DEFINITIONS Inspired: adj. Having a divine influence or actionbehind someone or something.(2 forms) Infallible: adj. Incapable of error. Unerring. (AlsoInerrant.) Authoritative: adj. Having or proceeding fromauthority. Official. Definitive. Our belief in the infallibility and authority of scriptureis based on our belief in the inspiration of scripture.
SUPPORT 2 Timothy 3:16 ―All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching,rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.‖ How do we know what we claim about the Bible is true? Do we only use theBible to claim that the Bible is true? The claims within the Bible are only one supporting leg of the greater body of theTruth we believe in. There are other legs such as: Personal experience Miracles (historical and current) History of the disciples Internal consistency of the message It provides an answer that makes sense. Consistent lives (parents, friends, leaders, etc.) ―It works.‖ Fruit: love, joy, peace, patience… Conversions Archaeological evidence Conscience
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT ITSELF 2 Timothy 3:16 ―All scripture is God-breathed and isuseful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training inrighteousness.‖ Bible was written in three languages: Hebrew Greek Aramaic In Greek: ―παζα γραθη θεοπνεσζηος και ωθελιμος προςδιδαζκαλιαν προς ελεγτον προς επανορθωζιν προςπαιδειαν ηην εν δικαιοζσνη‖ ―God-breathed‖ comes from the Greek ―Theopneustos‖which is a compound word made from ―Theos‖ (God) and―Pneo‖ (Breathe hard, breeze)
MULTIPLE ANGLES FOR THE BEST PICTUREhttp://yoke.cc/sidewalk.htm
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT ITSELF Scripture is sometimes hard to understand – we need to readeverything the Bible says about a topic to best understand it. John 10:35 ―If he called them gods, to whom the word of Godcame, and the Scripture cannot be broken,‖ Luke 16:17 ―But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass awaythan for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail‖ Hebrews 1:7 ―In speaking of the angels he says, ‗He makes hisangels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.‘‖ (Psalms 104:4) Matthew 24:35 ―Heaven and earth will pass away, but my wordswill never pass away.‖ 2 Peter 3:15-16 ―Bear in mind that our Lord‘s patience meanssalvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with thewisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all hisletters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters containsome things that are hard to understand, which ignorant andunstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to theirown destruction‖
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT ITSELF John 4:6 ―We are of God, whoever knows God listens to us, and he whois not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth andthe spirit of error.‖ 2 Peter 1:16-21 ―For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when wetold you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but wewere eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory fromGod the Father when the voice came to him from the MajesticGlory, saying, ―This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.‖18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we werewith him on the sacred mountain. We also have the prophetic messageas something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention toit, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and themorning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand thatno prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet‘s own interpretationof things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, butprophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along bythe Holy Spirit.‖
WRITING THAT THE BIBLE IS MADE OF Law Prophecy The phrase ―The Law and the Prophets‖ seems to be a common way to refer to the OT. Matthew 5:17 ―Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have notcome to abolish them but to fulfill them.‖ Matthew 7:12 ―So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for thissums up the Law and the Prophets.‖ John 1:45, Acts 13:15, 24:14, 28:23, Luke 24:44 (Law, prophets and psalms) Gospel accounts Luke 16:16 ―The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, thegood news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way intoit.‖ Rom 3:21 ―But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, towhich the Law and the Prophets testify.‖ Letters 2 Timothy 4:9-13 ―Do your best to come to me quickly, 10 for Demas, because he loved thisworld, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, andTitus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he ishelpful to me in my ministry. 12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring thecloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.‖
HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPTS How do we know the Bible shows us the originalcontent that the writers wrote? Old Testament: 700+ manuscripts From 900 A.D. and on. OT written probably as early as 1500 B.C. Jesus read the OT from around 0 and on and trusted it. Dead Sea Scrolls Discovered at Qumran in 1947 Originated a thousand years earlier (150 B.C.) than the other OldTestament manuscripts we had. When compared, the two sets of manuscripts are seen to bealmost identical. What does that mean?(http://home.earthlink.net/~ronrhodes/Manuscript.html)
HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPTS New Testament: 5,000+ Greek manuscripts 10,000+ Latin manuscripts 9,000+ various language manuscripts Over 24,000 full/partial manuscripts total Dated from 100 – 300 years after the originals No originals, and there are some differences or variants within themanuscripts, but the copies agree enough that we can reconstruct theoriginals. For example:
HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPTS Compare the reliability of the OT and NTmanuscripts with other ancient documents: Caesar‘s Commentaries on the Gallic War (written inthe 50s BC)—10 copies—~1000 years gap Tacitus‘ Annals of Imperial Rome (written in 116AD)—20 copies—~1000 year gap Plato‘s writings—7 copies—~1200 year gap Homers Iliad—650 copies—~1000 year gap(http://www.faithfacts.org/search-for-truth/maps/manuscript-evidence)
HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPTS There are 150,000 ―variants‖. 99% are of no significance (a missingletter, swapping common words like ChristJesus, or some other obvious scribal error.) Only about 50 of the variants have any realsignificance but even with these there is nodoctrine or moral commandment that is affected. A handful of places there are portions ofscripture which the earliest manuscripts don‘tinclude. Most Bibles will note these areas.
