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).

 

A Brief Theology Of Inspiration part three

Inspiration NT 2

The Inspiration of The New Testament

In this final article on the inspiration of the Scriptures I intend to consider the testimony of the New Testament to its inspiration and the relationship of 2Timothy 3:16 to the New and Old Testaments.

The Testimony Of The New Testament To Its Inspiration

In the last article we saw that Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would guide His people into all truth, and that the promise guaranteed that we would have God’s words given to us by the Spirit through the apostolic Christians. Let’s see if the New Testament writers ever acknowledged that to be the case as they wrote.

The apostolic Christians knew that the Holy Spirit was going to be sent to testify of Christ, because Jesus had promised that He would (See John 15:26). This promise also contained within it the understanding that the apostolic Christians would bear witness to Jesus as well. After His resurrection, Jesus again told them that they would bear witness to Him after that the Spirit fell upon them (See Luke 24:44-49;Acts 1:8). The book of Acts gives to us the record of how the early church, being filled with the Spirit, testified to Jesus. I believe that it is a fair statement to say that the evangelists were testifying of Christ as they gave to the church their accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry. But what about the rest of the New Testament?

Romans: Paul opens the epistle to the Romans, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: by whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: to all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:1–7, AV 1873)

Paul’s statement is that he is writing concerning Jesus Christ. While there is certainly room for someone to dispute this, it is certainly plausible that Paul understood himself to taking part in the work that Christ promised would be done by the Spirit.

1Corinthians: The apostle says, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 2:12–13, AV 1873)

Here we find Paul saying that his teaching was that of the Holy Spirit. He has no problem stating that the words that he is teaching are of God. Paul explicitly rules out his writing in the fashion of worldly writers, but claims that he is teaching the words which the Holy Spirit teaches, thus claiming Divine sanction for the very words that he wrote.

There are some who contend that Paul claimed that some of his words were not the Word of God, but his own. They do so because Paul said, “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:” (1 Corinthians 7:10, AV 1873) (See also 1Corinthians 7:12,25) The context of this passage shows us, however, that Paul was stating that the Lord Himself had given no commandment regarding this issue when He was ministering upon the earth. In fact, Paul later states again that what he is saying is the work of the Spirit of God saying, “and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 7:40, AV 1873) Far from disclaiming inspiration, Paul states that his words are indeed inspired of God.

Concerning this passage Meyer said, “Paul knew from the living voice of tradition what commands Christ had given concerning divorce, Matt. 5:31 f., 19:3–9; Mark 10:2–12; Luke 16:18. Hence ὁ Κύριος, sc.παραγγέλλει, for the authority of Christ lives on in His commands (against Baur, who infers from the present, which is to be supplied here, that Paul means the will of Christ made known to him by inspiration). It is otherwise in 1 Thess. 4:15. As regards the ἐγώ, again, Paul was conscious (ver. 40) that his individuality was under the influence of the Holy Spirit. He distinguishes, therefore, here and in vv. 12, 25, not between his ownand inspiredcommands, but between those which proceeded from his own(God-inspired) subjectivityand those which Christ Himself supplied by His objective word.[1]” In other words, Paul knew and claimed that his words were inspired of God.

John Calvin made a similar statement: “But why is it that Paul speaks of himself as the author of these regulations, while they appear to be somewhat at variance with what he had, a little before, brought forward, as from the Lord? He does not mean that they are from himself in such a way as not to be derived from the Spirit of God; but, as there was nowhere in the law or in the Prophets any definite or explicit. statement on this subject, he anticipates in this way the calumnies of the wicked, in claiming as his own what he was about to state. At the same time, lest all this should be despised as the offspring of man’s brain, we shall find him afterwards declaring, that his statement are not the contrivances of his own understanding. [2]”

2Corinthians: Here Paul once again speaks of himself as being a minister of Gospel who is working under the power, influence, and leadership of the Spirit of God who was promised by Jesus. “And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” (2 Corinthians 3:4–6, AV 1873) He later states that he has a God-given authority both in his preaching and his writings: “For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed: that I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters. For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. Let such a one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present.” (2 Corinthians 10:8–11, AV 1873) Though he doesn’t explicitly state here that his words are inspired of God, these passages give us reason to believe that Paul saw himself as writing words that were given to him by the Spirit of God.

