Problem with St. Paul

I did not know how else to phrase my Subject. My problem is this: It appears to me that St. Paul has much more to say about faith (from our pulpits, not from the NT) than Jesus. I understand that he had a vision of Jesus, I understand he had a mission, I also understand that his epistles were written to specific communities of the new Church. What I don’t understand is why the actual words of Jesus, found in the four Gospels, are outnumbered (from the pulpit and other teachings) by those of a disciple who never knew Him in the “flesh” (so to speak). I don’t want to “follow” Paul, I want to follow Jesus. If someone could help me understand this, it would be a great relief for me. TY!

Galatians 2:20
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Don’t fall for the heresy and stupidity of the Church of Christ x Church of Paul.


Are you going to a Catholic Mass? I’m not seeing how you see St. Paul having much more to say from the Pulpit when every mass has a Gospel reading yet not every mass has a reading from one of Paul’s epistles?

Maybe you could give some examples? I think the thing to keep in mind is you need to read Paul through the words of Jesus and not the other way around. Basically, what I mean is St. Paul isn’t giving us new teachings on Faith or contrary to the belief of some, whom I have spoke with, St. Paul isn’t overriding what Jesus taught.

Paul was an Apostle who was given the authority to teach and preach, not seeing how you could follow Paul without following Jesus.

Is there something in particular that Paul says that you are having troubles with that is pulling you away from Jesus?

God Bless

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What was Jesus’ mission? To go after the lost sheep of Israel.

What was Paul’s mission? To be the Apostle to the Gentiles.

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

So, the only reason Paul is important is because of the task Jesus entrusted to him-- and the graces he gave him to accomplish that task. And just as so much of Jesus’ doings were never written in the gospels, I have no doubt that there’s quite a bit that went on behind the scenes with Paul that gave him a crash course in how to be the Apostle that God wanted him to be.


But also, don’t forget—

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas; still another, “I follow Christ.”

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

St Paul himself says:

For it has been reported to me by Chlo’e’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brethren.
What I mean is that each one of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apol’los,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.”
Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
I am thankful that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Ga’ius;
lest any one should say that you were baptized in my name ( 1 Corinthians 1: 11-15).

And he says further on:

For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apol’los,” are you not merely men?
What then is Apol’los? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.
I planted, Apol’los watered, but God gave the growth.
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth ( 1 Cor. 3: 4-7).

St Paul was a great apostle of Jesus and his letters are the inspired word of God, i.e., Paul’s letters are the word of God, the word of Christ himself speaking through St Paul. And Jesus is the Word of God. Jesus speaks to us throughout the entire Bible. The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes St Jerome “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ”.


I’m not sure I’ve understood your question correctly. Is it about word count? If so, there’s a simple answer. Jesus never wrote any books. Paul did.


Paul is a very interesting character. He admits that he was a priest, or studying to be a priest, at the Second Temple where Gamaliel was his teacher. He also admits to holding the coats (cloaks?) of those who were stoning Stephen. He was so driven to destroy the Christians that he formulated a plan to pursue those Christians who had fled Jerusalem to Damascus and forcibly bring them back for punishment. The High Priest, probably Jonathan, agreed to it, giving him diplomatic papers as Damascus was under the control of Aretas IV, the Arabic king.
Given a late date timeline (crucifixion in AD 36), and the ferocity of Saul’s (Paul’s) persecution of the Nazarenes, one has to wonder if he is intentionally leaving out a part of his history- namely, direct involvement in Jesus’ crucifixion, maybe to the point of throwing rocks at him as he was led off, or even entering the Praetorium to appeal to Pilate for Jesus’ execution.
Even with his amazing conversion, this bit of history was not something that would have stood him in good stead with any of the Nazarenes.

Not sure if this is helpful to you, but cements the Paul/Jesus connection in an intriguing way.

I do not see the problem. St Paul never contradicted Jesus and Jesus said: whoever is not against us, is for us.

