Jesus and Paul Teachings Analysis Research Paper

Paul is the only apostle of Jesus who was elected in a different way from all the others. His distinguishing mark is that he did not walk with Jesus during Jesus days on earth. Instead, Paul encountered the risen Christ long after Jesus had ascended to heaven. There is no evidence therefore that Paul ever got to listen to Jesus as he taught his disciples as well as the crowds that turned out in most of his public appearances. For this reason, controversy has been rife in recent times over the extent to which Paul actually knew of the teachings of Jesus. The fact that Paul started preaching about Jesus soon after his encounter with Him without being taught of the latters teachings seems to give credence to this school of thought. It was not until after three years that Paul got an opportunity to meet the people who had actually been with Jesus during the days of his ministry on earth (Galatians 2:1).

However, a closer look at Pauls teachings and his many letters reveal the fact that Paul actually knew a lot about the teachings of Jesus. Paul lived at a time when the teachings of Christ had to be interpreted in the light of Gods plan for mankind so that both the Jews and gentiles could begin to understand why God did what he had done. He was to set a firm foundation on which the church could be built. Additionally, the church was grappling with several issues key among them the law as well as the place of the Gentiles in the kingdom of God, and the cultural questions among others. Paul had to address these issues in his teachings. This made his circumstances different from those that existed in the days of Jesus. This could explain the differences in their approach even though the cumulative message was the same.

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This paper seeks to closely examine Pauls ministry in an effort to establish whether Paul knew the teachings of Jesus or whether his teachings were merely liturgical traditions.

Thesis statement
Pauls teaching as well as his writings have a pivotal role in the teaching of the Christian doctrine. Comparing the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of Paul as presented in different books of the bible, this paper asserts that Paul not only knew of the person of Jesus but was also adequately and sufficiently familiar with his teaching.

This paper delves into a close examination of the synoptic gospels, the book of the Acts of the Apostles, which relates the Christian churchs events during the first century period, as well as the work of the apostles in spreading the faith. Any examination of this sort cannot however be complete without looking into Paulines letters. Particularly, this paper will examine several key passages in the bible including the Eucharistic passage in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25, Romans 12:14-21, where Paul amplifies the teachings of Jesus as documented in the book of Luke 6:27-29 as well as in the beatitudes in Mathew 5. The third passage will be Romans 13:8-10 and Galatians 5:14 where Pauls writings are similar to the teachings of Jesus in mark 12:28-34. Pauls use of the expressions of the kingdom of God justification and righteousness will also be examined. Any scholarly paper will not be completed without considering the past studies on the subject of interest. Therefore the opinions of other commentators, as well as scholars, will be used to guide the opinion of this paper.

The Eucharistic passage 1 Corinthians 11:23-25
This passage gives what is perhaps the clearest evidence of Pauls knowledge of not only the teaching of Christ but also the goings-on in Jesus ministry on earth.

This passage is recorded in the synoptic gospels and the events described took place in the physical presence of Jesus a few hours before he was betrayed and arrested. These events were given a high status when Jesus declared that his followers should continue with that tradition in remembrance of Him. Paul reflects on the events of that historic evening as he drives home a deeper point about the significance of Jesus actions on the church in Corinth. This passage fitted seamlessly with the message that Paul was communicating at that particular time. The passage in Pauls writing demonstrates the depth of knowledge Paul had on Jesus teachings. He was not only familiar with these events but also their meaning in the life of a Christian (Victor Paul F. (1993). He thus uses this to teach others about the right motivation and ethics for a Christian. Using different words, Paul communicates the same message that all the other apostles preached and his arguments and his cumulative teachings parallel that of his master Jesus.

The second passage Romans 12:14-21
This passage is also very much in step with Christs teaching. In one of his popular teachings recorded in Luke 6:27-29 and Mathew 5; Jesus taught his followers how to line with each other and the conduct that is appropriate for the sons of God. This is in stark contrast with the Old Testament teaching of an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth

This teaching finds its way into Pauls teachings again as proof of his knowledge of Jesus teachings. Paul uses the moral of the teaching as a basis of his teaching on the appropriate lifestyle for Christian households. His message to the Roman church is meant to shed light on the way that Christians ought to transform their lives in order to acquire a new character in line with the teaching of Jesus. Paul echoes the sayings of Jesus with the purpose of encouraging the early converts to acquire Christ-like attitudes towards other human beings (Meier, John P. (1991). In calling people to refrain from revenge, Paul is directly stating the express position taken by Jesus in this matter. Here he is simply reminding his listeners of what Jesus wanted with their lives.

