Are some words in Scripture more directly from God than others? Or even if some words aren’t “more inspired”, do we treat some words in the Bible differently than others? I believe that this happens more often than we think and it stems from an improper understanding of inspiration.
Let me give some examples of ways that some parts of the Bible are treated differently. Some people put a considerable emphasis on the Ten Commandments “because they were written with God’s own finger.” I often hear this point made when discussing the status of the Mosaic Law. People see the Ten Commandments as God’s Law and the remaining Old Testament Commandments as Moses’ Law, placing eternal status on what came directly from God and temporary status on what came from Moses. This misses several key points. The most obvious is that we don’t have the tablets written by God’s finger, so we rely on Moses’ account of what the tablets say just the same as we rely on Moses’ account of what God told him on Mount Sinai. The second key point builds on that; in what possible way is God’s spoken word less authoritative and accurate than what He writes? God is the direct source of the command in both cases.
This is not the only example of treating one part of the Bible differently than another. The recorded words of Christ are viewed differently than the remainder of Scripture. The implication being that since God couldn’t convey the message with complete accuracy through the writers of Scripture, He had to come and say it Himself. This has one problem at a very basic level. Jesus didn’t write the Gospels; men recorded these sayings years after the events. So we are still left with the question of whether mortal men can completely and accurately convey the message of God.
All of this stems from not understanding the nature of Scripture and its inspiration. Jesus declares that Scripture is the “word” of God (Matt 4:4; Matt 15:6; Mark 7:13; Luke 8:21; Luke 11:28; John 10:35). Jesus did not call it the “idea” from God or the “principle” from God. Since Jesus repeatedly describes Scripture as the word of God, if Scripture is not literally God’s word then we must question how accurate everything that Jesus told us is.
2 Tim 3:16 makes it clear that the inspiration of all Scripture is the same. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” All of Scripture is the word of God. How does this leave room for Scripture being more accurate in some areas than in others?
What does Scripture say about the word of God? That Scripture cannot be broken; that the word of God, every word of God is true:
John 10:35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken
2 Sam 7:28a And now, O Lord GOD, you are God, and your words are true
2 Sam 22:31 This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him
Prov 30:5a Every word of God is pure (KJV) Every word of God proves true (ESV)
Isa 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
The inspiration of Scripture comes through the Holy Spirit. 2 Pet 1:21 tells us that “no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit”. Jesus declares that the Holy Spirit would guide His followers into all truth (not just some or most truth). John 16:13a “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” Furthermore Jesus promises that the Spirit will provide an accurate remembrance of all things. John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Was Jesus’ promise less than completely true and accurate?
If a prophet attributes something to God that is not completely true, God commands that this prophet be put to death ( Deut 18:18-22 and Deut 15:1-5) Does God hold himself to a lower standard than He demands of the prophets? Notice also that Deut 18:18 clearly tells us that God will put His words in the prophets mouth.
“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.”
Seventh-day Adventism follows along with many liberal theologians today by denying that Biblical inspiration works through God’s direct words, concluding instead that God inspired people who communicated ideas using imperfect words. But this verse says something quite different.
One of the best arguments in favor of the individual words of all Scripture being completely accurate can be found in Elwell’s Evangelical Dictionary of Theology
“Scripture uses Scripture in a way that supports its inerrancy. At times an entire argument rests on a single word (e.g., John 10:34 – 35 and “God” in Ps. 82:6), the tense of a verb (e.g., the present tense in Matt. 22:32), and the difference between a singular and a plural noun (e.g., “seed” in Gal. 3:16). If the Bible’s inerrancy does not extend to every detail, these arguments lose their force. The use of any word may be a matter of whim and may even be an error.”
The attack of Satan in Eden was about whether the word of God is completely true.
Gen 3:1-4 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
Questioning the absolute accuracy of God’s Word is the foundation for sin entering our world. When we conclude that one part of Scripture is more accurate or inspired than another we inadvertently bring the accuracy of God’s Word into question.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://blog.lifeassuranceministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Rick_1_5x2.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Rick Barker is a native of Southwestern Ohio and facilitates a weekly Bible study for former and transitioning SDAs in the Dayton, OH area. Rick graduated from Andrews University in 1987 and received a Masters degree from the University of Dayton. He serves on the staff of the Thomas Bilney Institute for Biblical Research and is an active member of his local Lutheran church. Rick was a volunteer on the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry website for 6 years and remains a participant on the discussion boards. Rick and his wife Sheryl formally left the SDA chuch in 2004. Prior to this they had been active in the Miamisburg and Wilmington Ohio churches.[/author_info] [/author]
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