The Beliefs of Biblical Inspiration and Inerrancy:

Does Jesus Teach Them?


"You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me.  But you are not willing to come to me that you may have life." (John 5:39-40)

Yes, sadly a passion for the BIBLE and not for the Light of the world...


Confusion is not of God, and confusion hinders knowing truth.  As an example, let us say that a person writes one singular truth in one sentence on one page of paper.  Let us also say that another person then takes that paper with the one singular truth in the one sentence, and surrounds that sentence with other sentences and paragraphs which add to, take away, nullify, or distract you from absorbing that one singular truth.  Most people will not be able to see the singular truth clearly once all that other stuff was added to it, and some would not see the singular truth at all.

As another example, let us say that a person writes a one page document which contains fifty percent truth, and fifty percent error.  Then, an authority takes that page and hands it to people who respect his authority, and that authority tells the people that the one page document is one-hundred percent truth and they ought to believe all that is written on that page.  If the people respect that person more than wanting to know truth, then what will happen to their ability to judge truth?  Will it not be compromised at best, or destroyed at worst?  If disagreeing with the authority will have uncomfortable consequences, or even cost the person something they want, will they still hold to the truth?

In the same way, what if there is a book that contains sixty-six chapters, and only four of the sixty-six chapters contain ninety-nine percent truth while the other sixty-two chapters contain only ten percent truth.  And what if an authority that many people respect takes that book and hands it to the people and tells them it contains one-hundred percent truth.  If the people respect the authorities more than wanting to know Truth, then what will happen to their ability to judge truth?  Will it not be compromised at best, or destroyed at worst?  Will they be willing to hold to the truth even if it means being rejected from their cherished social or religious circles of friends?

Please see this article for a fuller explanation of the above points:

That Which is Most Valuable Has Been Lost

Introduction:

The issue of where and how God reveals Himself to mankind is an important one.  After all, those who want to know God - who He is, what He is like, what He wants of an individual's life - must have some means to get to know Him.

There are different views on how to go about knowing God.  Some look to experience in the emotional realm.  That is to say they "feel God's presence" during some stirring music with lyrics that they believe speak of their God and/or his or her ways.  Others will say that they will just follow their heart in finding or knowing God.  Other's look to current popular religious leaders or speakers to "hear from God and to learn His will for their lives".  Others "feel God" when they go through some religious ritual, or are in some religious building.  Some look to mystical experiences induced by various chemical means.  Some hold to a book as if every letter, word, chapter and verse in that book is their personal legal contract with God.  Some do a little bit of each.  There are a myriad of ways people seek to hear from a God they believe exists.

For the follower of Jesus of Nazareth, the primary way to get to know Jesus' Father is by learning from Jesus himself, for Jesus perfectly represented the Father during his first coming.  How can a person alive today learn from Jesus himself?  By receiving his Words as recorded in the gospels.  For the disciple of Jesus, the only sure way to get to know Jesus and His Father is by reading the very utterances from Jesus of Nazareth Himself (NOT the rest of the bible), for Jesus himself is the Word of God.  And the only place to find those utterances of Jesus is in the four gospel accounts in the New Testament, plus a few words in the beginning of the book of Acts.

Jesus often quoted from the OT scriptures, as he referred to them in his teachings (Mark 12:10; Luke 4:21; John 7:38, 10:35, 13:18, etc.).  Jesus referred to portions of the scripture as true, meaning what he quoted from the human author's of scripture contained the very commands of his Father (Matt. 5:17-19; Luke 16:31). Jesus also quoted some of the words of author's of scripture as prophetic, meaning that God spoke in times past about future events (particularly about Messiah and his comings) through these men.  These prophetic passages centered on what God was going to do, and Jesus was fulfilling that which was previously prophesied about God's Messiah (Matt. 5:17; Luke 4:18-21).

Jesus said something very interesting regarding the "scriptures".  He said to the religious leaders of his day:

"You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me.  But you are not willing to come to me that you may have life." (John 5:39).

Jesus said that the religious leaders of his day thought that because they possessed, and sought to understand, the scriptures, that in THEM they had eternal life.  Jesus said that while they possessed the scriptures - and thought they had a correct understanding of the scriptures and the subject of the scriptures - yet they missed the primary purpose of the scriptures, which was to reveal the Messiah so that people could come personally to him in order to enter into eternal life.  In other words, they had the map, and they thought by possessing and being able to read the map approved them with God.  However, they refused to use the map to go to the needed destination - which was to meet, and then follow after the living God's Son, Messiah Jesus.  They insisted on admiring the map, and knowing every little detail ABOUT the map, but they refused to use the map to take them to Life.

