BIBLICAL INSPIRATION

 


"Inspiration" means to inhale, to breathe in. The Bible claims that its words were breathed in by Almighty God through chosen men of old. The term "inspiration" is used twice in Scripture (Job 32:8; 2 Ti. 3:16). In the N.T. it is one of the terms selected by God to describe the nature of the Bible. There are basically three views regarding inspiration: (1) The pagan view of inspiration: The Bible is inspired only in the sense that great human writings, such as those of Shakespeare, are inspired. (2) The partial view of inspiration. Some believe the Bible is inspired in those matters not affecting science, but that there are historical and scientific errors in the Bible. (3) The perfect view of inspiration: The Bible is perfectly inspired and contains no error. It is this latter view that is supported by the Bible itself. The Bible claims to be the perfect, inspired Word of God. This view is also called infallible or inerrant inspiration.

THE ATTACK UPON BIBLICAL INSPIRATION

THE ASSAULT BEGAN IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN. The assault upon the Word of God began at the dawn of man's history and centered on the first commandment that God gave to Adam. The assault was instigated by Dr. Devil who took his "hath God said" seminar to Mrs. Eve's house. She, sadly, became his gullible pupil and assistant. Consider the seven ways the Devil and Eve assaulted God's Word: (1) The Word of God was questioned. The Devil said, "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (v. 1). (2) The Word of God was subtracted from. Eve answered the Devil, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden," thus subtracting the word "every" from the words God had given Adam in Genesis 2:16. (3) The Word of God was added to. When Eve first answered the Devil about God's command she added the words "neither shall ye touch it." God did not say that. (4) The Word of God was softened. Eve answered the Devil that God had said they were not to eat of the tree "lest ye die." In reality God had said, "for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." That is much stronger, fearful, and certain than Eve's new softened paraphrase version. (5) The Word of God was denied. The Devil blatantly stated, "Ye shall not surely die." (6) The Word of God was blasphemed. The Devil further stated, "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (7) Thy Word of God was ignored. Eve ignored God's Word and "took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat" (v. 6).

From that day to this, the Word of God has been under assault. The theories of modern textual criticism assume that the Bible has not been tampered with maliciously, that textual differences are largely the product of innocent mistakes. To believe that, though, is to ignore the reality of the Devil and his hatred of the Word of God. It is to ignore the spiritual warfare that has surrounded the transmission of the Scriptures. When one studies the history of the Bible, one must never forget these facts.

One of the greatest miracles of all time is the preservation of the Holy Scripture in spite of the vicious and unceasing assault from its enemies.

THE MODERNISTIC ASSAULT

Some of the Devil's fiercest assaults upon the Word of God have been aimed at the first five books. This is understandable. If the history and inspiration of the Pentateuch is questionable, the rest of the Bible automatically falls. The modernists of the 19th century attacked the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, devising theories whereby the first five books of the Bible were formed late in Israel's history from a variety of material, the authorship of which was unknown. The modernists claimed that Moses wrote part of the Pentateuch, but that he did not complete the Pentateuch as it stands in our Bible today. They claim that Genesis and the rest of the Pentateuch were pieced together from various documents. One of the names for this theory is JEDP [Jehovist, Elohist, Deuteronimist, Priestly], which stands for the names of alleged separate parts of the Pentateuch which were supposedly written during various periods of Israel's history. There is no one modernistic theory, though. The variety is almost endless, but they all hold one thing in common: they all deny that Moses wrote the Pentateuch and they deny that the Pentateuch as it stands in our Bible is true history throughout.

An example of Modernism is found in a commentary by CHARLES F. KRAFT (Genesis: Beginnings of the Biblical Drama, New York: Woman's Division of Christian Service Board of Missions, The Methodist Church, 1964). Note the following excerpts:

"Clearly, then, the Book of Genesis is a remarkable combination of ancient folklore, tradition, custom, myth" (Kraft, Genesis, pp. 11,12).

"Is the astounding story of the marriage of the 'sons of God' and the 'daughters of men' not ancient folklore to explain the origin of giants, 'Nephilim,' on the earth in prehistoric times...?" (Kraft, Genesis, p. 11).

"To read this old J narrative primarily as history, raising questions as to the historicity, as to whether it could be factually true that the whole human race came from this one common progenitor, is really to miss the profound significance" (Kraft, Genesis, p. 44).

Kraft, like all Modernists, believes the book of Genesis is a mixture of history and myth, truth and religious fairy tale. This is not true. The Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostles quoted from every part of Genesis and always cited it as authoritative and historical Scripture. To question the infallible inspiration of the book of Genesis is to discount the entire Bible, because the rest of the Bible stands or falls on this foundation. While Genesis does not claim internally to have been written by Moses or even to be the inspired Word of God, it was accepted unquestionably as part of the inspired canon of Scripture by Christ and the Apostles. Genesis 2:2 is cited as the Word of God in Heb. 4:4, and Genesis 12:7 is cited as the Word of God in Gal. 3:16. Genesis 21:10 is cited as Scripture in Gal. 4:30, and Genesis 15:6 is cited as Scripture in Rom. 4:3. Consider also the following people and events from Genesis that are cited authoritatively in the New Testament. Not one time in the New Testament is there any hint that the book of Genesis is anything less than the infallible Word of God.

