul’s contact with the Twelve was extremely limited (cf. Galatians 1.1, 11-12, 15-19). The purpose of this brief study is to answer the question about how Jesus and Paul can be reconciled (what that means) and end the confusion.

The Messages of Jesus and Paul

The below chart identifies the chief differences in the ministries and message of Jesus and Paul. Each will be analyzed.

Differences of the Ministries of Jesus and Paul
Jesus: Paul:
1. Preached the gospel of the kingdom 1. Preached the gospel of the grace of God
2. Defined the “kingdom of heaven” as Israel’s prophetic earthly kingdom 2. Defined the “kingdom of heaven” as the heavenly position of the body of Christ
3. Presented Himself as Messiah and King of the Jews (Israel) 3. Presented Jesus as the risen Lord, Head of the body of Christ
4. Preached repentance, baptism, and faith as necessary for salvation 4. Preached faith alone as necessary for salvation
5. Had Jews only for His audience (2 exceptions) 5. Had Gentiles as his primary audience
6. Operated under the Mosaic Law 6. Operated under grace

1. Jesus’ Gospel, Paul’s Gospel1


John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Twelve preached the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 3.2, 4.17). This gospel was the long-anticipated and prophesied good news that the King of Israel had arrived. He would establish His kingdom on earth and rule the earth according to what Israel’s prophets foretold (Psalm 2.6, 8; Zechariah 14.9; Luke 1.31-33). Its focus was Jewish (Matthew 10.5-6). During this kingdom reign, God would fulfill His covenant promises to Israel. Through Israel’s acceptance of their Messiah, Gentiles would also be blessed. Apart from this kingdom and apart from this plan, God had no provision to bless Gentiles. Beginning with God’s covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12), all Gentile blessing had to come through Israel.

The prophets had proclaimed this Messianic kingdom in hundreds of passages. Every Jew knew about this kingdom and every God-fearing Jew longed for it. One need only read the passages surrounding the account of Jesus’ birth to recognize this fact. The reader is encouraged to read the accounts surrounding the Magi (Matthew 2.1-12), Zacharias (Luke 1.8-17, 67-79), Mary (Luke 1.26-38, 46-55), Simeon, and Anna (Luke 2.25-38).

The gospel of the kingdom proclaimed by John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Twelve required repentance (Mark 1.15), water baptism (Matthew 3.6; Acts 2.38, 8.34-38, 19.4), and belief Jesus was the promised Messiah (Matthew 16.13-16; John 11.25-27). Believing in Jesus according to the gospel of the kingdom meant believing Who He was, i.e., believing in His name (cf. John 3.18; Acts 2.21, 38, 3.6, 16, 4.7, 10, 12, 17, 18, 30, 5.28, 40, 41, 8.12, 16, 9.14, 15, 21, 27, 10.43, 48). This gospel focused upon the identity of Christ.


Paul preached the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20.24; 1 Corinthians 15.1-4). Paul placed little emphasis on repentance or baptism in his evangelistic ministry. I believe I would not be wrong in stating Paul only mentioned repentance in reference to unbelievers once in his letters (Romans 2.4). With regard to water baptism, Paul declared, “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 1.14-17). Later, he wrote that there was only one baptism (Ephesians 4.5). Since Paul obviously meant that the one baptism was baptism by the Holy Spirit, we must conclude that water baptism ceased during Paul’s ministry and has no Scriptural support as a Christian practice.

The focus of belief in the ministry of John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Twelve was that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Son of God (Matthew 16.13-16; John 11.25-27). Paul preached the gospel of the kingdom immediately following his conversion (Acts 9.19-22). However, shortly afterwards, the ascended, glorified, heavenly (as opposed to earthly) Lord gave Paul a new gospel (Galatians 1.11-12). Paul’s gospel (Romans 2.16, 16.25), was different from the gospel of Jesus and the Twelve. Its focus was not upon the identity of Christ but upon the work of Christ. Paul’s gospel was that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). This gospel was not preached during Jesus’ earthly ministry or by the Twelve.

Paul referred to this gospel as “my gospel” (Romans 2.16, 16.25; 2 Timothy 2.8; Galatians 2.2). This indicated it was different from the gospel Jesus or the Twelve preached. Luke’s account of the Council of Jerusalem made this clear (Acts 15). Paul revealed that his gospel was a “secret” (μυστήριον, cf. Romans 16.25). The Twelve had no understanding Jesus would die and rise from the dead (Luke 18.31-34; John 20.3-10). For them, Christ’s death was not good news. Even after Jesus’ resurrection Christ’s death was not preached as good news. The biblical record is that Christ’s death was preached as bad news. Peter’s sermons demonstrated he regarded the death of Christ as a message of condemnation to Jews–a heinous act that demanded repentance (Acts 2.22-42, 3.12-26). Peter preached the fact of Jesus’ resurrection as good news but its significance was that Israel could still have their King and the kingdom if they repented. He did not preach the death and resurrection of Christ for salvation.

For Paul, the preaching of the cross was salvation (1 Corinthians 1.18, 15.1-4) and was glorious (1 Timothy 1.11). Paul’s gospel created so much friction that the apostles called a special council around 51 A.D. to consider it. The reader should understand that Paul was probably saved around 34-37 A.D. So a range of time of 14-17 years had passed before the Council at Jerusalem met. That’s a long time. At the Council, after considerable argument, Peter made an astonishing (from a Jewish perspective) statement. Prior to Peter’s statement, the message of the Twelve was that Gentiles could be saved only the way Jews were saved. But at this council, Peter, under the power of the Holy Spirit, officially recognized (in light of Paul’s revelations and ministry) that Jews now had to be saved as Gentiles (Acts 15.6-11). This was a watershed moment. After Peter made this declaration Paul wrote the Galatians that anyone who preached a gospel different from his was to be accursed (Galatians 1.8-9). Paul could not have written this prior to the Council of Jerusalem. Prior to Peter’s statement the Twelve legitimately preached the gospel the earthly Christ had revealed to them. During this same period Paul preached the gospel the heavenly Christ had revealed to him. Both were valid gospel messages; both had been commanded by the Lord. However, after the Council of Jerusalem, only Paul’s gospel of grace was valid. The gospel of the kingdom preached by the Twelve was formally supplanted by Paul’s gospel. Paul’s gospel focused upon the work of Christ, rather than upon the identity of Christ.

2. The Kingdom for Jesus and Paul


The message John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Twelve preached was that the King of Israel had arrived and that the kingdom of heaven was near (Matthew 3.1-2, 4.12-17, 9.35; Luke 3.2-17, 4.16-19). This kingdom was an earthly, political kingdom in which the Messiah would reign as King (Zechariah 14.9). It was the kingdom proclaimed by the prophets in which Israel would be preeminent among the nations of the earth (Deuteronomy 28.1, 13) and for which the Magi (Matthew 2.1-12), Zacharias (Luke 1.8-17, 67-79), Mary (Luke 1.26-38, 46-55), Simeon and Anna (Luke 2.25-38) longed. In this kingdom, Israel would become a nation of priests as God told Moses (Exodus 19.6). To enjoy this kingdom required that the Jewish nation repent and accept Jesus as their King and Messiah. Once the nation repented, God would fulfill the promises He had made in His covenants to Israel. The primary beneficiaries of the “kingdom of heaven” were Jews, not Gentiles, since God’s covenant promises focused upon Jews (Ephesians 2.11-12).2 Ever since God had called Abraham, He had dealt exclusively with the nation of Israel. God had no direct dealings with Gentiles as He had before Abraham. Beginning with Abraham, God created a new plan in His dealing with the human race. This explains why Jesus commanded His disciples not to go to Gentiles (Matthew 10.5-6) and why He had contact with only two Gentiles (one by proxy) during His three-year ministry.3 The Old Testament prophesies revealed that Gentiles would be blessed through Israel (Isaiah 42.1-4, 60.1-3). During the Messianic kingdom, Israel will become preeminent among the nations of the world with the Lord Himself reigning as David’s greater Son (Deuteronomy 28.1-14; Luke 1.32; cf. Zechariah 14.9). In His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) Jesus taught about this program. The Sermon has nothing to do with the Church, the body of Christ. It has everything to do with Israel’s earthly kingdom. The Sermon on the Mount is the charter of that kingdom and revealed what life will be like when Jesus reigns on earth as King.


Paul referred to “kingdom” 14 times in his epistles. To the discerning reader it should be clear that Paul meant something different from Jesus in His references to the kingdom. When Paul used the term, he meant God’s overall realm of rule (Romans 14.17; 1 Corinthians 4.20, 6.9-10; 15.24, 50; Galatians 5.21; Ephesians 5.5; Colossians 1.13, 4.11; 1 Thessalonians 2.12; 2 Thessalonians 1.5; 2 Timothy 4.1, 18). Thus, for Paul, the kingdom included both Israel’s earthly kingdom as well as the Church, the body of Christ’s reign as a heavenly people. Paul, as apostle of the Gentiles (Romans 11.13), wrote to the body of Christ and had nothing to say about the kingdom in respect to Israel’s covenants, Old Testament prophecy, or Jesus reigning as David’s Son.

Paul emphasized the Church, the body of Christ. This terminology was entirely absent from the teaching of Jesus and the Twelve and unknown until the ascended Lord revealed it to Paul. It was new. Peter, James, John, Jude, etc., did not teach it and knew nothing of it until they learned about it from Paul. Paul taught that the citizenship and position of the body of Christ was heavenly (Ephesians 1.3, 2.6; Philippians 3.20; Colossians 1.5), not earthly as was citizenship of the kingdom of heaven. Paul’s last written words were, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4.18). For Paul, God’s kingdom as related to the body of Christ was heavenly and wholly different from the earthly kingdom proclaimed by John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Twelve.

3. Presentation of Jesus as King and Head


The gospels present Jesus as King of the Jews (Matthew 2.2, 27.11, 29, 37; John 18.39, 19.14; Luke 1.32) and as Messiah or Christ (Matthew 1.1, 16, 18, 16.16, 20, 26.63, 27.17, 22; Mark 15.32; Luke 2.11, 26, 4.41, 23.2, 35; John 1.41, 4.25-26; 11.27, 17.3, 20.31). Jesus came as minister to Israel to fulfill the Old Testament promises (Romans 15.8).


For Paul, the Lord Jesus Christ was the ascended Lord, not the earthly Messiah (2 Corinthians 5.16). Paul never referred to Jesus as the King of the Church. In relation to Israel, Jesus is the King of Israel, the King of the Jews. He is not the King of the Church for the Church is His body, the body of Christ, not a kingdom. A king has subjects. Members of the Church, the body of Christ are joint-heirs (Romans 8.17) not subjects. As such, the proper title for Christ for us is Head (Ephesians 1.22-23, 4.15, 5.23; Colossians 1.18) and Lord (Romans 1.4, 7, 5.11, 21, 14.9; Ephesians 1.17; Philippians 2.11, 3.8; 1 Thessalonians 3.11).

