Inspiration and Inerrancy
1 Peter 1:10-11
1 Peter Lesson #036
December 10, 2015
“Father, we’re thankful that during this last week we had a tremendous opportunity to meet with other like-minded Bible teachers and listen to others who have studied Your Word deeply and shared their insights and taught from the Word and gave us insight and greater understanding in issues related not only to the study of Your Word in terms of eschatology, but also helped us to understand some of the issues going on in the church in America today.
We learned how they’re impacting seminaries and impacting Bible churches and other churches as we see these new ideas and heresies trickle down from the seminary ivory tower and within a generation or two they are common beliefs in the pew.
Father, we pray that we might be a bulwark of truth. We pray for Tommy and the others who guide and direct the Pre-Trib Conference that it might continue strong and in strong defense of Your Word.
Thank You for this church and its faithfulness to Your Word. We pray that tonight as we study that You will help us to have a greater confidence in Your Word. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
I just want to start a little bit with what went on at the Pre-Trib conference. For those of you who may be new and may not have heard about this, this is the twenty-fourth conference. The first one, I believe, was in 1991. It came together because of a vision with Tim LaHaye and wanting to do something.
Someone recommended Tommy to him. Actually the genesis of this, the very seminal thoughts on it, were in my living room in Dallas or in Irving, Texas back in the late 80s. No one with any money or backing or any prestige was around to give us any kind of a platform.
Nothing happened until Tim LaHaye’s “Left Behind” books started to gain traction. Tommy told me last week that Tim LaHaye went on a missions trip travel for a year visiting missionaries all over the world. As he did that he began to realize how little there was that was being taught on dispensationalism, eschatology, or the Pre-Trib Rapture.
If you study it, twenty-seven percent of the Bible is prophecy. Twenty-seven percent! Someone at the conference used the illustration that if you were to go to your doctor and somehow surgically remove twenty-seven percent of his knowledge, you wouldn’t want to go to that doctor.
If you were to pick up an instruction manual from the IRS on how to do your taxes, if twenty-seven percent of the information was missing, you would not want that. If you went to an accountant and he was missing twenty-seven percent of his education, then you would not want to go to that accountant and yet, we have churches today who ignore twenty-seven percent of the Bible.
I did an analysis of eschatological passages some years ago and about eighteen percent of the Bible is unfulfilled prophecy. Yet that means that almost one out of every five verses in Scripture has to be ignored if you don’t understand prophecy, if you don’t understand eschatology.
This is incredibly important. God has dedicated a tremendous amount of His Word to that. The founding of the Pre-Trib Study Group was to give scholars and those who were involved in a lot of popular ministries related to prophecy a platform where there was an exchange of ideas in further in-depth Bible studies.
So much has come out of the research that they have done. For example, up until 1991 there was a character who was very much anti-Pre-Trib. He still is. He still bangs the same drum. His name is Dave MacPherson. He’s written a number of books and he continues to pound the same lie, that is that John Nelson Darby was the first to systematize dispensationalism and the first to clearly articulate and define the doctrine of the Rapture, got it from a young fifteen- or sixteen-year-old girl who was having some ecstatic experience by the name of Margaret MacDonald.
One of the things that came out of that in the early 1990s was they discovered an untranslated document that was in a library somewhere in Berkeley, California who had a writer who went by the name of Pseudo- Ephraem because his pseudonym was Ephraem, the Syrian but he was a few years earlier. This was about a fourth or fifth century writing that even though it had a short Tribulation, he clearly had the church being raptured before the Tribulation. How about that?
Someone, some fourteen hundred years or thirteen hundred years before Darby actually understood that the church would not go through the time of wrath. Since then we’ve been put in touch with a guy who has spoken three or four times over the last three or four years at Pre-Trib by the name of William Watson. He teaches history at Colorado Christian University.
He was an NSA analyst in the early 70s at a Berlin checkpoint. He’s one of those guys who just drills down on details. He has spent numerous summers of his academic career going over and reading the sermons [without spell check or standard spellings in the 1500 and 1600s for English] of thousands and thousands and thousands of sermons and theologies from the English reformers. That’s his specialty, 16th and 17th century England.
He has discovered that there were hundreds and hundreds of Puritans and other British Presbyterians who were not only Premillennial but they held to a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. He has recently come out with a book that has been published by a new publishing house called Lampion Press.