Creation by the Word of God -- Mk. 13:19; Acts 17:24-26; Heb. 11:3
Adam and Eve -- Mt. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:6-7; Lk. 3:38; Rom. 5:12,14; 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:13
Abel -- Mt. 23:35; Lk. 11:50-51; Heb. 11:4,24
Enoch -- Heb. 11:5; Jude 14-15
Noah and the Flood -- Mt. 24:37-39; Lk. 17:26-27; Heb. 11:7; 1 Pet. 3:20; 2 Pet. 3:5,6
Abraham -- mentioned 74 times in the N.T.; leaving his homeland and traveling to Palestine (Acts 7:2-5; Heb. 11:8,9); God spoke to him (Lk. 1:55); God's covenant to him (Lk. 1:72,73; Acts 3:25; 7:17; Gal. 3:8-18; Heb. 6:13,14); Hagar and Ishmael (Gal. 2:22-25); begetting and circumcising Isaac (Acts 7:8); offering Isaac (Heb. 11:17; Jam. 2:21); justified by faith before the covenant of circumcision (Rom. 4:3,9-16; Gal. 3:6).
Sarah -- Heb. 11:11; 1 Pet. 3:6
Melchisedec -- Heb. 7:1-4
Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah -- Lk. 17:28-29; Jude 7; 2 Pet. 2:6-8
Lot's wife -- Lk. 17:32
Isaac -- mentioned 20 times in the N.T. (Mt. 1:2; Heb. 11:9,17-20)
Jacob -- mentioned 26 times in the N.T. (Mt. 1:2; Acts 7:8)
Joseph -- sold into slavery and raised to power over Egypt (Acts 7:9-10); revealed to his brethren (Acts 7:11-16); prophesied of Israel's exodus from Egypt to the Promise Land (Heb. 11:21,22)
Pharaoh (Acts 7:10)

Note the following additional false teachings from Charles Kraft's commentary on Genesis:

"What is the origin of the expanded work? Certainly oral traditions passed down by word of mouth for centuries. ... two hundred years of patient study have resulted in the rather general agreement of scholars that three interwoven documents form the present book. ... Here is a prophet (or probably a prophetic school of writers), perhaps in the tenth century B.C. golden age of King Solomon, proclaiming to his contemporaries the meaning of the existence of Israel as a nation of God's chosen people" (Kraft, Genesis, pp. 18,19).

"... it [the Genesis creation account] is the sublime statement of religious faith hammered out over the centuries of Israel's history" (Kraft, Genesis, p. 27).

In these excerpts, Kraft promotes the J.E.D.P. theory. This teaching actually takes many different forms, but at root it claims the Pentateuch was written by various unknown men and edited together in its present form many centuries after Moses. This is unadulterated modernistic unbelief. Christ-denying Modernists devised these theories and today's Evangelical scholars are gullibly following them. In reality, Genesis was written by MOSES by DIRECT REVELATION during Moses' lifetime! We have seen how Christ and the Apostles looked at Genesis.

Note three additional excerpts from Kraft's commentary that illustrate the rationalistic unbelief that is rampant among biblical scholars today:

"Is it not logical that the Biblical writer could do no other than write in terms of the scientific theories of his own day? How else could he have been understood previous to the rise of modern science?" (Kraft, Genesis, p. 37).

"The first chapter of Genesis was not written primarily to explain how God created the universe" (Kraft, Genesis, p. 37).

"Above all, it is of the utmost importance that we see in the story not merely primeval history about the first man and the first woman which our current knowledge of geology, anthropology, and biology will not allow us to accept. ... not primarily two individuals, Adam and Eve, but, as their names imply, 'the man' and 'the woman,' that is, every man and every woman" (Kraft, Genesis, p. 54).

"Here, then, this story [of Adam and Eve being clothed by God after they sinned] may be an early Hebrew explanation for man's universal adult consciousness of sex and of the need for clothing to hide sex" (Kraft, Genesis, p. 57).

Though Kraft claims Genesis chapter one was not written to teach precisely how creation occurred, he does not tell us how he makes such an assertion. I have read Genesis one countless times, and it always strikes me as a plain statement of how the world was created! That is certainly what it appears to be. What proof does Kraft give that Genesis one was not written for this purpose and that its "scientific" declarations cannot be trusted? The only proof he has is his belief that Genesis one contradicts scientific discoveries. This is not true, though. The literal account of Genesis one does not contradict any proven fact of science. In fact, it perfectly fits every observable fact of the scientific world. Genesis one, for example, says God created the animals and plants according to their kind and put within them the ability to reproduce themselves according to their kind. That is precisely what we observe in the world.

