Friday, November 29, 2013

Romans 8:5-8 - Walking in the Flesh


It is only through Yeshua's death and resurrection and the enabling of the Holy Spirit, that the believer is able to follow Torah. Believers are to walk in the Spirit rather than in the flesh.

Romans 8:5-8 (KJV)
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Paul continued his thoughts in verse 5. Those that walk in (or live according to) the flesh are concerned with the things of the flesh. However, those that walk in (or live according to) the Spirit are concerned with the things of the Spirit. Although the flesh is not evil in itself, having such an orientation causes the unregenerate person to be occupied with the pleasing of the flesh. They can do no other. It is only through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that the believer can be oriented to being occupied with the things of the Spirit.

Being carnally minded (unregenerate, occupied with pleasing the flesh) results in death, but being spiritually minded (born again, occupied with the things of the Spirit) results in life and peace (verse 6).

The carnal mind is at enmity (like an enemy or is hostile) with God because it is not subject to Torah (verse 7). In fact, it is impossible for the carnal mind to be subject to Torah.

So, those that walk in the flesh cannot please God (verse 8).

Paul was describing the two differing states of mankind. Either a person is in the flesh or he or she is in the Spirit. If he is in the flesh, his carnal mind is hostile to God. Notice that the reason the carnal mind is hostile to God is because it is not subject to Torah. Yet, this is not the understanding of traditional Christianity. The vast majority of Christians are hostile to Torah, believing that Paul taught that Christians were no longer subject to Torah. Obviously, this interpretation is incorrect. Walking in the Spirit, which results in life and peace, means being subject to Torah and being enabled to fulfill it by the Holy Spirit. If there are only two states, are traditional Christians actually walking in the Spirit or are they still walking in the flesh? This is a very sobering thought and should be examined carefully.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Romans 8:1-4 - Righteousness of the Believer


Paul had last concluded that he had been a wretched man, serving sin with his flesh even though his will and mind wanted to serve Torah. But he thanked God through Messiah Yeshua for His deliverance.

Romans 8:1-4 (KJV)
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

In summary for chapter 7, Paul said that there is no longer any condemnation from the Torah for those who are in Yeshua, those who do not walk after the flesh, but walk according to the Holy Spirit (verse 1). Once someone has become a believer by repentance and faith in Yeshua, the condemnation that results from not following the Torah is gone and the believer can walk in fellowship with Yeshua through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and is enabled to follow Torah rather than live and act according to the fleshly nature.

Verse 2 is somewhat of a restatement of verse 1. Paul was saying that the "law of the Spirit of life in Yeshua" is that power by which the believer is saved and is enabled to live according to the Torah. It is that power that has made the believer free from the "law of sin and death" (the law whereby death results from sin and the inability to follow Torah).

The Torah could not make man righteous, because of the inability of the flesh (verse 3). But when God sent His own Son (Yeshua) in human form, He defeated sin that reigned in the flesh.

It is through Yeshua that the righteousness of Torah can be fulfilled in the believer (verse 4). Again, Paul added that the believer does not walk by flesh, but by the empowering Holy Spirit.

Notice that by walking according to the Spirit, Torah is fulfilled. It doesn't mean that the Torah is then over and done with. Torah can never be fulfilled in the sense that once it is done, it can be set aside. The believer's life is to be characterized by Torah living. It the the Holy Spirit's function to enable the believer to obey the Torah. How blessed believers are!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Romans 7:14-25 - Inability to Obey Torah


Last time Paul related that the purpose of Torah is to reveal sin and intentions. It functions as it should, just how God designed it.

Romans 7:14-25 (KJV)
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Based on Paul's examination of the purpose of Torah, he concluded in verse 14 that Torah is spiritual, but he was carnal, sold under sin. The word carnal, in this case, is not referring to anything sinful, but just the fleshly, natural, physical state that humankind is housed in. It can be inferred that mankind is made up of two parts, the spirit and the flesh. The fleshly part is not necessarily sinful either, but to be "sold under sin" means that Paul was driven by fleshly lusts. This truly is the state of all mankind.

