The Apostle Paul’s letters; From Man or God?
by Billy Dyer
In my last post we asked the question, “Were the authors of the New Testament (NT) aware that they were writing with divine authority?” The liberal will say “NO”. They contend that the authors of the NT were writing occasional documents. These letters were never intended to have universal application much less carry divine authority. In fact, so they say, it was the later church that imposed upon these letters authority.
Thus, we looked at some internal Biblical evidence to see what the authors of the NT letters actually claimed. We examined Galatians 1:1 & 1st Thessalonians 2:13. Today we will view two more passages by Paul, namely, 1st Corinthians 14:37-38 & 2nd Thessalonians 3:6, 14.
1st Corinthians 14:37-38 says, “If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment. But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.”
The last part, even in the translation, is very clear. He says what he is writing is the Lord’s commandment. The original Greek is τοu Κυρίου εστιν εντολη. If you don’t know Greek let me break it down from you.
- εστιν is the verb “to be”. It is in the 3rd person singular, hence the translation “it is”. The subject of the verb is “the things I (Paul) write”.
- Εντολη is the noun “commandment”. Notice that earlier in the Corinthians letter Paul uses the same phrase to refer, unequivocally, to the authoritative instructions from God (1st Cor 7:19).
- τοu Κυρίου is the noun phrase “the Lord”. It is in the genitive case. In a basic sense the genitive case is your possessive case. We could translate it “The commandment of the Lord”. Most likely in this context it is source, that is, “This is the commandment from the Lord”. Regardless of whether you view it as source or possessive the point is the same. What Paul is writing he is claiming is not his words but the Lord’s.
Also compare Leviticus 27:34, Deuteronomy 4:2, 11:26-28 to see how Paul is using the language of the Old Testament to refer to divine commands. Therefore, there is no question what Paul is claiming here…
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