It was founded by my two friends, Wayne House whom some of you known who went on that first Israel trip, and Tim Demy. Tim was in the Master’s Program at Dallas with me. He spent his career as a chaplain in the Navy. He’s accumulated, I don’t know, three doctoral and four masters degrees. He’s just incredible.
They started this publishing house so they published this inch and a half book called, “Dispensationalism before Darby”. They documented all of these people so that’s just tremendous. Bill was one of the speakers at the conference. In fact, he spoke yesterday morning on the topic of “The Rise of Philo-Semitism and Premillennialism During the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century.”
He’s one of these guys with just this bubbly personality. He’s up there and he’s so entertaining. This could be really dry material but because of his personality and ability to communicate, it makes him a lot of fun. “Philo-Semitism” is the opposite of anti-Semitism. Philo is from PHILEO, meaning to love, so it’s the love of the Jewish people and how that developed in the 1600s and 1700s among English-speaking people.
A couple of papers were kind of downers. Jim Showers is the nephew of Renald Showers. Some of you may recognize that name if you ever read that magazine we get, “Israel, My Glory” which is put out by Friends of Israel.
Jim Showers is the director and president of Friends of Israel. He is the editor of “Israel, My Glory”. His uncle was a Dallas Th.M., Th.D. from the late 60s. He’s sort of an in-house theologian and writes a column for them all the time. Jim had a paper called “The Eroding Evangelical Support for Israel: The Causes and the Cure”.
Because he deals with a lot of things going on on campuses, he really has a good understanding of the trends that are going on in the college-age and the twenty-something evangelical Christians and how they’re drifting away and why they’re drifting away from a support for Israel.
I sent that paper to all the deacons because his last six or eight pages dealt with a really good analysis of the trends that are going on among young people and some of the ways they’re getting information. They’re not getting information the way most of us get or got our information. If people aren’t reading books, it won’t do any good. You can publish all the books you want to but no one is reading them, no one who is a twenty-something is reading books. They’re going to the Internet. You have to go where the people are to communicate the truth.
I really appreciate his paper because he said that we don’t know the answers but we have to clearly understand the problems and the challenges before we try to come up with any solutions.
A professor from Master’s Seminary, Mike Vlach, had a good presentation on the relationship to Israel’s belief on the kingdom of God which is exactly what I’ve been teaching in bits and pieces all through our study in Matthew.
Greg Harris gave a paper on “Did God Fulfill Every Good Promise? Toward a Biblical Understanding of Joshua 21:43–45.” That’s a passage a lot of covenant theologians and a-mils go to and say, “See, Israel conquered the land that God promised. They got it all according to Joshua 23 but he points out all the problems with that interpretation. That was very, very good.
Joel Rosenberg, who’s a popular author and has written a number of spy thrillers as well as non-fiction books, was our speaker at the banquet. That was good on Monday night. I thought he brought an excellent message and a reminder about something I’ve been concerned about for a while and that is that we as supporters of Israel sometimes we want to take the gospel to the Jews and “to hell with the Arabs and the Muslims.”
God loves the whole world, every single unbeliever. He’s sent Christ to die for the Muslims as well as the Jews. There needs to be a corrective there. I’ve said since 9-11 that the only weapon we have that’s going to have any value in this war against radical Islam is this war against the gospel. Christians need to be much more attuned to evangelism among Muslims.
One of the tensions we have and I see this as a generational thing, younger Christians in their twenties and thirties were only in their early teens when 9-11 happened. They don’t remember 9-11. Some of us are old enough to remember World War II and what happened after World War II. We are much more concerned with national security than evangelizing our Muslim neighbors.
I feel like the younger generation, like John Williamson here and another guy, one of my Crossfit coaches, Alex, and he’s involved with Muslim evangelism. That is something that needs to be strengthened and improved among evangelicals because that is the ultimate hope. God has brought millions of Muslims off the mission field to your next-door mission field. We need to be much more aware of that. That was something that Joel was emphasizing.
Mike Stallard, who is the president of Baptist Bible Seminary, who has spoken in the Chafer Conference before, did a critique on amillinneal theology which was very helpful. Wayne House presented a paper on the hermeneutics of historical premillennialism. I appreciated that because I was missing one little characteristic of historic pre-mil which I didn’t quite have a handle on. That clarified that. Sometimes there’s some one little thing and when you get it, you’ve got it.