For Paul did what he didn't want to do, and he didn't do what he should have done (verse 15) (Paul is using himself as an example of all mankind). In verse 16, Paul said that even if he does what he shouldn't, he understood that the Torah is good. But even though he could see that the Torah is good, Torah was unable to make him good. In a way, he was not responsible for his actions, but rather it was the sin that dwelt within him that was responsible (verse 17). (Although, Paul was saying that his situation was not due to anything that he had created, he was not saying that he was not guilty before God for the sin he committed.)

In verse 18 Paul further explained that even by applying the human will (desiring to do that which is right) he was unable to do the good.  No good thing dwelt within his flesh. This statement is in reference to the old nature, that prior to salvation, enslaves mankind to sin.

Verse 19 is somewhat of a repetition of verse 15, but notice that Paul pointed out again that the human will can choose to do good, yet fails to do so. The sin that enslaves overcomes the will.

Verse 20 is a repeat basically of verse 17.

Paul concluded that he found that there was a "law" within himself that counteracted his good will (verse 21). Evil was present within him. This, too, is the case of all mankind.

Paul delighted in Torah in his inner self (verse 22). But there was that other "law" warring against the law of his mind (desiring to obey Torah) that brought him into captivity to the law of sin that existed within his fleshly body (verse 23).

"Oh, wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?" Here, Paul cried out in desperation. Who would deliver him from this fleshly body that had enslaved him to sin and death (verse 24)?

Paul thanked God through Yeshua. He is able to deliver not only Paul, but all of mankind (verse 25). So, with his mind Paul served Torah, but with his flesh he served the law of sin.

Christianity has traditionally interpreted this passage in one of two ways. Probably, most frequently, this passage is believed to be the back and forth tug of sin upon the believer, but the context instead seems to imply that Paul was describing the state of mankind, in general, and a Torah follower specifically.

The second interpretation is that this is an example of unregenerate man before belief. This understanding comes much closer to what the context seems to imply. In this case, the passage has nothing to do with the struggle with sin believers face after salvation. However, this model fails in that "the good" one desired would not necessarily be Torah, but whatever concept the person had of "good."

What must be remembered is that Paul's point was to demonstrate that Torah was unable to make mankind good, that it is only through Yeshua that righteousness is possible. Only Yeshua can deliver someone from the "body of death."


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Romans 7:7-13 - The Function of the Torah


In the last post on Romans, Paul used an analogy about marriage to describe the position that the believer has regarding the Torah's condemnation, the old fleshly nature, and the new nature. In essence, the believer's fleshly nature is dead, there is no longer any condemnation or guilt because of Torah disobedience, and he or she is legally free to "marry" and serve Yeshua.

Romans 7:7-13 (KJV)
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

After Paul's analogy, he expected his readers to ask the question in verse 7, "Is the Torah sin?" Again, he answered firmly, "God forbid!" In fact he had known sin only because of the Torah. For example, he had not known lust except that the Torah had commanded, "Thou shalt not covet." Paul was saying that the Torah could not be sin because it is through Torah that sin is revealed. In fact, while examining himself regarding the command not to covet, he found in his heart a deeper problem, lust. So not only did the Torah reveal sin, but it revealed the intents of the heart. How could Torah be sin when it served such a good function?

In verse 8 Paul stated that sin, once revealed as sin, wrought in him all manner of strong desire or lust. Notice that Paul is not saying that the commandment or Torah wrought these desires, but the sin itself. The Torah acts as a mirror. When sin is revealed, there is shame, guilt, and estrangement from God. Seeing, through Torah, that there is even more behavior and inclinations contrary to God within, it is as if the sin is multiplied. Paul added that without Torah, sin was dead. This goes back to his prior argument about there being no accountability or guilt for sin, until it is known and transgressed.

Verse 9 continued Paul's thought. Paul himself had been alive (free from the condemnation of Torah) before he knew Torah, but once he knew the Torah he came under its condemnation and in a sense he died (dead in trespasses and sin).

Although the commandment (regarding coveting) was meant for life (shows how life should be lived), was found by Paul to be unto death (the penalty for sin) (verse 10).

For sin, being revealed by the Torah, deceived Paul and it (the sin) rendered him guilty and deserving of death (verse 11). Paul was admitting that sin comes with the expectation of good or pleasure. However, once sin is committed, sin only brings its wages (death).

Therefore the Torah is holy and the commandment against coveting is holy, just, and good (verse 12).

