Inspiration of the Scriptures: The New Testament, Part 2

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 12
We have had the most incontestable proofs of the Old Testament Scriptures being inspired, and authenticated by our Lord and His apostles. Our Lord honored, obeyed, and used the very words of the Old Testament; and with the apostles an appeal to their authority was final. As to the inspiration of the New Testament, we are told by an inspired Apostle, “which things [the things of God] also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth” (1 Cor. 2:1313Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:13)), and at the same time he emphatically disallows all ability in the natural man, either to know, receive, or to communicate the things of God. So completely does the Spirit of God teach, that He alone is the source of the Scriptures of truth, that though Paul had been caught up into the third heaven, yet we never find him on this account asserting any competency for divine things apart from the Holy Spirit.
Although the New Testament Scriptures are equally inspired as the Old, and are interwoven with many hundreds of quotations from it, yet the instruments employed in giving us the sacred writings were somewhat different. Thus we find that the Old Testament prophets did not understand their own prophecies, and searched as to what they signified; yet they knew they were ministering to others rather than to themselves, even unto us who now have the ministry of the Holy Ghost come down from heaven. Their prophecies testified also to “the sufferings of Christ and the glories which should follow” so that the church on earth formed no part of their ministry. We know from other scriptures that the church was not revealed in the Old Testament, although now we can go back to it and find typical instruction concerning the church. We are emphatically taught, that the revelation of the church or assembly was “hid in God,” “kept secret since the world began,” and “not made known” till Saul of Tarsus was called by divine grace. We have, therefore, in the Old Testament after the call of Abraham, Israel and the heathen or Gentile nations; but in the New Testament we have Jews, Gentiles, and the church of God (1 Cor. 10:3232Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: (1 Corinthians 10:32). See also 1 Peter 1:10-1410Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. 13Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: (1 Peter 1:10‑14); Rom. 16:2525Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, (Romans 16:25); Eph. 3:3,5,93How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, (Ephesians 3:3)
5Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; (Ephesians 3:5)
9And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: (Ephesians 3:9)
There is an important text in 2 Timothy 2:1515Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15), “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Now this rightly dividing the word of truth does not simply mean, as many say, giving to the saint and sinner each their portion, but it is cutting in a straight line the word of truth. In consequence of the accomplishment of eternal redemption, and the coming down of the Holy Ghost because of Christ being glorified, believers are brought into a totally different position and state to what could possibly have been known before. Then from the second chapter of Acts, when the Holy Spirit came down to indwell believers, and abide with us forever, we have the truth flowing out by the inspired apostles, and made known as could not have been made known before (1 Cor. 2:9-109But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9‑10)). We judge, therefore, that we rightly divide, or cut in a straight line the word of truth, when we accept, as in contrast with God’s earthly people, our standing in Christ in the heavenlies, and know our union with Him by the Holy Spirit sent down by Him in ascension as Lord and Christ, and given to be the Head over all things to His assembly which is His body, the fullness of Him which filleth all in all (Eph. 1:19-2319And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:19‑23)).
No doubt what is known as dispensational truth is also included in “rightly dividing [or cutting in a straight line] the word of truth.” Hence we find some scriptures which apply to God’s earthly people, the Jews; and others which especially belong to His heavenly people, the church — the body and bride of Christ. We have also instruction concerning millennial saints, and other Old Testament saints, the reign of Christ, and more.
The New Testament was written after the coming of the Holy Spirit, hence the intelligence of these inspired writers compared with the Old Testament prophets. Again, we do not find apostles saying, “Thus saith Jehovah,” because their relationship was not with God as Jehovah, but with the Father and the Son. Hence they wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and the like.
When Paul wrote to the Galatians, he reminded them that he had received the gospel which he preached, from the Lord Himself, and not of man, nor by man; and so divinely-given did he know his ministry to be, that he could solemnly declare, “though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” How could he possibly use such language unless he had known it to be given him by the Lord? We may remember, perhaps, that when he was converted by a sight of the Lord Jesus in heaven, he was then told, “I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee” (Acts 26:1616But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; (Acts 26:16)); so there is the plainest possible evidence that the Apostle Paul received his commission for the ministry of the Word immediately from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
The New Testament, like the Old, is also presented to us in three parts.
1. We have first the gospels, and Acts 1, giving us the coming into the world of the Only-begotten; His birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, and His bidding His disciples to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit, and assuring them, by angelic ministry, that He shall so come in like manner as His disciples saw Him go into heaven.
2. From Acts 2, to the coming of our Lord for us, we have another portion of the New Testament chiefly occupied with the church of God on earth; its calling, endowments, ministry, and hope.
3. The book of Revelation, and other prophetic writings in the epistles and gospels, which give us the divine estimate of everything here, and God’s judgment of evil, and the translation and reign of saints with Christ, concluding with the new heaven and new earth, in which righteousness will dwell.
With regard to the four gospels, they are almost entirely occupied with our Lord’s own ways, ministry, and works. We are told that the “words” He spake, He received from the Father; so perfect was He as Man in dependence on the Father, that He said, “The Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say and what I should speak.” Again, we read, “He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God,” so that nothing could be more truly of, and from God, than the words which He spake. It is no marvel, then, that He should say, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.”
(Continued and to be Continued).