1 Corinthians 2:13, Paul Contradicts Jesus, part II of III

And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit.

//Continuing the theme from yesterday, and presenting another verse about Paul’s insistence that his understanding came through supernatural means, let’s highlight a few more “contradictions” between Paul and Jesus. While all of these comparisons are somewhat shallow, the question at hand is whether or not Paul properly preserved the atmosphere Jesus left behind.

Today’s comparisons highlight Paul’s tendency to remove the conditions of our salvation. Jesus set conditions, and Paul negated them.

Jesus: Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. –Matthew 5:7

Paul: Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy –Romans 9:18

Jesus: For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. –Matthew 6:14

Paul: In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace –Ephesians 1:7

Jesus: For by your words you will be justified –Matthew 12:37

Paul: Much more then, having now been justified by His blood –Romans 5:9


  1. Hi Lee,

    I’m enjoying your contrasts between Paul’s and Jesus’ teachings, and I agree with you. I don’t doubt Paul had some sort of mystical experience of what he believes was the risen Christ. Sometimes I agree with him, and other times I think he’s way off he mark.

    Here is one big difference I just came across this morning, and maybe you’ll touch on it in your Part III:

    Paul: (2 Corinthians 5:6-8) …even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

    Jesus: (Luke 17:20-21) 20 Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among[or within] you.”

    Many modern translations today read that the kingdom of God is “in your midst” or “among you.” But that is not the clear meaning of the Greek that Luke used. The English translations may be an attempt at harmonization with the church’s and Paul’s idea of belief among the community or “body of Christ”. The correct translation is most likely “within you” or “inside you” as corroborated by earlier translations from the Vulgate and Syriac, and parallels found in the G. of Thomas. An excellent academic study of this translation of Luke 17:21 can be found here: http://syrcom.cua.edu/Hugoye/Vol12No2/HV12N2Ramelli.pdf

    So while Jesus teaches that union with God/Heaven may be experienced right here and now if one only seeks within, Paul’s teaching exacerbates a separation from God, both spatially and temporally, and that gap can only be overcome by death when we leave the body or at the final resurrection (if that happens while one is still alive).

    Huge difference! In my spiritual experiences, Jesus’ is the eternal, spiritual teaching, while Paul’s is a theological construct/belief system.

  2. Lee Harmon

    Excellent post, Wendy! I can’t help but think about John’s Christology, his insistence that we reside “in” God and God “in” us.

    I think different people make sense of the Divine in different ways. Theological constructs can more easily be grasped, if you need something tangible. I have never been terribly spiritual, it’s coming slowly. 😉

  3. My Reading of his books was that Paul was full of himself and made things up.

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