Updated December 17, 2007 (first published February 18, 1999) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, email@example.com; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) -
The following material is edited and slightly expanded from the Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible & Christianity, copyright 1994, 1999 by David W. Cloud. This Encyclopedia is available in a hard cover book edition, as a part of the Fundamental Baptist CD-Rom Library, and as a module for Swordsearcher:
“Inspiration” means to inhale, to breathe in. The Bible claims that its words were breathed in by Almighty God through chosen men of old. The term “inspiration” is used twice in Scripture (Job 32:8; 2 Ti. 3:16). In the N.T. it is one of the terms selected by God to describe the nature of the Bible. There are basically three views regarding inspiration: (1) The pagan view of inspiration: The Bible is inspired only in the sense that great human writings, such as those of Shakespeare, are inspired. (2) The partial view of inspiration. Some believe the Bible is inspired in those matters not affecting science, but that there are historical and scientific errors in the Bible. (3) The perfect view of inspiration: The Bible is perfectly inspired and contains no error. It is this latter view that is supported by the Bible itself. The Bible claims to be the perfect, inspired Word of God. This view is also called infallible or inerrant inspiration.
THE ATTACK UPON BIBLICAL INSPIRATION
THE ASSAULT BEGAN IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN. The assault upon the Word of God began at the dawn of man’s history and centered on the first commandment that God gave to Adam. The assault was instigated by Dr. Devil who took his “hath God said” seminar to Mrs. Eve’s house. She, sadly, became his gullible pupil and assistant. Consider the seven ways the Devil and Eve assaulted God’s Word: (1) The Word of God was questioned. The Devil said, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (v. 1). (2) The Word of God was subtracted from. Eve answered the Devil, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden,” thus subtracting the word “every” from the words God had given Adam in Genesis 2:16. (3) The Word of God was added to. When Eve first answered the Devil about God’s command she added the words “neither shall ye touch it.” God did not say that. (4) The Word of God was softened. Eve answered the Devil that God had said they were not to eat of the tree “lest ye die.” In reality God had said, “for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” That is much stronger, fearful, and certain than Eve’s new softened paraphrase version. (5) The Word of God was denied. The Devil blatantly stated, “Ye shall not surely die.” (6) The Word of God was blasphemed. The Devil further stated, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (7) Thy Word of God was ignored. Eve ignored God’s Word and “took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (v. 6).
From that day to this, the Word of God has been under assault. The theories of modern textual criticism assume that the Bible has not been tampered with maliciously, that textual differences are largely the product of innocent mistakes. To believe that, though, is to ignore the reality of the Devil and his hatred of the Word of God. It is to ignore the spiritual warfare that has surrounded the transmission of the Scriptures. When one studies the history of the Bible, one must never forget these facts.
One of the greatest miracles of all time is the preservation of the Holy Scripture in spite of the vicious and unceasing assault from its enemies.
THE MODERNISTIC ASSAULT
Some of the Devil’s fiercest assaults upon the Word of God have been aimed at the first five books. This is understandable. If the history and inspiration of the Pentateuch is questionable, the rest of the Bible automatically falls. The modernists of the 19th century attacked the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, devising theories whereby the first five books of the Bible were formed late in Israel’s history from a variety of material, the authorship of which was unknown. The modernists claimed that Moses wrote part of the Pentateuch, but that he did not complete the Pentateuch as it stands in our Bible today. They claim that Genesis and the rest of the Pentateuch were pieced together from various documents. One of the names for this theory is JEDP [Jehovist, Elohist, Deuteronimist, Priestly], which stands for the names of alleged separate parts of the Pentateuch which were supposedly written during various periods of Israel’s history. There is no one modernistic theory, though. The variety is almost endless, but they all hold one thing in common: they all deny that Moses wrote the Pentateuch and they deny that the Pentateuch as it stands in our Bible is true history throughout.
An example of Modernism is found in a commentary by CHARLES F. KRAFT (Genesis: Beginnings of the Biblical Drama, New York: Woman’s Division of Christian Service Board of Missions, The Methodist Church, 1964). Note the following excerpts:
“Clearly, then, the Book of Genesis is a remarkable combination of ancient folklore, tradition, custom, myth” (Kraft, Genesis, pp. 11,12).
“Is the astounding story of the marriage of the ‘sons of God’ and the ‘daughters of men’ not ancient folklore to explain the origin of giants, ‘Nephilim,’ on the earth in prehistoric times...?” (Kraft, Genesis, p. 11).
“To read this old J narrative primarily as history, raising questions as to the historicity, as to whether it could be factually true that the whole human race came from this one common progenitor, is really to miss the profound significance” (Kraft, Genesis, p. 44).
Kraft, like all Modernists, believes the book of Genesis is a mixture of history and myth, truth and religious fairy tale. This is not true. The Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostles quoted from every part of Genesis and always cited it as authoritative and historical Scripture. To question the infallible inspiration of the book of Genesis is to discount the entire Bible, because the rest of the Bible stands or falls on this foundation. While Genesis does not claim internally to have been written by Moses or even to be the inspired Word of God, it was accepted unquestionably as part of the inspired canon of Scripture by Christ and the Apostles. Genesis 2:2 is cited as the Word of God in Heb. 4:4, and Genesis 12:7 is cited as the Word of God in Gal. 3:16. Genesis 21:10 is cited as Scripture in Gal. 4:30, and Genesis 15:6 is cited as Scripture in Rom. 4:3. Consider also the following people and events from Genesis that are cited authoritatively in the New Testament. Not one time in the New Testament is there any hint that the book of Genesis is anything less than the infallible Word of God.
Creation by the Word of God -- Mk. 13:19; Acts 17:24-26; Heb. 11:3
Adam and Eve -- Mt. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:6-7; Lk. 3:38; Rom. 5:12,14; 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:13
Abel -- Mt. 23:35; Lk. 11:50-51; Heb. 11:4,24
Enoch -- Heb. 11:5; Jude 14-15
Noah and the Flood -- Mt. 24:37-39; Lk. 17:26-27; Heb. 11:7; 1 Pet. 3:20; 2 Pet. 3:5,6
Abraham -- mentioned 74 times in the N.T.; leaving his homeland and traveling to Palestine (Acts 7:2-5; Heb. 11:8,9); God spoke to him (Lk. 1:55); God’s covenant to him (Lk. 1:72,73; Acts 3:25; 7:17; Gal. 3:8-18; Heb. 6:13,14); Hagar and Ishmael (Gal. 4:22-25); begetting and circumcising Isaac (Acts 7:8); offering Isaac (Heb. 11:17; Jam. 2:21); justified by faith before the covenant of circumcision (Rom. 4:3,9-16; Gal. 3:6).
Sarah -- Heb. 11:11; 1 Pet. 3:6
Melchisedec -- Heb. 7:1-4
Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah -- Lk. 17:28-29; Jude 7; 2 Pet. 2:6-8
Lot’s wife -- Lk. 17:32
Isaac -- mentioned 20 times in the N.T. (Mt. 1:2; Heb. 11:9,17-20)
Jacob -- mentioned 26 times in the N.T. (Mt. 1:2; Acts 7:8)
Joseph -- sold into slavery and raised to power over Egypt (Acts 7:9-10); revealed to his brethren (Acts 7:11-16); prophesied of Israel’s exodus from Egypt to the Promise Land (Heb. 11:21,22)
Pharaoh (Acts 7:10)
Note the following additional false teachings from Charles Kraft’s commentary on Genesis:
“What is the origin of the expanded work? Certainly oral traditions passed down by word of mouth for centuries. ... two hundred years of patient study have resulted in the rather general agreement of scholars that three interwoven documents form the present book. ... Here is a prophet (or probably a prophetic school of writers), perhaps in the tenth century B.C. golden age of King Solomon, proclaiming to his contemporaries the meaning of the existence of Israel as a nation of God’s chosen people” (Kraft, Genesis, pp. 18,19).
“... it [the Genesis creation account] is the sublime statement of religious faith hammered out over the centuries of Israel’s history” (Kraft, Genesis, p. 27).
In these excerpts, Kraft promotes the J.E.D.P. theory. This teaching actually takes many different forms, but at root it claims the Pentateuch was written by various unknown men and edited together in its present form many centuries after Moses. This is unadulterated modernistic unbelief. Christ-denying Modernists devised these theories and today’s Evangelical scholars are gullibly following them. In reality, Genesis was written by MOSES by DIRECT REVELATION during Moses’ lifetime! We have seen how Christ and the Apostles looked at Genesis.
Note three additional excerpts from Kraft’s commentary that illustrate the rationalistic unbelief that is rampant among biblical scholars today:
“Is it not logical that the Biblical writer could do no other than write in terms of the scientific theories of his own day? How else could he have been understood previous to the rise of modern science?” (Kraft, Genesis, p. 37).
“The first chapter of Genesis was not written primarily to explain how God created the universe” (Kraft, Genesis, p. 37).
“Above all, it is of the utmost importance that we see in the story not merely primeval history about the first man and the first woman which our current knowledge of geology, anthropology, and biology will not allow us to accept. ... not primarily two individuals, Adam and Eve, but, as their names imply, ‘the man’ and ‘the woman,’ that is, every man and every woman” (Kraft, Genesis, p. 54).
“Here, then, this story [of Adam and Eve being clothed by God after they sinned] may be an early Hebrew explanation for man’s universal adult consciousness of sex and of the need for clothing to hide sex” (Kraft, Genesis, p. 57).
Though Kraft claims Genesis chapter one was not written to teach precisely how creation occurred, he does not tell us how he makes such an assertion. I have read Genesis one countless times, and it always strikes me as a plain statement of how the world was created! That is certainly what it appears to be. What proof does Kraft give that Genesis one was not written for this purpose and that its “scientific” declarations cannot be trusted? The only proof he has is his belief that Genesis one contradicts scientific discoveries. This is not true, though. The literal account of Genesis one does not contradict any proven fact of science. In fact, it perfectly fits every observable fact of the scientific world. Genesis one, for example, says God created the animals and plants according to their kind and put within them the ability to reproduce themselves according to their kind. That is precisely what we observe in the world.
Kraft also questions the historicity of Adam and Eve, claiming the biblical account is probably a religious myth that depicts general truths of some sort. I don’t believe it is possible for any man to be saved who denies the historicity of Genesis one through three. To deny Adam and Eve is to deny the Fall. To deny the Fall is to make nonsense out of Christ’s Atonement. If Adam and Eve of Genesis merely represent mankind in general (“every man and every woman”) what happened to mankind when Adam died (Gen. 5:5)! Further, if Adam and Eve merely represent mankind in general, why does the Bible always refer to them as historic individuals? Adam and Eve are mentioned 35 times in 12 books of the Bible (Gen. 2-5; Deut. 32:8; 1 Chron. 1:1; Job 31:33; Mt. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:6-7; Lk. 3:38; Rom. 5:12,14; 1 Cor. 15:22,45; 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:13-14; Jude 14).
