Why didn't Paul Preach the Lord's Prayer?
Summary: Many profound parables and commands from Jesus, including the Lord's Prayer were not shown in Paul's writings. Does that mean they were meant only for the Jews? NO!! Paul pointed to Jesus's teaching and commands in many of his writings.
Some key facts:
Paul's writings in the Bible were mostly his followup letters to the churches!
Paul said he gave the gentiles "milk, not solid food" and pointed them to Jesus and to the scriptures to mature in the knowledge.
Paul did not have access to the details in the 4 books of the New Testament in his day; they were not written yet.
No one followed Paul around and documented everything he said and did! But for Jesus, 4 disciples did!
There are similar statements to the Lord's Prayer in Paul's letters.
1. Most of Paul's Writings were Follow-up Letters not the Complete Message
Four of the disciples who followed Jesus wrote everything Jesus said and did. But Paul, no one did that! We don't have all the details that Paul preached in those churches. All we have are his follow-up letters! Here's an example reference:
On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.
Does anyone know what Paul preached that whole day until midnight? Is it anywhere in the Bible?
The letters to the churches were mostly limited to the controversial issues of those days and that culture, which Paul had to address in followup letters after he had spent long times preaching in person at those churches. These issues were mostly Jews wanting to continue mixing in works-of-the-law, and Gentiles confused by the two messages from Paul and from the Jews. The book of Hebrews, an exception, was completely directed to the Jews who did not believe Jesus was the awaited Messiah. Paul told them, "You missed it in the desert with Moses, then wandered for 40 years. And now you missed it again, not recognizing God's Messiah!"
2. Paul's Similar Statements to the Lord's Prayer
Although Paul did not specifically write about the Lord's Prayer verbatim in his letters because the New Testament was not written yet, he did make similar statements consistent with Jesus's. Examples:
"Your Kingdom Come" and "Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sins":
2 Corinthians 4:16: Paul: "... Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day". (our Inner Person is the Holy Spirit).
1 Corinthians 10:17: Paul: "Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf".
Paul also referred to the Jewish eating of sacrifices when explaining the new covenant of Jesus to the gentiles:
1 Corinthians 10:18 Paul: "Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar?"
"As we forgive those who trespass against us":
Colossians 3:13 Paul: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Paul got the basic message across and pointed them to Jesus. Jesus gave us the Lord's Prayer, which showed us how to accomplish this spiritually. Jesus is God and Paul is His apostle, and not the other way around! The complete how-to message is in what Jesus said:
1 Timothy 6:2-3 Paul:
"These are the things you are to teach and insist on. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing."
3. Other Key Facts from Paul's Followup Letters
We can gather enough references from his letters to fully re-construct the main message of Paul:
1. Paul's main objective was to find a way to introduce the gospel of Jesus to the gentiles. The concept of an invisible God with a redemption plan through a son named Jesus who died on the cross, was already very strange and unusual for these people to accept; as they freshly came off their idol worshipping ways. So Paul knowing this, focused on explaining the basics, which may not have included all Jesus' commands and parables:
1 Corinthians 3:1-2
Paul said: Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.
2. Paul pointed them to Jesus for the full message, and instructed them to mature:
Jesus is God. Everything He said is precious to all of us. Paul pointed to Jesus. So go learn every precious word Jesus said!!
Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice. Become mature,...
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.
3. One new covenant, one salvation plan, and one message - not one for Jews and one for Gentiles:
For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him.
. . . by setting aside in His flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two [Jews & Gentiles], thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross...
So Jesus is for the two, Jews & Gentiles. And His Prayer is for the two!!!
And also as evident in this reference from Paul, we are all to mature in the knowledge of Jesus Christ and His teachings:
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
4. Paul also digressed into other matters with the gentiles, like how to conduct themselves in public, the "oughts" and "ought nots", how gifts of the Spirit are distributed, and body parts talking to each other (if the ear said to the eye I can't see...) etc. And spent a good part of His writing convincing the Jews to get off their "works of the flesh" law, and get into the spiritual, by-faith in Jesus.
5. Paul did not have access to the details in the 4 books of the New Testament in his day; they were not written yet. The Bible books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written and published about 100 years after Paul died. So he did not have any new-testament scripture to read, or reference. But filled with the Holy Spirit, he did the best he could to evangelize these regions, without Bibles. He had to stand up in each church and talk to people about the Gospel of Jesus, then rush to the next church. Here is an example of Paul at the church of Corinth; indicating he had no time to spare: "To this very hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed, we are brutally treated, we are homeless." 1Corinthians 4:11. So reciting the whole new testament to these churches, even if he did know all the words, would have been an impossibility due to shortage of time. Therefore he had to keep it high-level.
In those days, Paul pressed hard the message of "by faith alone; not by works". This was because he was facing a difficult situation at the time, where the general public feeling was that some works of the flesh had to be done for the forgiveness of sins. Add to that the strong influence from the Jews, who kept poisoning the early church with their requirements. Example, you still have to be circumcised, you still have to refrain from eating certain foods, etc.. Paul kept drilling in the message of "NO, it is by faith alone; you don't need to do anything else in the flesh..." This is why we see this statement a lot "saved by faith alone, not by works..." in Paul's teaching. Then the Protestants got a hold of this, and translated it as: "No, it is by faith alone; you don't need to do anything else; nothing at all." And here we are today, after hundreds of years of producing "do nothing" Christians, people are brainwashed with the wrong message, and many are likely spiritually dead.
People need to be vigilant about this, and stop blindly following their church's instructions of "do-nothing", or Catholics encouraging their members to pray to humans. Examine the facts in the Bible, and research online for yourselves, including this website. And know the difference between the "works of the flesh" and "spiritual requirements". Let's not mix up the two. We're talking about our eternity. Please take the time to examine all the facts and Bible references.