Posted by: SandreS | July 5, 2009

Paul Severed from: Race

“Hebrew of the Hebrews” (Philippians 3:5)

“Hebrew” means to “cross over.” The word is first found in Genesis 14:13. This is an “allusion to Abraham’s immigration from the other side of the Euphrates … The title Hebrew is therefore their title of separation …” (Bullinger’s Lexicon).

With Abraham, God started a new race of people. Paul had viewed himself not only as a “Hebrew,” but as a “real” Hebrew, i.e., a “Hebrew of the Hebrews.” Like we use the phrase “a man’s man,” so Paul had been “a Hebrew’s Hebrew!” He was associated with the faction among the Jews which maintained, even under Roman domination, their peculiar “Jewishness.” Some Hebrews in Paul’s day had given up their language and customs for the Gentile (Greek and Roman) culture. Paul, however, had been a racial “separatist of the separatists.”

If anyone ever had the right to be proud of their race, it would have been a Hebrew. Paul had been hyper-semitic; but the Lord Jesus Christ changed all this! Paul later told the men of Athens:

“… He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth …” (Acts 17:25-26).

Paul had been severed from racial pride and counted his “Hebrew of the Hebrews” status as “loss for Christ.”

It is strange how Adam’s descendants each think that the kinsmen of their race are somehow superior to that of other races. This often is shamefully true even of believers. Yet if there was any place on earth that this should not be true it is with members of the Body of Christ.

“So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another … Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another” (Romans 12:5, 10).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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