The Word of God
The New Testament contains the words of Jesus, the writings of the apostles, and a history of the early church. It's pages describe God and the wonderful new covenant He has instituted with man. And, on a practical level, the New Testament has many good suggestions for holy living.
We must, however, keep the New Testament in its proper perspective. Apart from the revelation of the Holy Spirit, the words written in it cannot be understood correctly. The Holy Spirit, not the New Testament, is the Revealer of Truth.
Jesus didn't say he would have some guys write a few letters ... and ... 300+ years later these letters would be collected into a book ... and ... well, for a thousand years or so there wouldn't be any printing presses ... but what the heck, sooner or later he'd get this book to us and speak to us through its pages. At least to those who can read, that is. And ... oh by the way ... you won't know for sure which ancient manuscripts are accurate ... and your Greek scholars will disagree on the translation of certain verb tenses.
No, Jesus didn't say that.
Jesus did say,
"The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you."
"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come."
Our covenant is in the Spirit. Not the old written code; not any written code.
"(Our covenant is) not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life."
God's Spirit has joined Himself to our spirit. Our entire relationship with God occurs within, where God and man are one. The external things --- what we see, hear, and read --- facilitate but never replace what is happening within.
With the introduction of a new covenant, God changed the way He interacts with man. In the old covenant, God and His truths were external. In the new covenant, God and His truths are internal.
"This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord, I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
"For we are the temple of the Living God; as God said, 'I will live in them and move among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.'"
So we don't look to men or books or organizations to tell us what is true. We don't blindly accept the determination of a council held 1500+ years ago. Instead, we depend solely upon the Holy Spirit within to explain and illuminate spiritual truths --- whether found in the New Testament, in other inspired writings, or in nature itself. When He does, revelation occurs --- we HEAR, we SEE, we KNOW.
As an example, consider the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We read about it in the New Testament or heard it preached, but it wasn't until the Spirit of God revealed this fact to us that we had knowing. The revelation came to us within. We know that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and if every book on the face of this planet were destroyed tomorrow, it wouldn't change our knowing.
Down through history, every true believer in Jesus Christ has received the gospel exactly the same way that Paul did. By revelation.
"For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ."
How do we know that the writings of the New Testament were inspired by God? How do we know that the words of Jesus are true? How do we know that Paul received a revelation of Jesus Christ?
We know, because the Spirit of God bears witness to our spirit. There can be no other way.
Indisputable historical fact #1:
Down through history, even to the present day, a sizable percentage of true believers in Jesus Christ have not had the New Testament, as we know it, available to them.
It wasn't until 397 A.D. that the Council of Carthage drew up "the final list of inspired books, the infallible and unchangeable Canon of Scripture." And it was another 1,000 years before the printing press was invented and the New Testament started to become widely available.
Even today there are many believers who either don't have a Bible or who can't read.
Indisputable historical fact #2:
Down through history, to the present day, The Holy Spirit lives within every true believer in Jesus Christ.
Those who assign "equal importance" to the New Testament and the Holy Spirit, should think long and hard about these facts.