Chapter 2

IS THE BIBLE INSPIRED?

(STUDY OF THE BIBLE)

 

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Terminology.

1. "Bible" - Derived from biblion, "roll" or "book" (Luke 4:17).

2. "Scripture" - Used in NT of the sacred books of OT, which were regarded as inspired (2 Tim. 3:16; Rom. 3:2). Also used in NT of other parts of NT (2 Pet. 3:16).

3. "Word of God" - Used of both OT and NT in written form (Matt. 15:6; John 10:35; Heb. 4:12).

B. The Wonders of the Bible.

1. Its formation - 1,500 years.

2. Its unity - About forty different authors, yet one book.

3. Its preservation.

4. Its subject matter.

5. Its influence.

II. THE MEANING AND MEANS OF REVELATION

A. Definition - A disclosure; especially Godís communicating His message to man.

B. Means of Revelation.

1. General Revelation: General message about God in a general way.

a. Nature (Rom. 1:20; Ps. 19).

b. Providential dealings (Rom. 8:28).

c. Preservation of the universe (Col. 1:17).

d. Creation of man (Gen 1:26, 27)

2. Specific Revelation: Specific message about God in a specific way.

a. Audible (Gen 1:28; 3:8-10).

b. Lots (Prov. 16:33; Acts 1:21-26).

c. Urim and Thummim (Ex 28:30; Dt 33:8).

d. Dreams (Gen 20:3, 6, 40).

e. Visions (Isa 1:1; Ezek 1:1; Acts 10:10).

f. Theophanies (Gen 16:7-14; Ex 3:2; Col 1:15).

g. Angels (Dan 9:20-21; Lk 2:10).

h. Prophets (2 Sam 23:2; Zech 1:1).

i. Events (Micah 6:5; Ezek 25:7).

j. Christ (John 1:14, 18; Heb 1:1-3).

k. Bible

1) The Scriptures record the life of the Son of God (Jn 5:39; 21:25; Lk 24:27).

2) The Scriptures originated from God (2 Tim 3:16-17).

3) The Scriptures are Godís Words (1 Th 2:13).

4) The Scriptures are sent for a purpose (Isa 55:8-11).

5) The Scriptures are to be studied fervently (Acts 17:11).

6) The Scriptures are the basis for ministry (Acts 6:2,4)

III. WHAT IS MEANT BY INSPIRATION?

A. Definition.

1. The Word of God in the original manuscripts of the 66 books of the Bible, is without error and infallible in truth to mankind (FBC).

2. Inspiration is Godís superintending of human authors so that, using their own individual personalities, they composed and recorded without error in the words of the original autographs His revelation to man (Ryrie).

3. God, who used men with their personalities and circumstances to write the Scriptures, moved and overshadowed them so that every word in the original writings is inerrant, completely infallible in all its parts, and the exact Word of God; and therefore, is the sole authority for belief and behavior.

B. Views of Inspiration

1. Natural - No supernatural element involved. Bible was written by men of great genius.

2. Mystical or illumination - Writers of Scripture were Spirit-filled just as Christians today can be.

3. Dictation or mechanical - Writers of Scripture were passive instruments in Godís hand, like typewriters on which He wrote. Admittedly, parts of the Bible were dictated (e.g., Ten Commandments).

4. Partial - Only the unknowable parts of the Bible were inspired (e.g., creation, spiritual concepts).

5. Conceptual - Concepts but not words were inspired.

6. Neoorthodox - Human writers could only produce a record with errors.

7. Verbal, Plenary, and Inerrant Inspiration - This is the true doctrine and means that the very words (verbal) and all of them (plenary) were inerrant (without error) and superintended by God in the original manuscripts.

C. The Biblical Testimony

1. 2 Timothy 3:16 (Theopneustos, God breathed - Affirms that God is author of Scripture and that Scriptures originated with God not man.

2. 2 Peter 1:21 - The "how" of inspiration - men "borne along" by the Spirit.

