Did Jesus and Paul teach the same thing?

By Matt Slick

Some critics of Christianity try and set Paul against Jesus. They will often claim that what Paul taught is not what Jesus said and that present-day Christianity is derived not from Jesus but from Paul's teaching. This is an erroneous claim that does not fit the facts. It is easy to take various scriptures out of context and try to set one person against another--as many critics of Christianity have done. Nevertheless, we can confidently expect that Jesus and Paul taught the same thing. Granted, Paul focused more on theological issues than Jesus did, but nothing Paul said is contrary to Christ.

Luke wrote both the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. In Acts 9 Luke records the events surrounding Paul's conversion. We see that Jesus himself called Paul and sent him to be an apostle. If Paul and Jesus are not in agreement, then why would Jesus call Paul to be his apostle? Jesus is God in flesh and would therefore know all things. Jesus would certainly have known what Paul would teach which, it seems, is one of the reasons Jesus called him.

In addition, we can quickly see by examining what Jesus said we find parallels in what Paul said. Following is a brief alphabetical list comparing the words of Christ with the words of Paul. We can clearly see that they were indeed in agreement and that the critics who would set Paul against Christ don't know what they're talking about.

  1. Alive in Christ
    1. Jesus
      1. "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes." (John 5:21).
    2. Paul
      1. "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive." (1 Cor. 15:22).
  2. Anxiety
    1. Jesus
      1. "For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?" (Matt. 6:25).
    2. Paul
      1. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." (Phil. 4:6).
  3. Atonement
    1. Jesus
      1. "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." (John 10:11)
    2. Paul
      1. "and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." (Eph. 5:2).
  4. Deity of Jesus
    1. Jesus
      1. "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." (John 8:58). Compare with Exodus 3:14, "And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, "I AM has sent me to you."
    2. Paul
      1. "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form," (Col. 2:9). See also, Phil. 2:5-8.
  5. Forgiveness
    1. Jesus
      1. "For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." (Matt. 6:14).
    2. Paul
      1. "And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." (Eph. 4:32).
  6. Jesus is the only way
    1. Jesus
      1. "Jesus said to him, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." (John 14:6).
    2. Paul
      1. "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Tim. 2:5).
  7. Justification by faith
    1. Jesus
      1. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life." (John 5:24). See also John 3:16-18; Luke 18:9-13.
    2. Paul
      1. "Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Rom. 5:1).
  8. Law, the
    1. Jesus
      1. "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill." (Matt. 5:17).
    2. Paul
      1. "Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law." (Rom. 3:31).
      2. "What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise." (Gal. 3:17).
  9. Law, living the
    1. Jesus
      1. "You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; 19 Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matt. 19:18-19).
    2. Paul
      1. "Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 For this, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law." (Rom. 13:8-10)
  10. Predestination
    1. Jesus
      1. "Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given." (Matt. 19:11).
      2. "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out." (John 6:37).
      3. "No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:44).
      4. "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father." (John 6:65).
    2. Paul
      1. "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will . . . . 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will," (Eph. 1:5, 11).
  11. Resurrection
    1. Jesus
      1. "The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men; 23 and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day." (Matt. 17:22-23).
    2. Paul
      1. "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures," (1 Cor. 15:3-4).
  12. Rewards and Punishment
    1. Jesus
      1. "For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds." (Matt. 16:27).
    2. Paul
      1. "who will render to every man according to his deeds." (Rom. 2:6).
  13. Sinfulness of man
    1. Jesus
      1. "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20 "These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man." (Matt. 15:19-20).
    2. Paul
      1. "There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; 12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one." (Rom. 3:11-12).
  14. Tradition
    1. Jesus
      1. "And why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?" (Matt. 15:3).
    2. Paul
      1. "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." (Col. 2:8).
  15. Works' Righteousness denied
    1. Jesus
      1. "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.' (Matt. 7:22-23).
    2. Paul
      1. "Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, "The righteous man shall live by faith." (Gal. 3:11).

As you can see, this brief list demonstrates that Jesus and Paul both taught the same thing.

 

 

 

 
 
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