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I think this suggestion might be helpful for you AprilsMom.

When St. Paul talks about “faith”, look at that as “fidelity” unless there is a good reason not to.

(Same root cognate)

“Fidelity” in the sense of obeying AND believing.

Just like if your spouse goes off to a conference for a week. You know he is going to be a man of fidelity to you.

Some other guy who commits “infidelity” does not think (or behave) that way.

And not merely “obedience” (to marital vows with your husband or obedience to the Gospel regarding the writings of St. Paul), but “obedience” animated by GRACE.

Grace that Jesus Christ earned for you with His life, death, and Resurrection.

Q: OK Cathoholic. That might sound nice. But WHY should I see St. Paul asserting faith that INCLUDES obedience (by grace instead of merely by “law” which they already HAD in the Old Covenant)?

A: Because in St. Paul’s magnum opus on faith in his letter to the Romans, the very first time he mentions the word “faith” AND the very last time he mentions the word “faith”, St. Paul explicitly calls it . . . .

. . . “the OBEDIENCE of faith”.

(A saving faith MUST be an obedient faith in the context of Romans.)

ROMANS 1:4b-6 Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;

ROMANS 16:25-26 25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages 26 but is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith

Q: OK Cathoholic. I can see that.
But you said unless there is good reason to believe otherwise. When does St. Paul look at “faith” and separate it from obedience or “love”?

(Obedience and love are intertwined. That is WHY Jesus can say, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.”)

A: In 1st Corinthians 13 where St. Paul tells us if we have “faith” to move mountains, but have not “charity” or “love” we gain NOTHING.

We do NOT GAIN Heaven.

We gain NOTHING. This is people who HAVE FAITH! (But in this case, St. Paul explicitly parses the supernatural virtues of faith, hope, and love.)

(So much for “justification by faith alone”, unless you define faith as “the obedience of faith”. And even then, you must have “hope” too.)

Hope this helps.

God bless.


I think the term is “Pauline Christianity.”

If Jesus can pick people like St Paul, or tax collectors and fishermen for his mission; then that gives me hope. If Jesus had picked a bunch of devout and saintly people to do his task, I would not be able to live up to their standards.


Paul did study under Gamaliel, but where did you get that he was studying to be a priest? He was from the tribe of Benjamin; all the priests had to come from a specific subset of the tribe of Levi.


From a practical standpoint, Paul was teaching the faith and, though he’d had a vision of Jesus and his writings were inspired, he didn’t follow Jesus around the countryside like the original Apostles did. It’s not surprising that he didn’t quote Jesus very much, considering that he wasn’t around to hear the quotes and was writing before the Gospel accounts were written down.


I think the answer here is a simple one. Anyone of history who was of any importance has had vastly more words written about them than they, themselves, would likely have recorded in a formal way. So not only do Paul’s words outnumber those of Jesus which are in print, but so do Jerome’s, Augustine’s, and countless others. Jesus created a foundation for his Church. Others have expanded it, explained it, and made it relevant for the everyday person like you and I. :slight_smile:

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Yes I am an Extraordinary Minister of the Holy Eucharist. And yes, review your Mass missal, many times Paul is quoted before Jesus. This is not as it should be. Paul spoke to the young “church”, not to US. JESUS spoke to everyone. See my problem?

Paul’s authority was to the “young” churches (for instance, Corinth, where there were presumably a mere 50 members). Paul’s words, although quite compelling, should NEVER supplant the words of Jesus. Without a Sunday Mass missal in front of me, I can’t tell you how many times Paul has replaced Jesus, but I know it is many, many times.

Agree, so why are his words read from the pulpit so often? I don’t follow Paul. I follow Jesus.

Not acceptable. The Church accepts Augustine’s “doctrine” of “original sin” when Jesus says NOTHING ABOUT THIS. Paul is heard from our pulpits before (and in place of) the words of JESUS, no matter how “scant” they may be, found in the four Gospels. Something is wrong.

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