Galatians: In the book of Galatians Paul insists that he did not learn the gospel from men, but received it by revelation from Christ. He then speaks of the fact that the apostles gave him the “right hand of fellowship,” thus acknowledging that Paul was sent of God as they were. Though there is no mention of inspiration in this epistle, we can see that once again Paul sets forth an understanding that his preaching and teaching was of the same source as that of the other apostles, which source was the Spirit of God.

Ephesians: “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.” (Ephesians 3:8–13, AV 1873) Note that Paul sees himself as one whose apostleship is to bear witness of Christ (John 15:26) to the world. He also recognizes that the work he is doing for/in the world is also for the Ephesians. All of this is a gift from God to Paul that he might perform this ministry. He also recognizes that his work is to make known the revelation of Christ. These things demonstrate Paul’s understanding that his words are of the Spirit of God, because he is making known the revelation of Christ, teaching truth as an apostle, and testifying of Jesus. In fact, he later states that he is testifying “in the Lord” (Ephesians 4:17), meaning that he is not simply speaking in self.

Let us then note that Paul quotes both Deuteronomy and Luke and calls them both Scripture. “For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.” (1 Timothy 5:18, AV 1873) Paul, we see, considers Luke’s gospel account to be the inspired Word of God just as Deuteronomy is.

Furthermore, Peter implies that the words of the apostles were of the same authority as the words of the Old Testament prophets (2Peter 3:1-2) and states that Paul’s writings were Scripture, thus attributing to them the same source and authority that we have already seen that the Old Testament Scriptures have as the inspired Word of God (2Peter 3:15-16).

Then we find John testifies of Christ as an eyewitness (1John 1:1-4) of Christ. He goes farther than that and states that his words are the very testimony of God. “And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (1 John 5:8–11, AV 1873) John states that the Spirit bears witness in the earth, and the what he writes is the witness which God gave of Christ. This means that John was convinced that his words were the words of God, testified through him by the Spirit.

Revelation: The last book in the New Testament begins by stating that it is “TheRevelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.” (Revelation 1:1–2, AV 1873) John states what he is writing is the revelation of Jesus Christ, and that this revelation would tell us of things to come. When we recall John 15:26;16:12-17 we can see that John no doubt understood that what he was writing was the work of the Spirit of God. Not only so, but John stated that God gave this revelation to Jesus, who sent it to John. As he closed the book, John stated that what he was writing was the words of the Spirit of God. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17, AV 1873) Then he clearly states that the Revelation is of the same authority as the  Old Testament Scriptures by saying, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18–19, AV 1873) This echoes Deuteronomy 4:2. Finally, John closes and repeats that the Revelation is the Word of Jesus (Revelation 22:20).

Given By Inspiration Of God

In 2Timothy 3:16 Paul tells us that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” The literal meaning of “given by inspiration of God” is “God-breathed.” When we speak we breathe. “Given by inspiration of God” is Paul’s way of saying that Scripture is God’s Word. WilliamHendriksen,inhiscommentaryon2Timothy,said,“ThewordGod-breathed,occurringonlyhereindicatesthat“allscripture” owesitsoriginandcontentstothedivinebreath,theSpiritofGod.ThehumanauthorswerepowerfullyguidedanddirectedbytheHolySpirit.Asaresult,whattheywroteisnotonlywithouterrorbutofsupremevalueforman.ItisallthatGodwantedittobe.[3]”

I am certain that Paul was speaking of all of the Old Testament, but I am also convinced that he had the New Testament in mind as well. B.B. Warfield, speaking about the canon of Scripture said, “In the apprehension, therefore, of the earliest churches, the ‘Scriptures’ were not a closedbut an increasing‘canon. Such they had been from the beginning, as they gradually grew in number from Moses to Malachi; and such they were to continue as long as there should remain among the churches ‘men of God who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.’ We say that this immediate placing of the new books—given the church under the seal of apostolic authority—among the Scriptures already established as such, was inevitable. It is also historically evinced from the very beginning. Thus the apostle Peter, writing in A.D. 68, speaks of Paul’s numerous letters not in contrast with the Scriptures, but as among the Scriptures and in contrast with “the otherScriptures” (2 Pet. 3:16)—that is, of course, those of the Old Testament.[4]”

Looking back over the course of this article we see that Paul recognized Luke’s gospel as being Scripture. If we are correct in assuming that Luke did indeed follow Matthew and Mark, Paul probably knew of them as well. Having seen that Paul understood his own writings to be the inspired Word of God, we can reasonably assume that he was referring to them as well.

