1. Christ taught that the Old Testament is perfect to the letter (Mt. 5:17-18).
2. Christ taught that the Old Testament cannot be broken (Jn. 10:35). In this verse, Christ is speaking of the authority of the Scriptures. He was saying that absolutely nothing written in the Scriptures could be set aside or ignored. It is authoritative to every detail. The Greek word translated "broken" in Jn. 10:35 is elsewhere translated "put off" (Ac. 7:33) and "loose" (Jn. 11:44). Thus no statement in the Bible can be put off or escaped. All will be proven true. What a Book! Jesus Christ said it is perfect. This is the doctrine of infallibility.
3. Christ taught that the Old Testament is a divinely planned book to prepare for His own coming (Lk. 24:44).
4. Christ taught that every part of the Old Testament was cited as inspired and authoritative, the law, the writings, and the Psalms (Lk. 24:44).
5. Christ taught that the Old Testament characters, events, and miracles are true and historical. Some of the O.T. people and events Christ referred to are as follows: the creation (Mk. 13:19), Adam and Eve (Mt. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:6-7), Cain and Abel (Mt. 23:35; Lk. 11:50-51), Noah and the flood (Mt. 24:37-39), Abraham (Jn. 8:39-40), the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Lk. 17:28-29), Lot's wife turning to salt (Lk. 17:32), Moses and the burning bush (Mk. 12:26), Manna from heaven (Jn. 6:31-32), the brazen serpent (Jn. 3:14-15), Jonah and the whale (Mt. 12:39-41; Lk. 11:29-32), Ninevah repenting at Jonah's preaching (Lk. 11:32), the queen of Sheba visiting Solomon (Lk. 11:31).
6. Christ taught that the writers of the Old Testament were those claimed by the Scriptures. In referring to O.T. books, the Lord Jesus left no doubt that they were written by the very men spoken of in the books themselves. According to the Son of God, Moses wrote the books of the law (Lk. 24:44; Jn. 5:45-47); David wrote the Psalms bearing his name (Lk. 20:42); Daniel wrote the book bearing his name (Mt. 24:15). Jesus often quoted from the book of Isaiah and said the historical prophet Isaiah wrote it, not an unknown group of men. In Jn. 12:38-41, Christ quoted from both major sections of Isaiah and said both were written by the same Isaiah. This destroys the modern myth that Isaiah was the product of more than one writer.
WHAT DID THE APOSTLES BELIEVE ABOUT THE SCRIPTURES?
The following study demonstrates the high esteem in which the early Christians held the Old Testament Scriptures. Notice how the Apostolic concept of the O.T. is directly opposed to the modern critical theories. Surely we should have no difficulty in knowing whose testimony to trust.
O.T. STORIES ARE LITERAL HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS.
Creation (Ge. 1,2 -- Ac. 17:24-26)
THE MIRACLES RECORDED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT ARE TRUE, LITERAL, HISTORICAL EVENTS.
Creation (Ge. 1-2 -- Ac. 17:24-26)
OLD TESTAMENT CHARACTERS ARE TRUE HISTORICAL PEOPLE JUST AS NAMED AND DESCRIBED IN THE BIBLE ACCOUNTS.
Adam and Eve (Ro. 5:14; 2 Co. 11:3; 1 Ti. 2:13)
THE BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS ARE CITED AS BEING WHOLLY AUTHORITATIVE AND RELIABLE.
David (Ac. 1:15-20--Ps. 41:9; Ac. 2:25-28--Ps. 16:8-11; Ac.
2:34,35--Ps. 110:1; Ac. 13:33--Ps. 2:7)
OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS ARE SAID TO HAVE SPOKEN THE WORDS OF GOD.
Compare Ac. 1:16,17 with Ps. 41:9
THE OLD TESTAMENT WAS CONSIDERED A DIVINE BOOK WHICH AS A WHOLE POINTS TO THE N.T. SCRIPTURES. "Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days" (Ac. 3:24).
GOD'S APPEARANCES TO THE OLD TESTAMENT CHARACTERS WERE HISTORICAL EVENTS.
To Abraham (Ge. 12 -- Ac. 7:2; Ge. 15--Ac. 7:5-7; Ge. 17--Ac.
TRADITIONAL OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORS ARE CITED AS THE ACTUAL WRITERS.
David and the Psalms (Ac. 1:15-20; 2:25-28; 2:34,35; 13:33)
THE OLD TESTAMENT IS CONSIDERED TO BE A BOOK WHOLLY RELIABLE AND POINTING TO JESUS CHRIST. The Apostles did not consider the O.T. to be a man-made, error-filled jigsaw puzzle, but a divinely-planned and inspired Book with a perfect unity, each part having its unique place in the overall purpose: Ac. 2:13-36; 3:18-24; 7:52; 8:30-35; 13:27-29; 10:43; 26:22,23.
THE APOSTLES BELIEVED THE OLD TESTAMENT CONTAINS LITERAL PROPHECY. "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). All O.T. prophecy describing a final judgment of sin and the establishment of a worldwide righteousness is literal and true, according to the Lord's Apostles.