Paul then asked in verse 13, was the good Torah the source of death? He answered again, "God forbid." He clarified by saying that although the Torah revealed his sin and he became guilty of death, that was the function of the Torah, to reveal, by the commandments, how exceedingly sinful sin was. The Torah does what it was designed to do!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Do You Belong to "The Way?" Part 4


Up to about 90 A.D. "The Way" was considered a sect of Judaism. The beliefs and practices were very much in line with Judaism except that Yeshua was believed to be the Messiah. What about after 90 A.D.? Did the Nazarenes continue in this manner?

The next important event in history for both the Pharisaic Jews and the Nazarenes was the Second Jewish Revolt in 132-135 A.D. The Pharisaic Jews supported Shimon Bar-Kokhba as their leader. Because Bar-Kokhba means "son of the star" and in light of Numbers 24:17, he was believed to be the Messiah.

Numbers 24:17 (KJV)
17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

However, the Nazarenes, knowing that Yeshua was the Messiah and had already come, refused to support Bar-Kokhba. The Nazarenes left the army. They were then labeled as traitors, deepening the divide between the Pharisaic Jews and the Nazarenes. Eventually, Rome, under the Emperor Hadrian, put down the revolt, plowed Jerusalem, and forbade any Jews from living there. Hadrian changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina and the name of the region to Syria Palestina. He outlawed Torah study, circumcision, Sabbath observance, and other Jewish practices (The Bar-Kokhba Revolt 132-135 CE, A Gentile Christian named Markus was made Bishop of Aelia Capitolina.

With the increased persecution of the Jews at this time, the desire for Gentile Christians to distance themselves from the Jews became even greater. Gentile Christian places of worship existed next to Nazarene places of worship in the eastern part of the Roman Empire.

At the Council of Nicea in 325 Christianity was basically standardized. The Nazarenes were excluded. Jewish practices were banned. Instead of Saturday Sabbath, the "Day of the Sun" (Sunday) was substituted. Nazarenes were called apostates. From this point on many of the Nazarenes fled the Roman Empire to the Parthian Empire where they assimilated with the Nestorians. Many were also wiped out because of the encroachment of Islam. The Nazarenes eventually disappeared from history probably around the fifth century.

"The Way" was the sect of Judaism that Yeshua's disciples carried on after their Master's death. Historically, they continued in existence at least until the fifth century. Their continued observance of Torah, which is historically verifiable, should cause all believers today to reexamine the beliefs and practices of the Christian church that we have inherited. We have long followed a pagan/Christian amalgam that should be rejected. If the church desires to be like first century Christianity, we must look beyond our current understandings and seek out those truths that were contained in "The Way."

(Much of this information came from Moreh ben Friedman, "What is Nazarene (Netzarim) Judaism?," and Moshe ben Shaul, "The Nazarenes,"

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Do You Belong to "The Way?" Part 3


From both the New Testament and writings of the Early Church Fathers there is evidence that the followers of Yeshua were both Torah observant and known as a sect of Judaism. What evidence exists in the historical record after the book of Acts?

During the days following the death and resurrection of Yeshua thousands came to faith. Although "The Way" had initially stayed close to Jerusalem, periods of persecution caused the Nazarenes (as they were also called) to move out of Jerusalem and into the other parts of Israel and beyond. Eventually, with Paul's ministry, Gentiles were added in great numbers. The Beit Din (Rabbi's Court or House of Judgment) of the Nazarenes remained in Jerusalem in the capable hands of Yeshua's half brother James, known as Ya'acov HaTzaddik (James the Just). According to the writings of Josephus, when James was thrown off the pinnacle of the Temple in 62 A.D. by the chief priest (a Sadducee), the Pharisees protested over his death.

Up to this time, the Jews as well as the Nazarenes continued to worship in the Temple, although there was certainly some animosity between the groups. However, after the beginning of the Jewish revolt against Rome in 66 A.D. and the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans, the Nazarenes remembered the words of Yeshua in Luke.

Luke 21:20-21 (KJV)
20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.

The Nazarenes fled to nearby Pella (in modern Jordan). This action was considered cowardly by the Jews, who remained in Jerusalem. The siege of Jerusalem lasted five months, the Romans invaded the city, and the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. There was much loss of life amongst the Jews and this further damaged the relationship between the Jews and Nazarenes.