Kraft also questions the historicity of Adam and Eve, claiming the biblical account is probably a religious myth that depicts general truths of some sort. I don't believe it is possible for any man to be saved who denies the historicity of Genesis one through three. To deny Adam and Eve is to deny the Fall. To deny the Fall is to make nonsense out of Christ's Atonement. If Adam and Eve of Genesis merely represent mankind in general ("every man and every woman") what happened to mankind when Adam died (Gen. 5:5)! Further, if Adam and Eve merely represent mankind in general, why does the Bible always refer to them as historic individuals? Adam and Eve are mentioned 35 times in 12 books of the Bible (Gen. 2-5; Deut. 32:8; 1 Chron. 1:1; Job 31:33; Mt. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:6-7; Lk. 3:38; Rom. 5:12,14; 1 Cor. 15:22,45; 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:13-14; Jude 14).

Kraft also claims that the account of the clothing of Adam and Eve by God is a "Hebrew explanation." Not so; it is Divine Revelation! The account in Genesis three is precisely what occurred after Adam and Eve sinned against God. God clothed them in coats of skins. Not only does it teach us that God intends for sinful man to be clothed properly because of the wickedness of his fallen heart; but the clothing in Genesis 3 also depicted the death and blood that was required for the atonement of man's sin and it pointed to the Cross of Jesus Christ.

Charles Kraft is only one of hundreds of examples we could give of biblical scholars who deny the infallibility of Holy Scripture. This damnable assault upon the Word of God is called Modernism.

THE EVANGELICAL ASSAULT

New Evangelicalism, a movement that began in the 1940s, broke down the walls of separation between Bible believers and unbelieving modernists. The term "New Evangelicalism" was coined by the late Harold Ockenga (1905-1985) to define a new type of Evangelicalism and to distinguish it from those who had heretofore born that label. Ockenga has had a phenomenal influence upon today's Evangelicalism. He was the founder of the National Association of Evangelicals, co-founder and one-time president of Fuller Theological Seminary, first president of the World Evangelical Fellowship, a director of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and chairman of the board and one-time editor of Christianity Today. In the foreword to Dr. Harold Lindsell's book The Battle for the Bible, Ockenga stated the position of New Evangelicalism:

"Neo-evangelicalism was born in 1948 in connection with a convocation address which I gave in the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena. While reaffirming the theological view of Fundamentalism, this address repudiated its ecclesiology and its social theory. The ringing call for A REPUDIATION OF SEPARATISM and the summons to social involvement received a hearty response from many Evangelicals. It differed from Fundamentalism in its repudiation of separatism and its determination to engage itself in the theological dialogue of the day. It had a new emphasis upon the application of the gospel to the sociological, political, and economic areas of life."

The New Evangelical philosophy called for dialogue with modernists rather than separation from them. The New Evangelical called upon God's people to stay in the modernistic mainline denominations rather than leave them, to study at the feet of modernists in their theological institutions rather than reject them as heretics. The result was foreseeable. The Evangelical world has been infected by modernistic thought.

The downgrade of the doctrine of biblical inspiration has been documented by Evangelical leaders. Dr. Harold Lindsell, former vice-president of Fuller Theological Seminary and editor emeritus of Christianity Today, published two volumes on the downgrade of the Bible in Evangelicalism, with particular focus on Fuller Seminary, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Lindsell's The Battle for the Bible was first published in 1976. The sequel, The Bible in the Balance, came out in 1979. This careful documentation by a man who was in the inner circle of Evangelicalism's leadership for many decades leaves no doubt about the fact that the Evangelical world of the last half of the twentieth century is leavened with apostasy.

In 1984, well-known Evangelical leader Francis Schaeffer published The Great Evangelical Disaster. The book's title describes the thesis. The cover jacket says, "In this explosive new book Dr. Francis Schaeffer exposes the rise of compromise and accommodation, and the tragic consequences of this, within the evangelical church." The issue that Schaeffer called "the watershed of Evangelicalism" is the inspiration and authority of the Bible. He testified, "Within evangelicalism there are a growing number who are modifying their views on the inerrancy of the Bible so that the full authority of Scripture is completely undercut" (The Great Evangelical Disaster, p. 44).

A more recent exposure of the corruption of doctrine in the Evangelical world is found in No Place for Truth: or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? by David F. Wells, Professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Time magazine described Well's book as "a stinging indictment of evangelicalism's theological corruption." Though Wells is himself a committed New Evangelical, he properly identifies Evangelicalism's chief problem as its repudiation of biblical separation and its accommodation with the world:

"Fundamentalism always had an air of embattlement about it, of being an island in a sea of unremitting hostility. Evangelicalism has reacted against this sense of psychological isolation. It has lowered the barricades. It is open to the world. The great sin of Fundamentalism is to compromise; the great sin in evangelicalism is to be narrow" (emphasis added) (David Wells, No Place for Truth, p. 129).

