Are Parts of Paul's Writing "Uninspired"?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Dr. Bob, Jul 14, 2003.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    Some of my friends believe that what Paul wrote is ALL under inspiration, even where he said "here I speak, not the Lord".

    Some other friends opt to say that such areas are NOT for us today, they were just his opinion or 1st Century mindset and NOT applicable for today.

    Of course, I agree with my friends.
     
  2. Glory Bound

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    Of course you do!

    Good question, though. I've wondered something on a similar vein... In Galatians when Paul records his confrontation with Peter about eating with the gentiles, I've wondered if Paul's conclusion of Peter's motivation was actually correct, or was it just his opinion. Would the Holy Spirit prevent Paul from coming to a misunderstanding of Peter's motive?

    (Not meaning to sidetrack the discussion - I think this is along the same concept as the original question)
     
  3. USN2Pulpit

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    This is what I wonder about when Paul wrote "I do not suffer a woman to speak..." He never says it's a sin, but does say that he doesn't allow it. I've always wondered at this point, where he actually comes out and says what his technique is - whether or not his technique is also the inspired Word of God. I've come to the conclusion that it's better to follow his teaching here, since it's entirely consistent with the rest of the Word.
     
  4. Dina

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    I believe the entire Bible to INSPIRED. Can it be that the Holy Spirit Inspired a "right" opinion, but still opinion??

    The reason I ask is on another thread, there is a discussion as to do Paul's words equal a COMMAND from God? Thoughts?
     
  5. Michael Estes

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    Hmmm...if I had a choice between listening to the advice of a devout Christian who actually met Jesus and who wrote much of the N.T. versus that of people who strain at the least letter in the Bible to squeeze what they want out of it instead of what it very plainly says, I believe I'll stick with paul.
     
  6. IfbReformer

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    Hi Dr. Bob,

    As to your question I think all Paul's writings were inspired. In the instance of which you are speaking I Corinthians 7:12(NIV):


    "12To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. "

    By itself it looks like Paul is giving his opinion. But if you look at the verse in context he is not:

    "10To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
    12To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her."

    In verse 10 he is saying what Christ specifically commanded when he walked with the Disciples.

    In verse 12 he is adding to what Christ said and he is making it clear that Christ did not say this but he is saying it. It is still the command of the Lord of through the Apostle Paul.

    Many people take this passage to try and cut out some things the Apostle Paul says about marriage and the qualifactions of Bishop. This is flawed theology.

    Peter spoke to the authority of Pauls writings when he wrote II Peter 3:15-16(NIV):

    "15 Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. 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."

    Peter clearly puts Paul's epistles on the same level as the other Scriptures. And he says that men were distorting Paul's epistles to their own destruction.

    I would be very careful of saying there are opinions in Paul's letters I hear from some people so often.

    Well thats my take,

    IFBReformer

    [ July 14, 2003, 03:32 PM: Message edited by: IfbReformer ]
     
  7. ScottEmerson

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    Is it possible that the writing could be inspired by God and still be applicable more to a 1st century church than today's world? We also must consider that possibility.

    (Notice, I didn't give an answer, just offered another spin on it)
     
  8. Dr. Bob

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    Scott - Would have to revise my initial question and say "Another friend . . . " :D

    I cannot begin to sit in judgment on the NT and say "this or that was cultural" and only applied to the 1st Century or 2nd Century or 3rd Century.

    God gave His Word and it (en toto) "is profitable reproof and rebuke, correction and instruction" that the man of God (Bob) might become mature.

    Not some of it, or what I liked or agreed with, or what I interpreted as "for today".

    If this were allowed, I would have a "holey" Bible. Anything I didn't like I would just label as "cultural" and ignore it.

    Kinda like liberals do today.
     
  9. CubeX

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    A lot of the times, Paul wrote to confront situations in certain locations. Although they don't mean the same to us today as they did then, they are still very applicable in our lives.

    -CubeX
     
  10. ColoradoFB

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    Dr. Bob, it would seem to me (and I could be wrong here), that if Paul made the effort to record that he was speaking and not God, that we would have no reason to doubt that he was stating an opinion, outside of what he thought God was having him say.
     
  11. ScottEmerson

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    What do you think about women who wear jewelry or braid their hair? Are these allowed in your church? Or is this a cultural thing?

    But isn't it true that even if something is designed specifically for a certain culture, we can still learn great lessons for today, and still be profitable for reproof, rebuke, correction and instruction?

    And I would say that a proper hermeneutic cannot take into account what I like or not like. It must include an understanding of audience and context. For example, we understand that Hebrews was written to a Jewish audience, so some of the language and illustrations are different than what we would read in, say, I Corinthians.

    I'm a moderate. I certainly don't "get rid" of pasages I don't like. Otherwise my Bible would be a whole lot smaller. (The whole forgiveness parable about the servant who wouldn't forgive his brother would be quick to go... but I can't... and I must continue to forgive over and over and over again!) [​IMG]
     
  12. Johnv

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    Well, let me start by saying that I believe all of Paul's writings included in the NT are inspired. Now, that doesn't mean that they're "dictated". When Paul referrs to himself as speaking and not the Lord, he's asserting what we might already know in some passages: That he's giving the reader/audience guidelines for implimenting God's directives. For example, Paul speaks about administrative guidelines for running the churches. That doesn't mean that a church MUST operate in the manner laid out, but that the guidelines that Paul lays out assist the churches to run effectively to promote the Gospel.
     
  13. npetreley

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    I don't see the issue as being one of what's inspired and what is not. Take a look at these two passages:

    In the former case, Paul separates God's word from his own advice because his personal advice applies to human circumstances that are not aligned with the original intent of God for marriage.

