- Paul believed his message was divine
- Paul spoke of "My Gospel"
- The evidence: Paul received direct revelation from the Lord
- Disobeying Paul's writings brings discipline
- His writings were considered scripture during his lifetime
As a former KJV-Onlyist, I was taught to never question the inspiration and, thus, preservation of the Bible. The two went hand-in-glove. You couldn’t possibly have something preserved if it wasn’t also inspired, as far as Scripture is concerned. Of course, this means everything is “inerrant,” or without error. But since my departure from the dangerous movement known as “fundamentalism,” I’ve pushed myself to investigate my own long-standing beliefs, and I must say that, in typical fashion, I’ve departed from much of mainstream “Christianity.” Even the denominations that shy away from the “fundamentalist” term.
We find in Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary the following definition: “theopneustos, meaning ‘inspired by God’ (Theos, ‘God,’ pneo, ‘to breathe’), is used in 2 Tim. 3:16, of the Scriptures as distinct from non-inspired writings. Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale and the Great Bible have the rendering ‘inspired of God’.”
The idea behind “inspiration” is that the words are God’s very breath. He is the source of what’s being said, communicated, written, etc.
To know what authority is, we’ll look at a dictionary definition and then also take a sample from the Bible. First, let’s look at a dictionary definition. Authority is defined thusly in Webster’s 1828:
1. Legal power, or a right to command or to act; as the authority of a prince over subjects, and of parents over children. Power; rule; sway.
2. The power derived from opinion, respect or esteem; influence of character or office; credit; as the authority of age or example, which is submitted to or respected, in some measure, as a law, or rule of action. That which is claimed in justification or support of opinions and measures.
3. Testimony; witness; or the person who testifies; as, the Gospels or the evangelists are our authorities for the miracles of Christ.
4. Weight of testimony; credibility; as a historian of no authority.
5. Weight of character; respectability; dignity; as a magistrate of great authority in the city.
6. Warrant; order; permission.
A legitimate question might be “Who grants such authority when it comes to determining what’s inspired, or who is inspired?” Who has the legal power to declare something is inspired? Good question. Hopefully we can answer this.
Here’s an example from the Bible where we find this question being asked. First, it needs to be noted that of Jesus of Nazareth, Matthew notes that “he taught them as one having authority, not as the scribes.” There was something different from the way Jesus spoke that people were able to perceive this. What was it? It was the fact he was the Messiah, a unique and especially powerful prophet. This authority was from Heaven, directly from the Father, and very few were able to truly discern this—Nicodemus was one such example (Jn 3:2).
Let’s see more of this controversy. Read the following:
And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.
Here, Jesus is withholding the information they desire: the source of his authority. And for good reason, too. They were always scheming about how to kill him. But the discerning student of Jesus knows the source of Jesus’, and other true prophets', authority: Heaven…the Father himself.
Preservation is the idea that what God says (or what we have on our shelves, in our laps at church, etc.) is preserved for all time, perfectly, without error. Some Scriptures that relate this idea are Psalm 12:7 and Psalm 119:89.
Now, without a doubt, Psalm 119:89 is affirming God’s word is forever perfect. But where is this version of God’s word? In Heaven. It says nothing of a promise to keep it that way in the earth.
Psalm 12:7 is trickier, but context clues us in. Read the entire Psalm, and you’ll see.
To the chief Musician upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David. Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us? For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him. The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.
The Psalmist is simply saying that compared to the vain, unfaithful words of men, his oppressors, the promises of God are unfailing. God makes a promise and he keeps it. This isn’t saying that any particular English translation is more superior. It’s a general principle and affirmation that what God says he means and will see it through. Compare this Psalm with Isaiah 55:11.
Now, as far as so-called “inerrancy” is concerned, it just isn’t true. Any discerning person will know that in the history of translation, errors have been made, and biases have infiltrated the text. Take, for example the simple fact that the word “church” is invented. The true word is ekklesia in Greek, which is correctly translated "assembly" in English. So why “church” and not the real word "assembly"? Because, of bias, perhaps; maybe ignorance. How about the word “cross”? The actual, transliterated word would be “stake” or “post,” not what we’ve imagined and commercialized. Yet, there’s more. How about the various words we have translated simply as “hell”? There are plenty more. One last example is 1 John 5:7, which isn’t in any reliable manuscript. It’s an addition, and many Trinitarian scholars admit this. Yet, there it is, deceiving and confusing people, holding them in idolatry. It’s about time we get honest with the false idea of “inerrancy.”
You see, I believe--literally, that everything we believe and do rests on the words of Jesus, the anointed son of God. He's the door, the light, the teacher, the friend, the savior. Everything points to Jesus. Sadly, in my experience as a Bible reader and former church goer, everything is interpreted through the epistles, especially Paul's.
