Paul versus James in Acts

5-6-24 Paul versus James in Acts

The Text:

Act 21:21  And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.

The Challenge:

Tell me, When James and Paul was having confrontation at Jerusalem (Acts 21 ) WHY Paul did not tell James that Jesus met him(Paul) and chosen him to preach the abandonment of Law of Moses and circumcision????


My Reply:

It seems to me I may have explained Acts 15 and 21 before.

Act 21:17 And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.

Therefore, Luke and Paul were very graciously welcomed in Jerusalem.

Act 21:18 And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.

Paul, Luke, and those who accompanied Paul were known to and welcomed by the church elders of the Jerusalem church.

Act 21:19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.

Paul gave testimony to how God was working through his ministry among the Gentiles.

Act 21:20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:

Here is where the trouble starts. Though James is the leader at the Jerusalem church, he was not as knowledgeable of the principles of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as he ought to have been.

James thought that it was a good thing that thousands of Jews believed, “and they are all zealous of the law.”

The fact is that Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the Law (the only person to have ever done so perfectly), and because of Who Jesus is (the very Son of God, John 3:16), was qualified to make atonement for the sins of all mankind (2 Corinthians 5:15. 1 John 2:1, 2. 2 Peter 3:9), confirmed by the FACT that Jesus rose bodily from the dead on the third day, as He himself repeatedly predicted.

The evidence as given in the New Testament, therefore, confirms that James had not yet come to realize the extent of the benefits wrought by our Lord Jesus Christ through His Priestly-Sacrificial Atonement (1 Peter 2:24).

James and the elders of the church at Jerusalem were surely acquainted with the facts and circumstances of Paul’s conversion to belief in Christ.


Reply to me:

you need more improvement on biblical exegesis

Please read ALL and feel free to cross examine me


My Response:

Abe San I visited the page that you linked to just now. I noted that it begins with a reference to Acts 21:21,

“Lets start On Acts 21:21
JAMES asks Paul the hard questions!
With a raised eyebrow, James looks at Paul and says:
And they are informed of thee that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to “FORSAKE” Moses, saying that they ought NOT to “CIRCUMCISE” their children, NEITHER to walk after the “CUSTOMS.” ACTS 21:21″

As for the proper exegesis of this text, here is what I have placed at Acts 21:21 in my digital Bible study resource, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury:

Acts 21:21
informed. or, instructed. It implies oral communication and instruction. The circumcision party had been growing in numbers, influence, and bigotry since the council of Jerusalem, and had assiduously maligned and opposed St. Paul not only in Jerusalem but also in Galatia, Achaia, and elsewhere. They seem to have had their appointed emissaries and instructors (Walker). Act 21:24; Act 21:28, Act 18:25, +Luk 1:4 g.

that thou teachest. Act 21:28, Act 6:13, 14; Act 16:3; Act 28:17, Rom 14:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 1Co 9:19, 21, Gal 4:12; *Gal 5:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; Gal 6:12, 13, 14, 15.

all Jews which. This, of course, was not the case. The apostle had only claimed full liberty for Gentile Christians (Walker). Joh 7:35, Jas 1:1.

to forsake. or, apostasy from. Gr. apostasia (S# G646, only here and 2Th 2:3; compare aphistēmi, S# G868, +Luk 2:37 and 1Ti 4:1 note). An undesigned coincidence here demonstrates the conformity between the argument of Paul’s epistle to the Romans and this history of Paul in Acts. Here in the history he is charged with having taught the Jews to forsake Moses. This is a very natural inference from Paul’s teaching in Romans, that justification is by faith alone, and not by the works of the law. His object in the Epistle was to put Gentiles on an exact parity with Jews. The effect (here in Acts) is entirely consistent with the cause (in the Epistle); but the consistency is indirect and obviously undesigned (see listing of related notes at Act 12:12). 2Th 2:3 g, note (the falling away).