Paul seemed to clearly identify the sayings of Jesus and in different instances made clear distinctions on what was the actual teaching of the lord and what was his own opinion in matters that were disputable (1 Corinthians 7) it is therefore safe to assume that in all instances Paul knew and considered this passage to be the teaching of Jesus.

The fourth passage
Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6.

In these two passages, Paul acknowledges the sonship of Jesus and Christs teaching about the Holy Spirit. In the gospel, the spirit clearly comes upon Jesus at baptism and stays with him throughout his ministry.

Before Jesus ascended to heaven he promised to send the gift of the Holy Spirit to his followers. The said spirit was poured out to the disciple on the day of Pentecost were upon which their disciples and more apparent the apostles gained the courage to start proclaiming the message of the risen Christ. This marked the beginning of the Christian movement. Paul was absent during these events.

The fact that he so clearly speaks of this spirit and especially alluding to its origin in the risen Jesus says a lot about his grasp of the teachings of Jesus. Throughout his writings, Paul demonstrates his knowledge of the fundamental purpose of Jesus teachings. He goes further than just repeating these sayings but endeavors to interpret both the context as well as the motive behind the sayings. The sayings must be interpreted to the new converts who formed the bulk of his audience became of the changed circumstance following Jesus accession to heaven.

The kingdom of God terminology
It is widely known that the kingdom of God was a terminology that was often on Jesus lips. It also goes without saying that the topic of the kingdom of God was one of Jesus pet topics. He spoke about the kingdom of God in various ways and at different times. He told in parables about this and asked his disciples to pray for the kingdom to come. In other times Jesus used the kingdom of God and the church interchangeably (Matthew 16: 19)

It is therefore remarkable that outside the synoptic gospels and Pauline letters, this terminology is almost never used.

How comes Paul used the same terminology not once or twice but eight times in his various letter? This is hardly mere confidence. Paul was clearly following in the footsteps of Jesus and could not miss using terminology that was so close to his masters heart. At one point when Paul desired to instruct the church about the matter of eating as a congregation, he told the people that the kingdom of God is more than just eating and drinking. (Romans 14:17) he calls the church to therefore not put too much emphasis on what one ate or drank at the expense of other spiritual issues of greater importance. It is easy to imagine that Jesus himself would have done the same. The use of this terminology, therefore, depicts Paul as a keen follower of Christ who taught and wrote on the basis of the sayings of Christ.

Some critics use the argument that Paul tends to use the language of justification as well as righteousness instead of the kingdom. This argument is used to discredit Paul. It is undeniable that under the spirits guidance, Paul seemed to have developed his own rhythm in teaching about the will of God after Jesus death and resurrection. The fact that Paul was an apostle of Jesus did not necessarily deny him the right to independent thought or originality. Additionally, the terminology the kingdom acquired a whole new dimension after the death and eventual resurrection of Jesus before Jesus death the kingdom was yet to be revealed, it was near (Matthew 4:17). After the rising of Christ and the subsequent events that culminated in the establishment of the first church, the kingdom was unveiled to the Jews and later to the gentles in Acts of the Apostles 10. According to Kim, the post-resurrection circumstances necessitated Pauls use of this language characterized by transition from the earthly Jesus to the risen Jesus (Kim, S. 1993).

Others assert that Pauls choices of words only reveal a continuation of the work of Jesus (Philip F. Esler., (2003). It is agreed that the work of Jesus took a turn after the events during and after the crucifixion. The continuation of the work required persons like Paul to expound on the implication of Jesus life and work.

Moreover, it was not required nor was it necessary for Paul to restrict himself to just a few terminologies that Jesus used in order to be seen to know the words of Jesus. Paul was free to use the language that he felt his audience could understand and a language he felt was appropriate at the time. Paul was a creative speaker and it would be unfair to judge his teachings on the basis of mere words. It is prudent to closely examine their core messages and realize that it is the same message.

Words of the lord references
Paul proclaimed that his knowledge of Christ was through revelation by Christ himself through his spirit. Together with the reflection of Old Testament scriptures, Paul was aided to come to the knowledge of both the teachings of the earthly Jesus and the risen Jesus. In reference to the saying of Jesus, Paul severally made a distinction between the words of the lord and his own opinions. Many scholars have spent much time contemplating the authenticity of Pauls interpretation of scriptures as well as matter that could not be described as black and white. This concern is unnecessary for two reasons; Paul himself never tried to even seem to elevate himself beyond Jesus and indeed sought to clarify matters whenever he was expressing his own opinion. Secondly, Paul was an important apostle who played a pivotal role in the in establishing churches in different places in the first century. His contribution to the New Testament is without a doubt crucial. He, therefore, had the necessary authority to speak as he did. The most important thing is that the general message as well as what Paul claimed to be was actually true.

