Inspiration of the Scriptures: The New Testament, Part 1

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 9
In approaching our consideration of the New Testament, it is well to premise that there are two common errors in the present day, and found almost everywhere in Christendom:
1. That the use of the Bible is only to teach persons the way of salvation.
2. That the book of Revelation is too difficult for any one to understand.
As to the first point, it is plainly said that the Scriptures are not only able to make “wise unto salvation through faith which, is in Christ Jesus,” but that every Scripture is God-breathed, or “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, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:15-1715And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:15‑17)). Thus we see that the Scriptures are the complete and all-sufficient guide of man after he has been born of God and saved from coming wrath. There is another point of all importance here. When the inspired Apostle says that “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived,” he turns to Scripture as the only resource in an evil day; and would have Timothy know of whom he had learned the things he had been assured of. If many were asked in the present day from whom they had learned this doctrine and that, they would find it difficult to reply; some would say, “Our church teaches it.” Now, true Spirit-taught and Spirit-led souls would say they learned it from the Scriptures, and therefore they can assert its divine authority. This is the exercise of faith, and nothing short of it can be pleasing to God. And as to the expression, “Our church teaches,” it is not only unauthorized by the Scriptures, but exactly opposite to Scripture, for there we learn that, instead of the church teaching, the church is taught, and built up by various gifts from an ascended Saviour (Eph. 4:11-1211And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11‑12)). If any take refuge in another snare, that such and such doctrines must be true because the clergy have accepted them, we do well to remember that “the faith was once delivered to the saints,” and is therefore the common possession of all true believers. The Scriptures, not clever men, or preachers, or traditions, are our resource in these evil days; but we are enjoined to have that abiding in us that which we have heard from the beginning; that is, the beginning of Christianity (1 John 2:2424Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. (1 John 2:24)).
It has been truly said, that the church has no power to give authority to the written Word, because it is the Word of God; but, on the contrary, the Word speaks to us of the authority of the Lord in the church, for He is Lord of all. The Scriptures call for submission, because they are God’s Word; by their own moral evidence and intrinsic authority, they commend themselves to the conscience. Confidence in them, as the Word of God is to us of infinite value.
As to the book of Revelation being too difficult to be understood, it is only another instance of man’s perversion of what is of God; for “Revelation” means revealing, or making known, which is surely something exactly opposite to difficult and inexplicable. Those who approach that book in unfeigned dependence on God’s teaching by His Spirit, not only will certainly have the blessing promised in the third verse, but will have an intelligence as to things around, and their hearts drawn into the path of devotedness in a way that they could not otherwise have known.
With regard to “every scripture being God-breathed,” if they were merely the expression of the judgment of even good men, we should then have only human instead of divine authority, and have no basis for faith, no authority of God on which to rest. Those, therefore, who deny inspiration are always restless, and have nothing but uncertainty as to the eternal future.
We shall be told by some that the human element is easily perceived in the sacred writings; to which we reply, of this there is no doubt. No one can be familiar with the writings of Paul, John, Peter, or James, without being struck with the style with which each sets forth his particular line of truth. The same thing is seen in the Old Testament. How different was the manner in which Moses, Isaiah, David, Jeremiah and others, communicated the instruction for which the Spirit of God employed them. No doubt God not only selected His workmen, but each at the very time, and in the state and circumstances He was pleased to appoint, as best suited to carry out His mind and will. He called into the service of inspiration a king or a fisherman, a man of wealth or of poverty, a learned man brought up at Gamaliel’s feet, or an unlearned, a mighty man or a feeble woman, just as it pleased Him. He used their tongues, tears, affections, memories, or pens. He instructed them by direct intercourse with Himself, by visions, dreams, what others had written, or by the Spirit’s teaching and revelation. He used them in a palace, or a dungeon; in a shipwreck, or before magistrates; in poverty, or in abundance; in distress, or in joy, or other circumstances; as well as concerning what they saw, and heard, and felt. He who had used all kinds of instruments in the history of His people to accomplish His purposes, could use any means He was pleased to select in giving us His own revelation of His will. All are His servants.
The various writers were not only enlightened, but they were inspired. In giving us their writings, they acted not according to their own will, but in so doing, carried out God’s will; so that what they communicated is over and over again called “the Word of God.” For example, in the Old Testament we read, “The Spirit of God came upon Azariah,” and, “The Word of God came unto Nathan, saying,” etc., and in the New Testament we read of one who had “abundance of revelations,” and of his communicating to believers what he had received, as “the Word of the Lord.”
No doubt, God could do without men in communicating His mind if He saw fit. An unseen hand has written it on the plaster of the wall. He also opened the mouth of an ass to speak with man’s voice. He can use any instrument He pleases. He has also put words by His Spirit into the mouth of a wicked Balaam, and allowed the foul betrayer to work miracles as the other apostles. But He is usually pleased, in His loving kindness and tender mercy, to take up such in His service as walk in His fear. He has also caused the words and ways of Satan and wicked men to be recorded, but the writer was inspired to write so much or so little of them as suited the will of God, in exposing their wickedness, and in ministering for our warning and blessing. Faith rejoices in the perfect love and almighty power of our Saviour God.
(To be Continued).