Kraft also claims that the account of the clothing of Adam and Eve by God is a “Hebrew explanation.” Not so; it is Divine Revelation! The account in Genesis three is precisely what occurred after Adam and Eve sinned against God. God clothed them in coats of skins. Not only does it teach us that God intends for sinful man to be clothed properly because of the wickedness of his fallen heart; but the clothing in Genesis 3 also depicted the death and blood that was required for the atonement of man’s sin and it pointed to the Cross of Jesus Christ.
Charles Kraft is only one of hundreds of examples we could give of biblical scholars who deny the infallibility of Holy Scripture. This damnable assault upon the Word of God is called Modernism.
THE EVANGELICAL ASSAULT
New Evangelicalism, a movement that began in the 1940s, broke down the walls of separation between Bible believers and unbelieving modernists. The term “New Evangelicalism” was coined by the late Harold Ockenga (1905-1985) to define a new type of Evangelicalism and to distinguish it from those who had heretofore born that label. Ockenga has had a phenomenal influence upon today’s Evangelicalism. He was the founder of the National Association of Evangelicals, co-founder and one-time president of Fuller Theological Seminary, first president of the World Evangelical Fellowship, a director of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and chairman of the board and one-time editor of Christianity Today. In the foreword to Dr. Harold Lindsell’s book The Battle for the Bible, Ockenga stated the position of New Evangelicalism:
“Neo-evangelicalism was born in 1948 in connection with a convocation address which I gave in the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena. While reaffirming the theological view of Fundamentalism, this address repudiated its ecclesiology and its social theory. The ringing call for A REPUDIATION OF SEPARATISM and the summons to social involvement received a hearty response from many Evangelicals. It differed from Fundamentalism in its repudiation of separatism and its determination to engage itself in the theological dialogue of the day. It had a new emphasis upon the application of the gospel to the sociological, political, and economic areas of life.”
The New Evangelical philosophy called for dialogue with modernists rather than separation from them. The New Evangelical called upon God’s people to stay in the modernistic mainline denominations rather than leave them, to study at the feet of modernists in their theological institutions rather than reject them as heretics. The result was foreseeable. The Evangelical world has been infected by modernistic thought.
The downgrade of the doctrine of biblical inspiration has been documented by Evangelical leaders. Dr. Harold Lindsell, former vice-president of Fuller Theological Seminary and editor emeritus of Christianity Today, published two volumes on the downgrade of the Bible in Evangelicalism, with particular focus on Fuller Seminary, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Lindsell’s The Battle for the Bible was first published in 1976. The sequel, The Bible in the Balance, came out in 1979. This careful documentation by a man who was in the inner circle of Evangelicalism’s leadership for many decades leaves no doubt about the fact that the Evangelical world of the last half of the twentieth century is leavened with apostasy.
In 1984, well-known Evangelical leader Francis Schaeffer published The Great Evangelical Disaster. The book’s title describes the thesis. The cover jacket says, “In this explosive new book Dr. Francis Schaeffer exposes the rise of compromise and accommodation, and the tragic consequences of this, within the evangelical church.” The issue that Schaeffer called “the watershed of Evangelicalism” is the inspiration and authority of the Bible. He testified, “Within evangelicalism there are a growing number who are modifying their views on the inerrancy of the Bible so that the full authority of Scripture is completely undercut” (The Great Evangelical Disaster, p. 44).
A more recent exposure of the corruption of doctrine in the Evangelical world is found in No Place for Truth: or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? by David F. Wells, Professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Time magazine described Well’s book as “a stinging indictment of evangelicalism’s theological corruption.” Though Wells is himself a committed New Evangelical, he properly identifies Evangelicalism’s chief problem as its repudiation of biblical separation and its accommodation with the world:
“Fundamentalism always had an air of embattlement about it, of being an island in a sea of unremitting hostility. Evangelicalism has reacted against this sense of psychological isolation. It has lowered the barricades. It is open to the world. The great sin of Fundamentalism is to compromise; the great sin in evangelicalism is to be narrow” (emphasis added) (David Wells, No Place for Truth, p. 129).
Wells also made a telling statement that acknowledges precisely where the New Evangelical world is today:
“But in between these far shores [Anglo-Catholicism and Fundamentalism] lie the choppy waters that most evangelicals now ply with their boats, and here the winds of modernity blow with disconcerting force, fragmenting what it means to be evangelical. This is because evangelicals have allowed their confessional center to dissipate” (p. 128).
I believe a clear case can be established connecting Evangelicalism’s apostasy with its acceptance of the critical text and its versions. The Fundamentalist who defends the modern versions joins hands with Modernists and New Evangelicals, because this has long been their position and they are the ones doing the vast majority of the “scholarly” writing on this subject.
Pastor Mark Buch of Vancouver, British Columbia, who was involved in the Fundamentalist movement beginning in the 1930s, gives this testimony to Evangelicalism’s corruption:
“[Evangelicalism] today has fallen away from the old faith and this is not the case of an exception among them, it is common and general. They no longer believe in the veracity, the verbal inspiration of the Holy Bible and they have gone a whoring after all sorts of innovations and foolishness in order to fill their churches...” (Buch, In Defence of the Authorized Version, 1977, p. 33).
Consider this summary of the downgrade of the doctrine of inspiration by today’s Evangelical leaders:
My main concern is with those who profess to believe that the Bible is the Word of God and yet by, what I can only call surreptitious and devious means, deny it. This is, surprisingly enough, a position that is taken widely in the evangelical world. Almost all of the literature which is produced in the evangelical world today falls into this category. In the October 1985 issue of Christianity Today, (the very popular and probably most influential voice of evangelicals in America), a symposium on Bible criticism was featured. The articles were written by scholars from several evangelical seminaries. Not one of the participants in that symposium in Christianity Today was prepared to reject higher criticism. All came to its defense. IT BECAME EVIDENT THAT ALL THE SCHOLARS FROM THE LEADING SEMINARIES IN THIS COUNTRY HELD TO A FORM OF HIGHER CRITICISM.
These men claim to believe that the Bible is the Word of God. At the same time they adopt higher critical methods in the explanation of the Scriptures. This has become so common in evangelical circles that IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND AN EVANGELICAL PROFESSOR IN THE THEOLOGICAL SCHOOLS OF OUR LAND AND ABROAD WHO STILL HOLDS UNCOMPROMISINGLY TO THE DOCTRINE OF THE INFALLIBLE INSPIRATION OF THE SCRIPTURES. The insidious danger is that higher criticism is promoted by those who claim to believe in infallible inspiration (Herman Hanko, The Battle for the Bible, pp. 2,3). [Hanko’s book should not be confused with Harold Lindsell’s book by that same name.]
The author of the above critique is a professor at the Protestant Reformed Seminary, Grandville, Michigan.
LET ME GIVE A SPECIFIC EXAMPLE OF THIS OF THE HUNDREDS THAT I COULD GIVE FROM MY FILES.
BRUCE METZGER, who is frequently cited as an “evangelical” scholar, is one of the most renowned textual critics, and he has spoken in forums which are as theologically diverse as the National Council of Churches, the Roman Catholic Church, and even those which profess to be Evangelical, such as Dallas Theological Seminary, the Congress on Biblical Exposition, and Tennessee Temple Seminary. Metzger wrote the notes to the Reader’s Digest Condensed Bible and co-edited the New Oxford Annotated Bible: Revised Standard Version.
The following description of the Pentateuch from these two sources is the approach typically taken today by scholars of all perspectives:
“The Old Testament may be described as the literary expression of the religious life of ancient Israel. ... The Israelites were more history-conscious than any other people in the ancient world. Probably as early as the time of David and Solomon, out of a matrix of myth, legend, and history, there had appeared the earliest written form of the story of the saving acts of God from Creation to the conquest of the Promised Land, an account which later in modified form became a part of Scripture. But it was to be a long time before the idea of Scripture arose and the Old Testament took its present form. ... The process by which the Jews became ‘the people of the Book’ was gradual, and the development is shrouded in the mists of history and tradition. ... The date of the final compilation of the Pentateuch or Law, which was the first corpus or larger body of literature that came to be regarded by the Jews as authoritative Scripture, is uncertain, although some have conservatively dated it at the time of the Exile in the sixth century. ... Before the adoption of the Pentateuch as the Law of Moses, there had been compiled and edited in the spirit and diction of the Deuteronomic ‘school’ the group of books consisting of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, in much their present form. ... Thus the Pentateuch took shape over a long period of time” (Introduction to the Old Testament, New Oxford Annotated Bible).
Genesis: “Nearly all modern scholars agree that, like the other books of the Pentateuch, [Genesis] is a composite of several sources, embodying traditions that go back in some cases to Moses” (Metzger’s Introduction to Genesis, Reader’s Digest Condensed Bible).
Exodus: “As with Genesis, several strands of literary tradition, some very ancient, some as late as the sixth century B.C., were combined in the makeup of the books” (Metzger’s Introduction to Exodus, Reader’s Digest Condensed Bible).
Deuteronomy: “It’s compilation is generally assigned to the seventh century B.C., though it rests upon much older tradition, some of it from Moses’ time” (Metzger’s Introduction to Deuteronomy, Reader’s Digest Condensed Bible).
Be careful about labels in this confused hour. The term “evangelical” is meaningless. It can refer to a Modernist or a Roman Catholic or a drunk-in-the-spirit Charismatic or a Psychobabbler who believes the key to mental health is the recovery of hidden memories. I don’t care what label a man bears, if he denies the perfect inspiration of Scripture he is an arch heretic and an apostate (both of these are biblical terms) and God’s people should treat him as the dangerous false teacher that he is. The Bible is the foundation for everything in the Christian life and faith, and if the Bible is not infallible, Jesus Christ and the Apostles were either deceived or were liars and we are foolish people to follow them.
I repeat that Bruce Metzger is only one of hundreds of examples we could give of Evangelical scholars who deny the infallibility of Holy Scripture. Today’s Evangelicals are polluted with the Modernism from which they have refused to separate. A little leaven has indeed leavened the whole lump. (Remember these sad facts the next time you hear about how “thoroughly Evangelical” certain modern Bible translators are. Being “thorough Evangelical” today does not indicate that an individual accepts the Bible as the infallible Word of God.)
THE DECEPTION OF INSPIRATION
We must warn that many today who use the term inspiration, and who speak of an inspired Bible, do not necessarily mean that the Bible is the absolutely perfect Word of God. In writing of the condition in many evangelical seminaries, Richard Quebedeaux notes:
“It is a well-known fact that a large number, if not most, of the colleges and seminaries in question now have faculty who no longer believe in total inerrancy, even in situations where their employers still require them to sign the traditional declaration that the Bible is ‘verbally inspired,’ ‘inerrant,’ or ‘infallible in the whole and in the part,’ or to affirm in other clearly defined words the doctrine of inerrancy ... SOME OF THESE FACULTY INTERPRET THE CRUCIAL CREEDAL CLAUSES IN A MANNER THE ORIGINAL FRAMERS WOULD NEVER HAVE ALLOWED; OTHERS SIMPLY SIGN THE AFFIRMATION WITH TONGUE IN CHEEK.” (The Worldly Evangelicals, p. 30).
