It is said that the letter kills and the spirit gives life. Before I start any exhortation or talk amongst my friends, I tell them that words are funny because I know that my words are usually misinterpreted. I only hope that the spirit from which I speak the words would give life to them, not the words that I speak but the spirit behind the words. Now to the main topic, I remember telling a friend that I had a problem with Apostle Paul. I didn’t explain further what I meant but I’ll try to do otherwise here.
The Apostle is wise, wise enough to be misread by those who hunger and search for wisdom. The misinterpretation of his words by the “unlearned” was known in his days and this led Apostle Peter to say in his 2nd book Chapter 3:15b-16:
…even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
We know that Paul met the Lord on the road to Damascus and that was the beginning of his journey to understanding the deeper mysteries of Christ. The key word to remember here is “mysteries”. Remember that even the Lord preferred to speak in parable to the multitudes, of course he wanted everyone to be liberated from the darkness that was plaguing the world but he also knew that some people weren’t ready for the depths he had to offer, hence his calling of the twelve to his private quarters in order to explain the mysteries of the kingdom. It is called a “mystery” for a reason, and I do not claim to know it all, only a fool knows everything, but I know enough to be able to discern when someone uses Paul’s wisdom in the wrong way.
Since my early days in Christianity, I actually avoided reading Paul’s epistles not because I couldn’t find wisdom in them but because I knew I wasn’t yet initiated into the mysteries that he spoke of. The conventional gospel is for everyone but the depth isn’t for every believer. There are levels that aren’t meant for everyone to drink from and as much as I’d like to say that everyone has to be knowledgeable (about the deep things; knowing the height, breadth, width of the calling), I have to be careful about who I pass some knowledge/wisdom to. Paul himself was careful about this, also warning Timothy of the dangers of passing some of mysteries of the kingdom. The uninitiated cannot fully know and that’s okay. Thus it is an important quality of a teacher to know how to speak to people at their level of depth.
So maybe I’m here to warn us that it is better to approach the reading of Paul’s epistles only if you have been initiated into the mysteries, maybe I’m here to tell you that you’d find meaning when you shallowly read his book (emphasis on shallowly), I’d also like to encourage you to leave it that way until you are fully versed in the understanding of the Kingdom’s mysteries. And truthfully, I don’t like reproving people but I’d do it only for the sake of those that’ll listen to them. (So hey, if you think I don’t know what I’m saying, you can call my bluff here and tell me to STFU).
I’d end this discourse with this: Unto (some of) you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without (the school), all these things are done in parables….