The Apostolic View Of Scripture

apostolic view Scrip

The Apostolic View Of Scripture

Having examined the view of Jesus and the Evangelists, we now turn to the remainder of the

New Testament to learn of the Apostle’s view of the Scriptures. It will only be possible to highlight

this, due to space constraints. We shall see, however, that the Apostolic view of the Scriptures was a

high view that held the Scriptures to be God’s Word, authoritative, and true.

Acts

“Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of

David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered

with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of

iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was

known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue,

Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation

be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.” (Acts 1:16–20)

As Peter spoke to the Jerusalem church regarding the need to select a replacement for Judas, he

appealed to the Psalms. His appeal to the Psalms shows that he regarded them to be the very Word of

God, because the Holy Spirit spoke them by the mouth of David, though they were very obviously

written words. We should note, also, that this is the direct Word of God though it comes to us through

man. We do not need a text to be prefaced, “Thus saith the LORD,” for it to be the direct Word of God.

The Scriptures come to us by the Holy Spirit through men, and we can be content with that.

“And when they heard that, they lift up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art

God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: who by the mouth of thy

servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of

the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For

of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with

the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy

counsel determined before to be done.” (Acts 4:24–28)

This is an important passage to consider as we examine the apostolic view of Scriptures. Here

we find that the early church viewed God as speaking by the mouth of David in the Psalms. What is

crucial is that we recognize that they are saying this in reference to the Scriptures. Though David wrote

the Psalm to which they refer, they consider it to be spoken by God through David. Thus it is the Word

of God.

Some seem to think that those who hold this view speak of God somehow dictating the words to

those who recorded Scripture. The truth is that there were a number of ways in which God

communicated truth to those who wrote Scripture. The final result was the Word of God, regardless of

how God gave the Word to those recording it. One thing is sure, however, and that is the fact that God

used men to give us His Word.

Romans

“For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on

whom I will have compassion.” (Romans 9:15)

“For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might

shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.” (Romans 9:17)

“As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved,

which was not beloved.” (Romans 9:25)

For Paul, what Scripture says is what God says. Notice how he says, “he (God) saith, and then

said, “the Scripture saith”, and again says, “He saith also…” These statements show that Paul believed

that when Scripture speaks, God speaks.

“For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 10:11)

“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, A tried stone, a

precious corner stone, a sure foundation: He that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah 28:16)

Paul states here that the “Scripture saith” while quoting a passage that says “thus saith the Lord

God.” Paul’s quoting of the writing shows that he viewed the Scriptures words to be on the same level

as God’s words, because what Scripture says is what God says.

“But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no

people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them

that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All

day long have I stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” (Romans 10:19–

21)

Note the progression of “Moses saith,” then “Esaias…saith”, and then “he (God) saith.” What

Moses and Isaiah said in Scripture is what God said.

Scripture, then, is God’s Word.

1&2 Corinthians

“In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet

for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 14:21)

“For with stammering lips and another tongue Will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is

the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; And this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.”

(Isaiah 28:11–12)

In this passage we find once more that Paul understood the words of Scripture to be the Words

of God. As Paul quotes his text, he shows that the Scripture is giving us God’s Word even though Isaiah

does not present his writing as directly quoting God.

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean

thing; and I will receive you,” (2 Corinthians 6:17)

“Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; Go ye out of the midst of her; be

ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.” (Isaiah 52:11)

Once again we find that Paul demonstrated that what Scripture says is what God says.

Galatians

“And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the

gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” (Galatians 3:8)

Here Paul says that the Scripture preached the gospel to Abraham yet, when we turn to Genesis

12:1-3, we find that God Himself was speaking. Once again we find that Paul believed that Scripture is

God’s Word. What Scripture says is what God says.

Ephesians

“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he

saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” (Ephesians

4:7–8)

“Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: Thou hast received gifts for men; Yea, for

the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.” (Psalm 68:18)

There are some who seek to declare that Scripture is not God’s Word. They use the Psalms as an

example, because they don’t understand how the praise, prayers, pleas, and poetry of men could be

God’s Word. Paul quotes Psalm 68:18, which is the word of David, and identifies it as the words of

Christ (Ephesians 4:7). If the he referred to in Ephesians 4:8 would have been David, I believe Paul

would have said so. Instead, the reference points us back to Ephesians 4:7 and Christ, who is mentioned

there as being the one giving gifts to the church.