THE BIBLICAL EVIDENCE THAT MOSES WROTE THE PENTATEUCH
Moses is mentioned 843 times in the Bible!
1. The books themselves claim to have been written by Moses (Ex. 24:4,7; 34:27-28; Nu. 33:2; De. 1:1-5; 4:4-5; 31:9-12,24-26). If Moses did not write the Pentateuch, the Bible is an absolute lie from its beginning.
2. Other O.T. books claim Moses wrote the Pentateuch (Jos. 1:7; 8:30-35; Ju. 3:4; 1 Ki. 2:3; 2 Ki. 14:6; 22:8-11; 23:21-25; Ezr. 3:2; Ne. 8:1; 9:14; Da. 9:11; Mal. 4:4). If Moses did not write the Pentateuch, all of these writers were either deluded or were lying. Either way, we are left with a hopelessly undependable book that is not the blessed Word of God.
3. The N.T. claims Moses wrote the Pentateuch. Moses is mentioned 80 times in the New Testament (Mk. 12:26; Lk. 16:29-31; 24:27 (Moses writings are called Scripture); 24:44; Jn. 1:17; 5:45-47; 8:5; Ac. 15:21; 2 Co. 3:15).
The Lord Jesus Christ quoted from every part of the Pentateuch: Genesis (Mt. 19:4-6; 24:37-39); Exodus (Mk. 12:26 citing Ex. 3:6); Leviticus (Mt. 8:4 citing Lev. 14:1-32); Numbers (Jn. 3:14-15 citing Num. 21:8,9 and Jn. 6:31-32 citing Num. 11:6-9); Deuteronomy (Mk. 10:4-5 citing Deut. 24:1).
THE INSPIRATION OF GENESIS
Genesis does not claim internally to have been written by Moses or even to be the inspired Word of God. The book of Genesis has been received, though, by the Jews as part of the inspired law of Moses throughout their history. It is 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
Consider also the following people and events from Genesis which 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; Ac. 17:24-26; He.
WERE ADAM AND EVE HISTORICAL FIGURES?
1. To deny Adam and Eve as historical figures is to deny the Bible. Adam and Eve are mentioned 35 times in the Bible. Adam and Eve are mentioned in at least four books of the Old Testament (Ge. 2-5; De. 32:8; 1 Ch. 1:1; and Job 31:33) and in eight books of the New Testament (Mt. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:6-7; Lk. 3:38; Ro. 5:12,14; 1 Co. 15:22, 45; 2 Co. 11:3; 1 Ti. 2:13-14; and Jude 14). No one who believes the Bible is the infallible Word of God can doubt that Adam and Eve were created as the first human beings by a special act of God.
2. The first five chapters of the Bible is written as history; there is nothing in the record to indicate that it is to be interpreted non-literally, as poetry or symbolism. When the Bible uses symbolism, it plainly distinguishes that it is such, and it gives the key for interpreting the symbols. We see this in Revelation, for example. In chapter 17 John describes a woman sitting on a beast, and he plainly tells us that this is a mystery and he gives the interpretation of the symbolic language in the passage itself (vv. 7-18). Genesis 1-5, though, is written as history. Gen. 5:5 says that Adam lived 930 years and then died! If Adam merely symbolized mankind in general, what happened to mankind after Adam died!
3. If Adam and Eve were not historical figures, the fall is a myth and redemption through the cross of Christ is nonsense. See Romans 5:12-19.
4. To deny the historicity of Adam is to deny Jesus Christ. Christ's genealogy is traced from Adam (Lk. 3:23-38). Further, the N.T. makes a direct comparison between Christ and Adam (Ro. 5:17; 1 Co. 15:22,45).
5. The chief motive for denying the historicity of Adam is the challenge of science and the theory of evolution, but the Bible and evolution are in direct contradiction. Let me list five of the plain Bible statements which directly contradict the theories of evolution. (1) Genesis says God created the world and everything in it in six literal "morning and evening" days. To read "eons" of time into the six days of creation is to turn language on its head and to make the Bible incapable of being dogmatically interpreted. If the Bible does not mean what it says, there is no way to know what it does mean. (2) Genesis says all creation was made in a mature state to reproduce after its kind. The statement "after their kind" is found nine times in Genesis chapter one. This is precisely what we observe in the world. Dogs reproduce dogs, frogs reproduce frogs, birds reproduce birds, and peanuts reproduce peanuts. This is biblical, but it is strictly contrary to what evolution requires. (3) Genesis says man and animals were distinctly different creations. The animals were made to reproduce after their kind, but man was made in the image of God and made a living soul. Man has a spiritual aspect that no animal has. The animals were made to relate to man and to provide his enjoyment and needs. Man was made to relate to God, to fellowship with, serve, worship, and glorify Him. John Leslie wisely noted, "Now, if it has been found impossible--a question which I have put from time to time, but which still waits an answer--if it has been found impossible to change one species of bird into another species of bird, or one kind of animal into another kind of animal, how much more impossible would it have been to have changed an animal into a man? Or if, in other words, the blood or life of one species of animal is so radically different from the blood or life of another kind of animal, how much greater must the difference be between the blood of an animal and that of a man?" (4) Genesis says the world was created perfect, then fell under sin and God's curse. This is consistent with everything we can observe. Everything is winding down. Everything is proceeding from order to chaos. Everything is corrupting. Evolution would require the exact opposite. (5) Genesis says everything was created to fulfill God's purposes, the world and everything in it, as well as the planetary universe. Teleology is the study of final causes, of the purposes of nature. It is a fascinating study, because regardless of how minutely one studies the creation, one is struck with a sense of wonder at the brilliant purpose behind every detail. Study the eye, the ear, the leaf, the atom, light, sound, air--everywhere you find purpose and design. That is what one would expect if God created the world precisely as the Bible says He did, but it is not what we would find if evolution were true. If the latter were true, we would find incredible chaos, happenstance, and haphazardness. We would have a world filled with monsters and unpredictable madness, part one thing and part another, a fish becoming a bird, a frog becoming a rat, a lizard becoming a bird, partially formed beaks which do not yet have a purpose, partially formed feet, partially formed wings, partially formed eyes, partially formed brains. We would have no fixed absolutes from which and with which to work. We would have no atomic clock because the atom would not be stable. We would have no sure guide across the trackless oceans because the heavenly bodies would be in fluctuation. Praise the Lord that evolution is a lie and the Bible is true.
