1 Corinthians 15:5 NASB

5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

In all the narratives of four evangelists there seem to be no record of Christ meeting Cephas then the twelve after his resurrection,but that he met them together

Matthew 28:16 NASB

16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Mark 16:14 NASB

14 Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen.

Luke 24:38 NASB

36 While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and *said to them, “Peace be to you.” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit.

John 20:19 NASB

19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and *said to them, “[b]Peace be with you.”

Could Paul be referring to another event which was not recorded by the Evangelists?


John explicitly states that his Gospel (and by extension the other Gospels as well) are far from complete (John 20:30, 31, 21:25) - Jesus did MANY other things that could not be recorded.

Jesus meeting Peter/Cephas alone is one of the few incidents recorded outside the Gospels. For another example, see Acts 1:5-11 for a series of details not recorded in the Gospels.

Therefore, if Paul stated under divine inspiration in 1 Cor 15 that Jesus met Cephas, then I must presume that this is a recording of the facts.


Paul wasn’t depending on the Gospels for his historic account of the resurrection. He depended on eye witnesses. In 1 Cor. 15 Paul dealt with those in Corinth denying a bodily resurrection. That is why he referred to eye witnesses testimonies of the resurrection.

Paul’s purpose in appealing to witnesses still alive is to invite his readers to check his facts if they doubt his words.

Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (1 Co 15:6). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

He also noted how critical the resurrection is to the gospel.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. (1 Cor. 15:3–8, ESV)

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. (1 Cor. 15:12–14, ESV)

As far as Paul’s account correlating with the Gospels, even the accounts of Christ’s resurrection in the Gospels seem to be contradictory because of the huge amount of detail left out, as John wrote:

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; (John 20:30, ESV).

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. (John 21:25, ESV)

However, a careful examination of the resurrection accounts reveals they can be consistent if one considers the left out details. This passage in Luke might be a reference to Christ appearing to Peter:

saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” (Luke 24:34, ESV)

The appearance to Cephas, that is, Peter, is not recorded in the Gospels other than a passing reference in Luke 24.

Witherington, B., III. (1995). Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians (p. 300). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Note that writing material (papyrus and parchment) was expensive at that time and the codex (current book form) wasn’t yet known. Scrolls had a practical size limitation. Thus, the Gospels had less detail than we would like. John’s Gospel is purposely different because he avoided repeating the details in the other Gospels to have room for important details left out of the other Gospels.

Paul gave information about Peter not in the Gospels. He did have direct contact with Peter (Acts 15:7; Galatians 2:11-14).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.