I am going to start yet a new category on this blog called “Jesus and Paul”. I will try to pull out words from Jesus and then corresponding words from Paul to see how the words and their corresponding meanings might differ. From my initial look at this topic I was somewhat surprised to find what I have. This will be an interesting place to go in my study of the Bible.
Many Christians today, especially those who call themselves Evangelicals and Lutherans in particular, like to say that “all the words in the Bible are the words of Jesus”. Anyone who has read much from this blog know that I just don’t see it that way. In my mind Jesus’ words must take front and center in my Christian life. He was God incarnate; all the other writers were simply human beings whose words were inspired by God. All the words in the Bible must be filtered through the red letters. Where there appears to be a conflict Jesus’ words will reign supreme, at least to me.
I want to say in advance that when there is an apparent conflict between the words of Jesus and Paul I am not trying to insinuate that Paul was lying or trying to lead us astray. I know there are many around who love it but I am just not a conspiracy type guy. Instead I tend to believe that some of the words of Paul were just Paul giving his human and personal opinion about something. There are a few places in his many letters where he openly states that fact. I wish he had done that more often so as not to confuse some of us now twenty centuries later.
In studying Paul I have come to the conclusion that he, among other things, was just a ornery old bachelor and that human condition bled through to some of his words in his many letters. Of course the same is true for all of us. Our experiences determine how we view life. That is what makes us human. How could it have been otherwise for even the Apostles. I am just not one to believe that when Paul was struck down on the road to Damascus he quit being the person he was and was totally taken over by Jesus in all his thoughts and words. He did not give up his personality or human thoughts in the process. Neither did any of the other epistle writers. The human aspect of the Epistles is what gives them value. I believe their humanity shows through in many of their words. In my mind that is one thing that continues to make the Bible interesting. We can view being disciples of Jesus Christ through many different human foibles. This will be an interesting study indeed.