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Introduction: Knowing Jesus and Knowing about Jesus

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

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Summary

Paul was persuaded that he had seen Jesus (1 Cor 9:1). His having seen Jesus was as real to him as was the experience of Jesus reported by the other apostles. This was true even though he had had no association with Jesus during his earthly lifetime such as the disciples had had. Paul's call as an apostle was based on having seen Jesus risen from the dead, as he reports in 1 Corinthians 15:8. There he makes no distinction between his having seen Jesus and the appearances of Jesus to the disciples. Equally important is that apparently they also saw no difference between Paul's experience and theirs, since they accepted him as having been called to apostleship by the risen Christ, just as they had been. But Paul's vision of the living Christ was not his only direct encounter with Jesus. Paul tells in 2 Corinthians 12:9 what the Lord said to him, when once he was taken up into the presence of Christ – who had been exalted to heaven – giving him instruction about enduring the difficulties and sufferings he was undergoing (“My grace is sufficient for you …”). It is clear that Paul's claim to know Jesus was based on personal experience. Paul was persuaded that he knew Jesus.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1990

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