An example of claiming to believe in inspiration while denying that the Bible is the perfect Word of God is found in the biography of Bible translator J.B. Phillips:
“As the years have passed--and it is now twenty-five years since I began translating the ‘Epistles’--my conviction has grown that the New Testament is in a quite special sense inspired. IT IS NOT MAGICAL, NOR IS IT FAULTLESS: human beings wrote it. ... although I believe in the true inspiration of the New Testament and its obvious power to change human lives in this or any other century, I should like to make it quite clear that I could not possibly hold the extreme ‘fundamentalist’ position of so-called ‘verbal inspiration’” (Phillips, Ring of Truth, pp. 27,28,29).
Another example of this was found in an interview Christianity Today conducted with Arie Brouwer, former general secretary of the National Council of Churches in America.
“Concerning Scripture, he uses the word ‘infallible’ rather than ‘inerrant.’ He says ‘the Gospels are a faithful record of Jesus’ teaching. Their historical quality is remarkable compared to other literature of the time. WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO ME IS NOT WHETHER THEY RECORD VERBATIM WHAT JESUS SAID” (Calvary Contender, Feb. 15, 1986).
This is deception of the highest order. If the Bible is not inerrant it is not infallible! If the Gospels are a faithful record of Jesus’ teaching, they contain an accurate record of what He said! If they do not contain an accurate record of what Christ said, they are not faithful! What wicked doublespeak!
Referring to the strange matter of evangelical scholars professing to believe in an inspired Bible while at the same time claiming the Bible’s record is not accurate, the editor of Foundation magazine makes the following important comments:
“It is absolutely unbelievable that so many ‘evangelical’ scholars can claim to believe in the infallibility of the Bible but reject its inerrancy. But, that is exactly what is happening and God’s people need to be alerted. It used to be that when a person said they believed the Scriptures were infallible, it was not necessary to add the word ‘inerrant’ since ‘infallibility’ was taken to imply ‘inerrancy.’ Today’s evangelical ‘scholars’ have already given us several new Bibles. Are they now going to rewrite our English dictionaries? We decided to examine the dictionary meaning of the words ‘infallible’ and ‘inerrant.’ This is what we discovered. According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, Second College Edition, inerrant means ‘not wandering, fixed, not erring; making no mistakes; infallible.’ Please note that one of the definitions given for ‘inerrant’ is ‘infallible.’ The word infallible is defined as follows: ‘1. incapable of error; never wrong; 2. not liable to fail, go wrong, make a mistake, etc.; dependable; reliable; sure.’ Actually, then, ‘infallible’ (incapable of error) is an even stronger word than ‘inerrant.’ It is clear that many scholars are trying to cover up their unbelief by ignoring the clear meaning of words--especially words involved in major Christian doctrines. These men need to be exposed. For our part, we are happy to say that we believe in both the inerrancy and infallibility of God’s Holy Word, the Bible!” (Foundation, Nov.-Dec. 1980, p. 19).
Dr. David O. Beale, in writing of the doctrinal battles which are raging in the Southern Baptist Convention, speaks of the deceptiveness of those who use the term “infallible Bible” apart from a historical definition of such:
“The doctrinal guideline for the [Southern Baptist] Peace Committee is the Baptist Faith and Message, a statement of faith adopted by the SBC in 1925 and revised in 1963. Article one of the statement says that the Bible HAS truth, without any mixture of error.’ Fundamentalists, to the contrary, have always maintained that the Bible IS ‘truth, without any mixture of error.’ One can readily see that the Baptist Faith and Message is actually a protector of liberals, who would of course agree that truth has no mixture of error. That is a far cry from asserting the Bible is totally and absolutely inerrant. Much more significant, however, is the fact that liberals are being acknowledged as conservatives, simply because they use the word ‘inerrant’ to describe the Bible. Actually, they are using what Francis A. Schaeffer called ‘a new loophole.’ They readily use the word inerrancy, but they do not define the word in its historic, orthodox sense. Says Schaeffer, ‘There are those within evangelicalism who are quite happy to use the words “infallibility,” “inerrancy,” and “without error,” but upon careful analysis they really mean something quite different from what these words have meant to the church historically’ (Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, p. 56). The use of these words will, no doubt, save the jobs of many SBC seminary professors. A recent article in SBC Today describes at least six different current usages of the word inerrancy: critical inerrancy, limited inerrancy, qualified inerrancy, nuanced inerrancy, functional inerrancy, and absolute inerrancy. Only the last one is the orthodox view, but liberals often do not explain their own use of the word” (Beale, “The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ongoing Battle,” The Baptist Bulletin, Sept. 1986).
Friends, beware of this type of deception. It is being practiced widely in Christian circles. Do not be deceived by the “good words and fair speeches” of heretics (Ro. 16:17,18). Contrast man’s thinking about Bible inspiration with the following study of what the Bible itself claims as to its inspiration:
THE CLAIM OF INSPIRATION
Thousands of times in Scripture we are confronted with the unmistakable claim that God is the author. Phrases such as “thus saith the Lord” and “the word of God” permeate the Bible. By my own count, these phrases are used 2935 times in the Old Testament. Consider the following examples:
“And he Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel” (Ex. 34:27).
“The spirit of the Lord spake by me and His word was in my tongue” (2 Sa. 23:2).
“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken” (Is. 1:2).
“Whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak ... Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth” (Je. 1:7,9).
“Thou shalt speak my words unto them” (Eze. 2:7).
“All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet” (Mt. 1:22; 2:15).
“David himself said by the Holy Ghost” (Mk. 12:36).
“He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began” (Lk. 1:70).
“Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Ac. 3:21).
If the Bible is not the Word of God, it is the greatest lie that has ever been perpetrated upon humanity.
THE EXTENT OF INSPIRATION
Consider some of the major New Testament passages on the divine inspiration of Scripture:
2 TIMOTHY 3:13-17 — “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
This is the key passage on the inspiration of the Scriptures, and it teaches many important truths. Note that the Apostle Paul wrote these verses. He was chosen by God to reveal divine truths (Ep. 3; Ga. 1). If we cannot trust this man’s writings, we can trust no man’s. Personally, I had much rather trust Paul’s testimony than that of some modern, critical-thinking, miracle-denying liberal, or some compromising, liberally-influenced evangelical or some relativistic emergent. Paul was utterly dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ and suffered constant persecution and hardship because of his faith. He was personally called by Christ to be an Apostle and he had the signs of an Apostle (2 Cor. 12:12). Let us see what the Apostle Paul testified concerning the nature of the Bible:
1. The Bible is set apart from all other books (v. 15). Here the Scriptures are called “holy.” This means “set apart, different.” According to Paul's teaching, the Bible cannot in any way be compared with other books. Any theologian or textual critic that treats the Bible like other books is wrong from the outset and cannot possibly come to a right understanding of his subject.
2. The Bible is from God (v. 16). This verse literally says the Scriptures are God-breathed. Though written by men, the Bible is a product of God. This is the biblical doctrine of divine inspiration. When discussing its own inspiration the Scripture does not focus on the mechanics of inspiration but on the product. God spoke in many diverse ways (dreams, visions, angels, directly as on Mt. Sinai and on the Mt. of Transfiguration, etc.) but the result in all cases was that the writings were God breathed. L. Gaussen, in Theopneustia: The Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures (1850), rightly says of 2 Timothy 3:16: “This statement admits of no exception and of no restriction ... All Scripture is in such wise a work of God, that it is represented to us as uttered by the divine breathing, just as human speech is uttered by the breathing of a man’s mouth. The prophet is the mouth of the Lord.”
3. The Bible is from God in its entirety (v. 16). All of the Scripture is said to have come from God. The word for Scripture here, graphe, is a word meaning “writing” or “book.” This is referred to as “plenary inspiration.” Plenary means full, complete, entire.
4. The Bible is from God in its smallest detail (v. 15). The word for Scripture here is gramma, referring to a letter. This teaches that even the smallest details of the Bible are from God. This is called “verbal inspiration.”
5. The Bible is one book with an all-encompassing theme: Salvation in Jesus Christ (v. 15). The Bible is not just a group of unrelated, disconnected religious writings. It is a unified Book planned by God to teach man the way of salvation (compare Lk. 24:44-45; Jn. 1:45; 5:39; Ep. 3:11).
6. The Bible can protect Christians from error (vv. 13-15). If the Bible contains myths, mistakes, and untrue claims concerning authorship, miracles, and prophecies, it certainly is not a book that can give sure protection from false teachings!
7. The Bible is sufficient to make the Christian complete and mature (v. 17). An imperfect book could not produce perfection, and since the Bible is able to make the man of God perfect it is obvious that nothing else is needed. The Scripture is thus the sole authority for faith and practice.
MARK 12:36; LUKE 1:70; ACTS 1:16; 3:18, 21; 4:25; 28:25 — “For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. ... As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began. ... 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. ... But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. ... Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. ... Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? ... And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers.”
The teaching of the Bible regarding its own nature is described in these verses. Though men wrote the Scriptures, they are the writings of God. The Bible is God’s Word given through human instruments. This is the plain teaching of Scripture. Any other view is false human conjecture.
JOHN 17:8 -- “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.”
Jesus Christ received words from God the Father and delivered them to the apostles. He promised that His words would not pass away (Mat. 24:35). He further promised that the Holy Spirit would guide the apostles into all truth, would bring things to their remembrance, and would show them things to come (Jn. 14:25-26; 16:12-13). Thus, the apostles and prophets who wrote the New Testament did not have to depend upon their fallible human devices. Edward Hills wisely observes: “The New Testament contains the words that Christ brought down from heaven for the salvation of His people and now remain inscribed in holy Writ. ... For ever, O LORD, Thy Word is settled in heaven (Ps. 119:89). Although the Scriptures were written during a definite historical period, they are not the product of that period but of the eternal plan of God. When God designed the holy Scriptures in eternity, He had the whole sweep of human history in view. Hence the Scriptures are forever relevant. Their message can never be outgrown. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the Word of our God shall stand for ever (Isa. 40:8).”
ROMANS 16:25-26 -- “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.”
Paul stated that Scripture was being written by the New Testament apostles and prophets by divine revelation. See also Ephesians 3:4-5.
1 CORINTHIANS 2:9-13 — “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 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. In this passage we also see what Scripture is:
It is God’s revelation (v. 10). Revelation concerns those things which man cannot know by his own investigation and intellect (v. 9). God, by His Spirit, has chosen to reveal things about Himself, salvation, and His plans (vv. 10-12).
It is the deep things of God (v. 10).
It is the very words of God (v. 13). In v. 13 we are told that this revelation extends to the very choice of the words used to relate it. God did not merely give the Bible writers the general thoughts they were to write; He gave them the very words.
It is the mind of Christ (v. 16). We cannot know Christ or His will apart from the Scriptures.
2. The Scripture is understood only by the spiritual man (vv. 14,15). There are three types of men described in this passage.
The natural or unsaved man (v. 14). The natural man cannot understand the things of God.
The spiritual man, or the saved man who walks in the Spirit (v. 15). The spiritual man can know all things that God has revealed.
The carnal man, or the saved man who remains a spiritual baby and does not grow spiritually (3:1,2). The carnal man can only understand the simplest things of the Scriptures (3:2).