Wells also made a telling statement that acknowledges precisely where the New Evangelical world is today:

"But in between these far shores [Anglo-Catholicism and Fundamentalism] lie the choppy waters that most evangelicals now ply with their boats, and here the winds of modernity blow with disconcerting force, fragmenting what it means to be evangelical. This is because evangelicals have allowed their confessional center to dissipate" (p. 128).

I believe a clear case can be established connecting Evangelicalism's apostasy with its acceptance of the critical text and its versions. The Fundamentalist who defends the modern versions joins hands with Modernists and New Evangelicals, because this has long been their position and they are the ones doing the vast majority of the "scholarly" writing on this subject.

Pastor Mark Buch of Vancouver, British Columbia, who was involved in the Fundamentalist movement beginning in the 1930s, gives this testimony to Evangelicalism's corruption:

"[Evangelicalism] today has fallen away from the old faith and this is not the case of an exception among them, it is common and general. They no longer believe in the veracity, the verbal inspiration of the Holy Bible and they have gone a whoring after all sorts of innovations and foolishness in order to fill their churches..." (Buch, In Defence of the Authorized Version, 1977, p. 33).

Consider this summary of the downgrade of the doctrine of inspiration by today's Evangelical leaders:

My main concern is with those who profess to believe that the Bible is the Word of God and yet by, what I can only call surreptitious and devious means, deny it. This is, surprisingly enough, a position that is taken widely in the evangelical world. Almost all of the literature which is produced in the evangelical world today falls into this category. In the October 1985 issue of Christianity Today, (the very popular and probably most influential voice of evangelicals in America), a symposium on Bible criticism was featured. The articles were written by scholars from several evangelical seminaries. Not one of the participants in that symposium in Christianity Today was prepared to reject higher criticism. All came to its defense. IT BECAME EVIDENT THAT ALL THE SCHOLARS FROM THE LEADING SEMINARIES IN THIS COUNTRY HELD TO A FORM OF HIGHER CRITICISM.

These men claim to believe that the Bible is the Word of God. At the same time they adopt higher critical methods in the explanation of the Scriptures. This has become so common in evangelical circles that IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND AN EVANGELICAL PROFESSOR IN THE THEOLOGICAL SCHOOLS OF OUR LAND AND ABROAD WHO STILL HOLDS UNCOMPROMISINGLY TO THE DOCTRINE OF THE INFALLIBLE INSPIRATION OF THE SCRIPTURES. The insidious danger is that higher criticism is promoted by those who claim to believe in infallible inspiration (Herman Hanko, The Battle for the Bible, pp. 2,3). [Hanko's book should not be confused with Harold Lindsell's book by that same name.]

The author of the above critique is a professor at the Protestant Reformed Seminary, Grandville, Michigan.

LET ME GIVE A SPECIFIC EXAMPLE OF THIS OF THE HUNDREDS THAT I COULD GIVE FROM MY FILES.

BRUCE METZGER, who is frequently cited as an "evangelical" scholar, is one of the most renowned textual critics, and he has spoken in forums which are as theologically diverse as the National Council of Churches, the Roman Catholic Church, and even those which profess to be Evangelical, such as Dallas Theological Seminary, the Congress on Biblical Exposition, and Tennessee Temple Seminary. Metzger wrote the notes to the Reader's Digest Condensed Bible and co-edited the New Oxford Annotated Bible: Revised Standard Version.

The following description of the Pentateuch from these two sources is the approach typically taken today by scholars of all perspectives:

"The Old Testament may be described as the literary expression of the religious life of ancient Israel. ... The Israelites were more history-conscious than any other people in the ancient world. Probably as early as the time of David and Solomon, out of a matrix of myth, legend, and history, there had appeared the earliest written form of the story of the saving acts of God from Creation to the conquest of the Promised Land, an account which later in modified form became a part of Scripture. But it was to be a long time before the idea of Scripture arose and the Old Testament took its present form. ... The process by which the Jews became 'the people of the Book' was gradual, and the development is shrouded in the mists of history and tradition. ... The date of the final compilation of the Pentateuch or Law, which was the first corpus or larger body of literature that came to be regarded by the Jews as authoritative Scripture, is uncertain, although some have conservatively dated it at the time of the Exile in the sixth century. ... Before the adoption of the Pentateuch as the Law of Moses, there had been compiled and edited in the spirit and diction of the Deuteronomic 'school' the group of books consisting of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, in much their present form. ... Thus the Pentateuch took shape over a long period of time" (Introduction to the Old Testament, New Oxford Annotated Bible).