Paul's opinions, not inspired commands
It's easy to prove that what many Christians call "inspired scripture" isn't. Let's look at some of Paul's statements to prove this. Paul says the following:
1Co 7:25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
Interesting. Paul has no commandment of the Lord concerning this issue. That means whatever he pens after this statement is pure opinion and therefore not inspired. He does the same again, in his second epistle to the same group.
2Co 11:17 That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.
Paul departs from sound speaking and takes to foolish boasting. Is this inspired? Certainly not. Yet, though also un-inspired, no other New Testament writer is so bold and brazen as Paul is in his double-talk. However, despite the easy, plain implication of Paul's very own statements, his own disciples--the ones who sincerely read his writings under the impression that they're all given by God--miss and, or, excuse his statements here. Nevertheless, in addition to these two verses (which are obvious clues), we have Paul's various contradictions to the prophets, the Torah, Jesus, and Jesus' brother James. Such contradictions once more help prove that whatever Paul says isn't "God-breathed." Why be surprised, though? Paul himself says, to paraphrase, "To the Jew I became a Jew; to the Greek I became a Greek; to those under the law as one under the law; to those not under the law, as one not under the law (...but under the 'law of Christ'...). That I might by all means save some."
So this brings us to a reasonable question, "Didn't Peter endorse Paul as an author of inspired Scripture?" The short answer is no.
Peter endorsed Paul?
Douglas DelTondo, of JWO, relates the following from his word study on this passage:
Hence, we know at the outset that such a word as dysnoetas is intended in a pejorative sense. It has a negative uncomplimentary sense. Think for example of the word "utopia"--an ideal place, versus a "dystopia"--a nightmarish world where one endures great suffering or injustice, typically such as a totalitarian world. So a utopia when the prefix is changed to DYS is a nightmare world--the exact opposite meaning of utopia. See the definition at this link.
Then the conjoined word is NOETAS. It means SENSIBLE. See Francis E. Peter, Greek Philosophical Terms: An Historical Lexicon(1967) at 130 ("logoi noeton" = "sensible things"); 128 (noeton = "intelligible") Cf. NOETA = thought. Hence, DYSNOETAS means "nonsensical thoughts" or "unintelligible thoughts" to reflect that the writer lacks any sense to what he or she is writing. What does that mean?
The problem is that writer's words simply don't make any good sense. They defy common sense.
Thus, it is clear the problem begins with Paul's fault by the word DYSNOETAS used by Apostle Peter, according to its traditional authorship. Some of Paul's writings--not all--are said to suffer from DYSNOETAS."
There can be no doubt based on the definition of this word that Peter, if he wrote the passage, isn't exactly endorsing Paul's letters. The word he uses to describe his writings carry a pejorative meaning. Indeed, like the author of the Gospel Coalition article states, Paul's words in this passage have no real sense to them.
The problem in “Christianity” today is that they choose other teachers above and beyond Jesus. From the Hebrew Roots folks who place an almost pre-eminence on Moses (or at least make an equality of him to Jesus), to the Dispensationalists who place greater emphasis on Paul, to those who mix them all up and make all speakers in the Bible as "equally inspired," it all distracts way from Jesus--even though Father told us, "This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, listen to him." Jesus must be the focus. There’s no “apostle to the circumcision” or “apostle to the gentiles” with one's opinion greater than another's. There aren't two gospels--one for the Jew and another for the Greek. There’s one Great Apostle with one Gospel for all nations, Jesus of Nazareth who was sent from the Father to be a light to all and to give all who hear and see life and peace without fail.
Can we learn from James, Peter, or John? How about Moses or Jeremiah? Amos? Jonah? Yes, we can. But how do we understand them? Only through Jesus. Jesus is the greatest teacher among these. His words alone are the words of eternal life. But Paul? His words, as I believe I've demonstrated, need further examination.
 Matthew 7:28,29, KJV
 Common state/ grave - Gen 37:35; Psa 9:7; Psa 16:10; Jon 5:28; Acts 2:27,31; Rev 20:13,14 ||| The words used in these references have relatively the same definitions and are as follows: sheol - “the world of the dead (as if a subterranean retreat)…- grave, hell, pit”; hades - “properly unseen, that is, ‘Hades’ or the place (state) of departed souls: - grave, hell.”; mnay-mi’-on -“a remembrance, that is, cenotaph (place of interment): - grave, sepulcher, tomb.” (verse references and subsequent note taken from the following study: The Nature of Man and State of the Dead).
 Spoken at Jesus' "transfiguration." See Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9
This is an on going study and is subject to revisions.