What did the apostle Paul mean when he said I have become all things to all people. Perhaps first we should consider the question, “Who was Paul” We believe he was the author of 1st and 2nd Corinthians, letters he wrote to his Churches.
Prior to Paul’s conversion, he was involved in persecuting Christians affirmed in the Book of Acts and in his own letters. Paul, or Saul, was a loyal Pharisee, the ones many believe responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion. In Galatians 1: 13, Paul said “you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. In verse 14, And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.”
A Pharisees is a member of an ancient Jewish sect, distinguished by strict observance of the traditional and written law, and commonly held to have pretensions to superior sanctity. Jesus was a thorn in their side. He was talking to the Jewish people in John 8 Jesus speaks of the light of the world and how the truth will set you free. He also speaks of Children of the Devil when talking to the Jewish people when he said (v44) ,”You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies”.
Again in Matthew 23, Jesus was talking to the crowds warning against hypocrisy and the seven woes on the teachers of the law and Pharisees. Matthew 23 is a interesting read for those who are interested and may provide insight on understanding Paul.
Acts 9 tells us as Saul drew near to Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. (4) He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?”5“Who are You, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” He replied. 6“Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
Paul was a pharisee loyal to the traditions of Yahweh the Jewish God which Jesus accused as the Devil in John 8:44. Jesus sevens woes were about the Pharisees and in Matthew 23:15 Jesus says “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are..”
Paul said in verse 22 “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”
Did Paul go against Jesus message in Matthew 23:15 as well as the Church of today? I Each person should come to their own conclusion. I think it is important to see Paul as a human with all the traits we all possess. According to Psychology Today our memories are fallible, our perceptions are unreliable and our world view, regardless how strongly believed, may well be contrary to the facts and even physical law. The Bible is a wonderful tool but to truly find God one should look within, Jesus true message. It is about love and helping one another, regardless of religion or belief system. It is about getting up in the morning and being thankful for the day and knowing that you have the power of God with you each minute of everyday. Simply let Love be your guide.