1. Meaning of Terms
2. Occurrences in the Bible
3. Consideration of Important Passages
(1) 2Ti 3:16
(2) 2Pe 1:19-21
(3) Joh 10:34 f
4. Christ's Declaration That Scripture Must Be Fulfilled
5. His Testimony That God Is Author of Scripture
6. Similar Testimony of His Immediate Followers
7. Their Identification of God and Scripture
8. The "Oracles of God"
9. The Human Element in Scripture
10. Activities of God in Giving Scripture
11. General Problem of Origin: God's Part
12. How Human Qualities Affected Scripture. Providential Preparation
13. "Inspiration" More than Mere "Providence"
14. Witness of New Testament Writers to Divine Operation
15. "Inspiration" and "Revelation"
16. Scriptures a Divine-Human Book?
17. Scripture of the New Testament Writers Was the Old Testament
18. Inclusion of the New Testament
1. Meaning of Terms:
The word "inspire" and its derivatives seem to have come into Middle English from the French, and have been employed from the first (early in the 14th century) in a considerable number of significations, physical and metaphorical, secular and religious. The derivatives have been multiplied and their applications extended during the procession of the years, until they have acquired a very wide and varied use. Underlying all their use, however, is the constant implication of an influence from without, producing in its object movements and effects beyond its native, or at least its ordinary powers. The noun "inspiration," although already in use in the 14th century, seems not to occur in any but a theological sense until late in the 16th century. The specifically theological sense of all these terms is governed, of course, by their usage in Latin theology; and this rests ultimately on their employment in the Latin Bible. In the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) Latin Bible the verb inspiro (Ge 2:7; The Wisdom of Solomon 15:11; Ec 4:12; 2Ti 3:16; 2Pe 1:21) and the noun inspiratio (2Sa 22:16; Job 32:8; Ps 18:15; Ac 17:25) both occur 4 or 5 times in somewhat diverse applications. In the development of a theological nomenclature, however, they have acquired (along with other less frequent applications) a technical sense with reference to the Biblical writers or the Biblical books. The Biblical books are called inspired as the Divinely determined products of inspired men; the Biblical writers are called inspired as breathed into by the Holy Spirit, so that the product of their activities transcends human powers and becomes Divinely authoritative. Inspiration is, therefore, usually defined as a supernatural influence exerted on the sacred writers by the Spirit of God, by virtue of which their writings are given Divine trustworthiness.
2. Occurrences in the Bible:
Meanwhile, for English-speaking men, these terms have virtually ceased to be Biblical terms. They naturally passed from the Latin Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) into the English versions made from it (most fully into the Rheims-Douay: Job 32:8; The Wisdom of Solomon 15:11; Ec 4:12; 2Ti 3:16; 2Pe 1:21). But in the development of the English Bible they have found ever-decreasing place. In the English Versions of the Bible of the Apocrypha (both the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American)) "inspired" is retained in The Wisdom of Solomon 15:11; but in the canonical books the nominal form alone occurs in the King James Version and that only twice: Job 32:8, "But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding"; and 2Ti 3:16, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." the Revised Version (British and American) removes the former of these instances, substituting "breath" for "inspiration"; and alters the latter so as to read: "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness," with a marginal alternative in the form of, "Every scripture is inspired of God and profitable," etc. The word "inspiration" thus disappears from the English Bible, and the word "inspired" is left in it only once, and then, let it be added, by a distinct and even misleading mistranslation.
