Did God have anything to do with our New Testament?

This discussion started last week, so you may want to read some previous posts if you haven’t done so. Last week, I pointed out the humanity of the gospels, which often gets overlooked. There was as great a human element in the writing and preserving of the gospels as there was with the epistles.

That said, I believe that all the books of the Bible were inspired. I’ll admit to not being able to explain all the ins and outs of inspiration, for I’m neither a “divine dictation” believer nor a “purely human” advocate. But I’m firmly convinced that God breathed life into the words in this book, giving it value that common books do not have.

Both Luke and John talk about why they wrote their books. They felt that writing was their decision. Paul also speaks of choosing to write the letters he writes. That shows the existence of some humanity in what was done. Yet I’m convinced that God guided their writing, shaping the books into what he wanted them to be.

I also believe that God guided the church in the preservation process. Early Christians debated a bit, but relatively quickly came to a consensus as to which books belonged in our Bible (despite what you might have read in Dan Brown novels). They rejected certain gospels, discarded certain letters, but kept the books that they felt best met the needs of Christians outside of the original recipients. I don’t think these choices were made by chance.

That’s why I’m frustrated with the current “That’s just Paul” movement. It very much downplays the role of the Holy Spirit in the Holy Book. Paul is not divine in the way Jesus is. But Paul’s words are as inspired as the recorded words of Jesus. The early church thought they had a wider application than their original audience; surely God had a hand in that. They deserve to be taken seriously, very seriously.

One thought on “Did God have anything to do with our New Testament?

  1. Jay F Guin

    Tim,

    I couldn’t agree more. For that matter, there are several places in the Pauline epistles where he is clearly building his argument based on the words of Jesus — such as 1 Cor 7. That is, we should recognize that part of Paul’s mission was to bring the teachings of Jesus to the Gentiles. The letters of Paul are therefore often commentary on the words of Jesus. And who is a better commentator — a contemporary fellow Jewish rabbi inspired by the Spirit to apply Jesus’ words to the Gentiles post-Pentecost? Or a modern Bible student who thinks he understands Jesus better than Paul did?

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