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Don Stewart :: Did Paul Make a Distinction between His Words and God's Words? (1 Corinthians 7:12)

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Don Stewart

Paul did indeed make a distinction between his words and the words of Jesus.

To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her (1 Corinthians 7:12).

Paul does make a distinction between his words and the words of Jesus. However this distinction was not in the area of whose words were authoritative - it is a distinction concerning which authoritative teacher spoke on this particular issue.

Jesus Did Not Directly Speak On This Subject

In context, Paul is dealing with a number of issues regarding marriage. He makes the statement that these words are his and not that of the Lord Jesus. He does this because Jesus did not directly comment upon this matter while here upon the earth. Since Jesus left no divinely authoritative word on the subject it was up to the Apostle Paul to give God's Word on these issues. Paul is not comparing the authority of Jesus' words with his own authority to teach. He is merely saying that Jesus did not comment on this matter.

Paul's Commands Were Authoritative

After making this statement, Paul then gave some specific commands to the believers concerning how to act in these issues regarding marriage. He claimed that his commands were authoritative.

Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy (1 Corinthians 7:25).

Basically Paul is saying that since he did not have any authoritative teaching on the subject by Jesus then he would give his own authoritative words. There is no thought here of claiming less authority than Jesus.

Summary

Some object to the doctrine of inerrancy by assuming Paul contrasted his words with those of Jesus. While Paul did make a distinction between his words and those of Jesus, it was not in the area of who had authority and who did not. Paul merely stated that he was giving his authoritative word on certain issues regarding marriage because Jesus did not directly speak about the subject. He was not denying that his commands were any less authoritative.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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