We concluded our preceding article on the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures with the observation that no man has the right to assume any other attitude toward the divine Scriptures than that of humble submission. God Himself wrote His own Word, and man should assume an attitude of neutrality over against it?!
Besides, that the unbeliever should be biased in his approach to the Word of God lies in the very nature of the case. No man can be neutral as he approaches the Word of God. The matter of our approach to the Holy Scriptures is necessarily and fundamentally an ethical matter. The Bible is not an ordinary book. We can read any other book and immediately forget it. But the Bible is the Word of God. And therefore it lies in the very nature of the case that our attitude toward the Bible will be the same as our attitude toward God. And in our attitude toward the living God we either love Him or hate Him. No man is neutral in his relation to God. Every man is governed either by love or hatred of the living God. God, who wrote His Word, also operates in the heart and life of every mortal. He either sheds His love abroad in our hearts and draws us to Himself; or He hardens the sinner, blinds his heart and eyes, and realizes in him His counsel of reprobation. We believe, therefore, that the Bible is divinely inspired, and we will never assume any other attitude toward it than that of faith and humble submission.
MAINTAINED BY THE CONFESSIONS
1. The Gallican or French Confession speaks of divine inspiration in Art. V, and we quote: “We believe that the Word contained in these books has proceeded from God, and receives its authority from him alone, and not from men. And inasmuch as it is the rule of all truth, containing all that is necessary for the service of God and for our salvation, it is not lawful for men, nor even for angels, to add to it, to take away from it, or to change it. Whence it follows that no authority, whether of antiquity, or custom, or numbers, or human wisdom, or judgments, or proclamations, or edicts, or decrees, or councils, or visions, or miracles, should be opposed to these Holy Scriptures, but, on the contrary, all things should be examined, regulated, and reformed according to them. And therefore we confess the three creeds, to wit: the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian, because they are in accordance with the Word of God.
2. WESTMINSTER CONFESSION OF FAITH
Art. IV: “The authority of the holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the Author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.”
Art. VI: “The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at anytime is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word; and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and. Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.”
Art. VIII: “The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as in all controversies of religion the Church is finally to appeal unto them. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.”
Art. IX: “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.”
Art. X: “The Supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentences we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scriptures.”
3. OUR BELGIC CONFESSION OR THIRTY-SEVEN ARTICLES
Art. III: “We confess that this Word of God was not sent nor delivered by the will of man, but that holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, as the Apostle Peter saith. And that afterwards God, from a special care which he has for us and our salvation, commanded his servants, the prophets and apostles, to commit his revealed word to writing; and he himself wrote with his own finger, the two tables of the law. Therefore we call such writings, holy and divine Scriptures.” In this article our fathers declare that the Word of God was not sent or delivered by the will of man, but that holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. In no sense of the word, therefore, is the Bible to be regarded as a work of man.
Art. V.: “We receive all these books, and these only, as holy and canonical, for the regulation, foundation, and confirmation of our faith; believing without any doubt, all things contained in them, not so much because the Church received and approves them as such, but more especially because the Holy Ghost witnesseth in our hearts, that they are from God, whereof they carry the evidence in themselves. For the very blind are able to perceive that the things foretold in them are fulfilling.”
Art. VI: “We distinguish those sacred books from the apocryphal, viz.: the third and fourth books of Esdras, the books of Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Jesus Syrach, Baruch, the appendix to the book of Esther, the Song of the three Children in the Furnace, the history of Susannah, of Bell and the Dragon, the prayer of Manasses, and the two books of the Maccabees. All of which the Church may read and take instruction from, so far as they agree with the canonical books; but they are far from having such power and efficacy, as that we may from their testimony confirm any point of faith, or of the Christian religion; much less detract from the authority of the other sacred books.”
Art. VII: “We believe that those Holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe, unto salvation, is sufficiently taught therein. For, since the whole manner of worship, which God requires of us, is written in them at large, it is unlawful for any one, though an apostle, to teach otherwise than we are now taught in the Holy Scriptures: nay, though it were an angel from heaven, as the apostle Paul saith. For, since it is forbidden, to add unto or take away anything from the word of God, it doth thereby evidently appear, that the doctrine thereof is most perfect and complete in all respects. Neither do we consider of equal value any writings of men, however holy these men may have been, with those divine Scriptures, nor ought we to consider custom, or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, as of equal value with the truth of God, for the truth is above all; for all men are of themselves liars, and more vain than vanity itself: Therefore, we reject with all our hearts, whatsoever doth not agree with this infallible rule, which the apostles have taught us, saying, Try the spirits whether they are of God. Likewise, if there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house.”
DIVINE INSPIRATION MAINTAINED BY THE SCRIPTURES
First, there are passages in the Word of God that directly teach the doctrine of divine infallible inspiration. We read in Matt. 5:17-18: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Please notice that the Lord declares that not one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law until all be fulfilled. This surely means that all the law and the prophets infallibly speak the truth. In II Tim. 3:16 we read: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” There are those who would read “every scripture” instead of “all scripture.” The idea, then, would be that all that is contained in the Bible is not “scripture,” and that only “every scripture” is given by inspiration of God. Of course, then one stands before the hopeless problem of determining what is and what is not “scripture.” But the test must certainly be understood as reading: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” The whole Bible is inspired by God. “Scripture” always refers in the Bible to the entire Bible.
Secondly, we would call attention to the word “prophet” in the Bible. The meaning of this word surely emphasizes the idea of Divine inspiration. Scripture speaks of the Old Testament as the “law and the prophets.” Of interest are such passages as Ex. 7:1, 4:14-16, Jeremiah 36:17, 18, 1:9, Isaiah 51:16. In Ex. 7:1 we are told that the Lord had made Moses a god unto Pharaoh, and that Aaron his brother would be Moses’ prophet. In Ex. 4:15-16 we read: “And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.” So, Moses will put the words into the mouth of Aaron, and the Lord will be with the mouth of Moses, and He will teach them what they shall do. And in Jeremiah 1:9, 36:17-18 we read: “Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth . . . . . And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us how, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth? Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book.”