Home > Christianity, Islam > The Fourteen Epistles of St. Paul and the Koran

The Fourteen Epistles of St. Paul and the Koran

So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of Resurrection they will be sent back to the severest of punishment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do. (Koran 2:85, Sahih International)

I have watched Youtube videos where Muslim clerics speak disparagingly of St. Paul and they reject his fourteen epistles as rubbish. I have decided to do a blog post on the subject of St. Paul’s epistles and look at the historical evidence for their inclusion into the Christian canon of Holy Scripture.

First of all, let us look at this verse from the Koran.

And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender. (Koran 29:46, Pickthall)

The Koran is here saying that the first generation Muslims and Muhammad believed in both the Koran (“that which hath been revealed unto us”) and the Bible (that which hath been “revealed unto you.”)

So, if Muhammad and his followers believed in the Bible, did they accept the fourteen epistles of St. Paul. Muhammad was born in 569 or 570. He died in 632. If Christians living before 569 accepted those fourteen epistles of St. Paul as Holy Scripture, then Muhammad did, too.

The fourteen epistles of St. Paul are: Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Hebrews.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem wrote some lectures that were to be used with catechumens. A catechumen is someone who is seeking to enter into full communion with the Church. St. Cyril (318-386 A.D.) lived in the fourth century.

Then of the New Testament there are the four Gospels only, for the rest have false titles and are mischievous. The Manichæans also wrote a Gospel according to Thomas, which being tinctured with the fragrance of the evangelic title corrupts the souls of the simple sort. Receive also the Acts of the Twelve Apostles; and in addition to these the seven Catholic Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude; and as a seal upon them all, and the last work of the disciples, the fourteen Epistles of Paul. But let all the rest be put aside in a secondary rank. And whatever books are not read in Churches, these read not even by yourself, as you have heard me say. Thus much of these subjects. (Catechetical Lectures, Lecture IV, by St. Cyril of Jerusalem, 318-386, vol. 7, pp. 27,28, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Hendrickson Publisher, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts)

St. Cyril listed all of the New Testament books with the exception of the Book of Revelation. The Church in the East was slow to adopt Revelation into the canon. It was, however, being used as part of the canon before Muhammad was born. That would be the subject of another blog.

St. Athanasius the Great (298-373), was Archbishop of Alexandria. He also lived in the fourth century. He wrote:

Again it is not tedious to speak of the [books] of the New Testament. These are, the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Afterwards, the Acts of the Apostles and Epistles (called Catholic), seven, viz. of James, one; of Peter, two; of John, three; after these, one of Jude. In addition, there are fourteen Epistles of Paul, written in this order. The first, to the Romans; then two to the Corinthians; after these, to the Galatians; next, to the Ephesians; then to the Philippians; then to the Colossians; after these, two to the Thessalonians, and that to the Hebrews; and again, two to Timothy; one to Titus; and lastly, that to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of John. (Letter XXXIX, by St. Athanasius the Great, 298-373, vol. 4, p. 552, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Hendrickson Publisher, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts Hendrickson Publisher, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts)

In this letter written by him, he lists all of the books in the New Testament that Christians have today in their Bibles.

The next excerpt is from a letter written by St. Jerome (345-420). He lived in the fourth century in Italy. In this letter he lists the books of the New Testament.

The New Testament I will briefly deal with. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the Lord’s team of four, the true cherubim or store of knowledge. With them the whole body is full of eyes, they glitter as sparks (Ezekiel 1:7), they run and return like lightning, (Ezekiel 1:14) their feet are straight feet (Ezekiel 1:7), and lifted up, their backs also are winged, ready to fly in all directions. They hold together each by each and are interwoven one with another (Ezekiel 1:11): like wheels within wheels they roll along (Ezekiel 1:16) and go wherever the breath of the Holy Spirit wafts them. (Ezekiel 1:20) The apostle Paul writes to seven churches (for the eighth epistle — that to the Hebrews — is not generally counted in with the others). He instructs Timothy and Titus; he intercedes with Philemon for his runaway slave. Of him I think it better to say nothing than to write inadequately. The Acts of the Apostles seem to relate a mere unvarnished narrative descriptive of the infancy of the newly born church; but when once we realize that their author is Luke the physician whose praise is in the gospel, we shall see that all his words are medicine for the sick soul. The apostles James, Peter, John, and Jude, have published seven epistles at once spiritual and to the point, short and long, short that is in words but lengthy in substance so that there are few indeed who do not find themselves in the dark when they read them. The apocalypse of John has as many mysteries as words. In saying this I have said less than the book deserves. All praise of it is inadequate; manifold meanings lie hidden in its every word. (Letter LIII, by St. Jerome, 345-420, vol. 6, pp. 101-102, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Hendrickson Publisher, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts)