THE CANON How do we know the books in the Bible are the ones that are supposedto be there? Old Testament: Canon decided on in about 400 B.C. by Ezra, Nehemiah and a council ofJews called The Great Synagogue. Jesus gives His stamp of approval. New Testament: Canon mostly decided in 387 A.D. at the Council of Carthage. They wanted to come up with an agreed upon set of books that wereauthoritative Christian writings. (Not authoritative because they put it in theCanon – this was an effort to collect all the true scriptures that were alreadybeing read by the churches as authoritative works. It‘s clear they made the right choice when the canonical books are comparedwith some of the other books that were floating around at the time. http://www.bible-researcher.com/bruce1.html
THE CANON We now have our Bible. We trust it comes through tous as an accurate copy of the originals - but whathappens if we read it? Does what it says prove itselfto be infallible? There are ―problem passages‖.
“PROBLEMS” ―Problems‖ range from what appear to be slips of the pen (single charactersdropped/added), differences in ancient cultural definitions, order of certain events, and―apparent‖ contradictions. 1 Kings 9:23 (550 supervising officials) vs. 2 Chron. 8:10 (250 supervising officials). Only onecharacter is different, it is most likely that the ‗2‘ and ‗5‘ were swapped accidently. Leviticus 11:13-19 (“These are the birds you are to regard as unclean and not eat because they areunclean: the eagle, the vulture…and the bat”). Bats are not birds, but to that culture they were. Matthew 27:5 (“hanged himself”) vs. Acts 1:18 (“he fell headlong, his body burst open and all hisintestines spilled out”). Different ways Judas dies. But new documents that have been discovered tellus that the Greek word for ―fell headlong‖ also carries a meaning of ―swelled‖, which is what happens tothe abdomen of someone who hangs themself. 2 Sam. 24:1 (God incited David) vs. 1 Chron. 21:1 (Satan incited David). Different characters causingthe action. But we know that God sent an ―evil‖ spirit or a spirit of ―sadness‖ as a punishment to Saul 1Samuel 16:14. Matthew 1:16 vs. Luke 3:23. Different genealogies of Joseph. Luke 23:46 vs. John 19:30. Different final words of Jesus. Paul‘s command for women not to speak in church. And others. (But note that the problem areas make up a fraction of a percent of the whole of scripture.) Is it possible for infallibility to hold up despite these issues? After all, we should expect someform of infallibility of scripture if we trust that the Bible is inspired by God. One answer is that with so much support (internal and external) in the truthfulness of theBible, we can continue to hold to the infallibility of scripture, even when a problem seems to popup – it just means we don‘t see everything yet. If we saw everything behind the issue we wouldsee that it‘s not actually a problem.
CHURCH VIEWS ON INSPIRATION How did the Church develop it‘s thoughts oninspiration through history to the present? Aquinas said that inspiration was not somuch a grace that affected the intellect but agrace that affected the judgement. In the 17th century, Jesuit thinkers came upwith the idea that God provided thethoughts, but the writers could express themin whatever ways they wanted.