1 CORINTHIANS 14:17 -- “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.”
Here we see that Paul knew that his writings were the commandments of the Lord. See also 1 Cor. 11:2; Gal. 1:11-12; Col. 1:25-26, 28; 1 Thess. 2:13; and 2 Thess. 3:6, 14.
1 PETER 1:10-12 — “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.”
This passage deals with the mechanics of inspiration. The Spirit of God was in the prophets testifying of the things of God. The prophets themselves did not even understand all that they spoke and wrote. This shows the error of any view of inspiration that deals with the thoughts alone. The prophets were not given general thoughts and then left to record those thoughts and impressions as best they could. They were given a perfect revelation from God and were controlled in every detail of its recording.
1 PETER 1:25 -- “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”
Here we see that Peter taught that the word that was preached by the New Testament apostles and prophets was the eternal Word of God.
2 PETER 1:19-21 — “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.”
1. First, we are told that the Scriptures are a light shining in a dark place (v. 19). The dark place is the world. Though it contains some truth, the world is pictured as dark because man is not able to know spiritual truth without a revelation from God. The Bible is that revelation which is shining in the midst of the darkness.
2. Second, the Bible is not a product of man’s will (v. 21). Other books are products of the will of the human author, but not the Bible. God chose certain men and moved in them to deliver His message. As the Holy Spirit moved them the things they spoke were the words of God.
3. This passage explains the method whereby the Bible was given. God used men, but He used them in such a way that what they wrote was precisely God’s Word. When the Bible touches on the subject of inspiration and revelation, it focuses on God and His role in the process. We are told very little about the actual mechanism. The method of inspiration is an unrevealed mystery. It was accomplished mysteriously by the Holy Spirit. We are not supposed to try to delve into the method of inspiration; we are supposed to believe God’s testimony that it happened and we are to have faith in the finished product, the Holy Scriptures. Modern Bible scholars usually do just the opposite of what the Scriptures do in reference to the subject of inspiration. They focus on man’s part rather than upon God’s. That is because most modern scholars do not operate by the principle of faith. They are operating by their own intellect and by means of human scholarship, yet no man can know the perfect Word of God through scholarship, for “without faith it is impossible to please him” (Heb. 11:6).
4. The phrase “private interpretation” refers to the writers of the Bible. In the context this refers to the giving of revelation rather than to the understanding of it. The Bible writers did not personally interpret God’s revelation to mankind; they were given God’s revelation by the Holy Spirit. They did not always even understand what they were writing (1 Pet. 1:10-12).
2 PETER 3:2 -- “That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:.”
Peter put the commandments of the apostles on the same level as that of the Old Testament prophets. A Jew would not have dared to make such a claim if he were not convinced that the apostolic writings were Holy Scripture, because he looked upon the Old Testament prophets as the very oracles of God.
2 PETER 3:15-16 -- “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”
Here we see that Peter called Paul’s writings “scripture” and put them on the same level of authority as the Old Testament. Peter says that Paul did not write by his own understanding but by wisdom given to him of God. Peter warned about the false teachers who were attacking the Scripture even in that day. “Although some [of Paul’s epistles] had been out for perhaps fifteen years, the ink was scarcely dry on others, and perhaps 2 Timothy had not yet been penned when Peter wrote. Paul’s writings were recognized and declared by apostolic authority to be Scripture as soon as they appeared” (Wilbur Pickering).
1 JOHN 4:6 -- “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”
John held forth the writings of the apostles and prophets as the sole and absolute standard for truth.
JUDE 17 -- “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In warning the believers of false teachers, Jude refers to the “words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He holds these words up as the sole divine standard for faith and practice.
REVELATION 1:3 -- “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”
The book of Revelation was written and presented as the prophetic Word of God. See also Revelation 21:5; 22:18-19.
HOW MUCH OF THE BIBLE IS INSPIRED SCRIPTURE?
The entire Bible from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 is Holy Scripture. (1) The entire O.T. is Scripture (Lk. 24:27; Ro. 3:2; 2 Ti. 3:16; 2 Pe. 1:19-21). The following O.T. books are specifically called Scripture: Genesis (Ro. 4:3; Ga. 4:30), Exodus (Mt. 22:29-32; Ro. 9:17), Leviticus (Ja. 2:8), Kings (Ro. 11:2-3), Psalms (Mt. 21:42; Jn. 10:34-35; 13:18; 19:24, 36; Ro. 15:3-4), Isaiah (Mk. 14:28; Lk. 4:17-21; Ac. 8:32-33; Ro. 10:11; 1 Pe. 2:6), Zechariah (Jn. 19:37). (2) The Gospels are Scripture (compare 1 Ti. 5:18 and Mt. 10:10; He. 2:3). (3) The writings of the Apostles are Scripture (Ro. 16:25,26; 1 Co. 2:7-13; 14:37; 1 Pe. 1:12; 2 Pe. 3:1-2,15-16). (4) Revelation is Scripture; it is called the Word of God (Re. 1:2).
WHAT DID JESUS CHRIST BELIEVE ABOUT THE SCRIPTURES?
1. Christ taught that the Old Testament is perfect to the letter (Mt. 5:17-18).
2. Christ taught that the Old Testament cannot be broken (Jn. 10:35). In this verse, Christ is speaking of the authority of the Scriptures. He was saying that absolutely nothing written in the Scriptures could be set aside or ignored. It is authoritative to every detail. The Greek word translated “broken” in Jn. 10:35 is elsewhere translated “put off” (Ac. 7:33) and “loose” (Jn. 11:44). Thus no statement in the Bible can be put off or escaped. All will be proven true. What a Book! Jesus Christ said it is perfect. This is the doctrine of infallibility.
3. Christ taught that the Old Testament is a divinely planned book to prepare for His own coming (Lk. 24:44).
4. Christ taught that every part of the Old Testament was cited as inspired and authoritative, the law, the writings, and the Psalms (Lk. 24:44).
5. Christ taught that the Old Testament characters, events, and miracles are true and historical. Some of the O.T. people and events Christ referred to are as follows: the creation (Mk. 13:19), Adam and Eve (Mt. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:6-7), Cain and Abel (Mt. 23:35; Lk. 11:50-51), Noah and the flood (Mt. 24:37-39), Abraham (Jn. 8:39-40), the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Lk. 17:28-29), Lot’s wife turning to salt (Lk. 17:32), Moses and the burning bush (Mk. 12:26), Manna from heaven (Jn. 6:31-32), the brazen serpent (Jn. 3:14-15), Jonah and the whale (Mt. 12:39-41; Lk. 11:29-32), Ninevah repenting at Jonah’s preaching (Lk. 11:32), the queen of Sheba visiting Solomon (Lk. 11:31).
6. Christ taught that the writers of the Old Testament were those claimed by the Scriptures. In referring to O.T. books, the Lord Jesus left no doubt that they were written by the very men spoken of in the books themselves. According to the Son of God, Moses wrote the books of the law (Lk. 24:44; Jn. 5:45-47); David wrote the Psalms bearing his name (Lk. 20:42); Daniel wrote the book bearing his name (Mt. 24:15). Jesus often quoted from the book of Isaiah and said the historical prophet Isaiah wrote it, not an unknown group of men. In Jn. 12:38-41, Christ quoted from both major sections of Isaiah and said both were written by the same Isaiah. This destroys the modern myth that Isaiah was the product of more than one writer.
WHAT DID THE APOSTLES BELIEVE ABOUT THE SCRIPTURES?
The following study demonstrates the high esteem in which the early Christians held the Old Testament Scriptures. Notice how the Apostolic concept of the O.T. is directly opposed to the modern critical theories. Surely we should have no difficulty in knowing whose testimony to trust.
O.T. STORIES ARE LITERAL HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS.
Creation (Ge. 1,2 -- Ac. 17:24-26)
Abraham before God’s call (Ge. 11:27-32 -- Ac. 7:2)
Abraham’s call (Ge. 12:1-5 -- Ac. 7:2,3)
Abraham’s covenant (Ge. 13:14-17 -- Ac. 7:4)
Abraham’s sojourn (Ge. 13:15 -- Ac. 7:5)
Abraham’s prophecy of Egyptian bondage (Ge. 15 -- Ac. 7:6,7)
Isaac’s birth (Ge. 21:1-8 -- Ac. 7:8)
Jacob’s birth (Ge. 25:19-26 -- Ac. 7:8)
Jacob’s 12 sons (Ge. 29-30 -- Ac. 7:8)
Joseph’s birth (Ge. 30:22-24 -- Ac. 7:8)
Joseph’s slavery (Ge. 37 -- Ac. 7:9)
Joseph’s exaltation in Egypt (Ge. 39-41 -- Ac. 7:10)
The famine during Joseph’s reign (Ge. 41:53-57 -- 7:11)
Jacob sends sons to Egypt (Ge. 43:1--45:8 -- Ac. 7:12,13)
Joseph calls his father (Ge. 45:8-28 -- Ac. 7:14)
Jacob journeys to Egypt (Ge. 46-47 -- Ac. 7:15)
Jacob dies (Ge. 49:33 -- Ac. 7:15)
Jacob buried in Sychem (Ge. 50 -- Ac. 7:15,16)
Israel’s bondage in Egypt (Ex. 1:7-14 -- Ac. 7:17,18)
Murder of male babies (Ex. 1:15-22 -- 7:19)
Moses’ birth (Ex. 2:1-2 -- Ac. 7:20)
Moses hid in parents house (Ac. 2:2 -- Ac. 7:20)
Moses retrieved from river by Pharaoh’s daughter (Ex. 2:3-9 -- Ac. 7:21)
Moses’ education in Pharaoh’s court (Ex. 2:10 -- Ac. 7:22)
Moses’ experience at age 40 (Ex. 2:11-20 -- Ac. 7:23-29)
Moses marriage and two sons (Ex. 2:21,22 -- Ac. 7:29)
The burning bush (Ex. 3:1-6 -- Ac. 7:30,31)
Moses’ call (Ex. 3:7--4:17 -- Ac. 7:31-35)
The plagues upon Egypt (Ex. 7-12; Ac. 7:36 -- 13:17)
Sinai and the ten commandments (Ex. 19-40 -- Ac. 7:38,53)
Israel’s rebellion and the golden idol (Ex. 32 -- Ac. 7:39-41)
Forty years wilderness wandering (Ex. 15-40; Number -- Ac. 7:44)
Moses’ prophecy of the Messiah (De. 18:15,18 -- Ac. 7:37)
Possession of the Promised Land (Joshua -- Ac. 7:45; 13:19)
The division of the land to the tribes (Jos. 14 -- Ac. 13:19)
From Joshua to David (Judges-1 Samuel -- Ac. 7:45; 13:20)
Saul (1 Samuel -- Ac. 13:21)
David (1, 2 Samuel -- Ac. 13:22)
Solomon and the temple (1 Kings -- Ac. 7:47)
THE MIRACLES RECORDED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT ARE TRUE, LITERAL, HISTORICAL EVENTS.