The seven churches to which St. Paul wrote are: Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, and Thessalonica. He wrote one epistle to his own people, the Hebrews. He left his name off because of the Judaizers. The Jews did not like what St. Paul said about certain commandments in the Law no longer being in effect. If he had put his name on it, fewer people would have read it. This epistle was originally written in Hebrew and later translated into Greek. There is ancient testimony that this is true. (A subject for another blog.)

At the Council of Carthage that met in 419 A.D., there is this canon.

Item, that besides the Canonical Scriptures nothing be read in church under the name of divine Scripture.

But the Canonical Scriptures are as follows:

Genesis.
Exodus.
Leviticus.
Numbers.
Deuteronomy.
Joshua the Son of Nun.
The Judges.
Ruth.
The Kings, iv. books.
The Chronicles, ij. books.
Job.
The Psalter.
The Five books of Solomon.
The Twelve Books of the Prophets.
Isaiah.
Jeremiah.
Ezechiel.
Daniel.
Tobit.
Judith.
Esther.
Ezra, ij. books.
Macchabees, ij. books.

The New Testament.
The Gospels, iv. books.
The Acts of the Apostles, j. book.
The Epistles of Paul, xiv.
The Epistles of Peter, the Apostle, ij.
The Epistles of John the Apostle, iij.
The Epistles of James the Apostle, j.
The Epistle of Jude the Apostle, j.
The Revelation of John, j. book.

Let this be sent to our brother and fellow bishop, Boniface, and to the other bishops of those parts, that they may confirm this canon, for these are the things which we have received from our fathers to be read in church. (Canon XXIV, Council of Carthage, 419 A.D., vol. 14, pp. 453-454, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Hendrickson Publisher, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts)

All of the books of the New Testament were mentioned in this conciliar canon.

Now, I want to go further back in time to the second century. I want to demonstrate that a particular passage of New Testament Scripture was being used by Christians back then. First, let us look at this passage from Tertullian’s writings. Tertullian was born in 145 and died in 220.

On this principle, too, the sufferings of Christ will be found not to warrant faith in Him. For He suffered nothing who did not truly suffer; and a phantom could not truly suffer. God’s entire work, therefore, is subverted. Christ’s death, wherein lies the whole weight and fruit of the Christian name, is denied although the apostle asserts it so expressly as undoubtedly real, making it the very foundation of the gospel, of our salvation and of his own preaching. “I have delivered unto you before all things,” says he, “how that Christ died for our sins, and that he was buried, and that He rose again the third day.” (I Corinthians 15:3,4) Besides, if His flesh is denied, how is His death to be asserted; for death is the proper suffering of the flesh, which returns through death back to the earth out of which it was taken, according to the law of its Maker? Now, if His death be denied, because of the denial of His flesh, there will be no certainty of His resurrection. For He rose not, for the very same reason that He died not, even because He possessed not the reality of the flesh, to which as death accrues, so does resurrection likewise. Similarly, if Christ’s resurrection be nullified, ours also is destroyed. If Christ’s resurrection be not realized, neither shall that be for which Christ came. For just as they, who said that there is no resurrection of the dead, are refuted by the apostle from the resurrection of Christ, so, if the resurrection of Christ falls to the ground, the resurrection of the dead is also swept away. And so our faith is vain, and vain also is the preaching of the apostles. (Five Books Against Marcion, Book III, chapter 8, by Tertullian, 145-220, vol. 3, p. 328, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Hendrickson Publisher, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts)

Notice that Tertullian quoted from St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians. He quoted I Corinthians 15:3,4. That says that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again the third day.

