How do we know the epistles are for all believers today? They were written to specific audiences in the cities of Rome, Corinth and Philippi etc. How do we know that those Epistles now apply to all believers? Yes, the epistle 2 Peter 3:16 speaks of some of Paul's epistles being hard to understand back then, but is there anything in the New Testament that would show that principle has applied ever since to his epistles, or that other epistles were going to apply to believers in the future?

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    Why has this Q been closed, and by who, just as I was half-way through forming an answer? Could an explanation be given, please? If it was for lack of a hermeneutical approach applying to such a Q then I would suggest 2 Peter 3:16.
    – Anne
    Jul 9, 2021 at 13:52
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    @Anne The question was closed by a Moderator as it was considered to be off-topic, not quoting a specific scripture but opening up a 'topic' for debate which, on this hermeneutic site is considered off-topic.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 9, 2021 at 14:14
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    @NigelJ The rules for this site do not require that every question be based upon a specific scripture. See hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic for more. This question falls squarely into the "hermeneutics" category in the official list provided for this site. For that matter, the "scripture" referenced was "the epistles." It would be pointless to pick out just one verse from those when the full body is important to this valid question.
    – Polyhat
    Jul 9, 2021 at 14:42
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    Whether or not a text applies to someone's life today is really outside the scope of this site, because it concerns the doctrine of inspiration, as well as the Spirit's witnessing within the reader's heart. Of course many members of this site would reject both. Maybe a question along these lines could be asked at the Christianity.SE site, but it depends how it was phrased.
    – curiousdannii
    Jul 9, 2021 at 14:54
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    @Polyhat I stated why the Moderator closed the question but I fully understand your own approach and I believe there is merit in the question being asked, that is to say what hermeneutic principle can be applied to demonstrate that all of the apostolic epistles are relevant to the whole Church (past, present and future) and not just to the immediate recipients of said epistles ? I think an edit (or a new question) would be very worthwhile. I suggest a new question is easier than trying to open a closed one.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 9, 2021 at 20:26

1 Answer 1


I would suggest two good reasons to understand that Paul's epistles apply to all believers today:

  1. They are specifically called "scriptures" by Peter.

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:15-16)

  1. We know the scriptures are for our study, benefit, and salvation. Jesus said:

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5:39)

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