Having considered these things, it is safe to say that, when Paul spoke of Scripture being given by inspiration of God, he had the New Testament Scriptures in mind as well as the Old Testament Scriptures.

Concluding Thoughts

This series of articles is a series about the inerrancy of Scripture. Being given by inspiration of God, Scripture is God’s Word. God is true and cannot lie (Numbers 23:19;Deuteronomy 32:4;Titus 1:1-2;Hebrews 6:17). We can conclude that the Scriptures, being the inspired Word of God, are true and without error.

 

 

[1]Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Epistles to the Corinthians, Volume 1, ed. William P. Dickson, trans. D. Douglas Bannerman, Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 201 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1879).

[2]John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, 1 Co 7:10 (Galaxie Software, 2002; 2002).

[3]WilliamHendriksenandSimonJ.Kistemaker,vol.4,NewTestamentCommentary:ExpositionofthePastoralEpistles,NewTestamentCommentary,302(GrandRapids:BakerBookHouse,1953-2001).

[4]Benjamin B. Warfield, The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Volume 1: Revelation and Inspiration, 452 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2008).

A Brief Theology Of Inspiration part two

Inspiration NT 1

The Inspiration of The New Testament

 

Is the New Testament given by inspiration of God? That is the question, is it not? Is God the source of the New Testament Scriptures? Is the New Testament the Word of God? If we let the New Testament speak for itself, we shall find that it presents to us a clear picture of its being the inspired Word of God.

The Promise of God’s Word By The Spirit Through His People

As God’s people think about the Word of God these days, there is often a critical factor that is overlooked. That critical factor is the promise that Jesus made to His church concerning the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised at least three different times that He would send the Holy Spirit and that the Spirit would provide the church with the true words of God.

First of all, we find Jesus making this promise specifically to the apostles. This promise is in regard to their being brought to judgment for their testimony of Christ. Jesus said, “And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: for the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” (Luke 12:11–12, AV 1873) The apostles were instructed not to premeditate their answers, because the Holy Spirit would instruct them in their speech. Matthew’s record gives us a little more information saying, “But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” (Matthew 10:19–20, AV 1873) In other words, the promise of Jesus is that the Holy Spirit would speak through the apostles the words of God. Though the apostle’s minds and mouths would be used, the words that would come out of their mouths would have God as their source.

Charles Hodge, teaching on the inspiration of the Scriptures, referred to these words of Christ saying, “If the Scriptures of the old economy were given by inspiration of God, much more were those writings which were penned under the dispensation of the Spirit. Besides, the inspiration of the Apostles is proved, (1.) From the fact that Christ promised them the Holy Spirit, who should bring all things to their remembrance, and render them infallible in teaching. It is not you, He said, that speak, but the Spirit of my Father speaketh in you. He that heareth you heareth me. He forbade them to enter upon their office as teachers until they were endued with power from on high. (2.) This promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit descended upon the Apostles as a mighty rushing wind, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak as the Spirit gave them utterance (dabat eloqui, as the Vulgate more literally renders the words). From this moment they were new men, with new views, with new spirit, and with new power and authority. The change was sudden. It was not a development. It was something altogether supernatural; as when God said, Let there be light, and there was light. Nothing can be more unreasonable than to ascribe this sudden transformation of the Apostles … to mere natural causes. Their Jewish prejudices had resisted all the instructions and influence of Christ for three years, but gave way in a moment when the Spirit came upon them from on high. (3.) After the day of Pentecost the Apostles claimed to be the infallible organs of God in all their teachings. They required men to receive what they taught not as the word of man but as the word of God (1 Thess. 2:13); they declared, as Paul does (1 Cor. 14:37), that the things which they wrote were the commandments of the Lord. They made the salvation of men to depend on faith in the doctrines which they taught. Paul pronounces anathema even an angel from heaven who should preach any other gospel than that which he had taught. (Gal. 1:8.) John says that whoever did not receive the testimony which he bore concerning Christ, made God a liar, because John’s testimony was God’s testimony. (1 John 5:10.) “He that knoweth God, heareth us; he that is not of God, heareth not us.” (1 John 4:6.) This assertion of infallibility, this claim for the divine authority of their teaching, is characteristic of the whole Bible. The sacred writers all, and everywhere, disclaim personal authority; they never rest the obligation to faith in their teachings, on their own knowledge or wisdom; they never rest it on the truth of what they taught as manifest to reason or as capable of being proved by argument. They speak as messengers, as witnesses, as organs. They declare that what they said God said, and, therefore, on his authority it was to be received and obeyed.[1]” Hodge’s understanding was that the Holy Spirit was going to give God’s words to the apostles, who would then speak them. In conjunction with other New Testament passages, he has given to us an understanding that those who wrote the New Testament documents understood that they were writing under the influence of the Spirit of God who was giving them the words of God.

