AUTHORITY: The Bible is the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:21). It consists of sixty six individual documents (books) written by some forty writers over a period of two thousand years. By inspiration we mean that the Holy Spirit of God moved the human authors to accurately record the information God has for us. In some cases it was exact quotations (Genesis 17:15-22) and in other cases it was the accurate information expressed in the observation of the human writer (Luke 3:21-22). In every case we affirm that the exact words and sentence construction contained in the original documents were to the satisfaction of perfect God. To give this view of inspiration a title, it is called Plenary Verbal inspiration.
The Old Testament writers claimed to be inspired: (Exodus 4:10-15, Deuteronomy 4:2, Jeremiah 1:7-9, Ezekiel 3:4, Micah 3:8)
The New Testament writers claimed the Old Testament was inspired: (2 Peter 1:20-21, 1 Peter 1:10-11, Acts 1:16, Acts 28:25)
The New Testament writers claimed themselves to be inspired: (1 Corinthians 2:13, 2 Peter 3:1-2, 1 Thessalonians 2:13)
The Bible contains many direct quotations of God's words and Jesus' words. Some examples (not exhaustive):
The original documents are not available to us today, but copies and translations which appear to be very accurate have been handed down from generation to generation. We are confident that God has protected his Word. It would not be in our best interests or his to permit error to contaminate his communication to us, leaving the world without valid guidiance.
SOME INVALID THEORIES OF INSPIRATION:Other than Plenary Verbal inspiration, a few other theories of inspiration espoused over time have been:
MECHANICAL INSPIRATION: This theory holds that the writers were just passive instruments. They were in a sort of trance and the words spewed forth without their active participation or necessarily understanding. The intent of this theory is to convince doubters of the utter accuracy of the words written down. It ignores the variations in style from writer to writer and shows a lack of confidence in the ability of the Holy Spirit to express God's information through the personality and vocabulary of the inspired writers.
NATURAL INSPIRATION: This idea is that the Scriptures were inspired by human literary genius, much the same as the writings of Shakespeare or Mark Twain. The theory eliminates the oversight of the Holy Spirit in setting forth eternal truth and leaves one subject to arranging his life according to popular conventions of the day in which the book was written. Your next door neighbor may be writing the next widely accepted "Holy Book".
UNIVERSAL INSPIRATION: A theory that all Christians of every age have their own private illumination and are technically capable of producing their own Bible or at least interpreting the Bible according to their own experience and needs. This mentality leads people to quickly stray from the truth. Beware of anyone stating "The Bible says xxxx but what God really meant was xxxx."
PARTIAL INSPIRATION: An error commonly held today that (part|some|most) of the Bible is inspired but it also contains myths and inaccuracies which do not apply to life in this modern enlightened age. Response: God would have to be incompetent or lazy to provide us with an essentially flawed manual for life. Who decides which part is valid and which is not? Humans? If so, then humans are already more wise than their creator. Absolutely incompatible with faith in a reliable, all powerful, loving God.
NAMES AND TERMS:
BIBLE: The name comes from the Greek words biblos and biblion (diminutive) which mean "book". Not just any book, the Bible is THE BOOK, the most important of all books.
OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS (Covenants): The words testament and covenant are nearly synonmous and both are used in reference to the Old and New Testaments. The meaning is similar to the modern word contract. Both have their roots in death and inheritance language (ex. Last will and testament).
(Search for covenant,testament,testator)
The Old Testament is the Hebrew Tanakh, which consists of the Torah (Law), the Neviim (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings), and is designed to prepare the mind and heart for the coming of Christ, the Messiah. It teaches that the wages of sin is death; that no person can live a sinless life (keep a set of laws perfectly); that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin; and that God was accepting animal sacrifices as an example of the supreme sacrifice of himself which he was to make in their behalf.
If God's revelation stopped with only the Old Testament the ultimate result would be despair. The New Testament continues the unfolding of God's love by revealing the Savior, Jesus Christ, God himself, who gave himself as the effective sacrifice for the sins of all. (John 1:15-17, John 1:29, Romans 5:1-11) God's love turns despair into victory.
SCRIPTURES: Holy writings. (Search for scripture,scriptures)
THE WORD OF GOD: The clear expression of God; his personality; truth as it really is; his love and provision for us.
So then, our first article of faith is that God, the creator and sustainer of life on Earth has provided us with a book that is accurate and reliable and is supremely authoritative. Read it! Believe it! Obey it!
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This page updated 09/26/2010Copyright (C) 2005,2010 Robert C. Denig. All rights reserved