“The very first Christian writings in all of history are Paul’s letters about Jesus.” He is our first eye-witness account.
[Jesus to Saul/Paul] 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. Acts 26:16
Paul wrote half the New Testament, and Acts is a biography of his ministry. If we can’t trust Paul, then we can’t trust Luke (who wrote Acts), either. Here is a quote from, “A Gran Illusion,” by David Young, page 65:
We must consider Paul’s place in the Scriptures chronologically: Paul is our earliest witness to Jesus. The very first Christian writings in all of history are Paul’s letters about Jesus. Best we can tell, almost all of Paul’s letters were written before a single Gospel was composed. Before there were any “red letters,” there was the near-complete body of Paul’s works. This apostle with the radical conversion is chronologically closer to Jesus than any Gospel writer, and Paul’s experience of Jesus begins within months of the resurrection.
But there’s more, for it was Paul who actually trained Luke. Any “red letter” Luke recorded was, at least in part, taught to Luke by Paul. So if any[one] quotes Luke’s red letters against Paul, one is ignorantly subordinating the teacher to the student: Paul was the teacher, Luke was the student. There is no Jesus versus Paul–the Jesus of Luke was, at least in part, a product of the apostle Paul. And as Jesus says, the servant is not greater than the master. Similarly, the early church argued that the Gospel of Mark was actually compiled from the teachings of Peter. So to pit the red letters of Mark against the letters of Peter is also to subordinate, again in ignorant fashion, the teacher to the student. To pit either Peter or Paul (as represented in their letters) against the Gospel stories of Jesus is to violate the spirit of both.
Consider these verses:
11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:11-12
2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 2 Corinthians 12:2-4
18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— 19 by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. Romans 15:11-12
11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. Acts 19:11-12
Paul wasn’t just talk; he walked the walk. Jesus Himself exhorted the religious leaders to believe His works if not His words (John 10:38). We can trust the writings of Paul because of the works of the Holy Spirit in and through him. Peter, too, for that matter. We can also trust James, the half-brother of Jesus, and the apostle John, as well. What about Hebrews? Let’s look at that book tomorrow.
Abba, if we would quit using our bias to make decisions, we would find that there is plenty of evidence for the veracity of Scripture. May we trust You to place it deep in our hearts as we read it, discuss it, pray over it, and live it out in our daily lives. Amen.