Archive for January, 2008

Is the Bible Inspired by God?

January 11, 2008

I received the following reply from Hokku to my previous post, who disagrees with my claim that the Bible is inspired and infallible. 

“Not even the writers of the Bible believed that, as we can see from the preface to Luke’s gospel, where he mentions that many have already written on the subject, and he too will write on it, and he offers nothing at all about divine inspiration to back up his writing. And of course there are numerous variant readings – so which one is “inspired”? And then there have been various canons not only over the centuries but even today, so which of those is “inspired.” I do not believe there is the slightest evidence or support for what you claim here. Instead, the Bible is a very human and fallible collection of documents, which have been revised and edited over time, and even what is included in that collection has historically not been stable.”

I would like to thank Hokku for challenging me to think about what I have said and I now offer the following arguments to defend my view.  I believe that if Hokku is determined to view scriptures in the way that he/she has expressed, then I would waste my time with a reply.  But knowing that the Lord is able to open Hokku’s eye’s to the truth, and for the benefit of readers that may be observing, I will offer a short reproof of Hokku’s argument.

First of all, as to whether the scriptures themselves ever refer to themselves as “inspired” or “infallible”, I can quickly prove that they do that very thing by providing several proof texts. 

II Timothy 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: “for all scripture is given by inspiration of God”

Romans 15:4  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

2 Peter 1:19-20 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: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  21 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.

Luke 16:7  And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

John 10:35  If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

Psalm 12:6  The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

Psalm 19:7  The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

Psalm 119:89  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Dty 4:2  Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

2 Sam 22:30  As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.

Psalm 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

Proverbs 30:5  Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Isaiah 40:8  The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

Hosea 4:1  Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.

John 17:17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Mat 4:4  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Hopefully, these verses clearly establish what the Bible says about itself.

As for variant readings, God inspired the original texts which the “Holy men of old” wrote down, and no doctrinal truth has been damaged by the use of alternative readings, or insertions/deletions which were done for the sake of clarification by scribes and translators.  Manuscripts with questionable renderings were rejected during the translation process.  An intensive quality control process was used to ensure accurate copying of texts.  There is nothing incidental, accidental, or haphazard about the way the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts were compiled and translated.  Even skeptics have had to admit their surprise at the agreement of existing texts with the text of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are considered by many to be the most pristine of biblical texts available.  But regardless of that, if you carry the presupposition of doubt instead of faith into your reading of the text, you will always focus on minute questions as to the authenticity of a given text rather than focus on the overwhelming evidence of the unity of scripture.

Many people bring their doubts into the reading of scripture because they are threatened by its authority – its unapologetic demands on the human will and soul.  The natural born humanist despises the dominion of God, and can not abide a Bible that they can not split into parts they deem acceptable and unacceptable.

As for disputes over the canon of scripture, we believe that in the providence of God, men have been guided in the process of establishing the Bible in accordance with His will.  The men involved in the process were not always in perfect agreement, but this does not preclude the overruling providence of God in the matter, just as we recognize His providence in all the affairs of man, both historical and future.  We recognize God’s sovereignty in the course of history as one of His basic attributes as described in the Bible itself.

Now some people will observe that it is a circular argument to say that the Bible is inspired by God because the Bible says it is inspired by God.  Truly, it is a circular argument – just as circular as the argument that says “I don’t think the Bible is inspired because I don’t think it is inspired”.  So we bring our presuppositions to the argument with us, don’t we?  My presupposition is that there is a God, and He has communicated His will to man in writing, and He is able and willing to preserve His written communication through His own providence for the benefit and guidance of His elect children, and for the warning of the reprobate as to their coming judgment.  If one brings the presupposition of doubt to the argument, then one will search until some apparent evidence is found to prove that doubt – much like the author of a blog I recently visited in which the blogger annotated a verse-by-verse commentary on a certain Bible passage.  That blogger found cause for unbelief in every verse, stating that the things written therein were simply “unbelievable”. 

You may state your “faith” in “unbelief” if you like, but you cannot make a rational argument of it.


What We Believe About the Bible

January 6, 2008

The Bible is the Word of God.  It is without error.  It can not fail.  It does not “contain” the Word of God, as in, some of it is inspired and some of it isn’t ispired.  We believe that EVERY WORD of the Bible proceeds out of the mouth of God.  No one can be saved without the light of scripture in the form of the Bible itself, or Bible-based preaching, or other Bible-based communication such as tracts and other literature.  We should base all of our beliefs and practices, without exception, on the Bible alone.  In areas not directly addressed in scripture, we must make decisions based on sound biblical principles.  The principle of love toward God and our neighbors is applicable in all situations.While the Bible is effective in nominally curbing the sinfulness of unsaved people, and unregenate people may hear the preaching of the word and show some passing interest in it; nevertheless the word does not effect them in a saving way because the things of God cannot be understood by the natural man.  But those that have been born again by the Spirit of God are brought by the Word into a state of faith, growth, holiness, and ultimate deliverence from this world of sin.

Furthermore, when the Holy Ghost “moved” men to write down the Word of God, He did it through the particular language and personality of the man so moved, so that when we read Matthew’s Gospel, we are reading divinely inspired words, but those words are in Matthew’s voice.  Likewise with the Gospel of John, whose voice is obviously different than Matthew’s, but equally inspired nonetheless.

At Sovereign God Ministries, we prefer the King James Version of the Bible, but we do not believe it is the only useful version, nor do we believe that it is “inspired” in the same sense that the original manuscripts were inspired.  We recognize that the King James Version translators did not in every case make the best translation, and some later versions do a better job than the KJV in translating certain passages.  Nevertheless, we regard more recent translation with caution, because most of them question the validity of certain texts, using an arbitrary rule in saying that older manuscripts are “better” than the less ancient copies.  We do not consider the age of a manuscript alone as the determining factor in it’s validity.