I don’t know if you remember this, but way back when I was reviewing Romans, I worried that it was going to be really hard to read and write about Paul’s letters. Turns out, I was exactly right. This is starting to get quite tedious.
It isn’t the project, mind you. I am quite enjoying working my way through the New Testament. I am still dedicated to making it all the way through the end of Revelations.
The tedious part is Paul’s letters themselves. It seems like every third letter is interesting, while the rest are mindless drivel. How in the world did some of these – and I am looking right at you, Ephesians – get voted into canon? Who did Paul bribe? What were these people smoking? I reckon I’ll never know. Looks like we’ll just have to trudge on to:
????The Epistle of Paul to the Romans
All stuff we’ve heard before. If there were Kinkos back then, Paul could’ve just made copies of the first part of his letters. They are generic and cookie-cutter-ish. All things were made through Christ who is the son of the almight God, do good deeds and live accordingly. Paul doesn’t miss the chance to brag about himself, of course, and writes that he has suffered greatly for the people of the church. At one point, Paul talks about his suffering in a way that reminds me of that albino guy in The Da Vinci Code. “I am rejoicing in my sufferings for you…”
This chapter is more interesting if you frame it as Paul being self-referential. And not realizing it, of course. Paul warns the Colossians not to listen to people who would tell them how to live, what to eat, etc. He writes “let no one who delights in humility and the worship of angels cheat you out of the prize…” Of course, the second you talk about humility, you leave Paul completely out of the picture, so that kinda ruins the effect.
Paul also circles back to talk about one of his pet subjects: circumcision. This time around, Paul states that people are being circumcised, that Jesus has circumcised them to remove the sin from them. So every Christian apparently has undergone this spiritual circumcision. I hope no one had to feel that pain!
I just thought up of a new drinking game: do a shot whenever Paul talks about the evils of sex. So take a shot right now! Paul states that followers of Christ should put to death the impulses of sexual sin, impurity, passion and others. Passion? Really, Paul? Also, Christians should get rid of anger, wrath, obscene language, etc. All in all, Paul is setting up an impossible standard for people to meet. Is he doing this on purpose, to try and challenge the new followers? Or is he giving himself a back-handed compliment, saying that he is strong enough to do what others will not?
The rest of the chapter is a xerox of what we’ve read in previous books: women be subject to their husbands, husbands love their wives, children do as their parents say. Slaves must obey their masters, etc. etc. etc.
Another of Paul’s overwrought closing chapters. This time, Paul name checks about a dozen people, including Luke and JESUS!!! JESUS IS THERE!!!! Oh, no, wait, it’s a different Jesus. Paul, do you have any idea how confusing that was? SHEESH!!!!
Thus ends another epistle. I really have nothing else to say. Well, nothing constructive anyway.
Up next: The Bible Is Not the Word of Paul. Seriously!
New installments of The New Testament In Review will be posted each Monday and Thursday. The new posts will always be on my blog, http://biffster.org. The entire series is accessible via http://biffster.org/ntir. If you are one of my Facebook friends, you can get an advance preview on my Facebook page. You can also follow me (@biffster) on Twitter to be alerted to new posts.