My working premise for this article is that the same thing has occurred since Jesus went back to be with the Father.  That is that the religious men - now under the name of Jesus "church" or congregation - have made the same mistake.  They are relying upon their possession of the scriptures (or the bible, for they are synonymous) and their intellectual study of the bible in order to think that they are right with God, or to think that they have eternal life.  And yet, they refuse to come to Jesus in order to actually enter into eternal life through him.


The place to start is to look at what bible believers say is the word of God.  They say the bible is the word of God, and they do this based primarily on one teaching of the man Saul of Tarsus, the chief voice in the new testament.  The scripture they base their belief on is this:

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."  (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

On this teaching of Paul, the doctrine of biblical inspiration is based.  The inspiration doctrine says that the men who contributed to the bible were inspired of the Holy Spirit and thus their writings perfectly reflect God's mind on what they wrote about.  The next doctrine they build from the inspiration doctrine is the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.  That doctrine says that since the scripture is inspired of God, it must be without error or infallible.  Finally, the last doctrine that is build upon the first two is that of biblical infallibility.  That belief says that since inspiration and inerrancy are true, the teachings of the bible/scripture is infallible (that is, without error on the subjects it addresses), since the writers perfectly represent God's mind on what issues they speak to.  When referring to the collection of these beliefs - inspiration, inerrancy and infallibility - I will refer to them as the three-I's.

The key doctrine, however, is biblical inerrancy and that belief will be the main focus of this article although the accompanying beliefs will be addressed. 

If there are errors in the scripture/bible - that is teachings that contradict each other - then all three doctrines are proved false.  In this author's opinion, the belief of biblical inerrancy, as the clergymen articulate it, presents the biggest obstacle to people who are sincerely trying to find God and his will through the bible, from being successful in that endeavor.  This foolish religious doctrine greatly contributes to the inability of people to find Messiah Jesus, and then it is used to nullify Jesus' most important teachings.  Finally, it hinders those who are his from getting to know the Father and Son better and thus it prevents them growing in their faith and relationship with God.

Let us take a brief look at the doctrine of "inerrancy" and its companion doctrine, "inspiration" as taught by today's "bible believing" church men.


The following is a section of an article by Ron Rhodes:

The Inspiration, Inerrancy, and Authority of the bible

by Ron Rhodes

What Is Inspiration?

"Biblical inspiration may be defined as God's superintending of the human authors so that, using their own individual personalities (and even their writing styles), they composed and recorded without error His revelation to man in the words of the original autographs. Inspiration means that "the Holy Spirit of God superintended the human writers in the production of scripture so that what they wrote was precisely what God wanted written."

When you break the doctrine of inspiration down to its essential elements, there are seven key factors:

        Divine origin and causality;

        Human agency;

        Written verbally (in words);

        Plenary (all of scripture is inspired, not just parts of it);

        Only the "Autographs" (the original documents penned by the biblical authors) are inspired;

        Because scripture is inspired, it is inerrant; and

        Because scripture is inspired and inerrant, it alone has final authority.

 

The word inspiration literally means "God-breathed" in the Greek. And because scripture is breathed out by God, it is true and inerrant. Consider the following syllogism:

Major Premise:

God is true (Romans 3:4).

Minor Premise:

God breathed out the scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16).

Conclusion:

Therefore, the scriptures are true (John 17:17).

As illustrated above, the inerrancy of scripture can be inferred by premises that are themselves taught by scripture.

We read in scripture that truth is an attribute of God (Jeremiah 10:10; John 1:14; 14:6; 17:3), and that God speaks truthfully - that is, He does not lie (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Titus 1:2; Romans 3:3-4).

We also are told that scripture is "breathed out" by God (2 Timothy 3:16).

