Questions & Answers
Buffeting our bodies?
a friend of mine went to a bible study and she told me that paul said in the bible that he buffet his flesh every day and that we should do the same (she said). i went to god with it and talked to him. i said my eyes should be on jesus not the flesh. paul was a wonderful man, but not jesus. i am in the holy of holies with jesus. i am on my way to be coming groan up. do you feel the same way as i do? linda
Hi Linda, I think we've religicised the Bible for so many, many years that we simply can't see quite a few statements as long as we keep forcing them to fit into all the sermons and Bible studies we've heard — especially one like the buffeting verse. You know in your heart that a practice of beating your body is contrary to the reality of Christ! The particular verse your friend referred to comes from 1 Corinthians 9. Considering Paul's emphatic claim...
I determined to know nothing among you except Christ and him crucified 1 Corinthians 2:2
...it's amazing that we consistently read most of the statements in his letter as denials of this demand. Here's the passage in question:
To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline (KJV, buffet) my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:22-27
Paul was using language that fit in with the training habits of Olympian runners and boxers. He did not beat his body as those in training for boxing, nor did his mention of running mean that he literally ran. It was a picture of the determination of one who is entirely focused upon the goal before him. A runner in the games ran to win; Paul said "I run in such a way, as not without aim." In other words, he had determined to view all things through Christ and would not be distracted. Aren't you glad? In the same way, he likened his determination to that of a boxer who took aim so that he wasn't beating air. As a boxer in training he disciplined his body so that it would do what he wanted it to do. If a runner or a boxer did not train his body he would not be able to compete and would become disqualified. For Paul to lose sight of his single-minded determination of recognizing the believers only according to Christ he would become as a disqualified Olympian who ran or boxed without aim.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.Philippians 1:21
In view of what Paul told the Philippians, this is another statement of the reality of being alive in Christ that also became his determination. Paul did not want anything that came his way to cause him to view himself or others according to anything but the new creation. It's almost funny how religion has forced figurative language to totally miss the reality of what Paul said, huh? Love, Jim