For the Greek word in this passage--theopneustos--very distinctly does not mean "inspired of God." This phrase is rather the rendering of the Latin, divinitus inspirata, restored from the Wycliff ("Al Scripture of God ynspyrid is ....") and Rhemish ("All Scripture inspired of God is ....") versions of the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) The Greek word does not even mean, as the King James Version translates it, "given by inspiration of God," although that rendering (inherited from, Tyndale: "All Scripture given by inspiration of God is ...." and its successors; compare Geneva: "The whole Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is ....") has at least to say for itself that it is a somewhat clumsy, perhaps, but not misleading, paraphrase of the Greek term in theological language of the day. The Greek term has, however, nothing to say of inspiring or of inspiration: it speaks only of a "spiring" or "spiration." What it says of Scripture is, not that it is "breathed into by God" or is the product of the Divine "inbreathing" into its human authors, but that it is breathed out by God, "God-breathed," the product of the creative breath of God. In a word, what is declared by this fundamental passage is simply that the Scriptures are a Divine product, without any indication of how God has operated in producing them. No term could have been chosen, however, which would have more emphatically asserted the Divine production of Scripture than that which is here employed. The "breath of God" is in Scripture just the symbol of His almighty power, the bearer of His creative word. "By the word of Yahweh," we read in the significant parallel of Ps 33:6 "were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth." And it is particularly where the operations of God are energetic that this term (whether ruach, or neshamah) is employed to designate them--God's breath is the irresistible outflow of His power. When Paul declares, then, that "every scripture" or "all scripture" is the product of the Divine breath, "is God-breathed," he asserts with as much energy as he could employ that Scripture is the product of a specifically Divine operation.
3. Consideration of Important Passages:
(1) 2 Timothy 3:16:
In the passage in which Paul makes this energetic assertion of the Divine origin of Scripture he is engaged in explaining the greatness of the advantages which Timothy had enjoyed for learning the saving truth of God. He had had good teachers; and from his very infancy he had been, by his knowledge of the Scriptures, made wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. The expression, "sacred writings," here employed (1Ti 3:15), is a technical one, not found elsewhere in the New Testament, it is true, but occurring currently in Philo and Josephus to designate that body of authoritative books which constituted the Jewish "Law." It appears here anarthrously because it is set in contrast with the oral teaching which Timothy had enjoyed, as something still better: he had not only had good instructors, but also always "an open Bible," as we should say, in his hand. To enhance yet further the great advantage of the possession of these Sacred Scriptures the apostle adds now a sentence throwing their nature strongly up to view. They are of Divine origin and therefore of the highest value for all holy purposes.
There is room for some difference of opinion as to the exact construction of this declaration. Shall we render "Every Scripture" or "All Scripture"? Shall we render "Every (or all) Scripture is God-breathed and (therefore) profitable," or "Every (or all) Scripture, being God-breathed, is as well profitable"? No doubt both questions are interesting, but for the main matter now engaging our attention they are both indifferent. Whether Paul, looking back at the Sacred Scriptures he had just mentioned, makes the assertion he is about to add, of them distributively, of all their parts, or collectively, of their entire mass, is of no moment: to say that every part of these Sacred Scriptures is God-breathed and to say that the whole of these Sacred Scriptures is God-breathed, is, for the main matter, all one. Nor is the difference great between saying that they are in all their parts, or in their whole extent, God-breathed and therefore profitable, and saying that they are in all their parts, or in their whole extent, because God-breathed as well profitable. In both cases these Sacred Scriptures are declared to owe their value to their Divine origin; and in both cases this their Divine origin is energetically asserted of their entire fabric. On the whole, the preferable construction would seem to be, "Every Scripture, seeing that it is God-breathed, is as well profitable." In that case, what the apostle asserts is that the Sacred Scriptures, in their every several passage--for it is just "passage of Scripture" which "Scripture" in this distributive use of it signifies--is the product of the creative breath of God, and, because of this its Divine origination, is of supreme value for all holy purposes.
