In so many ways, the Apostle Paul mirrors the heart of Christ. Where can we find a better example of a transformed follower of Jesus who suffered so much, and worked so tirelessly for the growth and perfection of “the Body” (i.e. 2Cor 11:23-31)? Who else can we point to who so faithfully speaks in behalf of “God in the flesh”?
Yet as some have read and listened to Paul, they have been struck by what he doesn’t say.
Have you ever noticed that, even though the Apostle Paul confesses Jesus as Lord, God, Messiah and Savior, he hardly ever quotes Jesus word for word in his letters?
Neither does Paul make a practice of retelling the stories his Lord told.
Peter and James follow the same pattern. They declare Jesus as Lord but don’t quote him the way we quote authorities. Neither did they repeat the words of Jesus the way first century rabbis memorized and rehearsed the words of their trusted teachers. Yet Jesus was Rabbi of rabbis (i.e. Teacher of teachers).
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John quote Jesus at length. But again, in all that Paul wrote (and as the major NT author), he quotes Jesus only occasionally (i.e. 1Cor 11:24-25; in retelling how the resurrected Christ changed his life and told him what to do; and–as Luke quotes Paul in Acts saying, “Our Lord said, “that it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
Any idea why the New Testament letters of the apostles don’t have more “red letter” sections?