Understanding The Bible
Part III - Inspiration


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Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible

    1. General Reference
      1. The Old Testament
        1. The OT witness to itself
          1. It everywhere claims to be the Word of God. Over 2000 times in the. OT we have the claim made that God has spoken.
            1. The Law (over 700 times)
              1. Ex. 4:10-L2
              2. Ex. 24:4
              3. 17 of the 36 chapters of the book of Numbers begin with "And Jehovah said unto Moses. .. This same claim is made another 37 times within the chapters of the same book, making a total of 54 times.
            2. The Prophets
              1. "A prophet in the Scriptural sense of the term is a spokesman who speaks for another in his name and by his authority; so that it is not the spokesman but the person for whom he acts who is responsible for the truth of what is said." (Hodge) Cp. Ex. 4:14-16 and Ex. 7:1. This being true, the very office of prophet is a claim that God is speaking.
              2. Isa. (20 times) 1:2,10
              3. Jer. (about 100 times) 1:4,9-10
              4. Ezek. 1:3
              5. Minor Prophets - at the beginning of almost all of them the announcement is made.
            3. The Writings
              1. Psalms - 2 Sam. 23:1-2
              2. Job 1:7; 38:1
          2. The testimony of one part of the OT to another part
            1. Ps. 1:2 to the Law (cp. Ps. 119)
            2. 1 Ki. 16:34 to Joshua
            3. Dan. 9:2 to Jeremiah
            4. Zech. 7:12 to Former Prophets
        2. Witness of Christ to the OT
          1. For the believer the testimony of Christ to the validity and accuracy of the OT Scriptures should be sufficient to substantiate the fact that this is, in all of its details, the inspired Word of God. It is worthy to note that Christ began His ministry by using the OT (Mt. 4:4) and ended it the same way (Lk. 24:46).
          2. General use of Scriptures
            1. Rebuking Satan, Mt. 4:4,7,10
            2. Rebuking leaders, Mk. 12:24
            3. General teaching, Mk. 11:17
            4. Teaching concerning Himself, Jn. 5:39
          3. His confidence in the Scriptures
            1. Lk. 24:25; Jn. 10:35; 5:39; Mt. 19:4
          4. Specific testimony of Christ to miracles of OT
            1. Jonah, Mt. 12:40
            2. Conversion of Nineveh, Mt. 12:41
            3. Creation of man, Mt. 19:3-6
            4. Elijah and the drought, Lk. 4:25
            5. Naaman cleansed, Lk. 4:27
            6. The flood, Lk. 17:26-27
            7. Sodom and Gomorrah, Lk. 17:28-29
            8. Lot's wife, Lk. 17:31-32
            9. The burning bush, Lk. 20:37
            10. The brazen serpent, Jn. 3:14 (k) Manna from heaven, Jn. 6:49
          5. Silent testimony of Christ
            1. He never spoke of error in the OT, which leads us to conclude that there is none (cp. Jn. 14:2; Mt. 23; Lk. 9:55).
          6. Objections to the testimony of Christ
            1. The Accommodation Theory
              1. This theory suggests that Christ did not Himself believe the OT Scriptures to be accurate, but only used them so that He could be understood. He accommodated Himself to the super-situations of the people so that He would be intelligible. Saphir answers this theory:
              2. it is unworthy of the character of an honest man;
              3. it is unworthy of the dignity of a prophet;
              4. it is blasphemous as applied to the Son of God; (d) Christ never accommodated Himself to the Pharisees. He protested against the traditions of the elders.
