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Is Paul anti-Jewish in 1 Thessalonians 2?

Categories Biblical Studies Commentaries (NT)

There's a particular section of 1 Thessalonians 2, where Paul talks about Jews that have persecuted the prophets and Jesus and are making trouble and this kind of thing for the Thessalonians.

Throughout history, especially in the last couple hundred years, scholars have wondered if Paul wrote this. Other scholars have wondered is it anti-Semitic?

My response to that would be that Paul himself is a Jew. It matters that he retained his Jewish identity as a Christian. He talks about that in multiple different letters. His passion and love for the Jewish people.

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In that particular text, Paul is not trying to say every Jew, everywhere, at all times is evil or bad. I think he's talking about a particular mindset that some Jews have that they must defend the honor of God or the holiness of God through violence. That is what he is pointing out as actually in the end, anti-God, and not all Jews everywhere.

We get the sense that he felt a special camaraderie with other Jewish Christians, and he felt a special place in his heart for the Jewish people. So to me it doesn't make any sense at all to come to the conclusion that Paul was anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish.

This post has been lightly edited from the original transcript for clarity.

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