Everything I know about Christianity and Jesus is based on the "original" word of God. But I am having trouble understanding what is meant by "original".

For example, Paul's source for his scripture is divine revelation only. So God's supernatural word was transmitted to Paul's brain and stored as a memory. Are those memories in Paul's brain the "original" word of God? Unfortunately the human brain can forget things, so perhaps it would be better to call the first words that Paul wrote down the "original" word of God. However it bothers me to move further from the source of the "original" word because Paul may not have transcribed it accurately.

As a different example, Luke uses for his gospel Mark and the writings of Flavius Josephus as sources, and possibly another unknown source Q. Suppose that tomorrow we find the Q source, and it just so happens to be everything in Luke that is not contained in Mark or the writings of Flavius Josephus. In this case Luke is simply an anthology, so what would we say the "original" word of God is with respect to Luke?

1 Answer 1


The word of God is that word which came from God himself.

The first words of God were uttered in Eden. A blessing and a prohibition. Then, following disobedience, a judgment. But also a promise.

There followed other words of God spoken to individuals. To Noah, to Abraham, to Moses, to the prophets.

Paul the apostle leans heavily on these records for his doctrine. The question's statement 'Paul's source for his scripture is divine revelation only' is not true, without some qualification.

Reading the epistles, Romans and Galatians and Colossians particularly, his every reference in doctrinal matters is to the law of Moses and the prophets of Israel : to the recorded words of God himself.

Then, the words of Jesus are presented by four evangelists. Upon these words, more doctrinal teaching is built, particularly by Peter and by John.

The idea that Luke used Mark and Josephus as references is sheer supposition. And there is no evidence whatsoever that the document called 'Q' ever existed.

We should pay heed to the writers who are chosen vessels, given especial gifts by God himself in order for God to present his own words to us.

This is the word of God. It is his utterance, through chosen vessels. And it is kept in Divine Providence, supplied in thousands of manuscripts which can be collated together, scientifically, in a reliable documentation that can be trusted.

These are the 'God-breathed' scriptures. Holy words. Divine in origin.

  • In Galatians 1:12 Paul says he did not receive his words from man nor was he taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus. Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 3:11
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    When we believe Scripture to be "God breathed", we believe that God actively guided those who wrote it down; that is, Scripture does not rely on Paul's memory nor is there any possibility that "Paul may not have transcribed it accurately". Note also Mark 13:11.
    – Matthew
    Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 3:31
  • @Matthew But that is not what Paul says, instead Paul says repeatedly in his writings that God's word was revealed to him, not that he was guided. There are self-described apostles living today that claim Jesus has revealed messages to them, but cannot remember what the messages are. Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 3:50
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    @user1010110 Paul did not receive his words from man, true. But his writings make it clear that he did receive God's words in scripture. And, true, he also contributed that which he received by revelation. But that revelation was never in contradiction to that which had preceded, gone before, in the patriarchs and the prophets of Israel. His contribution was a further and progressive revelation not an eccentric or individualised or contradictory revelation.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 4:42
  • @user1010110, you are, of course, free to believe that mainstream Christian beliefs are incorrect. My purpose was to report what those beliefs factually are. Note, for example, this article and particularly The Chicago Statement. (BTW, Nigel, I am also encouraging you to use such material to expand your Answer. 🙂)
    – Matthew
    Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 15:28

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