On the authenticity of Paul's letters and the involvement of scribes

Dear Brothers and sisters,

Please Help!!!

Do i need to worry that scribes or secretaries were involved in the process of writings in Paul’s letters even in the seven undisputed letters of Paul like (1 Corinthians 16:21, Romans 16:22,Galatians 6:11,Philemon 19) thinking that the scribes/secretaries would have corrupted or forged or fabricated or add or minus the scriptures or passages or simply made up stories about Jesus (writing in the name of God…)and his resurrection and so on which is not true at all? Now,can can i even know that Paul actually wrote his 13 letters attributed to him 100.00 percent?

Thank you.

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Hello John. I would say yes, absolutely. The committee that translated the King James version of the Bible was meticulous in their research, as were many other translators. We must believe that God would not have allowed his sacred book to be altered. 2 Timothy 3:16 assures us that the Bible is God-breathed.

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Hi @JohnLemphung,

I don’t think you need to worry, but you could do some further reading to learn more of course. If I dictate a letter to a typist today who might be able to type faster than I can; I’d still be proof reading the final draft before hitting the ‘send’ button. :slight_smile:

This might be some starting links and previous connect threads of interest;

On the passages you quote you could deduce

  • 1 Corinthians was written by Paul himself (1 Corinthians 16:21)
    there were 4 letters to the Corinthians as @SeanO shared
    Letters to Corinthians
  • Paul used a scribe for Romans (Romans 16:22)
  • Paul wrote Galatians (Galatians 6:11) Commentators think that Paul’s eyesight might have been quite bad at this point which is why he wrote such large letters because he couldn’t see well (remember he had an unnamed thorn in the flesh which some speculate may have been eyesight damage from his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road)
  • Paul wrote Philemon himself (Philemon 19)

To your concern

You have stated “would corrupted/forged/fabricated”; you are meaning with intention to embellish the story or turn it into legend etc? you have to ask the motivation of a scribe to do this; and using this train of logic, the Gospel writers and Paul himself could in theory have done this; but again you have to ask the question what would be their motivation?

This might be of interest as to how we got the canon of scripture.

I’ve recently read William Lane Craig’s book, and I think you’d really enjoy it. After all; as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15 (whole chapter 15 is on the topic of the resurrection) "if Christ be not raised, then we are of all men most miserable (as the KJV renders it), or to be pitied (as the ESV renders it).

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

The reason Paul wrote this is because of the hope he was looking forward to.

Craig writes in Chapter 2 of his book; which speaks to “What would be the motivation to create a forgery?”; if all the early Christians got for their trouble was torture and death, this would be a very poor motivation to invent or embellish their eye-witness accounts.

THE CONSPIRACY THEORY

We find the very first alternative explanation to Jesus’ resurrection in the pages of the New Testament itself: the conspiracy theory. In Matthew’s gospel we discover that the Jews used this theory to explain away the resurrection. The chief priests bribed the guards who were at Jesus’ tomb, instructing them: “You are to say ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ . . . And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day” (Matthew 28:13, 15). This rumor must have been fairly current among the Jews at that time, or Matthew would not have felt obligated to expose it. The conspiracy theory was thus the first alternative to the resurrection of Jesus and held basically that the resurrection was a hoax: the disciples stole the body and then lied about Jesus’ appearances to them afterwards.

The conspiracy theory was refuted by the early church historian Eusebius of Caesarea in his Demonstratio evangelica (314-18).1 Eusebius argues that it would be inconsistent to hold that the disciples were on one hand followers of Jesus with His high moral teaching and yet on the other hand such base liars as to invent all these miraculous stories about Jesus. It makes no sense to say that the men who learned and then taught the ethics of Jesus would themselves be deceivers.

Not only that, Eusebius continues, but it is inconceivable that such a conspiracy could ever be formed or hold together. Eusebius composes a wonderfully satirical speech, which he imagines to have been delivered when the disciples first joined together in this conspiracy.

“Let us band together,” the speaker proclaims, “to invent all the miracles and resurrection appearances which we never saw and let us carry the sham even to death! Why not die for nothing? Why dislike torture and whipping inflicted for no good reason? Let us go out to all nations and overthrow their institutions and denounce their gods! And even if we don’t convince anybody, at least we’ll have the satisfaction of drawing down on ourselves the punishment for our own deceit.”

Through this satire, Eusebius wants to show how ridiculous it is to imagine that the disciples invented the whole thing. But even if they had, he continues, the plot would never have held together. How could so many persons agree unanimously to lie about these things? Could such an enterprise engineered by liars ever endure? Eusebius points out that these men went to their deaths testifying to the truth of what they believed. It is unbelievable that they would suffer and die for nothing. And how could the testimonies of all these deceivers agree? The disciples gave up family, worldly pleasures, and money to go out into foreign lands to preach what they believed. They could not have been liars. Eusebius, himself a great historian, emphasizes that if we distrust these men, then we must distrust all writers of history and records. If we accept the testimony of secular historians, then we must by the same standard also accept the reliability of the disciples’ testimony to the resurrection.

Craig, William L… The Son Rises: Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus (pp. 24-25). Wipf & Stock, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition.

the book is well worth a read and Craig also covers:
Craig covers

  • the apparent death (swoon) theory
  • the wrong tomb theory
  • the legend theory
  • the hallucination / vision theory
    and others…

and he builds a strong case starting with the historical proof for

  • the actual physical death of Jesus (without which you can’t have a burial)
  • the physical burial
  • the resurrection (you can’t have a resurrection without an actual death and and burial)
  • the appearance to witnesses

Hope that is a helpful starting point for further reading. Feel free to ask more questions as they arise… :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

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