4. Repentance, Baptism, and Faith


We have touched on these already. Jesus proclaimed repentance, baptism, and belief. These three were bound together in Jesus’ kingdom gospel. Repentance was the first step in kingdom salvation (Matthew 3.2, 4.17; Mark 1.4, 15, 6.12; Luke 3.3, 5.32, 13.3, 5, 24.47). Peter continued this message after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. He demanded that the Jews repent, be baptized, and believe (Acts 2.38, 3.19). Water baptism was required for salvation in the kingdom gospel (Mark 16.16; Acts 2.38, 8.34-38). Saving faith was the belief that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Son of God (Matthew 16.15-16; John 11.26-27; Acts 8.36-37), not that He died for our sins and rose from the dead. Another way of stating this is that the message of salvation of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the message of the Twelve was based upon the identity of Christ while Paul’s gospel of grace focused on the work of Christ–that He died for our sins and arose from the dead.

Notice also the content of what most know as the Lord’s Prayer regarding the Lord’s words about forgiveness of sins. In the gospels of Luke and Matthew we have a record of this prayer. Luke recorded:

It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” And He said to them, “When you pray, say:

‘Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.
‘Give us each day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation’” (Luke 11.1-4).

Matthew recorded:

“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

“Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

14 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions (Matthew 6.7-15).

In both accounts Jesus taught that God’s forgiveness depended upon one forgiving others. Paul’s teaching was entirely different.


Paul’s gospel is a gospel of faith alone: faith + 0. It is sola fide. Paul’s gospel is a grace gospel, not a kingdom gospel. Paul’s gospel of salvation is that Christ died for our sins and rose again (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). Jesus’ gospel and the gospel of the Twelve was that Jesus was the promised Messiah. No one today preaches that one is saved by believing Jesus was the promised Messiah. Why not? Because that was the gospel of the kingdom, not the gospel of the grace of God. Our gospel is that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. That is what we must believe for salvation.

Contrast what the Lord taught in the Lord’s Prayer with what Paul taught regarding forgiveness. Paul wrote the Ephesians the following:

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you (Ephesians 4.32).

A vast difference exists between what Jesus and Paul taught about forgiveness. Jesus taught God’s forgiveness depended upon forgiving others. Paul taught that the believer’s forgiveness was an accomplished fact and because of this we should forgive others (Ephesians 1.7; Colossians 1.14).

 5. Audiences of Jesus and Paul


Jesus came as Israel’s Messiah (Romans 15.8). His ministry was to Jews exclusively (Matthew 10.5-6). As noted above, He made two exceptions: the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15.21-28) and the Roman centurion (Matthew 8.1-13 cf. Luke 7.1-10). Because of the great faith of these individuals Jesus relented His Jew only policy to grant their requests.

Following Jesus’ resurrection and ascension Peter and the Twelve addressed the nation of Israel. Most people think the disciples ministered to Gentiles as well as Jews in light of the so-called “Great Commission” of Matthew 28.16-20. But the biblical record states otherwise. The Twelve continued to address Jews only. They recognized the Jewish priority of God’s kingdom program proclaimed by the prophets that Gentiles were to be blessed through Israel. Because of this, they could not go to Gentiles until the Jewish nation repented and believed Jesus was the promised Messiah. To have done so would have been to disobey God. Thus, even in the face of severe persecution, the Twelve, the leaders, refused to leave Jerusalem and go into Gentile territory (Acts 8.1). Even as late as Acts 11.19 (probably about 38 A.D.) the gospel preached from the Jerusalem church was to Jews alone.


Paul was saved and commissioned as “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11.13). As we have seen, Jesus ministered exclusively to Jews and the Twelve were apostles to Israel, not to Gentiles. Jesus had promised them rulership over Israel, not over Gentiles (Matthew 19.28). God began an entirely new program with Paul. The Old Testament kingdom program was in place during Jesus’ earthly ministry and would have been fulfilled if the nation had repented. Paul explained this truth in his excursus on Israel in Romans 9-11. Paul wrote Israel will repent and God will fulfill His covenant promises to the nation (Romans 11.25-27). The next event on the prophetic timeline as revealed in the Old Testament was the Day of the Lord–a time of divine wrath. Peter expected this event to occur soon and quoted Joel on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2.14-21). But God in His mercy interrupted this kingdom program to bless Gentiles in spite of due Israel’s disobedience. In His matchless God grace delayed His wrath. He saved Paul to minister to Gentiles. Thus, Paul, a Jew, became the “Jewish agent” to bless Gentiles. He typified a reborn Israel and this is why he referred to himself as one “untimely born” (1 Corinthians 15.8). God revealed to Paul the body of Christ and other secrets He had kept hidden from the prophets and the Twelve.4

6. Jesus Ministered Under Law, Paul Ministered Under Grace


Jesus ministered under the Law of Moses throughout his earthly ministry (Matthew 5.17-18). He constantly referred to the Mosaic Law as a basis for His ministry and to authenticate His ministry (Matthew 7.12, 8.4, 12.5, 12, 23.1-3; Mark 1.44; 10.3-4; Luke 10.25-29). Gentiles had nothing to do with the Mosaic Law. God gave it to the Jews, not Gentiles (Ephesians 2.11-13).


Paul was born under the Mosaic Law. He was a Pharisee who knew and rigorously enforced the Law (Philippians 3.5-6). But after his conversion, Paul taught that the those who believed his gospel were not under the Law of Moses. Paul taught believers are under grace rather than Law (Romans 6.14-15). He taught that the believer of his gospel was free from the Law of Moses and that Law had no claim upon him due to the believer’s identification with Christ in his crucifixion and resurrection (Romans 7.1-12, 8.2, 10.4). Paul taught that only by becoming dead to the Law can one live the Christian life (Galatians 2.19, 4.21, 5.1, 18).5


To reconcile Jesus and Paul we must be faithful to the text and recognize that major differences exist between their ministries. The Scriptures do not contradict one another for God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14.33). We simply need to recognize that God had a program for Israel which He revealed to the prophets and a new program for the Church, the body of Christ, that He revealed to Paul.

Jesus and the Twelve ministered to Jews under the Mosaic Law and preached the gospel of the kingdom to fulfill the Old Testament prophesies of Israel’s earthly kingdom with the Messiah as King (Romans 15.8). Paul ministered to Gentiles (Romans 11.13) under grace, apart from the Law, and disclosed secrets the ascended and glorified Lord had revealed to him. Paul taught that believers of his gospel, the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20.24; 1 Corinthians 15.1-4; Romans 2.16, 16.25), were members of the body of Christ with Christ as its Head, not its King. Finally, in addition to the differences noted above, were other “secrets” the risen Lord revealed unto Paul alone. These are the subject of the article Paul’s “Mystery.” What can we conclude with regard to reconciling Jesus and Paul?

Saul of Tarsus did not become Paul the Apostle by human efforts (Romans 1.1-6; Galatians 1.1, 15-24). He became the apostle of the grace of God by the sovereign will of the glorified Christ. Just as God established His plan with Israel beginning with Abraham, He began a new plan with Paul. God created Israel beginning with Abraham. God created the Church, the body of Christ, beginning with Paul. The risen Lord revealed His plan through Paul just as He revealed His plan through Abraham and later, Moses. The two are different but complementary and not contradictory, for God cannot contradict God.

The Lord Jesus Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, Israel and Church. God is sovereign over both His earthly people, Israel, and over His heavenly people, the Church, the body of Christ. We both have one Master. Each has its own glory and purpose before God. The glory of God is in heterogeneity and in homogeneity. Both Israel and the Church are citizens of the kingdom of God as Paul expressed it–the rule of God over all creation. We share different blessings and serve under different contexts but have the same Lord. Paul taught this reality in his great example of the olive tree6 in Romans 11. Summing up his revelation, he concluded by exclaiming:

33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? 35 Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen (Romans 11.33-36).

1 Some bristle at the idea there is more than one gospel. We have one gospel today: 1 Corinthians 15.1-4, the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20.24). However, the Scriptures are clear that for a period of time two gospels were in effect: from Paul’s return from Arabia after his salvation until Acts 15.11. During this period, the Twelve proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom and Paul proclaimed the gospel of the grace of God. According to Acts 15.1, 5 the gospel of the kingdom required works for salvation. Paul’s gospel, the gospel of the grace of God, was sola fide, faith alone. The gospel of the kingdom focused upon Christ’s identity, who He was. Paul’s gospel focused upon Christ’s work: He died for our sins and rose again. After Acts 15.11, only one gospel remained, Paul’s gospel. This explains Paul’s words of Galatians 1.6-9.
The phrase “kingdom of heaven” is unique to Matthew. The phrase is a genitive of source and means that the source of this kingdom is from heaven. It is not a genitive of location meaning it is located in heaven. The kingdom of heaven is future and will be located on earth. Jesus told His disciples to pray for its establishment on the  earth (Matthew 6.10). The chief beneficiaries will be Jews (Deuteronomy 28.1, 13). During this time God will fulfill His covenantal promises to them. Gentiles will be blessed in this kingdom through Israel (Isaiah 42.6, 49.6, 60.3; Zechariah 8.23) for Israel will be the premier nation among the nations (Deuteronomy 28.1, 13), a nation of priests (Exodus 19.5-6). The Church, the body of Christ, will be joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8.16-17). God has not revealed what this entails or what our role will be during His Millennial reign.
See the author’s study, Two Remarkable Healings.
See the author’s study, Paul’s Mystery.
See the author’s study, Paul and the Law.
See the author’s study, The Olive Tree.

©2011 Don Samdahl. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold.

Updated February 27, 2014.

154 Responses to Jesus vs. Paul

  1. scott leonard says:

    Thanks for this article. I have some questions as I learn:

    If this is true–that there is a difference in the salvation of their audiences–are you saying none of the saved among the audiences of Peter and James were born again? Obviously that is a problem, since Peter says twice in ch 1 that they were recipients of the new birth.

    Also, 1Peter2:10 he says, “for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God….” Sounds like he was talking to Gentiles, like Paul in Eph 2:12.

    And does Eph 3:6 conflict with what you’re saying? (…the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”?

    Also, didn’t Jesus give the same Great Commission to ALL the disciples in Mt 28: “…make disciples of all the nations….teaching them to observe ALL that I have commanded you…” ??

    • doctrine doctrine says:


      Thanks for your questions. I’ll answer them in order.
      1. Both the audiences of Peter and Paul were saved. What changed was the content of the gospel. How was Peter saved? Read Mt. 16. Martha–see John 11. We are saved not by believing Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God. We are saved by believing Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead (Paul’s gospel).
      2. Peter wrote to Jewish believers. See 1 Pet. 1.1 cf. James 1.1. He quoted from Exodus 19.6. Moses spoke these prophetic words to Jews.
      3. Paul revealed that under his gospel no distinction exists between Jew and Gentile. Both are one in Christ. Paul was the only one who wrote about the body of Christ. Paul revealed this was a mystery, i.e., a secret. The Twelve knew nothing of it until they learned about it from Paul. The risen Christ revealed this to Paul.
      4. Jesus gave the Great Commission to Jewish believers not Gentiles. Paul revealed our commission in 2 Cor. 5.16-21. See my article The Great Commission.

