The Inspiration of Scripture

Nov 25, 2017
Loraine Boettner

The marvelous unity of the Bible can be explained on no other ground than that of divine authorship. It is confessedly one book, yet it is made up of sixty-six different books, composed by not less than forty writers, spread over a period of not less than sixteen hundred years. The writers moved in widely separated spheres of life. Some were kings and scholars with the best education that their day afforded; others were herdsmen and fishermen with no formal education. It is impossible that there should have been collusion between the writers. Yet there is but one type of doctrine and morality unfolded. The Messianic spirit and outlook pervades the Old Testament, beginning early in Genesis where we are told that the seed of the woman is to bruise the head of the serpent, and continuing through the ritual of the sacrificial system, the Psalms, the major and minor prophets until Malachi closes the Old Testament canon with the promise that “the Lord, whom ye seek, will suddenly come to his temple.” And “Christ crucified” is the theme of the New Testament. The marvelous system of truth that is begun by Moses in the book of Genesis is brought to completion by John in the book of Revelation. In the development of no other book in the history of the world has there ever been anything that even remotely approaches this phenomenon that we find in the Bible.
That there is a wide and impassable gulf between the Bible and all other books is apparent to even the casual observer. “Holy, holy, holy” seems to be written on its every page. As we read, it speaks to us with authority and we instinctively feel ourselves under obligation to heed its warnings. It is certainly furnished with an influence which is possessed by no other book, and we are forced to ask the question, Whence comes it? And since it is so unique in the power which it exerts, so lofty in the moral and spiritual principles which it sets forth, and since it so repeatedly claims to be of divine origin, are we not justified in believing that claim to be true, that it is in fact the very word of God?

In human affairs, for instance, the man of business dictates his letters to his secretary in his own words in order that they may contain his exact meaning. He does not assume that his secretary will correctly express important, delicate, and complicated matters which might be given him in general terms. Much less would the Holy Spirit say to His penman, “Write to this effect.” The Bible assumes to speak concerning a number of things which are absolutely beyond the reach of man’s wisdom — the nature and attributes of God, the origin and purpose of man and of the world, man’s fall into sin and his present helpless condition, the plan of redemption including our Lord’s substitutionary life and death, the glories of heaven, and the torments of hell. More than a general supervision is necessary if the truth concerning these great and sublime subjects is to be given without error and without prejudice. Inerrancy requires that God shall choose His own words. All men who have tried to explain these deep things without supernatural revelation have done little more than show their own ignorance. They grope like the blind, they speculate and guess and generally leave us in greater uncertainty than before In the nature of the case these things are beyond man’s wisdom. We have only to look at the pagan systems or at the arrogant and speculative theories of our own philosophers to find What the limits of our spiritual wisdom would be apart from the Bible. Whether we turn to the philosophers among the Greeks, to the Mystics of the East or to the intellectuals among the Germans, the story is the same. In fact many of the world’s supposedly advanced thinkers have even doubted the existence of God and the immortality of the soul. God alone is capable of speaking authoritatively on these subjects; and of all the world’s books we find that the Bible alone gives us on the one hand an adequate account of the majesty of God, and on the other hand an adequate account of the sinful state of the human heart and a satisfactory remedy for that sin. It shows us that neither laws nor education can change the human heart, that nothing short of the redemptive power of Christ can make man what he ought to be.

Furthermore, the importance of the testimony of the Scriptures to their own trustworthiness is not fully realized unless we keep in mind the fact that the trustworthiness of Christ is equally involved. In the words, “The Scripture cannot be broken,” and “Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law until all things be accomplished,” He ascribed absolute authority to the Scriptures of the Old Testament as an organic whole and made them the rule of life. At these points there is no question about the purity of the Greek text. Repeatedly He quoted the Scripture as final. Hence the authority of Scripture and the authority of Christ are inseparably connected. There are some, of course, who bow be fore Him and rejoice in Him as their Lord and Master while at the same time they ascribe not only historical but moral faults to the Scriptures. But such an inconsistent attitude cannot long be maintained. It seems absurd that we should be at the same time His worshipers and His critics. Only ignorance or lack of thought makes it possible for any person to suppose that he can remain orthodox in his conception of Jesus while accepting many of the views set forth by the destructive critics. When we reach the place where we say, “Jesus taught so and so, but the real truth of the matter is thus and thus,” we simply cannot any longer worship Him as Lord and Master. Hence the question, “What think ye of Christ? whose son is He?” is closely parallel to the question, What think ye of the Bible? whose book is it? Investigation convinces us that the Bible, like the Christ which it sets forth, is truly human and truly divine. As He was true man, in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin, because also divine, so the Bible is a truly human book, written by men like ourselves, yet without error, because also divine.

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