Dispensational premillennialism believes that the kingdom is a Jewish-based, Israel-based, Jerusalem-based kingdom. Historic premillennialism rejects dispensationalism. They’re not dispensationalists. They believe Christ comes back before the Millennium but it’s a Christian Millennium. It’s not Jewish-centered. It’s church-centered. That’s the difference. I thought that was very helpful.
Andy Woods did a very good paper on the doctrine for the Millennial Kingdom in the Old Testament understanding what is taught because a lot of amils say that the only passage that premils can go to is Revelation 20:1–11. He walked us through all the Old Testament promises on a future kingdom.
Then Andrew Robinson, who is a pastor in England, gave a really good historic paper on the rise of 19th century British Christian restorationism. A lot of that I’ve taught to you in the past. He is the pastor of a young man who is probably not as young now as when we first met him, Paul Wilkinson, who wrote his Ph.D. on Darby and Zionism. He has spoken several times at Pre-Trib. He does a fantastic job and he has gone over to Israel several times in the last few years to this “dark side”.
We believe in Christian Zionism. They believe in Christian Palestinianism. They say Jesus was a Palestinian. They have these murals over there where Jesus is wrapped in a little black-and-white checkered kafia that the Palestinians wear. He’s wrapped in robes of the black, green, and white of their flag and all of these things. There are a lot of Christians who are being influenced today to dump Israel and to love on the Palestinians.
The problem is that their theology is a form of Liberation Theology. It is Palestinian Liberation Theology which is a first cousin and kissing cousin to black Liberation Theology, which is nothing more than Marxism wrapped up in a few Bible verses. This is a huge danger.
I was just taking with Bruce about it just before class that I thought that the three or four talks that Paul has given on this are not encouraging. You finish listening to him and you realize that there are a lot of really negative trends going on in the world today. You need to know what they are. This served as a good introduction.
The references he makes to American pastors, big names of people you hear about all the time, give you a greater understanding of what’s going on in this country. You need to pay attention to those things.
Then Tommy Ice and Paul Wilkinson will be going together to the “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference they have every year at the Bethlehem Bible College. Of course they invited me to come along. “Robby, please, can’t you come with us?” I said, “Well, I’m a pastor and I can’t run around the country all the time with you guys.”
That’s a week before the Chafer Conference so the first speaker at the Chafer Conference is going to be Tommy Ice. He’s going to be fresh off the battlefield and give us an update on what is going on with Christian Palestinianism and the Sabeel Center and all these people over there who are fighting against Israel. You come back here and you realize the major players, the people, people and pastors who influence presidents and other politicians, that the Bible doesn’t teach a support for Israel. They believe the Bible doesn’t teach Christian Zionism. We have to know the truth.
That’s just a quick run through on the conference and a summary. Now I want to get back to what we’ve been studying in 1 Peter. I started last week looking at the doctrine of inspiration and inerrancy.
I was communicating today with another colleague from the Pre-Trib conference who wasn’t there this week by the name of George Gunn. Dr. Gunn teaches at Shasta Bible College. He always presents very well-researched papers. His specialty is in the area of hermeneutics and also in the area of prophecy. I’m thinking about having him come a year from this March for the Chafer Conference.
He made the comment that he had not read the paper I referenced last week. At the end of the last class I read excerpts from Bob Wilkin’s article from his “Grace in Focus” journal. George hadn’t read it yet so I gave him a brief little rundown. He said, “I thought we had this settled at the Chicago Council on Biblical Inerrancy.”
Like I said last time we’ve given that away in terms of hermeneutics. Every generation or so we have to refight these battles. Just like every generation has to win their freedom on the fields of battle so every generation has to fight the battle for the Bible all over again. We need to be well prepared.
Last time at the end I talked about several things that are in this article and you can go back and read it. One comment someone did make. “Grace in Focus” is the publication of the Grace Evangelical Society (GES). Just a little caveat people. Sometimes I get a little frustrated. If I mention what someone said from the pulpit it doesn’t mean I agree with anything else they say other than what I quoted them as saying.