The Word of God, then, is true (John 17:14,17; cf. Psalm 119:142; 151; 160; Revelation 21:5; 22:6)."

http://home.earthlink.net/~ronrhodes/Inspiration.html


Comments on Ron Rhodes teachings of inspiration:

Notice first that the claim to "without error" applies only to the "original autographs".  No one possesses the original autographs, so what is the point of this claim?  This is indeed a weak premise to start with.  If we don't possess the originals, then what point is made by saying the originals were "without error"?  How can this be proved?  Clearly, this leaves the door open for error being interjected into the scripture by men, including from a textual transmission (making copies, and translations to different languages) standpoint.  He then states:

Inspiration means that "the Holy Spirit of God superintended the human writers in the production of scripture so that what they wrote was precisely what God wanted written."

This principle states that "the human authors of scripture�wrote precisely what God wanted written".  It must be acknowledged that this belief is not put forth by Jesus, but by Paul.  As such, the belief should be suspect, and if we find contradictions in the bible, this belief ought to be rejected, for a perfect, all knowing being would not contradict himself.

People involved in bible-based sects reject most of Jesus' key teaching in order to make it easy to enter into heaven by stating that a person just needs to read the bible (at least their part of it!), and 'believe', meaning assent intellectually, to the content therein.  This is the greatest slight of hand, which immediately takes the focus off of Jesus of Nazareth and onto many other voices.  Of course it is also believed that one can only really understand the bible "properly" by having the "theologically educated, professional, expert clergy" interpret it for them (or if one is part of the pentecostal organizations, the "annointed ones").  This drive to harmonize the bible is needful do the many contradictions contained in the bible, and thus the exposing of the error of the beloved doctrine of biblical inerrancy.

Of course, a few other things are taught by the clergy as needed as well, like join their organizations, come to their buildings, and pay the clergyman to 'minister to the flock', etc.  Today's religious leaders, just like all of yesterdays, don't teach like Jesus (Matt. 13:11-15) so is it surprising they invent doctrines that encourage people to follow them and their programs and agenda?  After all, if we are told by the ones who we foolishly deem are closest to God due to their worldly credentials, that they have the key to understanding the difficulties (read contradictions) in the bible, then who are we dependant on to know God?

Mr. Rhodes continues by laying out the doctrine of inspiration into seven elements in an attempt to support his view of inspiration and inerrancy.

The first three building blocks this author agrees with i.e. divine origin and causality; human agency; and written verbally (as opposed to symbols or other non-word ways of communicating).  But what about the forth, "Plenary (all of scripture is inspired, not just parts of it)".  This principle has two serious problems.  First, it begs the question of what is included in "scripture" to start with.  The "cannon" of the "protestant" bible is different from the "cannon" of romanism - so whose cannon is correct?  And this is only an obvious example.  What about the New Testament?  How was it decided what was "scripture" and thus should be included, and what was not scripture?  If you look at the tests proffered by the "scholars", the tests for scripture are very subjective.  All of Jesus' references to the "scripture" refer to the Old Testament - thus we have a sure testimony defining scripture - if one believes that Jesus of Nazareth is God's Son and his words were accurately recorded and preserved in the gospels, which this author does.  How do we know for sure that anything written after Messiah's own words were recorded and he ascended back to the right hand of the Father, is "scripture"?  To point to Peter's words about Paul's writings in one of his letters is a shaky foundation.  In addition, Peter's words would only apply to Paul's words then, so what about Peter's or Jude's or John's?

More importantly and fundamentally, why would more have to be written - what more about the Father can be revealed - after the Son of God perfectly revealed God the Father to mankind, and that revealing is contained in the four gospels?

Then Mr. Rhodes puts forth the disclaimer to account for clear errors in transmitting manuscripts i.e. "Only the "Autographs" (the original documents penned by the biblical authors) are inspired".  Again, this principle leaves the door wide open to error being interjected into the scripture by those people who transmitted and translated the writings from copies of the originals.  These errors could be either of ignorance or purposeful personal agenda - like the clergymen retaining power over the people.

Now Mr. Rhodes string of logic falls apart.  The next principle is, "Because scripture is inspired, it is inerrant".  There are two serious problems with this conclusion.  First, we have not agreed about whether God could have purposely allowed or decreed that an author of scripture interject his non-inspired comments amidst the inspired words (write something that contradicts another principle somewhere else in the scripture).  Second, we have not defined what exactly makes up "scripture" e.g. protestant versus roman.  Thus, it is logically impossible to draw the conclusion that scripture is without error until these two questions are answered - could God have allowed or ordained some error interjected into the bible on the part of the human authors of scripture; and what exactly makes up scripture?

