by Shari Abbott, Reasons for Hope

I would agree that when Paul wrote to Timothy saying, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” (2 Tim 3:16), he was speaking of the Scripture that was already written at that time — what we call the Old Testament.

So how do we know that the New Testament writings are divinely inspired?

There are many reasons, and a great deal of biblical support, to claim that the books of the New Testament are God’s divinely inspired, preserved Word. The Gospel records and the Book of Acts are actually historical accounts and much of what is written can be supported by other historical documents. Paul also validates much of those books in his letters.

In this article, we’ll address only a few of the validations of the New Testament being God’s Word and encourage you to do further research on manuscript evidence. That’s a very in-depth subject and much can be found online that will help you to understand the validity of our claim that the whole Bible is God-breathed.

Peter’s Testimony

In referring to Paul’s letters, Peter equated Paul’s writing to Scripture when he wrote:

2 Pet 3:14-16  Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 

We know that Peter was selected and commissioned by Jesus to help build the Church, so it is noteworthy that he esteemed Paul’s writings as accurate, authoritative AND on par with “the rest of the Scriptures.”

It is unknown whether Paul ever thought his letters would be gathered and preserved for teaching purposes in the same way as the Hebrew Tanakh (Bible) was used for teaching.  But we do know from historical documents that his letters were collectively used as early as the 2nd century for teaching in churches.

Paul’s Apostolic and Spiritual Authority

We also know that Paul was taught by Jesus, which gave him apostolic authority:

Gal 1:11-12  But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Additionally, Paul claims to be taught by the Holy Spirit:

1 Cor 2:9-13  But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

Understanding that Paul had both apostolic and spiritual authority gives us reason to believe that his writings are divinely inspired.  Therefore we are to be “mindful of” his words just as we are of the prophets and all the apostles:

2 Pet 3:2  That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

Canonization of the Holy Scriptures

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