The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Did Paul Disagree With Jesus About Anger?

Jesus said, “I tell you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.” (Matthew 5:22)

He didn’t say “angry with his brother without a cause” as those versions have it that were translated from Textus Receptus. It seems obvious that someone had added those words, perhaps someone who wanted to justify his anger. I have never known anyone who was angry without a cause. There’s always a reason for anyone’s anger.

The word that is translated as “without a cause” is “εικη.” That word is not found in the two manuscripts that contain the verse which are dated prior to A.D. 300. Those two are Papyrus 67 and Papyrus 96.

So Jesus seems to have taught that it is wrong to be angry.

However, the apostle Paul wrote, "Be angry and do not sin. (Ephesians 4:26)
So it seems that Paul thought that it was okay to be angry, if you avoided doing anything sinful while you were angry.

Any thoughts about these seemingly differing views concerning anger? Or is there actually no difference at all?

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I don’t know NT Greek like you do Paidion. I’m always impressed by your knowledge. But I confess to be a little puzzled by your question.

Matt 5:22 states that the angry brother who expresses his anger “lightly” will be in danger of the “judgment” whatever that means in the context. The verse continues to say that the one who calls his brother “Raca” (meaning “empty head”) would be ln danger of the ‘council’ (the KJV translation of the word for Sanhedrin); then ends with the man who calls his brother (presumably) “you fool” shall be liable to the Gehenna (“hell-fire” in KJV)…

The three crimes seem pretty innocuous to my simple mind. It’s not that I favour calling anybody an empty head or a fool but the various punishments appear a bit excessive. Jesus, of course, sometimes used hyperbole to make a point but what these points were is beyond my understanding.

I think Paul in Eph. 4:26 is simply making a very practical suggestion, basically to sleep on our angry feelings, think about it, make sure our grievances are worth falling out over with our brother, the morning daybreak may shed a much different light on the matter, etc., etc.

Sorry, I left out a response to your closing question. I respectfully suggest that Jesus and Paul are addressing different situations in which case there is no contradiction.

There is always some cause, but what Jesus meant was justifiable (in one’s own eyes) cause… that doesn’t make it legitimate, but that’s what it means. Paul uses the term (eikē) slightly differently, typically rendered “in vain” — IOW… is such justifiable?

As to the manuscripts on <εἰκῆ> eikē in Mt 5:22… they are pretty much evenly divided, with the word absent in the fewer more complete texts, like Nestle-Aland’s ‘Critical Text’, but with present in the vast bulk of less complete texts. as per the ‘Majority Text’. Erasmus’ ‘Textus Receptus’ although similar is not the ‘Majority Text’.

But that “lightly” is a translation of the word “εικη” which others translate as “without a cause.” That word is absent from the earliest manuscripts, and the earliest ones are those two I mentioned from before A.D. 300, namely Papyrus 67 and Papyrus 96.

Arguing over whether a Greek word is translated “lightly” or without a cause" or should not be part of NT scriptures at all is of no consequence when comparing Jesus’ words with Paul’s. The two verses you quote are unrelated.

“The majority text” is not the work of a single copyist. “The majority text” was formed by using the majority of readings taken from hundreds if not thousands of texts in existence during 1500 years.

When an incorrect text had been copied hundreds of times, it became part of “the majority text” even though it is incorrect. That’s why the majority text cannot be trusted to be the true text.

However, earlier texts are more likely to be the true text which the writers actually wrote. I am blessed to possess copies of all extant texts prior to A.D. 300. I consult them frequently as they are the most likely texts to be the words that the NT writers actually wrote.

I am convinced that Paul didn’t use the term “eikē” (actually “εικη") at all Matthew 5:22. As I mentioned, the two earliest extant manuscripts in which the passage is found (Papyrus 67 and Papyrus 96) do not contain the word. Whether or not it is in the majority text proves nothing.

The two texts might not be “related” but they both address the subject of anger. Jesus said that everyone who is angry with his brother is in danger of judgment, whereas Paul says in effect, “Go ahead and get angry if you want, but make sure your anger doesn’t cause you to sin!”