3. Specific commands to write the word of the Lord (Ex. 17:14; Jer. 30:2).

4. The use of quotation (Matt. 15:4; Acts 28:25).

5. Jesusí use of Scripture (Matt. 5:17; John 10:35).

6. NT asserts that other parts of the NT are Scripture (1 Tim. 5:17; 2 Pet. 3:16).

7. Writers were conscious of writing Godís word (1 Cor. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:11-12).

IV. APARENT CONTRADICTIONS

A. Importance

Realizing that the Bible only contains "apparent contradictions" (i.e. no true contradictions or errors) not only strengthens our faith in biblical doctrines, but also in God Himself.

B. Examples

1. Two Creation accounts (Gen 1,2)

2. Cainís wife (Gen 5:4).

3. Inscription on the cross (Mt 27:37; Mk 15:26; Lk 23:38; Jn 19:19).

IV. WHAT BOOKS ARE IN THE BIBLE?

A. The Meaning of Canon

1. Canon comes from Grk. word "kanon" and means a rod or measuring rod

2. The Bible is self-authenticating and church councils have only recognized the authority inherent in the books themselves.

3. God guided the councils so that the canon was recognized.

B. The Tests for Canonicity

1. Is it authoritative ("Thus saith the Lord")?

2. Is it prophetic ("a man of God" 2 Peter 1:20 - prophet, king, judge, scribe, apostle)

3. Is it authentic (consistent with other revelation of truth)?

4. Is it dynamic (life-changing)?

5. Is it received (accepted and used by believers)?

C. The Formation of OT Canon

1. Some assert that all books of the OT canon were collected and recognized by Ezra

(fifth cent. BC).

2. The NT refers to the OT as Scripture (Matt. 23:35, the equivalent of saying, "From

Genesis to Malachi"; cf. Matt. 21:42; 22:29).

3. The Synod of Jamnia (AD. 90 - A teaching house of rabbis who recognized the books

of the OT, though some questioned Esther, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs.

D. The Formation of NT Canon

1. The period of the apostles - They claimed authority for their writings (1 Thess. 5:27;

Col. 4:16).

2. The postapostolic period - All recognized except Hebrews, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John.

3. The Council of Carthage, 397, listed the twenty-seven canonical NT books.

4. The Apocrypha:

a. The Apocrypha, the fourteen writings not included in the Jewish OT, was not accepted by the early church is never quoted as authoritative in the Scriptures.

b. Matthew 23:35 Ė Jesus mentioned that the close of Old Testament historical scripture was the death of Zechariah (400 B.C.) This excludes any books written after Malachi and before the New Testament.

V. IS OUR PRESENT TEXT RELIABLE?

A. Dead Sea Scrolls (1947).

1. The Jews buried old copies of OT.

2. Essene sect from Qumran preserved them in earthen jars.

3. Comparison showed the credibility of Masoretic text.

B. Septuagint was a Greek translation of the Old Testament made in the third century B.C.

C. More than 5,000 manuscript copies of N.T. make it the bestĖattested document in ancient

writings.

D. Approximately seventy-five papyri fragments exist dating between A.D. 135 and eighth century.

VI. UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE

A. Illumination

1. In Relation to the Unsaved

a. The need for the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:14; 2 Cor. 4:4).

b. The Spiritís convicting ministry (John 16:7-11).

2. In Relation to the Christian

a. The need for the Spiritís illumination (1 Cor. 2:10-12; 3:2).

b. The Spiritís teaching ministry (John 16:13-15).

B. Interpretation

1. Principles of Interpretation.

a. Interpret grammatically and historically.

b. Interpret with understanding of words and figurative language.

c. Interpret according to the immediate and wider contexts.

d. Interpret in harmony with the whole Bible by comparing Scripture with

Scripture.

2. General Divisions of the Bible.

a. O.T

1) Historical books-Genesis to Esther.

2) Poetical books-Job to Song of Solomon.

3) Prophetic books-Isaiah to Malachi.

b. N.T.

1) Gospels-Matthew to John.

2) History-Acts.

3) Epistles-Romans to Jude.

4) Prophecy-Revelation.