Creation (Ge. 1-2 -- Ac. 17:24-26)
Enoch’s translation (Gen. 5:24 -- He. 11:5)
Noah’s flood (Gen. 6-8 -- 2 Pe. 3:5; He. 11:7)
Destruction of Sodom (Gen. 18-19 -- 2 Pe. 2:6; Jude 7)
Baby Moses discovered in the bulrushes (Ex. 2 -- Ac. 7:20,21)
The burning bush (Ex. 3-4 -- Ac. 7:30)
The 10 plagues upon Egypt (Ex. 7-12 -- Ac. 7:36)
Passing through the Red Sea (Ex. 14 -- He. 11:29)
Wilderness wanderings (Exodus; Numbers; Deuteronomy -- Ac. 7:36; 13:17; He 3:16-17)
Walls of Jericho falling (Josh. 6 -- He. 11:30)
Elijah stopping the rain (1 Kings 17 -- Jam. 5:17-18)
OLD TESTAMENT CHARACTERS ARE TRUE HISTORICAL PEOPLE JUST AS NAMED AND DESCRIBED IN THE BIBLE ACCOUNTS.
Adam and Eve (Ro. 5:14; 2 Co. 11:3; 1 Ti. 2:13)
Abel (He. 11:4,24)
Job (Jam. 5:11)
Enoch (He. 11:5; Jude 14-15)
Noah (He. 11:7; 1 Pe. 3:20; 2 Pe. 2:5)
Abraham (Ac. 7:2) Lot (2 Pe. 2:7-8)
Hagar and Ishmael (Ga. 4:22-24)
Melchisadec (He. 7:1-4)
Isaac (Ac. 7:8)
Jacob (Ac. 7:8)
Jacob’s 12 sons (Ac. 7:8)
Joseph (Ac. 7:9)
Pharaoh (Ac. 7:10)
Sychem (Ac. 7:16)
Another pharaoh (Ac. 7:18)
Moses (Ac. 7:20)
The Egyptian killed by Moses (Ac. 7:24)
Moses’s wife and two sons (Ac. 7:29; He. 3:5)
Aaron (Ac. 7:40)
Joshua (Ac. 7:45)
Gideon (He. 11:32)
Samson (He. 11:32)
Barak (He. 11:32)
Jephtha (He. 11:32)
Saul (Act. 13:21)
Samuel (Ac. 13:20)
Jesse (Ac. 13:22)
David (Ac. 7:45; 13:22)
Solomon (Ac. 7:47)
The prophets (Ac. 7:52)
Elijah (Ja. 5:17-18)
Joel (Ac. 2:16-21)
Isaiah (Ac. 8:30)
THE BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS ARE CITED AS BEING WHOLLY AUTHORITATIVE AND RELIABLE.
David (Ac. 1:15-20--Ps. 41:9; Ac. 2:25-28--Ps. 16:8-11; Ac. 2:34,35--Ps. 110:1; Ac. 13:33--Ps. 2:7)
Isaiah (Ac. 8:30-33--Is. 53:7,8; Ac. 7:49--Is. 66:1,2; 13:34,47--Is. 49:5,6; Ac. 13:34--Is. 55:11)
Ezekiel (Ac. 20:25,29--Eze. 7:42)
Joel (Ac. 2:28-31--Joel 2:16,21)
Amos (Ac. 9:11,12--Am. 15:15-17)
Micah (Mt. 2:5-6--Mi. 5:2)
OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS ARE SAID TO HAVE SPOKEN THE WORDS OF GOD.
Compare Ac. 1:16,17 with Ps. 41:9
Compare Ac. 7:42 with Eze. 20:25,39; Am. 5:25,26.
Compare Ac. 7:49 with Is. 66:1,2 “saith the Lord.”
Compare Ac. 13:47 with Is. 49:5,6 “the Lord command us.”
Compare Ac. 13:33 with Ps. 2:7.
Compare Ac. 13:36 with Ps. 16:10.
THE OLD TESTAMENT WAS CONSIDERED A DIVINE BOOK WHICH AS A WHOLE POINTS TO THE N.T. SCRIPTURES. “Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days” (Ac. 3:24).
GOD’S APPEARANCES TO THE OLD TESTAMENT CHARACTERS WERE HISTORICAL EVENTS.
To Abraham (Ge. 12 -- Ac. 7:2; Ge. 15--Ac. 7:5-7; Ge. 17--Ac. 7:8)
To Moses (Ex. 2-3 -- Ac. 7:30-34)
TRADITIONAL OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORS ARE CITED AS THE ACTUAL WRITERS.
David and the Psalms (Ac. 1:15-20; 2:25-28; 2:34,35; 13:33)
Moses and the Pentateuch (Ac. 13:39; 15:1,5,21; 21:21; 26:22; 28:23)
Joel and Joel (Ac.2:16-21)
Isaiah and Isaiah (Ac. 8:30)
THE OLD TESTAMENT IS CONSIDERED TO BE A BOOK WHOLLY RELIABLE AND POINTING TO JESUS CHRIST. The Apostles did not consider the O.T. to be a man-made, error-filled jigsaw puzzle, but a divinely-planned and inspired Book with a perfect unity, each part having its unique place in the overall purpose: Ac. 2:13-36; 3:18-24; 7:52; 8:30-35; 13:27-29; 10:43; 26:22,23.
THE APOSTLES BELIEVED THE OLD TESTAMENT CONTAINS LITERAL PROPHECY. “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Ac. 3:21). All O.T. prophecy describing a final judgment of sin and the establishment of a worldwide righteousness is literal and true, according to the Lord’s Apostles.
THE BIBLICAL EVIDENCE THAT MOSES WROTE THE PENTATEUCH
Moses is mentioned 843 times in the Bible!
1. The books themselves claim to have been written by Moses (Ex. 24:4,7; 34:27-28; Nu. 33:2; De. 1:1-5; 4:4-5; 31:9-12,24-26). If Moses did not write the Pentateuch, the Bible is an absolute lie from its beginning.
2. Other O.T. books claim Moses wrote the Pentateuch (Jos. 1:7; 8:30-35; Ju. 3:4; 1 Ki. 2:3; 2 Ki. 14:6; 22:8-11; 23:21-25; Ezr. 3:2; Ne. 8:1; 9:14; Da. 9:11; Mal. 4:4). If Moses did not write the Pentateuch, all of these writers were either deluded or were lying. Either way, we are left with a hopelessly undependable book that is not the blessed Word of God.
3. The N.T. claims Moses wrote the Pentateuch. Moses is mentioned 80 times in the New Testament (Mk. 12:26; Lk. 16:29-31; 24:27 (Moses writings are called Scripture); 24:44; Jn. 1:17; 5:45-47; 8:5; Ac. 15:21; 2 Co. 3:15).
The Lord Jesus Christ quoted from every part of the Pentateuch: Genesis (Mt. 19:4-6; 24:37-39); Exodus (Mk. 12:26 citing Ex. 3:6); Leviticus (Mt. 8:4 citing Lev. 14:1-32); Numbers (Jn. 3:14-15 citing Num. 21:8,9 and Jn. 6:31-32 citing Num. 11:6-9); Deuteronomy (Mk. 10:4-5 citing Deut. 24:1).
THE INSPIRATION OF GENESIS
Genesis does not claim internally to have been written by Moses or even to be the inspired Word of God. The book of Genesis has been received, though, by the Jews as part of the inspired law of Moses throughout their history. It is accepted unquestionably as part of the inspired Canon of Scripture by Christ and the Apostles.
Genesis 2:2 is cited as the Word of God in Heb. 4:4
Genesis 12:7 is cited as the Word of God in Gal. 3:16.
Genesis 21:10 is cited as Scripture in Gal. 4:30
Genesis 15:6 is cited as Scripture in Rom. 4:3.
Consider also the following people and events from Genesis which are cited authoritatively in the New Testament. Not one time in the New Testament is there any hint that the book of Genesis is anything less than the infallible Word of God.
Creation by the Word of God -- Mk. 13:19; Ac. 17:24-26; He. 11:3
Adam and Eve -- Mt. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:6-7; Lk. 3:38; Ro. 5:12,14; 2 Co. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:13
Abel -- Mt. 23:35; Lk. 11:50-51; He. 11:4,24
Enoch -- Heb. 11:5; Jude 14-15
Noah and the Flood -- Mt. 24:37-39; Lk. 17:26-27; He. 11:7; 1 Pe. 3:20; 2 Pe. 3:5,6
Abraham -- mentioned 74 times in the N.T.; leaving his homeland and traveling to Palestine (Ac. 7:2-5; He. 11:8,9); God spoke to him (Lk. 1:55); God’s covenant to him (Lk. 1:72-73; Ac. 3:25; 7:17; Ga. 3:8-18; He. 6:13,14); Hagar and Ishmael (Ga. 2:22-25); begetting and circumcising Isaac (Ac. 7:8); offering Isaac (He. 11:17; Ja. 2:21); justified by faith before the covenant of circumcision (Ro. 4:3,9-16; Ga. 3:6).
Sarah -- He. 11:11; 1 Pe. 3:6
Melchisedec -- He. 7:1-4
Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah -- Lk. 17:28-29; Jude 7; 2 Pe. 2:6-8
Lot’s wife -- Lk. 17:32
Isaac -- mentioned 20 times in the N.T. (Mt. 1:2; He. 11:9,17-20)
Jacob -- mentioned 26 times in the N.T. (Mt. 1:2; Ac. 7:8)
Joseph -- sold into slavery and raised to power over Egypt (Ac. 7:9-10); revealed to his brethren (Ac. 7:11-16); prophesied of Israel’s exodus from Egypt to the Promise Land (He. 11:21,22)
Pharaoh (Ac. 7:10)
WERE ADAM AND EVE HISTORICAL FIGURES?
1. To deny Adam and Eve as historical figures is to deny the Bible. Adam and Eve are mentioned 35 times in the Bible. Adam and Eve are mentioned in at least four books of the Old Testament (Ge. 2-5; De. 32:8; 1 Ch. 1:1; and Job 31:33) and in eight books of the New Testament (Mt. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:6-7; Lk. 3:38; Ro. 5:12,14; 1 Co. 15:22, 45; 2 Co. 11:3; 1 Ti. 2:13-14; and Jude 14). No one who believes the Bible is the infallible Word of God can doubt that Adam and Eve were created as the first human beings by a special act of God.
2. The first five chapters of the Bible is written as history; there is nothing in the record to indicate that it is to be interpreted non-literally, as poetry or symbolism. When the Bible uses symbolism, it plainly distinguishes that it is such, and it gives the key for interpreting the symbols. We see this in Revelation, for example. In chapter 17 John describes a woman sitting on a beast, and he plainly tells us that this is a mystery and he gives the interpretation of the symbolic language in the passage itself (vv. 7-18). Genesis 1-5, though, is written as history. Gen. 5:5 says that Adam lived 930 years and then died! If Adam merely symbolized mankind in general, what happened to mankind after Adam died!
3. If Adam and Eve were not historical figures, the fall is a myth and redemption through the cross of Christ is nonsense. See Romans 5:12-19.
4. To deny the historicity of Adam is to deny Jesus Christ. Christ’s genealogy is traced from Adam (Lk. 3:23-38). Further, the N.T. makes a direct comparison between Christ and Adam (Ro. 5:17; 1 Co. 15:22,45).