While I have great respect for your knowledge and viewpoints, brother, I have to say I find your pedantry difficult to understand.

Just what is it you are trying to prove with this topic? If you can demonstrate that Paul and Jesus were at odds with respect to being angry, what importance would you place on that conclusion? That Jesus was mistaken? Impossible! That Paul was plainly wrong? That the scriptures cannot be taken as the true word of God, profitable for us to read and learn by and made wise to salvation (2 Tim 3:16)? I really would like to know.

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Norm I get angry a time or two… Though I try not to.

We are people, have faults, and we sin, but we have a forgiving father. I believe this.

True enough… just as the likes of Papyrus 67 and Papyrus 96 they are all copies; there are no original texts extant.

You won’t find any textual scholars pushing your rationale as expressed above.

It is a complete assumption that said differences means one is incorrect… either one has more information or one has less information, BUT to frame such in terms of “incorrect text” and the spiel that followed ONLY serves in pushing a given point, or possibly developing a particular doctrine etc.

Yep and as noted above… such are copies, like all the manuscripts — dates don’t magically equate to supposed correctness, e.g., there are variants versions to the LXX all from a similar period.

But what davo and padion, do you think about anger… Getting mad at something?

We all get mad, but like Paul says… don’t go over the top.

So what does that mean? Not hit the guy who says a horrible thing to your wife or child?

EXPOUND: :slightly_smiling_face::

I am not trying to prove a thing.

I have never thought about it.

Only recently, I noticed this these seemingly different statements concerning anger, and just wanted to share it with others. I thought that others might have some interesting thoughts on the matter, and that I might learn something from their responses. It never entered my head that anyone might take offence.

I’d think it’d be something like… as best possible be measured in your response. Paul also said…

Rom 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in peace with all people.

Sometimes this is a challenge. :neutral_face:

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I think Jesus and Paul were pretty much on the same page. With regards to ‘anger’ Jesus speaks of being “liable”… so it’s more a precautionary warning, i.e., watch yourselves, or as the context has it your words — interestingly James also ties one’s loose words with Gehenna (Jas 3:5-6). Or as someone once quipped… “the tongue is in a wet place and has a tendency to slip.

Yes, I suspect the earlier text is original and the added clause in later texts suggests difficulty was felt without qualifying Jesus’ words. But I also think Davo is on the right track that both men share a similar concern about the negative effects anger can have when mishandled.

Paul can be understood to say that having the emotion of anger is not sinful in itself, but needs to be handled in a righteous way. Indeed, the very Gospels which report Jesus’ warning about anger, state that he had anger, which suggests that they agree with Paul’s view that this is not a contradiction.

Possibly Jesus is not so focused on the emotion of being internally angry, but anger “with you brother” refers to the kind of angry action that Paul too sees as sinful. Or as Davo said, it occurs to me that "being liable (to face) judgment may be a way of expressing Paul’s warning that anger is a volatile thing which does not tend to work the righteousness of God, and thus to be careful to avoid that liability by handling it in a way that is not sinful.

Thank you, Davo and Bob. Your input helped me to investigate further.

It seems that you understand "liable to judgment as “might have to face judgment.” And this is certainly one of the meanings of “liable” in modern parlance. If that’s what Jesus meant, the problem is solved.

But the other meaning is “obligated according to law or equity.” So I checked out the meaning of the Greek word which is ενοχος. Αccording to lexicons, it seems to have only this meaning, although Strongs also gives “in danger of” which would be he first meaning.

The lexicon of my downloaded Online Bible gives the meaning:
bound, under obligation, subject to, liable

The NAS lexicon seems to give a similar meaning:
deserves, guilty, liable, subject to.

Here is Strongs:
liable to (a condition, penalty or imputation): — in danger of, guilty of, subject to.

So it seems that because of this ambiguity, we are not left with a clearly-defined solution.

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(1) “And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger (Greek: “orge”), grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him (Mark 3:4-6).”

(2) "And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME (john 2:15-17).” Jesus’ violent acts clearly imply that His zeal includes anger here.