[sword-devel] Saul/Paul

Michael Rempel sword-devel@crosswire.org
Tue, 18 Dec 2001 03:43:57 -0800

> I believe all scripture is inspired by God, (God breathed).
> It isn't a matter of any mans private interpretation.

I am befuddled. I thought we were supposed to interpret, to grapple with the
ideas and make sense of them. In the tradition I understand, there is no
word of any consequence apart from the word living in us.

Jews have a similar notion, that Torah comes alive when it is read, and at
no other time does it live. This explains much of the repeated reading that
takes place even daily in Orthodox circles. Some Messianic Jews practice
Torah reading in a similar manner, and believe me 2 or 3 hours standing
reading scriptures is no picnic. I dont like doing it more than once or
twice a year myself.

To even concieve of scripture as some how a seperate thing, not part of the
people, not part of life itself, is a culturally evolved, Greek rooted
notion. I would go further, and say it is a Enlightenment notion that has no
historical validity in any culture of the ancient era. I would further say
that there is a risk of embracing a modified gnostic dualism in that notion.
I think it prudent to care not to set scripture up on a pedestal and make it
less than real.

> Acts 13:9 You will see that the Holy Spirit used both names Saulos and
> Paulos to refer to Saul/Paul. Before this verse only the name Saulos was
> used. After this only the name Paulos is used except when Paul quotes the
> Lords words to him leading up to his conversion prior to Acts 13:9.
> Otherwise the Holy spirit chose to use Paulos throughout the rest of the
> New Testament. Paul by inspiration of the Holy Spirit always refers to
> himself as Paulos after this in all his epistles.

Which is fine, but in Acts 13 it shows that both were valid.

> The translators who use Paul are doing just that, translating. It has
> nothing to do with bias or an anti-semetic attempt to remove the Jewish
> name of Saul. To use the name Saul would not be a translation but an
> interpretation.

Not what I said. What I said was that considering Paul to be a God inspired
name is not accurate to the text. I am sure Paul did not object to his
mother, brother, or friend calling him Shaul at any time in his life. I was
objecting to references that make Shaul a name of dishonor, or some how less
spiritual than Paul. I see his use of Paul in sincerely practical terms, due
in main to his ministry focus. It was certainly not a rejection of Judaism,
which some make it out to be. And please sir, I was not accusing you
personally of anti-semitism, the matter is ancient and the roots hidden.

>         I would differ from a previous statement by saying that a good
> translation does not take into account the audience but rather the author
> and His intent. It  should focus on as unbiased  of an attempt as
> possible to "translate" the direct meaning from the original language to
> the target language without changing the meaning. Some translations try

In that case you agree with me. Original meaning includes the cultural
experience of the writers, not just the words on paper. If Fringe means
Tzit-Tzit then it should say so in terms that non-Jews understand. People
should also be given the chance to understand that the woman with the issue
of blood helped Yeshua fulfill the prophesy of Messiah that says There is
healing in his Wings. Wings is also another variation of Tzit-Tzit. Show me
a text that acknowleges this. Shurely you must acknowledge that fulfillment
of prophesy is no light matter to discard for simple inconvenience in the

Again, how can you litteraly translate an idiom? If I wrote that "your car
is bad" for interpreters in a few centuries, how should that be interpreted?
Can you even say for sure without context?

Let me ask you to interpret Romans 1:14, and let me add that it definitely
contains an idiom that Christianity overlooks. Many take this as a text that
proves Paul no longer loved the Jews, as there were clearly many Jews in the
audience of this letter. You need to understand at least a little Hebrew to
parse it. Once explained it is simple and clear.

> to do this in a more literal word for word translation (NASB etc..) while
> others try to do this in a more thought for thought translation (NIV
> etc...).  If the Holy Spirit meant to say only Saul He would have said
> only Saul.
>         The question then isn't "if" but, "Why did God choose to call him
> Paulos?".
As I said, I see no place where God did choose that name, only where Paul
did. God has a habit of pointing these things out when they are important.
God accepted the name, as did most everyone else for practical reasons. It
does not diminish, under value, or tarnish Paul's ministry to say so. His
ministry was a divine calling, his name was just a name.

Let me conclude with a verse that needs interpretation of another sort:

Now if their transgression be riches for the world and their failure be
riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be... For if
their rejection be the reconsiliation of the world, what will their
acceptance be but life from the dead?
Romans 11:12-15

As consolation, it annoys Jews as much as it does Christians. Among other
things, it is further illustration that the Church has in no way replaced
Israel, nor can it.