5. The chief motive for denying the historicity of Adam is the challenge of science and the theory of evolution, but the Bible and evolution are in direct contradiction. Let me list five of the plain Bible statements which directly contradict the theories of evolution. (1) Genesis says God created the world and everything in it in six literal “morning and evening” days. To read “eons” of time into the six days of creation is to turn language on its head and to make the Bible incapable of being dogmatically interpreted. If the Bible does not mean what it says, there is no way to know what it does mean. (2) Genesis says all creation was made in a mature state to reproduce after its kind. The statement “after their kind” is found nine times in Genesis chapter one. This is precisely what we observe in the world. Dogs reproduce dogs, frogs reproduce frogs, birds reproduce birds, and peanuts reproduce peanuts. This is biblical, but it is strictly contrary to what evolution requires. (3) Genesis says man and animals were distinctly different creations. The animals were made to reproduce after their kind, but man was made in the image of God and made a living soul. Man has a spiritual aspect that no animal has. The animals were made to relate to man and to provide his enjoyment and needs. Man was made to relate to God, to fellowship with, serve, worship, and glorify Him. John Leslie wisely noted, “Now, if it has been found impossible--a question which I have put from time to time, but which still waits an answer--if it has been found impossible to change one species of bird into another species of bird, or one kind of animal into another kind of animal, how much more impossible would it have been to have changed an animal into a man? Or if, in other words, the blood or life of one species of animal is so radically different from the blood or life of another kind of animal, how much greater must the difference be between the blood of an animal and that of a man?” (4) Genesis says the world was created perfect, then fell under sin and God’s curse. This is consistent with everything we can observe. Everything is winding down. Everything is proceeding from order to chaos. Everything is corrupting. Evolution would require the exact opposite. (5) Genesis says everything was created to fulfill God’s purposes, the world and everything in it, as well as the planetary universe. Teleology is the study of final causes, of the purposes of nature. It is a fascinating study, because regardless of how minutely one studies the creation, one is struck with a sense of wonder at the brilliant purpose behind every detail. Study the eye, the ear, the leaf, the atom, light, sound, air--everywhere you find purpose and design. That is what one would expect if God created the world precisely as the Bible says He did, but it is not what we would find if evolution were true. If the latter were true, we would find incredible chaos, happenstance, and haphazardness. We would have a world filled with monsters and unpredictable madness, part one thing and part another, a fish becoming a bird, a frog becoming a rat, a lizard becoming a bird, partially formed beaks which do not yet have a purpose, partially formed feet, partially formed wings, partially formed eyes, partially formed brains. We would have no fixed absolutes from which and with which to work. We would have no atomic clock because the atom would not be stable. We would have no sure guide across the trackless oceans because the heavenly bodies would be in fluctuation. Praise the Lord that evolution is a lie and the Bible is true.
WAS THE FLOOD OF NOAH’S DAY UNIVERSAL?
Many modernistic and New Evangelical commentators today say that the flood of Noah’s day was not worldwide and universal. The New Bible Commentary, published by InterVarsity Press, has this comment on Genesis 6: “The narrative does not directly affirm a universal flood ... deductions drawn from the assumption that all mankind was destroyed are precarious” (page 88). Many would claim that it does not matter whether Noah’s flood was universal or regional. We disagree. If the Bible plainly states something, it DOES matter whether or not we believe it, and there is no doubt that the Bible does claim that the Flood was worldwide.
THE FOLLOWING FOUR BIBLE FACTS PROVE THAT THE FLOOD WAS UNIVERSAL AND WORLDWIDE:
1. The language used in the Bible to describe the flood is language depicting a universal, worldwide flood. No one living today witnessed the flood, so we are dependent upon the Bible to tell us what happened. Consider the following descriptions of Noah’s flood by an Eyewitness:
“And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and EVERY THING THAT IS IN THE EARTH SHALL DIE” (Genesis 6:17).
“For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and EVERY LIVING SUBSTANCE THAT I HAVE MADE WILL I DESTROY FROM OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH” (Genesis 7:4).
“And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and THE MOUNTAINS WERE COVERED. And ALL FLESH DIED THAT MOVED UPON THE EARTH, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and EVERY MAN: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and THEY WERE DESTROYED FROM THE EARTH: AND NOAH ONLY REMAINED ALIVE, AND THEY THAT WERE WITH HIM IN THE ARK. And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days” (Genesis 7:19-24).
“Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: THE WATERS STOOD ABOVE THE MOUNTAINS. ... Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to COVER THE EARTH” (Psalm 104:6,9).
“For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby THE WORLD THAT THEN WAS, BEING OVERFLOWED WITH WATER, PERISHED” (2 Peter 3:5,6).
2. The fact that Noah was required to gather two each of the animals proves that it was a worldwide flood. If the flood were regional, this would have been a futile endeavor, because animals would have survived outside of the flood area. If Noah’s flood was not universal and worldwide, the Bible account of the same is certainly a myth. Either we accept the Bible as the infallible Word of God which it claims to be, and if we do, we accept what it says about a worldwide flood. Or we must accept the modernistic position that the Bible is man made. The middle of the road position that many scholarly New Evangelicals take, that the Bible is the infallible Word of God but is not correct in all that it says scientifically, is impossible.
3. The judgment of Noah’s day is compared with the judgment of the last days (Matthew 24:37-39; 2 Peter 3:6,7). Since we know that the Last Days judgment will be universal and worldwide, we can assume the same was true for the first judgment.
4. God promised that there would not be a flood like this again, yet there have been many large-scale regional floods. If the flood of Noah’s day were only a regional one, God’s promise has failed. In 1970, for example, flooding in South Asia resulted in an estimated one-half million deaths and left 3,500,000 homeless. If, on the other hand, the flood of Noah’s day was universal and worldwide, as the Bible plainly states, God’s promise is true.
There is geological evidence throughout the world that testifies to a universal flood. An excellent book on this topic is The World That Perished: An Introduction to Biblical Catastrophism, John C. Whitcomb, Baker Book House. As one wise man has said, if the Flood were not universal, it was the only egg-shaped flood that ever occurred, because the Bible plainly says that the mountains were covered!
DID ISAIAH WRITE THE BOOK OF ISAIAH
Many modern Bible commentators deny that the biblical Isaiah wrote the entire book, claiming that it was written by two or more authors from different periods of time. An example is found in the introduction to Isaiah in The New Oxford Annotated Bible—“Only chs. 1-39 can be assigned to Isaiah’s time; it is generally accepted that chs. 40-66 come from the time of Cyrus of Persia (539 B.C.) and later... Chapters 40-66, commonly called Second Isaiah (or Second and Third Isaiah), originated immediately before the fall of Babylon (October 29, 539 B.C.).”
This foolish idea has its roots in German rationalism and unbelief. The prophecies of Isaiah pertaining to the destruction of Babylon and other ancient nations were so amazing and precisely fulfilled that the modernist is forced to do one of two things. He must either accept the Bible as the perfectly inspired Word of God, or he must concoct a theory about Isaiah being written AFTER the events recorded therein were accomplished. Since the modernist refuses to bow himself before the God of the Bible, he was forced to invent the fable of the two-Isaiahs.
The book itself professes to be the work of the historical prophet Isaiah. If Isaiah did not write the book, it is a deception and the Jews who promoted it as the writing of Isaiah were deceivers.
The modernist claims that the two parts of Isaiah are so different in style and theology that they must have been written by at least two or three different men. In actuality, the difference in subject matter explains any differences in style. Isaiah is divided plainly into two distinct sections: Chapters 1-39 deal with God’s promise of Judgment. Chapters 40-66 deals with God’s promise of Salvation. The first section deals with woe; the second, with comfort. The distinct difference in subject matter explains the difference in style.
Isaiah is the O.T. book most frequently quoted by Christ and the Apostles. Jesus often quoted from the book and said it was written by Isaiah--not by some unknown group of men (Jn. 12:38-41). In Jn. 12:38-41 Christ quoted from both major sections of the book and said both were written by the same Isaiah. Every time Christ and the Apostles quoted from Isaiah, they did so with the understanding that the book was written by the historical prophet (Mt. 3:3; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:14; 15:7; Mk. 7:6; Lk. 3:4; 4:17; Jn. 1:23; 12:38,39,41; Ac. 8:28,30; 28:25; Ro. 9:27,29; 10:16,20; 15:12). This destroys the modern idea that Isaiah was the product of more than one writer. The choice is obvious: Will we believe the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles, or will we believe the modern critic?
WHAT ABOUT “FORM” OR REDACTION CRITICISM OF THE GOSPELS?
“Form” or redaction criticism are modernistic theories about the formation of the Gospels. These theories claim either that the Gospels were not written by the Apostles but were written down after they died, or that the Apostles depended upon secondary documents for their writing. The form critic believes Jesus Christ was not God and the Gospels are not the inspired Word of God. The so-called Jesus Seminar, which recently completed its work, followed form criticism to its logical end, concluding that most of the words of Jesus and most of the miracles in the Gospels were not actually spoken or performed by Christ. Redaction theories are somewhat less radical and are held by many who claim to be Evangelicals. While not denying the deity of Jesus Christ or the “inspiration” of Scripture (to some degree), those who hold to redaction criticism claim that the Apostles did not write by direct inspiration of God but depended upon secondary documents.
The following amazing excerpt from The Jesus Crisis: The Inroads of Historical Criticism into Evangelical Scholarship (Kregel, 1998) reveals how deeply Evangelicals have been infected with the modernistic thinking of form criticism:
“Outspoken evangelical critics have engaged in the same type of dehistoricizing activity as the Jesus Seminar people with whom they differ. If they were to organize among themselves their own evangelical ‘Jesus Seminar,’ the following is a sampling of the issues they would vote on, most of which they would probably pass:
1. The author of Matthew, not Jesus, created the Sermon on the Mount.
2. The commissioning of the Twelve in Matthew 10 is a group of instructions compiled and organized by the author of the first gospel, not spoken by Jesus on a single occasion.
3. The parable accounts of Matthew 13 and Mark 4 are anthologies of parables that Jesus uttered on separate occasions.
4. Jesus did not preach the Olivet Discourse in its entirety, as found in three of the gospel accounts.
5. Jesus gave His teaching on divorce and remarriage without the exception clauses found in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9.
6. In Matthew 19:16-17, the writer changed the words of Jesus and the rich man either to obtain a different emphasis or to avoid a theological problem involved in the wording of Mark’s and Luke’s accounts of the same event.
7. The scribes and Pharisees were in reality decent people whom Matthew painted in an entirely negative light because of his personal bias against them.
8. The genealogies of Jesus in Matthew 1 and Luke 3 are figures of speech and not accurate records of Jesus’ physical and/or legal lineage.
9. The magi who, according to Matthew 2, visited the child Jesus after His birth are fictional, not real, characters.
10. Jesus uttered only three or four of the eight or nine beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12.
“Recognizably, the listed conclusions impinge upon the historical accuracy of the gospel records. Various evangelicals have opted for the stated unhistorical choice in each of the suggested instances. Granted, their reduction of historical precision in the Gospels is not the wholesale repudiation of historical data as is that of the original Jesus Seminar, but that it is a repudiation is undeniable. An acceptance of imprecision is even more noticeable in light of the fact that the above questions are only the tip of the iceberg. An exhaustive list would reach staggering proportions” (Robert L. Thomas and F. David Farnell, The Jesus Crisis, pp. 14,15).