In six different instances, Paul used the expression words of the lord these are in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 where Paul declares that those words were the lords (Jesus) and he (Paul) was just communicating his masters message. This is in contrast with 1 Corinthians 7:12 where Paul turns things around and declares that now what he was saying was his opinion on the matter at hand (with the spirits guidance of course). It is important to note that Jesus in his life never had to address an exact situation as Paul was addressing at this particular moment. Secondly, Pauls opinion cannot be termed to be contradicting the overall teaching of Jesus. Rather his opinion is in tandem with the cumulative teaching of Jesus.

In 1 Corinthian 11:23-25; 9:14; 14:37 Paul is just but quoting the sayings of the earthly Jesus. He is echoing the sayings of Jesus uttered during the days of his ministry. Paul was telling the people that they should know that the things he was preaching were not his own but the Lords. He adopts an almost defensive position here. It is like he is saying I did not say it the lord did: you have got to obey it. This is a clear indication that Paul knew Jesus words very well and could differentiate them from anothers sayings including his own.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9 and 1 Thessalonians 4: 15-17 Paul is clearly talking about the risen Jesus. Paul claimed to have had different revelations and even conversations in the spirit with the risen Jesus. One such a time was during the events that culminated in his conversion in the book of Acts of the Apostles. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 he refers to a conversation he had with Jesus about a thorn in his flesh and the lords response, this event happened way after Paul had converted to Christianity. He therefore could not have had the conversation with the earthly Jesus. In the same way, in 1 Thessalonians 4: 15-17, Paul also clearly speaking about the risen Christ.

These latter scriptures demonstrate the fact that not only was Paul familiar with the teachings of Jesus he also was in constant communion with the risen Christ. Zealous scholars have been quick to point that Paul had little interest in the earthly lord (Philip F. Esler., (2003). However, this argument does not really hold because many more are the instances where Paul has eloquently used the sayings of earthly Jesus in his teachings.

Teaching about the second coming of Jesus. Matthew 24:36-44, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
One of the topics of interest in the New Testament was about the second coming of Jesus. Jesus broached the subject and aroused much interest in peoples hearts. They wanted to be told when He would be coming back to rule over the world. As a matter of fact, many had expected the messiah to be a worldly king who would conquer the bad rulers and deliver them from the lands of oppression. They were disappointed. They, therefore, wanted to know when He would come to release them from this yoke of an oppressive empire. Jesus without mincing words declared that the day was unknown. Not to Him and no to the angels but only to God. This subject was to become the subject of deceit and false prophesy after Jesus ascended to heaven. Paul stands out of this deceit to echo the words of Christ about His second coming. In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, Paul admonishes the followers of Christ not to overly concern themselves with the question of Jesus second coming because the day was unknown. He instead advised them to keep watch, to be alert, and self-controlled. (1 Thessalonians 5:6). This is exactly the same as what Jesus taught. It goes a long way into showing that Paul was adequately knowledgeable with the sayings of the earthly Jesus albeit the fact that there is no evidence that he had ever met Him. Paul had Jesus teachings in his heart and used them to teach and instruct people in the will of God.

Teaching on giving. Luke 21:1-4, 2 Corinthians 8
Giving offerings is a calling that is as old as the Old Testament. God required people to give different kinds of offerings and sacrifices. The teaching about giving has endured throughout the bible. It is worth noting that there is a difference between the giving in the Old Testament and the teaching on the same in the New Testament. The Old Testament has very specific and quantifiable standards on giving while Jesus stressed that the right attitude was crucial. Jesus, therefore, took not of the poor widows giving and extolled her because she gave out of her poverty. The same attitude is seen in Paul who extols the Macedonian church for giving out of their extreme poverty. Jesus introduced a higher standard where giving is not just about the 10 percent or even about the amount for that matter but it was to him a matter of the heart. It was intertwined with the issue of faith. Paul when speaking about the Macedonian churches has a similar attitude and his description of these churches; that their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity parallels the poor widow whom Jesus so praised. The similarity in both Jesus and Pauls attitudes on the matter of giving is remarkable.

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