Paul & The Torah

That is, Paul attempted to end observant Judaism (i.e., Jesus is the end of the law/Torah) but Muhammad criticized the Jews of not observing the Torah (i.e, Jews should observe the Torah/Law).

Sarah Bowman

Sarah Bowman, Master’s In Theological Studies, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary (2008)

I can speak only for Paul. I know little about either the Torah or about Muhammad but as I understand it, neither the Jews nor the Muslims believe that salvation is through Jesus. Paul believed that salvation was alone through Jesus. However, Paul did not attempt to end observant Judaism, not if I correctly understand his Epistle to the Galatians, Chapter 2.

In Verse 11 Paul confronts Cephas, aka Peter in some English translations of the Bible, because Cephas/Peter would eat with uncircumcised Gentiles when he thought nobody was looking, then run and hide when circumcised guys showed up. As Jews, both Paul and Cephas/Peter were circumcised, but as followers of Jesus both believed it was okay to mingle socially and eat with uncircumcised believers. Both also kept the customs of Judaism. However, Paul saw himself as being called to minister to the uncircumcised Gentiles, and he saw Cephas/Peter as being called to minister to the circumcised, i.e. Christ-following Jews of Jerusalem (Verse 7).

Here is part of Paul’s rebuke to Cephas/Peter for shilly-shallying between the Gentiles and Jews:

Galatians 2:15-16 American Standard Version (ASV)

15 We being Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 yet knowing that a man is not [a]justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed on Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law: because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

For me, this proves two things:

  1. Both men were Jews and naturally lived by Jewish custom, at least when it was not offensive to those around them such as when they were with Gentile friends.
  2. Believers in Jesus could keep the Jewish customs but they believed their “justification” or salvation was by faith in Jesus.

Paul’s complete faith and commitment to Jesus Christ shows clearly here:

Galatians 2:20 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

I cannot see a person of Judaism or Islam saying that. It is the central difference between Christians and the other two Abrahamic faiths. More evidence of Paul practising Jewish customs exists in Acts 18: 18–23 when he shaves his head for a vow, and when he makes a point of going to Jerusalem for the feast.

MY COMMENT: This question regards the discrepancy of the value placed on the original Holy Text (Torah) by the instigators of off-shoot religions from Judaism, the original Abrahamic religion. Below is a link to a Muslim’s answer for Muhammad.

Muhammad Helmy, teaches people and defends their rights.

I do not know with Paul.

I can only write about the reason why Muhammad PBUH criticized the jews for not observing Torah:

Allah wanted to teach…(read more)


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