WAS THE FLOOD OF NOAH'S DAY UNIVERSAL?
Many modernistic and New Evangelical commentators today say that the flood of Noah's day was not worldwide and universal. The New Bible Commentary, published by InterVarsity Press, has this comment on Genesis 6: "The narrative does not directly affirm a universal flood ... deductions drawn from the assumption that all mankind was destroyed are precarious" (page 88). Many would claim that it does not matter whether Noah's flood was universal or regional. We disagree. If the Bible plainly states something, it DOES matter whether or not we believe it, and there is no doubt that the Bible does claim that the Flood was worldwide.
THE FOLLOWING FOUR BIBLE FACTS PROVE THAT THE FLOOD WAS UNIVERSAL AND WORLDWIDE:
1. The language used in the Bible to describe the flood is language depicting a universal, worldwide flood. No one living today witnessed the flood, so we are dependent upon the Bible to tell us what happened. Consider the following descriptions of Noah's flood by an Eyewitness:
"And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and EVERY THING THAT IS IN THE EARTH SHALL DIE" (Genesis 6:17).
"For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and EVERY LIVING SUBSTANCE THAT I HAVE MADE WILL I DESTROY FROM OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH" (Genesis 7:4).
"And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and THE MOUNTAINS WERE COVERED. And ALL FLESH DIED THAT MOVED UPON THE EARTH, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and EVERY MAN: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and THEY WERE DESTROYED FROM THE EARTH: AND NOAH ONLY REMAINED ALIVE, AND THEY THAT WERE WITH HIM IN THE ARK. And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days" (Genesis 7:19-24).
"Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: THE WATERS STOOD ABOVE THE MOUNTAINS. ... Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to COVER THE EARTH" (Psalm 104:6,9).
"For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby THE WORLD THAT THEN WAS, BEING OVERFLOWED WITH WATER, PERISHED" (2 Peter 3:5,6).
2. The fact that Noah was required to gather two each of the animals proves that it was a worldwide flood. If the flood were regional, this would have been a futile endeavor, because animals would have survived outside of the flood area. If Noah's flood was not universal and worldwide, the Bible account of the same is certainly a myth. Either we accept the Bible as the infallible Word of God which it claims to be, and if we do, we accept what it says about a worldwide flood. Or we must accept the modernistic position that the Bible is man made. The middle of the road position that many scholarly New Evangelicals take, that the Bible is the infallible Word of God but is not correct in all that it says scientifically, is impossible.
3. The judgment of Noah's day is compared with the judgment of the last days (Matthew 24:37-39; 2 Peter 3:6,7). Since we know that the Last Days judgment will be universal and worldwide, we can assume the same was true for the first judgment.
4. God promised that there would not be a flood like this again, yet there have been many large-scale regional floods. If the flood of Noah's day were only a regional one, God's promise has failed. In 1970, for example, flooding in South Asia resulted in an estimated one-half million deaths and left 3,500,000 homeless. If, on the other hand, the flood of Noah's day was universal and worldwide, as the Bible plainly states, God's promise is true.
There is geological evidence throughout the world that testifies to a universal flood. An excellent book on this topic is The World That Perished: An Introduction to Biblical Catastrophism, John C. Whitcomb, Baker Book House. As one wise man has said, if the Flood were not universal, it was the only egg-shaped flood that ever occurred, because the Bible plainly says that the mountains were covered!
DID ISAIAH WRITE THE BOOK OF ISAIAH
Many modern Bible commentators deny that the biblical Isaiah wrote the entire book, claiming that it was written by two or more authors from different periods of time. An example is found in the introduction to Isaiah in The New Oxford Annotated Bible-"Only chs. 1-39 can be assigned to Isaiah's time; it is generally accepted that chs. 40-66 come from the time of Cyrus of Persia (539 B.C.) and later... Chapters 40-66, commonly called Second Isaiah (or Second and Third Isaiah), originated immediately before the fall of Babylon (October 29, 539 B.C.)."
