Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 15 No. 8 August 2013
Page 9

The Inspiration of the New Testament

John AllanThe restoration plea calls for a return to the Scriptures from an understanding that they are given by the inspiration of God. If the Bible is not the Word of God, then the restoration plea is misplaced. Thankfully, we can have full confidence that the Bible is the Word of God.

Many things about the Bible speak to its inspiration. The Bible’s many predictive prophecies are arguably the most impressive evidence. The longevity of the Bible is also a subtle supporting argument for its inspiration; no other work of literature has survived for so long and been preserved as well as the Scriptures.

In addition to evidences such as these, the Bible testifies of itself that it is the Word of God. In Luke 24, Jesus spoke of Old Testament books in such a way as to entail all of them and leave no doubt that He viewed those books as inspired. “Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning me’” (Luke 24:44 NKJV).

Some have no difficulty affirming that the Old Testament is from God, but refuse to accept that the New Testament can also rightly be described as Scripture. In truth, both Testaments were given by inspiration of God.

The apostle Paul told Timothy “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Because this passage included mention of the Gospel message preached by Paul (2 Timothy 3:10) and the Scriptures we now refer to as the Old Testament (2 Timothy 3:15), we can safely conclude that Paul viewed both testaments as inspired.

The apostle Peter told Christians that he would keep reminding them of things they already knew because they would need to know those things after he died (2 Peter 1:12-15). He went on to assure them that the Gospel message that he and the other apostles had proclaimed was legitimate: “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:19-21).

Just as the prophecies that predicted Jesus Christ came from God, so too the fulfillment of those prophecies came from God. Since Peter’s readers understood how to treat the “prophecy of Scripture,” they were to apply that same understanding to their treatment of the Gospel message.

In 1 Timothy 5:18, the apostle Paul quoted from an Old Testament verse (Deuteronomy 25:4) and a New Testament verse (Luke 10:7), but he referred to them both as “Scripture.” Clearly, Paul did not consider God’s inspired Word to be limited to the Old Testament.

These passages have been considered so that we can state with confidence that both the Old Testament and the New Testament both were given by inspiration of God. As Peter explained, the Scriptures did not originate with man (2 Peter 1:20-21). Instead the Holy Spirit used certain men to record the heavenly message. These men were not merely “taking dictation” or being some sort of “divine stenographer.” The Holy Spirit worked through each writer’s own vocabulary and style, and yet insured that God’s message was properly recorded.

The Bible is the Word of God. What a blessing that we can study it and obey!

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them

T. Pierce BrownThe subtitle of this article might be, “Stop, look and listen.” My least granddaughter, Chelsea, almost 3-years-old, came into my study while I was sitting in front of my computer working on my workbook, The Mind of Christ. She said, “Paka, may I do my artificials?” I felt sure I would like to see her do her artificials, but I had no idea what they were. So I asked. (That is the proper thing to do when you do not know something. It is seldom proper to hide your ignorance from a child – or any other person – for they will soon find out anyway.) She replied, “They are compediate letters.” That sounded like a good word, from “com,” a Latin prefix meaning “with” and “pedi,” a Latin form meaning “foot,” but I did not remember it, so I punched the buttons on my computer for the Thesaurus and it was not there. Then, I got up and went to my big unabridged Webster’s of over 3,200 pages and did not find it. So I stopped and said, “Show me what you mean.”

She sat down at the keyboard and ran her little stubby fingers over it at random. Since I knew that she knew at least part of the alphabet, and do not like to see people wasting time when they can be doing something constructive, I said, “Why do you not type the alphabet?” She replied, “No, not now. I just want to do artificials.”

After looking and listening for a while, I discovered that “artificials” were not real meaningful letters, but were made just by playing around on the keyboard. Although I am sure she had never heard anyone use the word “compediate,” I thought, “Since she said that is the same as “artificials,” maybe that means ‘just walk your fingers through the keyboard at random.’ After all, if a brilliant mathematician has a right to make up “googol” to refer to a number so big he can’t use it, or a scientist has a right to make up “argon,” as a Greek term for an inert gas, meaning “it will not work,” I suppose Chelsea has a right to make up a word with Latin derivation that eventually means “working with letters that do not really mean anything, which – are, therefore, artificial.”

One of the better lessons I got from that experience is that if we stop, look and listen, we may learn something – even from little children. If we do not learn anything else, we can at least learn what they mean.

That principle is valid in all teaching and communication of any sort. Even those of us who have been teaching teachers how to teach for many years may forget that teaching is really a two-way street – not just imparting information in the hope that some of what you mean will soak in, but listening for feedback to see what your words mean to the persons you are trying to teach.

Another small and incidental lesson which is hard for me to learn is that a person does not always have to be doing what I think is constructive and useful to be doing something that is worthwhile for them. Solomon might have put it, “There is a time for every event under heaven – a time to work and a time to play.” Both grandfather and granddaughter can learn from playing if they will take the time to do it – and look and listen while they are doing it.

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