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Voices of Each Author

05/22/2018
Seek The Truth Blog

Voices of Each Author:

For hyper-fundamentalist groups, the authors of the Bible are of little concern. Believing the Bible to be one single book, penned by God, the authors become simply vessels from which to hold the "pen". Any analysis of their individual theologies, cultural backgrounds, or other outside factors contributing to the way in which they wrote is largely overlooked. This is not the case with the majority of Christians. Most Christians want to know more about the book from which they base their faith -- authors included.

Like many early church fathers did in the past, most Christians today understand that the books were written by individual authors, with individual voices, each offering a different perspective into the Christian faith. From a casual reading perspective, many Christians recognize that a book written by Paul will have Paul's emotion, ambition, and dedication to the Christian cause that is apparent in his life story of travels and persecution. They understand that this voice will be different than James, who was more strongly devoted to "works" of the faith than Paul's "salvation by grace and not of 'works'". It is the Christian theologians, however, who are more intimately familiar with the literary styles, authorship, and authenticity of the books of the Bible. They critically analyze the statements made by each author to compare the "voices".

This type of critical analysis has been widely used among Christians since the early fathers debated as to which books were written by Apostles, and which books were written by others claiming to be an apostle. Martin Luther, aware the debate, voiced his opinion that the book of James was not written by an apostle, using letters written by St. Paul as his comparison. He also questioned the Epistle to the Hebrews, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and the Revelation of John based on the same critical examination. Scholars today recognize different literary styles, historical aspects, and theological differences further separating (or categorizing) the books of the Bible. This is best explained by examining what scholars believe about the letters attributed to St. Paul.

The majority of scholars agree that seven letters attributed to St. Paul are authentic. A large majority of scholars believe that four of the letters, however, were pseudepigraphic, or written by someone else claiming to be St. Paul. This is not to imply that the majority of Christians reject these letters, however, as the letters are still regarded as "holy" by almost all Christians. While hyper-fundamentalist groups would reject the opinion of this majority of scholars as "heretic", most Christians are interested in their study to learn more about the books and the men who wrote them. Scholars use this information to better understand the text and its alignment with the Apostle Paul's theology, as well as to understand what the early Christians believed, and why. To better understand this concept, one must first understand the doctrinal variance and other known issues found in the books scholars consider to be pseudepigraphic.