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Author Topic: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?  (Read 16520 times)

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Offline spurly

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How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« on: Wed Apr 25, 2007 - 13:46:43 »
Before you answer this question, it is not as easy as it sounds.  We have two letters to the Corinthians in our Bible, but in both of these letters Paul refers to another letter.  In 1 Corinthians 5:9-11 he refers to a "previous letter" and in 2 Corinthians 2:3-4,9 & 7:8, 12 he refers to a letter written out of great anguish and with many tears which many people call the "sorrowful letter".  Most people believe the previous letter has been lost, however some people believe the "sorrowful letter" is what we have as 1 Corinthians or is attached to the end of 2 Corinthians.  Personally I don't see how Paul could ever regret sending 1 Corinthians, as 2 Corinthians 7:8 seems to indicate that he did at one time.  Nor do I see how 1 Corinthians could be the letter written with many tears and great anguish.  What is your take on the Corinthian correspondence?

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How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« on: Wed Apr 25, 2007 - 13:46:43 »

Offline Harold

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #1 on: Wed Apr 25, 2007 - 13:52:21 »
I have heard four, the two missing were short letters. They could be lost to history, or they could have been incorporated into the letters we already have.

FTL

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #1 on: Wed Apr 25, 2007 - 13:52:21 »

Offline DCR

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #2 on: Wed Apr 25, 2007 - 14:07:03 »
I have also heard that there may have been four.

It is an interesting issue.  Would they have been any less inspired than the two we have in our Bibles?  In think there are references to other missing letters as well (i.e. to the church at Laodicea... Colossians 4:16).

What's interesting about Colossians 4:16 is that it shows how letters were to be shared/copied and passed around between churches, which is how we ended up with the canon we have today.  But, in that case, the Colossian letter survived, but the Laodicean letter apparently didn't.
« Last Edit: Wed Apr 25, 2007 - 14:13:54 by DCR »

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #2 on: Wed Apr 25, 2007 - 14:07:03 »

Offline DCR

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #3 on: Wed Apr 25, 2007 - 14:11:48 »
Nor do I see how 1 Corinthians could be the letter written with many tears and great anguish. 

Just for the sake of argument, I could see it.  Paul had to address some serious problems in 1 Corinthians that were unpleasant yet necessary to address (i.e. their divisions, the way they were behaving, and the matter of the unrepentant man who was with his father's wife).

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #3 on: Wed Apr 25, 2007 - 14:11:48 »

Offline Nevertheless

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #4 on: Wed Apr 25, 2007 - 14:39:24 »
I wish we had copies of the letters written from Corinth to Paul.

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #4 on: Wed Apr 25, 2007 - 14:39:24 »



Offline spurly

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #5 on: Wed Apr 25, 2007 - 15:26:16 »
I wish we had copies of the letters written from Corinth to Paul.

If we had their letter and knew the question they asked Paul about women it might just clear up once and for all the issue of women speaking or being silent.

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #5 on: Wed Apr 25, 2007 - 15:26:16 »

k-pappy

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #6 on: Wed Apr 25, 2007 - 15:27:00 »
I'll echo all of the above statements....I have both heard and read there were 4 letters from Paul to the Corinthian church.  Also, I would love to be able to read the letters they wrote to Paul.

KP

Offline gman

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #7 on: Wed Apr 25, 2007 - 16:09:01 »
You could actually come up with 5 letters based upon what we have in I and II Corinthians.  But to do so you need to break up II Corinthians into three fragments.  It makes an interesting story.  The sequence of events 5 letters creates is intriguing but it's only a guess.

Raymond Brown, author of An Introduction to the New Testament, and one of the more respected scholars on the NT believes II Corinthians holds up as one letter.

When I taught a class on Paul's letters I presented the 5 letter version and the possible story they present, admitting of course that it's only a conjecture.

Offline Dufrdan

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #8 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 00:17:42 »
Edgar Goodspeed has as good an answer at any I've seen:

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/goodspeed/ch05.html

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #8 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 00:17:42 »

Offline gman

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #9 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 10:38:44 »
Here's the breakdown of the letters I've used when presenting this possibility:

After establishing the Corinthian church Paul writes the church a letter on the avoidance of immorality (I Cor. 5:9).  This is either a lost letter or it could be II Cor. 6:14 - 7:1.

After receiving a letter from the Corinthian church with questions and he also learns some things from Chloe.  He responds with what we call I Corinthians.

