Paul’s Contradictions Can they be resolved? If we look at Paul’s letters, it is not difficult to pull out what on the surface appear to be directly opposing views, anti- and pro-Israel:

Paul and Judaism: 5 Puzzles In recent years, five questions have dominated scholarly discussions regarding Paul’s attitudes toward Judaism and its Law.

The following article is located at Paul’s Contradictions of Jesus (
in addition to a long discussion about Paul.

Here is a list of the major contradictions by Paul of things Jesus taught. Each topic is hyperlinked to where it appears. At the end of each topic, there are navigation links to bring you back to the original Table of Contents.

Also, an abbreviated version of this page suitable for printing hand-outs was created by David S. His version is available at this link in either a Word or PDF Document.

Hyperlinked Table of Contents: 24 Contradictions

• Jesus Says Not To Eat Meat Sacrificed to Idols, But Paul Says It Is Ok.

• Jesus Says The Law Continues, But Paul Says No.

• Paul Says The Pharisees Followed The Law Rigorously, But Jesus Says They Were Lax About The Law.

• Jesus Says Salvation Initiates And Continues By Repentance From Sin and Obedience Besides Faith; Paul Says This is Heresy.

• Jesus Tells Apostles To Teach His Commands Given Prior to His Ascension While In The Flesh, But Paul Says Not To Do So.

• Paul Says Elders Are Entitled To Pay for ‘Preaching & Teaching,’ But Jesus Says No.

 Jesus Teaches There Are Only 12 Apostles Into Eternity, But Paul Adds Himself To The List As a Thirteenth.

• Paul Exhorts Celibacy, But Jesus Clearly Says It is A Choice Not Within Everyone’s Power.

• Jesus Says There Is One Pastor and Teacher (Himself), But Paul Tells Church He is a Teacher, & There Are Many Pastors and Teachers.

• Paul Says God Is The God of the Dead, But Jesus Says God Is Not The God of the Dead.

• Paul Says God Does Not Live in Temples Made of Human Hands, But Jesus Says He Does.

• Jesus says Nations Of The World Are Under Satan, But Paul Says Its Rulers Are Agents of God.

• Jesus Teaches Rapture is Of Evil Ones First, But Paul Teaches The Opposite.

• Jesus Says A Call Is Revocable, But Paul Says It Is Irrevocable.

• Jesus Says Some Are Righteous, But Paul Says It Is Impossible.

• Paul Excludes Eating With Sinners But Christ’s Example We Are To Follow, and the Lost Sheep Parable, Is Contrary

• Paul Teaches We Are Eternally Secure, But Jesus Teaches Insecurity to a Sinning Believer.

• Paul Teaches In Original Sin But Jesus Contradicts.

• Paul Denies Obedience Grants Any Righteousness Unto Life, But Jesus & Exodus 20:6 Both Says It Does.

• Jesus Sends The Apostles to Baptize, But Paul Says Jesus Did Not Send Him to Baptize.

• Jesus Says Only the Merciful Receive Mercy, But Paul Says Only Those God Chooses Arbitrarily Will Receive Mercy.

• Paul Says Salvation Does Not Depend Upon Exertion, But Jesus Says It Does.

• Paul Says He Could Be Justified of The Sin that Never Could be Justified under the Law given Moses (Blasphemy), but Jesus says to the contrary that it is The Unpardonable Sin.

• Paul Says Flesh will not inherit the Kingdom of God, but Jesus in Flesh ascended to heaven, and promises to resurrect our bodies likewise to the Kingdom of the New Jerusalem, giving us the same physical resurrection that Jesus had.

Below, one by one they discuss in full each point.

Jesus Says Not To Eat Meat Sacrificed to Idols, But Paul Says It Is Ok 

Three times Jesus in the Book of Revelation condemns eating meat sacrificed to idols, even saying this is the doctrine of a false prophet. (Rev. 2:614 (Ephesus); Rev. 2:14-15 (Pergamum);  Revelation 2:20  (Thyatira).)

This absolute prescription also was set forth in James’ ruling at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15:20. Then it is repeated when it was put in a letter. (Acts 15:29.) Finally, James reiterates this for a third and final time in Acts chapter 21. James tells Paul that many claim Paul is teaching lawless doctrine — “apostasia.” (Acts 21:21.) So James reminds Paul what was the ruling at the Jerusalem Council. He tells Paul that previously “we wrote giving judgment that they [i.e., the Gentiles] should keep themselves from things sacrificed to idols….” (Acts 21:25.) James asks Paul to reassure everyone that Paul believes the Law is still valid by Paul performing the vow from Numbers chapter six. Paul agrees, impliedly leading James to assume Paul never wavered from the principle that it is unlawful to eat meat sacrificed to idols.

However, Paul clearly teaches multiple times that there is nothing wrong in itself eating meat sacrificed to idols.  Paul reasoned that a “strong” conscience knows an idol is nothing. Thus, eating meat sacrificed to nothing can have no consequences. Those who thought otherwise Paul says were “weak” minded in thinking the fact an idol was involved meant eating meat sacrificed to an “idol” made it wrong to do so.  (1 Corinthians 8:4-13, and 1 Corinthians 10:19-29. See also Romans 14:21.) 

Why did Paul devote so much time, and take the risk endorsing eating idol meat unless you were in the presence of such a “weak” minded brother?

Well, idol temples apparently gave such meat away free to anyone who would come to the idol’s temple after the sacrifice to sit and enjoy the feast of meats. Such feasts were a primary way the public enjoyed any game-meat. So this was an important teaching by Paul which would attract poor followers to Paul’s doctrines. Obviously, others in the church, including the Jerusalem council of the 12 Apostles in Acts 15, had the opposite view.  

The first time Paul addresses the question of “eating meat sacrificed to idols,” Paul answers: “But food will not commend us to God; neither if we eat not….” (1 Cor. 8:8.) Paul then explained it is only necessary to abstain from eating such meat if you are around a “weaker” brother who thinks an idol is something. (1 Cor. 8:78:109:22.) Then, and only then, must you abstain. The reason is that then a brother might be emboldened to do something he thinks is sinful. The brother is “weak,” Paul says, for believing eating meat sacrificed to an idol is wrong. This is thus a sin for the “weak” brother to eat, Paul explains, even though you know it is not sinful to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Thus, even though you know better than your weaker brother that it is no sin to eat such meat (1 Cor 10:28-29), it is better to abstain eating at the idol’s temple in his presence than cause a “brother” to sin against his weak conscience and become “perished” (lost) / “destroyed.” (1 Cor. 8:11.) 

In saying this, Paul clearly implied it was alright to eat at the idol’s temple if no weak-minded brother was around.

First, in 1 Cor. 8:10, Paul said:

For if any man see thee which has knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols: & through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren and would their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. (KJV).

Please notice that Paul does not condemn going to the idol’s temple to eat if no “weak” minded Christian is able to see you doing so. You only decline if the circumstances render it disadvantageous to eat — when you can be seen by a so-called “weak”-minded brother eating such meat at the idol’s temple, you thereby do harm to the “weak” brother’s will-power to not violate his own conscience. 

Incidentally, obviously Paul restricted the circumstances when one impliedly could eat such meat at the idol’s temple only to a time period after the pagan ceremony was over. At that point, the food now represented, in Paul’s explanation that an “idol” is “nothing,” just a free meal. 

Finally, Paul makes it clear that in the absence of any Christian with a “weak” conscience being in eye-shot, you with a “strong” conscience could eat such meat without any self-reproach.  For in 1 Cor. 10:28-29 KJV, Paul says:

28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience?

Paul elsewhere calls this a “freedom in Christ” from having to obey any of the Torah-law.

In Galatians, Paul refers to those claiming to be brethren who were trying to “spy out our liberty which we have in Christ that they might bring us into bondage.” Gal. 2:4

Did Paul mean the 12 apostles who stood directly against eating idol meat at the Jerusalem Conference in Acts 15, and now had discovered Paul’s teaching?

Luther said Paul meant that those ‘spying out our liberty’ in Gal. 2:4 were agents of the 12 Apostles. Paul supposedly correctly stood against the 12 due to their concern that Paul should follow at least the Torah laws given at the Jerusalem conference for them (which included not eating idol meat). Paul calls all such Torah laws “bondage” in Galatians. Luther thought Paul justly in this dispute called the 12 of “no repute,” and only “seemed to be somewhat,” and Paul was right to say their church-positions “made no difference to me,” and what they revealed “in conference [Acts 15 Jersalem conference on idol meat?] added nothing to me.” (Gal. 2:6.) For more background, see Paul Believed 12 Followed Another Jesus Per Luther

Obviously, the most burning difference that supposedly justified Paul’s ire was this issue about eating meat sacrificed to idols. His followers wanted reassurance they could eat it. Paul knew his adherents would be less inclined to follow Paul if he had to abandon teaching an “idol” is nothing, and instead had to concede that food sacrificed to an idol is “something” more than an issue whether an idol is real or not.  

By contrast, the 12 apostles previously made clear they wanted Gentiles to obey this Law. This was part of the list of starter laws that all Gentiles must obey that was issued at the Jerusalem Conference in Acts 15. Paul was tasked to deliver this ruling to the leadership at the Gentile-dominated church at Antioch, Syria.

This question indeed was a “major controversy,” as Wikipedia records: 

major controversy among Early Christians concerned whether it was permissible to eat meat that had been offered in pagan worship, see also Council of JerusalemPaul of Tarsus, who agreed to the Apostolic Decree, also wrote that it was permitted to do so, as long as a blessing was pronounced over it, and provided that scandal was not caused by it. (“Idolatry and Christianity,” Wikipedia.)