This foolish idea has its roots in German rationalism and unbelief. The prophecies of Isaiah pertaining to the destruction of Babylon and other ancient nations were so amazing and precisely fulfilled that the modernist is forced to do one of two things. He must either accept the Bible as the perfectly inspired Word of God, or he must concoct a theory about Isaiah being written AFTER the events recorded therein were accomplished. Since the modernist refuses to bow himself before the God of the Bible, he was forced to invent the fable of the two-Isaiahs.
The book itself professes to be the work of the historical prophet Isaiah. If Isaiah did not write the book, it is a deception and the Jews who promoted it as the writing of Isaiah were deceivers.
The modernist claims that the two parts of Isaiah are so different in style and theology that they must have been written by at least two or three different men. In actuality, the difference in subject matter explains any differences in style. Isaiah is divided plainly into two distinct sections: Chapters 1-39 deal with God's promise of Judgment. Chapters 40-66 deals with God's promise of Salvation. The first section deals with woe; the second, with comfort. The distinct difference in subject matter explains the difference in style.
Isaiah is the O.T. book most frequently quoted by Christ and the Apostles. Jesus often quoted from the book and said it was written by Isaiah--not by some unknown group of men (Jn. 12:38-41). In Jn. 12:38-41 Christ quoted from both major sections of the book and said both were written by the same Isaiah. Every time Christ and the Apostles quoted from Isaiah, they did so with the understanding that the book was written by the historical prophet (Mt. 3:3; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:14; 15:7; Mk. 7:6; Lk. 3:4; 4:17; Jn. 1:23; 12:38,39,41; Ac. 8:28,30; 28:25; Ro. 9:27,29; 10:16,20; 15:12). This destroys the modern idea that Isaiah was the product of more than one writer. The choice is obvious: Will we believe the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles, or will we believe the modern critic?
WHAT ABOUT "FORM" OR REDACTION CRITICISM OF THE GOSPELS?
"Form" or redaction criticism are modernistic theories about the formation of the Gospels. These theories claim either that the Gospels were not written by the Apostles but were written down after they died, or that the Apostles depended upon secondary documents for their writing. The form critic believes Jesus Christ was not God and the Gospels are not the inspired Word of God. The so-called Jesus Seminar, which recently completed its work, followed form criticism to its logical end, concluding that most of the words of Jesus and most of the miracles in the Gospels were not actually spoken or performed by Christ. Redaction theories are somewhat less radical and are held by many who claim to be Evangelicals. While not denying the deity of Jesus Christ or the "inspiration" of Scripture (to some degree), those who hold to redaction criticism claim that the Apostles did not write by direct inspiration of God but depended upon secondary documents.
The following amazing excerpt from The Jesus Crisis: The Inroads of Historical Criticism into Evangelical Scholarship (Kregel, 1998) reveals how deeply Evangelicals have been infected with the modernistic thinking of form criticism:
"Outspoken evangelical critics have engaged in the same type of dehistoricizing activity as the Jesus Seminar people with whom they differ. If they were to organize among themselves their own evangelical 'Jesus Seminar,' the following is a sampling of the issues they would vote on, most of which they would probably pass:
1. The author of Matthew, not Jesus, created the Sermon on
"Recognizably, the listed conclusions impinge upon the historical accuracy of the gospel records. Various evangelicals have opted for the stated unhistorical choice in each of the suggested instances. Granted, their reduction of historical precision in the Gospels is not the wholesale repudiation of historical data as is that of the original Jesus Seminar, but that it is a repudiation is undeniable. An acceptance of imprecision is even more noticeable in light of the fact that the above questions are only the tip of the iceberg. An exhaustive list would reach staggering proportions" (Robert L. Thomas and F. David Farnell, The Jesus Crisis, pp. 14,15).
An example of the teaching of form criticism among Evangelicals is found in a report posted to the Internet by Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, Associate Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary. In a 35-page report entitled "The Synoptic Problem," Wallace supports the redaction approach to the Gospels, that the Gospels were written not by direct inspiration of God but by copying material from secondary sources, thereby denying the inspiration of Scripture by the Holy Spirit as taught by Christ and the Apostles. Wallace's report is largely a review of Robert H. Stein's "The Synoptic Problem: An Introduction." (The 63-year-old Stein is a professor at the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.) In fact, Wallace says: "Indeed, I have found Stein's book so helpful a synthesis of the issues involved, that to some degree our comments here will be merely a distillation of his work."
