Paul's Testimony: New Testament

The apostle Paul now takes the stand to testify for the inspiration of the New Testament. He told the Thessalonians that his spoken message was “the word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Then he claimed that his writings had the same authority as his spoken message (2 Thessalonians 2:15; Galatians 1:11–12; Ephesians 3:1–5; 1 Timothy 2:7; 4:1). He said, “[W]hat I am writing to you is the Lord's command” (1 Corinthians 14:37; 2 Corinthians 13:3).

Revealed to the Apostles and Prophets

Writing to Timothy, Paul quotes Deuteronomy 25:4 and Luke 10:7 and he referred to both as Scripture (1 Timothy 5:18). The divine message was “revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets” whether they were writing the Old or the New Testament (Ephesians 3:5; 2:20; 4:11). This also demonstrates that Paul was familiar with other New Testament books—e.g., the Gospel of Luke.

Bible Lesson

Peter had a collection of Paul's New Testament books (2 Peter 3:15–16). Paul told the Colossian Christians to read and circulate their Epistle (Colossians 4:16). The Thessalonians were charged to read their own letter (1 Thessalonians 5:27). Each New Testament church would copy Scriptures and keep them for their congregations.

In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul referred to the divine mysteries revealed “to us [the apostles and prophets] by his Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:10). Then he spoke of revelation: “We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us” (1 Corinthians 2:12). Immediately, Paul testified that the revealed messages of the apostles and prophets were God-breathed: “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.” The apostles and prophets spoke and wrote God's very words—the church was built upon this foundation (Ephesians 2:20).

Look in the Book

In Matthew 16:16–19, Jesus called Peter a rock (petros, meaning a small pebble). He then said that “on this rock” (petra, a feminine form for rock which refers to the underlying rock of the earth's surface), he would build his church. The church is built upon the confession that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) and God the Son. Peter used the “keys to the kingdom” (Matthew 16:19) to provide salvation to the Jews (Acts 2:14–41) and to the gentiles (Acts 10:1–48).

Examining Scripture

Earlier, 2 Timothy 3:16 was submitted as evidence for inspiration. Now, take a closer look at this passage: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” There are four points in this passage that deserve examination:

  1. The word all (pasa) means the entire Bible, Old and New Testaments.

  2. The word Scripture (graphe) refers to the writings themselves.

  3. The word God-breathed (theopneustos) refers to all Scripture being breathed out of God's mouth (inspiration).

  4. The word useful, sometimes translated profitable (ophelimos), means that the Scriptures are beneficial because they are inspired.

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