Discussing the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, we were calling attention in our last article to this truth as it is maintained in the Word of God. We noted that there are passages in the Bible that directly teach this doctrine of divine inspiration. And we concluded our article by quoting Jeremiah 1:9; Jer. 36:17-18: “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 now, 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.” In the context of Jer. 1:9 we read of Jeremiah’s calling by the Lord to be His prophet. When Jeremiah complains that he cannot be a prophet of the Lord because of his youth, the Lord answers him that he must not object that he is but a child, inasmuch as the Lord will command him the things that he shall say, and that He will touch his mouth and put His words in his mouth. Striking is also the passage in Jer. 36. The Lord had commanded Jeremiah to take a roll of a book and to write therein all the words that He had spoken against Israel, against Judah, and against all the nations, from the days of Josiah until this day (Jer. 36:2). Thereupon Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe, had read this book in the house of the Lord (verse 10). This was reported to the wicked king of Judah, Jehoiakim. This king, sitting in his winter house, sent Jehudi to fetch this roll of the book; and while it was being read to the king, the king cut it with a penknife and cast it into the fire until the entire roll had been consumed, and this in spite of the fact that intercession was made to the king that he should not burn the roll of Jeremiah’s prophecy. The king, destroying the roll, foolishly imagined that he had destroyed the prophecy of the Lord. However, according to verse 27, the Word of the Lord again came to Jeremiah to take unto himself another roll and to write in it all the former words which he had written in the first roll. And to this second roll the Lord added many words which He had not written in the first roll. This clearly indicates the nature of Old Testament prophecy, that the prophets of old wrote exactly as the Lord commanded them. And in Isaiah 51:16 we read: “And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.” Here again we read that the Lord puts His words in the mouth of the prophet.
All these passages emphasize that the prophet was the spokesman of the Lord, the mouth of God, through whom the Lord speaks to the people. Of the prophet we read that “the word of the Lord” is come to this prophet, the “Spirit” is come upon him, the “power” or “hand of the Lord” was upon him. All this signified that the prophet was the organ of God. And this is exactly what we read in II Pet. 1:20, 21.
Besides, in support of the truth that Scripture itself maintains divine inspiration, we call attention to the fact that according to the Word of God, what the prophets said God had spoken. The prophets are represented as speaking the Word of the Lord. Christ Himself declared that David by the Spirit called the Messiah Lord (see Matt. 23:43). David, in the ninety-fifth psalm, writes: “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart;” and the apostle, in Heb. 3:7, declares that these were the words of the Holy Ghost. And in Heb. 10:15, Acts 4:25, and Acts 28:25 we read: “Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost, by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers.”
Treating this subject of divine inspiration, and particularly the inspiration of the New Testament writers, Hodge writes as follows (Vol. 1, 160-161), and we quote: “This proof bears specially, it is true, only on the writings of the Old Testament (Hodge here refers to what he has written immediately prior to this. H.V.). But no Christian puts the inspiration of the Old Testament above that of the New. The tendency, and we may even say the evidence, is directly the other way. If the Scriptures of the old economy were given by inspiration of God, much more were those writings which were penned under the dispensation of the Spirit. Besides, the inspiration of the Apostles is proved, (1) From the fact that Christ promised them the Holy Spirit, who should bring all things to their remembrance, and render them infallible in teaching. it is not you, He said, that speak, but the Spirit of my Father speaketh in you. He that heareth you heareth me. He forbade them to enter upon their office as teachers until they were endued with power from on high. (2) This promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit descended upon the Apostles as a mighty rushing wind, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak as the Spirit gave them utterance (dabat eloqui, as the Vulgate more literally renders the words). From this moment they were new men, with new views, with new spirit, and with new power and authority. The change was sudden. It was not a development. It was something altogether supernatural; as when God said, Let there be light, and there was light. Nothing can be more unreasonable than to ascribe this sudden transformation of the Apostles from narrow minded, bigoted Jews, into enlightened, large minded, catholic Christians, to mere natural causes. Their Jewish prejudices had resisted all the instructions and influences of Christ for three years, but gave way in a moment when the Spirit came upon them on high. (3) After the day of Pentecost the Apostles claimed to be the infallible organs of God in all their teachings. They required men to receive what they taught not as the word of man but as the word of God (I These. 2:13): they declared as Paul does (I Cor. 14:37), that the things which they wrote were the commandments of the Lord. They made the salvation of men depend on faith in the doctrines they taught, Paul pronounces anathema even an angel from heaven who should preach any other gospel than that which he had taught. (Gal. 1:8). John says that whoever did not receive the testimony which he bore concerning Christ, made God a liar, because John’s testimony was God’s testimony. (I John 5:10) He that knoweth God, heareth us; he that is not of God, heareth not us.’ (I John 4:6) This assertion of infallibility, this claim for the divine authority of their teaching, is characteristic of the whole Bible. The sacred writers all, and everywhere, disclaim personal authority; they never rest the obligation to faith in their teachings, on their own knowledge or wisdom; they never rest it on the truth of what they taught as manifest to reason or as capable of being proved by argument. They speak as messengers, as witnesses, as organs. They declare that what they said God said, and, therefore, on his authority it was to be received and obeyed.”
