Professing Themselves to be Wise…They Failed to Notice the Context of Paul’s Words Before Quoting Them

I recently mentioned the words from Romans, “professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,” because I did actually have someone quote those words at me on Facebook.

There are a lot of ironies in that, as I noted.

But perhaps the biggest is that Romans 1:22 is part of a passage in which Paul imitates what Jews say about Gentiles, so that he can then go on to condemn those who adopt the stance he imitates.

Nearly 2,000 years after Paul wrote it, there are still Christians who have misunderstood Romans so badly, that they quote him in ways that no one who grasped what he was doing ever would. They use his very words to condemn others, as though they have no understanding that those who speak in that way, according to Paul, condemn themselves.

  • http://historical-jesus.info/ Bernard Muller

    Dr. McGrath, you wrote:
    “But perhaps the biggest is that Romans 1:22 is part of a passage in which Paul imitates what Jews say about Gentiles, so that he can then go on to condemn those who adopt the stance he imitates.”
    I would be most interested to know how you came to that interpretation.
    More so, where does Paul say he was imitating what Jews say about Gentiles?
    So, as I understand it, you think Paul condemned those who adopted the stance of the Jews against Gentiles’ gay sex (among other things).
    I do not read that in Romans 1.
    Cordially, Bernard

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      It isn’t that he condemns those who condemn “gay sex” (although that is obviously an anachronistic term). He turns and condemns those who condemn others, addressing the speaker in the prior section (where he seems to have been deliberately imitating the style and content of Jewish condemnation of Gentiles as found in the Wisdom of Solomon) as “O man, whoever you are who condemns others.”

      It is unfortunate that the introduction of chapter divisions has led to Paul’s argument being undermined.

      • MissionaryJames

        As to chapter divisions, you do not want to debate me on Bible Numerology and the clear evidences of Divine Mathematics within scripture! I will make a fool of you in the sight of all. I have studied Bible Numerics for 30-years! Trust me when I tell you, that God himself not only oversaw the writing of scriptures via the Prophets of old, but He also oversaw that Chapter and Verse sub-divisions and its careful distributions thereof.

        If indeed, this Creator God intervened, then Supernatural Divine Evidences MUST BE APPARENT throughout scripture. And if such evidence is apparent, then Paul has not been undermined, as you ignorantly declare, but it is you that has foolishly sought to undermine God and His word.

        Before you rush off and blurt out more foolish ignorance, regarding the introduction of chapter divisions, I strongly recommend you CAREFULLY READ and VERIFY this ONE of HUNDREDS of Divine Numerical Patterns found within scripture, below! Should you decide to REPLY to the following DNP below, to discredit it, you will do so to your own detriment and appear as a fool before all. Ready? I warn you once again. I will only give you ONE EXAMPLE of DIVINE MATHEMATICAL PATTERN below. If you REPLY, there are HUNDREDS of more DMP that will destroy your professed wisdom before all:

        Keep in mind, the Bible came about by the compiling of 66-Books written by 40-Authors (most who knew not each other) over a 4,000-year period about most subjects known to man, by various Authors from all walks of life! The CHAPTER and VERSE DIVISIONS did not occur until 1,400-years after the Bible was completed with the book of Revelation. Under King James, thousands tirelessly worked on small portions of scripture, to complete the task within a rapid time frame! All such SCRIBES were given complete autonomy in allocating and subscribing Chapters and Verses thereto….. Hence, about 500-years after this task, we find:

        DIVINE MATHEMATICAL PATTERNS:
        1. What is the shortest Chapter in the whole Bible? A: Psalm 117
        2. What is the longest Chapter in the whole Bible? A: Psalm 119
        3. What is the center Chapter of the whole Bible? A: Psalm 118
        4. What is the center Verse of the whole Bible? A: Psalm 118:8
        5. How many Chapters are before Psalm 118? A: 594
        6. How many Chapters are after Psalm 118? A: 594
        7. How many Chapters before & after Psalm 118? A: 1,188 (118:8)

        Given the above DMP, dare you say this is a coincidence? Do you know the mathematical Probability for this to have occurred by chance? Not only is this passage of scripture, remarkably encoded with Divine DNA, the MESSAGE of Chapter 118: verse 8, is the MAIN THEME and MESSAGE of the whole Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to boot. And that thematic message is:

        PSALM 118:8
        It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man

        Finally Mr. Professor of vain worldly wisdom, you would do well to not only TRUST IN THE LORD, instead of MAN, (especially those who also profess to be wise in our colleges and universities across this planet), it would be CREDITED UNTO YOU AS WISE, if you acted upon the following verses below:

        PSALM 46:10
        Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in all the earth.

        PROVERBS 17:28
        Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips, is esteemed as a man of understanding.

        hehehehehehehehehe…. lololol…..

        • Nick Gotts

          you do not want to debate me on Bible Numerology and the clear evidences of Divine Mathematics within scripture!

          Well, you got that right. I don’t want to debate David Icke on the clear evidences that the world is being run by shape-shifting reptiloid aliens, either.

  • MissionaryJames

    Talk about taking Paul and/or scripture out of context, this article is the poster child for TAKING SCRIPTURE OUT OF CONTEXT, no doubt. After reading the VERSES BEFORE and AFTER Romans 1:22, there is ONLY ONE INTERPRETATION and that is: THE BIBLES CLEAR MEANING OF THIS PORTION OF WRITTEN TEXT.

    Starting from verse 16 to verse 32 of Romans, one who is logical, rational and in his right mind, can only conclude that Paul was addressing those who are RIGHTEOUS, WHO LIVE BY FAITH IN JESUS and the UNRIGHTEOUS and UNGODLY who hold or supress the TRUTH.

    What truth? That God created the Heavens and the earth and that God has further revealed this TRUTH to ALL MEN, via His Creation, so that ALL MEN are without excuse, but the ungodly DENY GOD’s EXISTENCE, and stubbornly refuse to ACKNOWLEDGE the EVIDENCE for INTELLIGENT DESIGN and will not give God the GLORY for His act of Creation of ALL things visible and invisible.

    Because they LOVED NOT the TRUTH, they became VAIN in their imaginations, immoral in their actions, deceptive in their communications, all causing their foolish hearts to be darkened with increasing foolishness and they committed grievous acts of sin, to the point of God giving them over to their own lusts, greed and sexual perversions, like Gay sex and etc!

    Not only did they profess themselves to be wise, God and Paul called them fools! And rightly so, because they chose to worship the creation (like evolutionist do) rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!

    Finally, Paul decrees that God would Judge these so called Wise Professors! These professors of wisdom are characterized by Paul, in the following manner:

    Romans 1:29-32 – Unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, spiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

    How, Where and Why did you even write this Article of Truth Suppression? Paul not only describes these professors as fools, Paul was evidently Prophesying about this very foolish Author of this article as well….

    • spinkham

      Poe rating: 8/10. Would be funnier with more capslock.

      Please do try again though, you are on the right track.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      WRITING IN ALL CAPS WITHOUT STRINGING YOUR WORDS TOGETHER CLEARLY IS UNLIKELY TO PERSUADE ANYONE THAT YOU HAVE A BETTER GRASP OF A TEXT THAN OTHERS DO!

      Perhaps you would care to interact with what Romans says, and not just shout?


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