In 90 A.D. Samuel the Lesser added the Birkat haMinim to the Eighteen Benedictions of the Amidah. This prayer was a curse that was pronounced on the Nazarenes ("minim" meaning "heretics"). This prayer is still said three times a day in the Jewish community.

"And for slanderers let there be no hope, and may all wickedness perish in an instant; and may all Your enemies be cut down speedily. May You speedily uproot, smash, cast down, and humble the wanton sinners -- speedily in our days. Blessed are You, LORD, Who breaks enemies and humbles wanton sinners." (Artscroll translation)

From a prayerbook from Cairo Genizah an earlier version is found:

"For the renegades let there be no hope, and may the arrogant kingdom soon be rooted out in our days, and the Netzarim (Nazarenes) and the Minim perish as in a moment and be blotted out from the book of life and with the righteous may they not be inscribed. Blessed are you, LORD, who humbles the arrogant."

In essence, this effectively threw all the Nazarenes out of the synagogues, since they would be praying a curse upon themselves if they remained. This was the desired goal of the Pharisaic Jews. Yet, life continued for both groups. Some Jews and Nazarenes apparently came back into Jerusalem.

Clearly, "The Way" was viewed as a sect of Judaism during the days after Yeshua and up until about 90 A.D. The Nazarenes also obviously participated in the worship at the Temple until its destruction. They even continued to worship in the synagogues until the Birkat haMinim was instituted. If the traditional view of Christianity was correct, 60 years should have been enough time for the believers to understand that Torah was no longer to be practiced. Historically, it must be entertained that it is today's Christianity that has misunderstood the role of Torah observance in the life of faith.

Stay tuned for Part 4 and the history after 90 A.D. 

(Much of this information came from Moreh ben Friedman, "What is Nazarene (Netzarim) Judaism?," and Moshe ben Shaul, "The Nazarenes,"


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Do You Belong to "The Way?" Part 2


From the book of Acts there is strong evidence that the apostle Paul continued to be Torah observant even after Gentiles were added to the body of Messiah. They called themselves "The Way," and were also referred to as Nazarenes. 

Acts 24:5 (KJV)
5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:

However, most readers will still believe that Paul and the assemblies he began were not Torah observant. His writings have been interpreted from an anti-Torah position for so long that belief in a Torah observant community seems impossible.

Yet, it is in reviewing quotes and history from later periods that it is evidenced that "The Way" practiced their faith by Torah observance.

"To-day there still exists among the Jews in all the synagogues of the East a heresy which is called that of the Minæans, and which is still condemned by the Pharisees; [its followers] are ordinarily called 'Nasarenes'; they believe that Christ, the son of God, was born of the Virgin Mary, and they hold him to be the one who suffered under Pontius Pilate and ascended to heaven, and in whom we also believe. But while they pretend to be both Jews and Christians, they are neither." (Jerome, Epistle 79 to Augustine, written in the fourth century). ("Minaean" comes from "minim" meaning "heretics.")

Notice that Jerome stated the Nazarenes were orthodox in their beliefs, but were heretics because they "tried" to be both Jewish and Christian. Also notice that the assemblies were located "in the East."

"We shall now especially consider heretics who... call themselves Nazarenes; they are mainly Jews and nothing else. They make use not only of the New Testament, but they also use in a way the Old Testament of the Jews; for they do not forbid the books of the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings... so that they are approved of by the Jews, from whom the Nazarenes do not differ in anything, and they profess all the dogmas pertaining to the prescriptions of the Law and to the customs of the Jews, except they believe in [Messiah]... They preach that there is but one [Elohim], and his son [Yahshua the Messiah]. But they are very learned in the Hebrew language; for they, like the Jews, read the whole Law, then the Prophets...They differ from the Jews because they believe in Messiah, and from the Christians in that they are to this day bound to the Jewish rites, such as circumcision, the Sabbath, and other ceremonies." (Epiphanius; Panarion 29; translated from the Greek; written in the fourth century).

Notice from this quote that the Nazarenes and the Christians appear to be two different groups.

