系統神學緒論(周必克) - 第23講 上帝的話語──聖經
When we call the Bible the Word of God,
we do not mean that it is merely a message about God.
But we mean that it is God’s message to us.
The Puritan Thomas Watson always said,
it’s like a large letter written to us.
Henry Bullinger said, “The doctrine and writings of the prophets…
took not their beginning of the prophets themselves, as chief authors;
but were inspired from God out of heaven by the Holy Spirit of God:
for it is God, which, dwelling by his spirit in the minds of the prophets,
speaketh to us by their mouths.”
So when we look at the Bible, even though we make room for the human element, supremely,
ultimately, we say, don’t we, this is not the fallible words of men, but the infallible word of God.
And one of the problems with so many today is that
they view the Bible as partly from God and partly from men.
Samuel Coleridge, for example, the poet and philosopher of Romanticism, said
some elements of the Bible arise from direct revelation,
but the whole book is not infallible,
for parts of it are inspired only in the sense that
their authors enjoyed a high level of grace and communion with God.
He thought he was being gracious to the Bible, saying all the writers
had this high level of communion with God.
But you see, as soon as you say that, then what happens is you allow for the possibility
that when you get inspired to write a poem today,
you’re inspired the same way that the Bible writers were inspired,
and there could be errors in that poem
and there could be errors in the Bible.
And so ultimately you reduce the Bible to say,
this is just really good writing from men,
rather than this is the authoritative and infallible and inerrant Word of the living God.
John Murray writes something much better when he says,
“an examination of the biblical witness as to its character will show that
a supernatural influence was exerted on the writers of Scripture,
that this influence was all-pervasive, extending to every part of Scripture,”
and that with “no exceptions” or “degrees” so that the Scripture is regarded as a product
is rendered “wholly divine in its origin, character, truth and authority.”
So the Bible is the Word of God.
Now, this Word then comes to us through His servants,
which leads me to the next section on the outline,
“The Word of prophets and apostles is the Word of God.”
So God spoke to people before any parts of the Bible were written,
like Noah and Abraham.
And His word came then with authority and power, that too was special revelation.
But God desire to have that word recorded
because He wants His word to be authoritative, accurate from generation to generation.
And the question arises, therefore,
can we consider the words of God’s servants, for example, to be the word of God?
The preached word through the prophets and the apostles, how are we to regard that?
Well, with the word of the Lord came to his prophets and apostles,
we need to reckon with the fact that the first mode of communicating was oral.
And yet the preached word of God’s prophets was called the word of the Lord.
Elijah told the king, “Hear ye the word of the Lord, thus saith the Lord,”
and he preached to him.
Micaiah did the same thing to Ahab and so on, many many places.
And the apostle Paul in the New Testament claims the same status for his preaching.
Listen to what he says, 1 Thessalonians 2:13,
“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing,
because when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us,
you received it not as the words of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God,
which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”
So when the Bible says that the prophets and the apostles spoke God’s word,
it indicates that when they taught the divine message,
God was speaking through them.
And this is not an isolated phenomenon.
David said, “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.”
And the Lord said, when my prophets speak,
they speak “the word of the Lord, which he spake by his servants, the prophets.”
So the frequency which God is referred to as speaking
when his prophet’s speaking is astonishing.
Now the Lord Jesus also commissioned his apostles in the New Testament to speak with divine authority.
Christ said that those who received their teaching
received Christ himself, Matthew 10, verse 40.
So the authority of the apostles
arose from a supernatural influence of the Spirit to give them their words.
Matthew 10 or 16,
for “it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father would speaketh in you.”
And the apostle Paul understood himself to speak that way,
in 1 Corinthians 2:13 he says, I speak
“not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth.”
So it’s a fertile field and it should be expanded much more
to look at it more carefully in a scholarly way,
but what we need to understand is that
the prophets regarded themselves as bound to speak only what God said.
So the prophetic word was so bound up with the word of God
that it was deemed infallible by the people of God.
And therefore, the mark of a prophet was that
whatever he spoke would come to pass.
If it didn’t come to pass, he was a false prophet.
So there was a kind of special revelation through the voice of the prophets,
for example, in the Old Testament, and through the preaching of the New Testament apostles,
that even though not every word was written down,
it is belonging to the category of special revelation.
