Jesus, Paul and Progressive Revelation

Christianity Today had an article on Jesus and Paul that attempted to show how Jesus and Paul are unified. The article points out that Jesus often stresses The Kingdom, while Paul stresses Justification By Faith.

Trying to make Jesus stress justification to fit in with Paul, or make Paul stress kingdom to fit with Jesus is to misinterpret both.

I agree to an extent. But his answer was to say that really, what they both taught was the death and resurrection of Christ–that is the center of The Kingdom and Justification.

His point is that Paul only talks about the Kingdom 15 times so we can see this isn’t a big deal for Paul. However, how often does Jesus talk about His death in any Gospel? Not 15 times.

I think this is classic American thinking–what a guy talks about most is most important, so if he talks about something 3 more times than something else, we can determine the lesser talked of thing is not as important.

This is not an accurate way to handle Scripture, I don’t think. If God says something one time, it’s pretty important. Like, “love your neighbor” is the second main point of the Law. Guess how many times the Law says to “love your neighbor?”

Go ahead, guess.

Yup, one time. Yet this one time mention is foundational truth according to Jesus–and Paul, for that matter.

The way Paul and Jesus Christ fit together is by understanding progressive revelation. The apostles and prophets are building the foundation off the cornerstone–Jesus Christ. Walls don’t look like floors. Roofs don’t look like walls.

They don’t talk about exactly the same stuff because they have a different audience who had differing levels of information. If one understands Christ, one can understand Paul. Progressive revelation explains a lot.

2 thoughts on “Jesus, Paul and Progressive Revelation”

  1. I just read this article this morning and it sure seems to me he’s doing the same thing he’s accusing others of doing, namely trying to fit Paul with Jesus and Jesus with Paul. But I’m with you — “progressive revelation explains a lot.” I really don’t understand why that’s so hard to grasp.

  2. Yeah, I thought he was going somewhere, but then when I found out where he went, I discovered he hadn’t gone anywhere.

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