Bible Review 14:6, December 1998

Paul’s Contradictions

Can they be resolved?

By John G. Gager

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:

I. Anti-Israel:

• “All who rely on works of the law are under a curse” (Galatians 3:10).

• “No one is justified before God by the law” (Galatians 3:11).

• “For [some manuscripts add ‘in Christ Jesus’] neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation is everything!” (Galatians 6:15).

• “No human being will be justified in his [God’s] sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).

• “Israel, who pursued righteousness based on the law, did not succeed in fulfilling that law” (Romans 9:31).

• “But their minds were hardened. Indeed, for to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil is still there, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day, whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their minds” (2 Corinthians 3:14–15).

II. Pro-Israel:

• “What is the advantage of the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way” (Romans 3:1).

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