Hebrews

“For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And

again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?” (Hebrews 1:5)

“And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God

worship him.” (Hebrews 1:6)

“And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.” (Hebrews

1:7)

“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the

sceptre of thy kingdom.” (Hebrews 1:8)

“And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works

of thine hands:” (Hebrews 1:10)

In each of these quotations from the Old Testament Scriptures the writer to the Hebrews

demonstrates his belief that what Scripture says is what God says.

“For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not

ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the

church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold, I, and the

children which God hath given me.” (Hebrews 2:11–13)

“I will declare thy name unto my brethren: In the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.” (Psalm

22:22)

“And I will wait upon the LORD, That hideth his face from the house of Jacob, And I will look for him.”

(Isaiah 8:17)

We see once again that the writer to the Hebrews quotes Scripture as the Word of God. What

Scripture says is what God says.

We find other instances in Hebrews where the writer demonstrates his belief that Scripture is

the Word of God:

Hebrews 3:7 the Holy Spirit says

4:3 He spoke

4:6 He…saying

4:8 He spoke

All of these demonstrate the writer’s belief that God speaks in and through the Scriptures, and that

Scripture is the Word of God.

This is followed up by more references in Hebrews 5:5,10;6:16-18;8:8-12;10:15-17,29;12:5.

There is abundant testimony to the fact that the writer to the Hebrews understood Scripture to

be the Word of God. It is worth our while to understand that he was writing to Jewish Christians who,

no doubt, agreed with him on the issue.

1&2 Peter

“Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace

that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in

them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which

are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent

down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.” (1 Peter 1:10–12)

Peter says that the Spirit of God was in the prophets who told us of the Christ’s suffering and

glory.

“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: knowing this

first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 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.” (2

Peter 1:19–21)

Peter declares that the Scriptures came to us through men who were led by the Spirit of God. It

was not simply a man’s decision to write, but he wrote as he was directed by God’s Spirit.

What is the result? Would it not be the Word of God in written form?

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you,

who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon

themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way

of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make

merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth

not. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into

chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the

eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; and

turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them

an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; and delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy

conversation of the wicked: (for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed

his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)” (2 Peter 2:1–8)

“which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of

Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass

speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.” (2 Peter 2:15–16)

It is very instructive to see that Peter viewed the Genesis historical narratives as being correct.

He also believed that the narrative about Balaam and his ass was correct. While many today question or

reinterpret various historical narratives in the Scriptures, Peter accepts them at face value and refers to

them as being trustworthy.

When we look at all of the passages mentioned (and there are many more that were not given

due to space constraints), we can see that the New Testament writers viewed the Scriptures as the Word

of God.

Let us take seriously the words of Charles Hodge:

“What does the Bible teach on the subject? If our Lord and his Apostles declare the Old Testament to

be the Word of God; that its authors spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost; that what they said,

the Spirit said; if they refer to the facts and to the very words of Scripture as of divine authority; and if

the same infallible divine guidance was promised to the writers of the New Testament, and claimed by

themselves; and if their claim was authenticated by God himself; then there is no room for, as there is

no need of, these theories of partial inspiration. The whole Bible was written under such an influence as

preserved its human authors from all error, and makes it for the Church the infallible rule of faith and

practice.1”

1 Charles Hodge, vol. 1, Systematic Theology, 182 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems,

Inc., 1997).

 

The Testimony Of Jesus And The Synoptics Regarding The Word Of God

synoptics Jesus WOG

The Testimony Of Jesus And The Synoptics Regarding The Word Of God

 

As we consider the inerrancy of the Scriptures we must address what the Scriptures say about themselves. While some may say that it is circular reasoning and arguing to declare Scripture to be the Word of God based upon the testimony of Scripture itself, we declare that it is not necessarily so. We also have the testimony of history which shows to us that Scripture was accepted as the Word of God by holy people of old. Couple this with the presuppositions that we have mentioned in a previous article and we have good reason to read the Scriptures and take their words as reliable testimony.

In this article we shall consider the testimony of Jesus and the synoptic gospels regarding the Scriptures being the Word of God. We shall use Matthew as representative of the synoptics. As we do so we shall see that Jesus and the evangelists took the Old Testament texts to be reliable, authoritative, and the Word of God. Not all passages in Matthew will be considered, but we shall look at enough texts to show us what view Jesus and the evangelists held regarding the Old Testament Scriptures.

