THE EDUCATION OF LUKE AND PAUL
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Merriam-Webster's Online Definitions' short definition of “integrity” is “the quality of being honest and fair: the state of being complete or whole.”
If we accept the integrity of the writers of the New Testament, then we must logically accept their message as being true from their standpoint (by definition).
That means, that if the first-hand witnesses such as Matthew and John relate incidents of Christ's ministry, we must accept their accounts as being from honest witnesses. That means they actually think they saw, heard, and experienced what they write.
Reality; not Fables. First of all, the New Testament is about real people, real places and real things. Archaeologistsi have affirmed “real” historic physical settings such as the pool of Bethesda (John 5), the Pavement (John 19) and Jacob's well (John 4). There were real occurrences such as the Roman census which have been verified. The writings themselves show (1) honesty at their own expense, (2) absence of grabbing “golden opportunities”, (3) absence of any “doctoring” and any “gilding the lily” idea, (4) the foundation of their teaching is honesty, (5) and they yielded to martyrdom for their testimony.
Someone writes, “The NT shows every sign that the disciples were honest men who took great care to tell it the way it was, warts and all, even at the expense of their own lives.”ii Someone else retorts, “But so have millions of Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, etc., died for their faith rather than recant their faith.”
But the point is not that people die for what they believe to be truth; some will do that. Rather, the point is that the witnesses are relating what they saw and heard and are ready to die for what they say they saw. That is, what advantage would there be for rational beings to die if reversing false testimony will save them? This argument is sound since we are concluding from evidences that these witnesses were not crazies or handicapped in their mental abilities.
But what about Luke and Paul? Luke was not in the presence of Jesus during His public ministry and yet he writes about it. Then there is Paul who was not among Jesus' immediate disciples but has written many epistles of the New Testament.
Prophets. Our faith is built upon prophets as well as apostles: “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 2:20). Who were prophets? Not preachers. Prophets were ones with the Holy Spirit gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 12:10; 13:9). They were inspired by God. Although Luke was not present during Jesus' public ministry (he was apparently not Jewish) and also not an apostle, nevertheless he claims to be a prophet in Luke 1:3. Luke writes that he got his information “from above.” “It seemed good to me also, having followed up accurately all things from above, to write to you in orderly fashion, most distinguished Theophilus” (English Majority Text Version). Some translators prefer to interpret this G509 Greek word in a figurative way; hence., “from the beginning.”
To me, there is no cause to insert a figurative meaning. In Luke 1 Luke specifically says “from the beginning” in the prior verse (v. 2) and it is in the normal Greek, “απo αρχης .” Why would Luke change to “ανωθεν” which literally means “from above” if he didn't mean it? The translators usually faithfully translate “ανωθεν” as “born from above” or “born again” (e.g., John 3:3, 7, 31) and not “from a beginning.” This is also true in John 19:11,23; Galatians 4:9; and James 1:17; 3:15, 17.iii
Luke is an honest man and is therefore a prophet and witnessed revelation from above.
Apostle Paul. Although Paul does not write directly about the ministry of Christ like Luke, he tells about some things as if he was a witness and it corresponds to what the “gospel” writers say. One example is the Lord's Supper. Jesus institutes the Lord's Supper and is recorded by the eyewitness, Matthew (26:26-28). Paul writes to the church at Corinth and relates the matter as if he had just read Matthew, who had been present in the upper room. “That the Lord Jesus the [same] night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped...” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). But Paul is not quoting Matthew; Matthew's gospel is thought to have been written 10-15 years later. But it is apparent that Paul like Luke claims to receive information directly from heaven.
As Paul prefaces this reference, “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the [same] night in which he was betrayed took bread” (1 Corinthians 11:23). Paul claims to have received his teaching directly from the Lord. The first time that Paul saw Jesus was apparently on the road to Damascus to kill Christians and this was long after Jesus was crucified. Jesus appeared to him visibly and spoke to him from Heaven.
Paul wrote to the Galatians that he was taught directly from God.
“ But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. ...But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus” (Galatians 1:12-17). Matthew did not teach Paul. Peter did not. None of the appointed apostles taught Paul about the institution of the Communion. He “conferred not with flesh and blood.” He says he received and was taught directly by the revelation of Jesus Christ (see also 1 Corinthians 15:3).
It is ludicrous for so-called learned men to try and explain that Luke and Paul received their revelation from Peter or some other man. They could not have since they were honest men and they said they didn't. The truth is, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (1 Timothy 3:16, 17).
THROW OUT THE LIFELINE