Paul says this statement in one of his letters ...

Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God. 1 Cor 7:40

Can I not also make that Statement? Can I not also look at the Old Testament and interpret it carries along by the Spirit?

Would my Words not also be Sacred? Would they be Less Inspired?

2 Answers 2


The short answer is: no

To understand the difference we first need to clarify some things. But first, lets be honest, if every believer could write scripture it would become completely nonsensical. Now, having the Holy Spirit is not the same thing as being divinely inspired to write scripture. So the follow-up questions should be, what is the primary purpose of the Holy Spirit?

  • Indwelling of the Holy Spirit:

    Upon becoming believers, individuals receive the Holy Spirit, which is considered a seal and guarantee of their salvation as referenced in Ephesians 1:13-14. The Holy Spirit plays a role in the lives of believers through sanctification, helping them to be obedient to the Word of God, and leading them towards truth as mentioned in John 16:13.

  • Divine Inspiration of Scripture:

    The term "divine inspiration" pertains to the belief that God played a role in guiding the human authors of Scripture to communicate His message accurately. Scripture is described as "God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16) or inspired by God, so it is ultimately authored by God Himself through the "agency" of human authors. This concept distinguishes the inspiration of Scripture from the general indwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers because there is a specific interaction between God and the authors of the Bible. This resulted in the production of divinely authoritative and infallible Scripture.

  • Canonical Recognition:

    The books that make up the Bible were declared as inspired Scripture by the early Christian church. They were recognized on the basis of criteria of apostolic authorship, doctrinal soundness and widespread acceptance as books considered authoritative to speak God’s truth. Once sufficient evidence for their recognition was amassed, movement towards their canonical acceptance was unstoppable under the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit in tandem with the clear discernment of the church.

Although the authors of the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit, they still wrote from their own personalities, backgrounds, and experiences. God used their unique characteristics and writing styles to convey His message. While it is our job as Christians to study, interpret and apply the Word of God through the power of the Holy Spirit, not every interpretation or teaching is inspired or authoritative. For example, Paul’s claim in 1 Corinthians 7:40 reflects his confidence in understanding a particular marital situation, but that doesn’t mean that every Christian interpretation and/or statement has the same divine authority as Scripture.

Conclusion: Christian writers may provide valuable insights, reflections and even interpretations of biblical truth, but their writing is subject to review against the teaching of Scripture. The authority of the Bible overrides the authority of any human writer or work.

  • @ Jason well said. For documentation let's make note of 2 Peter 1:16-21 & Rev. 22:18-19, although some might argue these verses only apply to prophecy. I think the principle applies to all scripture and is how we must test the spirits to see whom they are from.
    – RHPclass79
    Commented Mar 21 at 22:26

There is an important difference between Paul's writings and that of other for a very simple reason as in 2 Tim 3:16

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness

That is, Paul's writings were included in the Canon of inspired Scripture; the OP's writings and my writings will never have such a privilege. The reasons for such an inclusion are usually listed as follows:

  • Paul was an apostle directly called by God, 2 Cor 1:1, Eph 1:1, 1 Tim 1:1, Titus 1:1, etc.
  • Paul had visions and dreams given by God, 2 Cor 12:1, etc.
  • Paul had a direct and personal encounter with the risen Jesus, 1 Cor 15:8
  • The apostle Peter appears to regard Paul's writings as part of the canon of Scripture, 2 Peter 3:16

Now, these qualifications of Paul were not unique - others could also say the same in the first century. However, Only Paul and a handful of others' writings were considered worthy of inclusion in the NT canon. Indeed, Paul appears to have been judged the most worthy based on the sheer volume of his works that were canonized - Paul's writings make up more than half the NT.

1 Corinthians 7

Several times in 1 Cor 7 Paul asserts his own authority as parallel to that of Christ by simply saying - the Lord did not say this but I am saying. Thus, he states a simple truth that he is teaching something that Jesus did not say.

This should not be regarded as unacceptable - there are many things that are true that were never said by Jesus; for example, "the angles of a triangle sum to 180 degrees" is true, despite the fact that Jesus never said this.

Indeed, Paul in his theological treatises (eg, Romans) says many things that Jesus never said, but are still valued as spiritual trueth.

  • I could say that I have all qualifications save meeting Peter. Commented May 19 at 15:48

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