Next we find that Jesus also made a more general promise of the Holy Spirit being given to His people and residing within them. “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is 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. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:15–27, AV 1873) The promise of the Comforter, as given here, is the promise of the very presence of God within the believer. He lives within us and is to us the love of the Father and Son as well as the manifestation of the Father and the Son within us. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, and as such will show us the truth of our Father and His Son Jesus.

Didymus the blind, an ancient teacher from the late fourth century said, “The Holy Spirit then, Who cometh in the name of the Son from the Father, shall teach them, who are established in the faith of Christ, all things; all things which are spiritual, both the understanding of truth, and the sacrament of wisdom. But He will teach not like those who have acquired an art or knowledge by study and industry, but as being the very art, doctrine, knowledge itself. As being this Himself, the Spirit of truth will impart the knowledge of divine things to the mind.[2]” Thus we find that the promise here is that the Holy Spirit’s teaching would be the very words of Jesus. Jesus’ promise was that the Holy Spirit would teach them all things as well as reminding them of Jesus’ words.

Was this promise just for the apostles, or do we profit from it as well as they? It is my conviction that this promise profits the people of God today. The profit is that He dwells within the believer and gives Him assurance, peace, and understanding of the Word of God that He gave to us through the apostles. John Calvin stated essentially the same thing when he said, “The Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance all things that I have said to you. It is indeed a punishment threatened by Isaiah against unbelievers, that the Word of God shall be to themas a book that is sealed, (Isaiah 29:11) but in this manner, also, the Lord frequently humbles his people. We ought, therefore, to wait patiently and mildly for the time of revelation, and must not, on that account, reject the word. When Christ testifies that it is the peculiar office of the Holy Spirit to teach the apostles what they had already learned from his mouth, it follows that the outward preaching will be vain and useless, if it be not accompanied by the teaching of the Spirit. God has therefore two ways of teaching; for, first, he sounds in our ears by the mouth of men; and, secondly, he addresses us inwardly by his Spirit; and he does this either at the same moment, or at different times, as he thinks fit.

But observe what are all these things which he promises that the Spirit will teach. He will suggest, he says, or bring to your remembrance, all that I have said. Hence it follows, that he will not be a builder of new revelations. By this single word we may refute all the inventions which Satan has brought into the Church from the beginning, under the pretense of the Spirit. Mahomet and the Pope agree in holding this as a principle of their religion, that Scripture does not contain a perfection of doctrine, but that something loftier has been revealed by the Spirit. From the same point the Anabaptists and Libertines, in our own time, have drawn their absurd notions. But the spirit that introduces any doctrine or invention apart from the Gospel is a deceiving spirit, and not the Spirit of Christ.[3]”

Calvin understood that God’s Word was given to us in written form, thus he brought in Isaiah’s prophecy. He also knew that the gospel as preached by Jesus and the apostles was of the same origin and authority as the Old Testament Scriptures, being inspired by God. For this reason Calvin tells us that the Spirit will guide us into the same truths. In other words, the Spirit will give us a written record of Christ and His gospel just as we have the written Word of God in the Old Testament.

We find the same understanding of this passage in the ESV Study Bible: “That he will teach the disciples all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to youis an important promise regarding the disciples’ future role in writing the words of Scripture; see also 16:13–15. Jesus’ promise here is specifically to these disciples (who would become the apostles after Pentecost), though there is of course a broader teaching and guiding ministry of the Holy Spirit generally in the lives of believers, as is taught elsewhere in Scripture (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:16, 18).[4]”

We can conclude that this promise is of profit to the believer today, because he has the gift of Scripture through the Spirit of God, and he has the Spirit within him to help him understand the Divinely given Scriptures.

Finally we come to the passage which speaks even more clearly regarding the Spirit, the apostles, and the Scriptures. “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (John 16:12–15, AV 1873) Jesus’ promise is that the Spirit will guide us into all truth. The apostles had not received all truth at that point. There were some things that they had not yet become able understand. Jesus promised that the Spirit would guide them into all truth, because He would speak the words of Jesus. These words of Jesus are to be found in the apostolic writings which we call the New Testament. Notice, too, that Jesus promised that the Spirit would show us things to come. Not only do we see that fulfilled in the Revelation, but we find that the New Testament writings are permeated with prophecy of the future. We have good reason to conclude that the New Testament is the Word of God given to us by the Holy Spirit.

