Do Paul’s letters quote, echo, and allude to Jesus’s teachings?

  • NT historians

    • Seyoon Kim: “The sayings of Jesus that we have discerned, whether they be allusions or echoes, are diverse and appear in various contexts of Paul's teachings.” [Paul and the New Perspective (Eerdmans, 2002), 279.]
“Yes, after all…
  • Examples show Paul rightly attributing quotes to Jesus

    Examples exist where Paul writes of Jesus, “the Lord said” etc. and quotes him.

    These include...

    • Paul quoting Jesus on divorce1
    • Paul quoting Jesus on ministers being paid wages2
    • Paul quoting Jesus on ceremonial cleanliness3
    • Paul quoting Jesus on being vigilant in light of the 2nd coming4
    • Paul quoting Jesus on the 2nd coming resembling a thief in the night5
      • 1 Cor 7:10 — “not I, but the Lord [Jesus said], that the wife should not leave her husband” (cf. Mt 5:32)
      • 1 Cor 9:14 — “the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel” and 1 Tim 5:18 (cf. Lk 10:7 — Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. Also Mt 10:10)
      • Rom 14:14 — I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
      • 1 Thes 4:15 - For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
      • 1 Thes 5:2-11 — For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
  • Paul quotes Jesus twice in Rom 13:6-9

    In the same breathe (Romans 13:6-9), Paul quotes two very different things Jesus said on different occasions.

    Paul quotes Jesus on…

    • …paying taxes1
    • …loving neighbors as ourselves2
      • Romans 13:6-7 — For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
      • Rom 13:9 — “if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
  • Examples show Paul quoting Jesus (w/o attribution)

    This will cover a mountain of examples, but I have not written it up yet.

  • Examples show Paul echoing sayings of Jesus

    Examples show Paul echoing sayings of Jesus1 This is relevant because these sayings are generally teachings of Jesus

      • Last Supper (Mt 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; esp. Luke 22:14-23). AND 1 Cor 11:23-26
      • Resurrection narratives (Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-29; 21:1-4) AND 1 Cor 15:3-5, 35-57; Phil 3:21
      • Divorce (Mark 10:1-12; Matt 19:1-12) AND 1 Cor 7:10-11
      • Eschatological teaching (Matthew 24; Mark 13; esp. Luke 21) AND 2 Thess 2:1-12
      • Watchman (Luke 12:36-38)
      • Stewards (Matt 24:45-51; Lk 12:42-48)
      • Wise and foolish virgins (Matt 25:1-13). AND 1 Thes 4:1-5, 11
      • Mountain moving faith (Matt 17:20) AND 1 Cor 13:2
      • Love and the law (Matt 22:37-40) AND Rom 13:8; Gal 5:14
      • Nothing unclean (Matt 15:10-20; Mark 7:17-23) AND Rom 14:14
      • Abba (Mark 14:36) AND Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6
  • Examples show Pauline teachings continuous with Jesus’s

    Examples show Pauline teachings continuous with Jesus’s

    • Paul’s eschatology is continuous with Jesus’s [Forthcoming]
    • Paul’s teaching on “the Kingdom of God” is continuous with Jesus’s. [Forthcoming]
    • Paul’s ethical teaching matches Jesus’s. [Forthcoming]
  • Paul aimed to teach Jesus what Jesus taught

    Paul aimed to teach Jesus what Jesus taught

    After all…

    • Paul believed he was divinely commissed by Jesus.
    • Paul believed Jesus was God.
    • Paul can lament not having words of Jesus to share on issues.1
    1. For example:
      • 1 Corinthians 7:25 — “Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy.”