But now God wanted that word written down
so He begins to move Moses
to write the Pentateuch and other writers,
so now you have a different category of special revelation,
of course, the premiere category, which is called “the written Word of God.”
So the revealed word, the preached word then became the written word.
So as Israel traveled from the Red Sea to Mount Sinai,
the LORD told Moses, “Write this… in a book,”
Exodus 17, verse 14.
And after he gave Moses the Ten Commandments
or as He spoke His laws to Moses
on the mountain, Moses didn’t only preach them
to the people, but Exodus 24:4 says,
Moses wrote “all the words of the Lord.”
And then you see it again is Exodus 34,
two more times, God tells Moses to write down the words.
He gives them the Ten Commandments, the written word.
He speaks of the book of the law and on and on it goes.
So Moses is a writing prophet.
And though not all prophets wrote down their words,
Moses’ books become the foundation of the written word of God,
the Pentateuch, foundation of the Holy Scriptures.
Now you find that kind of thing going on with the other prophets as well.
就拿耶利米來說 – 在耶利米36章第2節中，
You find it with Jeremiah. God commands Jeremiah
上帝吩咐耶利米將祂的話 -“我對你說…… 的一切話”
to write His words in a book, “all the words that I have spoken unto you.”
Verse 2 of Chapter 36 (of Jeremiah).
And so Jeremiah dictated them to Baruch, who wrote them down.
And so the written document is called in verse 10, “the words of Jeremiah,”
and yet in verse 4, 6, 8 and 11 is called “the words of the Lord.”
So there’s no discontinuity here between the words of the Lord and the words of Jeremiah.
And you see that scroll was taken to King Jehoiakim.
And after one of his officials read it portion by portion,
remember the king cut off that part of the scroll with a knife and he threw it into the fire.
And then God came and said to Jeremiah, I will have my word written again.
The scroll had to be rewritten. And he pronounced a curse
upon Jehoiakim and upon his descendants for burning the scroll of the words of the Lord.
So to reject the written word of God’s prophet was to reject God’s Word and God himself.
Now when it comes to the New Testament, the apostles
and other New Testament authors also believed that the Old Testament was the very word of God.
Together with other pious Jews,
the early Christians viewed those sacred writings of Israel as a unified body
of divinely inspired books called Law and Prophets.
And the New Testament often refers to the Old Testament as the “Scriptures,”
plural of “graphe”, a word which means the “writings.”
And the cognate verb “grapho” is often used
to preface Old Testament quotations with a phrase “it is written,”
and then comes a statement of divine authority.
What is written in the Scriptures must be fulfilled. The New Testament writers
also refer to the Old Testament writers in terms of the infallibility and authority of the Scriptures.
Peter quotes a psalm, saying, “This scripture must needs have been fulfilled,
which the Holy Ghost spake by the mouth of David,” Acts 1:16.
Peter preached that what “was spoken by the prophet Joel”
was what God “saith”, Acts 2:16 and 17.
Hebrews 1:1, God spoke “by the prophets.”
Now that is true also of Jesus himself.
Jesus also had this very high regard for the authority of the Old Testament.
He said I didn’t come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.
He said it’s easier for heaven and earth to pass away than one tittle,
jot or tittle of the law to fail, which is just a little part,
a little tweaking end of one letter of one word of the Hebrew alphabet.
Jesus said, not a single word, not a single letter of a single word can fail.
So Christ is not cherry picking, like so many people do today,
which parts of the Old Testament are infallible, which parts aren’t:
some saying that the didactic parts are infallible, historical parts are not;
other people turn it right around and say, the historical parts are infallible and didactic parts are not.
Jesus is saying the whole, the whole of the Old Testament Scriptures is infallible.
So when we read the Old Testament Scriptures in Jesus’ thinking,
in Paul’s thinking, we’re reading the very Word of God.
Now in the New Testament, the New Testament also claims to be the Word of God
in continuity with the Old Testament.
And Jesus places his own words on the same level as the words of the Old Testament Scriptures.
He says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words,
my words shall not pass away,” Matthew 24:35.