An example of the teaching of form criticism among Evangelicals is found in a report posted to the Internet by Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, Associate Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary. In a 35-page report entitled “The Synoptic Problem,” Wallace supports the redaction approach to the Gospels, that the Gospels were written not by direct inspiration of God but by copying material from secondary sources, thereby denying the inspiration of Scripture by the Holy Spirit as taught by Christ and the Apostles. Wallace’s report is largely a review of Robert H. Stein’s “The Synoptic Problem: An Introduction.” (The 63-year-old Stein is a professor at the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.) In fact, Wallace says: “Indeed, I have found Stein’s book so helpful a synthesis of the issues involved, that to some degree our comments here will be merely a distillation of his work.”
Note carefully the following excerpts from Wallace’s report:
“It is quite impossible to hold that the three synoptic gospels were completely independent from each other. In the least, they had to have shared a common oral tradition. But the vast bulk of NT scholars today would argue for much more than that.” (page 1)
“We shall see later that before the Gospels were written there did exist a period in which the gospel materials were passed on orally, and it is clear that this oral tradition influenced not only the first of our synoptic Gospels but the subsequent ones as well.” (page 4)
“The majority of NT scholars hold to Markan priority [Mark was written first and then Matthew and Luke based their gospels upon it] (either the two-source hypothesis of Holtzmann or the four-souce hypothesis of Streeter). This is the view adopted in this paper as well.” (page 6)
“One argument concerning Mark’s harder readings which has been (as far as I can tell) completely overlooked is the probability that neither Luke nor Matthew had pristine copies of Mark at their disposal. . . . An intermediate scribe is probably responsible--either intentionally or unintentionally--for more than a few of the changes which ended up in Luke and Matthew.” (footnote 49)
“Matthew and Luke have in common about 235 verses not found in Mark. . . . Only two viable reasons for such parallels can be given: either one gospel writer knew and used the gospel of the other, or both used a common source.” (page 19)
This approach to the Gospels, now parroted by scholars claiming to be “evangelical,” was devised by unbelieving modernists who deny the perfect inspiration of Holy Scripture. These men look at the Bible largely as a product of human invention, not as a supernatural book given word-for-word by inspiration of God to holy men of old. Similarly, large numbers of “evangelical” scholars are parroting the unbelieving historical critical approach to the Old Testament, which denies that Moses wrote the Pentateuch as we have it in our Bible today, claiming, rather, that the Pentateuch was formed over a long period of time and was not completed until during the era of Israel’s kings. This nonsense is a blatant denial of what the Bible itself says about the Pentateuch. Christ and the Apostles attributed every part of the Pentateuch to the historical Moses, as we have demonstrated in these studies on inspiration.
The Lord Jesus Christ promised that the Holy Spirit would guide the disciples into all truth and remind them of past events concerning Himself (Jn. 14:26; 16:13-15). It would have been humanly impossible for the Apostles to have recalled the exact words of Christ’s sermons, the various conversations, and the details of the various events infallibly, but the Apostles were not dependent upon their own fallible memories in the recording of the Gospel accounts. They were not dependent upon their own thinking to select which material to present and how to present it. They wrote by direct inspiration of God. They did not copy from one another. The Holy Spirit guided each Gospel writer to portray Christ in a special way via the manner in which the material is presented.
We know that both form and redaction criticism are fables for the following reasons:
(1) If the form or redaction theories of the Gospels are true, we do not have an infallible account of Christ’s life. If there was a fallible human element in the recalling and recording of the Gospels, they cannot be the perfect, inspired Word of God. Either the Gospels are infallible Scripture, or they are the fallible work of men. There is no middle ground here, and we have no difficulty whatsoever in rejecting all redaction theories (AND those who hold such theories) and accepting the Bible’s testimony about itself in simple faith. The Bible plainly tells us that “ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16).
(2) If the redaction theories are true, the Bible writers were liars, because they claimed to have written eyewitness accounts (Jn. 21:24-25; 20:30; Lk. 1:1-4).
(3) Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would guide the disciples into all truth and remind them of past events concerning Himself (Jn. 14:26; 16:13-15). The Apostles were not dependent upon their own faulty memories or imperfect second-hand accounts in the recording of the Gospel accounts. They wrote by divine inspiration.
(4) It is an indisputable fact that the N.T. Epistles were written during the lifetimes of the Apostles; most were written by the Apostles themselves. It is therefore foolish to deny that the early Christians did not have the custom of making written accounts.
(5) If the redaction theories of the Gospels are true, we will never know for sure what part of the Gospels are the fallible words of men and what part is the infallible Word of God. If, as Dallas Seminary professor Wallace implies, there was a mysterious “Q” document from which some of the Gospel writers drew their information, it will never be known. The fact is that there was no “Q” document. The Gospel writers did not need assistance from existing oral accounts or documents, and if they did use anything, God has not chosen to explain this to us and it, therefore, DOES NOT MATTER! Dr. Wallace admits that there are dozens of theories within the broad scope of redactionism. If redaction theories of the Gospels are true, we are not left with established and settled truth; we are left with endless theorizing.
(6) Those who accept redaction theories are not edifying the flock; they are entertaining the scholars. Only someone trained in the finer nuances of modern textual criticism could even understand Wallace’s report. It does not contain one word of doctrine, reproof, correction, or instruction in righteousness, yet those are the purposes for which the Holy Scriptures were given (2 Tim. 3:16).
(7) The alleged contradictions and problems within the Gospels that are raised by those who promote redaction criticism have been answered satisfactorily without resorting to redactionism. Wallace mentions many alleged contradictions, and he claims that the only satisfactory answer to these is some sort of redaction view of the writing of the Gospels. He says, for example, “when one compares the synoptic materials with John’s Gospel, why are there so few verbal similarities? On an independent hypothesis, either John or the synoptics are wrong, or else John does not record the same events at all in the life of Jesus.” The many differences between the Gospels have been analyzed carefully by men of God through the centuries and satisfactory answers have been given without resorting to fanciful textual criticism. I have a large library of books dealing with the alleged contradictions in the Bible, including many volumes from the 18th and 19th centuries and some even earlier. The problems raised by Dr. Wallace have been answered to the satisfaction of many godly minds.
(8) One of the errors which leads to theories such as redactionism is to focus on the method of inspiration rather than the product. We know there is a human element in the Scripture in the sense that men wrote the Bible, but the Bible itself never focuses on the human element. We are given brief glimpses from time to time of some of the mechanics of the giving of Scripture, such as God speaking face to face with Moses and angels speaking to some of the prophets, but for the most part we do not know the mechanics of inspiration and are not instructed to fret about it. The fact is that “ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God.” That is all we need to know, and it is a fact that can be accepted ONLY by faith. It can never be understood by scholarship. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6).
(9) Redaction criticism is of the Devil. It is the Devil who loves to cast doubt upon the Word of God. He has been doing exactly this since his conversation with Eve in the Garden. He is doing it today through “evangelical” scholars who are trained at the feet of modernists (either directly or through their writings or through other evangelical scholars who sat directly under modernists). This is the root problem with men such as Daniel Wallace and Robert Stein. They are leaning on the research of modernists and they are trying to impress those same modernists that they, though “evangelicals,” are serious scholars. They are trying to adapt the scholarship of unbelievers to a position of faith, and it is an impossible task. Does God not warn that “evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Cor. 15:33)? Does God not warn the believer not to sit in the seat of the scornful (Psalm 1:1)? Does God not warn that the words of false teachers eat like a canker and increase ungodliness and overthrow faith (2 Tim. 2:16-18)? Does God not warn that the words of false teachers deceive hearts (Rom. 16:17-18)? The Bible says that two cannot walk together except they be agreed (Amos 3:3), yet today’s “evangelical” scholar thinks he can walk together for months and years on end with unbelievers and not be harmed spiritually.
THE ENDING OF THE GOSPEL OF MARK
Mark 16:9-20 is omitted or separated from the rest of the Gospel with a footnote questioning its authenticity in most modern versions. This originated with critical editions of the Greek text developed in the 19th century and popularized by the Westcott-Hort Text and the English Revised Version of 1881. The ERV separates Mk. 16:9-20 from the rest of the text and has a footnote saying, “The two oldest Greek manuscripts, and some other authorities, omit from v. 9 to the end. Some other authorities have a different ending to the Gospel.” The Westcott-Hort Greek Text (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1925) separates these verses from the rest of the text with double brackets. The NIV separates this passage from the rest of the text with a line and a blank space and a note reading, “The two most reliable early manuscripts do not have Mark 16:9-20.”
In spite of these assaults, we know that that this passage is inspired Scripture. The following brief study reveals the error of questioning its authenticity.
THE MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE WITNESSES TO THE AUTHENTICITY OF MARK 16:9-20. The following is from The Future of the Bible by Jakob Van Bruggen:
“One of the most discussed passages is Mk. 16:9-20. In the New American Bible (NAB), three possibilities are given successively in the translation: ‘The Longer Ending,’ ‘The Shorter Ending,’ and ‘The Freer Logion,’ a manuscript from the fourth or fifth century. In this way, the suggestion is raised very strongly that Mark 16 originally ended at v. 8 or that the original sequel to verse 8 was lost. The NAB creates the impression that the majority textual tradition was rather bold to complete the chapter. This procedure throws doubt on the Majority Text and raises the question of how often additions occur in other passages that cannot be traced.
“The notes in the NAB, however, correct this impression. The ‘Freer Logion’ occurs in only one Greek manuscript (fourth to fifth century). The ‘Shorter Ending’ is found only in a few late Greek manuscripts. The normal ending (Mk. 16:9-20), however, seems to originate from the first century and seems to be accepted as genuine in the majority of manuscripts. The NAB translators really objected to this ending only because the vocabulary and style of Mk. 16:9-20 are said to deviate from the rest of Mark. Yet such objections have nothing to do with the determination of the text, but rather with the question of how one judges the text.
“With regard to the normal ending of Mark 16, W.R. Farmer concludes: ‘In fact, external evidence from the second century for Mk. 16:9-20 is stronger than for most other parts of that Gospel’ (W.R. Farmer, The Last Twelve Verses of Mark, p. 31). Jerome knew that there were manuscripts in his time that omitted Mk. 16:9-20, but he was personally convinced of the authenticity of these verses. There are only three known Greek manuscripts that end at 16:8, and one of them [Codex Sinaiticus] has a large open space after verse 8. All the remaining Greek manuscripts contain verses 9-20 after Mark 16:1-8, and most of them do not have a single note or insertion of other data. Mk. 16:1-20 has both the authority of the Majority Text, as well as the authority of the oldest text. If it still remains uncertain whether Mk. 16:9-20 is well attested textually, then very little of any of the text of the New Testament is well attested” (Van Bruggen, The Future of the Bible, pp. 130,131).
