Parables and Miracles in the Epistles?


#1

Why does St. Paul never talk much about the historical words and actions of the Lord? He seems to talk a lot of theology, and very much about the heavenly world in which Christ now lives, but he almost never talks so much about Christ’s life on Earth.

Some “Christ Myth” proponents have said that this is proof that Christ was only ever a heavenly reality or quasi-pagan myth, because the Pauline epistles are earlier than the Gospels. What’s behind this?

I am not very confident about the “Historical Jesus” myself, though I would never say it in public… firstly because I am unsure and want to believe, and secondly because many Christians today would probably only lead me further into doubt with their strange ideas about God.


#2

St. Paul writes about Christ’s life in numerous places. For example,

For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)

He takes for granted that Jesus was a real person. Compare with the book of Acts. The Apostles do not frequently refer to Christ’s parables, but no one would take that as evidence that the Apostles did not believe in a human Christ.


#3

Lets not forget that St Paul saw the Risen Lord, and he also was given a specific task by the Holy Spirit to explain the theology of what had happened in the Paschal mystery.
As far as the historical Jesus is concerned, here is a passage from St John Paul 2’s Apostolic Letter “Tertio millenio Adveniente” of 1994:
This “becoming one of us” on the part of the Son of God took place in the greatest humility, so it is no wonder that secular historians, caught up by more stirring events and by famous personages, first made only passing, albeit significant, references to him. Such references to Christ are found for example in The Antiquities of the Jews, a work compiled in Rome between the years 93 and 94 by the historian Flavius Josephus,(4) and especially in the Annals of Tacitus, written between the years 115 and 120, where, reporting the burning of Rome in the year 64, falsely attributed by Nero to the Christians, the historian makes an explicit reference to Christ “executed by order of the procurator Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius”.(5) Suetonius too, in his biography of the Emperor Claudius, written around 121, informs us that the Jews were expelled from Rome because “under the instigation of a certain Chrestus they stirred up frequent riots”.(6) This passage is generally interpreted as referring to Jesus Christ, who had become a source of contention within Jewish circles in Rome. Also of importance as proof of the rapid spread of Christianity is the testimony of Pliny the Younger, the Governor of Bithynia, who reported to the Emperor Trajan, between the years 111 and 113, that a large number of people was accustomed to gather “on a designated day, before dawn, to sing in alternating choirs a hymn to Christ as to a God”.(7)
I hope that helps a little!
www.divinemercypopes.com


#4

As mentioned above in the Philippians passage, as well as many times talking about Christ crucified. From Luke’s testimony Paul even quotes Jesus in Acts 20:35. I dont mean to be critical or patronize, but an argument such as this is extremely weak. Why do so many people give Bible critics an immediate benefit of the doubt on any accusation instead of doing some research themselves. A person fairly well versed in the Bible can usually immediately answer some of these weak arguments and then blow them out of the water with a little research.

It should be mentioned that Paul, s letters are not focused on writing a historical account of the life of Christ on earth, but was to instruct individuals and the newly established churches for various reasons. Whereas the Gospels were focused on the historical account. That is why the Bible has been arraigned the way it is, the Gospels reveal Christ, the epistles instruct.


#5

Paul knew Christ from the Old Testament scriptures. His knowledge of the Old Testament was the reason he had absolute certainty that Jesus was the Messiah.

Paul was a master of the Hebrew Scriptures. He does not need to talk about the “Historical Jesus” because he is sure from God’s revelation through the Law and the Prophets that Jesus is who he claimed to be.

-Tim-


#6

Probably because he was not an eyewitness to the events. Neither does it appear that he spent time travelling with others who were eyewitnesses and testifying to what they had seen and heard.

It seems that after his Damascus conversion experience, Paul received much of his instruction from Jesus Himself. ( Gal 1:15 et seq.; 1 Cor 11:23 et seq; )
I tend to think he talked about the truths and explanations that Our Lord revealed to him and wanted preached. Jesus knew there would be 4 gospels written that recorded His words and actions. Perhaps He figured that was enough ( :slight_smile: ) and he desired Paul to lay out more of the Christian theology.

Some “Christ Myth” proponents have said that this is proof that Christ was only ever a heavenly reality or quasi-pagan myth, because the Pauline epistles are earlier than the Gospels. What’s behind this?

As the saying goes, “talk is cheap”.


#7

=Basilian;11964299]Why does St. Paul never talk much about the historical words and actions of the Lord? He seems to talk a lot of theology, and very much about the heavenly world in which Christ now lives, but he almost never talks so much about Christ’s life on Earth.

Some “Christ Myth” proponents have said that this is proof that Christ was only ever a heavenly reality or quasi-pagan myth, because the Pauline epistles are earlier than the Gospels. What’s behind this?

I am not very confident about the “Historical Jesus” myself, though I would never say it in public… firstly because I am unsure and want to believe, and secondly because many Christians today would probably only lead me further into doubt with their strange ideas about God.

PLEASE READ
1st. Cor. 11: 23-30
Romans 6:3
Romans 10:9
1 Cor. 1: 23

ARE but a few examples.

Here my friend is some prudent advice:

When challanged ALWAYS insist on proof.:rolleyes:

Truth is and HAS TO BE Singular.

God Bless you.
Patrick


#8

If anyone’s interested, PM me for a link to a series of articles by Earl Doherty that addresses this question from a skeptic’s point of view.


#9

As I thought more about your post, it struck me that it is not just St. Paul’s epistles that do not recount the words and actions of Jesus, **neither do any of the other epistle writers **(Peter, James, John, Jude).

The events, actions, and words of Jesus (gospel message) had no doubt been **verbally preached **to the epistle recipients; it was what would have convinced them to choose to follow Jesus and be baptized. The purpose of the letters is to teach, correct, encourage these Christians in how to live out their newfound Christianity.


#10

That’s a very true point, but it is not even the case that the letters are totally without mention of Jesus’ life. To name examples, Paul speaks Jesus’ Crucifixion, the Last Supper (1 Cor. 11), and insists that belief in the resurrection is without foundation if Christ’s own Resurrection is not a historical reality (1 Cor. 15). And St. Peter (or whoever the skeptics think wrote in his name) recalls the Transfiguration (2 Peter 1). So it is not as if the Apostles neglect to speak of Jesus’ historical life entirely, and they do not speak of it any less than would be expected given the nature of their letters.


#11

Thank you for your replies, everyone. They are very helpful. I see now that Paul and the others had a different purpose from the four evangelists. That’s okay. :slight_smile:


#12

There was no greater proclaimer of Christs resurrection than Paul:

**But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

If the dead are not raised,

“Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.”** 1 Cor 15


closed #13

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