Genesis: "Nearly all modern scholars agree that, like the other books of the Pentateuch, [Genesis] is a composite of several sources, embodying traditions that go back in some cases to Moses" (Metzger's Introduction to Genesis, Reader's Digest Condensed Bible).

Exodus: "As with Genesis, several strands of literary tradition, some very ancient, some as late as the sixth century B.C., were combined in the makeup of the books" (Metzger's Introduction to Exodus, Reader's Digest Condensed Bible).

Deuteronomy: "It's compilation is generally assigned to the seventh century B.C., though it rests upon much older tradition, some of it from Moses' time" (Metzger's Introduction to Deuteronomy, Reader's Digest Condensed Bible).

Be careful about labels in this confused hour. The term "evangelical" is meaningless. It can refer to a Modernist or a Roman Catholic or a drunk-in-the-spirit Charismatic or a Psychobabbler who believes the key to mental health is the recovery of hidden memories. I don't care what label a man bears, if he denies the perfect inspiration of Scripture he is an arch heretic and an apostate (both of these are biblical terms) and God's people should treat him as the dangerous false teacher that he is. The Bible is the foundation for everything in the Christian life and faith, and if the Bible is not infallible, Jesus Christ and the Apostles were either deceived or were liars and we are foolish people to follow them.

I repeat that Bruce Metzger is only one of hundreds of examples we could give of Evangelical scholars who deny the infallibility of Holy Scripture. Today's Evangelicals are polluted with the Modernism from which they have refused to separate. A little leaven has indeed leavened the whole lump. (Remember these sad facts the next time you hear about how "thoroughly Evangelical" certain modern Bible translators are. Being "thorough Evangelical" today does not indicate that an individual accepts the Bible as the infallible Word of God.)

THE DECEPTION OF INSPIRATION

We must warn that many today who use the term inspiration, and who speak of an inspired Bible, do not necessarily mean that the Bible is the absolutely perfect Word of God. In writing of the condition in many evangelical seminaries, Richard Quebedeaux notes:

"It is a well-known fact that a large number, if not most, of the colleges and seminaries in question now have faculty who no longer believe in total inerrancy, even in situations where their employers still require them to sign the traditional declaration that the Bible is 'verbally inspired,' 'inerrant,' or 'infallible in the whole and in the part,' or to affirm in other clearly defined words the doctrine of inerrancy ... SOME OF THESE FACULTY INTERPRET THE CRUCIAL CREEDAL CLAUSES IN A MANNER THE ORIGINAL FRAMERS WOULD NEVER HAVE ALLOWED; OTHERS SIMPLY SIGN THE AFFIRMATION WITH TONGUE IN CHEEK." (The Worldly Evangelicals, p. 30).

An example of claiming to believe in inspiration while denying that the Bible is the perfect Word of God is found in the biography of Bible translator J.B. Phillips:

"As the years have passed--and it is now twenty-five years since I began translating the 'Epistles'--my conviction has grown that the New Testament is in a quite special sense inspired. IT IS NOT MAGICAL, NOR IS IT FAULTLESS: human beings wrote it. ... although I believe in the true inspiration of the New Testament and its obvious power to change human lives in this or any other century, I should like to make it quite clear that I could not possibly hold the extreme 'fundamentalist' position of so-called 'verbal inspiration'" (Phillips, Ring of Truth, pp. 27,28,29).

Another example of this was found in an interview Christianity Today conducted with Arie Brouwer, former general secretary of the National Council of Churches in America.

"Concerning Scripture, he uses the word 'infallible' rather than 'inerrant.' He says 'the Gospels are a faithful record of Jesus' teaching. Their historical quality is remarkable compared to other literature of the time. WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO ME IS NOT WHETHER THEY RECORD VERBATIM WHAT JESUS SAID" (Calvary Contender, Feb. 15, 1986).

This is deception of the highest order. If the Bible is not inerrant it is not infallible! If the Gospels are a faithful record of Jesus' teaching, they contain an accurate record of what He said! If they do not contain an accurate record of what Christ said, they are not faithful! What wicked doublespeak!

