Recently I reviewed The King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight. A key point McKnight makes is that we can truncate the gospel. He mentions running into a pastor he knew who described the gospel as “justification by faith” and this pastor even said that Jesus did not preach the gospel because the gospel was not understood until the apostle Paul. Maybe that is an extreme example (maybe not) but in various ways we can jump right to the Pauline epistles and bypass the 4 gospels when we think about “the gospel” – even though the 4 gospels are named…gospels! Uh? haha!
But really – think about it. We can think of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as telling us “about” Jesus and then we turn to the epistles (primarily Paul’s) to consider salvation. The “Roman’s road of salvation” may be our go to.
As I continue to read and study through John, using commentaries by Leon Morris and F.F. Bruce, the below comments jumped out to me in relation to this:
In commentary on John chapter 3, F.F. Bruce states:
“John does not use the terminology of ‘justification’ by faith, but he teaches it in his own language as plainly as Paul does in his.” (page 91)
Also in comments on John chapter 3, Leon Morris states:
“In its own way this chapter does away with ‘works of the law’ every bit as thoroughly as anything in Paul.” (page 209)
Bruce and Morris wrote long before McKnight, so it was interesting to see them point out that John’s gospel teaches the same truth as the apostle Paul. Apparently this has been a contention or question before.
So…can you become a Christian without reading the Pauline epistles? Yes, of course, but the way we approach it can make it seem otherwise.
Your thoughts welcome! Thanks for stopping by Enough Light.