            2. The Kenosis Theory
              1. This theory, based on Philippians 2:7, is that Christ when He became man emptied Himself of deity. Thus He was not infallible during the Incarnation. His veneration for the OT was a false delusion. To answer this objection one would need again to study the passage involved and reconsider the implications of the deity of Christ. Also to be noted is the fact that after the resurrection of Christ (after the state of humiliation) Christ still led the disciples back to the authority of the OT. Note also the testimony of the NT that the Holy Spirit was to make clear to the apostles only what Christ Himself had revealed. Certainly any theory which makes Christ the object of a deluded mind is not worthy of the name Christian
        3. The testimony of the NT writers
          1. Quotations of the OT by the NT
            1. Wescott and Hort Greek NT shows 1076 quotations of or allusions to the OT.

            3. The Gospel of Matthew 100
              The Gospel of Mark 56
              The Gospel of Luke 86
              The Gospel of John 21
              The Acts of the Apostles 108
              Romans 74
              1 Corinthians 29
              2 Corinthians 21
              Galatians 13
              Ephesians 22
              Philippians 6
              Colossians 4
              1 Thessalonians 7
              2 Thessalonians 9
              1 Timothy 2
              2 Timothy 4
              Titus 3
              Hebrews 98
              James 18
              1 Peter 31
              2 Peter 5
              Jude 5
              Revelation 384
            4. All of the OT books are either quoted or definitely referred to (or both) in the NT except eight(8): Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, "Obadiah, Nahum, and Zephaniah (Ezra-Nehemiah were one book, and Obadiah, Nahum, and Zephaniah were all part of one book.) There may be allusions to these: Zeph. 1:15,18, cp. Rom. 2:5; Nahum 1:15, cp. Rom. 10:15; Eccl. 5:15; 7:20, cp. 1 Tim. 6:7 or Rom. 3:10; * Esther 9:20, cp. Rev. 11:10; Song of Solomon 5:2, cp. Rev. 3:
          2. Use of the OT by the apostles
            1. Basis for the gospel message, Acts 17:2; 2:16, 25, 29-31, 34
            2. Preaching death and resurrection, 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Acts 8:35; 17:3; 26:22
            3. Encouraged converts to study. Acts 17:11
          3. Importance of OT ascribed by apostles
            1. Rom. 3:2; 4:23-24; 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11; 2 Tim. 3:16,
          4. Direct statements concerning inspiration
            1. Lk. 1:70; Mk. 12:36; Acts 1:16; 4:25; 28:25; Heb. 3:7. Note Mt. 15:7 and Rom. 10:5, where it is a matter of complete indifference whether the words quoted are those of the author or the direct words of God recorded by him.
            2. Note: Rom. 15:10 and 1 Cor. 6:16, where the subject is taken for granted.
      2. The New Testament
        1. The testimony and provision of Christ Jn. 16:12-15
          1. He expressly declared that He would leave "many things" unrevealed, v. 12.
          2. He promised that this revelation should be completed after the Spirit should come, and that such additional revelation should include new prophecies, v. 13.
          3. He chose certain persons to receive such additional revelations, and to be witnesses to them, Mt. 28:19; Jn. 15:27; Acts 1:8; 9:15-17.
          4. He gave to their words when speaking for Him in the Spirit precisely the same authority as His own, Mt. 10:14-15; Lk. 10:16; Jn. 13:20; 17:20 (C.I. Scofield).
        2. Claim of the NT writers
          1. 1 Cor.:13; Gal. 1:7-8,15-16; 1 Thes. 2:13; 4:2; 2 Thes. 3:6, 12,14; 1 Tim. 5:18 (cp. Lk. 10:7; Dt. 25:4); 1 Pet. 1:12; 2 Pet. 3:1-2; IJn. 4:6; 1 Cor. 14:37.
    2. Key References
      1. 2 Timothy 3:16 - "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable..."
        1. Note the context of the verse. Verse 15 is only place in NT where "holy scriptures" is used. Phrase is used by secular writers (Philo and Josephus) to refer to OT. Used in contrast to oral teachings. Verse 16 follows to enhance and show the superiority of the written teachings.
        2. The phrase "all scripture" can be translated every Scripture. This would carry the connotation that Scripture in all of its several parts is inspired.
        3. The Greek word translated "inspired" is theopneustos. It is composed of two words --theos, meaning God, and pneustos from the verb pneuo, meaning to breathe. Literally the word is translated "God-breathed." It is to be noted that pneustos is also the word translated "spirit" (used 385 times in NT--255 times personified as the Holy Spirit). Theopneustos then might carry the significance of God-Spirited or given by God through the Spirit.