It’s like the prayer list. We have a few people on the prayer list that we need to pray for because of the ministry they have. They may have a doctrinal aberration here and there or some other minor flaw. I’m not giving them a 100% validation but if I put XYZ ministry on the prayer list they’re doing a good job, but that doesn’t mean that everything they say is something I would agree with or you would agree with. We always have to have a measure of discernment.
GES, as I pointed out before, was a good organization founded by Bob Wilkin and Zane Hodges. About ten or twelve years ago they started focusing on a minor aspect of some of Bob’s and Zane’s theology which had to do with the fact that if you don’t have an assurance of your salvation or if you don’t understand eternal security when you believe in Jesus, then you didn’t have saving faith.
That caused a split. It split a lot of churches. It split George Meisinger’s church. It split Chafer Seminary. It split the whole organization apart over what I consider to be an erroneous interpretation. But they do good work in many other areas. This particular article by Bob Wilkin is very, very good and quite a warning to the churches about the danger of the shift away from biblical inerrancy by interpreting the Bible differently.
I pointed out last time they will, instead of looking at Genesis 1–3 as biblical history, they look at it as poetry. If it’s poetry, then it’s not communicating literal history. I have problems with that but in the sidebar on one of the pages [go to the website and download the article to see it], there’s a reference to a survey that was done and the website it comes from [not a good website called religioustolerance.org who are intolerant of you and me, no I mean you and I].
Let me correct myself. Let me get on a rabbit trail. I am so tired of people who can’t understand that I is the nominative and me is the dative. When you say something to me, just think about it. It’s you and I and then you’re going to make that a direct object, just drop out the other person. Would you say he did that to I? He invited Jim and I. I hear that from news people. Everyone is doing that now. I heard that twenty times this week. You say John invited you and me. If you drop out John and say he invited me, you’ll get it. Now you’ll know the right way to say it. No matter how many people are in there as a direct object, you’ll still get it right.
It just grates on me. The fact I said that a minute ago bothers me because we pick that up from hearing other literate people talk on the news. End of rant.
The religious tolerance people do not like us. They’re intolerant of us. This is from a survey they have on their website. It’s called 1987 [28 years ago]. We’ve gotten better, haven’t we? More conservative? More biblical? No, just the opposite, if it was this bad twenty-eight years ago, how bad do you think it is today?
According to this survey, ten thousand clergy were asked if they believed the Scriptures were the inspired, inerrant Word of God in faith, history, and secular matters. Ninety five percent of Episcopalians said no. The other day someone mentioned someone who was going to a Bible study in an Episcopal Church. I said, “Just count on it. Episcopals are wrong.” They weren’t going to an Episcopal-based Bible study so that was better.
Ninety five percent of Episcopalian clergy do not believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Eighty seven percent of Methodists do not believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Eighty two percent of Presbyterians do not the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Seventy seven percent of American Lutherans and sixty seven percent of American Baptists do not believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.
That was twenty-eight years ago. I would bet that ninety nine percent of Episcopalians do not believe it and the others have probably bumped up five, six, or seven percent. You saw the other day that a lot of evangelicals have problems because they try to use the empiricism of modern science and modern understanding as their presuppositional base for truth. Then when the Bible comes up with a young earth age, it doesn’t fit the old earth claims of modern science.
Well, modern science must be right so we must figure out some other way to understand Genesis 1–11. On and on it goes. Jonah swallowed by a large fish, that’s just a tough one to handle. Even though there are empirical examples.
There are testimonies from whalers in the 19th century of whalers who had fallen off their ship and gone into the drink. They were swallowed by fish or a whale but I don’t think it’s a whale. From what I understand whales have really narrow throats so I don’t think a whale could swallow a man but some other large fish could.
They’ve eventually caught the fish, cut the fish open, and the person has come out alive. So the story of Jonah is not beyond reason. It’s just beyond the experience or the reason of small-minded intellectuals.
Since we’re in 1 Peter 1 we see all of this terminology in 1 Peter 1:10–12 that speaks of and takes us to the doctrine of inspiration and inerrancy. “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired.”
How does the fact that they have to study the Bible, what’s been revealed to them, and search it carefully, how does that relate to inspiration? They prophesied. What exactly is that? How did that happen?
They were searching what the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating. In verse 12, “To them it was revealed by the Holy Spirit.” The claim of the Bible is that this is not like any other book. This was revealed to us via God the Holy Spirit.
