By Spencer D Gear
What do you say to someone who states that Paul, the apostle, was in error when he states that “there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” (Romans 13:1 NIV).
I’ve been in a back and forth discussion on Christian Forums with 2knowhim on the topic of God and secular governments. He wrote to me:
When Paul said that all scripture was inspired by God he surely was not including his writings as scripture, that is somethings that men later concluded and we are here to debate the wisdom of such an endorsement.
In order for scripture to be considered scripture it must be put through a vigorous set of standards and it is obvious to me that the churches of Asia got it right by forsaking Paul.
Can scripture be considered as God breathed if it is obvious that they are both fallible and wrong? You say they aught to be accepted because some men, at some point of time, claimed them to be the inspired word of God and you seem to reject any reasonable challenges that clearly show that the writings of Paul are in err because it has always been believe that the compiled writings of Paul’s are in a book you claim is the infallible word of God. But that book we have shown is both fallible and not inspired by God and that only goes to show that the writings in question should not be considered as inspired writings. Jesus’ teachings are a part of the collective of the writings in the bible but they were never put into a book by God but by men and the bible is a fallible book of collective writings of men, which I believe happen to contain true God breathed writings in the teachings of Jesus the Christ.
Is my reasoning in err (sic) then lay out your argument.
The following is my response:
You may be correct when you state that when Paul wrote all Scripture was inspired [theopneustos = God breathed] of God that he was not including his own writings. But I wouldn’t be so brazen as to state that categorically as you did. Why?
In fact, he was referring probably to the OT. However, William Hendiksen and Simon Kistemaker in their commentary on the pastoral epistles commented on the meaning of
all Scripture. in distinction from “(the) sacred writings” (for which see on verse 15) means everything which, through the testimony of the Holy Spirit in the church, is recognized by the church as canonical, that is, authoritative. When Paul wrote these words, the direct reference was to a body of sacred literature which even then comprised more than the Old Testament (see 1 Tim. 5:18). Later, at the close of the first century A. D., “all scripture” had been completed. Though the history of the recognition, review, and ratification of the canon was somewhat complicated, and virtually universal acceptance of all the sixty-sic books did not occur immediately in every region where the church was represented – one of the reasons being that for a long time certain of the smaller books had not even reached ever corner of the church -, it remains true, nevertheless, that those genuine believers who were the original recipients of the various God-breathed books regarded them at once as being invested with divine authority and majesty (Hendriksen & Kistemaker 1955:301-302).
One of your major errors is your view that Paul was in error because “when Paul said that all scripture was inspired by God he surely was not including his writings as scripture” (your words). This is where you show your ignorance of another portion of the NT:
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:14-16 NIV, emphasis added).
Here the apostle Peter writes of Paul the apostle who wrote in his letters and how does Peter compare Paul’s writings? They are among the Scriptures as he wrote of “the other Scriptures” in the same breath he was writing about what Paul wrote.
The apostle Peter regarded Paul’s writings as Scripture.
But how do you regard them?
Can scripture be considered as God breathed if it is obvious that they are both fallible and wrong? … the writings of Paul are in err … But that book we have shown is both fallible and not inspired by God and that only goes to show that the writings in question should not be considered as inspired writings.
Even Paul’s “hard to understand” writings are Scripture. What is Peter’s instruction to people like you who claim that Paul is in error? Peter is very clear:
ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
These are not my words, but Scripture places you in the category of “ignorant and unstable people” and what do you do? You “distort” Scripture. What is the consequence for people who do this? “Their own destruction” is coming.
I am not making this accusation against you. This is what Peter, the apostle, in the inspired Scriptures states about those who distort what the Scriptures of Paul state. When you state that Paul in Romans 13:1-7 is in error in what he states about human governments, and you state that he was wrong, and that “the bible is a fallible book “, you are the one who brings “destruction” on yourself.
It is horrifically judgmental on yourself when you do this, but you are without excuse. Peter, under the inspiration of God, has told you what your outcome will me.
It is very sad for me to point this out to you, but it seems that you are ignorant of the nature of NT Scripture – especially the writings of Paul.
This statement by you is abominable:
The bible is a fallible book of collective writings of men, which I believe happen to contain true God breathed writings in the teachings of Jesus the Christ.
And you have the temerity to place it in bold.
William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker 1955. New Testament Commentary: Thessalonians, the Pastorals, and Hebrews. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic.
 Christian Forums, Christian Apologetics, ‘Can a person discriminate against women and be a Christian? 2knowhim, #38, 16 May 2012, available at: http://www.christianforums.com/t7654554-4/ (Accessed 16 May 2012).
 Ibid., OzSpen, #42.
Copyright © 2013 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 16 October 2015.