The doctrines of inspiration and inerrancy, as proffered by the clergy, makes it appear easy to find and know God, for they say all you need to do is read the bible and believe everything in it.  Of course, once you submit to the clergy and come into their organization, they will start to change the story about believing everything in the bible.  They will tell you that "that particular command" of Jesus no longer applies to us, since it was only relevant to the culture in which it was written.  Or they will say, 'we must not take that literally, it is figurative'.  Then they say, 'well, we must do this' even though the practice is not found in the scripture (like spend much money in building a public building people call "the church" and pay the clergymen their salaries).  So, in essence, they say "believe the bible", but they teach that only they, the clergy, have the expertise (bible college, ordination, etc.) to properly interpret the bible [see How to Know God and Education-olotry: Are Seminaries biblical?].

Get the picture?

In conclusion, on the basis of God saying we must seek Him with all our heart, and His Messiah saying we must strive to enter into the kingdom of God, it would seem reasonable to allow for the possibility of God allowing a human author of scripture interjecting his flesh (and thus error) into their writings.  The Lord forces no one to love him or abide in him - this is a matter of that individual's will.  And perhaps it is a bit unrealistic to assume that the author's of scripture where abiding in Him perfectly every time they picked up a pen to write their letters (the scripture itself does not state that those who penned the scripture were in some kind of state of spiritual perfection in allowing God�s Words to come through them).  Perhaps the Lord wants people to have to make some effort to find the truth, and not just hand it to them plainly? (Matt. 13:11-15)  Kind of like digging gold nuggets out of the surrounding soil.  Would gold be as valuable to men if it was abundant and easily found?  Perhaps the same is true with God' communication to mankind.  Perhaps His truth is narrow and difficult to find if we are NOT seeking Him with all our HEART? (Matt. 7:13-14)  And perhaps it is difficult to find not because of intellectual complexity, but because we refuse to humble ourselves and become as little children in order to receive His Truth? (Luke 18:17)

The typical response by the clergymen to the belief that the bible does contain error is, "well, if one thing in the bible is wrong, then you can't trust any of it".  This is an erroneous argument.  The argument rests on the assumption that God made sure that the bible we hold in our hands has no error in it whatsoever and so if there is something wrong with the book, then there must be something wrong with it's subject.  Where is that precept stated in the bible itself?  In fact, it is not stated anywhere (and as we will see later, there are some undeniable errors in the bible which even people like Mr. Rhodes admit to).  Their argument is like saying, "because the book you wrote about your life was accurate - except the one portion where you let someone else comment on your life, which portion contained error - the entire book is untrustworthy and erroneous"; or "because you sinned once yesterday, everything you did yesterday was error and cannot be trusted"; or "well, since you have a grain of sand in your salad, the entire salad is bad".

This author�s position on the scripture is that God did preserve His Word�s and the truths He wanted to convey to mankind in the bible, but He only did so perfectly through his perfect Son.  Only His sinless Son's Words are completely trustworthy in as much as they were accurately written down and preserved.  This position does not arrive at a logical conclusion that you can�t trust any of what is written in the bible � any such conclusion is not logical, but illogical and merely an emotional defense given to hold to another preferred belief, namely the three I's as described above.  This author�s position exhorts the reader of the bible to know what exactly the Word of God is...and it is not the bible.  Rather, it is a person, the Son of the Living God, Jesus of Nazareth.

The argument of 'well if one thing is wrong, none of it can be trusted' also begs the question in terms of what books actually comprise "the scripture".  Where did Jesus or any of the writers in the scripture, say, for example, "Thus saith the Lord, the New Testament shall be comprised of the following books�"  There is much dogmatism regarding the bible, and defending it, and very little learning to hate our life in the world, and following the Jesus who reveals HIMSELF through his OWN WORDS in the gospels.  It is much easier for us to argue and defend the intellectual source of our beliefs, than it is to pick up our cross and lose our lives for Him whom the scriptures reveal.

So, what test could we use to prove that God could have purposely allowed or decreed that an author of scripture interject his non-inspired comments amidst the inspired words?  Or that men who copied the scripture interjected their religious/political opinions in the copies?  Well, we could see if scripture contains errors - that is that it contains internal contradictions.

