According to 2 Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God", why Paul said "But to the rest I, not the Lord, say" in 1 Cor 7:12?

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    Welcome to the group Ennon. I upvoted Jason's answer, but I would add that Paul didn't know he was writing scripture, so in humility he distinguished between his personal viewpoint and what Jesus had said and/or what he had received directly from God. Apr 4 at 11:15
  • @DanFefferman interesting point – so Paul would likely be talking about OT – as there was no NT at the time, hence Paul's scriptures are not inspired Apr 4 at 12:46

3 Answers 3


Short Answer: Because the Lord truly didn't say it.

Paul here distinguishes his own words from those that Jesus had explicitly taught for the duration of his earthly ministry. This distinction is what leads Paul to say, "But to the rest I, not the Lord, say."

This declaration by Paul does not suggest that his words are, one way or another, less authoritative or inspired than Jesus' teachings. Instead, it reflects the truth that Jesus had not addressed every precise circumstance or issue that could arise within the Christian community during his earthly ministry. In cases in which there's no direct teaching from Jesus, Paul, under the steering of the Holy Spirit, provides teaching based on the standards Jesus represented. 

To conclude: When Paul says, "But to the rest I, not the Lord, say" he is clarifying that what follows is his apostolic teaching based on divine inspiration rather than a quotation of Jesus' direct teachings. However, Paul's words are still taken as authoritative and as Scripture, as affirmed in 2 Timothy 3:16. 

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    +1. Good and precise answer.
    – Dottard
    Apr 4 at 10:34
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    @Dottard -- I think you forgot to actually upvote this answer although you gave it a +1. One of the things I appreciate about Paul is that several times he makes it clear that this is his own opinion rather than something God revealed to him. Apr 4 at 11:11
  • @DanFefferman - many thanks - done
    – Dottard
    Apr 4 at 20:47
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    Thank you so much for taking time to answer. I believe this could be precisely what I'm waiting for. Apr 5 at 9:27
  • RE the final remark "as affirmed in 2 Timothy 3:16". We know Paul considered Luke's gospel to be scripture because he quoted Luke 10:7 ("the laborer earns his wages") as scripture alongside Deuteronomy 25:4 ("you shall not muzzle an ox...") in 1 Timothy 5. But just because we consider Paul's letters as scripture does not mean he himself shared that assessment. It would have been quite arrogant for Paul to have considered his own letters to be "scripture" and having equal status to Torah, the Prophets, etc.
    – wberry
    Apr 5 at 14:06

An extremely short answer - Because that letter to Christians in Corinth was not being generated by A.I.

There was a real, live, human author getting Greek words down on to parchment. He was not an automaton, a robot, or programmed by another to only write words dictated to him. Paul had a working mind, human feelings, and addressed his readers likewise. They knew, therefore, when he was instructing him as to God's revelations to humanity via Jesus Christ, and when Paul mentioned a point that was not from the lips of Christ. Yet it was still sound Christian counsel, entirely biblical in principle.

  • Thank you so much for taking time to help me with an answer. Apr 5 at 9:28

Paul doesn’t want the people to consider his words as prophecy. The Church believed that “this generation” was their generation and would be the first and last generation before the Jesus prophecy would be fulfilled. There’s really nothing in the gospels about Jesus speaking about being a family man is obedience to the law. I would argue that Jesus literally taught the opposite and was challenging the social norms of the time and the family tradition of heritage, inheritance, marriage, and kinship. The Church at this time was struggling with the Jesus prophecy of the “coming of the son of man” in Matthew 24 because they were now changing the traditional understanding of family, kinship, and marriage. Jesus spoke a prophecy of that he and his followers (Matthew 19:28-30) would fulfill the Messiah prophecy of Isaiah 2:4, however the means to do it was by Matthew 10:34-39 meaning his followers would now have a serious relationship problems between themselves and their Jewish Law of Moses obeying families. Because obviously at the time if you wanted to be a follower of Jesus you had to literally follow him around because Jesus wasn’t going to come and visit your family and your town to preach to you there so you could stay with both your family and Jesus. Your new family was the other followers of Jesus you would follow around with with Jesus as he did whatever and wherever. These passages contain information about false prophets which is why Paul doesn’t want to be considered a prophet nor in disagreement with Jesus, or that Jesus was a false prophet. Deuteronomy 18:22 Deuteronomy 13

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