      The great formal change in salvation and the ministries of Peter and Paul came in Acts 15. Acts 15.11 is The Great Hinge (article I’m writing now). Before this, people were saved under both Peter and Paul’s gospels. After Acts 15.11 Peter declared that only Paul’s gospel was valid. This is why Paul could write such a strong statement in Gal. 1.6-9. Before Acts 15 (Peter’s statement) Paul could not have written this.

  2. scott leonard says:

    Again, thanks so so much for sharing this. I am learning.

    Is it the word “aliens” in I Peter 1:1 that demands that Peter is addressing Jewish believers, (I’m an alien, too!), or that they were scattered? Also, I Peter 4:3,4 seems to indicate they were Gentiles who used to sin with the rest of them? Scofield sees 2:10 as to Gentiles. JFB sees 1Pe 1:14; 2:9, 10; 3:6; 4:3 as clear evidence it was written to Gentile Christians as well as Jewish ones.

    It seems your last point is a stretch, in that whatever Jesus commanded in that Commission, it was for the whole world, for all his people, to the end of the age.

    So please give more light, if you have time. Thanks!

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Two words govern “aliens”–παρεπίδημος (someone who has come to live in a foreign land) and διασπορά (usually of Jews dispersed to foreign lands particularly as a result of the Babylonian captivity). In the NT these were identified as Hellenists, i.e., Jews who had adopted Greek culture. See Acts 2.5-10 and James 1.1. His quotations from the OT referred to promises made to Jews not Gentiles. We have no evidence that Peter (or any of the Twelve) had a ministry to Gentiles. See esp. Gal. 2.7-9.

  3. Jcbmack says:

    Actually Peter does have a mission to the Gentiles prior to what you say:

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Peter’s visit to Cornelius in Acts 10 was a one-time event and occurred after Paul was saved. When Peter returned to Jerusalem we read that the apostles and other believers were upset that Peter had gone to a Gentile (Acts 11.1-2). If they had been evangelizing Gentiles why would they have been upset? We have no Biblical record of the Twelve ministering to Gentiles (cf. Acts 11.19, 21.19-20 cf. Galatians 2.7-9). Evangelism to Gentiles did not begin until after Paul was saved and such ministry was done almost exclusively by Paul or through his converts. The commentary you mention is an example of the non-Scriptural thinking I have written about in The Christian Myth.

  4. Thomas says:

    Every time I read the Bible, one of the interesting things is that you take different things from it. It is no more static than we are as people and individuals.

    I believe in God’s grace, but also that we as humans translate it (as best we can). I’ve gotten harder on Paul than I used to be, perhaps because I find his “translation” lacking and see so many human flaws in him. Arrogance is chief among those.

    His tone is often dismissive and even snide regarding the Disciples. He takes what he wants from their messaging and adds his own. When he runs into disagreement, he passes off his view as divine knowledge, which can be used for pretty much any religious stance. With all due respect Paul, your “visions” matter little when compared to the actual experiences of the disciples who lived with Jesus. I’ll trust those who were there over you and indeed, if they’re disagreeing with you, those particular views seem even more suspect.

    Paul comes off as a photocopy of the Word and like all photocopies there are distortions and a falling away from the true, original. Paul was a man of deep faith and an incredibly effective salesman. Keeping with the law, especially adult circumcision (ouch!) is harder to sell, thus it gets the boot. Jesus’ death a downer? Not at all, in fact Jesus’ death was great news (I see it as both personally).

    It’s not controversial to say that Paul was the most successful at spreading the Word and that without him we likely would not have had Christianity, at least not of the same size and scope. But that is not the same as saying that his message was accurate, or even close to the reality of Christ. God is God, but you have to wonder how much of Jesus’ message as God’s son was lost, plastered over by Paul’s more successful conversions.

    In the event of Jesus’ second coming (a literal one, imagine a man bathed in light walking in robes), I imagine his first question for us would be why we aren’t obeying the Law? Just because something is easier (not obeying the law), does not mean it is still what God wants, Gentile or Jew.

    • doctrine doctrine says:


      Without Paul, we don’t have Christianity. The 12 knew nothing of the Church, the body of Christ, our identification in Christ’s death and resurrection, the gospel of grace, the rapture, the blinding of Israel, etc. Furthermore, the 12 never ministered to Gentiles. Paul always had to defend his ministry from those who wanted to put Gentiles under the Mosaic Law. This was one of the reasons he declared that he had worked harder and suffered more than all of the 12. He also recognized that by the Lord’s grace he had been shown things they had no clue of and that these revelations had superseded the things the 12 knew. In truth, like Moses, Paul was probably the most humble man on the planet.

      • Thomas says:

        Thank you for the response. However, your comments are an excellent defense of being a “Pauline”, but not necessarily a Christian. It seems a defense for Paul essentially making things up. The bottom line is that he was not there. The 12 bore witness DIRECTLY to the gospel of Christ. No translation, no A-B-C communication. They were there, so I find it strange to discount them, or to place Paul’s interpretations superior to theirs. I find it equally strange to say they knew nothing of the Church when Christ told Peter that he was the rock on which he would build his Church and is recognized as the first Pope. Or did Christ know nothing of the Church too?
        The 12 were not nearly as effective at selling the message as Paul. Paul was better at telling his audience what they wanted to hear, which raises my original concern of the message of Christ vs. what Paul created. Your description of Paul declaring that he had worked harder and suffered more than all of the 12 is not at all indicative of a humble person. Paul’s arrogance does not make him right or wrong.
        I agree, without Paul we do not have Christianity. It’s whether that Christianity has much relation to Christ’s actual life, teachings, death, and resurrection that is the central question. From his writings and the non-Pauline books of the New Testament, there are serious philosophical differences.

        • doctrine doctrine says:


          The Twelve received their apostolic commission and doctrine from the earthly Lord. Paul received his apostolic commission and doctrine from the heavenly Lord (Acts 9.3-16, 22.6-21, 26.13-18). Both were direct experiences. One was earthly, the other heavenly. Paul related he had received his gospel directly from the risen Lord (Galatians 1.11-12, 2.1). He received information about the Lord’s Supper directly from the risen Lord (1 Corinthians 11.23-25). Notice how many times Paul wrote, “Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God…” All the doctrine Paul termed “secret” (μυστήριον) he received directly from the glorified Lord (cf. Ephesians 3.1-7). The Twelve knew nothing of these doctrines until they learned them from Paul. Even at the end of Peter’s life he had a hard time comprehending them (2 Peter 3.15-16). Now as for arrogance, Paul declared he was the least of all saints (Ephesians 3.8). Does that sound arrogant? One must understand the context of Paul’s statement of having worked harder than all the rest (1 Corinthians 15.10) and suffered more (2 Corinthians 11). Paul was always under attack and having the defend his ministry. That is why he said those things.

          • Marylyn says:

            I agree with Thomas,

            We have to remember who wrote all those books you quote, Paul wrote 13 books, and 2 Peter was written by a follower of Paul. I am not saying I agree with everything, “Trust no man”, but, I am suspicious of Paul and his contradictory teachings and I study more because of it. Thanks for the article, it opened my eyes, but in the way it was supposed to I gather.

            • doctrine doctrine says:

              2 Peter was written by Peter. Paul is not contradictory. He received his doctrine from the risen, glorified Christ (Galatians 1.11-12). The Twelve received their doctrine from Christ in His earthly ministry. That ministry was to Israel under the Mosaic Law. The Church is not Jewish and it is not under the Law. These are two entirely different environments and programs.

              • Becky says:

                I am curious to know what Thomas and Marilyn follow. Jesus sent Paul to the Gentiles. Jesus, our Savior. Either Paul heard directly from the Lord or he didn’t. If he sprinkled truth in a bowl of arrogance and pride, then he is the worst kind of deceiver, and all his poisoned writings should be ripped out of the bible. By Thomas’ and Marilyn’s statements, Jesus sent us a deceiver or Paul was an absolute liar and never heard from the Lord Jesus. Paul fought the good fight, finished the course, and kept the faith.

  5. MVS says:

    Absolutely great article!
    Very refreshing to find out that there are still some who read their bibles!

  6. Shelvin says:

    This is a great article. Thank you very much.
    I pray that all would come to understand the powder of God that can transform lives as the Lord did in the Apostle Paul on that road to Damascus, and that the Holy Spirit would direct us in the pursuit of truth.

    Thank you once again to all who wrote this article .

  7. Faith alone says:

    Can someone just believe Romans 10:9 Confess Jesus is Lord and Believe God raise him from the dead and they are saved? or only believing 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 alone saves or is it both?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      1 Corinthians 15.1-4 is the most complete and clear definition of Paul’s gospel. Romans 10.9 is a restating of it in an abbreviated form. The point is that we are saved solely by the work of Christ on the cross and the proof that His work accomplished the payment of sins was His resurrection. Salvation by faith alone is simply believing what God has declared. It is trust in a person–God Himself.

  8. Saved Forever says:

    Why use NASB bible? The King James bible is the only Bible that is not a Copy of the Vatican Bible with edits?
    Example NASB
    1 Peter 2
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    As Newborn Babes

    2 Therefore, putting aside all [a]malice and all deceit and [b]hypocrisy and [c]envy and all [d]slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the [e]pure [f]milk of the word, so that by it you may grow [g]in respect to salvation,

    and KJV
    we are already saved but growing in faith

    KJV 1 Peter 2:2
    1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

    2As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

    The King JAmes bible is the only true translation in English that is not a lie

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      The KJV translators were godly men but more manuscripts have been discovered and studied since their day. The real issue is to discern the best texts, for they are the basis of translations. This is a matter of textual criticism. In a nutshell, we have 105% of the information and the challenge is to determine the right 100%. The KJV is a very good translation but it is not perfect.

  9. Saved Forever says:

    What are all of your thoughts on the Roman Road and compare it to 1 cor. 15:1-4 please

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      1 Corinthians 15.1-4 is the clearest expression of Paul’s gospel. Romans is the clearest expression of the faith + 0 aspect of that gospel and man’s need of it.

  10. William says:

    Did Jesus ever make a reference of Paul in His earthly ministry? I think maybe so. Paul described himself as “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints,..” Eph 3:8, and “For I am the least of the apostles,..” 1 Cor 15:9. Paul never seemed to overcome the fact that he was a brutal persecutor of those early Jewish believers that Jesus was the promised one of Israel, their Messiah.

    Jesus states something peculiar in Matt 11:11 when speaking of John the Baptist. “ Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Matt 11:11 (emp added)

    It certainly indicates here that whoever claims to be the least in the Kingdom is greater than John the Baptist. This is how Paul repeatedly described himself. Am I reading too much into this?

    Next to Jesus I consider Paul the greatest man to ever live.

    I cannot thank you enough for this website!


    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Thank you and interesting thought. For my money, like you, Paul is THE great man apart from the Lord Himself. Look forward to meeting and thanking him.

