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Bible: Inspiration


As we have seen from last week's study we can reasonably trust and believe that God has divinely revealed himself to us. But can we trust that the bible has been inspired by God and is the place he has primarily revealed himself? This in no way can be a comprehensive study of the subject, but only a primer. For further study see these resources: "How We Got The Bible" Lightfoot "The Canon of Scripture" Bruce "Who Wrote The Bible?" Freidman "The Bible Jesus Read" Yancey "Compelling Evidence for God & The Bible" Jacoby "By genuineness we mean that a book is written by the person or persons whose name it bear or, if anonymous, by the person or persons to whom ancient tradition has assigned it, or if not assigned to some definite author or authors, to the time to which tradition has assigned it. A book is said to be forged or spurious if it is not written at the time to which it has been assigned, or by the author professed by it. A book is considered to be authentic when it relates facts as they really occurred. It is corrupt when the text has been in any manner changed." "A book is credible if it relates truthfully the matter which it treats. It is said to be corrupt when it presents text varies from the original. Credibility then embraces both the ideas of truthfulness of the records and purity of the text." (Thiessen, Systematic Theology) "Is is improbable that God would reveal a fact or doctrine to the human mind, and do nothing towards securing an accurate statement of it. This is particularly the case when the doctrine is one of the mysteries of religion. Such profound truths as the trinity, the incarnation, vicarious atonement, etc., require the superintendence and guidance of an infallible Spirit to secure an enunciation that shall not be misleading. Hence it is more natural to suppose that a prophet or an apostle who has received directly from God a profound and mysterious truth inaccessible to the human intellect, will not be left to his own unassisted powers in imparting what he has received. Especially is it improbable that communication from the deity would be veiled in extravagant and legendary costume. (Shedd, Dogmatic Theology) Objections To The Inspiration of Scripture: Day 1: Quotations of Ignorance or Error Does the writer's ignorance or error prove lack of inspiration? (Acts 23:5; Job's comforters faulty views of God, etc.) - Paul merely admits his ignorance and does not deal with the question of inspiration, the record of this statement is fully inspired. For Job's comforters inspiration guarantees the accurate recording of these speeches, not the truthfulness of the contents of the speech. Day 2. In Science & History (see also: "Genesis, Science & History" Jacoby) The bible is not a textbook on either science or history; but if it is verbally inspired, then we expect it to speak truthfully whenever it touches on either of these subjects. Archaeological discoveries have done much to confirm the historical accuracy of both the Old Testament and New Testament. Hammurabi, Sargon II, the Hittites, Belshazzar, Quirnius, Lysanias, Paulus, and Gallio have all been identified, thus proving the historicity of the accounts. Day 3. In Miracle and Prophecy In light of the fulfillments of prophecies concerning Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, concerning Israel, concerning Christ, and concerning the character of the present age we ought not to be skeptical concerning the possibility of predictive prophecy. What are regarded as errors in prophecy are usually but false interpretations of it. Parts of Dan 2, 7, 9, 11, 12, parts of Zech 12-14, and most of the Revelation are still awaiting fulfillment. Day 4. In Quoting & Interpreting the O.T. Did the N.T. writers wrongly quote or use the O.T.? Many difficulties will vanish if we observe several items: 1.) Sometimes N.T. writers merely express their ideas in words borrowed from n O.T. passage without pretending to interpret the passage (cf. Rom 10:6-8; Deut. 30:12-14). 2.) Sometimes they point out a typical element in a passage that has not been generally recognized as typical (cf. Matt 2:15; Hos 11:1) 3.) Sometimes they give credit to an earlier prophecy when they really quote from a later form of it (cf. Matt 27:9; Zech 11:13) 4.) Sometimes they quote an apparently false translation in the Septuagint on the ground that the mistranslation conveys at least one of the meanings contained in the Hebrew text (cf. Eph 4:26; Ps 4:4 LXX) 5.) Sometimes they combine two quotations into one and assign the whole to the more prominent author (cf. Mark 1:2; Isa 40:3, Mal 3:1) "If we believe in the possibility of a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of man, then we ought not to find it difficult to believe in the possibility of a supernatural operation of the Spirit in the production of the Scriptures." Day 5. In Morals & Religion Bear in mind: 1.) the sinful acts of men may be recorded, but they are never sanctioned (ex. Noah's drunkenness - Gen 9:20-27; Lot's incest - Gen 19:30-38; Jacob's falsehood - Gen 27:18-24; David's adultery - 2 Sam 11:1-4; Solomon's polygamy - 1 Kings 11:1-3; Esther's severity - Esther 9:12-14; Peter's denials - Matt 26:69-75) 2.) Some evil acts appear to be sanctioned, but it is really the good intention of or accompanying virtue that is recognized and not the evil act itself (ex. Rahab's faith, not her duplicity - Josh 2:1-21; Heb 11:31; Jam 2:25; Jael's patriotism, not her treachery - Judges 4:17-22; Samson's faith, not his vagabondage - Judges 14-16; Heb 11:32) 3.) Some things were permitted as relatively, not absolutely, right (ex. divorce - Deut 24:1; Matt 5:31; Matt 19:7-9; retaliation - Ex 21:23-25; Mat 5:38; Rom 12:19-21) 4.) Some prayers and divine commands express but the purpose of a sovereign God, who frequently uses men to carry out his designs (ex. the imprecatory Psalms [35; 69; 109; 137] and the command to destroy the Canaanites [Deut 7:1-5, 16; 20:16-18]) The bible is in fact inspired by God, and is useful for teaching, correcting, rebuking, and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thouroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16-17)

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