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Inspiration & Authority of Scripture

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
September 15, 2020 12:01 am

Inspiration & Authority of Scripture

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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September 15, 2020 12:01 am

All of Scripture, down to the individual words penned by the prophets and Apostles, has been breathed forth by the Holy Spirit. Today, R.C. Sproul discusses the authority and inspiration of the Bible.

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The apostle Paul says that all Scripture is God breathed the point that we have here the policymaking is this astonishing claim what he says all of these writings all withdraw five are given by divine inspiration, especially in a society. The landlord rejects the supernatural or the critics say things like there's no way to verify that statement scientifically.

So what does it mean when we say that all Scripture is from God. That is absolutely trustworthy.

That is without error. This week on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul will help us form the foundation for our doctrine of the Bible time of the 16th century Reformation course, the historians look back and say that the chief debate. The crucial issue that provoked that controversy which is called the material cause of the Reformation was the doctrine of justification by faith alone. But lurking behind-the-scenes and slightly under the present view was another issue that was very, very important. That was the question of authority. When Luther was engaged in debate with the leaders of the church over the doctrine of justification, and he had his disputations with page attendant and with ack with the meetings that life's a can of Augsburg. Luther was maneuvered into position where he had to confess publicly that his views did not agree with previous statements that the church had made in church Council and also that his views didn't agree with certain statements that had been issued by former hopes of the church that provoked quite a crisis. For Luther, because the question was how dare you question the authority of the church or the authority of the Pope and Luther finally at the bottom for set and less unconvinced by sacred Scripture, or by other reason I can't recant for my consciences held captive by the word of God, and out of that conflict came the slogan at that time called Sola script Torah and behind that brief little slogan which means simply the Scripture alone. Luther and the reformers were saying that there is only one authority. Ultimately, that has the absolute right to bind our consciences, no Luther didn't demean the lesser authority of the church or the importance of historic church councils like Nicaea and Chalcedon and the rest of the say. Even those church councils don't have the same authority or the same level of authority that the Bible has. And now, this focus attention on the nature and basis for such biblical authority. Now fundamental to the reformers view of the primacy of Scripture and of the authority of Scripture was the question of the Bible's authorship. Notice the closeness between these two words authority and authorship. They both contain the word author in it and what the reformers were saying is that though it is certainly true that in the scope and movement and progression of human history, the Bible appeared one book or one letter at a time written by human beings like you and I that nevertheless the primary author the ultimate author of the Bible is not Paul or Luke or Jeremiah or Moses, but rather the ultimate author of the Bible is God himself. That is the idea that God exercise his authority through the writings of human authors who were his spokespersons to reveal himself to the world.

So the question obviously that we face and how is it possible that human authors can be invested with the authority of God. We saw in our last session, the prophets, for example, would frequently say before they would utter their words not thus saith Jeremiah but they would say, thus saith the Lord that the prophets claimed that their message came from God and that they were merely communicating to their hearers that which had its origin in God. That's why historically to Latin phrases have been used frequently to refer to the nature of sacred Scripture. One is that it is the where of them day and another one is that it is the walks they, and the wearable Monday means of course the word of God and what we call the box day names, the voice of God and the reformers such as Luther and Calvin believed that even though God did not personally write down the words on paper or on parchment for the original Scriptures, but that the Bible is no less is word then if it were delivered to us directly from heaven or if God would've been heard to speak audibly in the clouds that that would make that word no more is word than it is right now. So that raises this whole question of what we call the inspiration of the Bible may direct your attention back to second Timothy 316, which we've looked at for another reason earlier to consider the value and importance of theology now as I promise. Then will go back and examine what this text has to say about the Scripture. Paul writing to Timothy says in verse 16 of second Timothy chapter 3, all Scripture is given by inspiration of God. Now when Paul writes these words he uses the term Grau fly, which is the word for Scripture now in a general loose sense.

The term Grau fly simply means writings and somebody could come to this text and say will Paul was saying that everything that's ever been written down is inspired of God, no, that for the Jewish people. The phrase, it is written, was a technical term that they all understood to have specific reference to the biblical writings and also among the Jewish people. The term Grau phi had specific reference to the Old Testament. And this is significant here because when Paul is writing here.

He may not be including his own writings. Although Peter does later on in his epistles to conclude Paul's writings with the rest of the Scripture, but the term Scripture here has specific reference to the Old Testament and then later, by extension, incorporates the writings of the apostles in the New Testament.

