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Berean Literal Bible Matthew 5:

22 But I say to you that everyone being angry with his brother will be liable to the judgment, and whoever shall say to his brother 'Raca,' will be liable to the Sanhedrin. But whoever shall say, 'Fool!' will be liable to the Gehenna of fire.

Despite this warning from Jesus, Paul called the Corinthians "fool".

1 Corinthians 15:

35But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36You fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.

Was Paul liable to the Gehenna of fire?

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    "Accepted" answers really don't matter. All it means is that the question asker liked it for some reason. Never let the existence of an accepted answer be the reason to not post another answer. Likewise, please don't pressure people to accept an answer if they haven't, and don't tell people off for accepting one "early". – curiousdannii Jul 21 at 4:16
  • Ok, so I posted my answer, just like you suggested I should but I have no idea as to what you thought, nor do I have any idea as to whether you voted me up or not. I can't even think about reversing my down vote here if you can't even acknowledge one way or another. – Olde English Jul 22 at 16:46
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Matthew 5:22 But I say to you that everyone being angry with his brother will be liable to the judgment, and whoever shall say to his brother 'Raca,' will be liable to the Sanhedrin. But whoever shall say, 'Fool!' will be liable to the Gehenna of fire.

Insults spoken in anger (which is what Matthew 5:22 seems to be explicitly about), and fatherly reproofs (from God, Christ, or the Apostles), are two different things. The difference between the two situations is the same as between a man being called crazy by a random guy on the street, and someone being labelled as such by a professional psychologist or psychiatrist. As proof of this simple statement, we bring the following passages from the Gospels, containing Christ's own words:

Matthew 23:16-19 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say: Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And: Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?

Luke 11:39-40 And the Lord said unto him: Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?

Luke 12:16-20 And he spake a parable unto them, saying: The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully; And he thought within himself, saying: [...] Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him: Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

As can be glimpsed from the above-provided links, both Matthean passages make use of μoρos, whereas both Luke and Paul prefer αφρoν, for expressing the same concept.

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1 Corinthians 15:36 uses the Greek word ἄφρων (aphrōn), which Strong's defines as:

properly, mindless, i.e. stupid, (by implication) ignorant, (specially) egotistic, (practically) rash, or (morally) unbelieving:—fool(-ish), unwise.

Matthew 5:22 uses the Greek word μωρός (mōros), which Strong's defines as:

dull or stupid (as if shut up), i.e. heedless, (morally) blockhead, (apparently) absurd:—fool(-ish, X -ishness).

We get our English word "moron" from the word used in Matthew.

My impression is that mōros indicates a permanent state of stupidity, whereas aphrōn would be used to indicate a temporary state, such as where one makes a hasty statement about something without thinking about it first.

Compare getting frustrated and saying "retard!" to a person with Down Syndrome, to The Princess Bride's "Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders!". One is repugnant, the other rhetoric.

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  • How do you do it? I don't see how your answer should be considered any better than mine and yet you get 9 upvotes and I get 2. You 'also' suggested that I should still post my answer, even though Tony had already given his somewhat hasty affirmation, and yet now that I have, you, like Tony, say nothing. – Olde English Jul 22 at 16:58
  • @OldeEnglish, A few thoughts: ­— Most of my votes were from before yours was posted. — Some of my votes might have been to spite the premature acceptance of the other. — My answer is simpler and slightly easier to read. ¶ None of those factors mean that my answer is necessarily better than yours. – Ray Butterworth Jul 22 at 17:13
  • Simpler might be better it would seem. You gave a very erudite but simple answer to a question the other day and got 30 + upvotes. I was astounded!! I have spent an 'inordinate' amount of time on some of my answers, some of which I was very proud of, but the best I've ever achieved is 4 upvotes. But, then again, being a non-trinitarian, I tend to buck the trend. Thank you for the most recent upvote, which I am assuming was from you?? – Olde English Jul 22 at 17:45
  • @OldeEnglish, "30+ upvotes"? Not I. I did recently receive 17 and 13 on two Christianity.SE answers, but until last month my next highest was 9 votes from 2 years ago. And here on BH.se, this answer, with 9, is now my highest. ¶ "I tend to buck the trend", as do I. My answers tend to not match the doctrines of most denominations, and certainly don't represent mainstream views. ¶ As for points, they really aren't worth worrying about. The only points I generally care about are 200 (so the site shows up on the graph), and the site-specific number of points that allows me to see down-votes. – Ray Butterworth Jul 22 at 18:13
  • I was wrong. It was Perry Webb who recently received '37' upvotes, no less, for a short (around 170 words) simple but erudite answer and the question was only in respect of 'measurements' of all things, and the questioner himself (Xeno) got '21' upvotes. Members just went crazy over the topic. I don't follow your last sentence in your last comment here??? Also, would you mind telling me how you do 'italics', or even 'bolding' for that matter in a comment..... – Olde English Jul 22 at 19:39
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How to reconcile Matthew 5:22 and 1 Corinthians 15:35?

First of all, the comparison, in the question, should have been between Matthew 5:22 and 1 Corinthians 15:36, just to be strictly correct here.

Although both English translations, when translating the Greek have come up with the word 'Fool', in the two verses in question, there are two different words in the Greek transcripts, portraying two different meanings.