    • Becky says:

      Wow, what a catch! Paul said, Eph 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ……..ive actually looked for “signs” of Paul in the four gospels but never saw this. Thanks so much.

  11. Saved Forever says:

    Was everyone saved by faith alone throughout the whole bible or did they had to do animal sacrifices to cover the sins?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      The idea of salvation by faith alone was unknown until Paul (apparent exception: Abraham). How one was saved before Paul’s clear statement (1 Corinthians 15.1-4) is rather difficult to determine. The record is unclear. It seems a Jew under the Law had to offer animal sacrifices and believe that they covered his sin. Jesus told the rich young ruler to keep the Law for eternal life. Jesus saw the faith of the lame man and told him he was forgiven. Peter, Mary, were saved by believing in the identity of Christ–that He was the Messiah, the Son of God. Water baptism was also required according to Mark 1.4, 16.16; Acts 2.38, 22.16. Only from Paul’s revelation from the ascended Lord do we learn that salvation for us is by faith alone in the death and resurrection of Christ.

  12. kevin says:

    If the 12 or (the nation of israel)didn’t know anything about death and ressurection of christ? Why then it was foretold on Isaiah 53. It clearly states that jews were aniticipating the coming of their messiah and that he will fulfill what was prophesied?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Isaiah 53 is the only OT passage that deals with the Messiah’s work regarding sin. In contrast, hundreds of passages deal with the establishment of the earthly kingdom and Israel’s preeminence. Read Luke 1-2 and notice the emphasis: kingdom vs. sin. What were they looking for? When Jesus explicitly spoke of His death and resurrection, the 12 had no clue what He was talking about. Why? God kept it hidden (Luke 18.31-34).

  13. kevin says:

    If the twelve were directed to preach only to the jews as Matthew 10:5-6 says? why then on mark16:15-16 jesus said what he said? Could you please give me a clearer understanding on how to make out of both verses? And also I read faith and works in james solving the problem, I understand that faith alone is necessary for believers to be save,and enter heaven. I don’t see any verses on old testament that believers entered heaven. Is their salvation a physical one?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      See Acts 1.8 and Acts 8.1. The 12 were to go to Gentiles after Israel. This presumed Israel would repent. A number of OT verses state Gentiles would be blessed by Israel and Jews will fulfill this role in the Messianic kingdom (see Zechariah 8.20-23). OT believers had no concept of dying and going to heaven. That is why you find no verses about it. Believers in the OT went to paradise, a.k.a. Abraham’s bosom (cf. Luke 16.22). This is where Jesus went as the creed says, “He descended into hell.” In His resurrection He emptied hell (Paradise) and took them to heaven to await resurrection. Dying and going to heaven is a Pauline doctrine.

      • Raphael says:

        “hell (Paradise)”? Please explain?

        All that I am aware of, is that the word “hell” is not always used in scripture as we understand the meaning of it to be (Lake of fire)…but that there was also a physical place called “Hell” (The city dump where the dogs gnashed their teeth, I think) and the “waiting room” space (perhaps cloud of witnesses). Is this what you are referring to, Paradise being translated into the word “Hell” in NT scriptures?

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          Before Jesus’ resurrection hell was divided into two areas: paradise (the place Jesus descended) and a place of torment. See Luke 16. The place of torment will be swallowed up by the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20). Paradise will be the entire earth and in heaven.

  14. Gilly10 says:

    Jesus Christ said this “This gospel of the KINGDOM shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14)’. However, Paul said this “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! (Galatians 1:8).” I would like to know what are your thoughts about these two verses? Also, based on these two verses what should we do, preach the gospel of the kingdom or the gospel of grace?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Paul’s gospel, 1 Corinthians 15.1-4 is the only valid gospel today. The gospel of the kingdom was to believe Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God and be baptized. No cross, no resurrection. It will again be preached, just as Jesus said, before the end, for in those days, the issue will be who is the true God–the Antichrist or Jesus Christ.

  15. Reda says:

    Thank you for this open dialogue. May God’s presence be sensed and experienced by all, and may God continue to reveal and clarify to us all. There seems to be this distinction between the gospel of the Kingdom versus the gospel of Grace. Would you consider that the word ‘Christ’ within the gospel of Grace simply encompass all that is within the gospel of the Kingdom? For who is the ‘Christ’ if not the recognition/admission/profession of the identity of Jesus. Maybe too simplistic, but if accepted, then it is no longer to choose one or the other, rather they fit together. A continuation if you may rather than a distinction.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      “Christ” is the Greek rendering of “Messiah,” or Anointed. This title primarily with relation to Israel but Paul also used it in writing Gentile churches. Both Israel and the Church have the same Savior. But what is distinctive is Paul’s revelation of Christ as “Head.” This was never revealed to Israel.

  16. Rodney says:

    I appreciate your clear well thought out articles. I have a question concerning the gospel preached after Acts 15. In Acts 21:20-24 we get an account where after Paul proclaims the great things God had done to the Gentiles through his ministry, James wants him to observe the myriads of Jews that are zealous of the Law and then to take a Jewish vow to prove to Jews that he doesn’t teach them to forsake the Law of Moses. Paul still seems to have a separate ministry to the Jews after Acts 15. Could the prohibition to preach any other gospel (Gal 1:8) mean only to Gentiles and that Peter and James could still preach the Kingdom gospel to the Jews?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Thank you. I don’t think so. Notice Peter’s words in Acts 15.11. See my article, The Great Hinge.

      • Rodney says:

        I see your point in the article. Your analysis is that only the gospel of grace was valid after Acts 15 so I am puzzled by James’ behavior in encouraging Jews to follow the law and coercing Paul to engage in a Jewish vow process in Acts 21. It seems Paul is going along because he states that he has “become all things to all men” (See 1 Cor 9:19-22). Apparently James could not shake loose of Judaistic practices and did not understand the concept of salvation apart from the works of the law. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this subject.

        Thank you for your time.

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          It appears that, as you wrote, James could not come to grips with Paul’s teachings even though they had come to an understanding in Acts 15. It was difficult (cf. 2 Peter 3.14-16). The Jews had been under the Law for 1,500 years and salvation had been on the basis of faith and works. Paul’s taught believers of his gospel were not under that Mosaic Law and that salvation was by faith alone. The most reasonable explanation for Paul’s behavior in Acts 21 was his great love for the Jews. The Lord had told Paul they would not listen to him but some lessons are learned the hard way. As a result, Paul ended up under house arrest–the prisoner of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3.1). Paul finally learned his lesson.

  17. Dennis McLelland says:

    Good article – you must study Les Feldick…

  18. Ryan says:

    So after reading the article i am still a little confused does Pauls teachings contradict those of Jesus and James?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      If we look at what Jesus/James taught and what Paul taught as one program we have major contradictions. If we look at what Jesus/James taught and what Paul taught as separate programs the contradictions vanish. Paul got his information from the same Lord as the Twelve. But the Twelve and James were apostles of Israel. Paul was the apostle of the Gentiles. My articles Faith and Works in James: Resolving the Problem and The Great Hinge may help in sorting this out.

  19. Jonathan Laughlin says:

    Saul is a Pharisee. The “leavening” Jesus warned about was the same as SAUL (who happily witnesses Stephens murder…and approved another death sentence “in absence”). “Pauls gospel” is feel good garbage. I can rob you (SAUL ADMITS…hence the phrase ” robbing Peter to pay Paul) and promote lies, as long as it all eventually gets “God” some glory then all is peachy. Paul/Saul is Bull to the SH1T, and you would hafta be totally misled and naive to not realize that -if a guy contradicts Jesus Christ my Savior, -and usurps Peters appointed (by Jesus) position as aposltle to the Gentiles…then he (Paul/Saul the murderous Pharisee) should be deemed “Anti-Christ”, since he deliberately and consistently attempts to contaminate THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, no matter how stinking flowery and confusing the seed of Satan may be. God bless. :)

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Jesus chose Peter and the other apostles in His earthly ministry. He chose Paul in His heavenly ministry (Acts 9.1-9; Galatians 1). Jesus and the Twelve ministered to Jews, not Gentiles. Paul was the apostle of the Gentiles (Romans 11.13). Apart from Paul we have no gospel of grace (Acts 20.24) and no gospel of salvation. The Jerusalem church learned this gospel from Paul. Peter declared they were wrong and Paul was right (Acts 15.1, 5, 11). The gospel of Jesus Christ for today is Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). Only by believing it is one saved.

      • Joe says:


        If I may add my two cents worth even Peter himself says to follow Paul , “even though it’s hard to understand” (paraphrase, so I shouldn’t use quotation marks I guess)…Second Peter chapter 2 vs 16 I think.

    • Gerald "Marty" Nichols, Jr. says:

      I note that “Doctrine” answered your unseemly remarks in a gentle spirit, which is one sign he is on the right side of the disagreement. You miss the entire message of the Word of God by dissing Paul, whom Christ chose to speak truth to our time under grace. What is scary for you and your ilk is that there is no other path to heaven and eternity with Christ than that marked out by Paul.

  20. Eric says:

    Jesus preached justification by faith mostly. Not by works which any man can boast. Rather, faith in the bronze snake that Moses held up in the wilderness on a pole, so that all who look upon the snake will receive eternal live. Jesus is that snake on a pole. Get it?
    Those who eat Jesus will live because of Jesus. You search the Scriptures because in them you believe you have eternal life and those very Scriptures point to Jesus (the bronze snake on a pole), but you are unwilling to come to Jesus so that he can give you eternal life. Give you, get it? As in gift.
    Stop putting yourself between a rock and a hard place. Eternal life is easy.
    Moses put God between a rock and a hard place.
    Moses made a bet with God that God could not strike Moses dead before Moses got the children of Israel across the parted Red Sea. Moses held up his staff to try and make it easy for God, but Moses still won. Get it?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Scriptures are needed to support your point. Jesus operated under the Mosaic Law. See Matthew 19.16-17. What did Jesus tell the man? We find no record of Jesus nor the Twelve preaching justification by faith alone. Jesus and the Twelve preached faith + works. Salvation by faith alone was a new revelation Paul received from the risen Lord. See Acts 15.1, 5. The Twelve knew nothing of this doctrine as late as 51 A.D. This is why they argued with Paul. See my article, The Great Hinge.

  21. Annie says:

    At least 2 of your points are wrong!

    Jesus: 6. Operated under the Mosaic Law

    Jesus did not “operate” under the law of Moses.
    In Luke 16:16 he tells us that it was over and done
    with by the time of John and that many people were forcing their way into the Kingdom but it was oh so hard for anyone to drop their old Mosaic ways (sacrifices and the rest of
    the ritualistic religious voodoo). Many prophets, 1 Samuel and even a couple of psalms complain that repentance and good justice is all that God requires. Jesus would not have preached the end of the old ways if he was not observing the new way (his commandments) himself. That should put an end to the argument that Jesus perfectly kept the law of Moses and hence was not of the new system of grace. Just look at what grace is – the unmerited favour or mercy of God. That is what repentance and forgiveness is all about. Jesus preached grace when he said “be merciful….”

