I know that Paul really created the advanced lens of theology with which we can appreciate the meaning of Christ’s coming to earth, but I am wondering why everything he said is viewed as “the word of God” and absolutely true.
The Church has never taught that “everything [St. Paul] said is viewed as ‘the word of God’ and absolutely true.” The Church selected letters that he wrote and included them in the New Testament canon, but it is quite possible that those letters are not all that he wrote throughout the twenty to thirty years of his apostolic ministry. They certainly do not constitute all that he is believed to have said, anymore than the canonical Gospels constitute all that Jesus Christ did and said during his three years of public ministry (cf. John 20:30-31).
The Church chose those letters of St. Paul that it knew to be apostolic in origin and important to the Church’s mission. The Holy Spirit’s protection of the Church from error in doctrine and morals is the assurance that we have that the Church’s choice of these particular documents was not in error. You may wish to get a copy of the latest issue of Catholic Answers’ magazine, This Rock (July-August 2009), which has an article by Carl E. Olson, titled, “Did St. Paul Invent Christianity?” To do so, please call Catholic Answers’ customer service department toll-free at 1-888-291-8000. Office hours are Monday thru Friday, 9 AM to 4:30 PM Pacific Time.
Where We Got the Bible by Henry G. Graham