Did Paul Preach A Different Gospel Than Jesus Did?

Did Paul Preach A Different Gospel Than Jesus Did? February 21, 2018

 

Honestly, I can’t believe I need to write an entire blog post to explain this one, but apparently, there are Christians who really do believe that Jesus taught one Gospel and that Paul taught another.

[Hint: they did no such thing]

So, in the interest of debunking this nonsense, let me explain a few things:

First, both Jesus and Paul preached the same Gospel. This is the Gospel of the Kingdom.

What’s the Gospel of the Kingdom, you ask? Well, very simply, it’s the “Good News” that the Kingdom of God where He rules and reigns can be experienced today by anyone who surrenders their life to Christ as their King and begins to learn to follow Jesus in their daily life.

Jesus talks about the Gospel of the Kingdom all throughout his ministry, for example:
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.” – Mark 1:15
“The kingdom of God has come upon you.”- Matthew 12:28

“For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” – Luke 17:21

“After his suffering, he [Jesus] presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.” – Acts 1:3

Paul also taught the Gospel of the Kingdom, as we see here:

“I have gone [among you] preaching the kingdom of God” – Acts 20:25

“We must go through many tribulations to enter the kingdom of God.” – Acts 14:22

“For the kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 14:17

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” – 1 Cor. 4:20

“Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.” – Acts 19:8

“He [Paul] witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus.” – Acts 28:23

“He [Paul] proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!” – Acts 28:31

“Now I [Paul] know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.” – Acts 29:25

For that matter, Philip and the other Apostles also taught the Good News of the Kingdom [because there was no other Gospel to teach], as we see demonstrated here:

“But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” – Acts 8:12 

See also:

Heb. 1:8; 11:33; 12:28

James 2:5
2 Peter 1:11
Rev. 1:6; 1:9; 5:10; 11:15; 12:10
 
What’s the big deal?
 
Well, the problem with believing that Jesus and Paul each had a different Gospel is that we run the risk of missing the actual Gospel that Jesus [and the Apostles] preached.
Some Christians want to say that Jesus may have taught the Kingdom Gospel, but Paul taught the “Gospel of Grace”.
This “Gospel of Grace” was for the rest of us [the Gentiles], while Jesus’ Gospel of the Kingdom was meant only for the Jews.
One of the biggest problems with that assumption is that we see that the Gospel of the Kingdom is preached to the Gentiles all the time. [See those references above, for example]
Some want us to believe that the Hebraic Epistles [like the book of James, for example] contain the “Gospel of the Kingdom” while the epistles written to the Gentiles contain the “Gospel of Grace”.
Again, this isn’t what we see at all. Paul speaks about the Kingdom to both Jews and Gentiles alike.
The Key To The Kingdom
The phrase, “Jesus is Lord”, is a statement about the Kingdom of God, because, in a kingdom you need a king, or a “lord”.
Paul affirms to both Jews and Gentiles alike that everyone who confesses that “Jesus is Lord” will be saved. [See Romans 10:9]
This means that Paul understood the “Gospel of the Kingdom” and he taught it all throughout his ministry.
The confusion comes because some Christians have lost the “Jesus-Centric” approach to scripture. They major on the teachings of Paul and wrongly assume that he can’t be talking about the same things that Jesus talked about.

They also get easily confused when Paul says:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel.” [Gal. 1:6]
They think that Paul must be saying that he taught people to “live in the grace of Christ” and that there must be more than one Gospel.
But that’s not what Paul is saying. Not at all. In fact, let’s look again at the full passage and please notice something at the end:
 

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently, some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” [Gal. 1:6-7]

Did you catch it? Notice that right after Paul says that people are turning away from the Gospel of Grace he refers to this Gospel as “the gospel of Christ”.
Wait, what?
That’s right. Paul’s Gospel of Grace is the Gospel of Christ.
And the Gospel of Christ is what Christ preached: The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Keep in mind, Paul didn’t think he was writing the Bible. He was writing letters to friends and fellow Christians in various places who were struggling to follow Jesus in their respective lands.
Because of this, Paul doesn’t spend a lot of time repeating the Gospel of the Kingdom to these people. He knows they already know it. In fact, many of them knew this Gospel long before Paul knew it. Remember, when the movement stared, Paul [Saul] was persecuting the Church.
But we do know that Paul was aware of this Gospel of the Kingdom because
A) he preached this Gospel all through his ministry [see references above] and
B) it was the only Gospel anyone in the Christian church had ever heard.
Elsewhere, Paul says we should prepare ourselves to preach the “Gospel of Peace” [Eph. 6:15]. So, does that mean we have a third Gospel now? Is the Gospel of Peace yet another Gospel competing for space with the Gospels of the Kingdom and Grace?
Of course not. There is only one Gospel. Paul knows that. The people he is writing to know that. There is no Gospel other than the one that Jesus preached.
Is the Gospel also about Grace? Yes.
Is the Gospel also about Peace? Yes, again.
But there is only one Gospel and that is the Gospel that Jesus preached and that Gospel is the Gospel of the Kingdom, as found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and also in John.
Jesus and Paul were on the same page.
We should be too.
**
Keith Giles is the author of several books, including “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allgiance To The Lamb” and the co-host of the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast. He lives in Orange, CA with his wife and two sons. 
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Questioning54

    “Well, very simply, it’s the “Good News” that the Kingdom of God where He rules and reigns can be experienced today by anyone who surrenders their life to Christ as their King and begins to learn to follow Jesus in their daily life.” That is NOT a bible quote. It is an interpretation requiring stretching and reworking what the bible actually says. Christians don’t believe the bible. They believe the bible and a myriad of books written ABOUT the bible, choosing their books about the bible only from amongst the ones that say the interpretation that suits them the most (because there a a huge number of different interpretations to choose from).