Moses. FS121A6, +Luk 16:29. +Act 3:22; *Act 6:11; *Act 15:1; *Act 15:21, Mat 8:4.

saying. or, bidding. Act 21:28, 2Jn 1:10, 11.

ought not to circumcise. His action in the case of Timothy (Acts 16:3) was sufficient in itself to rebut such a charge, but party spirit and rumour always misrepresent and pervert facts, wilfully or unconsciously (Walker). Act 15:19, 20, 21; %**Act 16:3, Rom 2:28, 29, 1Co 7:18, 19, Gal 5:11.

to walk. Act 21:24, Mar 7:5, Gal 2:14, Heb 13:9.

customs. +Act 6:14; Act 26:3, *Mar 7:5, 1Co 11:16.

Acts 16:3

Acts 16:3. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. (English Standard Version)

Act 16:3  Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek. (King James Version)

And for the proper exegesis of this text, here is what I have placed at Acts 16:3 in my digital Bible study resource, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury:

Acts 16:3
would. Act 15:37; Act 15:40; Act 19:22, Php 2:22.

and took. Act 15:20, 21, Gen 17:23, 1Co 7:19; *1Co 9:20; *1Co 9:21, *Gal 2:3; *Gal 2:8; %*Gal 5:1, 2, 3; %*Gal 5:6; Gal 6:15.

and circumcised. On the principle of expediency (1Co 6:12). Paul had resisted the proposed circumcision of Titus (Gal 2:3, 4, 5) because the rite was then claimed as essential to salvation (Act 15:1). Now, however, as the bearer of the conciliar letter of Gentile liberty (Act 16:4), he carried clear evidence that such a tenet had been officially repudiated, and he could afford to circumcise Timothy without danger of being misunderstood. In order to prevent needless friction with Jewish communities along his line of travel, he deemed it expedient, especially since Timothy was half-a-Jew by birth, to remove any unnecessary ground of offence (1Co 9:20), now that no vital principle was involved in his action. Apparently, the Judaizing teachers tried to make capital out of his action at a later date and to accuse him, though most unfairly, of inconsistency (Gal 1:8, 9, 10; Gal 5:11). We may fairly place Timothy’s ordination also here (1Ti 4:14, 2Ti 1:6, 7) [Walker].

because of the Jews. Act 21:21, 1Co 2:15; **1Co 9:19, 20, 21, 22, %**Gal 5:2; Gal 5:11.

they knew. Gr. oida, Joh 8:55 note.

his father. Act 16:1.

was. or, was by race. Gr. huparchō. Not the verb “to be,” but meaning subsists or exists. Luk 9:48 g. Php 2:6 (being). Php 3:20 (is).

a Greek. Act 16:1, Act 17:4.


Reply to me:

dont try to teach me of your TSK or Faulty exegesis… What you are doing is merely copy pasting,

Read the article and explanation, refute it… I am waiting


My response:

You can’t have it both ways. When I wrote my explanation above of a portion of Acts 21 verse by verse, you accused me of faulty exegesis.

When I then provided you my exegesis of Acts 21:21 with Acts 16:3 as given in my resource, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury, you accused me of “copy and pasting.”

Get real and respond to the evidence instead of evading it.


You state above:

“dont try to teach me of your TSK or Faulty exegesis… What you are doing is merely copy pasting,”

Your comment is just rude nonsense because as you well know I am the person who wrote the resource I am citing, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury. I personally typed every word of my resource. I own the copyright. It is a standard scholarly Bible study reference work. In my scholarly work I of course cite scholarly resources when they clarify the meaning of the verse.

At the time I wrote The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury (2016), I was not focused upon the mistaken Bible interpretations often posted by followers of Islam. I was focused upon errors of interpretation and doctrine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who had previously held a four-year Bible study in my home.

But I am surprised at the applicability of the notes I furnished when it comes to answering mistaken interpretations posted by Muslims who often utterly misunderstand what the Bible teaches.

I suggest that you actually go back and carefully read what I posted regarding the correct understanding of Acts 21:21. My notes most certainly refute your position.

As time permits, I will answer more of your referenced article shortly.



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