Note carefully the following excerpts from Wallace's report:
"It is quite impossible to hold that the three synoptic gospels were completely independent from each other. In the least, they had to have shared a common oral tradition. But the vast bulk of NT scholars today would argue for much more than that." (page 1)
"We shall see later that before the Gospels were written there did exist a period in which the gospel materials were passed on orally, and it is clear that this oral tradition influenced not only the first of our synoptic Gospels but the subsequent ones as well." (page 4)
"The majority of NT scholars hold to Markan priority [Mark was written first and then Matthew and Luke based their gospels upon it] (either the two-source hypothesis of Holtzmann or the four-souce hypothesis of Streeter). This is the view adopted in this paper as well." (page 6)
"One argument concerning Mark's harder readings which has been (as far as I can tell) completely overlooked is the probability that neither Luke nor Matthew had pristine copies of Mark at their disposal. . . . An intermediate scribe is probably responsible--either intentionally or unintentionally--for more than a few of the changes which ended up in Luke and Matthew." (footnote 49)
"Matthew and Luke have in common about 235 verses not found in Mark. . . . Only two viable reasons for such parallels can be given: either one gospel writer knew and used the gospel of the other, or both used a common source." (page 19)
This approach to the Gospels, now parroted by scholars claiming to be "evangelical," was devised by unbelieving modernists who deny the perfect inspiration of Holy Scripture. These men look at the Bible largely as a product of human invention, not as a supernatural book given word-for-word by inspiration of God to holy men of old. Similarly, large numbers of "evangelical" scholars are parroting the unbelieving historical critical approach to the Old Testament, which denies that Moses wrote the Pentateuch as we have it in our Bible today, claiming, rather, that the Pentateuch was formed over a long period of time and was not completed until during the era of Israel's kings. This nonsense is a blatant denial of what the Bible itself says about the Pentateuch. Christ and the Apostles attributed every part of the Pentateuch to the historical Moses, as we have demonstrated in these studies on inspiration.
The Lord Jesus Christ promised that the Holy Spirit would guide the disciples into all truth and remind them of past events concerning Himself (Jn. 14:26; 16:13-15). It would have been humanly impossible for the Apostles to have recalled the exact words of Christ's sermons, the various conversations, and the details of the various events infallibly, but the Apostles were not dependent upon their own fallible memories in the recording of the Gospel accounts. They were not dependent upon their own thinking to select which material to present and how to present it. They wrote by direct inspiration of God. They did not copy from one another. The Holy Spirit guided each Gospel writer to portray Christ in a special way via the manner in which the material is presented.
We know that both form and redaction criticism are fables for the following reasons:
(1) If the form or redaction theories of the Gospels are true, we do not have an infallible account of Christ's life. If there was a fallible human element in the recalling and recording of the Gospels, they cannot be the perfect, inspired Word of God. Either the Gospels are infallible Scripture, or they are the fallible work of men. There is no middle ground here, and we have no difficulty whatsoever in rejecting all redaction theories (AND those who hold such theories) and accepting the Bible's testimony about itself in simple faith. The Bible plainly tells us that "ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Tim. 3:16).
(2) If the redaction theories are true, the Bible writers were liars, because they claimed to have written eyewitness accounts (Jn. 21:24-25; 20:30; Lk. 1:1-4).
(3) Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would guide the disciples into all truth and remind them of past events concerning Himself (Jn. 14:26; 16:13-15). The Apostles were not dependent upon their own faulty memories or imperfect second-hand accounts in the recording of the Gospel accounts. They wrote by divine inspiration.
(4) It is an indisputable fact that the N.T. Epistles were written during the lifetimes of the Apostles; most were written by the Apostles themselves. It is therefore foolish to deny that the early Christians did not have the custom of making written accounts.
(5) If the redaction theories of the Gospels are true, we will never know for sure what part of the Gospels are the fallible words of men and what part is the infallible Word of God. If, as Dallas Seminary professor Wallace implies, there was a mysterious "Q" document from which some of the Gospel writers drew their information, it will never be known. The fact is that there was no "Q" document. The Gospel writers did not need assistance from existing oral accounts or documents, and if they did use anything, God has not chosen to explain this to us and it, therefore, DOES NOT MATTER! Dr. Wallace admits that there are dozens of theories within the broad scope of redactionism. If redaction theories of the Gospels are true, we are not left with established and settled truth; we are left with endless theorizing.
(6) Those who accept redaction theories are not edifying the flock; they are entertaining the scholars. Only someone trained in the finer nuances of modern textual criticism could even understand Wallace's report. It does not contain one word of doctrine, reproof, correction, or instruction in righteousness, yet those are the purposes for which the Holy Scriptures were given (2 Tim. 3:16).
(7) The alleged contradictions and problems within the Gospels that are raised by those who promote redaction criticism have been answered satisfactorily without resorting to redactionism. Wallace mentions many alleged contradictions, and he claims that the only satisfactory answer to these is some sort of redaction view of the writing of the Gospels. He says, for example, "when one compares the synoptic materials with John's Gospel, why are there so few verbal similarities? On an independent hypothesis, either John or the synoptics are wrong, or else John does not record the same events at all in the life of Jesus." The many differences between the Gospels have been analyzed carefully by men of God through the centuries and satisfactory answers have been given without resorting to fanciful textual criticism. I have a large library of books dealing with the alleged contradictions in the Bible, including many volumes from the 18th and 19th centuries and some even earlier. The problems raised by Dr. Wallace have been answered to the satisfaction of many godly minds.
(8) One of the errors which leads to theories such as redactionism is to focus on the method of inspiration rather than the product. We know there is a human element in the Scripture in the sense that men wrote the Bible, but the Bible itself never focuses on the human element. We are given brief glimpses from time to time of some of the mechanics of the giving of Scripture, such as God speaking face to face with Moses and angels speaking to some of the prophets, but for the most part we do not know the mechanics of inspiration and are not instructed to fret about it. The fact is that "ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God." That is all we need to know, and it is a fact that can be accepted ONLY by faith. It can never be understood by scholarship. "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Heb. 11:6).
