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Paul, the hardest code to crack

for myself indeed, him-who-is-away-from the body, yet him-who-is-near the spirit, even now, as him-who-is-near, have judged the-one, thus working out this-one in the name of the Master of ourselves Jesus Christ — those-who-have-been-gathered of yourselves, and of myself of spirit — with the power of the Master of ourselves, Jesus, to hand over such a one the Satan into the ruin of the flesh, so that the spirit may be rescued in the day of the Master.

1 Corinthians 5:3-5 literal

Paul is a wildly controversial figure because of how he has been traditionally interpreted. He spent the entire previous chapter explaining how he was the refuse of all the earth. Garbage. Filth. Mistreated. Dishonored. Fool. Buffeted. Reviled. Persecuted.

Imagine a writing of your own being treated by the world like his? The horror.

As is evident from this verse, Paul seems to speak through time to the end times, judging a man “who has his father’s wife” that he be “delivered up” so that the flesh (which is against the spirit) may be destroyed and the spirit (which is Life) may be rescued. It sounds oddly similar to Jesus’ words about the end times in Mark 13:20

“And if Master had not mutilated those days, the whole flesh would not have been rescued; but on account of the chosen, whom He chose, He mutilated the days.”

Mark 13:20 literal

The enigmas just pile up in this book. There is nothing plain in this speech, and it is on purpose, whatever it means.

Many write of his words as “pertinent to the culture he was in”. But, consider, maybe it was the exact opposite? Being away from body, yet “as being near” the spirit. For a man who called himself a “steward of the mysteries of God” who apparently knew the mysteries of the Bible far beyond any of us, it becomes counter-intuitive to be dogmatic with regard to anything Paul says. Consider that Paul is not haphazardly writing his letters, but is carefully choosing each and every word, words which themselves may have far deeper meanings…

For if you may have ten thousand guardians [paidagógos, boy-tutors] in Christ, except not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus through the good news myself has begotten yourselves. 1 Cor. 4:15 literal