At some point after I Corinthians is sent, someone arrives in Corinth and stirs up opposition to Paul (II Cor. 11:13-15, 23).  They have letters of recommendation (3:1).  They were Jewish (11:22) but there's not indication they're from Jerusalem.  These visitors made demands (11:19-21), scoffed at Paul (11:30), and challenged Paul's authority and inspiration (13:3).  It seems one attack on Paul's legitimacy was that he (Paul) didn't ask for money from the church for himself (11:7-11; 12:13-18).  It appears these visitors were good speakers (11:6), claimed to have visions and revelations of the Lord (12:1), but preached a different gospel from the one Paul preached (11:4)

Paul learns of this visit and writes a letter ( which could be =II Cor 2:14 - 6:13; 7:2 - 4)

Real danger to Paul's leadership emerges (10:10) so he visits Corinth finding them rebellious and he is insulted (2:5 - 11; 7:12)

Paul sends a furious letter--one he later says he hated having to send (7:8, 12; 2:1 - 4).  (That letter = II Cor. 10 - 13).

Paul sends Titus to check on things (12:17) and learns that his correspondence has been successful.  The church has repented and the one who insulted Paul has been censured (2:6; 7:5 - 11).

Paul writes a conciliatory letter (which is = II Cor 1:1 - 2:13; 7:5 - 9:15).

If you count the letter mentioned in I Cor. 5:9 as a lost one rather than one included within II Corinthians you come up with five possible letters.  Again, an interesting conjecture.

Offline DCR

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #10 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 11:00:28 »
Very, very interesting gman.  I can tell you've put a lot of thought into that.

Offline s1n4m1n

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #11 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 11:35:08 »
What would all that mean for inspiration? If someone was willing to chop up letters from an apostle, what's to say they wouldn't insert text as well?

I suspect that one of Paul's secrateries (Timothy, Tertius, Silas?) may have kept copies of Paul's epistles and published them as a single corpus after he died. Perhaps the missing epistles occur when the wasn't present to make a copy.

Ken

Offline CDHealy

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #12 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 12:35:25 »
I think it's interesting that modern tests for authority/canonicity focus on inspiration, which brings out the speculation as to whether or not St. Paul's letter to the Church at Laodicea, if ever discovered, would be inspired or not?  (Does inspiration have an on/off button?)

The Church, however, in forming the canon did not look at inspiration as a criterion but apostolicity: did it originate from or was it authorized by an apostle?

Offline gman

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #13 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 13:18:35 »
"Chop up"?  I don't know that someone had to chop up Paul's letters to create II Corinthians.  Who knows how Paul's letters were preserved by the Corinthians.  What may have begun as a set of extant letters could have become fragments in a short period of time.  And those fragments were put together as a single thing.  And the single thing took on life as a single letter.  Far fetched?  Maybe.  But historically speaking not out of the question.

Yes, CD, apostolicity was at the forefront of the decision process.  Luke's writings were accepted because he traveled with Paul.  Hebrews was accepted because it was believed to have been written by Paul.  Interesting that only after selecting writings believed to be apostolic did the Church then label them inspired.  That is, the church said once for all that these letters--to the exclusion of all others--are inspired and thus form the canon.

Offline CDHealy

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #14 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 13:26:18 »
gman:

Also, both Irenaeus (late 2nd century) and Eusebius (mid-fourth century) noted another criterion: read by the Churches.  In other words, they were works written or authorized by an apostle AND were used liturgically.

Eusebius and Irenaeus both also point out that coherence with the rest of the Scriptures is important, but that of course begs the question: which Scriptures?

But the key is apostolicity, and that apostolicity was demonstrated through the liturgical uses that the Churches the Apostles founded demonstrated, as well as by authoritative teaching of the bishops.

Offline Harold

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #15 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 14:41:41 »
What would all that mean for inspiration? If someone was willing to chop up letters from an apostle, what's to say they wouldn't insert text as well?

I suspect that one of Paul's secrateries (Timothy, Tertius, Silas?) may have kept copies of Paul's epistles and published them as a single corpus after he died. Perhaps the missing epistles occur when the wasn't present to make a copy.

Ken

Paul made reference to copying his letters, and sharing them. If you had three or four small letters combined into two letters, considering the cost of paper in their day, I could see the point of combining them together.

FTL

Offline DCR

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #16 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 14:50:01 »
We have other books in the Bible that are said to be compilations of originally separate writings (Psalms & Proverbs, for example).