Here are a few obvious examples to consider:

Old Testament Errors:

Gen. 25:1 versus 1 Chron. 1:32, wife versus concubine

2 Kings 24:8 versus 2 Chron. 36:9, 18 years old versus 8 years old

1 Kings 7:26 versus 2 Chron. 4:5, 2,000 versus 3,000 baths

Ezra 2:5 versus Nehemiah 7:10, 775 versus 652 sons (It must be asked why the translators translate the same exact Hebrew word transliterated "bane" as two different English words?)

1 Kings 9:27-28 versus 2 Chron. 8:18, 420 versus 450 talents of gold

II Samuel 24 :1 versus I Chronicles 21:1, God versus Satan

Isaiah 34:7, King James version, �unicorn� an animal of Latin-Greek mythology

Isaiah 13:21, 34:14, King James version, �saytr� a half-human, half-goat creature of Latin-Greek mythology

New Testament Errors:

Matthew 27:9-10 cites Jeremiah, yet the prophesy is clearly contained in Zechariah 11:12-13

Matt. 1:16 versus Luke 3:23, Jacob versus Heli

Matt. 8:5 versus Luke 7:3,6, Centurion himself versus "elders of the Jews" or "friends"

Matt. 8:28 versus Mark 5:2, 15, "two demon possessed men" versus one man.

Mark 14:69 versus Luke 22:59, The same servant girl the second time, or "another saw him�Man, I do not know what you are saying" when previously he said to the servant girl, "Woman, I do not know him".

Acts 12:4, King James version uses the word, "easter", while almost every other major translation uses the word "passover".  So, which translation is correct?

Eph. 2:8-9 versus James 2:24, Oh, the tap dancing and sleight-of-hand used to try and reconcile the plain contradiction between, "saved through faith alone...not of works" versus "justified by works, and not by faith only".

Eph. 4:11 versus John 10:16, The same Greek word "poimen" is translated "Shepherd" in John 10:16 and "pastor(s)" in Eph. 4:11.  What rational explanation exists for that except the translators wanted to avoid the plain contradiction.

The Old Testament teaches, "The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul" (Psalm 17:9).  Most bible leaders take that to mean Moses teachings in the torah.  In stark contrast and rebuke, Messiah says in reference to Moses teachings, "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY' (a teaching of Moses in Exodus 20:14 or Deut. 5:18); but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:27-28)  According to Messiah, the law of Moses was quite imperfect, incomplete and unfulfilled (see Follow Jesus, Not Moses).  If this is so (and Jesus says it is) then how could Moses writing be inerrant or perfectly portraying the Father's mind?

Other Contradictions:

King David: "I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies." (Psalms 139:22)

King Messiah: "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..." (Matthew 5:43-44)

Comments:  Are these words of David inspired by the Holy Spirit?  Not according to Messiah.  All arguments to justify David's words because he was in the Old Covenant commit the error of begging the question.  Has God the Father changed so much between the covenants that in one case His Spirit "inspired" David to express and justify hatred, while in the other, His Son teaches just the opposite?

King Solomon:  "A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace." (Ecclesiastes 3:8)

King Messiah: "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..." (Matthew 5:43-44)

Comments:  Are these words of Solomon inspired by the Holy Spirit?  Not according to Messiah.  Jesus teaches that God the Father rewards mercy and loving your enemies, and thus God's Spirit at no time taught that there is a time for "hate" and for "war" for those who are listening to Him.  Of course one is free to explain the truth away with philosophies (which philosophies Jesus did not teach) about how God's commands do or do not apply to nations.

Job 42:8:  God supposedly speaking:  "For I will accept him so that I may not do with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.�

Comments: If these words in the scripture are correct (and according to Paul's doctrine they must be), then whatever was recorded in the preceding chapters of the book of Job that was said by Job's friends about God is wrong - "you have not spoken of me what is right".  How could the Holy Spirit allow scripture to be wrong about God, for whatever was recorded of the friend's words about God in those scripturres is wrong? 


This author could site many other contradictions and errors, but if the reader will not be convinced of even one of these plain errors cited above, then they will not be convinced by one thousand. The only house of cards that falls if even one error is found in the scripture, is the house of cards of the bible men's doctrines of inspiration, inerrancy and infallibility, which doctrines support the belief that there are NO errors in the scripture.  The Words of the Word of God (Jesus), on the other hand, shall stand forever, whether we see them or not.