Those who favor Paul admit that Paul contradicts Jesus in Revelation where Jesus three times prohibits eating meat sacrificed to idols. However, they believe Apostle John was expressing hatred toward Paul, thereby discounting that Jesus validly was speaking. The Christian scholar, Renan, in his famous work Saint Paul (G.W. Carleton, 1875) at 220 admits all this:

The second and third chapters of the Apocalypse are a cry of hatred against Paul and his friends. This church of Ephesus, which owes so much to Paul, is praised for “not being able to bear with them which are evil; for having tried them, which say they are apostles and are not  for having found them liars; for hating the deeds of the Nicolaitanes,” 71 “which I also hate,” adds the celestial voice.” The church of Smyrna [is told] I have a few things against thee,” says the divine voice to the church of Pergamos, “because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of Nicolaitanes.”70 “I have a few things against thee,” says the same voice to the church of Thyatira, “because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel,” which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce my servants, to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols

For more discussion, see Chapter Six of Jesus Words Only, available at this link to an html page.

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Jesus Says The Law Continues, But Paul Says No

CAVEAT: The Law given Moses applicable to “foreigners/sojourners” (Gentiles) is a relatively small set of moral commands primarily from Leviticus, incorporating most of the Ten Commandments. So if the Law given Moses applies to Gentiles, it is not a burdensome list. Yet, we are still applying literally the Law, just as James did in Acts 15, by treating the term “foreigner/sojourners” versus “sons of Israel” as literally as possible. This distinction perfectly explains why James in Acts 15 did not extend circumcision to Gentiles to become followers, i.e., Leviticus 12:1-3 only requires sons of “Israel” to be circumcised except if a gentile wanted to observe passover or enter the Temple. See this webpage where we discuss this issue in more depth.

Jesus’s View on the Law. Jesus emphasized the validity of the Law up through the passing away of Heaven and Earth, thus confirming its inspiration and ongoing validity. In Matthew 5:17-19 we read:

(17) Think not that I came to destroy the Law [of Moses] or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil. (18) For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the Law, till all things be accomplished [i.e., all things predicted appear on the stage of history]. (19) Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (ASV)

Compare that Luke 16:17 similarly records Jesus saying at a different time than the Sermon on the Mount:

“It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.” (Luke 16:16-17 NIV.)

Thus, Jesus can never be accused of seducing any Christian from following the Law. Jesus cannot be a false prophet under Deuteronomy 13:5 (false prophet is anyone who has miracles and wonders but seduces you from following the Law). Jesus said the Law remained valid until the Heavens and Earth pass away. This passing of heaven and earth occurs at the end of the Millennium. This is 1000 years after Christ’s Second Coming, according to the Book of Revelation.

Paul’s View on the Law. Paul says the opposite.

Paul in Romans 10:4 say “For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness for everyone who believes.” Paul is blunt the Law has ceased for anyone who follows Jesus in Ephesians 2:15, Colossians 2:14, 2 Cor. 3:11-17, Romans 7:1-3 et seq, and Galatians 3:19 et seq. The Law is “abolished,” “done away with,” “nailed to a tree,” “has faded away,’ and was “only ordained by angels…who are no gods.”

If we were to cite Paul’s condemnations of the Law in one string, the point is self-evident that Paul abrogated the Law for everyone. See Eph. 2:15 (“setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations”); Col. 2:14 (“having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross;”) 2 Cor. 3:14 (“old covenant”); Gal. 5:1 (“yoke of bondage”); Rom. 10:4 (“Christ is the end of the law“); 2 Cor. 3:7 (“law of death”); Gal. 5:1 (“entangles”); Col. 2:14-17 (“a shadow”); Rom. 3:27 (“law of works”); Rom. 4:15 (“works wrath”); 2 Cor. 3:9 (ministration of condemnation); Gal. 2:16 (“cannot justify”); Gal. 3:21 (cannot give life); Col. 2:14 (“wiped out” exaleipsas); Gal. 3:194:8-9 (“given by angels…who are no gods [and are] weak and beggarly celestial beings/elements”).

Finally, in Romans 7:1-6, Paul claims when Jesus died, the husband died and this dissolved the Law’s bonds between the husband (God of Sinai) and wife (God’s people). This henceforth made the “law dead to us.” (Romans 7:4.) This death-of-God-the-husband released the Jews, Paul contends, and when Christ resurrected the bonds of marriage with the old God were not renewed.  (The implication, we contend, was Paul meant a new God emerges or otherwise if the same husband-God resurrected, why wasn’t the bond to the Law renewed? Paulinists come near to admitting this is the only logical meaning while even confessing they are uncomfortable with the passage’s ‘seemingly’ polytheistic explanation… Uggh. On our thorough analysis of Romans 7:1-6, see our webpage discussion.)

For more discussion on Paul’s abrogation of the Law, see chapter five of Jesus Words Only excerpted at this link.

How do those devoted to every word from both Paul and Jesus resolve the contradiction? Here is a perfect example:

If [Jesus] is saying [in Matt 5:17 by saying He fulfilled the Law, and meant] he is the ‘end of the Law’ [as Paul taught in Romans 10:4], then why does he say in the next verse that the Law will never disappear [until heaven and earth pass away]? …There is something exasperating about trying to understand a verse like this….What the verse seems to say contradicts what we know from other verses in the New Testament. The truth is we cannot be expected to understand this verse.

Bivin, David. Blizzard, Jr., Roy. Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus: New Insights From A Hebraic Perspective (Destiny Image, 2001) at 113.

Incidentally, Bivin & Blizzard offer a Hebrew approach that Jesus means by saying he did not come to destroy the Law means his interpretations will not weaken its meaning, and to fulfill means to make it more lasting. Even with that, Bivin & Blizzard realize they haven’t removed the contradiction between Paul and Jesus.  

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Paul Says The Pharisees Followed The Law Rigorously, But Jesus Says They Were Lax About The Law

Paul says in Philippians 3:5-6 that as a result of his time as a Pharisee that “as touching righteousness, found blameless.” Cf. Acts 26:5 where Paul says “I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee.”

Of course, Jesus taught contrarily that the Pharisees were lax in teaching and obeying the Law. See Matt. 23:23See also, Matt. 15: 6,9.

This contradiction between Paul and Jesus has probably had the most important impact on doctrine. By perceiving the Pharisees through Paul’s eyes, we are led to believe Jesus condemned the Pharisees as legalists — Paul’s view. However, Jesus condemned the Pharisees as ANTI-LEGALISTS. Jesus condemned them as teachers abrogating the Law by their man-made ordinances. (Matt. 15:6). And Jesus condemned them as those who taught the lesser commands of the Law while ignoring the more weightier commands of the Law of justice (right-and-wrong), mercy and faith / obedience (pistis in Greek has a dual meaning). (Matt. 23:23.) 

Hence, a wrong deduction is achieved by using Paul’s contradictory perception of the Pharisees. Paul says the Pharisees are legalists; but Jesus says they are anti-legalists. Negators of the Mosaic Law. These are radically opposite perceptions. If Paul’s view were correct, then Jesus impliedly condemned obedience any longer to the Law by criticizing the Pharisees. However, if Jesus’s view of the Pharisees as lax about the Law is correct (and who can deny our Lord’s veracity!), then Jesus condemned any teaching that either marginalized the Law or contradicted the Law.

This fits precisely into Jesus’s statement: “he that teaches and keeps the Law of Moses will be great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:19.)

However, because Paul depicts the Pharisees – enemies of Jesus – as law-keepers, Paul is understood to be “condemning all who are zealous of the Law of Moses as an enemy of Messiah.” (Cosette, Id., at 21.)

This means Paul indirectly condemned our Lord Jesus Christ when Paul condemned those who were teaching the Law should be followed, both big and little commands.

CAVEAT: Please note that I have explained that the Law does not have but a relatively modest number of provisions that apply to non-Israelites/sojourners. It has provisions that specifically extend rules to sojourners/non-Israelites who join with the community. When they apply to both, specifically on the atonement principle,  the Law says they are “one” principle that applies to both. It does not say there is “one law” — all five books — that applies the same without any distinction between “sons of Israel” and “sojourners.” For that would render null the Law’s own distinction between the two. Hence, the “one law” verse is taken out of context. See this webpage where we discuss this issue.

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Jesus Says Salvation Initiates And Continues By Repentance From Sin and Obedience Besides Faith; Paul Says This is Heresy

Paul’s main salvation verses at odds with Jesus are well-known:

  • Romans 3:28 (“man is justified by faith apart from observing the law”).
  • Romans 4:5 (“To the man who does not work, but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness”).
  • Gal. 5:4 (“You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace”).
  • Romans 7:6 (“Now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law, so that we serve in a new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code”).
  • Gal. 2:16 (“A man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ, because by observing the law no one will be justified”).
  • Ephesians 2:8-9 (“For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith, this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.”)

Here where it matters most, Paul has a different voice than our Lord Jesus. Paul’s themes are alien to Jesus’s message of salvation. They undercut, if not destroy, the message of Jesus. The true sheep of Jesus recognize His voice, and will not follow another. (John 10:27-29.)