Offline James Rondon

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #17 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 15:14:41 »
The Church, however, in forming the canon did not look at inspiration as a criterion but apostolicity: did it originate from or was it authorized by an apostle?

Apostolicity was said to have been the main criterion. Others were inspiration, along with universal acceptance, "liturgicity" (use and reading within the churches during their meetings), consistency of message (with other accepted Scriptures), the rule of faith (consistency with the known gospel, and the accepted Christian message), and antiquity (age of these writings/when they first become known, distributed, used, etc.). All of these criteria, it seems, would be inherent in, and would demonstrate the main criterion, apostolicity.

By the way, these criteria further demonstrate that the post-apostolic church did not create "the Canon", but that they merely sought it out, recognized and affirmed it.

Offline CDHealy

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #18 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 15:35:44 »
Apostolicity was said to have been the main criterion. Others were inspiration, along with universal acceptance, "liturgicity" (use and reading within the churches during their meetings), consistency of message (with other accepted Scriptures), the rule of faith (consistency with the known gospel, and the accepted Christian message), and antiquity (age of these writings/when they first become known, distributed, used, etc.). All of these criteria, it seems, would be inherent in, and would demonstrate the main criterion, apostolicity.

I don't think I disagree with you, but the difference is apostolicity is a measurable fact: it can be traced historically.  Universal acceptance is a measurable fact: it can be traced in the historical usages of the Church.  So, too, with liturgical use.  So, too, with antiquity.

Consistency of message, rule of faith, and inspiration, however, are not measurable in the way apostolicity is.  Who determines the message's consistency?  Who determines the rule of faith?  Who determines whether something is inspired?

Here, the only answer is: whoever has the ability/capacity to do so.  And no individual has that ability/capacity.

It's no surprise, then, that those who reject the measurable aspects of apostolicity, orient toward the aspects that are not measurable by individuals.  So now modern Protesants/evangelicals/emergents focus on the insipration, consistency/rule of faith aspects.  Becuase if one were to actually and sincerely advocate these other measurable facts, one would have to give up being Protestant/evangelical/emergent.

By the way, these criteria further demonstrate that the post-apostolic church did not create "the Canon", but that they merely sought it out, recognized and affirmed it.

Thank you for illustrating my just completed point above.

But you are creating a category confusion.  What the post-apostolic Church did not create was the Gospels, St. Paul's letters, the Torah, and so on.  In other words, the post-apostolic Church did not create the individual books that are now recognized as Scripture.

But you cannot have Scripture apart from a canon, and there was no canon prior to the Church determining which books were Scripture.  And it was the Church that evaluated the criterion above.  It wasn't one individual, or even--heaven forbid--an Episcopalian General Conference with republican-style majority voting, that created the canon.  It was the organic Body founded on the apostles that recognized which apostolic books were and which were not to form the canon.

After all, we know there was a letter of St. Paul to the Laodiceans.  And this thread itself posits more letters to the Corinthians than we have in our Scriptures.  So the inspiration is based on the apostolicity, and the apostolicity is determined by the Church.

Offline James Rondon

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #19 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 15:44:52 »
They did not create "the Canon", nor did they create apostolicity. The post-apostolic church was seeking out what was already there. In doing so, they were not determining which books were Scripture, but which books were already Scripture.

Offline CDHealy

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #20 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 16:07:00 »
I'm afraid, James, you've missed the point.  Scripture is not a self-evidencing quality.  If it were, there would be no need whatsoever to appeal to apostolicity, liturgical use, universal acceptance, or even consistency/rule of faith.  If Scripture is a self-evidencing quality, then there would be no dispute: the Apocalypse would always already have been "in," the Shepherd of Hermas always already "out."

The only reason any particular work is called "Scripture" is because it belongs in the canon.  Many Christians in the first couple of centuries of the Church thought the epistle of Barnabas was Scripture.  But it's not.  Why not?  Because it's not in the canon.  It otherwise might have passed all the tests: apostolicity, widespread acceptance (though not universal), use in the churches, and so forth.  But the Church determined left it out of the canon, and because it is not in the canon it is not Scripture.

To say it another way: Scripture and canon are synonymous terms.  Nothing is Scripture unless it's in the canon, and nothing is canonical that's not Scripture.  You cannot have Scripture unless you have a canon.  And it is absolutely clear that there was not canon until--at the earliest, if you by Trobisch's argument--the late second century, or, in the conventional view, the late fourth century.

