JESUS VS PAUL #5: THOU FOOL

The following is from JESUS VS PAUL #5: THOU FOOL

(5) Jesus–“but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matt. 5:22) versus Paul–“Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die” (1 Cor. 15:36) and “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you” (Gal. 3:1) and “We are fools for Christ’s sake” (1 Cor. 4:10) and (Rom. 1:22, 1 Cor. 3:18). Apparently Paul doesn’t feel “fool” is a dangerous word or hell fire is a thing to be feared.

The site linked to above is one which has a number of apparent discrepancies between what Jesus said and what Paul said. Yes, they are actually numbered. This is the 4th issue they bring up.  I will use the NIV translation, as it is easier to read than the KJV.

Matthew 5:21-26

21“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

23“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

25“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

Let us look at what Raca means, using The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon:

Strong’s Number: 4469 Browse Lexicon
Original Word Word Origin
raka of Aramaic origin cf (07386)
Transliterated Word TDNT Entry
Rhaka 6:973,983
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
rhak-ah’ Noun
Definition

  1. empty, i.e. a senseless, empty headed man
  2. a term of reproach used among the Jews in the time of Christ

 

 
NAS Word Usage – Total: 1
good-for-nothing 1
 

The term ‘Raca‘ means empty, and to use it as an insult was to call that person empty-headed. It was a word of contempt. According to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, it scorns a man’s mind and calls him stupid.

Now let us look at the term translated as fool means, using The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon

Strong’s Number: 3474 Browse Lexicon
Original Word Word Origin
moro? probably from the base of (3466)
Transliterated Word TDNT Entry
Moros 4:832,620
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
mo-ros’ Adjective
Definition

  1. foolish
  2. impious, godless

 

The term translated as ‘fool‘ (moros) means more than simply someone who is not thinking or incapable of thinking, but while fool is a valid translation, it also means impious or godless. According to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, it scorns his heart and character. So it is even more severe than raca.

However, note that Jesus was not simply saying that calling someone a fool was a bad thing, but he was dealing with anger. Jesus was saying that calling someone a name in anger is a sin one has to answer for – just as if someone had murdered someone else. The idea being that we must keep peace with people, and make amends where appropriate. This is not the same thing as calling a shovel a shovel.

Now, let us look at what Paul was doing.

1 Corinthians 15:35-41

35But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

Here, the word translated as foolish, or fool in the KJV, is aphron. Let us look at its definition in The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon

 
Strong’s Number: 878 Browse Lexicon
Original Word Word Origin
afron from (1) (as a negative particle) and (5424)
Transliterated Word TDNT Entry
Aphron 9:220,1277
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
af’-rone Adjective
Definition

  1. without reason
  2. senseless, foolish, stupid
  3. without reflection or intelligence, acting rashly

 

 

 

This means ‘without reason’. It means without contemplation. This was not a curse made in anger. He is making the point that people have to die in order to be raised again. We will be given the body GOD has determined and it may not be what we think it will be.

Now we will deal with each term mentioned above in a similar fashion.

Galatians 3:1-5

1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

In Galatians 3:1, the term translated as foolish is Anoetos.

The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon

 
Strong’s Number: 453 Browse Lexicon
 
Original Word Word Origin
anoeto? from (1) (as a negative particle) and a derivative of (3539)
Transliterated Word TDNT Entry
Anoetos 4:961,636
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
an-o’-ay-tos Adjective

 
Definition

  1. not understood, unintelligible
  2. not understanding, unwise, foolish

 

 

This is someone who is not understanding. It is obvious from the context that Paul is saying the Galatians had received the Holy Spirit because they believed what they heard. But it is equally obvious that they did not understand, because they were now trying to observe the Law, rather than living by faith. This was not something done in anger. This was a father talking to his children – he had brought them to New Life through faith in Christ. Now they were attempting to live by the Law, rather than by faith.

Let us look at the next verse in context, 1 Corinthians 4:1-17

1So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God.2Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

6Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. 7For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

8Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings—and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you! 9For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. 10We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.

14I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. 15Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.16Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.

In 1 Corinthians 4:10, the term used was ‘moros’ – the very term Jesus said to not call people in anger. Yet, we see in this chapter that Paul did not call others that name. He was dealing with some people who had challenged his authority. He was saying that the apostles had proven faithful to God. He reminds them that everything they had they received because of God. When he said the apostles had been fools for Christ, he was not insulting anyone. He was merely saying that he had been like someone who was not ‘wise’ as the world would consider wise. The apostles had been beaten, had been hungry and thirsty, homeless, in rags, dishonored, cursed, persecuted, slandered, made as though they were scum of the earth, refuse. No, there was no insult here, merely fact – he had NOT acted as the world would consider wise, but had been the messenger of God.

Now, let us look at the word translated as ‘fool’ in Romans 1:22, in context.

Romans 1:17-32

16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

The word in Romans 1:22 translated as fool is Moraino. According to The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon:

 
Strong’s Number: 3471 Browse Lexicon
 
Original Word Word Origin
moraino from (3474)
Transliterated Word TDNT Entry
Moraino 4:832,620
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
mo-rah’-ee-no Verb

 
Definition

  1. to be foolish, to act foolishly
    1. to make foolish
      1. to prove a person or a thing foolish
    2. to make flat and tasteless
      1. of salt that has lost its strength and flavour

 

 

Again, Paul is dealing with people who had thought they were wise. These are people who went by what the world said to do – they made idols for themselves. In so doing, they actually became salt which had lost its strength and flavor. They HAD acted foolishly. Again, this is not a curse made in anger. This is someone who is calling like it is. To know God and to make idols anyway is to show no real knowledge of God, and certainly no faith.

Finally, we will look at 1 Corinthians 3:18 in context.

1 Corinthians 3:1-23

1Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? 4For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men?

5What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

10By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

16Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

18Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”21So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, 22whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

Here, the term translated ‘fool’ is moros, the term Jesus said to not use in anger. But Paul is not using the term in anger. Paul is saying that if you think you are wise by the standards of the world, you should become a fool in the eyes of the world so that you can have true wisdom. You are not to split into various groups and say you follow Paul, or Peter, or Apollos. You are Christ’s.

So again, there is no discrepancy between what Jesus taught and what Paul taught. Nor is there a discrepancy between what Jesus taught and Paul did. Paul was not trying to insult people in anger. Paul was saying to not be impious, but to be foolish in the eyes of the world for God and trust in Christ.

 

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2 Responses

  1. What happened to 6 through 10?

  2. A friend of this blog, Polycarp, addressed those on his web page. Here is a page which shows the links to posts addressing diiferent discrepancies.

    https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/index-by-topic/bible-archeology-historicity-dates-facts-study/apparent-discrepancies/

    I still need to address some of them.

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