January 17, 2021

A Question For The Scholars In The Room

paulpics.jpgIn my study of the New Testament, I’ve collected a few questions that have stayed with me. One of them fascinates me endlessly, and I have never read an answer that seemed sufficient. Perhaps the readers of Internet Monk would like to take a swing at this pitch, or direct me to a source that addresses the question.

Here you go: Why does the Apostle Paul not refer to the stories, miracles and teaching from the ministry of Jesus in his letters to churches?

Edumacate me. This one has me stumped.


  1. Further to my earlier comment, I’ve now decided to post my thoughts on my own blog: http://confessingevangelical.blogspot.com/2005/05/christ-and-st-paul.html.

  2. Robert Dye says

    Hmmm….my guess would be that part of the omission has to do with the fact that Paul did not have access to any of the four Gospels…he may have known a number of stories regarding Jesus, including numerous Gnostic stories, and not been sure which of the anecdotes, if any, he should accept as true. So he pretty much ignored them all in his writing.

    The HS was addressing that elsewhere, with the evangelists, and Paul just dealt with what was in front of him.

    I never really thought about the omission before. When you look at Paul that way, it makes 1.Cor.11:23-26 even more interesting in its being included. (But then, I’m a Jesuit agent, so what do I know?)


  3. To my shame, I have only just begun reading J I Packer’s “Keep in Step with the Spirit.” It was written in 1984, and there is now a new edition available, which I hope to purchase soon.

    I think this book is the equal of Packer’s terrific “Knowing God” and urge everyone to read it. If you want sound, biblical teaching on the Holy Spirit, the trinity, holiness, Christian living, even bible reading, do get into this book.

    He says something related to this topic, which may be a little simplistic, but I think there is something in it. He says that the epistles were written for folk who knew the content of the gospels, because they had lived with Jesus, or lived shortly after, whereas the gospels were written for folk who had read the epistles, but had not lived through the period when Jesus was on earth, and so needed this vital information.

    This is not ipsissima verba, but I think it is the general idea he is intending to convey.

    He also says, that wherever else you read in the bible, make sure that the gospels are read above all else. They will keep you in touch with Jesus and remind you of what it means to be a disciple.

  4. e.g.

    “If Christ is not risen from the dead, our faith is in vain” (pretty big miracle there, no?)

    1 Cor 10:16 “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the Blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the Body of Christ?” cf. John 6

    About Our Lord not writing anything. Dear me. Who taught you? Who is the author of Scripture?


    Unless you meant why is no part of Scripture written with God as its author and the human nature of Christ as its human author . . . 🙂

  5. Califander says

    St. Paul spent many years learning about Christ’s earthly life before he became a missionary. He spent much time with the Apostles/disciples and this is referenced often in Acts (9:28, 11:28, etc)

    When he is instructing St. Timothy he tells him (II Tim 4:14, “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them (i.e. St Paul and the disciples), (15) and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures (OT – there was no NT until the 300’s) which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

    St. Paul knew the miracles of Christ but his mission was to admonish the Church in staying the course and keeping the faith.

    Sts. James, Peter, John and Jude did not write about the miracles in their epistles either and they lived with him for 3 years and were eye-witnesses. Their epistles were for personal growth and development (theosis) of the individual believer.

    The miracles and life of Christ were given in oral history and were a regular part of their worship tradition.

    As the epistles and Gospels were written they were copied and passed on and read during worship services.

  6. I must preface this by stating that I am not a scholar (which will become evident).

    Could it be that Paul was bringing them to Faith in Christ and how we need to act in regards to Christ’s work for us? Also, although we do not know this, Paul could have expanded further and included what Christ did when he was with the different churches in person. Much of what Paul preaches is that Christ died for us and how we are not to live in His church.

    Does that make any sense?

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