To affirm that a document is Scripture from the moment of creation is to affirm more than is warranted.  Why is it Scripture?  Is it Scripture because St. Paul wrote it?  If so, then we're clearly missing some "Scriptures" (Epistle to the Laodiceans).  But if not, then what made some things St. Paul wrote Scripture and other things not?  Was it like a switch that could be turned on and off?

If Scripture was Scripture from the moment of creation, then who was able to determine that?  Did St. Paul put a stamp on his letters: Scripture, Not Scripture?

And if Scripture is Scripture from the moment of creation, then why even worry about apostolicity, ubiquity, catholicity, and all the others.  All that matters is that it is Scripture from the moment of creation--it doesn't matter if it's apostolic or not.  In fact, if Scripture is Scripture from the moment of creation, then why not argue that God continually adds to his Scripture?  After all, if such things are self-authenticating, and I have a burning in my bosom about the Book of Mormon, wouldn't that be Scripture?

No, the "Scripture is Scripture from the moment of creation" utterly bypasses as irrelevant to itself the single most important aspect that those books which have been canonized and called Scripture have: apostolicity.  This applies to the Old Testament, too.  Why did the Church consider the so-called "Apocrypha" as part of the canon until the Reformation?  Because the Apostles used the Septuagint and the Septuagint contains these books.  The "Apocrypha" are Scripture because of apostolic usage.

The books are Scripture because they were written or authorized by apostles AND they confirm with and conform to the Apostles' teaching and manner of life.

Offline James Rondon

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #21 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 16:29:08 »
Scripture does not later become Scripture. It is what it is, what it was, and what it will always be. The reason that the post-apostolic church used criteria in order to determine what was, and what wasn't Scripture is because a few hundred years had already past since the apostolic age. The reason that Paul's letter to Laodicea was not included in the Canon was because it was not available.

Offline CDHealy

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #22 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 16:41:51 »
I'm afraid you're missing how self-refuting your argument is, James.

If the post-apostolic Church had to use criteria external to the Scripture (apostolicity, ubiquity, catholicity, and so on) to determine what was and wasn't Scripture, then Scripture is not self-authenticating.  It has to be authenticated by something external to itself.

I should add, that if the epistle to the Laodiceans is Scripture--which is what it appears you're saying--and that the only reason we don't have it is because it no longer exists, you then are arguing that God isn't interested in preserving every Scripture, but only certain ones.  That then calls into question as to whether Scripture is all that important if God will allow some of it to just disappear.

Offline James Rondon

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #23 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 17:01:41 »
I'm afraid you're missing how self-refuting your argument is, James.

If the post-apostolic Church had to use criteria external to the Scripture (apostolicity, ubiquity, catholicity, and so on) to determine what was and wasn't Scripture, then Scripture is not self-authenticating.  It has to be authenticated by something external to itself.

I guess you missed that part about it being a few hundred years later (thus, the need for criteria).

I should add, that if the epistle to the Laodiceans is Scripture--which is what it appears you're saying--and that the only reason we don't have it is because it no longer exists, you then are arguing that God isn't interested in preserving every Scripture, but only certain ones.  That then calls into question as to whether Scripture is all that important if God will allow some of it to just disappear.

Are God's words important? Of course. Were the events of Jesus' life, and all of the words He ever spoke on earth important? You know the answer. Do we have a record of all of God's words? No. Do we have a record of all of the events of Jesus' life, and all of the words He ever spoke on earth? No. Now, apply the same reasoning to this that you applied to Paul's letter to the Laodiceans...

Offline spurly

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #24 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 20:05:21 »
I've been gone for a while and just checked back in.  This is a great discussion and I want to thank everyone for particpating in a Christ like manner.  I continue to learn as iron sharpens iron.

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #25 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 20:09:28 »
Here is a question:  If God can breathe scripture through man, inspire the very words man puts to paper, can He not, by the same reasoning, inspire man to include what He wants His people to see as His Word in one volume?  That is, if God can inspire the writings of the Bible, can He not also inspire the choosing of what books are included?

KP

Offline gman

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #26 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 20:54:34 »
k-pappy,

CDHealy is sort of dealing with your question.  If God breathed scripture (i.e., determined what would be written) then did he not also direct the selection of the canon?  (I think that's what you asked.)  Since it was the 4th century church that determined once for all time what is in the canon then to answer yes to your question you would have to say God guided the 4th century church.  But now it gets fun.  If God guided the 4th century church on this issue did he guide it on other issues?  And so if we accept the canon as determined by the 4th century church--which we have, by the way--then why are we not accepting other things taught and/or determined by that same church?


