Thank you so much for your faithful work and dedication to answering my questions. The Bible calls us to be ready in and out of season, so i would like to knock down a question about the writers of the Bible.  The Bible claims that John wrote his gospel, Paul wrote Romans, and Paul wrote Ephesians. So my question is did they write them? I have heard that Paul told someone what to write in some of his books, but this should not take anything away from the inspiration of the Bible. My friend once told me that its kind of like how he types up this for his boss. But do we take these situations by faith? Because “everything without faith is sin.” Also a claim that might be made is, “Well the Bible is all made up, a whole group came together and made a book and say it was written long ago by a man named Paul and so on. If you have any information on this it would be a blessing.


It is normal and customary today, and was as well in the time the New Testament was written, for a person to dicatate a letter, but someone else to transcribe the letter. Scholars believe that it is likely that some or perhaps many of Paul’s letters in the New Testament were written down for him by an assistant. 1 Corinthians 16:21 (I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand) seems to prove that this is the case, at least for 1 Corinthians. The same can be said for Ephesians 6:11. You can be assured that Paul looked very carefully over these letters before they were sent out. You can also assume that those who received them, understood them to be from Paul, not from an assistant. They bore all the authority of the apostle Paul. To be honest, it does not take much faith at all to accept this explanation. Perhaps we could argue that it takes faith to believe that these letters are all inspired by God. It is hard to ‘prove” each letter is inspired, so faith is required. However, it does not require much faith at all to believe that these letters represent Paul’s thoughts, even if they were actually physically penned by a scribe/assistant.

As for your second question, even the most liberal of scholars (Bart Ehrman, for example) agree that Paul was a real person who wrote actual letters, some of which ended up in the Bible. Such scholars might question that some of the letters ascribed to Paul were written by others, but even they agree that he wrote, for example, 1 Thessalonians and Romans. So, the theory that some group got together and faked all these letters is not tenable. You can safely dismiss this idea. We have manuscripts from the second century, and quotes from Paul in the early centuries. There is no reasonable doubt that Paul was a real person, who was responsible for most, if not all of the New Testament letters ascribed to him.

By the way, there are some serious scholars who think that it is possible that another John, known as Presbyter John may have written the book of John. I think that this theory is almost certainly not correct, but you should be aware that, although the authorship of Paul of at least some of the letters ascribed to him is accepted by all, there is a significant minority who question the authorship of John. Either way, the book was accepted by the early church as authoritative and as inspired. I am 98% convinced that the apostle John wrote the book, but even if he did not, it is clearly inspired and, by faith, I believe that God directed the formation of the New Testament.


John Oakes



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