He also said, the Old Testament are the words that speak about me,
and you must believe what is “written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets,
and in the psalms,” and also “the words which I spake unto you,” Luke 24:44.
So to believe Christ’s words goes hand in hand with believing the writings of Moses,
which Christ regarded to be infallible.
Now the other writers of the New Testament also hold the same high view of the words of Christ
as Christ did. John 3:34, Matthew 17:5, John 18:9.
Christ “speaketh,” says John, “the very words of God.”
So the apostles view Jesus’ words recorded by the gospel writers as the very word of God.
And that explains
why one New Testament writer can call the writings of another New Testament writer “Scripture”,
“Scripture” on par with the Old Testament.
Paul and Peter spoke of each other in their writings,
Peter counted the Pauline epistles to be Holy Scriptures on the same level,
even though he admitted some things of Paul are hard to understand.
So from all of these things and more,
the Apostles evidently wrote with consciousness
of the divine authority of their teachings.
Now they didn’t know perhaps that it was going to be called the “New Testament,”
but they had a consciousness that they were writing the very word of God.
That’s why Paul can speak about Christ speaking to me,
“Christ speaking in me” when he’s talking about writing the word.
He says in 1 Corinthians 14,
“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that
the things that I write unto you are the very commandments of the Lord.”
So what you have is a powerful witness in the New Testament also to the New Testament itself.
Maybe it’s not as repetitive,
as strong as the New Testament of the Old Testament,
but it’s there.
The word of God, the special revelation, is continuing.
And then in the Book of Revelation, near the end, you’ve got those solemn warnings,
which I believe on good grounds with our forefathers, the solemn warnings
about not adding to the book anymore,
this is the final book of the canon,
and not subtracting from the book, Revelation 22:18 and 19.
So it appears that John knew that he was writing the closing book of the sacred canon of God.
In your outline, point 16:B,
“The spirits inspiration of the written Word of God.”
As we’ve seen in previous lectures, the Bible identifies the Holy Spirit as the divine Agent
who spoke through the prophets and apostles.
For example, David wrote, “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me,
and his word was in my tongue.” 2 Samuel 23:2.
It’s a wonderful statement, isn’t it? “In my tongue.”
The Spirit is directly, personally involved and in the very faculties of the human author,
so that He is directly influencing both what David was thinking,
but also what he was communicating so that the results are the Word of God.
The Lord Jesus Christ, on the night that he was betrayed, taught his apostles
that he would grant them a special influence of the Holy Spirit
so that they could communicate the words that he spoke on Earth
and also deeper revelations that he would grant to them later after he rose from the dead.
Christ said in John 14:25 and 26,
“These things have I spoken on to you, being yet present with you.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name,
he shall teach you all things,
and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
The Lord Jesus also gave another promise in John 16:12 through 14.
He said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but yet cannot bear them now.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:
for he shall not speak of himself: but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak:
and he will shew you the things to come.
He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
Now, these promises do have a general application to all believers today.
They’re promise of the illumination of the Holy Spirit.
But we need to remember that the illumination of the Holy Spirit in our lives today
is based upon the work of the Holy Spirit
that was particularly promised to the first people
是基督特別應許給起初聽到他話語的那一群人 – 他的使徒們的。
who heard Christ’s promises when he first spoke them, and that is the apostles of Jesus.
Sinclair Ferguson writes,
“They constituted a specific promise to the apostles
that found its fulfillment in their writing of the New Testament Scriptures.”
So when the Lord Jesus promised his apostles that the Holy Spirit would enable them
to remember his words, this then sets the stage
for the apostles and those with them to later go back
and write the Gospels accurately representing the teaching and activity of their master.
Similarly, when the Lord Jesus promised his apostles that he had many more things to teach them but
that they were not ready to receive them yet, but the Spirit would guide them into all truth,
that then sets the stage for the Spirit of God to lead Peter and Paul
and the other writers of the Epistles to record
those deeper revelations of the work of Christ
that were given after the Lord Jesus died and rose again.
Now when we talk about the Spirit’s work, what we’re talking about is a work of verbal inspiration.
In other words, the inspiration not just of ideas,
but of actual words.
And so let’s consider “The reality of verbal inspiration.”