Henry Alford stated concerning this passage, “As the directfulfilment to the Apostlesof the leading into the whole truth was the unfolding before them those truths which they have delivered down to us in their Epistles,—so, though scattered traces of the fulfilment of this partof the promise are found in the Acts and those Epistles, its complete fulfilment was the giving of the Apocalypse, in which τὰ ἐρχόμεναare distinctly the subject of the Spirit’s revelation, and with which His directtestimony closes: see Rev. 1:1; 22:6, 20. [5]” “This is in connexion with ver. 12—and sets forth that the Spirit guiding intotruth is in fact the Son declaringthe truth, for He shall shew forth the glory of Christ, by revealing the matters of Christ,—the riches of the Father’s love in Him (ver. 15). [6]” Alford seems to have understood that Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit giving to us God’s Word in the New Testament.

There could be given a multitude of quotations from various scholars, preachers, and commentators in support of this view. Let it suffice me to say that Jesus promised to the apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide them, remind them, and teach them that they might be used of God to give us His words in the New Testament Scriptures. As John MacArthur said, when commenting on Jesus’ words in this passage, “This verse, like 14:26, points to the supernatural revelation of all truth by which God has revealed Himself in Christ (vv. 14, 15), particularly. This is the subject of the inspired NT writings. [7]” In other words, The New Testament is the inspired Word of God which presents to us the truth of the revelation of God in Christ.

 

 

 

 

[1]Charles Hodge, vol. 1, Systematic Theology, 160-61 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

[2]Saint Thomas Aquinas and John Henry Newman, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected Out of the Works of the Fathers, Volume 4: St. John, 471 (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1845).

[3]John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, Jn 14:25 (Galaxie Software, 2002; 2002).

[4]Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible, 2053 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008).

[5]Henry Alford, Alford’s Greek Testament: An Exegetical and Critical Commentary, Jn 16:13 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2010).

[6]Henry Alford, Alford’s Greek Testament: An Exegetical and Critical Commentary, Jn 16:14 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2010).

[7]John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible : New American Standard Bible., Jn 16:13 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006).

A Brief Look At The New Testament Use of The Old Testament

A Brief Look At The New Testament Use of The Old Testament

In my time of studying the Bible I have often wondered about the New Testament use of the Old Testament.   Of special concern were Matthew 2:11-15 and Galatians 3:16.   Did the New Testament writers use some sort of Holy Ghost exegesis that led them to their conclusions?  Did they simply impose their doctrine upon the Old Testament texts?  Neither of these things truly seemed to be in keeping with the integrity of a Christian character, nor did they seem to be consistent with Divine inspiration.  What was I to do, then?  What was I to believe about this issue?  This short paper is my effort to come to a conclusion based upon the two texts above.

In this article I shall begin in Genesis and work my way through several Old Testament texts in an effort to show that the New Testament writers were actually using the texts in a manner that would be consistent with the understanding of the Old Testament writers.

The passage in Matthew 2 reads:

And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. ” (Matthew 2:13–15, KJV)

The Galatians 3 reads:

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. ” (Galatians 3:16, KJV)

 

It is my contention that the Old Testament writers did indeed have Christ in mind as they wrote.

The expectation of the people of God in the OT was that there would come a deliver.  God’s promise in Genesis explicitly promises a son to come.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. ” (Genesis 3:15, KJV)

Not only does God promise a son, He promises a seed (singular).  Thus, in the very beginning, the expectation of the savior would that one who is both seed (singular) and son.

The expectation of the people no doubt grew when Jacob prophesied of the coming Messiah saying:

The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. ” (Genesis 49:10, KJV)

Later, the LORD would speak of the nation of Israel as “my son” when He sent Moses to lead them out of Egypt (cf Exodus 4:22).  Later the nation of Israel would be spoken of again in the singular in a reference that is no doubt Messianic in nature:
He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them. God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn. Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought! Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain. ” (Numbers 23:21–24, KJV)

In verse 24 the prophecy moves from “the people” to “he shall rise up as a great lion…”  This lion-like man will conquer his enemies.