Offline James Rondon

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #27 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 22:07:23 »
Let's look at what you just said from CD's perspective. According to him, Paul's letter to the Laodiceans could not be considered Scripture if it were found today, because it was not considered Scripture at the end of the 4th century. If that is indeed the case, and we cannot consider something that an apostle (whom the Lord Himself selected and guided) wrote as Scripture, then why would we consider everything that the post-apostolic church taught or determined to be binding, simply because we believe that the Lord may have guided them in affirming the canon?

Offline CDHealy

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #28 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 23:21:56 »
I guess you missed that part about it being a few hundred years later (thus, the need for criteria).

And I guess you missed the part that said if the Scripture needs external criteria to determine its canonicity, then it NOT self-authenticating.  And if it cannot authenticate itself after a few hundred years, then it is still the case that it is NOT self-authenticating.

Are God's words important? Of course. Were the events of Jesus' life, and all of the words He ever spoke on earth important? You know the answer. Do we have a record of all of God's words? No. Do we have a record of all of the events of Jesus' life, and all of the words He ever spoke on earth? No. Now, apply the same reasoning to this that you applied to Paul's letter to the Laodiceans...

You missed the point of my question.  It appears that you are making the aargument that anything that St. Paul wrote would necessarily be Scripture--thus if the epistle to the Laodiceans were found, it would automatically be considered Scripture.  If that is the case, then how is it that God allowed Scripture to be lost?  It's not a question as to why we don't have all the things St. Paul wrote, but, rather, more broad and more fundamental than that: God doesn't have to enscripturate everything, but if everything St. Paul wrote is Scripture, then how is it that God allowed any Scripture to be lost?

Offline CDHealy

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #29 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 23:24:30 »
Here is a question:  If God can breathe scripture through man, inspire the very words man puts to paper, can He not, by the same reasoning, inspire man to include what He wants His people to see as His Word in one volume?  That is, if God can inspire the writings of the Bible, can He not also inspire the choosing of what books are included?

Yes.  That is precisely the claim of the historic Church: God guided the writing of the books that became Scripture, and God guided the Church to enscripturate/canonize the books he guided to be written.

Offline CDHealy

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #30 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 23:34:36 »
Let's look at what you just said from CD's perspective. According to him, Paul's letter to the Laodiceans could not be considered Scripture if it were found today, because it was not considered Scripture at the end of the 4th century.

That is not what I'm claiming.  I'm claiming that the Church determines the canon, and the Church has never canonized the epistle to the Laodiceans--not the Church of the 4th century, nor the Church of the 21st century.

If that is indeed the case, and we cannot consider something that an apostle (whom the Lord Himself selected and guided) wrote as Scripture, then why would we consider everything that the post-apostolic church taught or determined to be binding, simply because we believe that the Lord may have guided them in affirming the canon?

The simple answer is that not everything an apostle wrote is Scripture.  If it were, then God has allowed Scripture to perish.

Also, the Church's ability to determine what of an apostle's writings are or are not Scripture is itself a fundamental function of apostolic authority.  Canonizing certain works of an apostle is precisely what apostolic authority is granted to do.  After all, wouldn't St. Paul have the authority to say to St. Timothy, "This is Scripture and this isn't"?  Wouldn't St. Peter be able to say, "This is Scripture and this isn't"?  And isn't doing so evidence of apostolic authority?

The post-apostolic Church's "sifting" of books to include in the canon, far from abrogating apostolic authority (and thus, as you imply, seeming to cut their apostolic foundations out from under themselves), actually asserts such authority and evidences it in a public way.

Offline James Rondon

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #31 on: Thu Apr 26, 2007 - 23:50:08 »
Are God's words important? Of course. Were the events of Jesus' life, and all of the words He ever spoke on earth important? You know the answer. Do we have a record of all of God's words? No. Do we have a record of all of the events of Jesus' life, and all of the words He ever spoke on earth? No. Now, apply the same reasoning to this that you applied to Paul's letter to the Laodiceans...

You missed the point of my question.  It appears that you are making the aargument that anything that St. Paul wrote would necessarily be Scripture--thus if the epistle to the Laodiceans were found, it would automatically be considered Scripture.  If that is the case, then how is it that God allowed Scripture to be lost?  It's not a question as to why we don't have all the things St. Paul wrote, but, rather, more broad and more fundamental than that: God doesn't have to enscripturate everything, but if everything St. Paul wrote is Scripture, then how is it that God allowed any Scripture to be lost?