Jesus teaches instead the following — in each instance contrasted with the teachings of Paul:

[This chart below is available in PDF in an easily shared chart]:

The one who repents from sin is “justified.” (Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee. Luke 18:10-14.) The son who was dead but now repents from life of sin with prostitutes is “alive again” (born again). (Parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15:1-32, viz. v. 24.)One is not justified nor born again by repentance from sin, but by faith alone. (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 4:4. See also Romans 3:28 especially as Luther defends here.) Any such addition to Paul’s salvation by faith alone doctrine is the heresy of “works salvation.” (Wilkin, Stanley, Hodge.)
The one who relies upon God’s election to salvation and does not repent goes home unjustified. (Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee. Luke 18:10-14.) The one who relies upon God’s election alone for salvation is relying on the right thing. (Rom. 8:33.) God elects you to salvation by means of predestination, and hence without any work on your part. Faith is given to you as part of God’s work in you. (Phil 1:6) (Wilkin, Stanley.)
To have eternal life, follow the Ten Commandments, deny yourself (i.e., repent and do works worthy of repentance) and then follow Jesus. If you give up fathers, mothers, and brothers for Jesus, deny yourself, take up your cross, and “follow Me,” you “shall have eternal life.” (Matthew 19:27-29Matthew 10:37-39John 12:25-26.)To have eternal life, say with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe He is resurrected. (Rom. 10:9. See also 1 Cor. 15:1-5.) Do not add any work. “Now to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned as of grace, but as of debt.”(Rom. 4:4.) If salvation depends on keeping the Law, then salvation by faith is made void. “[I]f they that are of the law are heirs, faith is made void…” (Rom.4:14.) In Romans 3:20, Paul says: “For no one is put right in God’s sight by doing what the Law requires; what the Law does is to make man know he sinned.”
A Christian will go to hell if they deny Christ under pressure. (Luke 12:4-9.)If we deny Jesus, He will deny us, but in the end God will still accept us because He cannot deny Himself. (Stanley.) Paul says: “if we shall deny him, he also will deny us: if we are faithless, he abideth faithful; for He cannot deny himself.” (2 Tim. 2:12-13.)
As part of an answer on how to have eternal life, Jesus tells a rich and obviously greedy man to repent by giving his wealth to the poor. The man is grieved. (Matthew 19:16-26Mark 10:17-31Luke 18:18-26.) Jesus tells another rich man who repents and repays those he stole from that “Today salvation has come to this house….” (Luke 19:9.)Salvation could not possibly depend on any works of repentance. Salvation is by faith alone. (Eph.2:8-9; Rom. 4:4.)
The thief on the cross, in front of a crowd hostile to Jesus, says: “Jesus, remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom.”(Luke 23:42.) Jesus had said that if you “confess me before men” then he will confess you before the angels in Heaven. (Luke 12:8.) Jesus thus tells the thief “this day you will be with me in Paradise.”Salvation could never depend on a confession of Jesus before men. If it was a means of salvation, this would be works righteousness. Instead, even though Paul said that if you “say Jesus is Lord with your mouth” and believe He was resurrected, then you shall be saved (Rom. 10:9), faith is all you need to be saved. (Rom. 4:4.) Paul must mean that such confession will flow naturally from faith rather than salvation is produced by a public confession. (Wilkin.)
Salvation is based on God forgiving your sin. If you do not forgive others after you receive forgiveness, God will revoke your forgiveness and send you to hell to be tormented. (Matt. 18:28-35; cf. Matt. 6:12.)Salvation is not contingent on your forgiving others. Salvation only has one condition: a one-time faith. (Romans 4:4.) If you ever once had faith (Romans 10:9), you are no longer able to be condemned. (Romans 8:1.)
Jesus promised those who “kept guard” of His word “should never taste death.” (John 8:51.) “He who continues to trust/believe/obey unto the Son should be saved.” (John 3:16.) (Obey unto is the actual meaning of pisteuosin eis in the famous 3:16. See our link.) He who continues to “disobey” the Son continues to be under God’s wrath. (John 3:36.)There is no endurance in any action required. Only a one-time faith that Jesus died for sin and resurrected (1 Cor. 15:1-5) is necessary for salvation. See also Romans 4:4.) One could fail to keep and guard Jesus’ word and still be saved because one is eternally secure based on a one-time faith. (Romans 8:1, 10:9.)
Jesus said “a branch in me” that produces no fruit because it failed to keep staying “in me” will be thrown “outside” the vineyard. It is as a branch that died (dried up). It is gathered up into the fire and is burned. (John 15:1-6.)If fruit or works were necessary to avoid being thrown outside God’s vineyard, becoming dead and then being burned in hell, it would be a salvation by works. Instead, salvation is by faith without any works. (Romans 4:4, 14; Eph. 2:8-9.)
A servant of Jesus who produces no fruit is useless, and he will be “thrown…into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 25:14 et seq.) This place of weeping and gnashing is the “fiery furnace.” (Matt. 13:42, 50.)If fruit or works were necessary to avoid being thrown outside and be burned in hell where there is weeping and gnashing, it would be a salvation by works. Instead, salvation is by faith without any works. (Romans 4:4, 14; Eph. 2:8-9.)
If you receive the word with joy and “believe for a while,” but in time of temptation, you fall away, you are lost. If you are choked by the pleasures of this world, and bring no fruit to completion, you are lost. If on the other hand, you bring forth fruit to the end, in patient endurance, you will be saved. (Luke 8:13-15.) You “shall be saved” if you “endured to the end.” (Matt. 10:22.)If you receive the word with joy and believe for a while, you are eternally saved. (Romans 8:1; 10:9.) Salvation cannot depend on you or anything you do thereafter. Otherwise, it is salvation by works. (Romans 4:4, 14; Eph. 2:8-9.) Thus, if you fall away or are choked with the pleasures of this life and have no fruit, you are still saved. There is no need to endure in faith as long as you believed once.
Among the sheep and goats who both call Jesus Lord, the group who serves Jesus by feeding the brethren in need, clothing them, and giving them water, goes to heaven. The other group who calls Jesus Lord but who fails to provide such charity are, as a consequence, sent to “eternal fire.” (Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. Matt. 25:32 et seq.). A faith that ignores the poor brethren is “dead” and “cannot save.” (James 2:14-17.) “Every tree therefore that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Matt. 7:19.)Anyone who “shall call” on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13.) This is permanent, and no condition subsequent can be put on this that you must be charitable or have fruit thereafter. Otherwise, it is salvation by works. (Romans 4:4, 14; Eph. 2:8-9.) Hence, it cannot be true that if the goats, in fact, ever once called on the name of the Lord that they should be sent to hell. James’ statement that paraphrases the principle of Matthew 25:32 et seq. contradicts Paul, and we are not to believe even an angel from heaven if he should contradict Paul. (Gal. 1:8.)
“I keep telling you the one who keeps on listening to my teaching and keeps on believing in [truly means “obeying to”] the one who sent me keeps on having eternal life and does not come into condemnation but has departed out of death into life.” (John 5:24.).Once in Christ, there is now no condemnation (Romans 8:1). This entry is by a one-time faith. (Rom. 10:9). As a result, freedom from condemnation is not secured by any continuity in listening to Jesus’ teaching or believing in /obeying God-the-Father. [CAVEAT: This Pauline argument relies on out-of-context use of Romans 8:1 which says there is no condemnation for those in Christ but ignores Paul there  conditions this as only applying to those who “walk not after the flesh….” which is actually close to what Jesus says.]

NOTE: Incidentally, in the Reformation, Melancthon, Bucer and later apparently Luther came to teach double justification. This interpreted Paul as saying our salvation initiates by faith, but is maintained by works, including repentance. See our book, JWOS Preface (PDF). For a very good defense of this notion, using Paul’s present v. past tense reference to saved, see this webpage from Christian However, Jesus says salvation initiates, such as for the Prodigal, by repentance from sin combined with faith in the father, while Paul contrarily says that it initiates by faith alone without a hint of any repentance from sin. Hence, double justification may be a plausible synthesis of Paul and Jesus on a few verses,  but it is not adopted today because Jesus’ and Paul’s words directly clash, requiring an either/or choice. 

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Jesus Tells Apostles To Teach His Commands Given Prior to His Ascension While In The Flesh,  But Paul Says Not To Do So (Per Bultmann’s Reading)

After the Risen Lord proved He had the same nail holes as He had on the cross, Jesus’ final words just before He ascended into heaven were that the Apostles should teach “everything that I commanded you….” Matt. 28:20.

Jesus must have meant to teach all His commands prior to the Cross, and not simply any given after He rose from the dead and prior to Ascension. How do we know that?

The reason we know this is true is because none of the four gospels contain any post-cross commands. If Jesus meant by His command to teach the world “all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20) to teach only His commands post-resurrection, the four gospels would have contained such commands. However, there are none quoted except the command in Matt. 28:20 to teach Jesus’ commands previously given. Hence, Jesus clearly meant by “everything I commanded you” to be His words in His earthly ministry before His resurrection.

Hence, Jesus could only have meant that post-Ascension the apostles were to teach the pre-Cross teachings of Jesus — while He was clearly “in the flesh.”

However, Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 5:16 is interpreted to justify rejecting this.

16Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. (KJV)

The famous and influential evangelical theologian Rudolf Bultmann said 2 Corinthians 5:16 means we no longer know Christ in the flesh, i.e., we supposedly can dispense with Jesus’s teachings when He was in the flesh. Paul tells us that only the messages Paul received from the resurrected Christ — who supposedly no longer had flesh — is the means to know Christ any longer. 

Read this way by Bultmann, Paul tells us we no longer know or need to know Jesus’ message delivered pre-Resurrection when He was in the flesh.

This is also how the Christian theologian and physician Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) viewed 2 Cor. 5:16 in his book of 1911 Geschichte Der Paulinischen Forschung (J. C. B. Mohr) [] at 191 (and in English translation, Paul and His Interpreters: The conception of authority in the Pauline writings (1918) at 36.)

Schweitzer explained: “since the death and resurrection of the Lord [Paul believed] conditions were present that were so wholly new that they made his [Jesus’s] teaching inapplicable.” (Id.) Thus, Albert Schweitzer says this is what explains Paul’s failure to mention any significant teachings of Jesus: “If we had only St Paul to guide us, we should not know that Jesus spoke in parables, that He spoke the Sermon on the Mount and taught His people the Lord’s Prayer.”

Indeed, with the sole exception of the eucharistic formula at 1 Cor 11:24-25, Paul does not quote any sayings of the historical Jesus as found in the written Gospels. Furthermore, Paul never even once alludes to the panorama of the Savior’s life story from the Nativity up to the Passion, as well as Jesus’s elaborate teaching, which fill the pages of the first four books of the New Testament.

