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The Inspired Word
It is the belief of all Christian professors that the Bible is true and trustworthy, and all of it speaks with divine authority—“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).
God chose to reveal truth to man for his guidance and salvation. He took measures to secure a trustworthy account of that revelation. God, being almighty, could have repeated and renewed what had been revealed in a new revelation for each succeeding generation, but He rather chose to give a revelation and secure its infallible record through human instrumentalities.
It is clear from a reading of the Bible that there must have been some difference in the kinds of inspiration to which the writers were subjected. Moses did not need a divine revelation when it came to recording the great events in which he had a part. Neither did Luke need divine revelation when he wrote about the things he had seen and experienced while he was with Jesus and Paul. What they needed was divine guidance to place events in order, to preserve the coherence of the Scriptures. Perhaps their greater problem was selection. John says that the world itself could not contain the books if an attempt was made to write down everything Christ said and did. The writers of the Gospels needed to be divinely inspired in order to leave so much unwritten and yet give such a complete and satisfying account.
Inspired suggestions are also very noticeable through the Bible. How could Moses otherwise have known how Pharaoh felt when he heard of Israel’s escape? Or how was Matthew able to record the thoughts of that certain woman who thought within herself, “If I may but touch His garment, I shall be made whole.” These passages contain the record of a divine suggestion and communication.
In the Old Testament there are many statements, such as, “Thus saith the Lord” and “God said.” There can be no question that such passages are the result of inspiration. The New Testament refers to the Old Testament as “the scriptures” many times over and always in the light of inspiration. Believing these things, Paul says, “Every scripture is given by inspiration of God.” Peter said, “Holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Jesus also sanctions the authority and inspiration of the Old Testament. To the devil himself, He said, “It is written,” referring to the book of Deuteronomy. Again speaking in regard to marriage and divorce, He said, “Have ye not read that He which made them at the beginning, made them male and female?” He was very careful that the Scriptures be fulfilled. Why? Because He regarded them as the Word of God. There were three things about which the Jews were very jealous—the temple, the Sabbath, and the Scriptures. They charged Him with unlawful statements regarding the temple and the Sabbath, but not once concerning the Scriptures.
In the New Testament we have only one book that claims divine revelation—the last one. The gospels are histories given under divine guidance, no doubt. In the New Testament as well as the Old Testament, God was careful to record an accurate account of the establishment of the Christian church. As the years passed by and one by one Jesus’ first disciples went to their rewards, the written Word became very valuable. These men had heard Jesus teach, and there were those to whom Jesus said, “The Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you.” Paul preached, “Which thing also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches.”
The tragic fact is not that the Scriptures are rejected on the grounds of being uninspired, but that the Old Testament is put on the shelf as history and obsolete and that much of the New Testament is regarded as unnecessary.
If some things in the Bible, besides what Jesus spoke about, were no longer the will of God, why doesn’t He in all fairness place man under divine inspiration and remove such things from the Holy Writ? When man, under the inspiration of his carnal mind, begins to deduct, he does not stop until he has discarded Christ’s teaching on self-denial, Christ’s urge to “keep these sayings of mine,” and most of the epistles as impossible and impractical, leaving only John 3:16 for himself.
“For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.” The Word of God is not said to be settled in the opinions of man, but in heaven. As long as man wants only a religion, he will choose to live in the part of the Bible which will not bring him under the cross and which will rather leave him to his own enjoyments. As long as he wants to belong to a church as an organization, he has a wide variety to choose from. But if a man prefers to live the Bible teaching as God intends him to do, he will want to find a church that lives and functions in the scriptural pattern.
Selected Editorials, used by permission