Are Paul’s Writings Scripture?

Papyrus Bodmer VIII, Original: Biblioteca Apos...

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Question:  How do we know that everything Paul wrote is true?

Answer:  Jesus told His apostles in John 16:13 that when the Spirit of truth came He would lead them into all truth.  Jesus himself taught his disciples how to interpret the Old Testament (Luke 24).  He was preparing them to lead the church with authority and truth.

Paul often declares himself to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, appointed by Him after the others but in no way less authoritative than them (Romans 1:1, 5; 11:13; 1 Corinthians 1:1; 4:9; 9:1, 2, 5; 15:9; 2 Corinthians 11:5; 12:11, 12; Galatians 1:1; 2:8; et al).  He indicates that his teaching is to be obeyed (1 Corinthians 14:36,37; 15:1-4; et al).

Interestingly, in 2 Peter 3:15,16 Peter refers to Paul’s writings as “Scripture” (“His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.”).  And the testimony we have from Paul and Peter is that the Scriptures are God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) and from the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).

So from a biblical perspective, Paul’s writings are Scripture that is divinely inspired and produced by the Holy Spirit to give us doctrine and training in righteousness.  They are meant to be taken by us as God’s Word.  Without this assurance we would struggle to really know how to discern God’s will in our lives.  Our understanding of the gospel would be at stake.  We need these authoritative words in order to know how to live before God.

Randall Johnson

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4 thoughts on “Are Paul’s Writings Scripture?

  1. Just one thought. We do not know that all that Paul wrote is true. We only affirm that his writings accepted as Scripture are true. We know he wrote other letters. It is possible that those other letters contain some error. Even Apostles can make mistakes (as seen in Galatians 2 where Paul corrects Peter’s practice of separating from Gentiles.

    So, we (the Church) recognize certain of Paul’s writings to be Scripture, and therefore we hold that they are without error. Or, maybe we (the Church) recognizes that these writings are without error and are, therefore, Scripture. This does not mean that if we found one of Paul’s “missing letters” that we would automatically add it to our Bible.

  2. Just remember that Paul sometimes says that something is his opinions, as seen in one of the letters to the Corinthians (I’ve not got the verse handy, my apologies!) Also, we need to understand that not all he wrote can apply to us, because he was writing to a certain group of people. But so was Leviticus. Not all of it applies to us, and neither does all of Paul’s teachings. I’m not saying it wasn’t God-breathed; but I am saying that we need to understand his audience (Who each letter was written to) and if he was writing a verse specifically to them or to the whole world.

    I dare say that the command about being unequally yoaked in 2 Corinthians 7 applied to the Corinths because they were Christians and kept their pagan culture at the same time. Yes, it can slightly apply to marriage- I mean, you can be unequally yoaked, but not just with unbelievers; with Christians, as well. He means that should you marry an unbeliever (Which he doesn’t specifically command against), do not blend their religious beliefs into yours and praise multiple gods. And if you marry a Christian who is unequally yoaked (Has weaker faith than you, et cetera), don’t fall into their habits. I understand that marriages to non-believers can be tedius, but so can marriages to Christians. I’m really mad at all the misunderstanding going on of this verse. Sorry for ranting 🙂 God bless!

    • The passage you are referring to is either 1 Corinthians 7:6 (“I say this as a concession, not as a command” speaking about marrying instead of remaining single, which he says is better), or 7:12 (“To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord)…” where he is giving teaching on what to do if you are married to an unbeliever and the unbeliever wants a divorce). In the first instance he is clearly giving advice, not a command. But in the second instance it seems more likely that he is giving a command, it just isn’t a situation Jesus covered so there is not mention from Jesus about how to handle this situation. Later in this same chapter Paul very clearly says that if someone remarries (a widow) it is a requirement that the new spouse be a believer (7:39).

      The passage in 2 Corinthians 6:14 is not speaking about marriage in context but the Corinthians’ relationship to their unspiritual leaders. It applies to any situation, however, where there is a need for unity. The phrase is particularly speaking about being yoked to an unbeliever. Two oxen yoked together must pull in the same direction. To be unequally yoked leads to the two “oxen” pulling in different directions or to one conceding to the other. If it is the believer conceding to the unbeliever that makes them disobedient.

      Please be careful in your interpretation of every passage and don’t so readily adopt the view that this is Paul’s or any Scripture author’s “advice.” They make it clear if it is advice. For us to make that decision ourselves puts us over the text, not in submission to it. There must be good, sound interpretive reasons to suppose that what is written no longer applies to us.

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