Based on these actual examples of plain errors, it would be foolish and irrational to hold onto the view of inspiration held by the clergymen and expounded above by Mr. Rhodes.  This author has previously run to the "scholars" in order to find reasonable explanations of these errors so that I could hold onto the doctrines of the three-Is as proffered by the bible scholar's so-called.  In fact, this author purchased big, thick books by �prominent evangelical scholars�, which books purposes was to try to reconcile contradictions.  Praise God the blinders are off this author's eyes on this matter, by God's mercy, and this author can no longer argue that 1 plus 1 equals 3.  This author prays the same can be said of the reader.

The last conclusion of Mr. Rhodes is the one that is most obviously the same error that Jesus corrected the religious leaders of his day for.  It reads, "Because scripture is inspired and inerrant, it alone has final authority."  Notice what (and not who) has "final authority" - it is "the scripture" or "the bible" and NOT God or His Messiah.  In contrast, Jesus says, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth".  (Matthew 28:18)  Jesus is the final authority, for he is the Word of God to men, NOT a book that contains his Words, nor the men who say they can properly interpret it.

It appears to this author that the modern concept of "inspiration" is leading people into the same trap Jesus warned against.  You see it is the religious leaders who alone can "properly interpret" the scripture, and it is they who even tell us what the scripture is.  Since the "scripture" has authority, and not God, then by deduction, the "laymen" have as their final authority the people who can correctly interpret the scripture.  Thus they turn to their shepherds and therefore turn away from the Good Shepherd.

We westerners are very intellectually oriented, and we place a high premium on being able to use the laws of logic to arrive at truth.  But logic does not put forth precepts, it only can be used to find error.  Thinking that using logic is the way to find God is in direct contradiction to what Jesus teaches, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants". (Matthew 11:25) [see also Education-olotry].

Furthermore, Jesus plainly states, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you." (John 14:26)  Take special note of the highlighted phrase.  Notice who will teach us ALL things pertaining to God and His kingdom...it is certainly NOT 'the clergy' nor any other man or woman.  Also note what the standard is that the Spirit will work from...it is the Words of the Word of God (that I SAID TO YOU), Jesus of Nazareth!  Not the rest of the bible, but the Word's Words!

But perhaps it is easier to just believe the traditions of men, and in order to not lose our life in this world, go on defending those traditions in spite of the truth and instead of giving our lives away in following the Messiah?

Mr. Rhodes continues to press his case for his view of the doctrine of inspiration, with a logical syllogism.  It's major premise is that "God is true".  This truth is self evident, for the testimony of Jesus is that God's nature is perfect, holy and righteous, and thus He could only be true, and not false.  The minor premise is, "God breathed out the scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16)".  As you can see, the author refers to 2 Tim. 3:16 to support the statement that God breathed out the scriptures.  First of all, this is NOT a teaching of Jesus, and thus the follower of Jesus would not consider this teaching authoritative. 

Also, this does not address what exactly constitutes the scripture, nor whether the human authors could have somehow resisted the Holy Spirit and corrupted what God wanted written, or whether God could have purposely ordained that the human author's flesh be allowed to be recorded.  What God "breathes out" directly from His mouth is true, no doubt.  It is when He used human instruments to convey His words, that reasonable questions remain.  What God breathed out, AND when that was accurately recorded by the human author's of scripture (in the original autographs, remember), AND, subsequent copies of the originals were not corrupted in any way, THEN those truths are inspired and thus inerrant.

The problem comes in the concept Mr. Rhodes mentions of "the Holy Spirit of God superintended the human writers in the production of scripture so that what they wrote was precisely what God wanted written�.  Does "superintending" the human writers mean he directly and completely controlled their thoughts when they were writing the scripture?  It would seem that this would have to be true in order for the other conclusion to follow, namely that "so that what they wrote was precisely what God wanted written".  Yet most of the men who proffer this teaching admit they do not believe that God completely controlled their thoughts.  Mr. Rhodes eludes to his rejection of this view by saying, "using their own individual personalities (and even their writing styles)".  There is much of the sinner left in control by these words of Mr. Rhodes.  And the errors in the scripture (those cited above and others that could be cited) confirm that the doctrines of the three-Is are false. 

Here is another church man's attempt at defending the three-Is:

The Inspiration of the bible

Rick Wade

"What do we mean by inspiration? Following the work of the higher critics, many people--even within the church--have come to see the bible as inspired in the same way that, say, an artist might be inspired. The artist sees the Grand Canyon and with her imagination now flooded with images and ideas hurries back to her canvas to paint a beautiful picture. A poet, upon viewing the devastation of war, proceeds to pen lines which stir the compassion of readers. Is that what we mean when we say the bible is inspired?