You completely avoided my argument.

Let's look at what you just said from CD's perspective. According to him, Paul's letter to the Laodiceans could not be considered Scripture if it were found today, because it was not considered Scripture at the end of the 4th century.

That is not what I'm claiming.  I'm claiming that the Church determines the canon, and the Church has never canonized the epistle to the Laodiceans--not the Church of the 4th century, nor the Church of the 21st century.

That's because the church of the 21st century doesn't have it.

If that is indeed the case, and we cannot consider something that an apostle (whom the Lord Himself selected and guided) wrote as Scripture, then why would we consider everything that the post-apostolic church taught or determined to be binding, simply because we believe that the Lord may have guided them in affirming the canon?

The simple answer is that not everything an apostle wrote is Scripture.  If it were, then God has allowed Scripture to perish.

Or, perhaps another way to phrase it, not everything an apostle wrote was apostolic (?). And even more, that God has allowed apostolic words to perish. Just like God allowed words from Jesus, and events from his life to never be recorded, and not be preserved.

Also, the Church's ability to determine what of an apostle's writings are or are not Scripture is itself a fundamental function of apostolic authority.  Canonizing certain works of an apostle is precisely what apostolic authority is granted to do.  After all, wouldn't St. Paul have the authority to say to St. Timothy, "This is Scripture and this isn't"?  Wouldn't St. Peter be able to say, "This is Scripture and this isn't"?  And isn't doing so evidence of apostolic authority?

But I thought just because an apostle said it, or wrote it, it wasn't enough? I thought post-apostolic recognition was needed?

The post-apostolic Church's "sifting" of books to include in the canon, far from abrogating apostolic authority (and thus, as you imply, seeming to cut their apostolic foundations out from under themselves), actually asserts such authority and evidences it in a public way.

To assert authority, does not of necessity mean that such authority has actually been granted. Also, you continue to look at this "sifting", while ignoring the passage of time, and the reason for the need for sifting in the first place.

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #32 on: Fri Apr 27, 2007 - 06:21:50 »
No, CD, not the "church," but the men who decided what books.  It was not the 4th century church who decided....they were earlier church fathers who put together codexes....most of the books we know of as the NT were in there, there were some differences yes and the men of the 4th century ironed out the differences, but they alone are not responsible for the Bible we have today.

KP

Offline CDHealy

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #33 on: Fri Apr 27, 2007 - 07:53:48 »
KP:

Please read my earlier comments regarding my stance on the earlier establishment of the canon, argued by David Trobisch in his book The First Edition of the New Testament (Oxford 2000).  Whether it was the Church of the second century or the fourth century, the point is that the Church is the agent of canonization.

And it is also the case that there is no Scripture until there is a canon.  Once there is a canon, we have Scripture.

Prior to the canon we have the writings of prophets, evangelists, apostles, patriarchs, kings and such, but until a rule (a canon) is laid down as to which of these are Scripture, they remain the writings of prophets, evangelists, apostles, patriarchs, kings and such.  This does not deny that the writings are inspired or of divine origin or authoritative.   They may well be.  But no one can know that until we have the canon.  It is the canon that attests to their inspiration, authority and divine origin.

Offline Nevertheless

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Re: How many letters did Paul write to the church in Corinth?
« Reply #34 on: Fri Apr 27, 2007 - 10:58:53 »
KP:

Please read my earlier comments regarding my stance on the earlier establishment of the canon, argued by David Trobisch in his book The First Edition of the New Testament (Oxford 2000).  Whether it was the Church of the second century or the fourth century, the point is that the Church is the agent of canonization.

And it is also the case that there is no Scripture until there is a canon.  Once there is a canon, we have Scripture.

Prior to the canon we have the writings of prophets, evangelists, apostles, patriarchs, kings and such, but until a rule (a canon) is laid down as to which of these are Scripture, they remain the writings of prophets, evangelists, apostles, patriarchs, kings and such.  This does not deny that the writings are inspired or of divine origin or authoritative.   They may well be.  But no one can know that until we have the canon.  It is the canon that attests to their inspiration, authority and divine origin.


This doesn't seem to jive with Peter's opinion.

Quote
And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.
2 Peter 3:15-16

Can you explain how your definition of Scripture covers the fact that Peter referred to Paul's writings as Scripture before any canon was chosen?