  • Robert Thomas

    You didn’t explain why some Christians think the Gospel of the Kingdom is different than the Gospel of Grace??

  • Paul

    This is spot on, Keith. It might be added that both Paul and Jesus spoke of the “gospel of God.” The good news of God is that God is not the vindictive punisher that their ancestors imagined, but instead, “if you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” Jesus told the Pharisees 4-5 times in John, “You don’t know God.” The good news they preached was that God is a god of grace, also translated as “a god of loving-kindness.” That’s why God lets rain and sunshine fall on the just and the unjust. Loving-kindness is given to all. The pain and trouble we experience is simply the repercussions of our own unkindnesses. Jesus came to teach and reveal a totally different image of God.

  • I agree about the picking and choosing books about the Bible, but i think the quote that starts your comment is a valid conclusion made by the author based on the array of scriptures he quoted.

    When Jesus taught us to pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” that tells me that God’s kingdom is to be brought about here by us, by our “Jesus actions” and introducing people to God through Jesus.

    There are also many inaccurate (wrong) translations into English from the original languages. “Heaven” is wrong because in every other language it’s the exact same word as “sky.” “The heavens” is the correct translation. When translated correctly people should be less likely to think of it incorrectly. The writers of the Bible (“library of writings”) thought that the earth was flat and covered by a firmament which is a metal dome or space, and that God and the angels lived just outside of that. But we now know that this is completely WRONG.

    “Kingdom” is also misleading because it implies that God’s rule is a “place” that is somewhere else. “Realm” or “domain” are more accurate because God rules wherever “He” is, which includes here when we embody Him with our thoughts, words and actions. Something is “divine” when it contains or expresses the divine (word/truth/message). Even God being male is inaccurate because they translated out all the other genders of the objects (spirit and wisdom are female words, like “car” is male in Spanish), whereas “Elohiym” is a male word but they left it that way instead of neutralizing the gender like they did with all the other words, because English doesn’t use gender like that.

  • I like the article even though i don’t get why people would think there are different “gospels.” Paul is just trying to explain Jesus although he never actually met him in person, and in the explaining there is no way not to add things, including his own opinion, which he admits in some places.

    I understand the use of “Gospel” maybe here but we need to remove all the Greek transliterations when they have actual meanings in English. Nobody should ever use the word “gospel” again because it has a plain English meaning of “good news.” Why are we speaking Greek? Christos means anointed and by extension messiah, savior and in modern English “chosen one.” So let’s just SAY SO. All this Christianese makes God sound fancy schmancy and exclusive, when IT is not. (God being male is also an artifact of language.)

  • Questioning54

    Back to the old “God inspired the original but couldn’t “inspire” the tranalators or THE readers who interpret it wrong … “. When caught out in contradictions and not making sense bible believers (worshippers?) always come back to translation and human interpretation “mistakes”. Of course they don’t make such mistakes in what THEY believe! It’s the OTHER people who do.

  • Cliff

    Not much here to feed on….Paul had a falling out with the Jerusalem Jesus followers and went his separate way. The Early Church Fathers picked up on Paul and created what is today’s Christianity pretty much. I think Jesus and his followers in Jerusalem would not recognize it. Another point: there were many “gospels” in circulation late First Century and into Second Century that did not make it into the canon but should have…I think we should look to the Didache Community as an example of the budding Jesus movement, quite distinct from Paul’s writing….but those Jesus followers in Jerusalem disappeared, faded out of the picture for various reasons….Notably: Jesus did not equate himself as equal to the Father; he did not present doctrines such as Trinity or Atonement, etc….

  • Rudy Schellekens

    Thanks to the Pre-Millennial Dispensationalists we ended up with two Gospel idea. According to that train of thought, Jesus WAS going to bring the physical, literal kingdom where Romans were kicked out and temple service was restored as Israel would be restored to her Davidic glory. Well, you see, Jesus failed, and now has to come back to start this again. In the meantime, He gave us the church as a “bandaid” (Gospel of Grace) to get the world ready for the Rapture/Tribulation and 999+1 year reign on earth from Jerusalem.
    Now, you take that “theology” out of the equation, and there is no need for a differentiated Gospel.

  • Rudy Schellekens

    Actually, the Greel word for Gospel is EUANGELLION, evangelie
    https://www.google.com/search?q=define+gospel&oq=define+gospel&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.7839j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

    EUANGELLION is not a religious word. “I won the lottery” is EUANGELLION – good news. I became a grandfather – good news. My kids love me – good news. For the Greek today, that is EUANGELLION, good news///

  • Rudy Schellekens

    Well, that is NOT the Good news. Listen to Stephen in Acts 7…