(9) Redaction criticism is of the Devil. It is the Devil who loves to cast doubt upon the Word of God. He has been doing exactly this since his conversation with Eve in the Garden. He is doing it today through "evangelical" scholars who are trained at the feet of modernists (either directly or through their writings or through other evangelical scholars who sat directly under modernists). This is the root problem with men such as Daniel Wallace and Robert Stein. They are leaning on the research of modernists and they are trying to impress those same modernists that they, though "evangelicals," are serious scholars. They are trying to adapt the scholarship of unbelievers to a position of faith, and it is an impossible task. Does God not warn that "evil communications corrupt good manners" (1 Cor. 15:33)? Does God not warn the believer not to sit in the seat of the scornful (Psalm 1:1)? Does God not warn that the words of false teachers eat like a canker and increase ungodliness and overthrow faith (2 Tim. 2:16-18)? Does God not warn that the words of false teachers deceive hearts (Rom. 16:17-18)? The Bible says that two cannot walk together except they be agreed (Amos 3:3), yet today's "evangelical" scholar thinks he can walk together for months and years on end with unbelievers and not be harmed spiritually.
THE ENDING OF THE GOSPEL OF MARK
Mark 16:9-20 is omitted or separated from the rest of the Gospel with a footnote questioning its authenticity in most modern versions. This originated with critical editions of the Greek text developed in the 19th century and popularized by the Westcott-Hort Text and the English Revised Version of 1881. The ERV separates Mk. 16:9-20 from the rest of the text and has a footnote saying, "The two oldest Greek manuscripts, and some other authorities, omit from v. 9 to the end. Some other authorities have a different ending to the Gospel." The Westcott-Hort Greek Text (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1925) separates these verses from the rest of the text with double brackets. The NIV separates this passage from the rest of the text with a line and a blank space and a note reading, "The two most reliable early manuscripts do not have Mark 16:9-20."
In spite of these assaults, we know that that this passage is inspired Scripture. The following brief study reveals the error of questioning its authenticity.
THE MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE WITNESSES TO THE AUTHENTICITY OF MARK 16:9-20. The following is from The Future of the Bible by Jakob Van Bruggen:
"One of the most discussed passages is Mk. 16:9-20. In the New American Bible (NAB), three possibilities are given successively in the translation: 'The Longer Ending,' 'The Shorter Ending,' and 'The Freer Logion,' a manuscript from the fourth or fifth century. In this way, the suggestion is raised very strongly that Mark 16 originally ended at v. 8 or that the original sequel to verse 8 was lost. The NAB creates the impression that the majority textual tradition was rather bold to complete the chapter. This procedure throws doubt on the Majority Text and raises the question of how often additions occur in other passages that cannot be traced.
"The notes in the NAB, however, correct this impression. The 'Freer Logion' occurs in only one Greek manuscript (fourth to fifth century). The 'Shorter Ending' is found only in a few late Greek manuscripts. The normal ending (Mk. 16:9-20), however, seems to originate from the first century and seems to be accepted as genuine in the majority of manuscripts. The NAB translators really objected to this ending only because the vocabulary and style of Mk. 16:9-20 are said to deviate from the rest of Mark. Yet such objections have nothing to do with the determination of the text, but rather with the question of how one judges the text.
"With regard to the normal ending of Mark 16, W.R. Farmer concludes: 'In fact, external evidence from the second century for Mk. 16:9-20 is stronger than for most other parts of that Gospel' (W.R. Farmer, The Last Twelve Verses of Mark, p. 31). Jerome knew that there were manuscripts in his time that omitted Mk. 16:9-20, but he was personally convinced of the authenticity of these verses. There are only three known Greek manuscripts that end at 16:8, and one of them [Codex Sinaiticus] has a large open space after verse 8. All the remaining Greek manuscripts contain verses 9-20 after Mark 16:1-8, and most of them do not have a single note or insertion of other data. Mk. 16:1-20 has both the authority of the Majority Text, as well as the authority of the oldest text. If it still remains uncertain whether Mk. 16:9-20 is well attested textually, then very little of any of the text of the New Testament is well attested" (Van Bruggen, The Future of the Bible, pp. 130,131).
THE DOCTRINE OF PROVIDENTIAL PRESERVATION POINTS TO THE GENUINENESS OF MARK 16:9-20. It has been in the Bibles used by God down through the centuries. Mark 16:9-20 was in all English translations preceding the ERV of 1881. It was in the Bibles that were carried to the ends of the world during the great revival/missionary era of the last four centuries. And it is wickedness and folly to question its authenticity because of two unreliable manuscripts (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) which were hidden away for centuries in the pope's library and in an eerie monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai.
