What turns your crank—the gospels or Paul’s epistles?

Which part of the bible shapes and drives your Christian spirituality?  What turns your “theological crank”—Paul’s letters or the gospels of Jesus?

In my evangelical upbringing, the Old Testament and Paul’s epistles were preached from more often.  So I’d have to say that the Old Testament and Paul’s epistles have been the early shaper of my Christian theology.  However, later in life, as I began attending Lutheran churches, the gospels of Jesus were preached from more often.  Now later on in my life, the teachings of Jesus have been a shaper of late.  However, at this point in my life, I feel a need to return to more of the teachings of Old Testament and of Paul’s epistles.

Does anyone out there feel the same way too?

10 Replies to “What turns your crank—the gospels or Paul’s epistles?”

  1. Well, I am currently teaching Hermeneutics. Then this fall I will teach an Old Testament Survey and Confessions. My Gospel focus might go back to Luke. He resonates with much of my suffering times over the decades.


  2. I have phases of emphasis. While in seminary I took every Pauline epistle I could and wrote my STM on 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5. But I would concentrate on one of the Gospels for long stretches. In seminary it was Mark, then the next 10 years it was Luke. Then I took on John while finishing graduate studies. For a few years I backed away from intensive study. Now I am back to Matthew.

    Just a comment on “practical theology”… From a Lutheran perspective I think that is a misreading of Pauline epistles. But that is for another time.

    (BTW, good to see you posting again)


  3. Scott,

    Practical theology for a practical Christian living? … something we all need at some point in our lives.


    “…he Gospels are the fountainhead of Christian belief”.
    I haven’t heard it expressed that way before, but it’s so true.


  4. I gobwith the Gospels. While the Epistles may flesh out theology for the individual and the church, the Gospels are the fountainhead of Christian belief.


  5. I’d say Paul’s letters typically shaped my ‘theology’ in earlier years. But as of late, I really appreciate reading the Gospels and other not-so-heavy theological letters, i.e., I’ve been in 1 John recently. There is theology, but it seems a lot more practical than some of Paul’s letters can seem at times. But I wouldn’t want to dichotomise too much on this.


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