    Paul: 4. Preached faith alone as necessary for salvation

    Nope. 2Cor7:10 Godly sorrow brings repentance unto salvation.
    from acts repentance + deeds.

    I believe Paul was a clever clogs whom was misunderstood by most even to this day.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Jesus referred constantly to the Law and the Prophets throughout His ministry. Matthew 5.17-19, 7.12, 8.4, 19.16-19 are just a few examples of how He was subject to it. The animal sacrifices were hardly “ritualistic religious voodoo.” They were pictures that declared the seriousness of sin and that death, and that the shedding of blood, was required for its forgiveness (Hebrews 9.22). God spent hundreds of years teaching this point so that when He offered His Son it would be understood (1 Peter 1.18-19). Paul wrote believers. When he referred to repentance it was in terms of sanctification as is the case of 2 Corinthians 7.10. Only one time did Paul write of repentance in reference to unbelievers: Romans 2.4. Salvation is a process: justification, sanctification, and glorification. To interpret a passage we must understand its context. In this case Paul was exhorting the Corinthians to “salvation” in the sense of their sanctification–living godly lives. The gospel is simple. It is believing Christ died for our sins and arose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). Once believed, the other things can began to make sense.

  22. michael says:

    You say paul unlike the other twelve was an apostle to the gentiles. But wasn’t Jesus last comandment to his twelve for them to go out into the whole earth and preach the gospel. I agree with paul when his words are inagreement Jesus or when he is in agreement with GODs charactor.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Yes. Throughout the OT were prophecies of God blessing Gentiles (the nations) through Israel. Jesus told the 12 in Acts 1.8 to start in Jerusalem and then spread out. Peter preached to the whole house of Israel (Acts 2.36). But before they could go to Gentiles, Israel had to repent and trust in their Messiah. All Israel had to repent. They refused. This is why the 12 could not fulfill Jesus’ command to go to the nations. But God in His mercy raised up Paul, apart from the 12, to go to Gentiles. That was the beginning of Christianity. In Acts 3 Peter promised if they repented God would send Jesus to them. This is what Jesus had declared in Matthew 23.37-39. While that generation of Jews failed, a future one will succeed. All Israel will be saved as Paul wrote in Romans 11.26 for all Israel will repent.

      • Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

        How could Peter have preached to the whole House of Israel, when most of Israel was scattered among the Nations, beyond the borders of Judea? Was this not the purpose of the Great Commission; to take the Gospel to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, who were scattered among the Nations?

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          All 12 tribes were represented to hear Peter’s message at Pentecost. The Lord gave the geographic priority of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the nations (Acts 1.8).

          • Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

            There were only Jews and Converts to Judaism who heard Peter’s message. Acts 2:5,11 All Israelites are not Jews.

            • doctrine doctrine says:

              Jews and Israelites are the same. See יְהוּדִי.

              • Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

                You are aware that after David’s death, Israel separated into two Kingdoms; the Kingdom/House of Israel in the North (10 tribes), and the Kingdom/House of Judah in the south (2 tribes plus the Levites that sided with them). The House of Israel was removed by the Assyrians and have yet to return. The House of Judah (Jews) were removed over 200 years later, but were allowed to return, after 70 years of exile. It is to the offspring of these Jews and their Jewish Converts who Peter spoke to.

              • doctrine doctrine says:

                Representatives of the 10 tribes moved south to Judah. Shortly after the kingdom split, Israel outnumbered Judah. But as time went on Judah became larger than Israel. The center of Judaism was the Temple. True believers from the 10 tribes moved south. Peter spoke to all 12 tribes at Pentecost. James wrote to all 12 tribes (James 1.1 cf. 1 Peter 1.1). The whole house–Israel and Judah–all 12 tribes–were identifiable and known in Jesus’ day. For the future, all 12 tribes are identified in Revelation 7.

  23. Paul says:

    Don, it is refreshing to see that there are those out their of the same understanding. I wrote a similar article, and it is posted at if you are interested.


  24. Sue says:

    Hi Don,

    Could you help me with a thought.
    If the Law of Moses ended with John ( Luke 16:16 ) why did Jesus still talk and teach about the Law.
    Was those under the Gospel of the Kingdom still obliged to adhere to the Law.


    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Good question. Jesus was making a distinction between the message of the prophets and the message of John. John proclaimed the kingdom of God was near–the Messiah had arrived. John could have fulfilled Malachi’s prophecy of Elijah if the nation had repented. We know the Law did not end because Jesus kept it, e.g., when He healed a leper He told him to show himself to the priest as the Law required. The 12 went to the Temple after the resurrection and continued to minister under the Law. Even as late as Acts 15 the Jerusalem assembly was teaching that to be saved one had to keep the Law. And note James’ words to Paul in Acts 21.17-21. See Matthew 11.11-19. This passage gives insight into what Jesus meant.

  25. William says:

    I find myself asking one simple question which I put to you, would I not be the same Christian I am currently without adhering or even listening to Paul’s letters? In other words would I be any less of a devout Christian or close to the Lord in prayer and walk in my faith in this life on Earth? I ask sincerely. God Bless all here.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Paul was the founder of Christianity. Our Christian doctrine comes from Paul for it was to him that the risen Lord revealed truths He had not given the Twelve (Romans 15.8). Apart from Paul, we have no knowledge of the Church, the body of Christ, the equality of Jew and Gentile, how to live the Christian life, the Rapture, the blinding of Israel, etc. See my articles, Paul: Chief of Sinners? and Paul’s “Mystery” for more on this.

      • Patrick K.B. says:

        Jesus and Paul preached about the same king- which is Christ and the same subject- which is the church.

        Of course- the grace that Paul preached about only became available when the king of the kingdom-Christ-died on the cross and rose again.
        So definitely- it wouldn’t have made sense for Jesus to preach extensively about a grace he was yet to pay for.
        I can’t believe it when I see theologians trying hard to prove that the gospel of the kingdom is different from the gospel of grace.
        John the Baptist and Jesus Christ preached about the kingdom of heaven.
        They were only laying the foundation for what Paul would preach.
        Let us not forget that Paul met Jesus himself on the way to Damascus and it was Jesus who taught him about the grace of salvation.
        How does one receive the grace of salvation- by believing that Jesus died to pay for our sins and believing that he rose from the dead and most imp0rtantly-submitting to his kingship or lordship. This is where the 2 supposedly different gospels connect.
        In Matt 7:21 implied that those who receive the free gift of salvation but do not submit to the kingship of Christ in their lives might lose their free gift of salvation in the end.
        Jesus knew that we would subject this particular verse to all sorts of interpretations.
        So he gave us a clue that indeed- he was referring to people who would receive the free gift of salvation- which we refer to as the gospel of grace-
        See Matt 7:22 The signs listed here are mainly the signs that follow those who believe in Jesus- those who receive the gospel of grace-(Mark 16:15-17).
        Yet many of such people will lose their salvation because they did not live their lives in subjection to the king of the kingdom.
        Christ is not just the king of Israel- he is the king of kings.
        He is also the king of the church.
        The two gospels are the same.
        We receive the grace of forgiveness through the blood of the king-so we are saved.
        But in the process- we receive a new spirit and empowerment (also called grace) to live a life of subjection to the king of the kingdom.
        Both gospels are the same-one is the gateway (the gospel of grace) and the other is the path behind the gate- (the gospel of the kingdom)- the narrow gate and the narrow path.

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          The problem with these views is that they have no Scriptural support. Jesus ministered to Jews, not Gentiles. Everything in the Gospels is addressed to Jews. The same is true in early Acts. If the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of grace are the same, why did the Twelve not go to Gentiles? We do not find Gentiles being evangelized until after the salvation of Paul. According to the OT program, Jews would accept their Messiah and then and only then evangelize Gentiles. This is what Jesus taught and explains what he said in Matthew 10.5-6. The gospel of the kingdom’s focus is upon the identity of Christ. The gospel of grace’s focus is the work of Christ. Jesus is never declared to be the King of the Church. He is declared the King of the Jews. For the Church, He is our Lord and Head. If we are to be faithful Christians we must be careful students and understand not only what the Scriptures state but what they do not state.

  26. Mark says:

    Hello. You mentioned in your article that the one baptism referred to by Paul is Holy Spirit baptism. Explain the only 2 times that Holy Spirit baptism is administered in the scriptures (Acts 2 & 11), it was not done through the hands of men and also it was done as a fulfillment of a promise made. Baptism in water is the only way another man can administer it. That is the one baptism for today. Paul did baptize, he just didn’t administer it to everyone who heard him preach. His main point was the apparent divisions starting to form due to whom some might have been baptized by. He was telling them their focus was to remain in Christ, not on who was doing the baptizing. Compare to John 4 where Jesus baptized more disciples than John but didn’t actually do the baptizing Himself.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs when one believes Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). That is what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12.13. That baptism places the believer into the Church, the body of Christ. Paul declared Christ sent him not to baptize but to preach the gospel (1 Corinthians 1.14-17). We have no record he administered water baptism again. Paul wrote the Ephesians only one baptism was valid, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4.5).

  27. Mark says:

    Thanks for responding. You made my point. Why did Paul baptize at all if it’s of no consequence? You say it was not mentioned again. How many times makes it a valid point? Once, maybe 50 times. In God’s word it does not matter the amount of times something is spoken, it matters that we obey.

    Which baptism placed those in the church (assembly) who received the word in Acts 2:41?

    Who did the adding to the assembly in Acts 2:47?

    There is only one way.

    You made a comment that “God created the Church, the body of Christ, beginning with Paul.” If this was the case, explain how Paul had persecuted the church (assembly) before his conversion (Acts 22 & 1 Cor. 15:9)?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      We have a progressive revelation. Everything does not occur at once. Water baptism began with John the Baptist and continued for a period of time. It was required for salvation (Mark 16.16; Acts 2.38) under the gospel of the kingdom. This is what is occurring in Acts 2. Under Paul’s gospel of grace, water baptism was practiced for a while but never required for salvation. The word for “church” is ἐκκλησία. It simply means a group of people. The “church” Saul persecuted were Jewish believers. They were not the Church, the body of Christ; God had not yet revealed this. The Church, the body of Christ, is an organism composed of those who have believed Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4) in which Jew and Gentile are equal in Christ. Peter knew nothing of this as is evident on the day of Pentecost. That revelation came by the ascended Lord to Paul. Only Paul wrote about the Church as Christ’s body. Peter, James, John, Jude never mention it and knew nothing of it or of salvation by faith alone until they learned it from Paul (see Acts 15) and my article, The Great Hinge.

  28. courtney king says:

    I just read your article Jesus vs. Paul and thank you so much for wonderful article it is outstanding and may the the Lord bless you and all your house

  29. Yohanan says:

    Thanks for this article. I am so greatly blessed because some things are made clear and this confirmed the simplicity we have in Christ under His grace.

    I am a gentile believer who is a babe in Christ. I technically believed in the gospel of Paul when I was still in the process of conversion. But because I was not yet mature in Christ and still learning and growing in the grace of the Lord, I was easily led astray of some of the teachings of the Hebrew Roots Movement. Because of this, I was “trying to keep” the 10 commandments; even the 7th day Sabbath rest and was subject to apostasy.