By contrast, and astonishingly, at Acts 13:24-25 Paul does quote John the Baptist from the written gospels! And Paul in Acts quotes pagan Greek works more frequently than Jesus’s words from the gospels (which only clearly once he did – the quote of the communion liturgy). See our article Pagan Influences on Paul. Hence, Paul was a well-read man but never thought Christ’s teachings in the flesh which we find in the gospels were of any importance to relate to the Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Thessalonians, etc. He rather quote pagan writers, so it seems.

As a result, Bultmann saw things the same way as did Albert Schweitzer. As one commentator on Bultmann summarized his influential view of 2 Corinthians 5:16, Paul deliberately ignored Jesus’ teachings during His earthly ministry because Paul discovered a new and different preaching than what Christ taught pre-resurrection. This rendered supposedly defunct that prior message of Jesus:

Bultmann…regards the historical Jesus as irrelevant as to the kerygma [i.e., preaching] of the risen Lord whom Paul proclaimed. Bultmann understood 2 Corinthians 5:16 (“even though we once knew Christ kata sarka [through/by means of the flesh], we know him thus no longer“) to mean that Paul chose not to employ his knowledge of Jesus kerygmatically [i.e., for preaching], a view with which Bultmann agreed [with Paul.]. Accordingly, the influential scholar of Marburg [i.e., Bultmann] declared Paul the “founder of Christian theology.” (Paul Barnett, Paul: Missionary of Jesus (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2008) at 13.)

Hence, Paul is viewed to instruct us no longer to teach Jesus’ teachings while Jesus was in the flesh, i.e., from His earthly ministry (2 Cor. 5:16). But Jesus commanded to the contrary that we do so in Matthew 28:20. Hence, 2 Cor. 5:16 contradicts Matt. 28:20 as Paulinists construe 2 Cor. 5:16.  

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Paul Says Elders Are Entitled To Pay for ‘Preaching & Teaching,’ But Jesus Says No

In 1 Tim. 5:17, Paul wrote: “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.” Then Paul uses a verse from the Law of Moses about not muzzling an ox in an apostate replacemenf of its meaning to say churchgoers have a duty to pay the elders for their service. (1 Tim. 5:18.) See link. Elsewhere, Paul says:

14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. (1 Cor. 9:14 NIV.)

But I thought Jesus said to His disciples to lay no cost on anyone they served by preaching and healing? “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” (Matt. 10:8, NAB.) Jesus in the prior verse was commanding the apostles to go out and preach the gospel, so the context makes quite clear that no charge or burden was to be made on auditors to hear preaching of the gospel or healing ministries.

Hence, 1 Tim. 5:17-18 and 1 Cor. 9:14 contradicts Jesus in Matthew 10:8.

Incidentally compare: Micah 3:11 WEB which says similarly to what Jesus says:

11 Her leaders judge for bribes,
and her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets of it tell fortunes for money:
yet they lean on Yahweh, and say,
“Isn’t Yahweh in the midst of us?
No disaster will come on us.”

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Jesus Teaches There Are Only 12 Apostles Into Eternity, But Paul Adds Himself To The List As a Thirteenth

Matthias was voted to replace Judas in Acts 1, with the Lord Jesus deciding between two candidates, according to the prayer of the apostles over the casting of lots. Hence, the 12 were established long before Paul had his Damascus road experience.

However, our Savior made the permanent tally of the Apostles established at exactly twelve — for obvious reasons of historical symbolism. One can see the historical symmetry at Rev 21:12-14. Twelve apostles exist to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.

Paul was never numbered in that circle; not even Barnabas in his Epistle recognizes Paul’s Apostleship:  

“[The Apostles] to whom he gave the power of the Gospel to preach; and there are twelve as a testimony to the tribes, because there are twelve tribes of Israel.” (Epistle of Barnabas 8:3).

However, Paul repetitiously claimed he was an apostle. Yet, not once did Jesus ever call Paul an apostle, even by Luke’s quotations taken from Paul’s claims to his encounter with Jesus. Read for yourself Paul’s vision accounts in Acts chapers 9, 22 and 26. In these three accounts, the Jesus whom Paul met said Paul would be a martusThat means “witness,” not “apostolos” (messenger).

For more analysis, see our article Matthias Chosen as Twelfth.  

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Paul Exhorts and Commands Celibacy, But Jesus Clearly Says It is A Choice Not Within Everyone’s Power

Paul taught against being married. He wrote in 1 Cor. 10:27-28:

“Are you bound to a wife?  Do not seek to be free.  Are you free from a wifeDo not seek marriage.  But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a girl marries she does not sin.”

In line with this Paul also wrote:

“I wish all were as I am,” meaning unmarried. (1 Cor. 7:7.)

To help prevent the desire to be married, Paul said: ‘It is good that a man should not touch a woman.’ (1 Cor. 7:1.)

If Paul is a true prophet and wishes something, such as avoiding touching a woman and to not “seek to be married,” then Paul clearly endorses celibacy for us too as a superior way of life.

However, Jesus speaks differently of celibacy as something for some but not all disciples. It is not a command or even an exhortation. It is merely a legitimate option. “He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.” Matt. 19:12.

The contradiction arises because Jesus never says or implies “do not seek marriage.” Significantly, Jesus never applies any moral suasion or pressure to be celibate, while Paul clearly does so.  

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Jesus Says There Is One Pastor and Teacher (Himself), But Paul Tells Church He is a Teacher, And There Are Many Pastors and Teachers

Jesus said there is One Pastor and One Teacher:

And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd/pastor (Grk poimen) (John 10:16.)

“But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your teacher (didaskolos), and all ye are brethren….” (Matt. 23:8)(ASV)[See Greek tab at Biblehub.]

“Nor are you to be called ‘teacher‘, for you have one Teacher (kathegetes – synonym for didaskolos), the Christ.” (Matt. 23:10, NIV). [See Greek tab at Biblehub, translating kathegetes as “instructor.”]   

Hence, Jesus says there is “one…didaskalos” in Matt 23:8. He underscores two verses later the same point by using a synonym, insisting there is “one teacher” – kathegetes. And Jesus says in John 10:16, there is “one pastor” — using the Greek word poimen.

But what does Paul claim is true, using the identical Greek words?

Paul in contradiction of Christ says: “And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors (shepherds, Greek poimenas) and teachers (didaskolos)….” (Eph. 4:11.) Paul also describes himself as a “teacher” (didaskalos) to the Gentiles. (2 Tim. 1:11 -Bible Hub Greek tab.)

Paul thus directly violates Jesus’ literal words in Matt 23:8 and John 10:16.

ADVISORY NOTE: Some sources deflect this literal contradiction between Jesus in Matt 23:8 and Paul’s 2 Tim. 1:11 claim to be a “teacher” in two ways.

First, they do so by changing Matt 23:8 from “didaskalos” to “kathegetes.” See BlueBible’s concordance at this link.

Second, they then solely translate “kathegetes” as “Master,” not as “teacher” or “instructor” even though the latter is Biblehub’s sole translation of “kathegetes.” See this link (article claiming no contradiction between Paul and Jesus here once we acccept “kathegetes” is supposedly in Matt 23:8, and it allegedly means “Master”).

What is the truth?

First, if one goes to BibleHub’s “Greek parallels” tab, it shows you the major Greek text sources word for word. In six text traditions, we have “didaskalos” while three sources have “kathegetes” in Matt 23:8. See link.

Now before looking at what source tradition is more authoritative, let’s look at Jesus’ context for Matt 23:8. Jesus is saying “do not call yourself a Rabbi.” (Matt 23:7.) This was not saying do not call yourself a master, but instead don’t call yourself a teacher of religious doctrines. Jesus simply chose a different word to emphasize this in the very next sentence of Matt 23:8. Do not call yourself a “DIDASKALOS” — a teacher.

Hence, if “kathegetes” truly means “master” as the proponents of the three texts which use “kathegetes” prefer (to avoid Paul literally contradicting Jesus), it would not make sense. Jesus is explaining by repetition why you should not call yourself a “Rabbi” by using a word synonym. That word is perfectly DIDASKALOS. Hence, just by reading the context, and allowing the argument that kathegetes means “master,” we find the six texts that say “DIDASKALOS” fits Jesus’ meaning clearly, while the three that have “kathegetes” in 23:8 (if it means “master”) do not.

Also, why would Jesus use “kathegetes” not only in 23:10 twice, but a third time in 23:8? For simple literary reasons he would be intending related concepts to put emphasis on the point. But repeating the same word three times in one context would appear to be over exaggeration. 

Next, let’s find out what is regarded by evangelical experts as the most authoritative original Greek. W.E. Vine – an evangelical scholar — in his famous and well-respected New Testament Word Pictures (Thomas Nelson: 2015) says at page 198: 

Rabbi….Matthew 23:7, 8 … kathegetes….some manuscripts have it in verse 8, but the most authentitic have didaskalos; this is rendered as teacher by Christ of Himself; … of Nicodemus in Israel [Jn] 3:10 didaskalos]….

Finally, what does kathegetes truly mean? While it can mean “master,” it also means “teacher.” Vine says this on page 198 as well. Hence, because a Rabbi was a teacher, not a master, and because Jesus said in verses 7 and 8 do not call yourself a Rabbi, or Didaskalos (teacher), Jesus obviously chose to underscore this by use of a synonymn — kathegetes — meaning teacher — in verse 10. He did not use “kathegetes” to mean “master” — among its various meanings.

Hence, in context, it is clear that Jesus intends a meaning in Matt 23:8 (didaskalos) and 23:10 (kathegetes) which Paul’s words literally and substantively contradict. In fact, in violation of Jesus’ commands, Paul calls himself a “Teacher” (didaskalos) in 2 Tim. 1:11.

Whether 23:8 is didaskalos or kathegetes does not change the fact of a contradiction. When didaskalos is recognized in 23:8, the contradiction is literal. If we thought kathegetes in 23:8 besides 23:10 were truly more valid (uninfluenced by a desire to protect Paul), it is still a substantive contradiction. Kathegetes in context means teacher in Matt 23:10, and hence would have the same meaning if it were also present in 23:8.

