WORDS OF THE APOSTLES AND JESUS
Are the words of the Apostles of equal authority with the words of Jesus? Some people view the words of Jesus as being that which a person must accept while viewing the words of the Apostles, and other writers of the New Testament, as less important. Some say, “If it is not in ‘red,’ I will not accept it” (referring to the “red letter” edition of the Bible in which the Words of Christ are highlighted in red). Is this a correct attitude? Can a person choose to reject teaching which was not spoken directly by Christ?
It is clear from the Bible that the words of the apostles, and other inspired writers, found in the Bible are the Words of Christ. Understanding this is very important. Paul said in I Corinthians 14:37, “. . . the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” Thus, they are to be accepted with equal authority.
The Apostles, and other inspired individuals, did not have to rely upon their own memory. Many events which they wrote about were recorded years after they actually happened. However, they had the advantage of the Holy Spirit guiding and teaching them. Jesus told them in John 14:25-26, “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
John 16:12-13 points out that Jesus told them, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.” Jesus said, in Matthew 16:18, that he would give to Peter the “keys of the kingdom” or church. After Peter “confessed Christ,” Jesus said to him, “And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church… And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt. 16:18-19). The same promise was made to the other apostles in Matthew 18:18.
Paul, also an apostle, was not one of the original twelve, but he claimed equal authority with the others (II Cor. 11:5, 12:11; I Cor. 15:8-10). Peter, an inspired man, made it clear that Paul’s writings were inspired (II Pet. 3:15).
The entire Bible is inspired; it comes from God (II Tim. 3:16-17). The Words of Jesus are important. However, those whom He sent to speak for Him, spoke and wrote words which are just as important.