It is to be observed that the apostle does not stop here to tell us either what particular books enter into the collection which he calls Sacred Scriptures, or by what precise operations God has produced them. Neither of these subjects entered into the matter he had at the moment in hand. It was the value of the Scriptures, and the source of that value in their Divine origin, which he required at the moment to assert; and these things he asserts, leaving to other occasions any further facts concerning them which it might be well to emphasize. It is also to be observed that the apostle does not tell us here everything for which the Scriptures are made valuable by their Divine origination. He speaks simply to the point immediately in hand, and reminds Timothy of the value which these Scriptures, by virtue of their Divine origin, have for the "man of God." Their spiritual power, as God-breathed, is all that he had occasion here to advert to. Whatever other qualities may accrue to them from their Divine origin, he leaves to other occasions to speak of.
(2) 2 Peter 1:19-21:
What Paul tells us here about the Divine origin of the Scriptures is enforced and extended by a striking passage in 2 Pet (1:19-21). Peter is assuring his readers that what had been made known to them of "the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" did not rest on "cunningly devised fables." He offers them the testimony of eyewitnesses of Christ's glory. And then he intimates that they have better testimony than even that of eyewitnesses. "We have," says he, "the prophetic word" (English Versions of the Bible, unhappily, "the word of prophecy"): and this, he says, is "more sure," and therefore should certainly be heeded. He refers, of course, to the Scriptures. Of what other "prophetic word" could he, over against the testimony of the eyewitnesses of Christ's "excellent glory" (the King James Version) say that "we have" it, that is, it is in our hands? And he proceeds at once to speak of it plainly as "Scriptural prophecy." You do well, he says, to pay heed to the prophetic word, because we know this first, that "every prophecy of scripture ...." It admits of more question, however, whether by this phrase he means the whole of Scripture, designated according to its character, as prophetic, that is, of Divine origin; or only that portion of Scripture which we discriminate as particularly prophetic, the immediate revelations contained in Scripture. The former is the more likely view, inasmuch as the entirety of Scripture is elsewhere conceived and spoken of as prophetic. In that case, what Peter has to say of this "every prophecy of scripture"--the exact equivalent, it will be observed, in this case of Paul's "every scripture" (2Ti 3:16)--applies to the whole of Scripture in all its parts. What he says of it is that it does not come "of private interpretation"; that is, it is not the result of human investigation into the nature of things, the product of its writers' own thinking. This is as much as to say it is of Divine gift. Accordingly, he proceeds at once to make this plain in a supporting clause which contains both the negative and the positive declaration: "For no prophecy ever came (margin: "was brought") by the will of man, but it was as borne by the Holy Spirit that men spoke from God." In this singularly precise and pregnant statement there are several things which require to be carefully observed. There is, first of all, the emphatic denial that prophecy--that is to say, on the hypothesis upon which we are working, Scripture--owes its origin to human initiative: "No prophecy ever was brought--`came' is the word used in the English Versions of the Bible text, with `was brought' in the Revised Version margin--by the will of man." Then, there is the equally emphatic assertion that its source lies in God: it was spoken by men, indeed, but the men who spoke it "spake from God." And a remarkable clause is here inserted, and thrown forward in the sentence that stress may fall on it, which tells us how it could be that men, in speaking, should speak not from themselves, but from God: it was "as borne"--it is the same word which was rendered "was brought" above, and might possibly be rendered "brought" here--"by the Holy Spirit" that they spoke. Speaking thus under the determining influence of the Holy Spirit, the things they spoke were not from themselves, but from God.