Let us look at the writings of a Sub-apostolic Church Father — St. Irenaeus of Lyons (120-202). The Sub-apostolic Church Fathers were people who knew someone who had personally known one of the Twelve Apostles or St. Paul.

He was likewise preached by Paul: “For I delivered,” he says, “unto you first of all, that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4) It is plain, then, that Paul knew no other Christ besides Him alone, who both suffered, and was buried, and rose gain, who was also born, and whom he speaks of as man. For after remarking, “But if Christ be preached, that He rose from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:12), he continues, rendering the reason of His incarnation, “For since by man came death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead.” And everywhere, when [referring to] the passion of our Lord, and to His human nature, and His subjection to death, he employs the name of Christ, as in that passage: “Destroy not him with your meat for whom Christ died.” (Romans 14:15) And again: “But now, in Christ, you who sometimes were far off are made near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13) And again: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs upon a tree.” (Galatians 3:13; Deuteronomy 21:23) And again: “And through your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died” (1 Corinthians 8:11); indicating that the impassible Christ did not descend upon Jesus, but that He Himself, because He was Jesus Christ, suffered for us; He, who lay in the tomb, and rose again, who descended and ascended, — the Son of God having been made the Son of man, as the very name itself does declare. For in the name of Christ is implied, He that anoints, He that is anointed, and the unction itself with which He is anointed. And it is the Father who anoints, but the Son who is anointed by the Spirit, who is the unction, as the Word declares by Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me” (Isaiah 61:1), — pointing out both the anointing Father, the anointed Son, and the unction, which is the Spirit. (Against Heresies, Book III, chapter 18, by St. Irenaeus of Lyons, 120-202, vol. 1, p. 446, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Hendrickson Publisher, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts)

St. Irenaeus of Lyons quoted from I Corinthians 15:3,4, too. He also quoted from a couple of other verses in this same epistle and he quoted from Romans, Ephesians, and Galatians.

Here is I Corinthians 15:3-8:

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. (I Corinthians 15:3-8, NKJV)

There are Islamic religious leaders who are rejecting “that which has been revealed” to Christians, namely, the fourteen epistles of St. Paul. They are teaching that Jesus did not die. They say that He ascended into Heaven and will come back one day and die and be resurrected. That is not what I Corinthians 15:3,4 says. I have provided excerpts from two second century documents that show that the second century Christians believed that passage of Scripture and it had not been “corrupted.”

In the Koran, it says:

O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His messenger and the Scripture which He hath revealed unto His messenger, and the Scripture which He revealed aforetime. Whoso disbelieveth in Allah and His angels and His Scriptures and His messengers and the Last Day, he verily hath wandered far astray. Lo! those who believe, then disbelieve and then (again) believe, then disbelieve, and then increase in disbelief, Allah will never pardon them, nor will He guide them unto a way. (Koran 4:136,137, Pickthall)

The Scripture which God “hath revealed unto His messenger” is the Koran. The Scripture which God “hath revealed aforetime” is the Bible. The Koran says to believe in God, Muhammad, the Koran, and the Bible. Then, it says “Whoso disbelieveth in Allah and His angels and His Scriptures and His messengers and the Last Day, he verily hath wandered far astray.” If you do not believe in God, God’s angels, God’s Scriptures (the Koran and the Bible), God’s messengers (notice the plural), and the Last Day (that is, the resurrection from the dead and the Last Judgment), then you have “wandered far astray.” In verse 137 it is saying that if someone believes in God, His angels, His messengers, the Koran, the Bible, and the Last Day, and then disbelieves in them, and then believes in them again, and then disbelieves in God, His angels, His messengers, the Koran, the Bible, and the Last Day, and then increases in disbelief, God “will never pardon them, nor will He guide them unto a way.”

