People have used Paul to justify Paul to me. Paul says that “all scripture is God-breathed”. (From Timothy 3:16-17) They use this as proof that whatever Paul says is from God.
The problem is that Paul wasn’t talking about his own words. Paul was writing letters to other people. His words weren’t considered Scripture at the time he wrote them. That was many years later.
Scripture is indeed God-breathed. It is inspired, in-spired. To “respire” is to breathe. We get the word Spirit from that root – spirit and breath are the same. It means the same thing. So the Holy Spirit is the breath of God.
It is what makes humans different. When God created Adam and Eve, God breathed into Adam to give him life. God didn’t do this for animals.
Some of what Paul says is helpful, but some of it is divisive. Some of his words go against the basic command of Jesus to love our neighbors as ourselves. There is nothing uplifting or loving about telling women to shut up. (1 Corinthians 14:34-35) There is nothing loving about telling gay people (or anybody) that they are going to hell. (1 Timothy 9-10, among others)
Judging people isn’t our job. Our job is to look after ourselves. Paul says that we are to nicely tell off other people in order to correct them (1 Timothy 5:20, among others).
Jesus tells us otherwise. Jesus says that we should look out for the plank in our own eyes and not the speck in our neighbor’s eye (Matthew 7:3-5, among others). Jesus tells us that whatever we use to measure others will be used to measure ourselves (Matthew 7:2). Thus – don’t judge at all.
It is important to always compare the words of anyone who says they act on the behalf of God with the words of Jesus. If what they say isn’t showing love to God and to all of God’s children (everybody), then what they say isn’t in fact “God breathed.”