But the point that we have here the policymaking is this astonishing claim when he says that all of these writings all the Grau phi are given by divine inspiration. What's he saying here. Now this may be a little bit confusing and so were going to have to work our way through the following matters with some caution and some care in the church we have a doctrine called inspiration in the English translation of first Timothy 316 that I just read uses the term inspiration, but I think that we must make a distinction between the use of the term inspiration here and the way it's used theologically in the history of the church because says Dr. BB Warfield once pointed out so eloquently the real meaning of this text here in second Timothy 316, has to do, not so much with the way in which God communicated his information to us through the human writers, but rather the emphasis in this text is on the source of that information. What Paul is saying he uses the word file newest and I'll write that out in English.

The newest in the Greek here when he says all Scripture is given by inspiration literally what this word means is God breathed and it means that which God has breathed out, rather than that which God breathes in.

Now I was this ready to give my next sentence after finishing that sentence and I noticed that in between that last sentence in the next sentence. I had to pause and take a breath because in order for me to speak.

I have to have breath in my lungs. And while I'm speaking. If I continue to speak and don't take a breath while I continue this paper is all right starts quaking like a mouse right right out of breath after brief because when I speak I'm breathing out and in order to breathe out.

I must first breathe in. Now the force of what Paul is saying here is that he is saying that all of Scripture is breathed out from God, when we breathe out.

That means we are involved in acts operation in the sense of dying that we expired death because we breathe out for the last time Henry don't breathe in anymore but to breathe out is expiration, whereas debris then is inspiration. The really if we were getting real technical here. We should translate this phrase that all Scripture is given by expiration now. So what was the difference between expiration inspiration. Here again the point that I'm jealous to make here is that what Paul is saying when he insists that all of the Scripture has been breathed out by God, he is saying that its ultimate origin is in him.

It is his word.

It is his speech.

It is he is the one who is the source of these writings now that's obviously assumed in the doctrine that we call inspiration, and when we speak of inspiration as a concept we are talking about the work of God the Holy Spirit whom we read at various points in the Scripture comes upon people and so anoints them by his power that he inspires them to write what they write.

Not out of their own auspices, but rather that they are writing the true word of God again how he does it is nowhere defined in Scripture, but that it is not of human initiation is made clear. And so when we talk about the doctrine of inspiration were talking about the way in which God's superintendence, the writing of sacred Scripture that God does not just act and let people respond with their own insight and their own imagination to set forth their view of what God has done, but that God is working by the Holy Spirit to superintend that record to make sure that the records that is written is is word now. There's been lots of controversies over this doctrine of inspiration and some people have charged Orthodox Christianity was teaching a class type of what's called mechanical inspiration or sometimes called the dictation theory. This is the idea that men who were the authors were reduced to robots or to machines who had no room for their own personality or their own concerns in the writing of the Bible, but they were almost Ouija boards in the hands of God who are involved in automatic writing were God was controlling their hand as they wrote the words on the parchment or that inspiration involved a verbal specific dictation were God said, write this down this is I might say to my secretary take this letter and then I dictated and though the words are written by her on the page, it is still my message because I have dictated and all she did was to write it down now in explaining the doctrine of inspiration. The church has always distanced herself from this kind of simplistic view of the matter. Although there have been a couple of times in church history where words have been used by the church that the critics have jumped on to assume that the church was teaching such a doctrine.

For example, John Calvin said that in a certain sense the prophets and the apostles served as a menu and sees which is a fancy word for secretary for God well insofar as that they were agents to communicate his words they were a menu and seeks but that does not carry with it a doctrine of dictation by way of explaining the mode also in the Council of Trent the Roman Catholic Church says that the Scripture comes to us through the operation of the Holy Spirit and they use the term at Trent and Latin Dick Aponte. That is, they say, the Holy Spirit dictated but even then it would be unfair to the church of Rome and to the Council of Trent the say that they here in our giving us a whole explanation of how the inspiration of Scripture functions.

I'd rather assist a manner of speaking that is there. Basically we don't know how God superintended the writing down of sacred Scripture, but the salient point for the church today is that what we have in Scripture, though it contains the personalities the vocabularies the concerns of the human writers that the human writers were writing under the supervision of God, and they were not doing this in their own power.

