Who is this Paul anyway?
This is a follow-up to the post on biblical canon, I suppose. I’ve always wondered about the place of Paul’s epistles in the Bible – why exactly are they there? My (simplistic) line of reasoning in questioning this is that the Old Testament was accepted by Jesus, and most of the New Testament is supposed to be a historical record of the time of Jesus and writings by his apostles – where does Paul fit into this? Sure, he writes rather detailed theology, but what separates him from any other author who does this, such as C. S. Lewis?
Even putting aside disputes over their authorship, the main reason Paul is in the Bible is that he is regarded as an apostle like the original twelve, albeit appointed by Jesus only after his (Jesus’s) death. His miraculous conversion was recorded in the Acts of the Apostles – written by Luke, an associate – perhaps disciple – of Paul’s. Peter (bona fide apostle – arguably Jesus’s appointed lieutenant) apparently referred to Paul’s writings as scripture – this point might have convinced me if not for the fact that the New Testament canon did not exist then and Peter was clearly not referring to the Hebrew bible (Old Testament), which would have been a closed canon then. Did he have another intended meaning for the original Greek word? Did he, perhaps, simply mean that they were useful for instruction, just as many of today’s bible commentaries are?
I am making a number of assumptions here, but in the absence of actual knowledge, I find it difficult to simply accept the veracity of all these claims, and the scriptural status of his letters – and in so doing (effectively) offer up my life to be guided by those writings.