Dr. Jack L. Arnold
THE INSPIRATION AND AUTHORITY OF THE
REASONS FOR BELIEVING IN THE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE
A. The Apostles:
The Apostles recognized that the Bible was inspired of God as seen in
their writings (2 Tim. 3:15-16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).
B. The Early Church:
The early church received the apostolic teaching (which included the
words of Christ) and the Old Testament as two complementary parts of the body
of divine revelation which Christ had given to them as
the rule of faith and practice.
1. Justin Martyr:
“That we must not suppose that the language proceeds from the men who
are inspired, but from the Divine Word which moves them.”
“Therefore we yield to and agree to the authority of the Holy Scripture
which can neither be deceived nor deceive.”
3. Irenaeus: “The Scriptures are perfect, inasmuch
as they were uttered by the Word of God and His Spirit, though we want the
knowledge of their mysteries.”
C. Fulfilled Prophecies:
Hundreds of prophecies, given hundreds of years before, were made
concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ, and all were fulfilled to the
letter in the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ.
D. Continuity of the Bible:
This one volume, which exhibits the most perfect continuity of thought
that the world has ever seen, is a collection of 66 books written by about 40
authors—kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, physicians, statesmen,
scholars, poets, plowmen—who could have known but little of each other,
since their lives were lived in various countries and their writings were
distributed over 60 generations of human history, representing a period of
about sixteen hundred years.
E. Output of the Bible:
Thirty million copies of the Bible are printed each year, and it has
been translated into around 800 dialects and languages.
F. Literature: As literature alone, both unsaved and saved must admit that
it is supreme.
G. Unprejudiced Authority:
This book is not prejudiced in favor of men. It unhesitatingly records the sin, the weakness of the best
of men, and the doom of all who rely alone on these virtues and merits which are their own. Men do not so speak of themselves.
H. Victory Over Attack:
No sooner was this book given to the world then it met the hatred of
man, and they tried to stamp it out.
For 2,000 years every means of destruction that human science,
philosophy, wit, reasoning, brutality, etc., could bring to bear against a book
has been brought to bear against the Bible to stamp it out of the world, but
all has been in vain.
I. Ability to Produce Holy Lives:
Every person who grows in grace does so as he gets nearer to the
Bible. The Bible reveals God and,
consequently, shows up man’s sinfulness.
Tens of millions of people have accepted this book as from God. The intelligent to
the poorly educated have all known that this Bible has a Divine origin. The Holy Spirit has made the Bible real
to true believers in Christ.
K. Inexhaustible Depths:
In this book are hidden the infinite and inexhaustible treasures of the
wisdom and knowledge of God. No
man in a lifetime can master the Bible.
After a period of 2,000 years of constant study, men are still taken
back at the truths found in the Bible.
L. Power to Save:
When the message of scripture (Jesus Christ and Him crucified) is
preached, men are saved and changed by the power of God. All who are saved gain a love for the
M. Superiority of the Bible:
The Bible on ethical and moral standards outshines all the other
religious books of the world.
N. Subject Matter:
The supernatural character of this book is seen in the fact that it
deals as freely with the unknown and otherwise unknowable as it does with that
which is known, and those who follow its teachings are unfailingly led in the
paths of God’s eternal truths.
Likewise, as no other book, the Bible accounts for those who do not receive
its teachings; they cannot understand it without the “new birth” and the Holy
Spirit (1 Cor. 2:14).
ACCUSATION AGAINST VERBAL INSPIRATION
A. Those who do not like the doctrine of
verbal-plenary inspiration often accuse the evangelical of teaching the mechanical-dictation
theory of inspiration. The
mechanical-dictation theory assumes that God compelled the writers of scripture
to write an inspired Bible. God
simply told them what to write and they wrote it in a mechanical way.
B. The mechanical-dictation theory has never
been that of the evangelical, although some unlearned fundamentalists might
hold to this viewpoint. The
evangelical believes that God superintended the writers of scripture, using their
backgrounds, personalities, etc., so that His complete and connected thought to
man was recorded without error.
This is simply the position of the Bible itself (1 Pet. 1:21). NOTE: When Moses received the Law from God, this was a form of
mechanical-dictation but in other places there was simply a superintending by
the Holy Spirit of the human authors of the Bible.
AUTHORITY OF THE BIBLE
Once one has determined that the Bible is inspired
verbally by God, the next question concerns the authority of the
Bible. Is the Bible the only rule
of faith and practice? What is
man’s authority for living?
B. Reason: The liberal
thinks the final authority for all faith and life is the verdict of reason,
conscience or religious sentiment.
Scripture must be studied in light of historical, philosophical,
religious and scientific sources without acknowledging the Bible’s own claims
on inspiration. If the Bible
contradicts reason, then it must be wrong. Therefore whatever a person feels is God’s Word, after
studying it, is God’s Word. A person
can “pick and choose” what he likes and discard the rest of the Bible. NOTE: Even in evangelical circles there are Christian mystics who
give lip assent to an inspired Bible but when the Bible contradicts his
so-called Christian experience, then the Bible is given a secondary place and
man’s emotions become the authority.
This view maintains that the final authority for faith and practice is
the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. Roman Catholics do not deny that the Bible is God-given and
authoritative, but insist that the scripture is not sufficient as a rule for
faith and practice. The Bible is
not a safe and adequate guide for anyone but church tradition, which is also
from God, supplied what is lacking in scripture. This church tradition is put on a par or above the Bible as
authority. NOTE: Roman Catholics believe that God is
still giving special revelation to the church today through the infallible
Pope, Christ’s representative on earth.
This additional revelation is called church tradition.
D. Bible: The
evangelical or conservative position is that the teaching in written scripture
is the Word which God poke and speaks to His Church,
and is authoritative for faith and practice. Our Protestant heritage from our reforming fathers taught
“the scripture only.” What
scripture says, God says. The Bible is inspired in the sense of being word for word
God-given. The Bible is the final
authority and all church counsels, church creeds and church traditions must
agree with the Bible or be rejected.
NOTE: Christians must,
therefore, seek to be helped and taught by the Spirit when they study
scripture, and they must regard all their understanding of it, no less then the
book itself, as a gift form God.
The Holy Spirit must be acknowledged as the infallible interpreter of
God’s infallible Word. NOTE: The Church collectively, and the
Christian individually, can and do err, and the inerrant scripture must always
be allowed to speak and correct them.