Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Peripateo as Halacha in Acts 21:21 and Philippians 3:17: Did Paul Instruct Non-Jews at Philippi to Keep Messianic Halacha in the Same Manner as Messianic Jews?

Here's two possible parallel passages:

"And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk [peripatein] after the customs," Acts 21:21
"Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk [peripatountas] according to the pattern you have in us," (Phil. 3:17)

It's interesting that Paul tells his primarily non-Jewish audience at Philippi to "walk" according to Paul's pattern.  After all, Acts 21 tells us that Paul's pattern was to keep Jewish Law and Jewish Custom.  


  1. You could also consider:
    • Philippians 4:9 HCSB Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
    • 1 Corinthians 4:16 HCSB Therefore I urge you, be imitators of me.
    • 1 Corinthians 11:1 HCSB Be imitators of me, as I also am of Christ.
    • 1 Thessalonians 1:6 HCSB and you became imitators of us and of the Lord when, in spite of severe persecution, you welcomed the message with the joy from the Holy Spirit.
    • 1 Thessalonians 2:14 HCSB For you, brothers, became imitators of God's churches in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, since you have also suffered the same things from people of your own country, just as they did from the Jews.

    In fact, Paul told them to avoid anyone who called himself a brother and DIDN’T follow kabalah.
    • 2 Thessalonians 3:6 HCSB 6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from every brother who walks irresponsibly and not according to the tradition received from us.

    The difficulty I see in your line of reasoning however, the place where I see a vulnerability to attack is:
    • 1 Corinthians 9:20-22 HCSB To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the law, like one under the law--though I myself am not under the law--to win those under the law. 21 To those who are outside the law, like one outside the law--not being outside God's law, but under the law of Christ--to win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by all means save some.

    It could be argued that Paul was not ALWAYS behaving like an orthodox Jew.

    1. Cajun,

      Very thorough as always! : )

      Thank you for taking the time to compile the full range of relevant verses on this topic. Man, I'd love to have an entire Shabbat to talk Torah with you! Maybe one day I'll have that honor! : )

      Also, I appreciate what you say about 1 Corinthians 9:20-22. I think that should make for a good post all by itself. I'll get on that...