Referring to the strange matter of evangelical scholars professing to believe in an inspired Bible while at the same time claiming the Bible's record is not accurate, the editor of Foundation magazine makes the following important comments:

"It is absolutely unbelievable that so many 'evangelical' scholars can claim to believe in the infallibility of the Bible but reject its inerrancy. But, that is exactly what is happening and God's people need to be alerted. It used to be that when a person said they believed the Scriptures were infallible, it was not necessary to add the word 'inerrant' since 'infallibility' was taken to imply 'inerrancy.' Today's evangelical 'scholars' have already given us several new Bibles. Are they now going to rewrite our English dictionaries? We decided to examine the dictionary meaning of the words 'infallible' and 'inerrant.' This is what we discovered. According to Webster's New World Dictionary, Second College Edition, inerrant means 'not wandering, fixed, not erring; making no mistakes; infallible.' Please note that one of the definitions given for 'inerrant' is 'infallible.' The word infallible is defined as follows: '1. incapable of error; never wrong; 2. not liable to fail, go wrong, make a mistake, etc.; dependable; reliable; sure.' Actually, then, 'infallible' (incapable of error) is an even stronger word than 'inerrant.' It is clear that many scholars are trying to cover up their unbelief by ignoring the clear meaning of words--especially words involved in major Christian doctrines. These men need to be exposed. For our part, we are happy to say that we believe in both the inerrancy and infallibility of God's Holy Word, the Bible!" (Foundation, Nov.-Dec. 1980, p. 19).

Dr. David O. Beale, in writing of the doctrinal battles which are raging in the Southern Baptist Convention, speaks of the deceptiveness of those who use the term "infallible Bible" apart from a historical definition of such:

"The doctrinal guideline for the [Southern Baptist] Peace Committee is the Baptist Faith and Message, a statement of faith adopted by the SBC in 1925 and revised in 1963. Article one of the statement says that the Bible HAS truth, without any mixture of error.' Fundamentalists, to the contrary, have always maintained that the Bible IS 'truth, without any mixture of error.' One can readily see that the Baptist Faith and Message is actually a protector of liberals, who would of course agree that truth has no mixture of error. That is a far cry from asserting the Bible is totally and absolutely inerrant. Much more significant, however, is the fact that liberals are being acknowledged as conservatives, simply because they use the word 'inerrant' to describe the Bible. Actually, they are using what Francis A. Schaeffer called 'a new loophole.' They readily use the word inerrancy, but they do not define the word in its historic, orthodox sense. Says Schaeffer, 'There are those within evangelicalism who are quite happy to use the words "infallibility," "inerrancy," and "without error," but upon careful analysis they really mean something quite different from what these words have meant to the church historically' (Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, p. 56). The use of these words will, no doubt, save the jobs of many SBC seminary professors. A recent article in SBC Today describes at least six different current usages of the word inerrancy: critical inerrancy, limited inerrancy, qualified inerrancy, nuanced inerrancy, functional inerrancy, and absolute inerrancy. Only the last one is the orthodox view, but liberals often do not explain their own use of the word" (Beale, "The Southern Baptist Convention's Ongoing Battle," The Baptist Bulletin, Sept. 1986).

Friends, beware of this type of deception. It is being practiced widely in Christian circles. Do not be deceived by the "good words and fair speeches" of heretics (Ro. 16:17,18). Contrast man's thinking about Bible inspiration with the following study of what the Bible itself claims as to its inspiration:

THE CLAIM OF INSPIRATION

Thousands of times in Scripture we are confronted with the unmistakable claim that God is the author. Phrases such as "thus saith the Lord" and "the word of God" permeate the Bible. By my own count, these phrases are used 2935 times in the Old Testament. Consider the following examples:

"And he Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel" (Ex. 34:27).
"The spirit of the Lord spake by me and His word was in my tongue" (2 Sa. 23:2).
"Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken" (Is. 1:2).
"Whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak ... Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth" (Je. 1:7,9).
"Thou shalt speak my words unto them" (Eze. 2:7).
"All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet" (Mt. 1:22; 2:15).
"David himself said by the Holy Ghost" (Mk. 12:36).
"He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began" (Lk. 1:70).
"Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began" (Ac. 3:21).

If the Bible is not the Word of God, it is the greatest lie that has ever been perpetrated upon humanity.

THE EXTENT OF INSPIRATION

Consider some of the major New Testament passages on the divine inspiration of Scripture:

2 TIMOTHY 3:13-17 - "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."

This is the key passage on the inspiration of the Scriptures, and it teaches many important truths. Note that the Apostle Paul wrote these verses. He was chosen by God to reveal divine truths (Ep. 3; Ga. 1). If we cannot trust this man's writings, we can trust no man's. Personally, I had much rather trust Paul's testimony than that of some modern, critical-thinking, miracle-denying liberal, or some compromising, liberally-influenced evangelical or some relativistic emergent. Paul was utterly dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ and suffered constant persecution and hardship because of his faith. He was personally called by Christ to be an Apostle and he had the signs of an Apostle (2 Cor. 12:12). Let us see what the Apostle Paul testified concerning the nature of the Bible:

1. The Bible is set apart from all other books (v. 15). Here the Scriptures are called "holy." This means "set apart, different." According to Paul's teaching, the Bible cannot in any way be compared with other books. Any theologian or textual critic that treats the Bible like other books is wrong from the outset and cannot possibly come to a right understanding of his subject.

