Did Paul Know Jesus?

Written by Josiah Nichols

January 8, 2024

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Did Paul know Jesus?

Introduction

Did Paul know Jesus? Bill Kluck does not seem to think so. In his debate with Andrew Rappaport, he stated Paul did not seem to know Jesus.[1] Therefore, Kluck claimed Christianity is not true. Also, if Paul did not know Jesus, then the person who wrote a third of the New Testament was not an apostle. However, the question “Did Paul know Jesus” should not frighten the believer. One can quickly prove Paul did in fact not only know Jesus, but also quoted him perfectly because he actually spoke with Him.

Paul Met Jesus

Before Paul was called Paul, he was Saul of Tarsus. The early historical record of Acts shows Saul was a persecutor of the Chruch (Acts 7-9). He was a self-proclaimed Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee. Here is a description of himself to the Philippian church.

“[A]lthough I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.” (Philippians 3:4-6, ESV). 

What happened to Saul of Tarsus? He claimed to have met the risen Lord Jesus Christ on the way to persecute Jesus. Paul would not be in his right mind if he preached Jesus, and this had not really happen. Saul, a leading Jew, a persecutor of the church, gave up all of this privileges for what he described as poverty, homelessness, beatings and persecutions. If Christianity were not true, Paul would have been unstable at best (1 Corinthians 4:9-13, 2 Corinthians 11:21-28). Yet, Paul’s writings show he was a genius in managing conflict, the Old Testament, and helping others. He was not chaotic.

Paul Quoted Jesus

Kluck is in obvious error. Not only did Paul meet Jesus, he spoke with Jesus. This is why Paul was able to quote Jesus at least three times. There are examples in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy which prove this is true.

  • 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, “10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband 11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.”(NASB). 
  • 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, “23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (NASB).
  • 1 Timothy 5:18, “18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” (NASB). The first part of the quotation is Deuteronomy 25:4. However, this is a quotation of Jesus in Luke 10:7, referring to the sending out of the seventy disciples. This shows not only did Paul consider the gospel accounts written at this time Scripture, but also that he knew Jesus.

Conclusion

Kluck is frankly wrong here. It is clear that Paul knew Jesus personally and his quotations came from personal conversations. This is not an attack on the truth of Christianity that carries any weight. It can be clearly proven that Paul knew Jesus just by the three quotations and the weight of his life choices. Therefore, one has to dismiss Kluck’s argument as trivial. Hence he needs the eyes of his heart enlightened by God. We should pray for his soul.

More from Striving for Eternity

If you want more information on studying the Bible and how to interpret it correctly, check out the store section at strivingforeternity.org/store. There are tons of resources to help you get started on your journey to interpreting the Bible better. Also invite Andrew Rappaport and Aaron M. Brewster to come to your church and teach you biblical interpretation with their Biblical Interpretation Made Easy Seminar. Andrew Rappaport, Aaron M. Brewster, and other guests on Apologetics live would also enjoy answering your questions on the live show on Thursdays from 7pm–9pm CST with the link to the stream yard at strivingforeternity.org/apologeticslive. Lord bless you and strive to make today and eternal day for Christ Jesus.

 

[1] This debate can be found on Apologetics Live.

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