It is a book of divine origin, not human origin and therefore we are to understand it as being radically different from any other kind of book. There are other religious books that make claims of divine origin but there are radical distinctions between them.
Read the Bible through about ten times in one year so you really get a good understanding of the rhythm, the beat, and the tone and the language of the Bible. Then read the book of Mormon. Or read the Bhagavan Iti or read the Koran. Drink a lot of coffee before you start reading the Koran.
I tried to read it a few years ago. It starts off with the longest chapters and works to shortest. It’s arranged by length of chapter. It’s not chronological. By the time I got through chapter one I had had three naps. It is hard to read. It is very, very confusing.
These books, like the book of Mormon and the Koran, not the others I mentioned, are written by one person at one time. Mohammed was illiterate but he allegedly memorized it and then later it was written down. But the Bible is a book written over a period of 2,000 years, maybe 2,500 years, by at least 40 different writers who came from three different continents, and had a lot of different careers, and training, and background.
You have Abraham who was a merchant, a farmer, and a herdsman. You have Amos who was basically a sheep breeder and a fig picker. Then you have Peter, James, and John who were fisherman. And you have Moses who was trained to rule over the greatest empire of the time.
They have a breadth of different educations and backgrounds. Yet they write on some of the most controversial topics that have ever been discussed in all of human history. Even if we took sixty people from this church and we all wrote on some key doctrines together, we would disagree. These guys don’t disagree and that’s because there’s a primary Author, God the Holy Spirit, Who is breathing the Word of God out through them.
That is the meaning of inspiration. It’s really outspiration. God outspires the Word, outbreathes the Word, through the authors of Scripture.
Last time I gave you the lengthy definition here. I think is from our doctrinal statement. It says that inspiration means that God the Holy Spirit so supernaturally directed the human writers of Scripture, that without waiving their human intelligence, vocabulary, individuality, literacy style, personality, personal feelings, or any other human factor, His complete and coherent message to mankind was recorded with perfect accuracy in the original languages of Scripture, the very words bearing the authority of divine authorship.
If you didn’t get all of that written down, don’t worry. We’re going to break it down section by section so we can really understand what that means. Some of the verses I put up here are secondary verses for inspiration. John 10:35, Matthew 5:18, 2 Timothy 3:16–17 [primary], 2 Peter 1:21 [primary]. Those two are the key ones. Then 1 Corinthians 2:14–16 and a host of others.
So let’s look at these primary ones tonight. I put up 2 Timothy 3:15–17 because we have to understand a little bit about the context here. We frequently heard “All Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be equipped, thoroughly furnished for every good work.”
The verse that precedes that is equally significant. Paul is writing to Timothy. What do we do in Bible study? Who wrote it? Who are they writing it to? When did they write it? Why did they write it?
This is 2 Timothy, the last epistle that Paul writes before he dies. He’s writing it to his young protégée, Timothy. These are his last instructions to Timothy. He’s reminding Timothy of his spiritual heritage. He says, “From childhood you have known the sacred writings.” He was a child before or maybe about the time that the Lord Jesus died. He was a child who grew up in a home. His father and grandfather are not mentioned. He’s brought up probably in a single-parent home with his mother and grandmother who are believers.
They have taught him the Old Testament, the Torah. They didn’t know any New Testament yet. They didn’t even know the gospels. They just knew the Old Testament and the Old Testament gospel that Messiah would come and through Him all would be justified. They believed in the Messianic promise of the Old Testament. They got that from the sacred writings.
What Paul tells us here is that “from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith.” So he could be saved and he was saved as an Old Testament saint through the reading of the Old Testament.
The sacred writings are the focal point of the chapter. That would be Old Testament Scripture, the thirty nine books in the English Old Testament, twenty-two or twenty-four books, depending on how you count it in the Hebrew Scripture. “They are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Jesus the Christ.”
Then Paul says, “All Scripture.” When he says all Scripture at this point he is primarily talking about the Old Testament. About two-thirds of the New Testament has been written at this time, maybe a little bit more. But primarily what he is talking about in context is the Old Testament writings.
It wouldn’t exclude New Testament writings but that’s contextually his primary focus. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” That’s this Greek word THEOPNEUSTOS which means God-breathed. From THEOS meaning God and PNEUSTOS from the word for breath.
