In 1 Cor 6.1, Paul uses the word “law” but it is not referring to the Torah. Where it says, “before the saints” what is it referring to? It is referring to a Beit Din, meaning “House of Judgment” or in other words, a court in a synagogue. Paul is speaking to the Corinthians exactly as he would to Jews. He goes on on 1 Cor 6.2-5 and says, “is there not among you one wise man.” Paul is discussing a beit din in their synagogue that can take care of matters in the Torah and legal issues. When Paul refers to a “wise man” he is talking about one well versed in the Torah. A judge in a beit din (synagogue court) must be a “chacham” or wise man before he is appointed as a judge. Paul is admonishing them for not even having one person who is qualified as a “chacham” to judge matters.
In 1 Cor 9.1-8, Paul uses the Torah to validate what he is saying (v 8). This shows that he had high regard for the Torah. Next, we are going to look at another misinterpreted portion of Scripture found in 1 Cor 9.20-23. We know that Paul is Torah observant. These verses are used by some to say that Paul was hypocritical, that he “put on” a show of Torah observance if he needed to, and with others he did not. But, that is not the case. What the people didn’t like about King Herod was that with the Jews he ate kosher, but with the Romans he ate what they ate and worshiped their idols. People say that Paul was like that, not only in Judaism, but in Christianity. Paul was not a “part-time” Torah observant individual. Paul rebuked Peter for being that way in Gal 2.11-14. What he is saying here is that he accommodated customs that didn’t violate the Torah. Acts 21 proves that he was Torah observant, even though there were false rumors that he wasn’t. When he was among the Jews, he spoke in a way they understood, he related to them. When he was with the non-Jews, he spoke in a way they understood, he related to them as well.
In 1 Cor 14.20-21 we see that Paul will quote Isa 28.11, and yet he says, “In the Law (Torah).” So, the Torah includes the Prophets. In 1 Cor 14.34, Paul says that a woman is “not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the Torah also says.” Now, the Rabbi’s will “tear this verse up” because the Torah doesn’t say that. This has been mistranslated into English. In the Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible by Zodiates, there is a good discussion on this.
The New Testament was compiled by Origen, and he is the “father” of Replacement Theology. He made “columns” with what a manuscript said on a verse. He then took these, and what he taught they were saying, and then came up with his own verse. He then destroyed the other manuscripts, then his “version” became known as the basis for the Latin Vulgate. Then the Latin Vulgate was translated into English. This was around the time of King Henry VIII and the trouble he had with his wives. The attitude in England was you did not want to upset the king. The King James Version (1611 A.D.) was authorized by King James shortly after Henry. The way these verses got translated so poorly is because they translated them into English in accordance with the views of the king. Does Paul really forbid a woman to speak in a congregation? No, this is about prophetic utterances in a congregation.
1 Cor 14.39 gives his instruction on this matter. He says one should desire to prophesy and do not forbid to speak in tongues. These things should be done decently and in order. This what he is trying to convey in v 34. This is not an instruction for all congregations, but for what was happening in that congregation in Corinth. This instruction was for husbands to guide and teach their own wives and not allow them to cause a disturbance in a meeting which came as a result of exercising a gift they thought they had and were anxious to externalize. Remember, Corinth at the time was very pagan and Hellenistic. Right across from Corinth was Delphi. People would go to the priestesses there to hear an “oracle.” They were prostitutes, too. You pay money, sleep with the priestess and they would prophesy. In Corinth, the women would give a “prophecy” in some sort of gibberish that sounded similar to real tongues, and this became a problem. The women in Corinth were inclined towards this.
One cannot take what Paul said here as an absolute rule everywhere, for all time. It must be taken in conjunction with what follows. When “speak” is used here it refers to sounds not understood by others. Tongues in churches today is directly related to this. Paul uses the same word “speak” in v 26-30 when a man speaks without an interpreter, “let him keep silent.” This phrase is then qualified to the women in v 34. The issue, therefore, is not “men versus women” but “confusion versus order (v 40).” In God’s eyes it doesn’t matter who causes the confusion.
In addition, the word “women” should be understood as “wife” (see Strong’s #1135, Greek “Gune” in v 34). Wives were to submit to their own husbands, and the Torah does teach this in Gen 3.15 and Num 30.1-16, which is a chapter called “The Law of the Tongue.” The whole subject here is not for women to be subject to men in general, but for wives to be subject to their own husbands. This is in line with the family unit ordained by God. The duty of the husband was to restrain their own wives from engaging in these outbursts during a service. When Paul speaks of the submissiveness of a woman, it is always in the context of a wife to her husband. Now, a word about “tongues.”
Tongues can be a “known language” like in Acts 2. There are “angelic” tongues (1 Cor 13.1) and tongues is a sign to you because you know what is said, but not to others. These are some congregational guidelines. Then there is the “prayer language” and this is often used in a congregation, but it is for the private and personal use of the believer. Paul is instructing them not to use their own prayer language in a congregational setting. The person can use it anywhere, but what good is it if nobody knows what you are saying?
So, let’s move to another verse that refers to the Torah in 1 Cor 15.56 where it says, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” Now, to someone who does not understand Paul and the Torah, this can sound bad. However, what Paul is saying is that sin is made known by the Torah (Rom 3.20; 1 John 3.4).
The Book of Galatians is the most misunderstood, mistaught and misinterpreted book in the New Testament. The Book of Hebrews runs a close second. Galatians must be read in context with everything else Paul has said. We have seen so far that believers in the first century observed the Sabbath, the festivals (because the Temple was still standing) and the halakah that went with them. Believers 9in the first century up to 70 A.D. offered “korbanot” or the “sacrifices.” Non-Jewish believers were grafted into the commonwealth of Israel, sharing a common heritage (root) with the Jewish people. These non-Jews were called “Godfearers.” Jews and non-Jews observed the Torah as it applied to both groups. Remember, you didn’t observe all 613 commandments, but only the ones that applied to you. If you were a king, judge, priest, woman, man, farmer or soldier the Torah had certain commandments that only you were to follow. If you weren’t a king, you weren’t obligated to observe the commands that applied to a king. If you weren’t a farmer, you didn’t observe the things that applied to the farmer, and so on. Jews and non-Jews observed these things for the following four reasons. They also kept the kosher laws. They wanted to be observant, the Torah was for instruction about many things, it had to do with fellowship with one another and it was a testimony to others.
If we try and interpret or try to understand the Book of Galatians without understanding the above things at least, we will come to the same false conclusions Replacement Theology has come to. In the first century, how could Torah observant Jews have fellowship with the non-Jews unless the non-Jews kept the Torah. How can you have a meal as a Torah observant Jew with a non-Jew unless the meal was kosher, and the concepts of Tahor and Tamai were understood. Antisemitism against the Jews came out of this understanding. We know about the KKK, the Skinheads, the Nazi’s and others, but there is an antisemitism against anything Jewish. Christianity teaches that keeping the Torah is sin, and that you have “fallen from grace” if you do keep the Torah. This mindset comes right out of a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the Book of Galatians. People get offended by other people who don’t eat pork or keep Sunday, Christmas and Easter.
In Part 18, we are going to look at the Book of Galatians and see it in conjunction with all the other things we have learned about Paul and the Torah. We are going to see that Galatians will be in line with everything he has been saying and teaching about the Torah, and we will see how this book has been misunderstood and misinterpreted by Replacement Theology Christianity.