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Talking with Paul
Written June 28, 2010

 

Background:  In this fictional interview, the guest speaks entirely in quotes from his writings in the New Testament.

The translation I've used is the Revised English Bible; I've indicated chapter and verse, while making slight punctuation changes and rearranging the verses as indicated.

 

Welcome back to IT'S IN THE BIBLE.  I'm Brother Billy, and this is my wife Bernice.

Our next guest has been traveling around the world as an evangelist.  He has preached in many cities and converted many new believers to faith in Jesus Christ.  After he moves on, he still keeps in contact with the congregations he’s founded by writing them letters, called “epistles.”  This is a collection of some of his letters, and IT’S IN THE BIBLE.

With great pleasure, today we welcome to the program the Apostle Paul.

Grace and peace to you, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  First Corinthians 1:3

And also to you, sir.  We’ve greatly enjoyed reading your frank and inspiring letters.

What I write is plain truth.  God knows I am not lying.  Galatians 1:20

We want to begin with a topic that's being discussed a great deal these days:  the subject of marriage.  Now, my wife Bernice and I have been together for eleven wonderful years.

He who marries his betrothed does well.  And he who does not marry does better!  First Corinthians 7:38

Ha-ha!  Well, that's your opinion, anyway.  We understand that you yourself are still single.  Do you oppose sex, in principle?

It is a good thing for a man not to have intercourse with a woman.  First Corinthians 7:1

How about a woman with a woman?  Just joking.

Women have exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural.  And men too, giving up natural relations with women, burn with lust for one another.  Romans 1:26-27 

Yes, that's an abomination.  Burning with lust, indeed!  People like that simply must control their sinful desires.

If they do not have self-control, they should marry.  First Corinthians 7:9

Uh ... what?  Men should marry men?

It is better to be married than burn with desire.  First Corinthians 7:9

Okay.  At this point, let me remind our audience that the views expressed in the Bible are not necessarily the views of IT'S IN THE BIBLE.  And it's dangerous to quote them out of context.

But back to you, if we may, Paul.  You’re celibate.  Is that the best course for a Christian?

I should like everyone to be as I myself am.  But each person has the gift God has granted him:  one this gift, and another that.  First Corinthians 7:7

Amen.  Christians who have the gift of celibacy, like you — they should use it.  Jesus taught us that.

I say this as my own word, not as the Lord’s.  First Corinthians 7:12

Well, I don't want to contradict you, sir, but actually the Lord did leave us instructions on this subject.  It's in the 19th chapter of the gospel of Matthew.  Here, let me read it.

The disciples suggested that it’s better not to marry, and Jesus replied, “That is a course not everyone can accept, but only those for whom God has appointed it.  For while some are incapable of marriage because they were born so, or were made so by men, there are others who have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven.  Let those accept who can.”

I have no instructions from the Lord.  But I give my opinion.  First Corinthians 7:25

Oh, that’s right.  I’ve forgotten.  You don’t know what Jesus says in the Gospels.  Those books are still being written.

There are some who unsettle your minds by trying to distort the gospel of Christ.  Galatians 1:7

Distort the gospel?  No, these books tell the full story of Christ’s ministry on Earth, including many details of what he said.  These are details that you apparently haven't heard yet.  He preached entire sermons, you know.  He illustrated them with parables.  And he even performed miracles.

But that is not how you learned Christ!  Ephesians 4:20  I am astonished to find you turning away so quickly from him who called you by grace, and following a different gospel!  Galatians 1:6

Well, Matthew is not really a different gospel, just more complete than what you told us.  And then there are the gospels being written by Mark and Luke, and John has additional insights . . . .

Should anyone, even I myself or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel other than the gospel I preached to you — let him be banned!  Galatians 1:8

Now don't get upset.  Are you saying that your message was so perfect that nothing can be added to it?

Can you really be so stupid?  Galatians 3:3  I warned you in the past and now I warn you again:  if anyone preaches a gospel other than the gospel you received, let him be banned!  Galatians 1:9

I must say, you seem rather jealous of the particular faith that you’ve taught.

I am jealous for you.  . . . I am afraid that, as the serpent in his cunning seduced Eve, your thoughts may be corrupted and you may lose your single-hearted devotion to Christ.  For if some newcomer proclaims another Jesus, not the Jesus whom we proclaimed, or if you receive a spirit different from the Spirit already given to you, or a gospel different from the gospel you have already accepted — you put up with that well enough.  Second Corinthians 11:2-4 

Put yourselves in my place, my friends.  Galatians 4:12  Others are lavishing attention on you, but without sincerity.  What they really want is to isolate you, so that you may lavish attention on them.  Galatians 4:17  We are no longer to be children, tossed about by the waves and whirled around by every fresh gust of teaching, dupes of cunning rogues and their deceitful schemes.  Ephesians 4:14

It seems you’re afraid that your converts will turn to other preachers.  You're afraid you'll be rejected.

Now do I sound as if I were asking for human approval and not for God’s alone?  Am I currying favor with men?  If I were still seeking human favor, I should be no servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10

If you say so.  Uh, Bernice, you’ve been very quiet so far.  Do you have anything you'd like to ask the Apostle Paul?  No?

Women should keep silent.  They have no permission to talk.  First Corinthians 14:33-34

Now, just a minute!

If there is something they want to know, they can ask their husbands at home.  First Corinthians 14:35

This is a free country!  My wife can speak anywhere she wants!  She has my permission, and God’s permission too!

Did the word of God originate with you?  Or are you the only people to whom it came?  First Corinthians 14:36

Well, perhaps we’ll just have to disagree about that point, sir.  Anyway, we're almost out of time.

I’m Brother Billy; this is my faithful wife Bernice, and we've been talking with the Apostle Paul this week on IT'S IN THE BIBLE.

Shall we close with a prayer?

We do not even know how we ought to pray.  Romans 8:26

Yes, we do.  Apparently you haven't heard, but Jesus taught us how we should pray.

Then what are we to say?  Romans 9:30

Let's recite the Lord’s Prayer, which is found in the sixth chapter of Matthew . . . oh, I’m sorry.  Matthew isn’t the gospel you taught, is it?

I am at my wits’ end about you.  Galatians 4:20 

 

TBT

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