THE DOCTRINE OF PROVIDENTIAL PRESERVATION POINTS TO THE GENUINENESS OF MARK 16:9-20. It has been in the Bibles used by God down through the centuries. Mark 16:9-20 was in all English translations preceding the ERV of 1881. It was in the Bibles that were carried to the ends of the world during the great revival/missionary era of the last four centuries. And it is wickedness and folly to question its authenticity because of two unreliable manuscripts (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) which were hidden away for centuries in the pope’s library and in an eerie monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai.
THERE IS ALSO THE INTERNAL WITNESS THAT TESTIFIES TO THE AUTHENTICITY OF MARK 16:8-20. Every truth of Mark 16:9-20 is confirmed by other portions of Scripture. There is nothing heretical or spurious there. To end the Gospel of Mark at 16:8 leaves the disciples amazed and afraid. On the other hand, to end the Gospel at verse 20 leaves the disciples in this condition: “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, confirming the Word with signs following.” Who would want to remove such a portion of Scripture from the Bible? I believe the devil would.
A TESTIMONY OF THE INSPIRATION OF HOLY SCRIPTURE
The following testimony to the authority and authenticity of the Holy Scriptures is by George Sayles Bishop. Preached in 1885 at the dawn of the modern era of Bible criticism, this message lays out that unquestioning faith in God’s Holy Word that has characterized true believers from the beginning of time. It is not a blind faith. It is not an ignorant faith. It is faith in a God who cannot lie. Contrast this humble faith in the Word of God with the proud spirit of the modern Bible critic. In the following passage Bishop is writing in defense of the word “God” in 1 Timothy 3:16:
‘Oh, but it is only one word!’ Yes, but one word of Scripture of which it is said, ‘Thou hast magnified Thy Word above all Thy Name!’ ‘Only one word!’ But that word ‘God.’ Better the whole living church of God should perish than that one word should perish. ‘If any man take away from the words of the book of this prophecy God shall take away his part.’ Let criticism pause. The principle at stake is solemn.
The point at issue in the whole controversy with ‘modern criticism’ is, whether the Bible can be placed upon the same plane with other, merely human, literature and treated accordingly; or whether, as a Divine Revelation, it addresses us with a command and sanction? The power of the Book is shaken from the moment we deny its a priori binding claim on our belief and obedience. The Book is a royal document, or series of documents issued by the King of kings, and binding upon every subject. The Book, then, is to be received with reverence by one who falls upon his bended knees beneath the only shaft of light which, from unknown eternity, brings to the soul the certainties of God--of His dealings in grace with men, and of a judgment. The Old Testament is--in some sense--more awful than the New--as it begins with a creation out of nothing--as it thunders from Sinai, and as it prefigures and predicts the momentous facts of Calvary and the Apocalypse. But it has been represented that the Bible has twisted itself up like a worm from the dust by an Evolution in which the human element is most conspicuous.
The inspiration of the Old Testament, including that of the whole Bible, is a matter, first of all, of pure Divine testimony, which leaves us nothing but to receive it. God says, ‘I am speaking.’ That ends it. The instant order of the Book to every reader is ‘Believe or die!’ The Book brings with it its authentication. Who would think of standing up under the broad blaze of the noonday sun to deny the existence of the sun? His shining is his authentication.
The Jews cherished the highest awe and veneration for their sacred writings which they regarded as the ‘Oracles of God.’ They maintained that God had more care of the letters and syllables of the Law than of the stars of heaven, and that upon each tittle of it, mountains of doctrine hung. For this reason every individual letter was numbered by them and account kept of how often it occurred. In the transcription of an authorized synagogue manuscript, rules were enforced of the minutest character. The copyist must write with a particular ink, on a particular parchment. He must write in so many columns, of such a size, and containing just so many lines and words. No word to be written without previously looking at the original. The copy, when completed, must be examined and compared within thirty days; if four errors were found on one parchment, the examination went no farther--the whole was rejected. When worn out, the rolls were officially and solemnly burned lest the Scripture might fall into profane hands or into fragments.
The Old Testament, precisely as we have it, was endorsed by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. When He appeared on the earth, 1,500 years after Moses, the first of the prophets, and 400 years after Malachi, the last of them, He bore open testimony to the sacred canon as held by the Jews of His time. Nor did He--among all the evils which He charged upon His countrymen--ever intimate that they had, in any degree, corrupted the canon, either by addition, diminution, or alteration of any kind. By referring to the ‘Scriptures,’ which He declared ‘cannot be broken,’ the Lord Jesus Christ has given His full attestation to all and every one of the books of the Old Testament as the unadulterated Word of God.
Our Blessed Lord puts ‘what is written’ equal to His own declaration. He saw the Old Testament inspired from one end to the other, divine from one end to the other. Ah! how He valued the sacred text! Our modern critics, with arrogance which rises to daring impiety, deny to Christ the insight which they claim for themselves. The point right here is this, Did Jesus fundamentally misconceive the character of the Old Testament? Did He take for a created and immediate revelation what was of a slow and ordinary growth? Or was He dishonest, and did He make about Abraham, for example, statements and representations which belong only to a geographical myth--a personality which never existed?
The authority of Jesus Christ, God speaking--not from heaven only, but with human lips--has given a sanction to every book and sentence in the Jewish canon, and blasphemy is written on the forehead of any theory which alleges imperfection, error, contradiction, or sin in any book in the sacred collection. The Old Testament was our Lord’s only study book. On it His spiritual life was nurtured. In all His life it was His only reference. Through His apostles He reaffirmed it. Five hundred and four (504) times is the Old Testament quoted in the New. The whole Jewish nation, down to this day, acknowledge, without one dissenting voice, the genuineness of the Old Testament. The Book reflects upon them and condemns them; it also goes to build up Christianity, a system which they hate, and yet, impressed with an unalterable conviction of their divine origin, they have, at the expense of everything dear to man, clung to the Old Testament Scriptures. .
The Old Testament is inspired from beginning to end. What do we mean by this? We mean infallibility and perfection. We mean that the books are of absolute authority, demanding an unlimited submission. We mean that Genesis is as literally the Word of God as are the Gospels--Joshua as is the Acts--Proverbs as are the Epistles--the Song of Solomon as is the Revelation. We mean that the writings were inspired. Nothing is said in the Bible about the inspiration of the writers. It is of small importance to us who wrote Ruth. It is every importance that Ruth was written by God. How did God write? On Sinai, He wrote, we are told, with His finger. We are told this in seven different places. God used men with different degrees of style. He made Amos write like a herdsman and David like a poet. He made the difference, provided for it, and employed it because He would have variety and adapt Himself to all classes and ages.
He wrote through the men. How did He do this? I do not know. The fact, I know, for I am told it. The secret is His own. I read that ‘holy men of old spake as they were moved’--then they did not choose their own language. ... I do not know how my soul dictates to and controls my body so that the moving of my fingertips is the action of my soul. I do not know how, in regeneration, God does all and I do all. He produces all and I act all, for what He produces is my act.
‘But there are discrepancies--contradictions.’ No! Scores of times I have corrected myself, but never God’s Word. Patience and a larger knowledge will solve every knot. Dr. Hodge, of Princeton, says: ‘Not one single instance of a discrepancy in Scripture has ever been proved.’ Would all the united wisdom of men have led them to relate the history of the creation of the universe in a single chapter, and that of the erection of the tabernacle in thirteen? The description of the great edifice of the world, would it not seem to require more words than that of a small tent?
To discredit the statement repeated in almost every chapter of Exodus and Leviticus--’And the Lord said to Moses.’ To charge Christ with falsehood, who says, ‘Moses said,’ ‘Moses taught you,’ ‘David says’--quoting as He does, not from the 7th and the 18th only, but from the 41st, the 110th, the 118th, and other Psalms. The result is to disintegrate the Bible and throw it into heaps of confusion mingled with rubbish--to shake faith to the very foundations and scatter Revelation to the winds. It is to elevate Robertson, Smith, Wellhausen, Baur, Astruc, Cheyne, and other heretics, who seem to have taken God into their own hands, to a level with the Saviour of men and His prophets, whom they criticize freely. THIS IS NOT EXEGESIS, IT IS CONSPIRACY. IT IS NOT CONTRIBUTION TO RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE, IT IS CRIME!
Think of the amazing, the stupendous difference between Christ quoting from a human compilation, or from the living Oracles of God! ‘I came not to destroy,’ He says, ‘but to fulfil’--to fulfil what? A haphazard collection of Ezra’s time--made up of fragmentary documents of men, some of whom had an inspiration little above that of Browning and Tennyson! ... I beseech you, therefore, Brethren, beware of what is called ‘the modern school.’
‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth!’ Here are the Pillars of Hercules through which we pass from Time with all its changes into Eternity--a shoreless, changeless sea. Here are the frontiers of human exploration, beyond which rolls and surges the illimitable Ocean of Deity, Self-existent, blessed forever and independent of all creatures.
The first utterance of the Bible fixes it that matter is not eternal. That there was a point when the universe was not and when God, by simple fiat, brought it into being. So that, as the apostle says, He called the existent out of the non-existent--the visible from that which had no visibility. In other words, God made the world out of nothing--an awful nothing--the idea of which we cannot comprehend. A lonely and a solitary Worker, out of emptiness, He created fullness--out of what was not, all things--getting from Himself the substance as well as the shaping--the fact as well as the how.
‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.’ HE had to tell us that, for He ONLY was there. He had to TELL us that, but, being told, we at once, believe it, for everything outside the Self-existent must have a beginning. Matter must have had a beginning, for--push the molecules back as far as you will, either matter was the egg out of which God was hatched, or God hatched matter. Can there be any question as to which of these is true?
‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.’ IF THIS FIRST SENTENCE IS UNAUTHENTIC, THE WHOLE BIBLE IS UNTRUE AND FOR SIX THOUSAND YEARS MEN HAVE BEEN DUPED AND DELUDED WHO HAVE LOVED AND CHERISHED ITS TEACHINGS. The credibility of the Bible, then, depends upon the truth of the First Chapter of Genesis. If that chapter contains ‘a few small scientific lies,’ then the Book is a compilation of deceptions from cover to cover. Thus we are either Christians or skeptics! It has been claimed that no essential injury is done to Christian faith by concessions made to modern criticism--that if one believes in redemption, it is of small account what he believes of creation. But MEN WHO SPEAK SO RASHLY, OVERLOOK THE FACT THAT CREATION IS THE BASIS OF REDEMPTION--THAT THERE MUST BE MAN, AND MAN FALLEN, BEFORE THERE CAN BE MAN SAVED--AND THAT THE BELIEF IN CREATION DEPENDS ENTIRELY UPON THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF GENESIS, AS A HISTORICAL DOCUMENT.
The difficulty with Higher Criticism is that it disbelieves in advance, and the reason of this too frequently is that it is working with a brain whose crooked and vapid conclusions are guided by a heart averse to God--at enmity with God and working every way to get rid of Him.
[This material is from the Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible & Christianity, copyright 1994, 1999 by David W. Cloud. This Encyclopedia is available in a hard cover book edition, as a part of the Fundamental Baptist CD-Rom Library, and as a module for Swordsearcher.]