I agree completely: they were teachers and instructors. However, they were just like you and me, Darren, with the exception that they had been alive and had been chosen by Jesus as the messengers of the good news. Insofar as they preach the good news, I really enjoy reading their letters. To the extent that they sacrificed their own lives to preach that good news, I would say that they were inspired by God. However, I don't necessarily think that their words can be taken as God's own words because, unlike the prophets, they wrote by their own accord.
The Revelation is different; it is a prophecy delivered to John with the precise instructions to make it known.
The gospels are different; they are historical accounts of Jesus' life, and they contain Jesus' own words (as close as we're gonna get to them, anyways), which have the authority of God's own words because Jesus spoke what God wanted him to speak.
The letters are an important part of my faith; I just don't attach the same level of importance to them as I do to the rest of the Bible. After all, by the time they were written the victory had already been won, the message had been made straight, and there was nothing else that needed to be said. In a sense, the letters just paved the way for the theology that divides Christians today, even though they were not meant to do so, by taking a simple message and making it more complicated.
Im a bit surprised and disappointed by a few of your statements here. I usually agree with everything you say but this was dismaying to me.
The letters are what make the new covenant ...well new. The gospels were an account of Jesus life as the messiah for the Jews that didnt accept Him... but the path for the Gentiles wasnt opened up until the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ by His visit to Paul on the road to Damascus. By putting less importance to them you are making less the movement to bring Jesus to the Gentiles. Which is who WE are.
To say that Jesus didnt teach the books of Hebrews and Romans also takes away teaching that we are not under the law but under grace and that we are all saved by that grace. Jesus taught in the gospels but He also taught in the letters and to say that is not so I would speak as a Christian to a Christian and say dont ever say that again and claim to be a bible believing Christian because you will be accountable for every word and I do not think you grasp the fact that your words might affect someone elses walk with the Lord... which is also taught in yes... the letters.
Please reconsider what you say on this forum because false teachings are everywhere and some truth needs to be told without it being muddied up by the flesh.