Origens Commentary On The Gospel Of John by Origen
5. Paul Also Makes Contradictory Statements About Himself, and Acts in Opposite Ways at Different Times.
On the same passage one may also make use of such an example as that of Paul, who at one place says that he is carnal, sold under sin, and thus was not able to judge anything, while in another place he is the spiritual man who is able to judge all things and himself to be judged by no man. Of the carnal one are the words, |Not what I would that do I practise, but what I hate that do I.| And he too who was caught up to the third heaven and heard unspeakable words is a different Paul from him who says, Of such an one I will glory, but of myself I will not glory. If he becomes to the Jews as a Jew that he may gain the Jews, and to those under the law as under the law that he may gain those under the law, and to them that are without law as without law, not being without law to God, but under law to Christ, that he may gain those without law, and if to the weak he becomes weak that he may gain the weak, it is clear that these statements must be examined each by itself, that he becomes a Jew, and that sometimes he is under the law and at another time without law, and that sometimes he is weak. Where, for example, he says something by way of permission and not by commandment, there we may recognize that he is weak; for who, he says, is weak, and I am not weak? When he shaves his head and makes an offering, or when he circumcises Timothy, he is a Jew; but when he says to the Athenians, |I found an altar with the inscription, To the unknown God. That, then, which ye worship not knowing it, that declare I unto you,| and, |As also some of your own poets have said, For we also are His offspring,| then he becomes to those without the law as without the law, adjuring the least religious of men to espouse religion, and turning to his own purpose the saying of the poet, |From Love do we begin; his race are we.| And instances might perhaps be found where, to men not Jews and yet under the law, he is under the law.