Here is as direct an assertion of the Divine origin of Scripture as that of 2Ti 3:16. But there is more here than a simple assertion of the Divine origin of Scripture. We are advanced somewhat in our understanding of how God has produced the Scriptures. It was through the instrumentality of men who "spake from him." More specifically, it was through an operation of the Holy Ghost on these men which is described as "bearing" them. The term here used is a very specific one. It is not to be confounded with guiding, or directing, or controlling, or even-leading in the full sense of that word. It goes beyond all such terms, in assigning the effect produced specifically to the active agent. What is "borne" is taken up by the "bearer," and conveyed by the "bearer's" power, not its own, to the "bearer's" goal, not its own. The men who spoke from God are here declared, therefore, to have been taken up by the Holy Spirit and brought by His power to the goal of His choosing. The things which they spoke under this operation of the Spirit were therefore His things, not theirs. And that is the reason which is assigned why "the prophetic word" is so sure. Though spoken through the instrumentality of men, it is, by virtue of the fact that these men spoke "as borne by the Holy Spirit," an immediately Divine word. It will be observed that the proximate stress is laid here, not on the spiritual value of Scripture (though that, too, is seen in the background), but on the Divine trustworthiness of Scripture. Because this is the way every prophecy of Scripture "has been brought," it affords a more sure basis of confidence than even the testimony of human eyewitnesses. Of course, if we do not understand by "the prophetic word" here the entirety of Scripture described, according to its character, as revelation, but only that element in Scripture which we call specifically prophecy, then it is directly only of that element in Scripture that these great declarations are made. In any event, however, they are made of the prophetic element in Scripture as written, which was the only form in which the readers of this Epistle possessed it, and which is the thing specifically intimated in the phrase "every prophecy of scripture." These great declarations are made, therefore, at least of large tracts of Scripture; and if the entirety of Scripture is intended by the phrase "the prophetic word," they are made of the whole of Scripture.
(3) John 10:34 f:
How far the supreme trustworthiness of Scripture, thus asserted, extends may be conveyed to us by a passage in one of our Lord's discourses recorded by John (Joh 10:34-35). The Jews, offended by Jesus' "making himself God," were in the act to stone Him, when He defended Himself thus: "Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), say ye of him, whom the Father sanctified (margin "consecrated") and sent unto the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?" It may be thought that this defense is inadequate. It certainly is incomplete: Jesus made Himself God (Joh 10:33) in a far higher sense than that in which "Ye are gods" was said of those "unto whom the word of God came": He had just declared in unmistakable terms, "I and the Father are one." But it was quite sufficient for the immediate end in view--to repel the technical charge of blasphemy based on His making Himself God: it is not blasphemy to call one God in any sense in which he may fitly receive that designation; and certainly if it is not blasphemy to call such men as those spoken of in the passage of Scripture adduced gods, because of their official functions, it cannot be blasphemy to call Him God whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world. The point for us to note, however, is merely that Jesus' defense takes the form of an appeal to Scripture; and it is important to observe how He makes this appeal. In the first place, He adduces the Scriptures as law: "Is it not written in your law?" He demands. The passage of Scripture which He adduces is not written in that portion of Scripture which was more specifically called "the Law," that is to say, the Pentateuch; nor in any portion of Scripture of formally legal contents. It is written in the Book of Pss; and in a particular psalm which is as far as possible from presenting the external characteristics of legal enactment (Ps 82:6). When Jesus adduces this passage, then, as written in the "law" of the Jews, He does it, not because it stands in this psalm, but because it is a part of Scripture at large. In other words, He here ascribes legal authority to the entirety of Scripture, in accordance with a conception common enough among the Jews (compare Joh 12:34), and finding expression in the New Testament occasionally, both on the lips of Jesus Himself, and in the writings of the apostles. Thus, on a later occasion (Joh 15:25), Jesus declares that it is written in the "law" of the Jews, "They hated me without a cause," a clause found in Ps 35:19. And Paul assigns passages both from the Psalms and from Isa to "the Law" (1Co 14:21; Ro 3:19), and can write such a sentence as this (Ga 4:21 f) : "Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written ...." quoting from the narrative of Gen. We have seen that the entirety of Scripture was conceived as "prophecy"; we now see that the entirety of Scripture was also conceived as "law": these three terms, the law, prophecy, Scripture, were indeed, materially, strict synonyms, as our present passage itself advises us, by varying the formula of adduction in contiguous verses from "law" to "scripture." And what is thus implied in the manner in which Scripture is adduced, is immediately afterward spoken out in the most explicit language, because it forms an essential element in Our Lord's defense. It might have been enough to say simply, "Is it not written in your law?" But our Lord, determined to drive His appeal to Scripture home, sharpens the point to the utmost by adding with the highest emphasis: "and the scripture cannot be broken." This is the reason why it is worth while to appeal to what is "written in the law," because "the scripture cannot be broken." The word "broken" here is the common one for breaking the law, or the Sabbath, or the like (Joh 5:18; 7:23; Mt 5:19), and the meaning of the declaration is that it is impossible for the Scripture to be annulled, its authority to be withstood, or denied. The movement of thought is to the effect that, because it is impossible for the Scripture--the term is perfectly general and witnesses to the unitary character of Scripture (it is all, for the purpose in hand, of a piece)--to be withstood, therefore this particular Scripture which is cited must be taken as of irrefragable authority. What we have here is, therefore, the strongest possible assertion of the indefectible authority of Scripture; precisely what is true of Scripture is that it "cannot be broken." Now, what is the particular thing in Scripture, for the confirmation of which the indefectible authority of Scripture is thus invoked? It is one of its most casual clauses--more than that, the very form of its expression in one of its most casual clauses. This means, of course, that in the Savior's view the indefectible authority of Scripture attaches to the very form of expression of its most casual clauses. It belongs to Scripture through and through, down to its most minute particulars, that it is of indefectible authority.
It is sometimes suggested, it is true, that our Lord's argument here is an argumentum ad hominem, and that His words, therefore, express not His own view of the authority of Scripture, but that of His Jewish opponents. It will scarcely be denied that there is a vein of satire running through our Lord's defense: that the Jews so readily allowed that corrupt judges might properly be called "gods," but could not endure that He whom the Father had consecrated and sent into the world should call Himself Son of God, was a somewhat pungent fact to throw up into such a high light. But the argument from Scripture is not ad hominem but e concessu; Scripture was common ground with Jesus and His opponents. If proof were needed for so obvious a fact, it would be supplied by the circumstance that this is not an isolated but a representative passage. The conception of Scripture thrown up into such clear view here supplies the ground of all Jesus' appeals to Scripture, and of all the appeals of the New Testament writers as well. Everywhere, to Him and to them alike, an appeal to Scripture is an appeal to an indefectible authority whose determination is final; both He and they make their appeal indifferently to every part of Scripture, to every element in Scripture, to its most incidental clauses as well as to its most fundamental principles, and to the very form of its expression. This attitude toward Scripture as an authoritative document is, indeed, already intimated by their constant designation of it by the name of Scripture, the Scriptures, that is "the Document," by way of eminence; and by their customary citation of it with the simple formula, "It is written." What is written in this document admits so little of questioning that its authoritativeness required no asserting, but might safely be taken for granted. Both modes of expression belong to the constantly illustrated habitudes of our Lord's speech. The first words He is recorded as uttering after His manifestation to Israel were an appeal to the unquestionable authority of Scripture; to Satan's temptations He opposed no other weapon than the final "It is written"! (Mt 4:4,7,10; Lu 4:4,8). And among the last words which He spoke to His disciples before He was received up was a rebuke to them for not understanding that all things "which are written in the law of Moses, and the prophets, and psalms" concerning Him--that is (Lu 24:45) in the entire "Scriptures"--"must needs be" (very emphatic) "fulfilled" (Lu 24:44). "Thus it is written," says He (Lu 24:46), as rendering all doubt absurd. For, as He had explained earlier upon the same day (Lu 24:25 ff), it argues only that one is "foolish and slow of heart" if he does not "believe in" (if his faith does not rest securely on, as on a firm foundation) "all" (without limit of subject-matter here) "that the prophets" (explained in Lu 24:27 as equivalent to "all the scriptures") "have spoken."