THERE IS ALSO THE INTERNAL WITNESS THAT TESTIFIES TO THE AUTHENTICITY OF MARK 16:8-20. Every truth of Mark 16:9-20 is confirmed by other portions of Scripture. There is nothing heretical or spurious there. To end the Gospel of Mark at 16:8 leaves the disciples amazed and afraid. On the other hand, to end the Gospel at verse 20 leaves the disciples in this condition: "And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, confirming the Word with signs following." Who would want to remove such a portion of Scripture from the Bible? I believe the devil would.
A TESTIMONY OF THE INSPIRATION OF HOLY SCRIPTURE
The following testimony to the authority and authenticity of the Holy Scriptures is by George Sayles Bishop. Preached in 1885 at the dawn of the modern era of Bible criticism, this message lays out that unquestioning faith in God's Holy Word that has characterized true believers from the beginning of time. It is not a blind faith. It is not an ignorant faith. It is faith in a God who cannot lie. Contrast this humble faith in the Word of God with the proud spirit of the modern Bible critic. In the following passage Bishop is writing in defense of the word "God" in 1 Timothy 3:16:
'Oh, but it is only one word!' Yes, but one word of Scripture of which it is said, 'Thou hast magnified Thy Word above all Thy Name!' 'Only one word!' But that word 'God.' Better the whole living church of God should perish than that one word should perish. 'If any man take away from the words of the book of this prophecy God shall take away his part.' Let criticism pause. The principle at stake is solemn.
The point at issue in the whole controversy with 'modern criticism' is, whether the Bible can be placed upon the same plane with other, merely human, literature and treated accordingly; or whether, as a Divine Revelation, it addresses us with a command and sanction? The power of the Book is shaken from the moment we deny its a priori binding claim on our belief and obedience. The Book is a royal document, or series of documents issued by the King of kings, and binding upon every subject. The Book, then, is to be received with reverence by one who falls upon his bended knees beneath the only shaft of light which, from unknown eternity, brings to the soul the certainties of God--of His dealings in grace with men, and of a judgment. The Old Testament is--in some sense--more awful than the New--as it begins with a creation out of nothing--as it thunders from Sinai, and as it prefigures and predicts the momentous facts of Calvary and the Apocalypse. But it has been represented that the Bible has twisted itself up like a worm from the dust by an Evolution in which the human element is most conspicuous.
The inspiration of the Old Testament, including that of the whole Bible, is a matter, first of all, of pure Divine testimony, which leaves us nothing but to receive it. God says, 'I am speaking.' That ends it. The instant order of the Book to every reader is 'Believe or die!' The Book brings with it its authentication. Who would think of standing up under the broad blaze of the noonday sun to deny the existence of the sun? His shining is his authentication.
The Jews cherished the highest awe and veneration for their sacred writings which they regarded as the 'Oracles of God.' They maintained that God had more care of the letters and syllables of the Law than of the stars of heaven, and that upon each tittle of it, mountains of doctrine hung. For this reason every individual letter was numbered by them and account kept of how often it occurred. In the transcription of an authorized synagogue manuscript, rules were enforced of the minutest character. The copyist must write with a particular ink, on a particular parchment. He must write in so many columns, of such a size, and containing just so many lines and words. No word to be written without previously looking at the original. The copy, when completed, must be examined and compared within thirty days; if four errors were found on one parchment, the examination went no farther--the whole was rejected. When worn out, the rolls were officially and solemnly burned lest the Scripture might fall into profane hands or into fragments.
The Old Testament, precisely as we have it, was endorsed by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. When He appeared on the earth, 1,500 years after Moses, the first of the prophets, and 400 years after Malachi, the last of them, He bore open testimony to the sacred canon as held by the Jews of His time. Nor did He--among all the evils which He charged upon His countrymen--ever intimate that they had, in any degree, corrupted the canon, either by addition, diminution, or alteration of any kind. By referring to the 'Scriptures,' which He declared 'cannot be broken,' the Lord Jesus Christ has given His full attestation to all and every one of the books of the Old Testament as the unadulterated Word of God.
Our Blessed Lord puts 'what is written' equal to His own declaration. He saw the Old Testament inspired from one end to the other, divine from one end to the other. Ah! how He valued the sacred text! Our modern critics, with arrogance which rises to daring impiety, deny to Christ the insight which they claim for themselves. The point right here is this, Did Jesus fundamentally misconceive the character of the Old Testament? Did He take for a created and immediate revelation what was of a slow and ordinary growth? Or was He dishonest, and did He make about Abraham, for example, statements and representations which belong only to a geographical myth--a personality which never existed?
The authority of Jesus Christ, God speaking--not from heaven only, but with human lips--has given a sanction to every book and sentence in the Jewish canon, and blasphemy is written on the forehead of any theory which alleges imperfection, error, contradiction, or sin in any book in the sacred collection. The Old Testament was our Lord's only study book. On it His spiritual life was nurtured. In all His life it was His only reference. Through His apostles He reaffirmed it. Five hundred and four (504) times is the Old Testament quoted in the New. The whole Jewish nation, down to this day, acknowledge, without one dissenting voice, the genuineness of the Old Testament. The Book reflects upon them and condemns them; it also goes to build up Christianity, a system which they hate, and yet, impressed with an unalterable conviction of their divine origin, they have, at the expense of everything dear to man, clung to the Old Testament Scriptures. .