In Matt 5:22, the harsher Greek adjective, 'more' when transliterating, is used, which according to Strong's means 'moron'(mentally inert), among other harsher meanings, whereas in 1 Corinthians 15:36, the milder Greek adjective, 'aphron' is utilized, meaning 'lacking true moderation, lacking perspective', to put it simply. Consequently, Paul, in using the milder adjective is not necessarily, if at all, subject to 'Gehenna', which, after all, is a derivative of a fiery hell, an implication given by Jesus Christ himself Matt 5:22; 18:9; Mark 9:47,48, which would be harsh judgement indeed. Also, in the first instance, the adjective was used, by no less than the son of God himself, in reference to one's brother, to whom Jesus says one should be more tolerant, whereas Paul was not talking specifically about anyone in general.

FOOL. rather than denoting a person who is lacking in mental ability, the word "fool," as used in the Bible, generally refers to an individual who spurns reason and follows a morally insensible course out of harmony with God's righteous standards. Various Hebrew terms denoting such a one are kesil' ('stupid one'; Pr 1:22), 'ewil' ("foolish one"; Pr 12:15), na.val' ('senseless one'; Pr 17:7), and lets ("ridiculer"; Pr 13:1)). The Greek a'phron refers to an "unreasonable one" (Lu 12:20), a.no'e.tos to one "senseless" (Ga 3:1), and mo.ros' to a 'fool' or "foolish one" (Matt 23:17; 25:2)....

...Jesus Christ rightly referred to the Scribes and Pharisees as "fools and blind ones," that is, persons lacking wisdom and being morally worthless, for they had distorted the truth by manmade traditions and followed a hypocritical course. Moreover, Jesus backed up the correctness of this designation by illustrating their lack of discernment. (Matt 23:15-22; 15:3). However, the individual wrongly calling a brother a "despicable fool," judging and condemning his brother as being morally worthless, would make himself liable to Gehenna. - Matt 5:22; Ro 14:10-12; Matt 7:1,2. This reflection on the word "FOOL", is taken from "Insight on the scriptures", Vol 1, page 846

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  • Thanks for posting your answer. I upvoted it when I first saw it. The main reason I picked Lucian is his line: "both Matthean passages make use of μoρos, whereas both Luke and Paul prefer αφρoν, for expressing the same concept." – Tony Chan Jul 22 at 17:08
  • Got yu! Thanks for the upvote. I feel fine with undoing my down vote now. – Olde English Jul 22 at 17:32
  • God bless you :) – Tony Chan Jul 22 at 17:33
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Contexts are totally different, so no, Paul did not make himself subject to torments in Gehenna by calling "fool" those, who bear idiotic ideas that Jesus Christ came to the world with an aim to make people relatively blessed only for a short time of their assigned lives and then make them disappear for good.

For the first thing, Paul does not address anybody personally, but creates a rhetorical force to express his cause more emphatically; thus, "fool" here applies not to any concrete person, but to the foolish idea itself. If I say, for instance, "there are people who still believe that land is flat; o, you fool, haven't you ever seen a space photo of earth? Idiot! Was Magellan a mythological person, or a real person?" Something like that, when I do not offend any flatlander personally, but expose emphatically the ill-groundedness of their idea.

For the other thing, the Matthew passage is about hateful attitude and not so much about the formal words, for a loving mother can tell her beloved daughter lovingly "oh, you fool, why do you cry for such a trifle as your ice-cream cone having been fallen down the ground, I will buy you another ice-cream". Here this mother did not make herself a subject to Gehenna, unless instead of God we have a Computer which sees only words and not the inner disposition of those who say those words. So, when Paul says "fool" to those who have such an idiotic and calumnious ideas about Christ who came just with a purpose to give us eternal life, making us sharers of His and His Father's unbeginning and unending glory forever; yes, when Paul addresses those mislead guys with the word "fool" does not he want to lovingly benefit them and drag them out of their gloomy and hopeless idiocy to a glorious and joyful faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom only the Father can give us the eternal bliss? Paul loves those fools, real fools, more than the mentioned mother loved her foolish daughter who cried for the perished ice-cream cone.

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I think the point here is that Jesus didn't say anything that the Father didn't want him to say. Everything he said had its origin in the Spirit of God within him, not his natural (carnal) mind.

For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. John 12.49

So just as the carnal mind is not allowed to judge but the spirit judges all things (1 Cor 2.15), so the carnal mind is not allowed to get angry, but the spirit is allowed to express the Father's anger. This causes all sorts of confusions to those who can't distinguish between soul and spirit because they read verses like

You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. John 8.15

and then they see Christ appearing to come to all sorts of judgements as in Matt 23.27 (Calling the Pharisees hypocrites, whitewashed sepulchres, etc), but he was merely saying what the Father told him to say, and in order to function as the oracle of God (which we also are required to do (1 Pet 4.11)) he had to suppress his natural mind, which meant suspending judgements through his own imaginations, to allow the spirit to take over.

So it is with all other commandments that condemn the natural mind: being angry, taking thought for yourself, worrying/being anxious about any need, having fear, respecting persons, having confidence in what is seen, etc. To keep these commandments requires not giving any importance to the senses and having complete trust in God.

The battle of the Christian is in the mind, not in the outward actions. One person can say "You fool!" and be guilty of hell, while another says "You fool!" and is doing a good deed. The difference is always in the inward parts, whether they are speaking from their own mind or from the spirit. This is something the pharisees could never understand.

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