God breathes it out. This isn’t inspiration like you may talk about George Frideric Handel being inspired when he wrote “The Messiah”. You may speak of Michelangelo being inspired as he painted the Sistine Chapel. That’s not using the word in the same way the Scriptures used this word.
This is the unique, distinct ministry of God breathing His Word out of His mind into the mind of the writers of Scripture. Then they exhaled it through writing the Scripture. So God is the Source of the Scripture.
Since God is the Source of the Scripture, it’s profitable for teaching, for correcting us, for reproof, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God [any believer] may be complete. This is the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture. That means you don’t need anything else other than Scripture to be a complete, mature believer.
It doesn’t matter what kind of problems you’ve had in your background. It doesn’t matter what horrible things happened in your background. It doesn’t matter the fact that you may have been some sort of criminal, someone who was abusive or had a background where you were abused. All of that is forgiven and cleansed by the grace of God.
We can overcome all of that through the Scriptures alone the Bible says. You don’t need ten-step, twelve-step, thirty-step, fifty-step programs, and a host of pills. There are some things you may need that are definitely and specifically biological that need to be addressed that way. Most of the stuff that people go to today is when they have an emotional hangnail and they want to take five drugs for it.
The Scripture says no, what you need is the Word of God and to trust God and to do what the Word of God says to do. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy or simple or overnight. A lot of people misunderstand that. Spiritual growth still takes time because you have to learn the Word of God and practice it.
Then at the end it says that because all Scripture is breathed out by God you may be thoroughly equipped. The word there in the Greek is an intensified use of the word used over in Ephesians 4:11–12 that says that the gift of apostle and prophet and evangelist and pastor-teacher are to equip the saints to do the work of ministry.
The word that’s used there for equip is an intensified form here because it’s the Word of God that the gifted ones in the church are using to train people. It’s the Word of God that can do that. We have to trust the Word of God.
So the word that we have is THEOPNEUSTOS which describes the ministry of God the Holy Spirit specifically. The first part of our definition said that “God the Holy Spirit so supernaturally directed the human writers of Scripture”. The point that we’re making is that it’s the province of God the Father as the Architect and Planner and Visionary of human history to oversee everything.
It is the role of the Second Person of the Trinity who was the “general construction manager” who oversaw the creation and is the Redeemer who will provide the redemptive work of salvation.
It’s the role of God the Holy Spirit to reveal the Father to His creation.
That falls within the purview of His area of responsibility. We’ll look at some of these passages later.
God the Holy Spirit is emphasized in verses like 2 Samuel 23:2–3, Mark 12:36, Acts 1:16, 28:25; John 14:26, 1 Thessalonians 4:2, 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 12, and 14. God the Holy Spirit is the One that reveals Scripture to us.
Here’s a central passage for this, 2 Peter 1:20–21. “Knowing this first that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
That seems pretty clear in the English, doesn’t it? Right? You read that and got a clear grasp of it? Maybe not. This is a great verse. What does it mean starting off saying, “knowing this first”? It’s probably a causal participle coming off the previous verse.
But that word for “first” is really significant. It’s the word PROTOS. That means something that is first, something that is prominent, or something that is foundational.
What I believe this is emphasizing and I’ve just worked through this when I was talking with George Gunn. I shared my insight with him and he said, “I never thought about that. You’re exactly right.”
PROTOS refers to the presupposition. This is the presuppositional foundation of all knowledge. It is the Word of God as the inerrant, infallible Word of God as revealed by God, the Holy Spirit.
This isn’t the second thing you should know or the third thing you should know. This is the foundational thing you should know because all other knowledge is built upon this.
I read to you a statement last week from a guy who was in the same class as I was at Dallas [Theological] Seminary. He’s gone on and done quite a bit of excellent Greek work but he’s done some stuff I wouldn’t agree with. His name is Dan Wallace. A statement here quoted by Bob Wilkin in his article, Wallace said, “If our starting point is embracing propositional truths about the nature of Scripture rather than personally embracing Jesus Christ as our Lord and King, we’ll be on that slippery slope and we’ll take a lot of folks down with us.”
Here’s the problem. He has characterized our position as saying our starting point is embracing propositional truths about the nature of Scripture. Our starting point is rather embracing Scripture. He’s misrepresented it there. That’s the only way we can know Jesus, from the Scripture.