CHURCH VIEWS ON INSPIRATION Modern views: Mainstream: Verbal inspiration (2 types): Scripture was completely dictated by God. Every word of the Bible was God-breathed but the authors left their individual flavours (traits, cultures, styles)but even these in themselves were arranged by God. Scripture was not dictated but the result is as if it prettymuch had been. (Closest to what we believe today.) Faith/Morals inspiration: Only parts of the Bible that have to do with faith/morals (spiritual teaching)are inspired. What affect would this have on us? (If we already have reason to believe that God spoke through scripture –and we‘re not doubting that – then probably not much since no core teaching is being questioned.) Liberal: Event/experience inspiration: Only the events of the Bible are inspired (God‘s actions) and thewritings are just mirrors to these events. Really spiritual people inspiration: Writers are very deep and mature Christians, who wrote as theysaw fit. Do you see problems with these views? Authors could still make mistakes in and then we wouldn‘t be able to trust the core words ofscripture. Neo-orthodox: ―The Bible has too many inconsistencies so it can‘t be verbally inspired, but it contains the ‗Word ofGod‘ (the message of Christ) and is able to come alive to the hearer as God acts.‖ What about this one? Sounds like mistakes in the core teachings could still be present. (The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, (1987) edited by Allen C. Myers)
3 FORMS OF “INFALLIBILITY” 1. No mistakes in any manuscript, in any way. We know there are mistakes in the manuscriptcopies. 2. Scribal errors in the copies are allowed, butthe original writers made no mistakes in anyway. 3. Mistakes by the original writers that don‘taffect the meaning of spiritual truth areallowed, but all the other words are exactly right.
ENDING THOUGHTS Here‘s one more passage (one more angle) that helps us: 1 Corinthians 7:10-12, 25-28 ―To the married I give this command (notI, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if shedoes, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband.And a husband must not divorce his wife. 12 To the rest I say this (I, notthe Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she iswilling to live with him, he must not divorce her…‖ When taken in context, I take this to mean that because Paul points outwhere He speaks as himself, as opposed to when God speaks through him,it shows that the opposite (God speaking) is the norm even though Paul isvery much ―present‖ at all times. Same Paul who forgot his coat in Troas. What can we infer about infallibility from this? (When Paul speaks withauthority about a spiritual topic, it is God speaking, when he‘s talking abouthis coat, it‘s not for us – so does it matter if we call it inspired?)
ENDING THOUGHTS No matter which of the two main forms of the term ―infallibility‖ we take,the evidence can still support what our tradition (the EMC) has in thestatement of faith. But when disagreements arise, what does ―infallible‖ mean? ―Everysingle word is literally correct.‖ or ―God‘s words for our life are fully true,will never fail us, are totally safe and dependable to base our life on.‖? Isthe Bible totally clear on the subject? We have our tradition, which is agood guide, but when problems come up, we need to keep our trust inwho we know God to be, even as we keep a holy flexibility to ourinterpretations. We have many ―legs‖ of support holding up what we believe about theBible – not just what the Bible says about itself – and enough for us totrust God even if there are certain issues that we don‘t understand. Can we see how debating this, to a certain extreme, might be missingthe point?
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ME? God‘s words for our lives should be treated withmaximum respect. Isaiah 66:2b “These are theones I look on with favor: those who are humbleand contrite in spirit, and who tremble at myword.” How do you treat God‘s word? The whole message of the Bible is Good News - Godcame down to show us that He wants us in His familyforever! John 3:16 “For God so loved the worldthat he gave his one and only Son, that whoeverbelieves in him shall not perish but have eternallife.” Does your life reflect that you believe this isgood news? How can you grow in this?
RESOURCES The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, (1987) edited by Allen C.Myers Introducing Christian Doctrine, (1992) by Millard JErickson Manuscript support for the Biblehttp://home.earthlink.net/~ronrhodes/Manuscript.html Historical/archaeological evidencehttp://www.faithfacts.org/search-for-truth/maps/archaeological-and-external-evidence Bible timeline (OT)http://www.matthewmcgee.org/ottimlin.html Evidence the NT was based on eye-witness accountshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5Ylt1pBMm8