2. The Bible is from God (v. 16). This verse literally says the Scriptures are God-breathed. Though written by men, the Bible is a product of God. This is the biblical doctrine of divine inspiration. When discussing its own inspiration the Scripture does not focus on the mechanics of inspiration by on the product. God spoken in many diverse ways (dreams, visions, angels, directly as on Mt. Sinai and on the Mt. of Transfiguration, etc.) but the result in all cases was that the writings were God breathed. L. Gaussen, in Theopneustia: The Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures (1850), rightly says of 2 Timothy 3:16: "This statement admits of no exception and of no restriction ... All Scripture is in such wise a work of God, that it is represented to us as uttered by the divine breathing, just as human speech is uttered by the breathing of a man's mouth. The prophet is the mouth of the Lord."

3. The Bible is from God in its entirety (v. 16). All of the Scripture is said to have come from God. The word for Scripture here, graphe, is a word meaning "writing" or "book." This is referred to as "plenary inspiration." Plenary means full, complete, entire.

4. The Bible is from God in its smallest detail (v. 15). The word for Scripture here is gramma, referring to a letter. This teaches that even the smallest details of the Bible are from God. This is called "verbal inspiration."

5. The Bible is one book with an all-encompassing theme: Salvation in Jesus Christ (v. 15). The Bible is not just a group of unrelated, disconnected religious writings. It is a unified Book planned by God to teach man the way of salvation (compare Lk. 24:44-45; Jn. 1:45; 5:39; Ep. 3:11).

6. The Bible can protect Christians from error (vv. 13-15). If the Bible contains myths, mistakes, and untrue claims concerning authorship, miracles, and prophecies, it certainly is not a book that can give sure protection from false teachings!

7. The Bible is sufficient to make the Christian complete and mature (v. 17). An imperfect book could not produce perfection, and since the Bible is able to make the man of God perfect it is obvious that nothing else is needed. The Scripture is thus the sole authority for faith and practice.

MARK 12:36; LUKE 1:70; ACTS 1:16; 3:18, 21; 4:25; 28:25 - "For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. ... As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began. ... Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. ... But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. ... Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. ... Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? ... And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers."

The teaching of the Bible regarding its own nature is described in these verses. Though men wrote the Scriptures, they are the writings of God. The Bible is God's Word given through human instruments. This is the plain teaching of Scripture. Any other view is false human conjecture.

JOHN 17:8 -- "For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me."

Jesus Christ received words from God the Father and delivered them to the apostles. He promised that His words would not pass away (Mat. 24:35). He further promised that the Holy Spirit would guide the apostles into all truth, would bring things to their remembrance, and would show them things to come (Jn. 14:25-26; 16:12-13). Thus, the apostles and prophets who wrote the New Testament did not have to depend upon their fallible human devices. Edward Hills wisely observes: "The New Testament contains the words that Christ brought down from heaven for the salvation of His people and now remain inscribed in holy Writ. ... For ever, O LORD, Thy Word is settled in heaven (Ps. 119:89). Although the Scriptures were written during a definite historical period, they are not the product of that period but of the eternal plan of God. When God designed the holy Scriptures in eternity, He had the whole sweep of human history in view. Hence the Scriptures are forever relevant. Their message can never be outgrown. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the Word of our God shall stand for ever (Isa. 40:8)."

ROMANS 16:25-26 -- "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith."

Paul stated that Scripture was being written by the New Testament apostles and prophets by divine revelation. See also Ephesians 3:4-5.

1 CORINTHIANS 2:9-13 - "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."

1. In this passage we also see what Scripture is:

It is God's revelation (v. 10). Revelation concerns those things which man cannot know by his own investigation and intellect (v. 9). God, by His Spirit, has chosen to reveal things about Himself, salvation, and His plans (vv. 10-12).

It is the deep things of God (v. 10).

It is the very words of God (v. 13). In v. 13 we are told that this revelation extends to the very choice of the words used to relate it. God did not merely give the Bible writers the general thoughts they were to write; He gave them the very words.

It is the mind of Christ (v. 16). We cannot know Christ or His will apart from the Scriptures.

2. The Scripture is understood only by the spiritual man (vv. 14,15). There are three types of men described in this passage.

The natural or unsaved man (v. 14). The natural man cannot understand the things of God.

The spiritual man, or the saved man who walks in the Spirit (v. 15). The spiritual man can know all things that God has revealed.

The carnal man, or the saved man who remains a spiritual baby and does not grow spiritually (3:1,2). The carnal man can only understand the simplest things of the Scriptures (3:2).

1 CORINTHIANS 14:17 -- "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord."

Here we see that Paul knew that his writings were the commandments of the Lord. See also 1 Cor. 11:2; Gal. 1:11-12; Col. 1:25-26, 28; 1 Thess. 2:13; and 2 Thess. 3:6, 14.

