Word of the Lord
Helmut Koester mentions six instances in which Paul refers to the teachings of the historical Jesus. In 1 Thess. 4:15, Paul invokes the "word of the Lord" to address the issue of what happens to those in the community who have died prior to Jesus' return. In 1 Corinthians, Paul claims that Jesus argues against divorce (1 Cor. 7:10-11), no dominical command (1 Cor. 7:25), those who proclaim the gospel should be paid by the gospel (1 Cor. 9:14), the command concerning prophets (1 Cor. 14:37), and the Eucharist (1 Cor. 11:23-26).
My interest is in the phrase “word of the Lord” which Paul specifically invokes in 1 Thess. 4:15. This phrase appears once in the Gospel of Luke, eight times in Acts, and once each in First and Second Thessalonians, I Peters and no where else in the New Testament. Two of these passages from Luke-Acts [Luke 22:61 and Acts 11:16] involve Simon Peter whom Paul met with James for a brief fifteen day period. Paul denies that any of his teachings are from other men in authority. I mention this because arguable this expression, “word of the Lord,” Paul derived from Peter. As I noted earlier, Paul used the phrase “according to my gospel” to refer to the Gospel of Luke. Perhaps we should accept Paul at his word and attribute that what Paul learned came to him from the writings of Luke.
In addition to what I have listed above we have this example from 1 Thess. 1:8 where Paul says about the ministry of Luke: “For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedo'nia and Acha'ia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.”
These comments, when considered together my post, “According to my gospel” require us to consider whether or not Paul was familiar with the writings of Luke.
Copyrighted 2006Gospel of Luke