So, What's Wrong With The Epistles?

crumpled_paper1“Key to encountering the biblical Jesus is a step that many Christians seem to find painful, that is, our preparedness to read the Gospels in order to emulate Jesus.” Alan Hirsch & Michael Frost in “ReJesus” (p. 17)

I get it, I really do.  So much has been made, or should I say “derived” from the writings of Paul, John, Peter, James, and others in the New Testament.  I also understand that some doctrines are developed to the exclusion of Gospels, but that doesn’t make the outer-gospel texts any less inspired, important, or indispensable.  Does it?

The retort, “Jesus never said that,” still seems to hold sway over the unsuspecting and unaware.  So what if Jesus never said it!  Does it really matter?  It’s all scripture, isn’t it?  If all scripture is “breathed out” by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16), then it all comes from Jesus.  Doesn’t it?  A few more questions:

1.  Technically, shouldn’t the whole New testament be in red letters?

2.  Is there a good reason to focus on the Gospels to the exclusion of the rest of the New Testament? 

3.  Can a person be a Disciple of Jesus solely subsisting on what’s contained in the Gospels?



0 thoughts on “So, What's Wrong With The Epistles?

  1. Marshall says:

    1) no
    2) the gospels & the acts for a history focus?
    3) yes, or even less

    Neither we nor the early Christ-followers view O.T. and (what becomes) N.T. the same. Getting past that hurdle…

    While Paul and the rest of us look to be speaking, as it were, the oracles of God, it may not always be so for us. Paul’s opinions to the Corinthians, as example. Also, Paul’s teaching on “meat sacrificed to idols” cannot honestly sit comfortably as “red letter” alongside “red letter” of Revelation 2&3. Inspiration alone does not say for how the saying/λογος, then later inscribed, is functioning for/with/to us. Is it of revelation, or more simply inspired of the Spirit in time & place?

  2. Dennis Hesselbarth says:

    Miguel, I too am one that was nursed on the epistles and only later come to focus first on the Gospels. I’ve asked the same question as you, knowing that all scripture is God-breathed and important. The way I see it now, the epistles presume the listeners were living out the gospels, both in attitudes and in behavior. The epistles address specific issues and give theological perspective that build on the life and teachings of Jesus.

    Are both necessary? Yes. The imbalance has been a dearth of Gospel, but to swing the other way and be Gospel only would be an imbalance as well.

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