However, based upon Vine’s analysis of what is the most authoritative text of 23:8, we know the contradiction is literal. For Paul says he is a “didaskalos” in an epistle addressed to Christians. By contrast, Jesus said in Matt 23:8 not to call yourself a “didaskalos” among Christians for only one is our “didaskalos” — Jesus Himself.  Paul clearly violated this command of Christ! 

Finally, none of this explains why Paul says there are many “pastors” in the church, when Jesus said he is our “sole pastor” in John 10:16. Of course, this contradictions is disguised too by the standard translations.

First, Jesus says “I have other sheep which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, andthey will hear my voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd (POIMEN).” When Paul contradicts this literally in Greek in Ephesians 4:11, saying there are many POIMEN in the church, the POIMEN is translated as “pastors” — inconsistent with how the same root word was translated as “shepherd” when Jesus used the singular form.

What is the effect on you the reader?

The literal contradiction by Paul of Jesus does not jump off the page as it would to one reading the Greek.

Can translators varying the translation of the same root Greek word make sense for any legitimate other purpose than concealing Paul contradicts Jesus?

No. For there is no justification because Jesus and Paul are talking about the same thing: leadership in the church. Jesus claims exclusivity but Paul claims that is not true. Translators impede both Jesus and Paul being heard speaking on the same topic with the same language so the opposition of those expressions could come to the reader’s mind. Jesus’ flock needs to know Paul is using the Master’s own identical language to convey an opposing view. 

This is nothing new. In our article Mistranslations to Help Paul, we review multiple clear-cut examples where passages in the Hebrew or Christian Bible are mistranslated with the obvious purpose of protecting Paul. In some cases entire sentences are baselessly added from thin air with no other explanation other than to protect Paul from embarassment. 

Incidentally, the reason Jesus says He will be “sole shepherd” or “sole pastor” is because Jesus is alluding to the prophecy of the David-heir-as-Messiah in a new covenant in Ezekiel 37:24. There the NIV has it that the Davidic king “will be king over them, and they will have one shepherd,” and “they will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees,” and “I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant.” Thus, one can see Paul contradicts not only Jesus but also the Law & the Prophets: (a) by Paul claiming Jesus must confront competitor shepherds caused by Paul’s outreach; and (b) that God’s laws will be denigrated as no longer applicable and need no longer be followed, as long as we simply have “faith” that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-4.)

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Paul Says God Is The God of the Dead, But Jesus Says God Is Not The God of the Dead

Paul speaks of the “Lord of the dead and the living.” (Romans 14:9.) But Jesus says “God is not the God of the dead but the living.” (Luke 20:38.)  

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Paul Says God Does Not Live in Temples Made of Human Hands, But Jesus Says He Does

Paul says “God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.” (Acts 17:24)(Greek cheiropoietois – hand-made).

However, Jesus said, in a correction of Pharisees who thought an oath offered “by” articles offered at the Temple were binding but not an oath by the Temple at Jerusalem itself: “And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it.” (Matt. 23:21.) Jesus elsewhere referred to the Temple at Jerusalem as a “Temple made with hands.” (Mark 14:58)(Greek cheiropoieton, ‘made with hands.’)

Hence, Jesus clearly said God dwells at the Temple made of human hands. Paul quite clearly says the opposite as a principle true at all times.

The importance of this is that Jesus affirms God does live in a temple made of human hands, but Paul says this is untrue. [Added 9/22/2010]

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Jesus says Nations Of The World Are Under Satan, But Paul Says Their Rulers Are Agents of God

Compare Lk 4:5-8 (Satan offers his authority to Jesus to rule the kingdoms of the world), Jn 18:36 (“my kingdom is not of this world”) 19:18 (“they crucified him”), Ac 4:26 (“rulers of the world rise up against the Annointed One”) (Ps 2:2) versus Paul in Rom 13:1-5.

The celestial kingdom is described in the Gospels as of another order from the entire realm of the nations, which are ruled by Satan and whereby Christ was crucified. (See our webpage discussion.)

On the other hand, the secular authorities with all their weaponry (including Mk 15:16 ff) are stated by Paul to be God’s own agents. (Romans 13:1-5.) (Source: Metalog) [Added 9/25/2010]

Paul also contradicts Hosea 8:4 (700s BC): “They set up kings without my consent;  they choose princes without my approval.” (NIV) Paul also contradicts Peter and John who when the first time they were told not to preach, they responded in Acts 4:19: “But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!” The same happened again in Acts 5:29, and they responded similarly for “Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than human beings!’”

Paul also contradicts the sound example of Daniel who refused to stop worshipping Yahweh when a king’s decree ordered him to do so: “Then they answered and spoke before the king, ‘Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you signed, but keeps making his petition three times a day.” (Daniel 6:13.)

Also, Moses’ life as a child depended upon such disobedience. In Exodus 1:17, we similarly read: “But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live.”

Cf. Thomas Aquinas recognized a Christian had no duty to obey unjust laws, implicitly recognizing the world’s rulers are not God’s agents. (Summa Theolgia (Copleston) Question 96, Art. 6; see Feldman at 307 fn. 125.)  

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Jesus Teaches Rapture is Of Evil Ones First, But Paul Teaches The Opposite

For full discussion, see our webpage.  

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Jesus Says A Call Is Revocable, But Paul Says It Is Irrevocable

“‘The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable’ (Rom 11:29). The birthright of Esau was revoked, as was the calling of the House of Eli. If ‘many are called, but few are chosen‘ (Matt 22:14), then the calling is revocable.”  (Femi Aribisala, Nigerian Christian, “A-Paul-ing Epistles.“) 

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Jesus Says Some Are Righteous, But Paul Says It Is Impossible

Paul says in the OT it teaches none are righteous. Romans 3:10-18. [Paul misread the Psalm which contrasted the evil ones as doing no righteousness, in contrast to those doing good who it clearly calls the righteous. See link. Doug’s editor’s note.] However, Jesus extols those who feed, clothe and give drink to the brethren, and calls them the “righteous,” and says they alone go to heaven, but those who do not do these works are ‘goats’ who are sent to hell. Matt. 25:37.

Paul says that none is righteous under the law, that obedience to the law justifies no one before God, and that the law was a curse:

Ro 3:10 – As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Ro 3:19 – Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Gal 3:10 – For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

But the Lord Jesus says there were many who were righteous under the law:

Mt 13:17 – For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

Mt 23:3 – That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

Mt 23:29 – Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,

In fact, some of the righteous under the law during the lifetime of both Jesus and Saul were:

Elizabeth and Zechariah, the parents of John the Baptist: Lu 1:6 – And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

Simeon, who waited to see the Messiah: Lu 2:25 – And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

Joseph the husband of Mary, and Mary herself who was chosen to be Jesus’ mother: Mt 1:19 – Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example,was minded to put her away privily.

John the Baptist: Mr 6:20 – For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

Why did Saul contradict the Lord? The answer is simple: Saul misunderstood the relationship between the Law and Love.  [See Messenger’s article 2006]

Jesus Speaks of Righteous v Non-Righteous Servants.

Jesus also speaks as a principle that when we are receiving a righteous person (i.e., making gracious provision of food, clothing, housing, etc. to a “righteous person”), then we will be rewarded with God’s favor for that same “righteous person.” This is in Matthew 10:40-42 ESV: 

40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

Jesus Speaks of Righteous v Non-Righteous Believers Who Call Him Lord Proven by Action

Jesus likewise calls those who provide food, clothing, water to his disciples “the righteous” in the judgment, and will go to eternal life, but those who did not, are condemned with Satan and his angels. This is in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25 ESV:

34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’ …[JESUS NEXT DISCUSSES BELIEVERS THAT HE IS LORD WHO DID NOT HELP BRETHREN]… 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” 

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Paul Excludes Eating With Sinners But Christ’s Example We Are To Follow, and the Lost Sheep Parable, Is Contrary

In 1 Cor. 5:9-13, Paul clearly writes:

I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 5:12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 5:13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

What did Pharisees like Paul say was Jesus’ sin or error? Eating with sinners. 

In Luke 15:1, the Pharisees accused Jesus of error, saying: “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus defends this practice in a Parable of the Lost Sheep — that if you have a lost sheep, you don’t wait for it to come home, but you go out to where you can find it, and then lead it back home. Jesus defends proactively socializing with sinners so as to bring them home as lost sheep, which included eating with sinners:

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus.2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 Then Jesus told them this parable:4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. (Luke 15:1-4.)

In another context, Jesus gives a similar defense when the Pharisees similarly accused Jesus of the alleged error of eating and socializing with sinners:

5 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:15-17 NIV. See also Matt 9:10-12 (same).)

Jesus defended the practice of making an effort to socialize with sinners to bring them back from a lost condition to a saved one. For the “healthy” don’t need a doctor to call upon them — only the sick (sinners in context). 

But Paul says the opposite. Don’t “eat” with sinners, Paul clearly says. Hence, 1 Cor. 5:9 contradicts Jesus’s clear practice of eating with sinners. This is akin to Paul’s idea of “turning” people over to Satan, abandoning them and praying Satan takes control of their lives. Jesus says this is an error — Jesus instead says you seek to turn such people from Satan and back to God.

The only argument that Jesus supposedly agrees with Paul comes from Jesus’ direction that within the church, we were to confront brothers / sisters with sins against us, and only after this process is taken in two unsuccessful steps, then you should treat the sinner as a tax collector / sinner. See Matt. 18.

Yet, this does not mean not eating with them, as Jesus made a point to eat with tax collectors and sinners as representative of “my sheep who are lost” and need “repentance.” Jesus included them as if they were his sheep previously — implicitly saved sheep at one point — but are now lost. The good shepherd exclaims when he comes home “I have found MY sheep who was lost.” (Luke 15:6.) These are “sinners who repent” in distinction from “righteous sheep” who need no repentance. Luke 15:7.