The Old Testament is inspired from beginning to end. What do we mean by this? We mean infallibility and perfection. We mean that the books are of absolute authority, demanding an unlimited submission. We mean that Genesis is as literally the Word of God as are the Gospels--Joshua as is the Acts--Proverbs as are the Epistles--the Song of Solomon as is the Revelation. We mean that the writings were inspired. Nothing is said in the Bible about the inspiration of the writers. It is of small importance to us who wrote Ruth. It is every importance that Ruth was written by God. How did God write? On Sinai, He wrote, we are told, with His finger. We are told this in seven different places. God used men with different degrees of style. He made Amos write like a herdsman and David like a poet. He made the difference, provided for it, and employed it because He would have variety and adapt Himself to all classes and ages.
He wrote through the men. How did He do this? I do not know. The fact, I know, for I am told it. The secret is His own. I read that 'holy men of old spake as they were moved'--then they did not choose their own language. ... I do not know how my soul dictates to and controls my body so that the moving of my fingertips is the action of my soul. I do not know how, in regeneration, God does all and I do all. He produces all and I act all, for what He produces is my act.
'But there are discrepancies--contradictions.' No! Scores of times I have corrected myself, but never God's Word. Patience and a larger knowledge will solve every knot. Dr. Hodge, of Princeton, says: 'Not one single instance of a discrepancy in Scripture has ever been proved.' Would all the united wisdom of men have led them to relate the history of the creation of the universe in a single chapter, and that of the erection of the tabernacle in thirteen? The description of the great edifice of the world, would it not seem to require more words than that of a small tent?
To discredit the statement repeated in almost every chapter of Exodus and Leviticus--'And the Lord said to Moses.' To charge Christ with falsehood, who says, 'Moses said,' 'Moses taught you,' 'David says'--quoting as He does, not from the 7th and the 18th only, but from the 41st, the 110th, the 118th, and other Psalms. The result is to disintegrate the Bible and throw it into heaps of confusion mingled with rubbish--to shake faith to the very foundations and scatter Revelation to the winds. It is to elevate Robertson, Smith, Wellhausen, Baur, Astruc, Cheyne, and other heretics, who seem to have taken God into their own hands, to a level with the Saviour of men and His prophets, whom they criticize freely. THIS IS NOT EXEGESIS, IT IS CONSPIRACY. IT IS NOT CONTRIBUTION TO RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE, IT IS CRIME!
Think of the amazing, the stupendous difference between Christ quoting from a human compilation, or from the living Oracles of God! 'I came not to destroy,' He says, 'but to fulfil'--to fulfil what? A haphazard collection of Ezra's time--made up of fragmentary documents of men, some of whom had an inspiration little above that of Browning and Tennyson! ... I beseech you, therefore, Brethren, beware of what is called 'the modern school.'
'In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth!' Here are the Pillars of Hercules through which we pass from Time with all its changes into Eternity--a shoreless, changeless sea. Here are the frontiers of human exploration, beyond which rolls and surges the illimitable Ocean of Deity, Self-existent, blessed forever and independent of all creatures.
The first utterance of the Bible fixes it that matter is not eternal. That there was a point when the universe was not and when God, by simple fiat, brought it into being. So that, as the apostle says, He called the existent out of the non-existent--the visible from that which had no visibility. In other words, God made the world out of nothing--an awful nothing--the idea of which we cannot comprehend. A lonely and a solitary Worker, out of emptiness, He created fullness--out of what was not, all things--getting from Himself the substance as well as the shaping--the fact as well as the how.
'In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.' HE had to tell us that, for He ONLY was there. He had to TELL us that, but, being told, we at once, believe it, for everything outside the Self-existent must have a beginning. Matter must have had a beginning, for--push the molecules back as far as you will, either matter was the egg out of which God was hatched, or God hatched matter. Can there be any question as to which of these is true?
'In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.' IF THIS FIRST SENTENCE IS UNAUTHENTIC, THE WHOLE BIBLE IS UNTRUE AND FOR SIX THOUSAND YEARS MEN HAVE BEEN DUPED AND DELUDED WHO HAVE LOVED AND CHERISHED ITS TEACHINGS. The credibility of the Bible, then, depends upon the truth of the First Chapter of Genesis. If that chapter contains 'a few small scientific lies,' then the Book is a compilation of deceptions from cover to cover. Thus we are either Christians or skeptics! It has been claimed that no essential injury is done to Christian faith by concessions made to modern criticism--that if one believes in redemption, it is of small account what he believes of creation. But MEN WHO SPEAK SO RASHLY, OVERLOOK THE FACT THAT CREATION IS THE BASIS OF REDEMPTION--THAT THERE MUST BE MAN, AND MAN FALLEN, BEFORE THERE CAN BE MAN SAVED--AND THAT THE BELIEF IN CREATION DEPENDS ENTIRELY UPON THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF GENESIS, AS A HISTORICAL DOCUMENT.
The difficulty with Higher Criticism is that it disbelieves
in advance, and the reason of this too frequently is that it
is working with a brain whose crooked and vapid conclusions are
guided by a heart averse to God--at enmity with God and working
every way to get rid of Him.