Thursday, June 8, 2017

God's Written Word, Man's Hands

Something that many people have wondered about is how the Bible itself was written (aside from the vacuous "written by illiterate Bronze Age goat herders remark). After all, it is God's written Word. Did they take dictation? No, the Bible was not given to us through what is sometimes called mechanical dictation, where the writers were acting like secretaries.

Apostle Paul, Rembrandt, 1653
2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that all Scripture is God-breathed (often translated as "inspired"), θεόπνευστος, theopneustos. We see that the personalities of the writers is evident, but that God was in control. I'll allow that it's a fair question to ask if errors crept in, since the dictation approach did not happen and they wrote in their own words. God preserved copies of Scripture through the ages, and he is also able to have guided his chosen writers. I reckon that the book we can First Corinthians is not the first letter Paul sent to them, but only the first one we have, so it could very well be that the "missing" letter is missing by God's design. Other works are referenced in the Bible that may have also been "lost" by design. That's just my own speculation, though. So, the subject is whether or not there are errors, since God used people and allowed them to express themselves in their own ways. Unfortunately, liberal theologians tell us that the Bible is not entirely true. They tend to focus on the first eleven chapters of Genesis. This raises the question: If you cannot trust some parts of Scripture, how do you know you can trust the end of the Bible, or even those verses you depend on for your salvation?
It has long been recognized that both Jesus and the apostles accepted Scripture as the flawless Word of the living God (John 10:35, 17:17; Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). Unfortunately, many attack this view of Scripture mainly because they assume that the human authors’ capacity to err would result in the presence of errors in Scripture. The question that needs to be asked is whether the Bible contains error because it was written by human authors.

Many people are familiar with the Latin adage errare humanum est—to err is human. For instance, what person would ever claim to be without error? For this reason, the Swiss, neo-orthodox theologian Karl Barth (1886–1968), whose view of Scripture is still influential in certain circles within the evangelical community, believed that “we must dare to face the humanity of the biblical texts and therefore their fallibility.”
To read the rest, click on "Does Scripture Contain Error Because It Was Written by Humans?"