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:22–23)

This first text is an excellent text for us to consider. Liberals who do not believe that Jesus was conceived and born of a virgin would certainly desire to excise this verse. They would love to take the passage quoted (Isaiah 7:14) and tell us all about the Hebrew not necessarily meaning a literal virgin. This passage, however, shows us that Matthew accepted that there was a literal virgin who conceived and bore a child, and that it was also the meaning of the text in Isaiah. Not only so, but he also tells us that the Lord spoke by the prophet. In other words, Matthew viewed the writing of Isaiah as the speaking of the Lord.[1]He saw this as God’s Word.

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.” (Matthew 4:4)

Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Matthew 4:7)

Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Matthew 4:10)

While there have been diverse views regarding the writing and composition of Deuteronomy, one thing is certain: Jesus’ quoting of Deuteronomy shows that He viewed it as authoritative. He also showed His belief that Scripture is the Word of God by quoting that man shall live by the Word of God (Deuteronomy 8:3), and then quoting other Scriptures as authoritative. Had Jesus not believed them to be the Words of God He would not have believed them to be authoritative. Yet, Jesus embraced both the Divine origins of Scripture as well as the authority of Scripture.[2]

 

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17–19)

This passage quotes Jesus as upholding the enduring nature of the Old Testament Scriptures in the most minute of points as well as the authority of the Scriptures. Considering what we have already seen of Jesus’ response to Satan, it is obvious that He is once again asserting that the Scriptures are the authoritative words of God.

 

that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” (Matthew 8:17)

Here we see that Jesus does not present to us multiple authors of the prophecy of Isaiah, but accepts that Isaiah was author of the latter as well as the former parts; and this is, of course, contradictory to much liberal scholarship today. Jesus, however, saw Isaiah chapter fifty-three as being authoritative, and as Matthew wrote he made no distinction between Isaiah 7:14 (See statements on Matthew 1:22-23) and Isaiah 53:4, thus accepting both as God’s Word.

 

At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were a hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was a hungred, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” (Matthew 12:1–8)

In this one passage we find Jesus affirming the reliability and truthfulness of 1Samuel 2:16, Exodus 25:30, Leviticus 24:5-9, Numbers 28:9-10, Hosea 6:6, and even the Genesis creation account (Genesis 2:3)! He does this in opposition to the Pharisee’s claim that He and His disciples were acting unlawfully. Jesus simply shows them that the historical narratives of Scripture are authoritative as well as the law, and certainly of greater authority than the Pharisee’s interpretation of the law. At the same time Jesus asserted that it was He who was the Creator who made the sabbath holy, thus insinuating to the Pharisees that it was His word of which they were speaking.

To put it briefly, Jesus presents the Old Testament Scriptures as His Word.

 

And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judea beyond Jordan; and great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there. The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:1–6)

In this passage we find Jesus presenting the Genesis creation account as a reliable historical narrative that is also the authoritative Word of God.

No doubt there are some who would love to argue about my conclusion here, but they must certainly deal with the person of Jesus before they go any farther. If Jesus is indeed the sinless Son of God, we must accept the absolute truthfulness of His Words. Jesus did not deceive the people by accommodating His speech to the errors of their day. In fact, Jesus was on the offensive against their errors (See Matthew 19:1-9 for an example.). Neither was Jesus ignorant of the truth regarding the origins of mankind. To embrace a such as this would be to diminish Jesus’ perfections as well as His deity: a position that is unacceptable to those who believe the New Testament Scriptures.

Our presupposition is that Jesus is the sinless Son of God who speaks truly. Thus we accept Jesus is truly referring to the Genesis creation account as a reliable and authoritative historical narrative.

 

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lordsaid unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any moe questions.” (Matthew 22:41–46)

Jesus here states that David spoke in the Spirit, i.e. David was inspired. Jesus viewed the Psalms as the inspired Word of God given to us through David.

 

And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.” (Matthew 27:35)

Matthew also considered the writings of David to be the Word of God. Here he states that David was a prophet whose words were being fulfilled in Jesus.

 

Having taken the Gospel According To Matthew as representative, we have seen that the writers of the synoptics as well as Jesus viewed the Old Testament Scriptures as the inspired, reliable, and authoritative Word of God.

[1]    It is worth noting that God’s Word does not have to be orally from God. To be God’s Word, it must come from God. Thus God’s Word can be written, and it can be prophetic, poetic, historical, or some other genre. To be God’s Word, it simply has to have God as its source.

[2]It is instructive to see that Satan did not argue with Jesus about Scripture the way that he argues with the rest of us. He simply accepted Jesus’ rebuke, thus showing that even Satan must bow to the authority of God’s Word.