Monday, November 17, 2008

Is the Bible trustworthy?

Theories of Inspiration of Scripture

Natural Inspiration
: The Bible was written by geniuses at writing. God was not involved. Objection: 2 Peter 1:21

Universal Inspiration
:There is no difference between the Old Testament prophet and today’s preacher. Both speak God's inerrant word that is still being written. Objection: 1 Peter 1:10-11; 2 Peter 1:21

Inspired Concept
: God gave thoughts & men interpreted them into print. Objection: 2 Peter 1:20; 1 Cor 2:13)

Variable Inspiration
: Some parts of the Bible are more inspired than others. Objection: 2 Timothy 3:16

Dictation Theory
: God dictated word for word to mindless robotic scribes. Objection: Jeremiah 36:4; Romans 16:22
Divine Plenary, Verbal Inspiration: Divine (God) (2 Peter 1:21), Plenary (completely) (2 Timothy 3:16), Verbal (every word) (Galatians 3:16) Inspiration. This is the correct view of inspiration.

2 Peter 1:16, 19-21
16We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 19And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 21For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

The great Early Church theologian Augustine said, “The New is in the Old contained; / “The Old is in the New explained. / “The New is in the Old latent; / The Old is in the New patent.” In a real sense the New Testament cannot be well understood without the Old Testament. Jesus quotes the Old Testament twenty-two times: 19 times in Matthew, 15 times in Mark, 25 times in Luke, 11 times in John. The Letter to the Hebrews quotes or alludes to the Old Testament 85 times. Revelation quotes the Old Testament 245 times.
We have texts of the New Testament which have existed less than 100 years from its original. But the real problem has been the Old Testament. For centuries the oldest available text we had of the Old Testament was AD 1100. Then with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, we found texts of Old Testament books dating back to 200 BC! When compared, scholars were amazed that the texts were nearly identical. None of the differences which had crept in during those 1300 years made any material difference in the meaning of the texts. Scores of prophecies fulfilled in stunning detail show the divine accuracy of the Bible. Archaeology consistently demonstrates the precision of both the minutia of Scripture and its broad generalizations of ancient culture. Its internal consistency through the hands of many writers at dissimilar times and places and the changed lives across the millenia make the truth undeniably clear that this Good Book is indeed the Word of God.
Inspiration: the Basis of authority, infallibility, inerrancy. Is the Bible God’s revelation or a “record of God’s revelation” as the BFM 1963 reads? The answer to that question points to your view of the Scripture’s inspiration. Is it authoritative? Is it infallible? Is it inerrant?
The words infallible and inerrant have created considerable trouble in the last generation of Baptists. Because of the heritage of the Enlightenment, reason overcame revelation, and the power of reason came to judge Scripture as not revelation, but only something that is possibly experienced.

Among Baptists, some came to limit use of the word “infallible” to mean that the Bible was only trustworthy in spiritual matters, not in all things, that in non-doctrinal matters, there could be error in Scripture. So much so that in the 1982 Southern Baptist Doctrinal Study on the authority of the Bible, it said that one can believe in the Bible without believing every miracle. This led to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy in 1979, attaching the idea of inerrancy to the truthfulness of Scripture.

Chicago Statement Article XII:
“We affirm that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit. We deny that biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. From Article XII (Phenomena of Scripture): We affirm the propriety of using inerrancy as a theological term with reference to the complete truthfulness of Scripture. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations.”

Many who previously recoiled from the idea of inerrancy, understanding its focus on the truthfulness of Scripture, gladly received it as their own, rejecting the theological double-speak of infallibilists. Therefore, they affirmed that the “Bible is God’s revelation,” the “record of God’s revelation.” But the most important issue in the authority of Scripture is how Jesus saw the Scriptures.

Testimony of Jesus: How did Jesus view the Scriptures?

1. Jesus saw God as the source of Scripture and the Holy Spirit as the author (Matt 15:4 “God said”; 22:43)
2. Jesus emphasized the importance of every word had divine authority (Matt 5:18; Mark 12:24-27: “I am the God of Abraham”)
3. Jesus believed the Scriptures must be fulfilled because God cannot lie (Matt 26:52-54; Luke 24:44; John 10:35)
4. Jesus placed himself under the Bible’s authority (Matt 4:4, 7, 10; Luke 24:25-26)
5. Some say Jesus was accommodating the culture, but Jesus was a pretty unaccommodating person on anything he considered in error, such as the Pharisees’ teaching.
6. Some say that since Jesus was human, he too was subject to error, but that suggests a problem with your Christology, your understanding of the person and work of Christ. If you correct your Lord, who is Lord?
7. Even if you take the Gospels as halfway credible, it is plain how Jesus viewed Scripture. If Christ is your Lord, then how can your view differ?
APPLICATION: The Bible, being the product of a God who cannot lie, is inerrant, and you can trust it.