Nowhere in the Bible do we find any indication or even suggestion
that God gave a kind of insight to the prophets,
but then left them to formulate it in their own words.
Instead, we find repeated promises that God would be “with thy mouth,”
as He said to Moses in Exodus 4:12.
Or that God would “put my words in his mouth,”
speaking of the prophet to come in Deuteronomy 18:18.
Or as God said to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:9,
“I have put my words in thy mouth.”
This is the same kind of expression that we see in Exodus 4:15,
or 2 Samuel 14:3 and 19,
when one human being goes to another human being
and tells the second person exactly what they are to say.
Like Moses telling Aaron what to say
or Joab telling a woman what to say to the king.
And so it’s a picture,
putting words in someone else’s mouth,
communicates that God told the prophet exactly what to say
and the prophet said exactly that.
We can see that, for example, in Numbers 22:38,
And so the prophet becomes the mouth of the Lord.
And you’ll notice that in text like this,
it’s not just that the Lord says I will put my “word” in their mouth,
in the sense of the message in general,
it’s plural. “I will put my words in thy mouth,”
the specific words by which the writer or speaker communicates.
And so though the words come from the mouth of a man or a woman,
they are the words of God, as you can see in 1 King 17:24.
And so it’s a remarkable confluence of the divine in human.
The words of man’s mouth become the words of God’s mouth.
And the result is what we call “verbal inspiration,”
where verbal refers to individual words.
It’s not just that the Bible contains truths that were given by God,
but the individual specific words.
Yes, the Lord Jesus said, the smallest stroke of the pen in the Old Testament
has eternal, divine truth in it, Matthew 5:18 and Luke 16:17.
In fact, it’s remarkable.
The Lord Jesus was so confident in the text of the Holy Scriptures
that he once made an argument
upon the single word “my” in Psalm 110:1, remember?
David called Christ “my Lord,” and the Lord Jesus built an entire argument upon that.
And when you go back to the original Hebrew text,
you can see that the word “my” in the Hebrew is a single letter, the letter “yod,”
which, if slightly altered or lengthened,
would change the meaning entirely.
Instead of reading “my,” it would read something like “his” or “your.”
The Lord Jesus based a theological argument
upon one letter in the Old Testament.
The Apostle Paul based an argument
upon the fact that a word in the Old Testament was plural instead of singular,
Roger Nicole observed,
“The New Testament writers and the Lord Jesus himself did not hesitate on occasion
to base their whole argumentation upon one single word of the Old Testament Scripture…
or even on the grammatical form of one word.”
And this is strong testimony that
God indeed gave the words that his prophets and apostles wrote in Scripture.
Now the precision of verbal inspiration
does not imply that God took over the prophet’s body
and negated his individual mind and personality.
There’s a more subtle and pervasive concurrence
involving absolute divine sovereignty and full human responsibility in the inspiration of the Bible.
We see the evidence of that.
Paul didn’t write like Peter, did he?
Peter didn’t write like Isaiah.
Isaiah didn’t write like Moses.
Louis Gaussen, who lived from 1790 to 1863, and wrote the treatise
《默示論 – 聖經：它的起源與默示》中說，
Theopneustia, The Bible: its divine origin and Inspiration, said that though we may say,
“The sacred writers were no more than merely the pens, hands, and secretaries of the Holy Ghost…
they were, in almost every case, and in very different degrees, living patterns,
intelligent hands, secretaries docile,
affected by what they wrote and sanctified.”
And so what we have here,
dear brothers and sisters, is not God just seizing control
of a human body, but what we have is a mysterious concurrence
of God’s absolute sovereignty so that they wrote exactly what He intended for them to write
and full human involvement and responsibility.
So that there’s a primary Author and there are many secondary authors.
This is one reason why
the doctrine of inspiration is a precious truth that is guarded
by the Reformed faith.
Because it really doesn’t make any sense if we don’t believe
that God can be totally in control and human beings can be fully active and responsible
at the same time and in the same event.
Let’s move on now to consider in somewhat more detail
“The extent, meaning and implications of inspiration.”
And to do that, we’re gonna focus on two texts,
so I’d encourage you to open your Bibles to 2 Timothy 3:16,
You might also want to flip over to 2 Peter 1:19-21.