        4. What is here declared is that the Scriptures are a Divine product without any implication of how God has operated in producing them.
        5. Note the variant reading of the ASV on this verse: "Every Scripture inspired of God is also profitable... " This translation makes it appear that not all of Scripture is inspired. It has been seized by those advocating a theory of partial inspiration to support their position. The following reasons militate against our adhering to the ASV at this particular point.
          1. The phraseology of the ASV is weak and meaningless. One does not need to be told that every Scripture which is inspired of God is also profitable.
          2. It is a violation of Greek syntax. The disputed portion of the sentence is made up of a subject (all Scripture) and two adjectives connected by the conjunction and (God breathed and profitable). The verb is omitted as is often the case in Greek. The question is where to supply the understood verb. The AV supplies it between the subject and the two adjectives, making them both predicate adjectives. The ASV supplies the verb between the two adjectives, making one a part of the subject and the other a predicate adjective. Sound grammar would demand that if one adjective is placed in the predicate, the other should be, since they agree in case, number, and gender, and are connected by the simple conjunction and.
          3. Note these other cases: Heb. 4:12-13; 1 Cor. 11:30; 2 Cor. 10:10; 1 Tim. 2:3; 4:9. This particular construction occurs many times in the NT.
          4. The early Greek and Latin Church fathers always placed the verb right.
          5. All other versions, ancient and modern, refute it, even the RSV.
          6. The ASV itself places the AV on the margin.
          7. Several members of the English Revision Committee', such as Archbishop Trench, Bishops Moberly and Wordsworth, Dr. Tregelles, and others, condemned the translation and would have nothing to do with it. Dean Burgon pronounced it "the most astonishing as well as calamitous literary blunder of the age."
      2. Peter 1:20-21 - ".. .but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
        1. Note the context of the verse. In verses 17 and 18, Peter has been recalling that which he saw and experienced. In verse 20, he shows the superiority of the written record over his own personal experience.
        2. Although Peter here speaks of prophecy, the teaching need not be limited to only the prophetic portions.
        3. Verse 21 offers the real contribution to our study. The word translated "moved" is the Greek word phero, which means to bring. In the passive voice, as it is here, it means "to be brought along" or "to be borne along." It indicates that the Spirit was doing more than guiding or directing. This term tells us more about the process of inspiration than does the term inspire itself.
        4. The verse emphasizes two truths.
          1. It tells us how the Word of God (prophecy) did not come. It did not come "by the will of man." It did not originate in human initiative.
          2. It tells us how the Word of God did come. It came as men who were separated for the purpose "were borne along" by the Holy Spirit.
      3. John 10:34-35 - "... and the scripture cannot be broken. "
        1. Note the context of the verse. Christ is defending Himself against the charge of blasphemy. In defense He calls upon a clause from Ps 82:6.
        2. Although Christ quotes from the book of Psalms, He calls it "your law." This He does in the sense that all of the OT has legal binding authority.
        3. The term broken is the same word which is used in regard to the Sabbath Day (Jn. 5:18), the Ten Commandments (Mt. 5:19), and the Law in general (Jn. 7:23). It cannot be annulled. It must be accepted as it is.
        4. It is interesting to note that Christ refers to but one clause of the OT. We conclude that the authority of Scripture penetrates to the very from of expression of its most casual clauses.
      4. 1 Peter 1:10-12
        1. Note the context. Peter is speaking of salvation.
        2. The OT prophets spoke and wrote concerning salvation--concerning the coming of Christ to suffer and the coming of Christ to reign.
        3. The Holy Spirit definitely worked in the prophets.
        4. The prophets did not fully understand their own writings.
        5. Their writings were for our understanding.
      5. Hebrews 1:1-2
        1. The definite affirmation that God has spoken.
        2. The specific declaration that God has chosen to speak through men (the prophets).
        3. God has spoken through various men and at various times.
    3. Specific References to Verbal Inspiration
      1. Mt. 5:18; 22:31-32,45; Jn. 8:58; 1 Cor. 2:13; Gal. 3:16; 4:9; 1 Thes. 2:13; Heb. 12:27.


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