Biblicism – the view that one should adhere strictly to what the Bible says, word for word and letter for letter – is the stance adopted (at least theoretically) by many Christians today.
It was not the stance of the apostle Paul.
Isaiah 59:20 says “”The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the LORD.”
Paul “quotes” the text in Romans 11:26 as follows: “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.'”
Clearly neither the letter nor the meaning of Scripture was sacrosanct to Paul. Whether consciously or subconsciously, he rewrote it when necessary to make the point he wished to.
I should add that I’ve been reading Pete Enns’ book The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins in preparation for participating in the upcoming blog tour, and the spark for writing this post came from there (p.110). As Enns puts it a couple of pages later, for Paul, “The text is not the master: it serves a goal” (p.113).
This seems like a particularly clear example of Paul not treating the text of Scripture as unalterable or definitive, even while quoting it to make a point. What do others think?