If they were simply writing under their own power, we would expect them to make all kinds of errors and on our next lecture we will explore the whole question of the infallibility of Scripture and the inerrancy of Scripture which are issues that have been raging for quite some time, but right now were talking about the inspiration of Scripture.

Also, historically, the church is believed that the inspiration of the Bible is verbal, that is to say that it extends not simply to the broad outline of the information that is communicated by the earthly authors but rather that the Holy Spirit's operation of superintendence applies to the very words of Scripture themselves. That's one of the reasons why the church is been so zealous to reconstruct this carefully as possible the original manuscripts of the Bible and have given such care to studying the word meanings of ancient Hebrew and Greek terms because every word carries with it the importance of divine authority to recall the debate that Jesus had with Satan in the wilderness during his temptation. How that debate focused back and forth on citations from Scripture and sometimes geniuses will make his case against the devil or against the Pharisees by the turn not just of a phrase but of a single war and Jesus himself said that not a jot or a tittle of the law shall pass away until all is fulfilled. At that point Jesus view of inspiration was even more detailed and specific than being verbal it was jot until inspiration for our Lord say that what he meant. Obviously by that expression is that there's not a word in the law of God that is superfluous or that is simply open to negotiation. It all carries with it the weight of the binding authority of its ultimate author, in our day and age, with the avalanche of criticism against the Bible. There been attempts to get out from under this concept of inspiration.

We know that in the bold money in school and the neoliberal school the whole idea of any kind of divine origin. The Scripture has been rejected in a wholesale manner. The Orthodox theology which, among other things, was concerned to restore the preaching of the Bible to the church and to give a higher view of the Bible than what was left from 19th century liberalism also rejects verbal inspiration and rejects propositional revelation. Karl Barth, for example, says that the way in which God reveals himself is through events, not propositions, which is a very very serious matter because the Bible is not merely a narrative record of events where we are told the story of what happened and then left for ourselves. To interpret its meaning. But the Bible gives us not only the record of what happened, but the authoritative apostolic and prophetic interpretation of the meaning of that event across is not a negative event that God performs in history and says you interpret its meaning.

We understand how people looked at it differently. For many of the disciples.

It was a tragic disillusionment for Pontius Pilate.

It was a matter of political expediency as it was for Caiaphas. It was a matter of political expediency and Paul when he expounds on the meaning of the cross talks about it as a cosmic act of redemption where it was in the atonement offered to satisfy the justice of God that would not be immediately apparent by just looking at the event were also the neo-orthodox theologians would say that the Bible is not revelation but it is a's likeness, or a witness to revelation, and in that sense that reduces the level of authority for the Bible significantly say what we give it lip services have some historic significance.

It's the primary source of our information of the historical Jesus and it bears witness to the truth but it is not necessarily itself a revelation. Orthodox Christianity says anomaly bears witness to the truth. It is the truth. It is the actual embodiment of divine revelation on this point beyond itself, but in and of itself gives to us, nothing less veritable word disaster right near the top of the most critical doctrines in the church and what we believe about the Bible influences our understanding of every other doctrine were thankful for Dr. RC Sproul's clear teaching today. You're listening to Renewing Your Mind and and thank you for being with us. Understanding Scripture will be our focus all week on the program. These are lessons from Marcy's overview of systematic theology we call it foundations and 60 lessons. He covers the biblical doctrines of the Holy Spirit. Salvation. Sin in the church, among others.

He carefully points out that the Bible is perfectly consistent throughout. This is a 20 DVD said he would like to send it to you for your donation of any amount to Ligonier ministries. You can go online to give your or you can call us at 800-435-4343 believers around the world need to hear the deep truths of the Bible and because of your financial support were hearing from listeners like Adam in the Middle East when any class is prone to choosing by God.

It was amazingly amazing to see how God chosen us from the foundation of that he's changing my mind to my heart.

Looking forward to chair discuss the food for people thought I am ready to share with people the to encourage these people. Thank you so much foot being kind for me.

God bless you now more than ever the truth of the gospel needs to be heard and we thank you for your support, what we hear theologians talk about the Bible being infallible and inerrant. What do they mean by that. I've taken spelling tests where we have 20 questions and I got all of them right.

My test was inerrant.

I didn't require the inspiration of the Holy Ghost to do that. And of course to be inerrant for a small period of time could not make me infallible, as subsequent spelling tests would verify RC will define those terms tomorrow and tell us the difference between inerrancy and infallibility. We hope you'll join us for the Wednesday edition of Renewing Your Mind

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