4. Christ's Declaration That Scripture Must Be Fulfilled:
The necessity of the fulfillment of all that is written in Scripture, which is so strongly asserted in these last instructions to His disciples, is frequently adverted to by our Lord. He repeatedly explains of occurrences occasionally happening that they have come to pass "that the scripture might be fulfilled" (Mr 14:49; Joh 13:18; 17:12; compare Joh 12:14; Mr 9:12-13). On the basis of Scriptural declarations, therefore, He announces with confidence that given events will certainly occur: "All ye shall be offended (literally, "scandalized") in me this night: for it is written ...." (Mt 26:31; Mr 14:27; compare Lu 20:17). Although holding at His command ample means of escape, He bows before on-coming calamities, for, He asks, how otherwise "should the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?" (Mt 26:54). It is not merely the two disciples with whom He talked on the way to Emmaus (Lu 24:25) whom He rebukes for not trusting themselves more perfectly to the teaching of Scripture. "Ye search the scriptures," he says to the Jews, in the classical passage (Joh 5:39), "because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of me; and ye will not come to me, that ye may have life!" These words surely were spoken more in sorrow than in scorn: there is no blame implied either for searching the Scriptures or for thinking that eternal life is to be found in Scripture; approval rather. What the Jews are blamed for is that they read with a veil lying upon their hearts which He would fain take away (2Co 3:15 f). "Ye search the scriptures"--that is right: and "even you" (emphatic) "think to have eternal life in them"--that is right, too. But "it is these very Scriptures" (very emphatic) "which are bearing witness" (continuous process) "of me; and" (here is the marvel!) "ye will not come to me and have life!"--that you may, that is, reach the very end you have so properly in view in searching the Scriptures. Their failure is due, not to the Scriptures but to themselves, who read the Scriptures to such little purpose.
5. His Testimony That God Is Author of Scripture:
Quite similarly our Lord often finds occasion to express wonder at the little effect to which Scripture had been read, not because it had been looked into too curiously, but because it had not been looked into earnestly enough, with sufficiently simple and robust trust in its every declaration. "Have ye not read even this scripture?" He demands, as He adduces Ps 118:1-29 to show that the rejection of the Messiah was already intimated in Scripture (Mr 12:10; Mt 21:42 varies the expression to the equivalent: "Did ye never read in the scriptures?"). And when the indignant Jews came to Him complaining of the Hosannas with which the children in the Temple were acclaiming Him, and demanding, "Hearest thou what these are saying?" He met them (Mt 21:16) merely with, "Yea: did ye never read, Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou has perfected praise?" The underlying thought of these passages is spoken out when He intimates that the source of all error in Divine things is just ignorance of the Scriptures: "Ye do err," He declares to His questioners, on an important occasion, "not knowing the scriptures" (Mt 22:29); or, as it is put, perhaps more forcibly, in interrogative form, in its parallel in another Gospel: "Is it not for this cause that ye err, that ye know not the scriptures?" (Mr 12:24). Clearly, he who rightly knows the Scriptures does not err. The confidence with which Jesus rested on Scripture, in its every declaration, is further illustrated in a passage like Mt 19:4. Certain Pharisees had come to Him with a question on divorce and He met them thus: "Have ye not read, that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh? .... What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." The point to be noted is the explicit reference of Ge 2:24 to God as its author: "He who made them .... said"; "what therefore God hath joined together." Yet this passage does not give us a saying of God's
recorded in Scripture, but just the word of Scripture itself, and can be treated as a declaration of God's only on the hypothesis that all Scripture is a declaration of God's. The parallel in Mk (10:5 ff) just as truly, though not as explicitly, assigns the passage to God as its author, citing it as authoritative law and speaking of its enactment as an act of God's. And it is interesting to observe in passing that Paul, having occasion to quote the same passage (1Co 6:16), also explicitly quotes it as a Divine word: "For, The twain, saith he, shall become one flesh"--the "he" here, in accordance with a usage to be noted later, meaning just "God."