We use the word inspiration because of 2 Timothy 3:16: "All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness." Inspired is translated from the Greek word theopnuestos which literally means "God-breathed." Some have said the word could be translated "ex-spired" or "breathed out." Inspiration, then, in the biblical sense, isn�t the stirring of the imagination of the writer, but rather is the means by which the writers accurately wrote what God wanted written.

This idea finds support in 2 Peter 1: 20-21: "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one�s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."

What we need before proceeding is a working definition of inspiration. Theologian Carl F. H. Henry writes, "Inspiration is a supernatural influence upon the divinely chosen prophets and apostles whereby the Spirit of God assures the truth and trustworthiness of their oral and written proclamation."{1} Furthermore, the writers were "divinely superintended by the Holy Spirit in the choice of words they used."{2} Although some things were dictated to the writers, most of the time the Spirit simply superintended the writing so that the writer, using his own words, wrote what the Spirit wanted."

http://www.probe.org/docs/inspiration.html

Comments on Mr. Wade's writing:

This is another good example of the doctrine of inspiration as commonly believed in bible religion.  It is not significantly different than Mr. Rhodes.  Two things are of note.  He quotes 2 Pet. 1:20-21 to support the statement, "Inspiration, then, in the biblical sense, isn�t the stirring of the imagination of the writer, but rather is the means by which the writers accurately wrote what God wanted written."  The most glaring problem is again that Peter is not the sinless Son of God, thus the follower of Jesus would not look at that teaching as authoritative (while the follower of the bible or of Peter might look at that as authoritative).

In addition, Mr. Wade's jumps from "inspiration of scripture" to Peter's plain restriction to prophetic ("prophesy") scripture.  Most agree that it is reasonable to think that Peter had the Old Testament in view here in this statement � and Peter clearly restricted that statement to those portions of the Old Testament which were deemed prophetic.  Not all scripture is prophesy - Proverbs is an obvious example of this, as would be the vast majority of the New Testament. So, Peter's statement does not address the non-prophetic scripture.  In fact, Peter's statement could easily be taken to support the concept of only the prophetic scripture being inspired by God.  Or it could be taken to support different levels of inspiration in the scripture.  One thing is sure, and that is that Peter's statement does NOT support the churchmen's contention that Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 is ALL inspired by God.  So, they are pretty much left with 2 Tim. 3:16 to support their beliefs.  Let's take a closer look at that verse:

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness�"

Again, this is a statement of Paul, not Jesus.  Thus, it would be very unwise to base one's faith on Paul's words instead of Jesus' if you are a follower of Jesus.  Before we try and understand what this verse means, let's be clear on what it does not mean.  What the verse does not say is, "All scripture includes every word in the 66 books of the late 20th century protestant bible, and God did not allow any human error to be recorded, even as he made sure His thoughts were recorded by each author in the scriptures."  This is what the churchmen make this saying of Paul to mean.  Secondly, it is quite apparent that what Paul has in view in that statement when he says "Scripture" is the Old Testament, and thus the statement would not apply to the new testament.

If we are to take this teaching as authoritative at all - which this author does not since it is NOT the Words of Jesus who Alone is the sinless Son of God and who the Father has given the authority to judge ALL THINGS - the plain meaning seems to be that God inspired the human authors of the scripture to record what he wanted to convey to mankind, period.  I don't believe one could conclusively argue anything beyond that.  This view leaves open the possibility that those same human authors interjected their thoughts amidst the pure thoughts of God - and when we find errors in the scripture, then this is the most reasonable view.

Again, this passage does not define scripture, and it is virtually certain that what Paul had in view here was the Old Testament writings.  Thus, this statement cannot reasonably be taken to refer to the New Testament writings.  Nor can one derive from this verse precisely what manner God worked in inspiring the scriptures.  For those who want to believe the three-Is, they should at least examine all of the scripture to try and come to conclusions regarding this question of what exactly is meant by the statement, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God".  And if errors are found in the scripture, then the clergymen's view of inspiration, as cited above by Mr. Rhodes and Mr. Wade, ought to be rejected as false.  This we have done, and thus we ought to reject the church men's definition of "inspired" as well as the other I's that are associated with that belief.

