Sunday, November 10 2019
“Paul was only talking about the Old Testament Scriptures being inspired by God.” Many have made this assertion often that the apostle Paul and other New Testament writers were not aware that they were writing new Scripture. They assert this to undermine any certainty in New Testament Christianity.
The apostle Paul wrote 2 Timothy 3:16–17 recognizing that the Scriptures included the Christian Scriptures as God-breathed and all-sufficient for teaching and equipping for every good work. Paul’s recognition of the Gospel of Luke as “Scripture” confirms the apostolic oversight of the biblical collection (1 Tim 5:18; cf. Luke 10:7). In addition to this, Paul’s associate Luke mentioned previous accounts of Jesus’s life from eyewitnesses including Mark and Matthew in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:1–3). The apostle John wrote about the eyewitnesses of Jesus testifying and proclaiming eternal life including himself who are “writing these things so that our joy may be complete” (1 John 1:4). John recognized that the apostles were writing to spread the gospel as eyewitnesses.
The writing of authoritative letters by the Holy Spirit occurred early as noted in Acts 15. The apostles with elders in Jerusalem distributed letters concerning doctrine very early in the church about AD 48 (Acts 15:22–25, 30). After this event, Paul began writing epistles to churches.
Paul declared that his writings were Scripture when he noted that he wrote the command of God for the churches to obey (1 Cor 14:37; cf. 4:17; 7:17). The apostle’s writings were authoritative as Paul wrote wisdom “taught by the Spirit” (1 Cor 2:13; 7:40; 2 Pet 3:15–16). Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to the church at Corinth and for all Christians (1 Cor 1:2). Furthermore, the apostle wrote what God revealed through all the apostles and prophets for churches to read especially in assembly (Eph 3:4–5; Col 4:16). Christians assembled for edification and worship and then read letters from a missionary whom they believed spoke the commands of God (Acts 15). Sadly, many believers struggle to endure the reading of Scriptures today.
The apostle Peter recognized all the writings of Paul as “Scripture” (2 Pet 3:15–16). Peter noted that Paul’s writings were spread throughout nations including some nations that none of the apostles specifically addressed (1 Pet 1:1; 2 Pet 3:2, 15–16). The early Christians spread the Scriptures throughout the known world in the first century.
Paul wrote about the gospel that had gone to the entire world when he wrote the church in Rome in AD 57–58 (Rom 1:8; 10:18–20; 16:25–26). Likewise, Paul noted again that the gospel had gone to all the world when he wrote to the church in Colossae in AD 61–63 (Col 1:5–6, 23). The spread of the gospel by the apostles and other Christians explains the spread of the Christian Scriptures as these writings were completed, copied, and distributed.
Early Christians spread the message of Jesus throughout the world in the first century and the Scriptures spread through the churches. Those Scriptures survive and exist today by God’s providence passed down centuries among various churches to profit all with teaching and equip the church for every good work.
Christians can and must trust the Scriptures as the all-sufficient guide for teaching and good works as the apostle Paul taught (2 Tim 3:16–17). Thank God that His apostles oversaw the collection and spread of the New Testament Scriptures in the first century.