Thus clear is it that Jesus' occasional adduction of Scripture as an authoritative document rests on an ascription of it to God as its author. His testimony is that whatever stands written in Scripture is a word of God. Nor can we evacuate this testimony of its force on the plea that it represents Jesus only in the days of His flesh, when He may be supposed to have reflected merely the opinions of His day and generation. The view of Scripture He announces was, no doubt, the view of His day and generation as well as His own view. But there is no reason to doubt that it was held by Him, not because it was the current view, but because, in His Divine-human knowledge, He knew it to be true; for, even in His humiliation, He is the faithful and true witness. And in any event we should bear in mind that this was the view of the resurrected as well as of the humiliated Christ. It was after He had suffered and had risen again in the power of His Divine life that He pronounced those foolish and slow of heart who do not believe all that stands written in all the Scriptures (Lu 24:25); and that He laid down the simple "Thus it is written" as the sufficient ground of confident belief (Lu 24:46). Nor can we explain away Jesus' testimony to the Divine trustworthiness of Scripture by interpreting it as not His own, but that of His followers, placed on His lips in their reports of His words. Not only is it too constant, minute, intimate and in part incidental, and therefore, as it were, hidden, to admit of this interpretation; but it so pervades all our channels of information concerning Jesus' teaching as to make it certain that it comes actually from Him. It belongs not only to the Jesus of our evangelical records but as well to the Jesus of the earlier sources which underlie our evangelical records, as anyone may assure himself by observing the instances in which Jesus adduces the Scriptures as Divinely authoritative that are recorded in more than one of the Gospels (e.g. "It is written," Mt 4:4,7,10 (Lu 4:4,8,10); Mt 11:10; (Lu 7:27); Mt 21:13 (Lu 19:46; Mr 11:17); Mt 26:31 (Mr 14:21); "the scripture" or "the scriptures," Mt 19:4 (Mr 10:9); Mt 21:42 (Mr 12:10; Lu 20:17); Mt 22:29 (Mr 12:24; Lu 20:37); Mt 26:56 (Mr 14:49; Lu 24:44)). These passages alone would suffice to make clear to us the testimony of Jesus to Scripture as in all its parts and declarations Divinely authoritative.
6. Similar Testimony of His Immediate Followers
The attempt to attribute the testimony of Jesus to His followers has in its favor only the undeniable fact that the testimony of the writers of the New Testament is to precisely the same effect as His. They, too, cursorily Apostles speak of Scripture by that pregnant name and adduce it with the simple "It is written," with the implication that whatever stands written in it is Divinely authoritative. As Jesus' official life begins with this "It is written" (Mt 4:4), so the evangelical proclamation begins with an "Even as it is written" (Mr 1:2); and as Jesus sought the justification of His work in a solemn "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead the third day" (Lu 24:46 ff), so the apostles solemnly justified the Gospel which they preached, detail after detail, by appeal to the Scriptures, "That Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures" and "That he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures" (1Co 15:3-4; compare Ac 8:35; 17:3; 26:22, and also Ro 1:17; 3:4,10; 4:17; 11:26; 14:11; 1Co 1:19; 2:9; 3:19; 15:45; Ga 3:10,13; 4:22,27). Wherever they carried the gospel it was as a gospel resting on Scripture that they proclaimed it (Ac 17:2; 18:24,28); and they encouraged themselves to test its truth by the Scriptures (Ac 17:11). The holiness of life they inculcated, they based on Scriptural requirement (1Pe 1:16), and they commended the royal law of love which they taught by Scriptural sanction (Jas 2:8). Every detail of duty was supported by them by an appeal to Scripture (Ac 23:5; Ro 12:19). The circumstances of their lives and the events occasionally occurring about them are referred to Scripture for their significance (Ro 2:26; 8:36; 9:33; 11:8; 15:9,21; 2Co 4:13). As our Lord declared that whatever was written in Scripture must needs be fulfilled (Mt 26:54; Lu 22:37; 24:44), so His followers explained one of the most startling facts which had occurred in their experience by pointing out that "it was needful that the scripture should be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spake before by the mouth of David" (Ac 