Read the following quote from Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus, regarding the observance of Passover among the assemblies of Asia Minor:

"We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord's coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna. Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead ? All these observed the fourteenth day of the Passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ' We ought to obey God rather than man'...I could mention the bishops who were present, whom I summoned at your desire; whose names, should I write them, would constitute a great multitude. And they, beholding my littleness, gave their consent to the letter, knowing that I did not bear my gray hairs in vain, but had always governed my life by the Lord Jesus" (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book V, Chapter XXIV, Verses 2-7 . Translated by A. Cushman McGiffert. Publishing, Stilwell (KS), 2005, p. 114).

Clearly, at some point in time, the body of Messiah split into two separate groups, that of "The Way" and that of the Christians (those who today are not Torah observant).

"They (Nazarenes) are characterized essentially by their tenacious attachment to Jewish observances.  If they became heretics in the eyes of the (Catholic) Mother Church, it is simply because they remained fixed on outmoded positions.  They well represent, (even) though Epiphanius is energetically refusing to admit it, the very direct descendants of that primitive community, of which our author (Epiphanius) knows that it was designated by the Jews, by the same name, of ‘Nazarenes’.”  [First Century expert Marcel Simon, Judéo-christianisme, pp 47-48.]

Without a doubt "The Way" was the church of the first century. They were Torah observant. Doesn't it seem right, then, that today, the true followers of Yeshua should also be Torah observant? How would you answer the question, "Do you belong to "The Way?" Perhaps Christianity needs to seriously rethink the Scriptures and return to truly being "The Way."

How did it become so different? Stay tuned for some historical insights in part 3.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Do You Belong to "The Way?"

In Christianity today there is an emphasis on getting back to the worship that existed in the first century. I've even seen advertisements that claimed that this or that church was like a first century church. Acts 2:42-46 is usually cited as the correct model. Admittedly, this has been an elusive goal. Even with the Bible we don't have a clear blueprint of what that worship looked like. Yet, this does seem to be a commendable effort, since there appears to be a consensus in that the church today has developed through times and traditions very much unlike those of the early apostolic days. In other words church as been corrupted.

But in order to virtually go back in time we have to get the history right first. Initially, most all of the believers were Jews. They continued to worship in the Temple and in the synagogues. They continued to be Jews, although they had become believers in Yeshua. Then, following Peter's vision in Acts 10, the Gentiles were understood to be eligible for the same indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They became fellow believers grafted into Israel.

It is then at this point that the history becomes more murky and the assumption is generally made that the Jewish believers came to see that the Torah, the Temple, and the synagogue were no longer necessary to belief in Yeshua. Paul's writings, especially, have been used to verify this position. As the Gentiles began to outnumber the Jewish believers, the church eventually became totally distinct from Judaism.

This progression, however, is not validated by the historical record. The first believers called themselves, "The Way."

Acts 9:2 (KJV)
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

Acts 19:9 (KJV)
9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.

From these two Scriptures we see that the believers were a part of "The Way." In Acts 9 Paul was sent to Damascus to the synagogues. At this point, obviously, these Jewish believers were still worshipping in the synagogues. In Acts 19 Paul had been preaching in the synagogues until trouble arose when he and the believers separated from the synagogue and went to the school of Tyrannus. Although this verse indicates that the believers had to move out of the synagogue, it must be seen that they started there and only moved because of trouble. This is long past Acts 10 and by this time most of the new believers were Gentile.

Acts 24:14 (KJV)
14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

In Acts 24 it is evident that "The Way" had become known as a heresy and no longer just another sect of Judaism. Yet, Paul stressed that even though "The Way" was considered a heresy, he worshiped the God of his fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and he believed all the things that were written in the law and in the prophets (the Old Testament).

Some have tried to say that Paul may have believed the Old Testament, but that he realized that the Torah no longer had to be obeyed. Apparently, there were others who thought that Paul had abandoned the Torah as well. Even in Jerusalem many thought this. However, when Paul had taken a Nazarite vow (Obviously, he still obeyed the Torah) and had gone back to Jerusalem to fulfill the vow, James counseled him to pay for four others to prove to his naysayers that he was fully supportive of obeying the Torah.

Acts 21:26 (KJV)
26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.

Based on Scripture alone, the abandonment of Torah cannot be upheld. Stay tuned for part 2 where the evidence in the historical record after the writing of the New Testament is considered.