Treating someone as a tax collector thus meant treating them differently but did not mean to not eat with them. This likely meant not to give them the special greeting of shalom (God’s peace) or visiting them in their home. Why do I suggest that? Because John speaks in his epistle that we should not take certain heretics into our home or give them such a greeting. Jesus’ instructions to treat someone as a “sinner” thus does not necessarily mean not eating with them. In light of Jesus’ practice of eating with sinners who were part of “my sheep” previously, we should not construe it to prohibit eating with sinning Christians as a means of bringing back a “lost sheep” that once were obedient followers of Jesus.  

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Paul Teaches We Are Eternally Secure, But Jesus Teaches Insecurity to a Sinning Believer

Another important example is that most evangelicals believe Paul teaches we are eternally secure if we simply believe one time (Romans 8:1; 10:9; Eph. 2:8-9.) Calvinists similarly say salvation can never be lost due to predestination. (Phil. 1:6; Eph. 1:5,13-14; 2 Tim. 1:12; Rom. 8:29.) 

However, Jesus is repeatedly warning Christians to feel insecure about their salvation when sinning. All the ‘weeping and gnashing’ parables fit in this category. All the non-parabolic statements about hell fire for misbehavior by “anyone” fit in the same category. “Every tree that lacks good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire.” (Mat.7:19.) “Anyone who says ‘Fool’ is in danger of hell-fire” (Matt. 5:22), etc. Indeed, Paul’s teachings above directly undermine the Lord’s most extreme hyperbole — repeated three different times. Jesus addresses the apostles as “you”–and says “you” (including “believers in me”) have a choice: you can go to hell whole or heaven maimed. Jesus then explains that entry into heaven is dependent on you bravely cutting off body-parts ensnaring you in sin. (Mark 9:42-47; Matt.5:29-30; 18:6-9.) Jesus means to cut off the temptation and lust for fleshly sins causing “you” — the apostles in context — to sin.

Thus, Paul’s message of eternal security in these passages and your inability to fail to reach heaven negates the purpose behind every warning that Jesus gives. Paul thereby directly undermines Jesus’ effort to implore the most urgent need to engage in salvation-restoring repentance. 

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Paul’s View of Justification versus Jesus’ View of Justification

When Jesus uses the term “justified,” Jesus links it to repentance from sin. The publican who repents from sin in deep regret goes home “justified.” The Pharisee who does not do so and thinks he has nothing ever to regret, goes home unjustified. (Luke 18:14.) 

What does Paul teach instead? Paul says you are “justified by faith apart from the works of the Law.” (Rom. 4:2.) “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:5, KJV.) Once that happens, we have “peace with God.” (Rom. 5:1.) Once ‘justified’ in that manner, “we shall be saved from the wrath [of God] through him.” (Rom. 5:9.) Paul teaches a manner never to have regret again — by the mere step of believing — and you are justified while yet ungodly, i.e., unrepentant from sin. At least, this is how the young Luther and most construe Paul’s meaning in Romans 4:5.

Paul Teaches In Original Sin But Jesus Contradicts

Truth Seekers explains:

Paul has managed to contradict Jesus in almost every single area of faith and practice. Jesus says that there is no original sin (Mark 10:13-14) while Paul says there is (Rom. 5:12-14). (“Can Paul Be Trusted“.)  

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Who Should We Follow/Imitate? Paul? or Jesus?

Peter tells us to imitate Christ. The author of Hebrews (Barnabas) likewise says Jesus is our example. But Paul says we are to imitate and follow himself. I am quoting here from “Church Myths — Church of Christ or Paul” by an anonymous author:

In church do the sheep learn all about Jesus and what He instructs? Not as a rule. They are taught the gospel of Paul and not the gospel of Jesus. Well you may ask what is the difference. Well the main difference is that Jesus was … proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom. Jesus was to be our perfect example on how to live, yet Paul in his letters tells us how to live. Jesus told us to follow Him alone, yet Paul says 1Co 4:16 “Wherefore I beseech (beg) you, be ye followers of me.” … It is the Pope of Rome that instructs “his” church to be followers and imitators of himself. As a follower of Christ, I would NEVER tell some one to follow me. We follow Jesus only! Paul says,”Brothers, be followers together of me, and observe thus those thus walking [in error], according as you have us [as] a pattern.” Phi 3:17 (YLT) (Church Myths – Church of Christ or Paul? June 23, 2005 reprinted at this link, with YLT version of Phillipians 3:17.)

Feed The Poor But Paul Puts Up Barriers

I am quoting here from “Church Myths — Church of Christ or Paul” by an anonymous author:

What Jesus taught and what Paul taught was two different things. Here is a few quick example. Jesus instructs us to feed the poor. Paul says, “For even when we were with you we gave you orders, saying, If any man does no work, let him not have food. For it has come to our ears that there are some among you whose behavior is uncontrolled, who do no work at all, but are over-interested in the business of others.”2Th 3:10 Jesus said to feed the poor. He did not say feed the poor unless they are over interested in other people’s business. This is what Paul does. He pontificates endless rules of conduct, yet from the other side of his mouth he says we are free in Christ? (Church Myths – Church of Christ or Paul? June 23, 2005 reprinted at this link.

Incidentally, Bouck White – a defender of Jesus’ words above Paul’s –  in The Call of the Carpenter (1911) at page 238 criticizes the morality of 2 The 3:10 as follows: “Even his no-work-no-eat doctrine was directed by him only against the poor. All around him were the rich, virginally innocent of toil, and yet who were gorged to the gullet. Paul sharpens no dagger of invective for these.” 

Faith Alone Or Obedience to Christ?

I am quoting here from “Church Myths — Church of Christ or Paul” by an anonymous author:

Paul paints a picture of us being free from the law because of Jesus’ sacrifice. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus came to fulfill the law and to empower us with His Holy Spirit so that we can keep the law. Yet Paul says, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds (works) of the law.” Rom 3:28 Elsewhere he states that God “…imputes righteousness without works.” Rom 4:6 Paul is saying here that salvation is through faith alone and that we do not need works such as works repentance and works of righteousness. Jesus says, “And why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?” Luk 6:46 (Church Myths – Church of Christ or Paul? June 23, 2005 reprinted at this link.) 

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Paul Denies Obedience Grants Any Righteousness Unto Life, But Jesus Says It Does

Paul says that “if there HAD been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” (Gal 3:21). This tells me that Paul believed that no such Law ever existed that could give eternal life. This is in direct contradiction with Jesus; “If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” (Mat 19:17)  [Contributed by David B. 12/3/2011]. It also violates Exodus 20:6 within Ten Commandments where Yahweh-God says He extends “mercy to those who love me and obey my commandments.”

Saul preached that obeying the Law cannot justify or make man righteous before God:

Ro 3:20 – Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Ro 4:15 – Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

Ga 2:16 – Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Ga 3:11 – But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

In contrast, the Lord affirmed the law, came to fulfill his part in it, and exhorted his hearers to obey it for salvation. Thus:

Mt 5:17 – Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Mt 7:12 – Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

And the Lord added that, beyond or on top of the life that the law gives, he offers perfection to those who would follow him. Thus:

Mt 19:16 – And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

In summary, Paul’s gospel says: Never mind the law; just believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you are saved. Thus many believers disregard the Ten Commandments without feeling guilty, believing that they have been saved by faith in Christ, and that once saved, always saved. But if they cannot enter life, how can they go to perfection?

But the Lord’s gospel says: Obey the law and enter life, then achieve perfection by following him. Faith in him makes easier entry to life and achievement of perfection, because the Holy Spirit puts and writes the law in our minds and hearts. But the Holy Spirit does not dwell in unclean vessels. The correct sequence therefore is: Repent, forgive, believe in Christ, be baptized, and the Holy Spirit will indwell us and lead us to life (by obeying the Law) and perfection (by following Christ in agape love).

Paul quoted from Psalm 14 and used a tiny truncated phrase to make a huge generalization to set aside the Law. Fully read, Psalm 14 clearly states that while none is righteous among the fools and children of iniquity, God always has a righteous generation who keep the Law. [Messenger 2006.]  

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Jesus Sends The Apostles to Baptize, But Paul Says Jesus Did Not Send Him to Baptize


1 Corinthians 1:17 
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not in wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made void.

Matthew 28:19 
Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit [The last sayings of Jesus to the eleven Apostles after resurrection]

From Why Jesus’ and Paul’s Teachings Differ (1/27/2013)  

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Pleasing To All Men: A Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

Paul says: “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” 1 Cor. 10:33 (KJV)

Contrast what Jesus says about winning over all men so they speak well of you:

‘Woe to you when all men shall speak well of you — for according to these things were their fathers doing to false prophets.” (Luke 6:26 YLT)

Then Paul later contradicts himself, implying that what he says in 1 Cor. 10:33 proves he is not serving Christ. Good luck to the Paulinists to unravel this:

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Gal. 1:10 NIV)

Source: “Apostle Paul – Contradictions,” YouTube 2010 (Feeding the 144000) at 2 min 20 sec mark. 

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Jesus Says Only Merciful Receive Mercy, But Paul Says Only Those God Chooses Arbitrarily Will Receive Mercy

(From Edgar Jones’ Paul v. Jesus: A List of Incompatible Statements)

On whom God has mercy:

Paul says:

[15] For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy

, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 

[16] So it depends not upon man’s will or exertion, but upon God’s mercy

[18] So then he has mercy

 upon whomever he wills, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills.

Jesus says:

[7] Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy

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Paul Says Salvation Does Not Depend Upon Exertion, But Jesus Says It Does

(From Edgar Jones’ Paul v. Jesus: A List of Incompatible Statements)

 On unconditional election:

Paul says:

[16] So it depends not upon man’s will or exertion, but upon God’s mercy.