    In the latter case, Jesus also identifies what was permitted as the inspired words of Moses (a man) rather than the original intent of God for marriage.

    In both cases the "permissive" instructions are attributed to a human representative, not God Himself, even though we should assume that the words of Moses were inspired (if not Paul as well).

    IMO, this is intentional, because although God indirectly permits these things by inspiring the words, the wording cleary separates what is permitted as a "man thing" from what was originally intended by God. By separating Himself a degree from what He permits, it communicates the message that God is Himself no less Holy simply because He permits something less than perfectly Holy for our sake, since we are unable to be perfect.
     
  14. Grasshopper

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    Great Topic Dr. Bob. Here is an interesting article:

    Is the Bible written to us?

    We certainly believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, breathed into its writer by the Holy Spirit. We believe it is His way of communicating with us today.

    2 Timothy 3:16 - All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.

    However, we should also remember that although it was written for us, it was not all written to us. The epistles, for example, are letters addressed to specific people or groups of people. They were read out in various churches, and no doubt circulated beyond their original addressee. Nevertheless, the epistles represent correspondence between an apostle and someone else. We are reading somebody's mail.

    Does this make it of less value? No, but we have to remember this, and remember at all times who the writer was, and to whom he was writing.

    Why? Because well-meaning Christians who want to honour God look at a verse, and say, "This was written to us!" Was it? It was written to somebody else, although there is much value in what is said, from which we can learn (2 Timothy 3:16). In other words, it was written to somebody else, but written for us!

    Consider the following examples:

    1 Timothy 3:14,15 I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long, but in case I am delayed...

    Who was 'I'? Who was 'You'? Are we to wait for Paul's return because of this statement?

    2 Timothy 4:19-21 "Greet Prisca and Aquila. Make every effort to come (visit me in prison) before winter. Eubulus greets you."

    Who was Paul speaking to? Are we to greet these people because the Bible is written to us? Are we to make the journey to Rome before winter? Are we all blessed with Eubuls' (and others') greetings? You will say, "Stupid question! It's obviously to be read in its context of situation and time!"

    Hebrews 10:31-34 But remember the former days.

    Whose former days?

    1 Thessalonians 4:17 - ...we who are alive and remain shall be caught up

    Whom is Paul writing to? Who was 'we'? If you said, "Christians thousands of years in the future", what reason would you have to say that? Simply this: We do not believe that Jesus came back in their lifetime, and so Paul couldn't have meant what he so obviously said!

    1 John 2:18 - Children, it is the last hour, and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour.

    To whom was this written? Who is 'we' When was the last hour?

    When we read God's words like this, bearing in mind the writer and the audience, it really becomes quite difficult to believe that the writers are addressing us today. The warnings, the promises, the assurances were all God-inspired to the churches and individuals of the time, those specifically mentioned in the salutations.

    Does this mean the Bible is irrelevant to us today? Of course not! Ask a Creationist if Genesis is irrelevant! The principles, the wisdom, the unfolding of God's plan have enormous relevance for us!
     
  15. Pastor Larry

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    The simplest answer is being overlooked here. When Paul said "This is what I say, not the Lord," he means that he is not quoting the Christ from his earthly ministry. He is operating under direct revelation. When he says "This is what the Lord says," he is repeating something that Christ said during his earthly ministry. Some of you guys will go to great lengths to get around simple things, it seems to me.
     
  16. Johnv

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    Pastor Larry, when did you get so smart, and why aren't you sharing? [​IMG]

    The simplest answer, however unlikely, is most often the correct one.
     
  17. npetreley

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    Maybe. But this verse makes it sound like he's simply giving advice based on his own judgement as one who believe he is led by the Spirit, and not from direct revelation. IMO there's a difference between the two.

     
  18. Graceforever

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    Hi Dr. Bob,

    As to your question I think all Paul's writings were inspired. In the instance of which you are speaking I Corinthians 7:12(NIV):


    "12To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. "

    By itself it looks like Paul is giving his opinion. But if you look at the verse in context he is not:

    "10To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
    12To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her."

    In verse 10 he is saying what Christ specifically commanded when he walked with the Disciples.

    In verse 12 he is adding to what Christ said and he is making it clear that Christ did not say this but he is saying it. It is still the command of the Lord of through the Apostle Paul.

    Many people take this passage to try and cut out some things the Apostle Paul says about marriage and the qualifactions of Bishop. This is flawed theology.

    Peter spoke to the authority of Pauls writings when he wrote II Peter 3:15-16(NIV):

    "15 Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. 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."

    Peter clearly puts Paul's epistles on the same level as the other Scriptures. And he says that men were distorting Paul's epistles to their own destruction.

    I would be very careful of saying there are opinions in Paul's letters I hear from some people so often.

    Well thats my take,

    IFBReformer
    </font>[/QUOTE]I think Paul was just carrying on the thought from earlier in that chapter, in 1 Corinthians, chapter 7:6 “But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.”

    I think Paul was given special permission to speak what he said, in other words, it was edited by God….. I believe Paul walked by the Spirit enough to know the mind of God, through the Holy Ghost….

    The Word is inspired….
     
  19. IfbReformer

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    Amen Pastor Larry,

    That was exactly what I was trying to say in my previous response. I just took the longer route.

    IFBReformer
     
  20. USN2Pulpit

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    Pastor Larry, there may be some trying to "get around" scripture, as you so delicately put it, but not I. I can't speak for everyone here, but I'm simply trying to understand why Paul would write it in the way he did (under the Holy Spirit's inspiration, of course).

    Just because the question is being asked doesn't mean we're trying to get around scripture. Given the wording, it is a legitimate question. As for my opinion, I'm satisfied that the passages in question are inspired, especially given that they are consistent with the rest of scripture.
     

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