Not one person I’ve ever met has had a personal encounter with Jesus. I’ve heard people say that. They “met” Jesus. I always love it when I hear someone say, “Well, I found Jesus.” I didn’t know He was lost. “I “met” Jesus.” Really? I thought He was just localized at the right hand of the Father in the Church Age. I didn’t know He was walking around. Obviously what they really mean is that they met Him through Scripture.
That’s the only way they can meet Jesus. That’s the only way we can have a personal relationship with Jesus is through the propositional truths of Scripture. And yet we live in a fuzzy-thinking world today where people think that somehow they can have a relationship with God and Jesus without it being mediated through the Word of God.
Once you start buying into that kind of fuzzy-headed thinking, then it’s real easy for someone to trick you into thinking that you don’t really need to believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture.
Now this verse begins with seeing the Holy Spirit is the Author of Scripture, recognizing that the way He does it is through these propositions. Propositions are a technical, philosophical term meaning basically what you learned in 7th grade as an indicative sentence: a statement about reality. For example, it’s snowing outside. That may be true or false and you can verify it or falsify it which means it’s a proposition.
If I tell you to go to the store you can’t verify or falsify that which means it’s not a proposition. It’s a command. If I say what time is it? Is that a true statement or a false statement? Neither. It’s a question. Only an indicative statement, a statement about fact, can be proved true or false. That’s a proposition in philosophy.
That’s what it means when we read about the Scripture being propositional revelation. It can be demonstrated to be true or false. So the Word of God is revealed to us as being propositional revelation. They’re normal sentences which can be objectively evaluated and validated.
When we look at this verse it’s difficult in the Greek. The first thing we learn is that God the Holy Spirit, as we’ve seen, has a responsibility for overseeing the communication and the inscripturation of divine revelation. That’s clear when it says, “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
The second thing is we have to understand something about the process of inspiration, inscripturation which I had to put into my Microsoft dictionary because they kept telling me it was misspelled just because they’re ignorant, and foundational which is that first word, “knowing this first”. That’s the priority.
This word is PROTOS. Going back to Classical Greek in Greek logic this described the primary foundational unprovable propositions on which all philosophy or all thinking was built. You get down to primary assumptions which can’t be evaluated or validated, they’re just taken by faith.
In the Old Testament it was a word that would refer to something that preceded everything else. In some cases it would refer to that which was preeminent. It was not being described in a succession or an order. It was like Jesus is the PROTOTOKOS, that PROTOS is the beginning. He is the first of God’s creation, not first in order. He is the preeminent One.
That’s one way in which PROTOS can be taken. In the New Testament the word has the same general range of meaning as it does in the Old Testament. It can be first in time, first in a spatial sense, or first in a succession or order, or first in designating rank or office.
With reference to knowledge it still goes back to that classical Greek sense that this is our presupposition. If you’re going to learn anything, whatever you learn is built upon some foundation. It may be empiricism. It may be rationalism. It may be mysticism or a combination of those three. For it to be true it has to be built on revelation.
That revelation must be true. If it’s a false revelation like the Koran or the book of Mormon or the Bhagavan Iti then it’s going to have elements of truth in it but it’s not going to be true truth. It’s not going to be absolute truth.
When we look at this the literal translation is what I’ve given you here because it’s a little convoluted in the Greek. Literally it reads, every prophecy of Scripture as opposed to no prophecy of Scripture has to do with how we have to convert certain Greek phrases into the negative to understand what they meant. Every prophecy in Scripture does not come about from its own explanation or interpretation.
In order for that to make sense, in English we have to rewrite it as no prophecy of Scripture comes about from its or his own explanation/interpretation. In other words the prophet is the one who is working. No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation because prophecy never came by the will of man.
If you go back to 2 Peter 1:19 it talks about the prophet so it’s the prophet’s interpretation. So it should be understood and translated that no prophecy of Scripture is of his own. The trouble you have with the grammar here is that the word IDIOS, which is where we get our word “idiot”. The word IDIOS there is one’s own. It’s a feminine scripture but so is Scripture and so is prophecy but if you go back to 2 Peter 1:19 we have “the prophetic Word confirmed which you would do well to heed as light which shines in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first that no prophecy [a feminine word] of his own is of the prophet’s own interpretation. The point is that he doesn’t generate it.
