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What Did Jesus Say? (2012) - 7 topics 

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Supposition that Paul's Epistles Were Known To Peter, Luke, & Apostles

Email from K. May 11, 2013

I have a friend though who is obsessed with defending everything Paul with Torah goggles on as he believes doing otherwise unravels the credibility of the rest of the NT since it has Acts, Luke, and 2 Peter showing support for Paul. ****

If Matthew and John knew of Yeshua's warning about the desert, then why not totally call Paul out about it and nip it in the bud right then? The whole book of Acts seems to be the problem as it is rife with confusing interaction between the real apostles and Paul. But no declarative judgement was made against Paul to the satisfaction of an argument with a Paulian. Why not? Or is Acts another piece of questionable compositing by others way later to hide that verdict?

I'd like your perspective on these thoughts whenever you have a chance.


My Reply 5/11/2013



To answer your question, why did the Apostles, Peter, Matthew etc., not see Paul as a problem as directly as we can see? 
First, assuming they did not see the problem of Paul, then I think God is testing at least our generation. The purpose of God in Deut 13:1-5 for us and them is to test "false prophets." A test requires no exam answers up front. You have to find the answer by testing a would-be prophet. So a test would require (a) God provide no supernatural message such as "Paul is serving the wrong Christ" to aid them because then there is no testing; and (b) they must have heard Paul claim to be a prophet -- holding the words of Jesus or Yahweh; and (c) heard Paul's words contrary to Torah.
The evidence from Acts 21 shows at best James heard rumors that Paul was teaching against the Law, but then Paul gave James the sign of reassurance that he did not do so by conforming to the Numbers 6 ritual.
What confirms the apostles did not know an anti-Torah / Law version of Paul is Paul guarded Luke -- who had a close proximity to Paul -- from ever realizing Paul's views on the Law which could render Paul a false prophet under Deut. 13:1-5.
In other words, the book of Acts is an important piece of evidence that even Luke never heard Paul's words contrary to Torah. I did a careful exposition recently that Luke's Gospel and Acts never confirm any Pauline Epistolary doctrines.  In fact they undercut Paul's honesty and correctness when compared to them. See my article Luke Is A Non-Pauline Gospel.
I document there (a) Luke's Acts contradicts the Epistles often, portraying Paul upholding "all points according to the Law" in Acts 26; (b) Luke's Acts does seek to portray Paul favorably, but then this means Luke would not say many things in Acts had he known of Paul's epistles because what Luke reveals embarasses Paul's integrity / honesty / correctness; and (c) Paul's epistles are never quoted in the early church until the mid-100s.
So if Luke never heard directly Paul's anti-Torah doctrines, or that Paul claims to have a message from the "Lord," and thus act as a 'prophet,' or that Paul claimed to be an apostle, then surely neither did Peter nor Matthew etc. 
So perhaps open your friend's eyes by discussing the scholarly consensus that Luke did not even know of Paul's epistles. Thus, one cannot infer any approval by Peter or Matthew of those doctrines in the Pauline epistles so at odds with Christ. Or that Peter or Matthew had enough knowledge of Paul's epistles that they naturally would have called out Paul as a 'false prophet.'
Any thoughts?
Blessings and Shalom,
Post-Script 2017
Since 2013, I have uncovered proof the apostles refused to give Paul letters of commendation, which Paul himself complains about.  See link. Also, I uncovered proofs of canon, i.e., Matthew, Revelation, James, Jude, 1 John and Second Peter are works critical of Paul that are typically subtle yet obvious. I review this in my review of a 2016 book on critics of Paul.