These, of course, are two texts in the New Testament
that give us our closest look at this mysterious work of inspiration.
They’re key texts for our understanding of what “inspiration” means.
Let’s just read them to begin with.
Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
Now, let’s read 2 Peter 1:19-21.
Peter writes, “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.”
So first of all, the apostles teaches here the extent of inspiration.
Paul wrote, “All scripture.”
This should be understood as saying that the entire Bible is inspired.
If you’re interested in comparing the syntax,
you can compare the syntax of this verse with 1 Timothy 4:4. Similarly,
Peter said that “no prophecy of the scripture” arises merely from man’s own interpretation or will,
but it comes from the Holy Spirit. And therefore we may speak of “plenary inspiration.”
Plenary, meaning the full Scriptures, the whole Bible, is inspired of God.
And of course, this fits with what you heard earlier
as Dr. Beeke spoke to you of the word of the prophets and the apostles is the Word of God.
Over and over and over again,
聖經作者 – 使徒與先知所寫的這一切都是上帝的話語。
the Bible affirms that all the writings of the apostles and prophets are the Word of God.
If you scan Paul’s epistles, you see that
he directly quoted from many, many, many different books of the Old Testament,
and he alluded to even more.
And in context, as we look at the context of what Paul is writing here,
plenary inspiration contrasts the sacred writings
with those of merely human teachers.
You’ll notice that
And so here is pure water for the people of God to drink.
It’s in no way corrupted by the man-pleasing fictions and fables of this world.
The Westminster Confession of Faith, Section 1.2,
after naming the 66 books of the Bible, rightly states,
“All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life.”
The second thing that we observe here is the meaning of inspiration.
Paul’s expression “given by inspiration” could be literally translated “God-breathed”,
“theopneustos” is the Greek word.
The word “inspiration” itself, which was derived from the Latin Vulgate translation,
actually means “to breathe in,”
and it’s a somewhat unfortunate rendering,
because Paul’s “theopneustos” does not contain the idea of God breathing into a Bible that’s already there,
much less the idea of breathing into the authors of the Bible.
Instead, it says that God breathed the Scriptures.
In other words, that they’re produced by His breath.
So technically, then, we should speak of the Bible’s “spiration,”
But of course, that’s very awkward, and so we stick with the traditional word.
The adjective “theopneustos”
describes not the Bible’s action upon us.
It’s not saying that the Bible is an inspiring book.
It’s describing God’s action
in producing the Bible, the Bible is inspired.
B.B. Warfield, after studying the uses of this Greek term
in ancient literature, concluded that
it bears, “a uniformly passive significance,
rooted in the idea of the creative breath of God.”
And there’s a parallel in 1 Thessalonians 4:9,
where we find the Greek word “theodidactos,” which means “taught by God.”
And so similarly, “theopneustos” means “breathed by God”
that is produced by God’s breath.
I’m talking to you right now.
As I speak, I’m breathing out.
My breath produces my words.
And so when Paul says that the Bible is God-breathed,
he is saying that it is the very words of God, just as if it was breathed out
of the mouth of the Lord Himself.
It’s a marvelous image.
And of course, the part of the word that has to do with “being breathed,” “pneustos,”
comes from the word “pneo,” whcih means “to breathe” or “to blow,”
which is closely related to “Spirit,” which is “pneuma,” and so that Paul is implying here
that God produced the word by the special agency of the Holy Spirit.
And that, of course, is what Peter explicitly teaches us in his epistle.
Because he said that the prophets “spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Now that word “moved” literally means
to be born or carried from one place to another.
So I have my glass of water here. I’m picking it up.
I am bearing it or carrying it over here, and now I’m gonna set it down
where I choose to set it. That’s the image.
It’s not just the image of the Holy Spirit somehow influencing men,
but it is as if the Holy Spirit reached down, picked a man up,
and took him to exactly where the Holy Spirit wanted him to be,
in other words, caused him to write exactly what the Holy Spirit wanted him to write. And therefore,
the words of the Holy Scriptures did not originate from men, but they originated from God.
And so we may say
that inspiration is the work of the Holy Spirit to produce the Bible through human authors.
