Paul’s whole teaching in Romans is captured in the following words. “I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For in it, the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith…The righteous by faith shall live”
"Jesus, yes; but Paul never". It is very clear that this statement sums up some individual's viewpoint of the Apostle known as Paul. Everyone has their own interpretation and everyone has formed their own opinion. It is ironic that the most famous character in the New Testament outside of Jesus gets misunderstood more than anyone other person of his time. If it’s any consolation, Jesus also got misunderstood, this puts Jesus and Paul in a league of their own. Possibly, people just didn't want to hear what he said so they form negative connotations against him so they are exempt from his teachings. There are a number of different scenarios you can create to figure out the enigma that is Paul the Apostle. I will concentrate on one simple verse in the Bible. The verse is Romans 11:26.
The first section of Romans 11:26 has been interpreted and dissected from many people. It seems to have many meanings in the form that Paul wrote it. Two particular people have written literary works about Paul and in both this verse is mentioned. Both authors have different interpretations of theverse and see Paul in a different light because of it.
I will start with Rosemary Ruether who believes that Paul is Anti-Jewish. In her commentary about Paul, she clearly states that Judaism is the opposite of Faith in Christ. If you are a Jew, you are not a Christian and if a Christian, not a Jew. She makes the argument that there is nothing special about Jewish people, for Jewish and Gentile are both sinners and have fallen short of the Glory. In regards to Romans 11:26, Ruether believes in the salvation of the Jews, but she believes it is at an appointed time. If you look a verse before, Paul mentions the Jewish people as living with a mystery. He mentions a mystery that he does not want the Jews to be ignorant about. Ruether believes Paul is saying in verse 25 that God has hardened the hearts of the Jewish people for a time, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come. In other words, once the Gentiles are gathered into the kingdom of God, the Jews' hearts will be unhardened and they too will gather into the kingdom of God. Ruether makes it very clear that God has an "elect" people in Israel. These are the people God has chosen to enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Ruether says that as soon as the Gentiles have been gathered in, God will "mysteriously" unhardenthe hearts of the Jews. This is where Ruether draws out the "mystery" Paul is referring to in verse 25. Ruether believes that the "conversion of the Jews" becomes the last event in the historical economy of salvation. The conversion shows that God did not abandon his people but reserved those till the right moment came to bring in the "elect" of Israel.
Many will read Ruether's interpretation and say that in verse 26, it says all of Israel will be saved. Ruether does not believe this to be true. In Ruether's interpretation, God has chosen certain people in Israel to enter into his kingdom. Some will enter into the kingdom of God and some will never partake in the event of salvation. It is apparent that Ruether believes Paul is that father of anti-Judaism. He believes that Paul replaced Judaism with Christianity though never actually calling himself a Christian. According to Ruether, Paul believed Judaism only existed to be dissolved and absorbed into the Christian church. Whether this is a…