1:16). Here the ground of this constant appeal to Scripture, so that it is enough that a thing "is contained in scripture" (1Pe 2:6) for it to be of indefectible authority, is plainly enough declared: Scripture must needs be fulfilled, for what is contained in it is the declaration of the Holy Ghost through the human author. What Scripture says, God says; and accordingly we read such remarkable declarations as these: "For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, For this very purpose did I raise thee up" (Ro 9:17); "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, .... In thee shall all the nations be blessed" (Ga 3:8). These are not instances of simple personification of Scripture, which is itself a sufficiently remarkable usage (Mr 15:28; Joh 7:38,42; 19:37; Ro 4:3; 10:11; 11:2; Ga 4:30; 1Ti 5:18; Jas 2:23; 4:5 f), vocal with the conviction expressed by James (Jas 4:5) that Scripture cannot speak in vain. They indicate a certain confusion in current speech between "Scripture" and "God," the outgrowth of a deep-seated conviction that the word of Scripture is the word of God. It was not "Scripture" that spoke to Pharaoh, or gave his great promise to Abraham, but God. But "Scripture" and "God" lay so close together in the minds of the writers of the New Testament that they could naturally speak of "Scripture" doing what Scripture records God as doing. It was, however, even more natural to them to speak casually of God saying what the Scriptures say; and accordingly we meet with forms of speech such as these: "Wherefore, even as the Holy Spirit saith, Today if ye shall hear His voice," etc. (Heb 3:7, quoting Ps 95:7); "Thou art God .... who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage," etc. (Ac 4:25 the King James Version, quoting Ps 2:1); "He that raised him from the dead .... hath spoken on this wise, I will give you .... because he saith also in another (place) ...." (Ac 13:34, quoting Isa 55:3 and Ps 16:10), and the like. The words put into God's mouth in each case are not words of God recorded in the Scriptures, but just Scripture words in themselves. When we take the two classes of passages together, in the one of which the Scriptures are spoken of as God, while in the other God is spoken of as if He were the Scriptures, we may perceive how close the identification of the two was in the minds of the writers of the New Testament.
7. Their Identification of God and Scripture:
This identification is strikingly observable in certain catenae of quotations, in which there are brought together a number of passages of Scripture closely connected with one another. The first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews supplies an example. We may begin with Heb 1:5:"For unto which of the angels said he"--the subject being necessarily "God"--"at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?"--the citation being from Ps 2:7 and very appropriate in the mouth of God--"and again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?"--from 2Sa 7:14, again a declaration of God's own--"And when he again bringeth in the firstborn into the world he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him"--from De 32:43, Septuagint, or Ps 97:7, in neither of which is God the speaker--"And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire"--from Ps 104:4, where again God is not the speaker but is spoken of in the third person--"but of the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, etc."--from Ps 45:6-7 where again God is not the speaker, but is addressed--"And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning," etc.--from Ps 102:25-27, where again God is not the speaker but is addressed--"But of which of the angels hath he said at any time, Sit thou on my right hand?" etc.--from Ps 110:1, in which God is the speaker. Here we have passages in which God is the speaker and passages in which God is not the speaker, but is addressed or spoken of, indiscriminately assigned to God, because they all have it in common that they are words of Scripture, and as words of Scripture are words of God. Similarly in Ro 15:9 ff we have a series of citations the first of which is introduced by "as it is written," and the next two by "again he saith," and "again," and the last by "and again, Isaiah saith," the first being from Ps 18:49; the second from De 32:43; the third from Ps 117:1; and the last from Isa 11:10. Only the last (the only one here assigned to the human author) is a word of God in the text of the Old Testament.
Continued in INSPIRATION, 8-18.