Jesus says:


] Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 

[22] On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ [23

] And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.

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Jesus Says The Law Cannot Justify A Blasphemer But Paul Says It Can

Jesus speaks of the unpardonable sin of blaspheming (insulting God) which is the only sin God says the violator “will not be held guiltless.” (Exodus 20:7). This was a sin that could thus never be justified under the Law given Moses.

However, Paul says by faith in Christ we are “justified of all things one could not be justified under the Law of Moses.”  Acts 13:39. Paul’s words on this change in principles necessarily only can apply as a change to the consequences of blasphemy in Exodus 20:7. There is no doubt on Paul’s view. Paul cites himself as an example of a blasphemer who received “mercy.” (1 Tim 1:13 NIV.) 

So we have a flat contradiction: Paul says the sin one could never be justified / forgiven under the Law given Moses can now be pardoned while Jesus, referring to the same sin, said it was unpardonable.

For a full discussion, see Did Paul Contradict Jesus on the Unpardonable Sin of Blasphemy?  

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Jesus Four Times Teaches Grace (Charis) Is By Exceeding Lukewarm Works That Sinners Find Easy to Do

Jesus in Luke four times uses the word Grace. But you would never know this based upon modern mistranslations of this word as “benefit,” “credit,” etc.


Because otherwise you would see the clear contradiction between Paul and Jesus. Just as Jesus taught that lukewarm works by a Christian will cause Jesus to spew you out of his mouth, Jesus in Luke says that we must exceed what sinners would do as good works, such as doing only good to those who love you; lending to only those who can repay, etc. instead, Jesus wanted exceptional works that have a higher aim than doing the minimal, but instead to go higher (be “hot” in Rev. 3:16) to please God. Paul teaches the opposite — that doing such works risks boasting. Thus, Paul set the standard of receiving God’s grace (God’s favor) so it never can be based upon any degree of works at all. Please see Grace and Favor in the Bible.

Jesus Resurrected & Ascended into Heaven in Flesh, But Paul Says It Cannot Happen

Jesus showed Thomas his nail holes. Jesus had flesh before He ascended. Jesus the Man inherited life eternal, and gave us the right by obeying him to become “sons of God” too, with the same privilege of resurrection. Jesus promised those who keep listening / following that He will resurrect our bodies on the last day — while our spirits go immediately to heaven upon death.

However, Paul says our souls sleep, and a body that goes to heaven is one that is “changed,” and no longer “flesh.” Paul says — contrary to Jesus’ own experience where Jesus in the flesh inherited heaven and ascended there — that “flesh” cannot inherit eternal life. Paul’s view of our death and resurrection is totally at odds with the view of Jesus. See Our Bodies on Ascension

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Paul Quotes Same Deuteronomy Passage as Jesus Quotes But Derives Opposite Conclusion.

Paul in 1 Tim. 5:18 makes a similar paraphrase of Deuteronomy that  Jesus made — a “worker is worthy of his wage.” Paul then applies it opposite from how Jesus applied the passage.  For in Matthew 10:10, Jesus is telling the apostles that they may not ask for money from those to whom they preach or teach. However, they could support themselves under the  Law of hospitality, where you could be hosted in a worthy person’s home, and do chores of the household, and get room and board, and if you did more than your share, you could receive a wage from the host-family. Jesus then said the “worker is worthy of his wage,” intending obviously to refer to a non-preaching non-teaching compensation as a boarder which the Law sanctioned. However, Paul applied this same verse – “a worker is worthy of his wage” — directly to prove the duty of congregants to pay Paul for preaching and teaching them. See Matthew 10:10 and the Law of Hospitality.

Extra Material: Paul’s Contradictions of Yahweh in Original Testament

God Will Not Justify Ungodly But Paul Says He Does

“I will not justify the ungodly.” (Exodus 23:7, KJV, ASV.)

“He that justifieth the ungodly …[is] an abomination to Yahweh.” (Proverbs 17:15.)

But Paul says:

“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:5, KJV.)

(Paul in context is relying upon a mistranslation of Genesis 15:6 from 257 BC in the Septuagint Greek translation. Link.)

In context, all mainstream scholars concur Paul means God justified Abraham before Abraham repented of unrighteousness. Unlike Exodus and Proverbs quoted above, Paul in Romans 4:3-6 intends us to understand that by faith alone, i.e., believing God, as did Abraham which was that he would have a child through Sarah in his old age [Gen. 15:5-6], while we are ungodly, we are supposedly justified. This is why all mainstream scholars say Paul taught justification without repentance from sin, but based upon faith alone.

However, in Ezekiel we learn that only upon repentance including turning from evil did the ungodly become godly again and receive life (i.e., eternal life) and hence were justified.

14Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;

15If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.

16None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. (Ezekiel 33:14-16.)

Likewise, Jesus teaches justification is solely by repentance from sin in the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. The one who went home “justified” is the one who beat his breast and asked God to be “merciful to me, a sinner,” but the Pharisee (who believed in Yahweh) was smug that he had not sinned and went home unjustified. See Luke 18:9-14.


Paul Delivers A Slave Back to His Master, Contrary to Scripture

While in prison, Paul met a runaway slave, Onesimus, the property of a Christian — presumably Philemon. Paul sent the slave back to his owner. This action is forbidden in Deuteronomy 23:15-16:

“Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee.”

“He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.”

Rather than give the slave sanctuary, Paul returned him to his owner. Paul seems to hint that he would like Philemon to give Onesimus his freedom, but does not actually request it. He asks “receive him as me” and if Onesimus did Philemon any harm, bill Paul the damages. But Paul never directly asks for Philemon’s freedom although Paul defenders read it into these statements. Most likely Paul is saying don’t retaliate against Onesimus for running away, and treat him as a brother and no more as just a servant but “more than a servant,” yet without asking him to give Onesimus his freedom.

Paul Says Jesus is An Image of God in Violation of First Commandment

Paul in the same passage that he says Jesus is a created being — “the first-born of creation” — says Jesus is an “image of God.” (Col. 2:15.) This is a violation of the first commandment which prohibits using a creature (as Paul viewed Jesus) as an image of God. See our webpage article. This also contradicts Paul’s own condemnation of those who exchange God for the “image of corruptible man” in Romans 1:23: “And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man….”  

How can one reconcile these statements? Even though Jesus was sinless, he did come in human flesh (sarx in Greek). Apostle John even says that anyone denying Jesus came in human flesh is the Anti-Christ.  See 2 John 1:17. So Jesus came in corruptible flesh, but Jesus resisted temptation, even as the epistle writer of Hebrews says: Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are but did not sin. The only way Paul can justify Col 2:15 and Romans 1:23 is that Jesus did not come in corruptible flesh, and thus can be “an image of God” but if Jesus came in corruptible flesh, Jesus could not lawfully be the image of God. Then it logically follows that Paul believed Jesus did not come in corruptible flesh – Paul must believe Jesus did not have true human flesh. OK, Paul if you say so. But that leaves only one conclusion: you must be teaching Jesus did not come in human flesh. What did Apostle John say in 2 John 1:17? Then who was the Jesus whom Paul met outside Damascus?

Paul Says Rulers of This World Are God’s Agents In Violation of Holy Scripture

Not only does Paul contradict Jesus in this doctrine, Paul also violates passages in the Original Testament. See our webpage.

Paul’s Contradictions of Himself

1. ‘Resurrection At Baptism’ – Oops! ‘I Meant Resurrection Has Not Yet Happened!’

Paul in 2 Timothy 2:18 condemns heretics who claim “The resurrection has already taken place.”

One commentator points out the heretics had reasonable support in the words of Paul for the very same thing which Paul condemns in 2 Tim. 2:18:

Concerning the resurrection, Paul’s baptismal theology might be seen to imply that the believer has risen with Christ in baptism (Rom. 6; Col. 2). Concerning the body, Paul had said that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor.15:50). In other words: could not the heretics attacked in the Pastorals claim Paul’s support for their doctrines? There is, in fact, a distinct possibility that they did so. (Oskar Skarsaune, “Heresy and the Pastoral Epistles,” Themelios 20.1 (October 1994): 9-14, at 10 available in PDF at this link.)

Skarsaune cites in support several scholars who construct the arguments of condemned groups who relied upon Paul’s words for this very doctrine that the resurrection of Christians already has happened:

Elaine Pagels, ‘“The mystery of the resurrection”: A Gnostic reading of 1 Corinthians 15’, JBL 93 (1974), pp. 276-288; idem, The Gnostic Paul. Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters (1975); and the wise cautions in A. Lindemann, Paulus im ältesten Christentum. Das Bild des Apostels and die Reception der paulinischen Theologie in der frühchristlichen Literatur bis Marcion (Beiträge zur hist. Theol. 58, Tübingen, 1979), pp. 297-343.

2. ‘Circumcision Will Cause Christ No Longer To Benefit You Unless I Arrange For You To Be Circumcised’

Paul was willing to appear that he and his closest followers were outwardly righteous but inwardly Paul did not believe in the necessity of any external action performed to appear righteous.

For example, as to Timothy’s circumcision, Luke records:

“Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him.” (Acts16:3)

But elsewhere Paul says: “I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole Law” (Gal5:2).

So was Timothy now obligated to keep the whole Law? Or did Timothy and Paul participate in a hypocritical show of obedience to the Law just like the Pharisees whom Jesus condemned for exactly the same behavior?

3. ‘We Are Released From The Law But We Also Uphold The Law’

An identical self-contradiction in Paul arises relating to Paul’s view of the Law.

“But now we are released from the Law.. we serve not under the old written code but under the new life of the Spirit” (Romans 7:6).

Compare this with

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

Which way is it?

4. ‘Outer Cup Clean Is Enough Even Though I Do Not Have To Obey The Law’

We see Paul’s willingness to mold himself to whomever he wishes to win over rather than have a non-hypocritical integrity.

