Q&A: Paul's Opinion and Inspiration

Paul's Opinion and Inspiration

Question

How can the Scripture be inspired if Paul is merely giving his opinion? (1 Cor. 7:12; 7:40)

Answer

The texts in question are:

1 Corinthians 7:12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.

1 Corinthians 7:40 In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

In 1 Corinthians 7:12, Paul is addressing the fact that Christ did not directly say anything about the issue at Corinth when he spoke about divorce and marriage (Matt. 5:31-32; 19:4-12). However, Paul gives his authoritative view on whether a believing wife should stay with an unbelieving husband. But note, Paul's comments are bracketed by these verses:

1 Corinthians 2:13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

and

1 Corinthians 14:37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command.

Paul was clearly speaking by divine authority (1 Cor. 7:40 - "I think that I too have the Spirit of God").

Please see:

Why should I listen to Solomon?
God's Flawless Word
Inspiration and Accuracy
Inerrancy and Canonicity

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).