Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Could the Bible be wrong?

TODAY'S SPECIAL: 2 Timothy 3:1-17

TO CHEW ON: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 2Timothy 3:16

When Canadian theologian Clark Pinnock died a few weeks ago, publications of all kinds eulogized him. He had a long and influential career in which he changed theological mounts several times, going from Calvinism to, in his later years, Open Theism. I was surprised by a comment under one of the articles about his life, in which the commenter scolded the writer for emphasizing Pinnock's earlier writings because those writings supported biblical inerrancy. What?! I thought. He wants a Bible that is errant?

A Bible full of mistakes is what our society wants, though. That way we can ignore its unpopular teachings on morality, eternal punishment and other things that don't fit with current standards and popular opinions.

But that's not the view of God's word that Paul hands down to Timothy here. Jack Hayford talks about the divine inspiration of the Bible in a sidebar article on this passage:

"...this Book does not merely contain the word of God, but is the word of God in its sum and in its parts...

1] It is the word of the Holy Spirit. Theopneustos (Greek), translated "inspiration of God," literally means "God-breathed." This describes the source of the whole Bible's derivation (that is "all Scripture") as transcendent of human inspiration...

2] 2 Peter 1:20-21 elaborates this truth and adds that none of what was given was merely the private opinion of the writer (vs. 20) and that each writer involved in the production of the Holy Scriptures was "moved by" (literally, "being borne along") the Holy Spirit...

3] 1 Corinthians 2:10-13 expands on this process by which the revelation of the Holy Scriptures was given. Verse 13 says that even the words used in the giving of the Bible (not just the ideas, but the precise terminology) were planned by the Holy Spirit, who deployed the respective authors of the Bible books to write, "comparing spiritual things with spiritual" (literally "matching spiritual words to spiritual ideas").

The biblical view of the Bible's derivation is called plenary verbal inspiration of the Scriptures meaning every word is inspired by the Holy Spirit of God." Jack W. Hayford, "The Divine Inspiration of the Bible," New Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 1714-15 (emphasis his).

If this is indeed so (and I believe it is), no wonder God's word is profitable for such a lot: "doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness." In plain words, it tells us the truth about God, ourselves, and how to live life in the way that works best. Let's take it seriously and apply it to all of life.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the Bible. Help me to understand it, and obey, apply, and order my life by it. Amen.

MORE: Why inerrancy matters

Rebecca Writes is a blog written by a blogger with theological interests and expertise. She has been publishing, bit by bit, the 1978 "Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy." Here, from her blog, is a summary of  why such a statement was drafted (my italics):

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy was formulated in 1978 by approximately 300 evangelical scholars at a conference sponsored by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, held in Chicago. The statement was designed to defend the position of Biblical inerrancy against trends toward liberal conceptions of Scripture and higher biblical criticism. The undersigners came from a variety of evangelical denominations, and include James Montgomery Boice, Carl F. H. Henry, Roger Nicole, J. I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer, and R. C. Sproul. (Source: Theopedia)

Read this historic document as she has published it on her blog.

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

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