Balaam prophesied again of the coming Messiah saying:
I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city. ” (Numbers 24:17–19, KJV)

Note that the expectation is that there will be a seed out of Jacob.  Though he does not use the word “seed”, yet the Messiah, the coming King shall be a descendant of Jacob.  Not only that, but the prophecy speaks of one man, not many just as Paul shall later do in Galatians 3:16.

 

Later a prophet like Moses would be promised (Deuteronomy 18:15-19) and that would lead the people even further in their expectation of this one man who would come to be their deliverer.

David had an especially significant event in his life when he realized the this deliverer would be a descendant of his.

And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. ” (2 Samuel 7:12–15, KJV)

And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods? For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and thou, LORD, art become their God. And now, O LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said. And let thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee. ” (2 Samuel 7:23–26, KJV)

Again, the prophecy is regarding one seed who shall be king.  This seed is the seed of David, yet he is to be the son of God.  (cf Psalm 2:6-12;89:19-29;Isaiah 9:6-7)

Later, Isaiah would speak further of Him (Isaiah 11:1-10), as would Jeremiah (Jeremiah 23:5-6;33:15-16), and Daniel would have a vision of Him coming to rule the world:
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. ” (Daniel 7:13–14, KJV)

And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. ” (Daniel 7:27, KJV)

Having seen the development of the expectation of the Messiah as one who is the seed of Abraham, the seed of David, the son of God, and the king of all, I am not surprised to see the following verse used in reference to Jesus the Christ being the son of God:

When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. ” (Hosea 11:1, KJV) (cf Matthew 2:13-15)

After all, the people of Israel looked for this One who is the seed of Abraham (cf Genesis 22:18) and the embodiment of all that God expected Israel as a nation to be, and Jesus is the ultimate Israelite.  He is the Son of God and the son of man.  The seed of the woman (cf Galatians 4:1-5), the seed of Abraham, and the Son of God.  Through the years the people knew that their Messiah would be what they were not – perfect.  He would rule over all as the ultimate Israelite/descendant of Abraham, and the One to whom all of Israel’s history was leading them.  Thus the prophecy of Israel coming out of Egypt could indeed apply to the Messiah as the Son of God.

Considering the Galatian passage we find that it, too, is interpreting the Old Testament text correctly, because the Old Testament prophecies clearly anticipated the coming Christ, the seed of Abraham.

As we read the New Testament we find that there was a very well developed Christological expectation in existence at the time of the birth of Jesus.  The reader will recall that Simeon spoke to Mary about Jesus and even hinted that His work would actually be one that would bring grief to His mother (See Luke 2:25-35).  In so speaking, it is obvious that Simeon’s expectation of Jesus’ work was not simply that of an exalted king who would rule over all.  Simeon evidently understood somewhat of the suffering that was to come to Jesus.  It is most likely that he had this understanding based upon the Old Testament Scriptures and not solely on the basis of any spiritual experience he may have had.

As the Baptizer came on the scene we find that there was much musing about him.  He was questioned whether he were the Messiah or not, showing us that there was a Messianic expectation.  John’s response was to preach Jesus as one who would be a sacrificial lamb given as a sin offering: “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29, KJV)  For this to have made any sense to anyone listening there would have of necessity been an expectation of a suffering Christ who would forgive sins.  Again, that expectation would have had its roots in the Old Testament prophecies and promises.

Jesus, Himself, testified to this expectation when He told the people that the Scriptures testified of Him (See John 5:39), that Abraham rejoiced because he saw the day of Christ (See John 8:56), and when He rebuked the disciples because they did not believe the Old Testament Scriptures which prophesied of His coming, suffering, and subsequent glory:  “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. ” (Luke 24:25–27, KJV)  The Old Testament prophecies of Jesus were so clear that Jesus rebuked them for not believing them.  This would have been impossible if the prophecies were vague, imprecise, and could only have been interpreted in light of the New Testament after Jesus’ ascension into Heaven.

When we come to an Old Testament quotation in our New Testament which gives us pause to think that there is a difference between the NT writer’s meaning and the OT meaning, then we should seriously consider what the body of OT truth has to say about the matter before we hastily declare that the NT writers were inspired to use the OT in a way inconsistent with the intent of the OT writers, or that the NT writers added meaning to the OT texts.  When writing inspired Scripture the NT writers did not miss anything about the OT texts, but we may very well be missing much.  I am sure that we are.  I trust that this study will help us to consider how we must carefully approach the Scriptures when we study them, and that we should certainly appreciate the richness of the OT texts more than we do.