So, now back to I Corinthians 15:3-8. If you do not believe that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and arose from the dead on the third day and you increase in disbelief,  God will never pardon you and He will never guide you unto a way. This is what Koran 4:136,137 is teaching. Koran 29:46 says that Muhammad accepted the Scriptures used by Christians in the seventh century. Christians were using all of the books they now have in the New Testament as Holy Scripture before the birth of Muhammad. I Corinthians 15:3,4 has not been “corrupted.” Therefore, those verses must be believed by anyone who wants to obey the Koran.

Now, let us look at this passage from the 18th Surah.

Those whose effort goeth astray in the life of the world, and yet they reckon that they do good work. Those are they who disbelieve in the revelations of their Lord and in the meeting with Him. Therefor their works are vain, and on the Day of Resurrection We assign no weight to them. That is their reward: hell, because they disbelieved, and made a jest of Our revelations and Our messengers. Lo! those who believe and do good works, theirs are the Gardens of Paradise for welcome, Wherein they will abide, with no desire to be removed from thence. (Koran 18:105-109, Pickthall; 18:104-108 in other translations)

If someone is going astray because they do not believe the Bible (Koran 4:136), their works are vain and God will assign no weight to them. Their reward will be hell, because they did not believe God’s revelations (the Bible and the Koran) and made fun of God’s revelations (the Bible and the Koran) and God’s messengers (Notice the plural).

So, now, what about these verses from the Koran?

And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger — they slew Him not nor crucified Him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew Him not for certain. (Koran 4:157, Pickthall)

(And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering Thee and causing Thee to ascend unto Me, and am cleansing Thee of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow Thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then unto Me ye will (all) return, and I shall judge between you as to that wherein ye used to differ. (Koran 3:55, Pickthall)

I spake unto them only that which Thou commandedst Me, (saying): Worship Allah, My Lord and your Lord. I was a witness of them while I dwelt among them, and when Thou tookest Me Thou wast the Watcher over them. Thou art Witness over all things. (Koran 5:117, Pickthall)

The Koran claims to confirm the Bible.

And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. (Koran 5:48, Pickthall)

It does not contradict it. Maybe those English translations of those passages from the Koran are mistranslations. Maybe the Islamic religious leaders are misinterpreting them. (See Matthew 17:9; 28:7. See also Matthew 27:27-38; Luke 23:46; John 10:17,18; 19:30,33.)

You do not have to take my word for it that Koran 3:55 and 5:117 have been mistranslated and misinterpreted. Just go to this page and see for yourself: http://corpus.quran.com/qurandictionary.jsp?q=wfy#(5:117:20). Look at how the Arabic verb, tawaffā, is most frequently translated in the Koran. It is a form V verb that occurs 24 times. The active participle of this verb occurs only once in the Koran — in Koran 3:55. Look at the other 23 places in the Koran and see how this verb is most frequently translated.

The religion known as Islam today has morphed into a one prophet, Bibleless religion. This is totally unkoranic. Islamic religious leaders quote the Koran. They hardly ever quote one of the Old Testament prophets. They hardly ever quote from the New Testament. The Koran is two-thirds the size of the New Testament. The Old Testament is much larger than the Koran. The Koran teaches that rejecting God’s revelations is a serious sin. (Koran 7:36; 18:104-108)

The fourteen epistles of St. Paul are part of God’s Scriptures. They were accepted as Holy Scripture before the birth of Muhammad. Muhammad accepted the Scriptures Christians used in the seventh century. (Koran 29:46) Those who reject St. Paul’s fourteen epistles are disobeying the Koran and are not on the straight path for which they pray in the Fatihah. I have already said enough about the fate of those who disbelieve.

Say: The Truth hath come, and falsehood showeth not its face and will not return. (Quran 34:49, Pickthall)

 

 

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  1. December 3, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    THIS POST AND BLOGGER MAKE SENSE! ANY TAKERS IN REBUTTAL?

  2. December 3, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    MAYBE I SHOULD ASK—may I reblog this excellent treatise—even if asking a few seconds after the fact (which certainly can be deleted from my blog if you wish it)?

    • December 4, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      Sure! Thanks for reblogging my post!

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