Board index Paul the Apostle

Paul is such an important figure in Christianity. There are many questions about his life and writings and his place in Christian theology.

Paul's Divine Authority

Postby U Ask » Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:46 pm

I am seeking guidance in helping me figure out why we can believe Paul's writings and teachings to have the authority of God. The only place that I can find giving Paul the authority (other than books that he wrote himself) is from Acts 22:14-15, when Paul proclaims that God has appointed him and that he will be a witness to everyone about what he has seen and heard. Acts was written by Luke, and that passage looks like he is just quoting what Paul is saying as Paul quote Ananias. This makes me a bit uneasy. Are there other places in the Bible that support Paul's divine authority other than his own writings? Or how do you think about this? Do you just take what Jesus said in John 14:26 to be a blanket statement about the power of the Holy Spirit to capture His teachings including Paul's writings?
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Re: Paul's Divine Authority

Postby jimwalton » Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:00 am

As you imply, there are plenty of places where Paul considers himself to be writing with the authority of God (Gal. 1.1, 11-12, 15-16). These verses are probably enough to settle the case about Paul's view of himself, but there are plenty more if you still think Paul didn't regard himself as having divine authority. And, as you mentioned, in Acts 22.14-15 he claims to have the authoritative commission and message from God. In 1 Corinthians 14.37, Paul says that what he is writing is the Lord's command. Colossians 1.25, 1 Thes. 4.2-8, and more.

But are there other places, or do we have other evidence that other Christians endorsed God's authority in Paul? That's a tough question, because most of the NT was written by Paul. The Gospels are the story of Jesus and don't refer to Paul or his writings, though Luke

    * The other apostles and church leaders recognize this same authority and message in Paul in Galatians 2.1-10. The question at hand is whether Paul was contributing to false belief because Paul was preaching a false message. He was vindicated and endorsed by Peter, James, and John.
    * In 1 Thessalonians 2.3, the people there accept his words as not human words but rather of divine origin.
    * In 2 Peter 3.15-16, Peter regards Paul's writings as having God-given wisdom in his writings, and that they are on the same plane as "other Scriptures."

We can start the conversation from there. Let's talk.


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