So that it is God’s Word, just as surely as the breath of our mouths,
produces our own words.
Now we know that the
聖經所講的”默示”是從聖經的主要作者 – 聖靈
Bible speaks of inspiration in terms of the author of it,
the Holy Spirit, and the supernatural product.
But it tells us very little about the process by which the Spirit did this.
This is a mystery: how the Spirit worked in the person’s soul
to accomplish this.
We also need to note
that inspiration is a distinct gift from illumination.
All Christians enjoy the illumination of the Holy Spirit to some extent,
but as Gaussen said,
we must not confuse inspiration with a high degree of illumination.
In other words, as you’re reading the Bible, and praying, meditating,
the Spirit of God is illuminating your mind. He’s leading you to a deeper understanding of the truth.
But that’s not what inspiration is.
Inspiration is not so much a holiness within a person’s heart,
it is the gift of knowledge and the ability to communicate the infallible Word of God.
Illumination is part of our salvation, but inspiration is an act of special revelation.
Thirdly, if we look at these statements from these two apostles in their context,
we see some implications of inspiration,
which I’m gonna touch upon very briefly because they’ll be developed in
the lecture to follow.
First of all, one implication is that the Bible has divine authority.
You notice what Paul does right after he talks about all Scriptures given by the inspiration of God.
He says in chapter 4, Verse 1,
“I charge thee before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead
at his appearing and his kingdom,” verse 2, “preach the Word.”
In other words, if this Word is breathed out by God,
it has the authority of the sovereign Judge.
Second implication is that the Bible has divine veracity or truthfulness.
Paul wrote, “preach the word,” which in this Epistle,
is “the word of God,” 2 Timothy 2:9; the “faithful” word, verse 11;
“the word of Truth,” verse 15.
And since this is God’s word, it’s a true word.
A third implication is that the Bible has a divine sufficiency
to inform our faith and direct our obedience.
Paul reminds Timothy in verse 17
that the Bible is enough to fully equip God’s ministers for all of their sacred work.
A fourth implication is that the Bible has divine clarity.
Notice how back in verse 15, Paul said to Timothy
“that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures,
which are able to make thee wise unto salvation.”
The Bible is something that you can teach to children and they can benefit from it.
It’s got a clarity to it. It can be understood.
Similarly, Peter said that the Bible is not some dark book
that only highly trained scholars can understand.
But it’s like “a light that shineth in a dark place,”
A fifth implication is that the Bible has divine necessity.
We see that, for example, in the context of 2 Timothy 3,
because Paul is warning about a flood of wickedness that comes in the last days.
And he talks in Chapter 3, in chapter 4 about
how people will sinfully desire false teaching.
Well, what is the answer to that?
The answer is we need the Word of God.
Similarly, Peter talked about the dangers of false teachers in 2 Peter, chapter 2.
And dear brothers and sisters, we have to admit that those same seeds of corruption
that causes this world to run after false teachings, those seeds are in us too.
So we need the Word of God.
A sixth implication is that the Bible has a divine unity in Christ.
It is a remarkable fact that though the Bible has been written
by many different people over centuries of time,
it has one unified message.
Paul summarized that in 2 Timothy 3:15,
“salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus.”
As you scan Peter’s 2 epistle,
you also see that he summarizes the message of the Bible
as “the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,” 2 Peter 1:8, 10, other places as well.
And then seventhly, a final implication that arises in this context is that
the Bible has a divine efficacy.
By efficacy, we mean it is powerfully effective to do God’s will.
Paul says that whether you are using the Bible to teach, or reprove sin, or correct sinners unto repentance,
or instruct God’s people in the way of righteousness, the Bible is “profitable.”
It is profitable. It’s powerful in people’s lives.
And therefore, the preacher of the Bible can be confident
that even if he sees many, many people in his community
running after false teachers, even people leaving his own church perhaps,
to go and chase after some more popular teaching,
that if he is faithful to God’s Word, he is preaching the effective and powerful Word
that saves sinners
and that God will use to bring His elect home to Him.
And so we learn the following doctrine in summary, from 2 Timothy 3:16
and 2 Peter 1:19-21.
The extent of inspiration is plenary. It includes everything that the prophets wrote.
