Posted by: clevsea | December 28, 2007

Not following Paul’s Words

This is an email answer that I wrote for a Christian lady. She was recently told that modest dressing and covering were things that Paul wrote about but Jesus never said anything like that. That indicated to her attackers that she did not have to obey the modesty & covering verses.

Here is my answer:

I have heard that some Christians only follow what Jesus said in the Gospels.

To further explain, there are Christian groups/Churches that only obey an Old Testament verse IF it is repeated in the New Testament.

Some groups only follow a teaching IF it is mentioned twice in the New Testament.

and then……

there is the rare group of Christians that do *not* obey Paul’s letters and only follow the 4 gospels.

I read the Bible a lot and I think that the Grace Doctrines are by and large contained in Paul’s letters. If we believers did not have Paul’s letters then I think Christianity would be very different.

So, my question to the people you know would be are they of that group? OR do they routinely follow Paul’s other teachings as though they were important to follow.

The Lord’s Supper is mentioned in more than one place but the most often quoted teaching for the Lord’s Supper is in I Cor 11–right there in the very same Chpt as the head covering passage. So many times I have sat in Church where the 2nd half of the I Cor 11 was read aloud for Communion and the Pastor held to every word in great importance but the entire congregation and the Pastor’s wife was uncovered.

Women dressing modestly is mentioned 2 times in the New Testament…so for those groups who need/want 2 mentions have that with that topic.

Women not speaking in Church is covered in Paul’s 1 Cor 14 and Women not teaching men (and learning in silence) is covered in Paul’s letter to Timothy…I Tim 2…and good reasons are given there.

It says “…women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. LET A WOMAN LEARN IN SILENCE WITH ALL SUBMISSION. AND I DO NOT PERMIT A WOMAN TO TEACH OR TO HAVE AUTHORITY OVER A MAN, BUT TO BE IN SILENCE. For Adam was formed first, then Eve, And Adam was not deceived but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” I Tim 2:9-14

If you are going to be with these people in the future I would ask them if they follow ANY of Paul’s teachings.

If they do follow any other portions of the New Testament that Paul wrote then you should have a good way to show them that they are picking and choosing what they want to obey from Paul’s letters.

If they do NOT follow Paul’s teachings then you ought to decide whether to fellowship with them or not.

Every believer and groups of believers seem to have things they don’t agree about. Even the issue of female Pastors. In the above quoted I Tim 2 passage we have one of 2 teachings about modest dressing and right there in the same passage we believers have a solid teaching about women’s role in regards to leadership and teaching. However, I have found that some groups follow the modest dressing part of the I Tim 2 and then proceed to ignore the next part about whether women can teach or not. To me that looks like picking and choosing.

About a year ago I tried a Church that I decided it was not going to work for me. The Pastor was struggling with a teeny Church so he asked me why I would not be going there. Normally I would not even answer because even a brief answer can quickly become a woman teaching a man. I told him it was because of women speaking in church and having a female Elder.

He was angry!! Super Angry. He had my email address so he continued the argument with me over the email.

This pastor used Paul’s words from the above quoted passage “I do not allow…” and angrily told me that was Paul’s thing, his opinion, what he did not allow.

I had to step out of the women not teaching men long enough to point this pastor over to I Cor 14. That is a 40 verse chpt covering tongues and women speaking (or not speaking in Church) and Paul ends the passage this way…

“If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord. But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant.”

in the other original Greek texts they found that last part was stated this way…”if anyone does not recognize this, he in not recognized.”

That ended it for the Pastor who was hounding me. Paul claimed that his teachings and therefore his letters were commandments from the Lord.

I can think of only one place where Paul inserted his own opinion and said so, right there, that he was adding something of his own that was not of the Lord. That is in I Cor 7, btw.

You can go back to these people with Scriptures but do try to be in the Lord and remember there are many verses teaching us to be Peaceful and not argue. Even Prov. says…”He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.” Prov 17:27

Some times I choose to let an ignorant person just go. In fact I have to do that a lot…in real life and on the net. I pray for the ignorant as often as I remember them…and there are many. They simply do not know the Scriptures which is exactly how Jesus Christ the Lord answered a question one time. He said to them …are you not in error because you do not know the scriptures?



  1. Hey, Clev, very good post. glad I got the chance to read it. I read the covering passage in my husbands Bible and naturally there was “commentary” on it at the bottom of the page. I found it rather discouraging it said [paraphrase] that ‘although this passage may be used to support covering today, it may also be interpreted to support not covering today’…due to it drawing attention to women who cover, it explained as though covering in the OT was just a way for women to not draw attention to themselves in their cultural context. Then, I felt, wow am I really doing a bad thing, drawing attn to myself. but the bible does not give that reason. It says, “because of the angels” and things to do with creation order, etc. these things have not changed and if doing the right thing draws attention it just does and that is certainly no reason to NOT do what we are commanded.

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