• Home
  • Blog
  • A Different Perspective on Paul.


A Different Perspective on Paul.

A Different Perspective on Paul.

The following is an excerpt from an article called The New Perspective on Paul. I think it is extremely important on multiple facets.

"In particular, he {E.P Sanders} has shown with sufficient weight of evidence that for the first-century Jew, Israel’s covenant relation with God was basic, basic to the Jew’s sense of national identity and to his understanding of his religion. So far as we can tell now, for first century Judaism everything was an elaboration of the fundamental axiom that the one God had chosen Israel to be his peculiar people, to enjoy a special relationship under his rule. The law had been given as an expression of this covenant, to regulate and maintain the relationship established by the covenant. So, too, righteousness must be seen in terms of this relationship, as referring to conduct appropriate to this relationship, conduct in accord with the law. That is to say, obedience to the law in Judaism was never thought of as a means of entering the covenant, of attaining that special relationship with God; it was more a matter of maintaining the covenant relationship with God.

From this Sanders draws out his key phrase to characterize first-century Palestinian Judaism – ‘covenantal nomism'

He defines it thus:

Covenantal nomism is the view that one’s place in God’s plan is established on the basis of the covenant and that the covenant requires as the proper response of man his obedience to its commandments, while providing means of atonement for transgressions … Obedience maintains one’s position in the covenant, but it does not earn God’s grace as such … Righteousness in Judaism is a term which implies the maintenance of status among the group of the elect."

A few reasons why I wanted to share this short snippet.

Firstly, I hold to the view that in order to grasp the context of the very difficult writings of Paul, we must go back to the first century to investigate his surrounding culture, his interaction with various groups and sects etc. We must also make the distinctions between the works of law that he is writing about.

This idea of first century Judaism's idea of righteousness was maintaining the status within the Kingdom brings enormous heaps of context to Paul's writings.


Because if they created laws that they believed were required for maintaining status in the Kingdom outside what the Creator said was righteous,then their status and righteousness depended on their own law. We now begin to see the contrast and distinctions for the requirements to be a citizen between the elite of the day versus what the Creator established.

Secondly, I propose that this topic bears merit of consideration in the many popular posts these recent weeks for those voicing an opinion for this or that particular messianic name badge. Before we post, comment or act in haste, let us consider that righteousness has already been established by the King. There is no need to continue to divide the House with false descriptions, false creeds, false righteousness requirements. The Constitution to the Kingdom is established without the help of you or I. Work out your salvation in fear and trembling. That doesn't mean we instill the fear and trembling on others.

So you may be a little more traditional.

So you may be a little less frequent in Hebrew.

So you may sing more hebrew songs at your congregation than some.

So you want to be the bridge between the church and the Messianic Movement.

So what.

The King has given us all a part and mission in this commission. Not everyone is to look like everyone else detail for detail, walk for walk. The key is if we profess Machiach and walk according to what HE says is righteous, then let people just be who they are. Remember, everyone is not where you are. Give them some time and slack, they will get there.

Hebrew Roots, Messianic Judasim, Torah Pursuant Believer in Yeshua, whatever...it may be a dysfunctional family, but it is family non the less.

Add comment

Security code