There’s lots of discussion on this in various commentaries but they all seem to agree that no prophecy in Scripture derives from the prophet’s own interpretation. He doesn’t generate it. Peter’s aim was to deny that the prophets themselves were the source from which their message originated. The prophecies came from God. They were not inventions of the prophets themselves.
That’s expanded on in the next verse, verse 21, “For prophecy never came by the will of man.” What’s interesting here is the word in the Greek translated “came” and translated “were moved” here [reference underlines on Slide 13]. It’s the same Greek word. It’s PHERO. By translating it with such different language you miss the point.
Peter is saying that no prophecy was carried or was brought by the will of man. He’s repeating more clearly what he just said in the previous verse. “But holy men of God spoke as they were moved [or carried] by the Holy Spirit.”
Let me show you a verse that uses this same word that gives us a little insight as to what it means. This is in Acts 27:17 when Paul is riding on the ship that is going to be shipwrecked. It says, “When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven.” That’s the word PHERO. They are driven by the wind.
The wind, now since they struck the sails, is going to drive them wherever the wind wants to take them. They have nothing to say about it. That’s the idea, that God the Holy Spirit is so driving them, directing them, and supervising them that they’re going to write what God wants them to write. He’s not going to override their educational background, their individual personality, their training, or any of those things.
Let me just give you some interesting examples of some Scriptures that talk about this. 2 Samuel 23:2–3, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue. The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spoke to me: ‘He who rules over men can be just, ruling in the fear of God.’ ” [David says this.] Notice that not only does this tell us it is God the Holy Spirit but it’s emphasizing that it’s His Word singular. The inspiration extends to the very individual words that are used.
It’s not that the ideas of Scripture are inspired. It’s the very words themselves are breathed out by God. It is God who speaks. It is the righteous, just, holy, omnipotent, omnipresent God who speaks.
Mark 12:36, Jesus said, “For David himself said by the Holy Spirit:” So here he’s attributing what David said in Psalm 110 to the Holy Spirit.
Acts 1:16, “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke by the mouth of David” [dual authorship of Scripture, the human author and the divine Author].
Now here are some interesting passages which I’ll close with. 1 Timothy 5:18 reads, “For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,’ ”. That’s a quotation from Deuteronomy 25:4 which reads, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.”
What did he call that? He called it Scripture. The point is that the New Testament clearly identifies what is Scripture. It connects not only what is an Old Testament passage here [Deuteronomy 25:4] but it connects it as equally authoritative with a statement from Matthew 10:10 that the laborer is worthy of his wages.
In Matthew 10:10 it says, “For a worker is worthy of his food.” He changed the wording a little bit. He could do that because God the Holy Spirit is the Author. He’s combining an Old Testament passage from the Torah with a New Testament passage as being equally authoritative and equally from God.
1 Corinthians 2:10 Paul writes, “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.” In 1 Corinthians 2:13 “the Holy Spirit teaches” us through these words and 1 Corinthians 14:37, “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.”
Paul is saying here that what he is writing has equal authority to the Torah, the commandments of God.
What we’ve seen in this first part of the definition is that “God the Holy Spirit so supernaturally directed the human writers of Scripture.” We’ll stop there and next time we’ll talk about the human writers of Scripture.
This is the point. What does the Scripture say about itself? It claims again and again and again to be the very Word of God. It’s not just that the ideas are inspired or the thoughts are inspired but the precise verbiage.
We’ll see next time this will extend down to plurals and singulars, present tenses versus past tenses. Those are equally significant.
“Father, Thank You that we can have a study like this to look at your Word and come to understand that this is a supernatural book. It was not revealed so that men could just add their own ideas to it but it has been revealed by You.
It has been protected in its revealing by God the Holy Spirit from error. It has been protected in its transmission down through the ages so that we can be assured of its accuracy in the original languages.
Though there may be a few things that got changed they affect nothing in terms of content or theology or doctrine but simply tertiary things such as word order or spelling, things of that nature.
Thank You that we can trust Your Word because then we know that whatever we face in life, the solution is found in Your Word. It is Your Word and Your grace and Your power that is sufficient to enable us in every circumstance in life.
We pray that we might have the strength of faith to trust You. In Christ’s name. Amen.”