The meaning of inspiration is that the words of the Bible did not arise from a man,
but from God as His Spirit breathed forth the word of God by means of the prophets.
And as for the implications,
the Bible has special properties that make it like no other book. And what we’re going to do
for the rest of our lecture time and also the coming lecture, we’re going to look at some of those properties,
we’re gonna look at all seven of those properties in time in more detail,
and address some objections against them,
and discuss their important applications in the life of the church.
But let me pause here and see if anybody has any questions.
Student: “When we preach about these things,
is it safe enough to say these texts are referring to the whole Bible
or only referring to the Old Testament?
Shall we use them to refer to the New Testament too,
or shall we use other texts
like when Peter was referring to Paul’s writing, when Paul was referring to the gospel?
I mean, because these texts are mainly referring to the Old Testament.”
Pastor Smalley: “Right, right. Good question, good question.
Yeah, as you read these text,
the text unto themselves leave it an open question:
what does Paul consider to be all Scripture?
And that’s when you go to 1 Timothy 5:18, I believe it is,
where Paul says ‘it is written’ or the Scripture says…
Actually, it’d be smarter for me just to turn there, so I don’t misquote it.
Yeah. Yeah. 1 Timothy 5:18,
“For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.
And, the laborer is worthy of his reward.”
And I think this was covered in a previous lecture, but Paul is saying,
this is what scripture says, and the first thing he quotes is from the Old Testament.
But the second thing he quotes is from the Gospels.
And so, so we read 2 Timothy 3:16,
and we say, Paul considers all of Scripture to be breathed out by God.
Then we ask: what does Paul consider to be Scripture?
Well, we go to this text and we see
Paul considers to be scripture both the Old Testament
and also the writings of the New Testament that were even then being generated.
So you use the Scriptures together to show that. OK? All right.
And similarly with Peter,
and then says that some wicked people distort them
as they do the other scriptures.
So Peter is including Paul’s epistles in the Scriptures. OK?
Yes, another question?
Student: “How much the element of inspiration takes place when it comes to translating the Bible?
Because… well, in English I see that there are many different kinds of translations,
many different kinds of translations, and all of them are translated
in different ways in different words.
But I believe when the Bible’s inspired, they got this original text, where the word was…
where the author used specific words
to express certain idea about God and things like that.
And now we have this newer translation,
which might not even use the same word that original author might have used.
Then does this mean the Bible we have is less inspired or… how much does the…?
Pastor Smalley: “OK, all right. Good question.
I’ll see if I can answer without getting myself in hot water.
Yes, when we talk about inspiration, we’re talking about a process that is done right now.
God is not presently inspiring texts.
So if I sit down… and I hope that you do this when you’re when you’re preparing for a sermon.
If you’ve been trained in Greek or Hebrew and
you’ve got a text that you’re gonna to preach on,
you look at it in the original language, and you work in the original language.
But of course, you’re gonna be preaching in English, or Chinese, or Korean, or Chichewa,
or whatever your own language is,
and so you’re studying the original, let’s say it’s an Old Testament text, the Hebrew,
but in your mind, you’re translating it into your own language.
Now, I wouldn’t say that God isn’t there to help you,
especially if you’ve prayed for illumination, if you’ve studied well and all that sort of thing.
But that is not inspiration going on.
Inspiration is God’s work in the original authors through them to produce the original scriptures, okay?
So technically speaking,
it is the Hebrew, and the Aramaic, and the Greek texts, which are the inspired Word of God.
Now, that does not mean that I would recommend going around
telling people in your church that your English Bible is less inspired,
because that’s gonna communicate to them that there’s something bad about their Bibles.
We’re gonna talk about translation a little bit more later on in these lectures,
but we believe in the clarity of scripture,
which means we believe that the Bible can be understood and therefore translated into ordinary language.
So hold on that.
但是，這應該給了你們 – 神學生們巨大的動力，
But as seminary students, this should be a strong motivation to you
that if at all possible, you should learn the original languages and strive to master them,
and strive to master them,
because even though Hebrew, Greek, those can be very hard to learn,
you are then able to grapple with the actual words that the Holy Spirit inspired.
And that’s a thrilling thought.