Monday, March 27, 2017

One Bible – One Author


One Bible – One Author

          The lost world is floundering within the dark and stifling depths of their own spiritual ignorance.  There is a hopeless despair in humanity’s lost estate of unbelief in the Bible.  Most professing Christians have never been properly discipled to know the doctrines that come to us in the depth of understanding God’s inspired Words.  Such people are willfully content to live in the darkness of their ignorance because within that darkness they never see their own failings or their moral obligations to live to be light in the darkness.  Without the Bible, humanity would know nothing more of the God than what rationalism and reason might provide. 

God, Who “commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 4:6).  Willful ignorance of the Bible is gross moral failure.  A believer’s willful ignorance of the Bible extinguishes the light of Truth that God gives to humanity.  Jesus spoke to this issue in Luke 11:29-36 in rebuke to the Jews who continued to want miraculous proofs from God when God had already given them the testimony of His Word.  The intent of Scripture was to inwardly light the believer with the intimate knowledge of God.

29 And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation {the evil was unbelief because they sought for additional sight miracles when they already had God’s written Word}: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet {God sent a prophet to the Ninevites with the Word of God}. 30 For as Jonas was a sign {the idea is that the messenger and the Message of repentance and redemption was the miracle} unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. 31 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here {refers to Jesus as the incarnate Word of God; John 1:1 and 14}. 32 The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here {refers to Jesus as the incarnate Word of God; John 1:1 and 14}. 33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle {referring metaphorically to the Word of God}, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick {God gave His Word to be read and studied so as to inwardly ‘light’ the believer}, that they which come in may see the light. 34 The light of the body is the eye {the eye brings spiritual understanding into the body through sight and reading God’s Word}: therefore when thine eye is single {having no worldly philosophical input}, thy whole body also is full of light {knowledge and understanding of God}; but when thine eye is evil {mostly worldly philosophical input}, thy body also is full of darkness {ignorance of God}. 35 Take heed therefore that the light {knowledge of God} which is in thee be not darkness {false doctrine}. 36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light {right doctrine}, having no part dark {false doctrine}, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light” (Luke 11:29-36).

          The first obligation of every believer is to know the Word of God so that he might know the God Who inspired the Word of God.  It is this intimate knowledge of God and His will for our lives that is the “light” that comes into us through reading and studying God’s Word.  There is a basic knowledge of God’s existence ingrained within every human being born into this world (“the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world”; John 1:9).  However, this ingrained knowledge of God’s existence is basically ignorant of Who and What God is.  This is why the innumerable types of false worship practices in idolatry and paganism are so rampant.  These types of worship practices usually are satanic traps that imprison people to their own carnal propensities capitalizing on their fears.  This is what religion always does.  God hates religion.  Even the Jews had corrupted the Law to the degree that they made a prison of oppression out its Truths. 

31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word {the idea is to live what God’s Word teaches}, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you” (John 8:31-37).

          We must understand that the words “because my word hath no place in you” (John 8:37), were spoken to the those who professed faith in God’s Word.  They believed they practiced a strict interpretation of the Words of God.  However, their great failure was that they saw themselves righteous in their own works.  Therefore, they were self-righteous.  No one, understanding a strict interpretation of God’s Word, could ever conclude that he was somehow righteous in his own works.  The first Beatitude is “Blessed are the poor in spirit”; meaning those that understand their own bankruptcy in self-righteousness.  God’s Truth is to be known and live, not tread upon by manipulation, disregard, and disobedience.  We do not reverence God if we do not reverence His Word in a way that sees our lives through His eyes. 

      Humans are by nature lazy and judgmental people.  We look upon the man who has just come from the pig pen with manure on his boots to venture into the city for supplies.  His looks offend sophisticated senses exceeded only by the smells coming from him.  He is immediately judge as being uneducated and uncouth.  Few will see him as a hard-working family man trying to support a family and raise his children to be hard working, respectful citizens.  Fewer yet will ever invest the time to know his heart and to try to understand him as a fellow human being.  Such things take time.  Humans are too busy with sports and entertainment for such things as knowing and loving our neighbors.  If we are too busy to know and love those we see each day, how can we invest the time needed to know and love the invisible God Who gives us life?  In most part, humans are shallow, superficial beings.

When quoting from a particular book of the Bible, we often find ourselves saying, Moses said” . . ., or “Paul said” . . .  Most people credit the books of the Bible to human authors.  Moses is said to have written the Pentateuch; the first five books of the Bible.  That certainly is true – Moses did write them.  However, Moses was not the author of those five books of the Bible.  Moses was merely the secretary that took God’s dictation of the very Words in the syntax that God gave him.  God authored these five books along with the all the other sixty-one books of the Bible. 

12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. 13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. 15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. 16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by {the agency or means} the Holy Ghost (II Peter 1:12-21).

       We speak of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures and at the same time give credit of authorship to numerous men.  When dealing with this issue at my ordination, I was asked if God inspired the Bible or did God inspire the men who wrote the Bible.  My answer was yes to both inquiries.  God breathed out the Words of the Bible and God chose certain men to record those Words exactly as He had breathed them out.  The word “moved” in II Peter 1:21 is what defines God inspiring men to write down his Words.  The word “moved” is translated from the Greek word phero (fer’-o), which means to be compelled or driven, like the wind drives the sailboat, “by the Holy Spirit” to speak the Word from Heaven.
          L.S. Chafer in his Systematic Theology gives three qualifying considerations regarding the inspiration of Scripture.  Each should be carefully considered.