1 PETER 1:10-12 - "Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into."

This passage also deals with the mechanics of inspiration. The Spirit of God was in the prophets testifying of the things of God. The prophets themselves did not even understand all that they spoke and wrote. This shows the error of any view of inspiration that deals with the thoughts alone. The prophets were not given general thoughts and then left to record those thoughts and impressions as best they could by their own power. They were given a perfect revelation from God and were controlled in every detail of its recording. The inspiration was verbal.

1 PETER 1:25 -- "But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."

Here we see that Peter taught that the word that was preached by the New Testament apostles and prophets was the eternal Word of God.

2 PETER 1:19-21 - "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

1. First, we are told that the Scriptures are a light shining in a dark place (v. 19). The dark place is the world. Though containing some truth mixed with error, the world is pictured as dark because man is not able to know spiritual truth without a revelation from God. The Bible is that revelation which is shining in the midst of the darkness.

2. Second, the Bible is not a product of man's will (v. 21). Other books are products of the will of the human author, but not the Bible. God chose certain men and moved in them to deliver His message. As the Holy Spirit moved them the things they spoke were the words of God.

3. This passage explains the method whereby the Bible was given. God used men, but He used them in such a way that what they wrote was precisely God's Word. When the Bible touches on inspiration and revelation, it focuses on God. We are told very little about the actual mechanism. The method of inspiration is an unrevealed mystery. It was accomplished mysteriously by the Holy Spirit. We are not supposed to fret about the method of inspiration; we are supposed to believe God's testimony that it happened and we are to have faith in the finished product, the Holy Scriptures. Modern Bible scholars usually do just the opposite of what the Scriptures do in reference to inspiration. They focus on man's part rather than upon God. That is because most modern scholars do not operate by the principle of faith. They are operating by their own intellect and by the means of human scholarship. No man can know the perfect Word of God through scholarship, for "without faith it is impossible to please him" (He. 11:6).

4. The phrase "private interpretation" refers to the writers of the Bible. In the context this is referring to the giving of revelation, rather than to the understanding of it. The Bible writers did not personally interpret God's revelation to mankind; they were given God's revelation by the Holy Spirit. They did not always even understand what they were writing (1 Pet. 1:10-12).

2 PETER 3:2 -- "A Jew would not have dared to make such a claim if he were not convinced that the apostolic writings were Holy Scripture, because he looked upon the Old Testament prophets as the very oracles of God."

Peter put the commandments of the apostles on the same level as that of the Old Testament prophets. A Jew would not have dared to make such a claim if he were not convinced that the apostolic writings were Holy Scripture, because he looked upon the Old Testament prophets as the very oracles of God.

2 PETER 3:15-16 -- "And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."

Here we see that Peter called Paul's writings "scripture" and put them on the same level of authority as the Old Testament. Peter says that Paul did not write by his own understanding but by wisdom given to him of God. Peter warned about the false teachers who were attacking the Scripture even in that day. "Although some [of Paul's epistles] had been out for perhaps fifteen years, the ink was scarcely dry on others, and perhaps 2 Timothy had not yet been penned when Peter wrote. Paul's writings were recognized and declared by apostolic authority to be Scripture as soon as they appeared" (Wilbur Pickering).

1 JOHN 4:6 -- "We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error."

John held forth the writings of the apostles and prophets as the sole and absolute standard for truth.

JUDE 17 -- "But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ."

In warning the believers of false teachers, Jude refers to the "words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ." He holds these words up as the sole divine standard for faith and practice.

REVELATION 1:3 -- "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand."

The book of Revelation was written and presented as the prophetic Word of God. See also Revelation 21:5; 22:18-19.

HOW MUCH OF THE BIBLE IS INSPIRED SCRIPTURE?

The entire Bible from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 is Holy Scripture. (1) The entire O.T. is Scripture (Lk. 24:27; Ro. 3:2; 2 Ti. 3:16; 2 Pe. 1:19-21). The following O.T. books are specifically called Scripture: Genesis (Ro. 4:3; Ga. 4:30), Exodus (Mt. 22:29-32; Ro. 9:17), Leviticus (Ja. 2:8), Kings (Ro. 11:2-3), Psalms (Mt. 21:42; Jn. 10:34-35; 13:18; 19:24, 36; Ro. 15:3-4), Isaiah (Mk. 14:28; Lk. 4:17-21; Ac. 8:32-33; Ro. 10:11; 1 Pe. 2:6), Zechariah (Jn. 19:37). (2) The Gospels are Scripture (compare 1 Ti. 5:18 and Mt. 10:10; He. 2:3). (3) The writings of the Apostles are Scripture (Ro. 16:25,26; 1 Co. 2:7-13; 14:37; 1 Pe. 1:12; 2 Pe. 3:1-2,15-16). (4) Revelation is Scripture; it is called the Word of God (Re. 1:2).

 

Source:the Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible & Christianity http://www.wayoflife.org

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