I often get this question when people (usually well-meaning Christians) find out that not only do I embrace Y'shua as the promised Messiah, but that I also maintain a Jewish lifestyle that is Torah-observant and respectful of the traditions of our forefathers. I have a theory that if the Scriptures were not organized with chapter and verse numbering, people would be less likely to quote it so much and would be forced to actually contextualize their arguments in a more coherent and exegetically sound manner.
No one is more misunderstood on both the Christian and Jewish sides of the aisle than the apostle Paul. Even a contemporary of Paul, in one of his epistles, highlights the challenge of unpacking the meaning in the writings of Paul: " . . . as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures" (II Peter 3:15-16).
If Peter, a contemporary of Paul who had the advantage of interacting with Paul in the flesh, found the interpretation of Paul to be difficult, how much more difficult is it for us who find ourselves living in the 21st century and far-removed from the context in which Paul and Peter were writing?
Gr. "strebloo" Meaning: 1) to twist, turn awry 2) to torture, put to the rack 3) metaph. to pervert, of one who wrests or tortures language in a false sense. Ironically, the book that many would claim to understand and have a firm understanding of the most is the one that I would argue is the least understood and perhaps most perverted by Jew and Christian alike.
That being said, I thought I would venture to begin a little series in hopes of offering a perspective that may serve to shed a little more light on this little epistle that is oft-quoted and yet, more often than not, misunderstood.
Let him who is convinced that his views are true and right express them . . . at every opportunity . . . without considering how much support or how much opposition he will encounter. Only falsehood is in need of many supporters in order to win the day; falsehood must have the authority of numbers to make up for what it lacks in justification. Truth, by contrast, will always prevail, even if it takes time. Noble, courageous and pure, expressed with all the fiery zeal and conviction and with all clarity of sure awareness, stated again and again at every opportunity, truth will ultimately gain respect and admiration even of those who do not accept it. The only truth that can be lost beyond recall is that truth whose adherents no longer have the courage to speak up candidly on its behalf. Truth has never gone down in defeat as the result of opposition, it has done so only when its friends are too weak to defend it. - R' S.R. Hirsch