1. Inspiration provides that the exact divine message be given.  If it is God’s Truth which is reported, it is recorded exactly.  If it is Satan’s lie, it is presented as a lie, for inspiration does not change a lie into truth.  If it is history, it is true to the facts.  If it is prophecy, it indicates precisely what will come to pass.
2. Inspiration aims at inspired writings and not at inspired men.  The very infallible Scriptures themselves record the sins and failures of the human authors.
3. Since we depend upon the Bible alone for the knowledge of the most vital facts of our existence, there is every reason to contend for the divine accuracy of God’s Word and to be grateful that it is ‘God-breathed’ and therefore not merely as fallible as its human writers, but is as infallible as its divine Author.”[1] (bolding added)

          The weaknesses and pride of men would corrupt the Scriptures if they were to choose what was to be recorded as God’s Word.  Do we honestly think David would have written of his many failures if he could have chosen the record of his own history?  The nature of sinful man is to write history favorable to their own reputations.  Most men would mask their failings behind false piety emphasizing their accomplishments, not their failures.  Would Solomon have written the self-deprecating book of Ecclesiastes if he could have chosen his own words to record his numerous Hedonistic failures?  In almost every other instance of human history, the accuracy of that history was manipulated and aggrandized by those that controlled the writing of it.  This is not the case with inspiration of Scripture as evidenced by the accurate and honest historical records of Word of God.

There are many today, claiming to be fundamentalists, who get angry and offended at the single Authorship view of Scripture, or what is often described as the dictation view of inspiration.  We do not know how God accomplished the insurance of His choice of every Word placed within His chosen syntax.  We only know by faith that God did this because of His statements in the Bible – Autopisticism.
     The essence of the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible rests within the context of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible according to the singular authorship of God.  Verbal and plenary inspiration of the Bible is God’s choice of Words within the historical context of the use of those Words within the syntax that communicates the exact message that God wants communicated.  Preservation is God’s promise to preserve those exact Words and syntax throughout the generations of humanity.  Therefore, preservation of His inspired Words and the syntax in which they are placed is promised only in the original languages.  Translations of the original inspired Words of the Bible are not a second level or second degree of God’s inspiration.  Although it certainly is apparent that God was involved in the historical event that brought together the large number of incredible linguistic scholars that spent seven years translating the original inspired languages into English through a method known as Formal Equivalency

        Another question that is often asked when dealing with the single authorship of the Bible by God is, “How can you explain the many different writing styles credited to certain men regarding the books they wrote?”  The point is, we cannot explain these different writing styles.  Simply because we cannot explain something does not mean that such inability should explain away the Divine Authorship of the Bible.  These are the types of questions that seek to create incredibility and casts doubts regarding the verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture.  When these kinds of questions arise, we must simply return to an autopistic belief in II Timothy 3:16 –17; “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 perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 

          In 1978, the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy met in Chicago, Illinois and formulated a statement that was entitled, “Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.”  It was signed by about three-hundred noted Evangelical scholars.  Although, the vast majority of these men were Reformed in their theology, their statement is a solid representation of the historical view of verbal, plenary inspiration.  It is as follows:

A Short Statement

1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge.  Holy Scripture is God’s witness to Himself.
2. Holy Scripture, being God’s own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it affirms: obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises.
3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture’s divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.
4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives.
5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible’s own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.[2]

The number five statement is particularly relevant to the subject of this treatise.  Certainly “[t]he authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired” if the inspired texts of original inspired languages are not preserved.  If inspiration does not mean that God superintended over human secretaries, the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture immediate comes under scrutiny for the viability of such claims.  Such is the case mitigated by the many professing Christians who deny both the dictation view of inspiration or those who deny the verbal, plenary preservation of God’s original inspired Words. 

In that same meeting, the 1978 International Council on Biblical Inerrancy explained and defined the above five statements with twenty-nine Articles of Affirmation and Denial.  At least three of these articles pertinent to the subject of this treatise are given below:
Article VI.
WE AFFIRM that the whole of Scripture and all its parts, down to the very words of the original, were given by divine inspiration.
WE DENY that the inspiration of Scripture can rightly be affirmed of the whole without the parts, or of some parts but not the whole.
Article VII.
WE AFFIRM that inspiration was the work in which God by His Spirit, through human writers, gave us His Word.  The origin of Scripture is divine.  The mode of divine inspiration remains largely a mystery to us. (underlining added)
WE DENY that inspiration can be reduced to human insight, or to heightened states of consciousness of any kind.
Article VIII.
WE AFFIRM that God in His work of inspiration utilized the distinctive personalities and literary styles of the writers whom He had chosen and prepared.
WE DENY that God, in causing these writers to use the very words that He chose, overrode their personalities.[1]

         The issue before us is every Word inspiration and preservation of the Words of God, not merely the Word of God.  For many using the terms, there is a subtle form of deception connected to the use of the phrase inspiration and preservation of the Word of God.  This deception is that the vast majority of people using this terminology do not believe in the preservation of the Words of God in any Greek text, or even group of Greek texts.  The phrase inspiration and preservation of the Word of God is the terminology of Textual Reconstructionists who are unwilling to admit they do not believe we have the inspired Words of God preserved for us by God.  They believe this preservation exists only in Heaven.  The verbal plenary inspiration of the Word of God is a practically meaningless and dead doctrine if the verbal plenary preservation of the Words of God is not true.  There would be no practical reality to which a believer might cling with surety if the verbal plenary inspired Words of God do not exist anywhere for us to read and study. 
[1] Chafer, Lewis Sperry. Essential Works of Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871-1952), president of Dallas Theological Seminary, SwordSearcher\Modules\LSChafer.ss6book. Module file time: 7/4/2012 1:49:06 PM UTC, 7.02 The Bible: Inspired of God.
[2] link available to whole eight-page statement, THE CHICAGO STATEMENT ON BIBLICAL INERRANCY
[3] Ibid
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Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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