Listen to this next quote. As you do, keep in mind what Jesus said about Pharisees like Paul who wash the outside of the cup but inwardly do not have the heart that follows their actions — they are hypocrites. Paul says he is ‘all things to all men’ in this passage:

“To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might save some.” 1Cor9:20+.

With this hypocritical strategy, Jesus said the Pharisees could not save anyone, i.e., could not lead anyone to God. Instead, Jesus said their followers would become twice the sons of hell (Matt. 23:15) as the hypocritical teachers who taught like Paul explicitly does.

4. Your Faith Alone Saves You Unless You Married A Believer Whose Faith Saves You, Or Your Parent Believed But You Did Not

Paul teaches faith alone in Romans 4:3-5 — he who “works not,” but “believes,” then his faith is accounted to him as righteousness. But is there another path? By family relations with one who has faith and is saved? Contradicting faith alone, Paul teaches in 1 Cor. 10:13-14 as follows:

13 And if any woman has an unbelieving husband and this one consents to dwell with her, let her not leave her husband. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified[c] by his wife. And the unbelieving wife has been sanctified by the brother. Otherwise then your children are unclean, but now[d] they are holy. (1 Cor. 10:7-14 DLNT.)

Thus, your unbelieving spouse is sanctified by the belief of the other spouse. The unbelieving child is sanctified by the parent’s faith. This contradicts the notion of faith alone. 

Paul makes a similar statement in 1 Tim. 2:15 that the belief (and works) of a child saves its parent: 

“Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness

with sobriety.“  (1 Tm 2:15 KJV) “But she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”

(1 Tim 2:15 NIV)

As one Nigerian pastor puts it: “This is a most bizarre doctrine of salvation.”

Literally, Paul says a woman shall be saved by giving birth to children if they continue in faith, love, holiness, etc. Whether she is saved or not from her own faith is not mentioned. Rather, it is the faith and works of her children that saves her. This thus is a second contradiction of the faith alone doctrine by Paul. And it is as equally bizarre as his view in 1 Corinthians 10:7-14.

5. Bearing Burdens of Others or Just You or Yourself.

This is a clear self-contradiction by Paul that has no explanation:

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal 6:2 NIV)

For every man shall bear his own burden. (Gal 6:5.)

So am I supposed to bear your burden, and you mine, or each of us is to bear our own burden?

By the way, the true God teaches neither is correct. Instead: “Cast your burden on the Lord–and He will sustain you.” Psalm 55:21

Peter talks likewise: “Cast all your cares upon Him–because He cares about you!” 1 Peter 5:7

A Real Life Example of Pauline Use of This Admitted Contradiction – 2015.  

A core-leader of a church in Southern California recently came to our small group meeting and used this contradiction as proof that the church is free NOT to help a poor person financially in a health emergency.

We were struggling with whether it was right or wrong to help with a health-related emergency of an AIDS victim. She had been in and out of hospitals all week, collapsing at home, and was rushed to the hospital by people responding to her phone requests to take her to the hospital.  

But now after returning home,  she realized that due to her many visits to the hospital that she had lost track that her cell minutes needed recharging. Her minutes would expire on a Friday night. Without an emergency replenishment — and she had no money or way to travel to get the replenishment — she would be home alone over a weekend with no way to call for help if she collapsed again.

So my wife paid her phone minutes to cover the weekend and more. This led to the head of the HIV-AIDS ministry of the church to come to meet with our small group to review the “rules” of care-giving for AIDS victims. This leader actually cited the contradiction in Paul’s words above as proof that sometimes it is right to help and sometimes wrong to help the poor.

She quoted Paul: “We are to bear our own burden” and “We are to bear each other’s burdens.” Then the HIV-AIDS appointed leader said, “that is a contradiction, isn’t it?” My wife and I exchanged knowing glances of disbelief. Then the AIDS ministry head concluded that this means we have to sometimes make a hard choice not to bear another’s burden, and force them to bear it alone.

But what about a health emergency? To this, we were instructed that there is no exception to the care-giving rules — no personal money can be spent to help even with a health emergency without first calling the head of the HIV-AIDS ministry (this very nice lady) for permission. Whether this is right or wrong is not the point. Rather, the point is that Pauline thinking allows one to rely upon Paul’s recognized self-contradictions so we get to pick and choose which side of a contradiction we will follow.

This example proves that Paul’s self-contradictions have real-world impact upon the health and safety of this AIDS victim, as well as likely of many others. What degradation has the church of Christ fallen when Jesus’ commands to feed, clothe, and heal the sick are relaxed by such nonsense found in Paul’s own writings. 

 6. Paul Contradicts Damascus’ Jesus or Disobeys Him

Paul in Acts 22 tells Festus that the Road-to-Damascus Jesus appeared in a trance after the Road-to-Damascus appearance. The Road-to-Damascus Jesus tells Paul while Paul is in prayer in the Temple to leave Jerusalem without seeing the 12 apostles because “Jesus” was sending him to the Gentiles. This is just 2 weeks after the Road-to-Damascus experience that turned Paul around. Did the Road-to-Damascus Jesus truly say that? 

No. Or Paul was disobedient to Jesus’ direction.

For Paul cannot claim he went exclusively to the Gentiles when he only switched much later to preach only to Gentiles because Jews rejected him:

“When the Jewish people saw the crowds, they were very jealous. They insulted Paul and spoke against everything he said. But Paul and Barnabas bravely said: We had to tell God’s message to you before we told it to anyone else. But you rejected the message! This proves that you don’t deserve eternal life. Now we are going to the Gentiles.” (Acts 13:45-46). 

7. “Do not Curse” but “I Curse so-and-so.”

Paul tells us in Romans 12:14 “do not curse your enemies.” But Paul says “cursed” is anyone who does not love the Lord. (1 Cor. 16:22.)  Paul also says “accursed” is anyone who preaches a different Gospel than was “received.” (Gal. 1:8-9.)


While Paul may say some things worthy of praise, Paul is fraught with contradictions of Jesus, the Original Testament, and with his own self! Paul could not be a true inspired individual in every word he spoke, and thus we have erred treating Paul’s words in that manner.

Links to Other Websites:

Paul Contradicts Jesus” (Voice of Jesus)

Are Paul’s Writings Faultless” (Jesus Families) [good presentation of quotes that Paul wanted believers to submit to himself, not Jesus as Lord, etc.]

Study Notes

Does Paul Materially Misquote the Communion Liturgy Jesus Gave? No, But This Apparent Contradiction Offers Proof Paulinists Put Paul Beyond Any Proof Against Him.

As you know, the Psalmist prophesied not one bone of Jesus’ would be broken, which the Gospel of John mentions was fulfilled when the soldiers decided not to break Jesus’ legs. See John 19:36 (“These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,“) 

But Paul in the King James version of 1 Cor. 11:24 says to the contrary that Jesus claimed His body was to be “broken,” and in doing so, Paul would appear to materially misquote Jesus’ communion words from Matthew 26:26 and Luke 22:19.

In 1 Cor. 11:24, Paul in the King James quotes Jesus saying “this is my body broken for you.” (KJV, Aramaic, King James 2000, American King James, Websters, Weymouth, World English, Young’s Literal).

However, many translations do not have “broken.” See Biblios 1 Cor. 11:24.

So the following translations only say “my body is for you” — NIV, NLT, ESV, NASB, ISV, God’s Word, Darby. There are some variants that support this, which I will discuss in a moment. But what is most interesting to see is how Paulinists of the past who are believers in the Textus Receptus upon which the KJV is based, explained away the contradiction. They were apparently unaware that any textual variant offered an escape. 

So this led to humorous but also tragic arguments by Paulinists. They claim Jesus supposedly spoke directly to Paul to correct Matthew!!!! So Barnes, without telling us precisely what is the difference, writes:

And when he had given thanks – See the note on Matthew 26:26. Matthew reads it, “and blessed it.” The words used here are, however, substantially the same as there; and this fact shows that since this was communicated to Paul “directly” by the Saviour, and in a manner distinct from that by which Matthew learned the mode of the institution, the Saviour designed that the exact form of the words should be used in its observance, and should thus be constantly borne in mind by his people. (See “Barnes’ Notes on the Bible at Biblios on 1 Cor. 11:24.)

Other commentators unwilling to engage in such absurd elevation of Paul over Matthew realize Paul directly contradicts Luke whose words are “given” not broken. So they try to reconcile Paul to the Gospel’s claim that none of Jesus’ bones were broken: broken for you; for though a bone of him was not broken, but inasmuch as his skin and flesh were torn and broken by blows with rods and fists, by whippings and scourgings, by thorns, nails, and spear; and body and soul were torn asunder, or divided from each other by death; (Gill’s Exposition Biblios on 1 Cor. 11:24.)

So to save Paul from contradiction, Paulinists who accept the KJV’s manuscript source insist either (a) Matthew got it wrong/incomplete, and Jesus had to talk to Paul to get it right, or (b) that Jesus did say his “body was broken” but this just meant broken skin or the separation of his spirit from his body. When you see how strained and strange are the efforts at reconciliation, one can see how wed Paulinists are to their hero.

But alas, the “broken” text relied upon in the KJV is likely a mistake in transmission. Paul did not likely contradict Christ in this passage. So please scratch this from your list of possible contradictions.

First, what Jesus’ truly said in Matthew 26:26-27 was:

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it  and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.

Luke fills in a little more detail at direct odds with the KJV text for Paul:

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19.)

Jesus did not say, and could not possibly have said, as John 19:36 confirms, what Paul per the KJV attributes to Jesus: “This is my body broken for you.” 


So while Paul is not guilty of a contradiction here,  Paulinists are exposed that they would even invent that Paul had Jesus tell him words missing in the gospels to save Paul while ignoring and explaining away “broken” to absurd lengths. In other words, there are no limits to what they won’t say to defend Paul, even if it means to deprecate the plenary inspiration of Apostle Matthew