Conclusions:

This author's current view of the scriptures and of the inspiration of the scriptures is as follows.  The scriptures are synonymous with "the bible".  The Word of God is Jesus, NOT the bible or the scriptures.  Jesus validated some of the utterances of the Old Testament prophets as being his Father's thoughts, and what Jesus explicitly validates we can be sure were the Words of God prior to God's sending the Final Word, which is His Son.  The writings of those sent by Jesus can be considered scripture, and sometimes beneficial, but not authoritative or binding on the follower of Jesus.  Paul was not a sent one, and his writings ought to be very carefully measured against Jesus' as Paul contradicts some of Jesus' most important teachings [See Are Paul's Writings Faultless?]

While the gospels contain the Words of The Word of God (Jesus of Nazareth), the rest of the teachings, observations and opinions of the authors of the scripture were written by imperfect men and only sometimes reflect God's mind.  We can only have full confidence in the Perfect One's Words.  The non-inspired thoughts of men were interjected into the scripture by two primary means.  First, men subsequent to the original human authors, have interjected error by means of textual transmission (copying) and translation (original language to other languages).  It appears most of this error has been unintentional, while some can be reasonably argued as intentional to push some religious or political agenda like the clergy power base.  Second, error was also interjected into the scriptures by the original writers in as much as their flesh was not constantly submitted to God's spirit while penning the scriptures [See Are Paul's Writings Faultless?]. 

The promised Messiah came, and he perfectly revealed the Father, and his Words and teachings are contained in the four gospel accounts.  These direct teachings of his should be the only authoritative source of instruction for the disciple of Jesus.  How can we be sure that Jesus' Words were accurately captured and preserved?  By faith in God and His mercy and by the Spirit bearing witness to the Truth that is Jesus and his Words.  Those who trust in reason and historical or archeological facts on which to base their faith will not like this truth, for their "faith" is primarily intellectual ascent only based on material or historical facts.  It is not contradictory to believe that God preserved His Son's Words in the gospels, and that the words of the other authors of the bible are imperfect and not authoritative.  You may not like this belief, but it is not contradictory, and it fits BEST with both Jesus' OWN Words on this matter, as well as the fact that the bible has many contradictions, and it impugns God's character.

Another important distinction needs to be made.  Jesus' own Words are different than other's words ABOUT him.  Just as if you were write an auto-biography about your life, it would be more accurate than someone writing ABOUT your life, even if they were a close friend.  It is quite possible for those who were with Jesus of Nazareth, to faithfully record his Words even while they did not fully understand them.  In fact, Jesus promises this in John 14:26.  It is equally possible for those who recorded Jesus' Words to interject their own opinions about Jesus and his words and deeds.  Thus, the safest place to base one's faith is on the Person and Words of Jesus ONLY.  The reader should be eager to do this and can find ample teachings of Jesus to justify doing so.  Two examples can be found in Matt. 7 and Mark 13:31.

This author believes another remarkable verification to the fact that the Father successfully preserved His Son's writings is that the Son's Words destroy the very bible-based religious system that was used to preserve them!  Truly, we must have faith as a child to see the kingdom of God.

This author's intent is not to destroy people's faith, which many will be quick to accuse.  Rather, it is to free those who love the truth, ALL of the truth, to believe less error, find purer truth, and thus know God more perfectly.  Jesus is the Truth, and the reader, if he or she is wise, will look no further than Jesus and his Words.  Our faith will be built up in as much as we are obeying the Truth and are not clouded by error.  As long as we are hanging onto false beliefs, Jesus will be both harder to find and harder to hear.  This is particularly true if false beliefs we are hanging onto prejudices our view of the scripture, like the doctrine of the three I's as proffered by the vast majority of churchianity's clergymen. 

God does not want us to have faith in lies, errors, ignorance, the bible, the scriptures or facts about the bible.  Rather, He wants us to have faith in Him and His glorious Son, Jesus the Messiah.  Let us have faith in Him, and trust that He has preserved His Son's Words to us in the gospels.  Let us lose our lives for the Messiah who reveals himself in the gospels.  Let us move forward into a life of faith in the Father and the Son, and thus a life of loving one another as His Family.  If we do this, we will  lose our lives in this world as a gratitude offering to Him.


Send comments to: Tim  tim spiess

Share

Return to What We Believe Table of Contents