    But because of His great mercy and the richness of His grace, Christ saved me from their teachings that brought condemnation to me every time I failed to keep it.

    And this testimony is for God’s glory, honor and adoration which are for Him alone forever. Amen.

    BTW, thanks Don for this article many people will be enlightened with this. God bless brother!

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Thanks. May the Lord continue to guide you. Stay with Paul–the Apostle of Grace, the Apostle of the Gentiles. He is for us what Abraham and Moses were for Israel.

  30. Mark says:

    WOW! What an eye opener! I’ve never seen it this way before. How clearer can it get? God bless you. But I have a question: When Christ comes again to the earth will we ‘believing Gentiles’ come with Him?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Thank you. We have no explicit information about our being with the Lord when He goes forth to war. I hope so. What a day!

  31. Mark says:

    Yes indeed – what a day! Wow! I’m so so grateful for this blog. One thing out of many things I’ve gained from the articles here is that it has made the bible as simple as ABC – everything in its place. No mix ups. No confusion. I also love the way you back them up with RELEVANT scriptures. How can some people argue with stuffs like these? Please continue the good work brother Don. Thanks!

  32. Joe says:

    How does John 3:16 fit into Paul’s (our) gospel? If John wrote his letter after the death of Paul (assumed) he would have known of Paul’s gospel (I assume). Some say John’s gospel was written late in the first century….Paul was gone by late 60’s… John 3:16 does not mention the resurrection…..”Whoever believes in him” sounds like the Kingdom gospel. (re: believes in his name)

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Paul completed the canon of Scripture according to Colossians 1.25 (πληρῶσαι τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ). John wrote to Jews; his gospel was the gospel of the kingdom.

      • Joe says:

        Thank you.

        Yes, John wrote to the Jews but John’s writings were put down on paper ( or what ever was used to write on)after Paul’s death. Why would John continue to perpetuate the Kingdom gospel? Surely John knew of Paul’s message. –I’m assuming John’s writings were in the 80’s or 90’s AD. Paul’s death was before 70 A.D.

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          John wrote his works before Paul completed the canon in 68 A.D. 2 Timothy was the last book written. While Peter’s words at the Jerusalem Council affirmed Paul’s gospel was the only gospel, James’ words in Acts 21.15-25 make one wonder how much he understood of Paul’s ministry. Remember also, John was writing history. He recorded Jesus’ words to Nicodemus while the kingdom gospel was valid.

          • Joe says:

            As per Eusebius:

            Late first and early second century church father, Polycarp, learned at the feet of John. Irenaeus learned from Polycarp. Irenaeus indicates late first century writing of John’s writing Revelation during the reign of Domitian (95-96 A.D.) Irenaeus writes that John wrote his gospel while living in Ephesus where he was addressing the scourge of Gnosticism. (late first century)

            I am a I Cor 15:1-4 believer but from my study only Preterism, Les Feldick (and now this site) take the early date. Something seems amiss.

            • doctrine doctrine says:

              Two major points militate against Eusebius. The first is that it is inconceivable John would neglect mentioning the destruction of Jerusalem. The second is according to Paul’s statement in Colossians 1.25, he completed (πληρῶσαι τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ) the Scriptures (Colossians 1.25).

  33. Ralph says:

    I have an important question, but first…

    FINALLY. I have struggled with this issue of reconciling Jesus and Paul for the past year now. It seemed that until I found this article, no one was really being honest about how entirely different their gospels are. I felt confused and not sure how to share the gospel with others because I myself didn’t even understand it.

    So my question is, how do we deal with sin now? In order to be saved we simply believe Paul’s outline of salvation by faith/grace. However, what if we struggle with certain sins? What about 1 Corinthians 6:9? How do we now reconcile believing in Christ while also purging sin from our lives? What if we hate certain sins but keep doing it, like idolatry or adultery? I have a friend who is fornicating with his girlfriend, and when I rebuke him he admits it’s wrong but hold’s fast to “salvation by faith”.

    This is my second hurdle. Any help is greatly appreciated!

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Read how Paul dealt with this issue. Paul told sinning believers to repent (cf. 2 Corinthians 7.9-10, 12.20-21). He recorded his own struggle with the power of the Adamic nature in Romans 7. My article, “Identification with Christ” might be helpful. As we have been saved by faith alone in the work of Christ, we are to live by faith. Salvation is instantaneous the moment we put our trust in the work that Christ died for us and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4) but is also a process (sanctification). The final part of salvation is glorification in which we will receive a resurrection body which will be free of the Adamic nature.

  34. G Harris says:

    Are “strangers” considered Gentiles?… If so, then Isaiah 56 v 3-7 suggests that strangers can “join themselves to the Lord” and also instructs to “take hold of His covenant, love the NAME of the Lord, to be His servants” (and) “mine house shall be called a house of prayer for ALL people”. In my understanding, Jesus lived a perfect life by abiding to the commandments of God the Father. He magnifies the law in the sermon on the mount Matthew ch 5-7….. By stating that Paul came to bring his gospel to save the gentiles suggests that before Jesus arrived, no gentile or “stranger” could have salvation…. If we believe that we all came from Adam and Eve then really,.. is no difference between Jew, Gentile, or any other division of peoples in the whole world. I believe some of Paul’s doctrine to be true however, a little leaven works it’s way through the whole loaf and that’s why we have these discussion boards with each seeker having their own opinion and translation… This is sad. There is One God (Genesis 1 v 1), One Judge (John 5 v 22) and one people (all from Adam and Eve). The entire Holy Bible is referring to Love/Hate, Good/Evil, Light/Darkness etc… The more we all try to “figure out” the meanings behind every little detail, the more separated we get (and the enemy loves it)…. Only God knows the heart of His people. Strive to do good, be the light, live Love, and God will find you..!

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      G Harris,
      Some Gentiles joined themselves with Israel and were saved. We have the example of Rahab, Ruth, etc. We also have examples of Gentile salvation in Naaman, the Ninevites, etc. In the Old Testament one had to trust in the God of Israel (as opposed to the gods of the ancient near east, i.e., Dagon, Baal, etc.), to be saved. Everything in the OT centered upon Israel. God created this separation in his calling of Abraham. God created the Jewish people as a separate and separated race. They were to be different and to remain separate from the surrounding Gentile nations. Salvation during Jesus’ time on earth was based upon the “gospel of the kingdom”–believing He was the Messiah, the Son of God. In other words, it was based upon His identity. The gospel the glorified Lord communicated to Paul was different. It was the “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20.24) and it focused upon the work of Christ–that He died for our sins and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). Keep these things separate and everything falls into place. Due to Israel’s rejection of their Messiah God has temporarily set them aside (nationally) and is building His Church, the body of Christ. When the Church is complete, God will remove it and once again focus upon Israel. Paul outlined this program in Romans 11 (see my article, “The Olive Tree”).

  35. Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

    The Law and The Prophets (wrongly called The Old Covenant/Testament) was considered to be the inerrant Word of God to the Messiah and His Apostles. Paul said he believed all things written in them to be true, but his writings prove otherwise. Paul represents a False Messiah, one who dismisses obedience to the Law of God. The Messiah and His Apostles make obedience to the Law of God a necessity, as the way of God’s Law is the only way that God’s Spirit will lead. So says the Law and The Prophets.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Apart from Paul’s gospel there is no salvation. Christ will judge mankind on the basis of Paul’s gospel, not the Law (Romans 2.16). God gave the Law to Israel, not the Church, not to Gentiles. In His earthly ministry, Jesus ministered to Israel, not to Gentiles. Not one Scripture supports the view that the Church is under the Mosaic Law.

  36. Joe says:

    The last three versus of the book of Romans supplements Romans 2:16. If Paul is to be believed then there is no question that “Paul’s” gospel is what saves us today (I Cor 15:1-4). Romans 16:25 says it’s Paul’s gospel received from Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery which was unknown until given to Paul. Ephesians 3:1-3 echos the same. We either believe Paul or not. We either accept Paul’s epistles or not. Peter had his questions too (II Peter 3:16) but he accepted Paul never-the-less…….(Doctrine, I know you don’t need any help but I felt a need to add this)

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Always room for the truth.

    • Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

      It appears that you would rather believe Paul instead of what has been witnessed to by God’s Law, God’s Prophets, and God’s Messiah.

      • doctrine doctrine says:

        I believe the Scriptures. Paul received his doctrine from the ascended, glorified Lord (Galatians 1.1, 11-12). To reject Paul is to reject the Lord Jesus Christ.

        • Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

          No. To reject the witness of God’ Law and God’s Prophets is to reject His Messiah. As I said before, Paul said that he believed all things written in the Law and The Prophets, but his writings prove otherwise. His gospel is not the one foretold by the Law or the Prophets or the one proclaimed by God’s Messiah.

          • doctrine doctrine says:

            The problem with what you write is that you provide not a shred of Biblical evidence to support it. I have given you several Scriptures and you ignore them. Since no Scriptures support your ideas they are worthless.

            • Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

              Paul said that he believed all things written in the Law and The Prophets. Acts 24:14. The New Covenant: Jeremiah 31: 31-37. Ezekiel 36: 24-38. Deuteronomy 30: 1-10. Those with circumcised hearts show that it is so by being obedient to God’s Law, but Paul teaches that the Messiah destroyed the Law. Ephesians 2:14,15. The Messiah and the Law: Matthew 5: 17-20. Read Psalms 19 and 119. Read what the Spirit of God says about the Law, then compare it to what Paul says. Now who do you believe?

              • doctrine doctrine says:

                Paul certainly believed the Law and the Prophets. But the Law and the Prophets had no revelation of the Church, the body of Christ. The OT was silent about the Church. The doctrines of the Church came by revelation from the ascended Lord to Paul. Peter declared Paul’s words were Scripture, that they were God-breathed. So, when I believe Paul, I believe the Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore, for your point to have merit you have to show God gave the Law to Gentiles. He didn’t. God gave the Law to Moses to Israel. Gentiles, and certainly not the Church, have never been under the Mosaic Law. If you are right we need to remove Acts, all of Paul’s epistles, Hebrews, and Peter’s epistles from the canon for they support Paul.

  37. Joe says:

    Michael, Peter was immersed in the law from birth through our Lord’s incarnation. How does anyone get around the fact that now Peter tells us to follow Paul in II Peter 3:16?….Paul is pure Grace!…I know, we all think we have to do something (law) but that only cheapens the fact that Jesus did it all. (“It is finished”) Doing something is what the Law demands. Who can add to the Lord’s sacrifice and accomplishment in the resurrection? It appears Peter eventually moved away from the law and towards the Lord’s revelations of Grace to Paul ….If words have meaning how can we have any other interpretation?

    • Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

      Is sin not the same for all; the transgression of God’s Law? 1 John 3:4 So whether Israelite or Gentile, God’s law comes into play in ones life. To fear God and keep His commandments is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13 God’s Holy Spirit will lead anyone, whether Israelite or Gentile, to live only one way; the way of God’s Laws, commandments, and judgements. Ezekiel 36:27 Paul agrees in Romans 2:12-16 3:31 8:1-8 He then changes his mind and portrays the Law as a barrier between Israelite and Gentile that the Messiah destroyed in order to unite the two and present them to God. Ephesians 2:14 18 What? Was he not aware of Psalms 119:152,160 and the words of the Messiah? Matthew 5:17-20 He speaks out of both sides of his mouth. He claims to be an Apostle of the Messiah, while blaspheming him also. To habitually disobey God’s Law, after having repented for doing so, is to treat the sacrifice of the Messiah and God’s gift of the Holy Spirit as cheap things.

      • doctrine doctrine says:

        The problem with this reply is that it is of no help since you refuse to address the issue of to whom God gave the Law. Unless you understand God gave the Law to Jews–not Gentiles you will continue to err. You claim Paul blasphemed Christ but provide no Scripture to support the claim. Have you read Paul’s letters? You refuse to address Peter’s comment in Acts 15 about the Law or his comment about Paul. Was Peter a false apostle also? The more you write, the more misunderstanding you reveal. Have you ever picked up a stick on Saturday? If you have, if you keep the Law, you should be dead. The Law required death for this. Think!

        • Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

          Tired of this discussion. Seems you have no regard for what is written in the Law or the Prophets, or the words of the Messiah. You’ve paid little or no attention to the scriptures I’ve provided; so there’s no sense in continuing.

          • doctrine doctrine says:

            Your comments confirm you have not read Paul. Paul was not against the Law as Law. He reiterated all the laws of the Decalogue except the Sabbath in his writings and constantly exhorted Christians to live moral lives and behave righteously. Paul taught that Christians are not under the administration of the Law. Instead, Christians are under new administration, the administration of the Holy Spirit. He works with the believer’s spirit to fulfill the Law through love. For more on this, see my article, “Paul and the Law.”

  38. Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

    I’ve read Paul thoroughly. I did what the people of Berea did; comparing what Paul taught, with the Scriptures (the Law and the Prophets), that Paul said he believed totally. I found that Paul mixed truth with untruth. I gave you Paul’s own words as evidence. I agree that believers of the Messiah are under the administration of the Holy Spirit, and showed you in Ezekiel how the Holy Spirit will lead anyone to live. I was shown years ago that the Law describes God’s own ways and thoughts. It reveals what is right and good in His sight. If the Law is destroyed (which is what Paul taught), so then are God’s ways and thoughts. I gave you scriptures that showed that, just as God is eternal; so is His Law. So to teach that God’s only begotten Son caused His Law to be destroyed is “blasphemy”. If God’s law is regarded as destroyed, then one has no choice but to live as one sees fit; to do what is right and good in one’s own sight. Compare Paul’s description of what the Spirit produces, with that of Ezekiel’s. Paul’s is very subjective, where one can say, “Well, that’s the way I see it”. Ezekiel’s is very clear, and leaves no doubt. God’s Spirit will produce obedience to God’s Laws, statutes, and judgments. God’s Spirit will cause anyone to live according to God’s ways and thoughts and to do what is right and good in God’s sight. The Law is God’s standard to all who claim to speak on His behalf. Isaiah 8:16,20 The Scriptures teach that one who lives according to God’s Law is “blessed”. Paul’ teaches that one is “cursed” who does so. What does Isaiah say about such? Isaiah 5:20-24

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Three questions: 1) Please tell me how a person is saved. 2) Please tell me how you interpret 2 Peter 3.14-16. 3) Please provide Scripture to support your view that Paul taught the destruction of the Law in light of Romans 3.31 and Romans 7.12.

  39. Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

    I don’t believe that any of the so-called New Testament writers considered anything that they wrote as carrying the same authority as that of the Law and The Prophets. What gives their writings credibility is if their message agrees with that of the Law and The Prophets. “It is written”, is always followed by a quote from the Law and The Prophets; not from anything written by any New Testament writer. To answer your 1st question, see John 3:16. Why would you ask your final question, if you actually read my responses of Jan. 18th at 7:30am and 2:28pm? Please scroll up to read them.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      The answer to the other two questions is? Your citing Ephesians 2.14-15 as evidence Paul taught the Messiah destroyed the Law reveals you do not understand Paul. It also reveals you did not read my article, Paul and the Law. The other passages you cited were written to Jews, not Gentiles. You have not addressed this issue even though I have brought it to your attention several times. When passages are taken out of context the result is error. Do you not realize the Law was given to Jews, not Gentiles, not Christians and that Jesus and the Twelve ministered to Jews, not Gentiles (Matthew 10.5-6)? Your citing John 3.16 for salvation indicates you believe one is saved apart from believing the resurrection since John 3.16 contains no resurrection. One remedy is available: believe Paul’s gospel, that Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4).

      • Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

        If one believes in the God’s Messiah (John 3:16), one believes in his life, death, and resurrection. Did he not say that he is the resurrection and the life? John 11:25,26

        • doctrine doctrine says:


          Correct interpretation requires understanding the Scriptures in the context in which they were written. The 12 had no understanding Jesus would rise from the dead (Luke 18.34; John 20.8-9). John 3.16 referred to believing Jesus was the Messiah (Matthew 16.16; John 11.27).

          • Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

            Context? What difference does it make whether the 12 understood him at the time or not? The Messiah himself spoke the words of John 3:16. He understood what he said, and the 12 surely did after witnessing his resurrection. Acts 2:22-36

            • doctrine doctrine says:

              Context is everything. One cannot believe what one does not know. The 12 were not saved by believing Christ would rise again which is essential to believe for salvation today (1 Corinthians 15.1-4).

              • Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

                What are you talking about? All of the 12, plus 500 others believed that the Messiah died for their sins, according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried and raised on the 3rd day, according to the Scriptures. They knew and believed all that, even before Paul did. What do you think Paul himself is attesting to in 1 Corinthians 1-8?

              • doctrine doctrine says:

                Not a single word of Scripture supports such an idea. Did Peter tell the Jews on the day of Pentecost to believe Christ died for their sins? This truth was unknown until the Lord revealed it to Paul. We must read the Scriptures to know what was revealed and when it was revealed.

              • Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

                You asked if Peter told the Jews on Pentacost to believe that Christ died for their sins, and also say that this truth was unknown until the Lord revealed it to Paul. After speaking of the Messiah’s death and resurrection, Peter told them to repent and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS in order to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 So what is your point?

              • doctrine doctrine says:


                The point is that Peter’s message at Pentecost is the same message John the Bapptist preached. To be saved one had to repent and be baptized believing Jesus was the Messiah. We find nothing in the Gospels or in Peter’s messages of the significance of Christ’s death on the cross as it relates to salvation. Peter’s message was that even though the Jews had killed their King He could still be that if they repented because He had risen from the dead. He said nothing about His death atoning for their sins. That truth was unknown until God revealed it to Paul.

    • Michael, what portions of the scripture do you believe are inspired? It looks like you do not believe that Paul was a true apostle.

      It would be good if you read all of Acts 15, I have pasted a portion of it below.

      Acts 15:
      [21] For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
      [22] Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
      [23] And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:
      [24] Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
      [25] It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
      [26] Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
      [27] We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
      [28] For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
      [29] That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

      I am curious, do you worship in a temple like the 12 Jewish apostles of the circumcision? (Acts 2:46, 3:1)

      Do you eat pork and go into the homes of Gentiles? Even Peter learnt that these things were perfectly fine (Acts 10:9-28) AFTER Christ revealed the mystery to Paul (1 Tim. 1:11-16, Eph. 3:1-9, Col. 1:24-27, Rom. 11:25-27, 15:16, 16:25)

      Do you keep the Sabbath? I’m just curious….

      “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15 )

      –Eli “Hoss” Caldwell

      • Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

        So it appears that you too are willing to believe “Paul’s Mystery”, rather than what is written in the Law and in the Prophets. Peter didn’t say that he learned that it was okay to eat pork and such; he said that he learned that he should call no MAN common or unclean. Acts 10:28

        Let’s just stick to what each of us believes the Scriptures teach; okay?

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          What Peter learned was that Paul’s gospel was from the Jerusalem Council forward the only gospel (Acts 15.11). You’ve pointed to Ezekiel 36.26-27 more than once. To whom do you think “you” refers? If you are a Berean the Scriptures must be understood in their context. God gave the Law to the Jews, not to Gentiles. To place yourself under the Mosaic Law is to place yourself into bondage. This is what Peter stated in Acts 15.10 and Paul in Galatians 4. Do you think you understand the Law better than Peter and Paul? What I’m trying to say to you is that you’re free. Christ paid for your sins. Why reject His work on your behalf? Do you really want to be shackled to the Law that Christ nailed to His cross (Colossians 2.13-14)?

          • Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

            Okay, so what are you saying? That God’s Spirit will only cause Israelites to live according to His Laws, and cause Gentiles not to? Scan through Psalms chapter 119 and compare the Spirit of God’s attitude towards God’s Law, with Paul and Peter’s statements about the Law:

            The Holy Spirit’s attitude is, “BLESSED is the man who lives according to the Law of the LORD” Psalms 119:1-3 and “I will live a life of FREEDOM, because I have sought out Your precepts”. Psalms 119:45

            The attitude of Peter and Paul is that one is “CURSED” or that one is under some UNBEARABLE YOKE OF BONDAGE in obeying the Law of God.

            What does God say about such? Isaiah 8:16,20
            Now, who do you believe?

            • doctrine doctrine says:

              Since the Scriptures do not contradict themselves we must conclude your understanding of them is faulty. If we keep the Scriptures in their proper order and context the sense will be plain. The Jews were under the Mosaic Law but the moral law is for all. I think if you read Galatians and my article, Paul and the Law, this will make sense to you. Paul was not anti-law but anti-law-administration. The Church fulfills the moral law by faith, hope, love, and the Holy Spirit (Romans 6.14; Galatians 5.18). This is a completely different kind of relationship than Israel enjoyed. They were under the Law’s administration. The Church is under the administration of grace. This is what Paul taught in Romans 6-8 and Galatians. The Jews, as a nation, will not fulfill the Law until they become a nation of priests (Exodus 19.6) which is when they are ruled by the Messiah. This is what Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 36) prophesied. That time remains future.

  40. Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

    I agree; the Scriptures don’t contradict themselves. I speak of the writings of the Law and the Prophets. But in your mind, Paul’s Mystery wasn’t spoken of in these writings; so one has to trust that Paul is speaking the truth. The Messiah warned that there would come those claiming to represent him, but that they would deceive many. Those under the Old Covenant were trying to obey God’s Law through the power of their carnal nature, a nature that will not submit to the Law of God, a nature that views the Law of God as a “yoke”. The Spirit of God will give one a different attitude towards His Law, as in Psalms 119. Makes no difference whether Israelite or Gentile. Sin is sin; disobedience to God’s Law.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Many problems attend viewing Paul as a deceiver. One has to account for his conversion and his suffering for Christ. Luke, Peter, and Mark trusted him and agreed with his doctrine. If they are wrong are Luke, Acts, and Mark trustworthy? But Matthew and John agree with them. So are they trustworthy? Not much is left if you remove their writings. In truth, Christianity does not exist apart from Paul. If Christianity goes, what’s left? Judaism doesn’t believe Christ is the Messiah. Given this, and that the Scriptures do not contradict, one must conclude that either Paul is right or your understanding of him is flawed.

      • Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

        Whatever is written by any of the writers from Matthew through Revelation, must agree with what these same writers considered to be the inerrant word of God; just as what the Prophets said had to agree with the Law of God. Why? Because God’s Law expresses God’s very Own ways and thoughts. Isaiah 55:8,9 Psalms 119:1-3 Isaiah 8:16,20 God’s Law is the STANDARD throughout the Scriptures.

        Paul seems to agree with these scriptures, in many of his writings; but seems to disagree too. Sure Abraham was justified by faith, but it is also written that Abraham obeyed God’s voice,
        statutes, commandments, and laws. Genesis 26:4,5 You mean Paul didn’t know this? In your opinion, exactly what is Paul saying in Ephesians 2:15?

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          Care must be taken in this. What is meant by law: the moral law or the Mosaic Law? God dealt with the human race for 2,500 years before He gave the Mosaic Law. God does not change but His program and dealings with man change. When the prophets spoke of the law they spoke not only of the moral law but the Mosaic Law. As for Ephesians 2.15, in this passage Paul wrote that Gentiles had no hope: they were not part of Israel and did not enjoy the covenants of promise. Ever since God established the Abrahamic covenant, Gentiles were without hope and without blessing apart from Israel. Christ’s death on the cross changed this. His death removed the partition between Jew and Gentile. The Law of Moses legislated this separation. Jews were to remain separate from Gentiles. Christ’s death ended the separation between Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2.14-15). We do not find the Twelve proclaiming this. Peter addressed Jew only at Pentecost. He had no thought of reaching Gentiles. The significance of Christ’s death to bring Jew and Gentile together was a Pauline revelation. The Twelve knew nothing of it. This is why we find no evangelistic efforts by the Twelve to go to Gentiles. Not until after Paul was saved and commissioned as the apostle of the Gentiles does ministry to Gentiles begin. Paul is a new administration–just as God began a new administration (Abrahamic covenant) with his call of Abraham and as He began a new administration when He gave the Law to Moses (Mosaic covenant). The new administration God began with Paul we call the Church: Christianity.

  41. Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

    You’ve amassed this “huge mountain” of teachings that is in disagreement with the word of God. You seem blind to the fact that in doing so; you have changed God, His Messiah, and His Gospel. What is Paul teaching in Colossians 2:16,17? Is he teaching that Christ embodied this list, and now it is no longer necessary to observe them?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Hundreds of contradictions exist if you view the Scriptures as applying equally to all. Abraham was saved by believing God would give him children (Genesis 15.1-6). Is that the way people are saved today? Jesus answered the rich young ruler that to have eternal life one must keep the commandments. Why didn’t he tell the young man he was saved by having children? Was Jesus wrong? On another occasion Jesus told a woman her faith had saved her (Luke 7.36-50). Was Jesus wrong? The Law was given to the Jews. Gentiles were never under it. The Law’s administration does not fit God’s plan for the Church. If it did, you would be stoned to death for picking up a stick on Saturday. Have you ever traveled more than 3/5 of a mile on Saturday? If you have, and you think you’re under the Law, you have violated the Sabbath. Only by understanding to whom a passage was given are we able to avoid such contradictions. God commissioned Paul as the apostle of the Gentiles. He revealed to him His program for the Church. This program is different from the program He revealed to Abraham or the program he revealed to Moses. If you interpret the Scriptures as God has revealed them contradictions vanish. If you interpret the Scriptures contrary to how God has revealed them, you face irresolvable problems and contradictions. God will not be put into a box! “He doesn’t like being tied down…. He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.” How to live the Christian life is explained in Identification with Christ.

  42. bobneto says:

    Great article! what an eye-opener.But I will love it if you clear my doubts on the following;
    Under the new covenant,are we gentiles suppose to fast or not?.It seems Paul never mentioned it and I don’t know why.
    Secondly,why was Cornelius who was a gentile baptised with water (Acts 10:47-48)?
    Thanks very much.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Thank you. Fasting is a personal choice. Paul’s only instruction is in 1 Corinthians 7.5. Cornelius was baptized because that was what Peter knew. Water baptism was required for salvation under the kingdom program (Mark 16.16; Acts 2.38). Only with Paul’s gospel of faith + 0 did this go away.

  43. Joe says:

    My experience with learning the bible is that it comes in little packages of illumination…..I’ve always had a question why some of Jesus’ teachings were ‘hidden’ from some in his audience like in Matthew 11 where it’s hidden from the educated… In Luke 18 knowledge was hidden from the Apostles. Do you think certain doctrines are hidden from me (us)as we study each day? It appears some visitors asking questions above have problems coming to grips that Paul is legit. Why wouldn’t God make it real easy for us to learn if we are sincere in our study?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Since the Scriptures are complete all that can be known is known. Most confusion is a result of failure to understand Paul’s unique apostleship and to accept his teachings. Paul disclosed this problem before he died. What people refuse to understand is apart from Paul, Christianity does not exist.

      • Joe says:

        Please expound on this verse. Paul is saying we need to distance ourselves from Christ (not Jesus) in at least one way.

        II Corinthians 5 vs 16

        I think this is NIV

        16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          The NIV translation is poor, which means the translators did not understand this verse. Paul’s point is that the focus for believers of his gospel is to be upon the risen, glorified Christ and the doctrines Paul received from Him in this status, rather than the teachings of Christ in His earthly ministry in the flesh.

  44. Matthew says:

    God has slowly been revealing this to me over the last couple of years. This understanding of how God deals with different audience’s really clears up “contradictions” and “misunderstandings “! I do have a question that I hope you can answer or lend guidance to. I’m trying to gain insight/illumination on the events of Acts 21. Paul says in Galatians that if anyone preached a different gospel they were accursed. Why then was James so excited to tell Paul about “the myriads of jews who have believed and who are all zealous for the law”. Did he not understand or was he so entrenched in tradition that he didn’t want to understand? Thanks for your time.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      It appears James never grasped that the Law was over as a system of administration. Read James’ words in Acts 15 carefully. He agreed no longer to trouble the Gentiles regarding the Law (Acts 15.19). He did not mention Jews. I do not think James ever grasped Paul’s teachings of grace or that believers of Paul’s gospel are not subject to the Mosaic Law. I think Peter got more of what Paul taught but even he had trouble absorbing some things–as he indicated before his death (2 Peter 3.16).

      • matthew says:

        I agree. It’s almost as if he(James) couldn’t deny the work that God was doing with the Gentiles through Paul and Peter’s testimonies but Gentiles were of no concern to him so it was back to business as usual. Thanks for your response and for your faithfulness to “rightly divide”.

  45. Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

    You say that Peter said nothing on Pentecost about the Messiah’s death atoning for their sins. I showed you where Acts 2:38 proves that he did. John the Baptist alluded to the Messiah’s death atoning for sins when he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. John 1:29 The Prophets foretold this many years before. Isaiah 53 So you are incorrect when saying that this truth was unknown until God revealed it to Paul.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Acts 2.38 reads, “Then Peter said unto them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.'” Where in the verse do you see, “Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead?” Nothing in Acts 2 says this. John 1.29 states the Lamb of God removes sin but does not state how He does it. John the Baptist had no clue that Christ would die on the cross and rise from the dead to solve the problem of sin. The same is true for Isaiah 53. The Jews had no idea what this passage meant and we also have the record from the gospels that the 12 had no understanding of this. The only way we know this truth is because the risen Lord revealed it to Paul. What you are doing is reading Paul into Isaiah, the Gospels, and Acts. Such flawed handling of the Word results in error and confusion.

      • Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

        Again; believe what you will. Those who believed what Peter said received the Holy Spirit and were added to God’s Assembly of believers. Seems you only deny the proof I’ve given only to justify your belief in Paul’s “mystery Gospel”, supposedly given to him by the risen Messiah. Whoever or whatever appeared to Paul could not have been the risen Messiah, if Paul was given a different message from the 12. The true Messiah’s Gospel would have remained the same. What has resulted from Paul’s mystery gospel? What God has declared evil, has become good, and what God has declared good, has become evil. Confusion!

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          The result of Paul’s gospel is that men and women come to know the risen, living Christ and gain eternal life. It is the power of God to all who will believe it (Romans 1.16). Apart from Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4), no salvation exists.

          • Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

            No. As a result, many have been deceived into accepting a false gospel instead of the one declared by the Messiah and his 12. Paul’s oratory skills and persuasiveness appear to have even fooled the 12 for a time.

            • doctrine doctrine says:

              Your own words condemn you. No salvation exists apart from believing Paul’s gospel: Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). Salvation is by faith in Christ’s finished work alone. Sola fide.

            • Michael E. Thompson, Sr. says:

              Seems the 12 were “blind-sided” by Paul’s seemingly miraculous conversion; from persecuting believers to seemingly becoming a believer himself. Paul’s gospel is similar to that of the Messiah and his 12, except Paul’s gospel excludes obedience to the Law of God. In fact, according to Paul, the Messiah is responsible for this. The God and the Messiah that Paul preached, portrays each as having changed; now accepting those who disregard God’s Sabbaths and dietary laws, and accepting worship that was once directed to false gods. It appears when the 12 finally realized this, they distanced themselves from Paul and tried to repair the damage he had done.

  46. becky says:

    Don, in Pauls’ epistle to the Romans, he says, Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ. What “Jesus” did these people know? Were any of the four gospels available to these people? I have just started looking at Matthew McGee’s chronology of Paul’s journeys to give me some insight.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Paul wrote of the risen, glorified Christ (2 Corinthians 5.16). He wrote Romans about 57 A.D. Chronology is difficult and always involves as certain amount of speculation (which is why chronologists do not agree). Luke may have composed his gospel or it may not have been done until Paul was in prison in Rome (60 A.D.). Acts ends around this time so Luke probably wrote it while Paul was in prison. Both of them had time to catch up on their writing. They were busy men.

  47. Becky says:

    Hi Don, regarding these verses, Joh 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son….Joh 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you….. Were they only meant for the 12? I dont see Paul teaching them in any sense. Also, I dont read of the 12 taking advantage of the opportunity.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      It should be obvious to anyone who has prayed that these verses do not work. There are two explanations: God lies (wrong) and they were not meant for us (right). They were meant for the 12. Paul taught prayer but with no guarantees (Philippians 4.6). To what degree the 12 experienced this promise is unknown. The beginning chapters of Acts record harmony and miraculous power by them and there is little sin in the church. What there was God dealt with swiftly (cf. Ananias and Sapphira).

      • Becky says:

        Thanks Don. I very much appreciate that you do not speculate or make assumptions. I am reminded of the name-it-and-claim-it or word of faith movement who use verses like this to dumb down people, whether they realize it or not. Great answer, thanks again.

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