Continuing his treatment of divine inspiration, Hodge, writing on inspiration as it extends equally to all the parts of Scripture, writes, pages 163-164, and we again quote: “This is the fourth element of the Church doctrine on this subject. it means, first, that all the books of Scriptures are equally inspired. All alike are infallible in what they teach. And secondly, that inspiration extends to all the contents of these several books. It is not confined to moral and religious truths, but extends to the statements of facts, whether scientific, historical, or geographical. It is not confined to those facts the importance of which is obvious, or which are involved in matters of doctrine. It extends; to everything which any sacred writer asserts to be true.
“This is proved, (1) Because it is involved in, or follows as a necessary consequence from, the proposition that the sacred writers were the organs of God. If what they assert, God asserts, which, as has been shown, is the Scriptural idea of inspiration, their assertions must be free from error. (2) Because our Lord expressly says, ‘The Scripture cannot be broken’ (John 10:35), i.e., it cannot err. (3) Because Christ and his Apostles refer to all parts of the Scriptures, or to the whole volume, as the word of God. They make no distinction as to the authority of the Law, the Prophets, or the Hagiographa (the third of the three ancient divisions of the Old Testament, comprising all books not reckoned in the Law or the Prophets, H.V.). They quote the Pentateuch, the historical books, the Psalms, and the Prophets, as all and equally the word of God. (4) Because Christ and the writers of the New Testament refer to all classes of facts recorded in the Old Testament as infallibly true. Not only doctrinal facts, such as those of the creation and probation of man (probation?—H.V.); his apostasy; the covenant with Abraham; the giving of the law upon Mount Sinai; not only great historical facts, as the deluge, the deliverance of the people out of Egypt, the passage of the Red Sea, and the like; but incidental of apparently (notice, circumstances, or facts please: ‘apparently,’ H.V.) minor importance, as e.g. that Satan tempted our first parents in the form of a serpent; that Moses lifted up a serpent in the wilderness: that Elijah healed Naaman, the Syrian, and was sent to the widow of Safepta; that David ate the shew-bread in the temple: and even that great stumbling block, that Jonah was three days in the whale’s belly, are all referred to by our Lord and his Apostles with the sublime simplicity and confidence with which they are received by little children. (5) It lies in the very idea of the Bible, that God chose some men to write history; some to indite psalms; some to unfold the future; some to teach doctrines. All were equally his organs, and each was infallible in his own sphere. As the principle of vegetable life pervades the whole plant, the root, stem, and flower; as the life of the body belongs as much to the feet as to the head, so the Spirit of God pervades the whole Scripture, and is not more in one part than in another. Some members of the body are more important than others; and some books of the Bible could be far better spared than others. There may be as great a difference between St. John’s Gospel and the Book of Chronicles as between a man’s brain and his hair; nevertheless the life of the body is as truly in the hair as in the brain.”
DIVINE INSPIRATION AS MAINTAINED BY THE CONFESSIONS
From the Second Helvetic Confession we wish to quote the following from Chapters 1 and 2: “We believe and confess the Canonical Scriptures of the holy prophets and apostles of both Testaments to be the true Word of God, and to have sufficient authority of themselves, not of men. For God himself spake to the fathers, prophets, apostles, and still speaks to us through the Holy Scriptures. . . . .The Apostle Peter has said that ‘the Holy Scriptures are not of any private interpretation’ (II Pet. 1:20). Wherefore we do not despise the interpretations of the holy Greek and Latin fathers, . . . . ; but we do modestly dissent from them when they are found to set down things differing from, or altogether contrary to the Scriptures.”