Wrested Scriptures

Partial Inspiration

  1 Cor. 7:25
& Inaccuracies

Carbon Dating


British Israel
of Christ

The most widely accepted view of inspiration in Protestant circles is that inspiration was an enlightening of the Biblical authors which, while it gave them moral and spiritual insight and made their work "inspiring" (or, as some say, a vehicle of God's word to their readers), it did not guarantee doctrinal or historical trustworthiness to all they actually wrote.

  1. If inspiration of the Biblical writers "did not guarantee doctrinal or historical trustworthiness to all they actually wrote" how does one distinguish the trustworthy pronouncements from those which are not trustworthy? If the writers were liable to err in historical writing, how can they be trusted in anything they wrote?1

  2. The Bible records God's purpose and interaction with men. As such, the historical facts have a doctrinal content. For example, God revealed himself to Israel as "I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt . . . " (Exod. 20:2). The assertion is not only historical in character but doctrinal.

  3. Biblical writers never make a difference between "non-essential detail" and "divine principles". The New Testament writers frequently allude to historical events (e.g., Matt. 12:42; Luke 17:27), and regard them as factual records of divine instruction. Historical illustrations are cited as "admonitions" and "examples". (1 Cor. 10:11; Heb. 3:7-19). As the Apostle Paul expressed it: "Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning." (Rom. 15:4).

  4. The often recurring expression, "He did evil in the sight of the LORD," (e.g., 2 Kings 17:2), is history, but it is also a moral judgment from the divine point-of-view. Again, the distinction between "spiritual insight" and "historical trustworthiness" is an abstraction not borne out by the record itself.

  5. It is questionable whether the Biblical writers were always, or necessarily, given "moral and spiritual insight."
    1. Jonah received revelations from God, yet "it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry . . . I do well to be angry, even unto death." (Jonah 4:1-9).
    2. Daniel was also the recipient of revelation but the meaning was not fully revealed to him. "The words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end." (Dan. 12:9).
    3. Peter stated that the prophets did not fully understand what they wrote. "Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently . . . searching what, or what manner of time of the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow . . . " (1 Peter 1:10,11).

  6. It is desirable for the Christadelphian to be able to mount a sustained offence when a "partial inspirationalist" is encountered. All too often the Christadelphian is put on the defensive and his inability to explain all difficulties is taken as evidence that no explanation is possible. A discussion of this sort does not do justice to the case the Bible presents for itself. Scripture teaches a doctrine of inspiration just as it contains a doctrine of baptism, resurrection and the kingdom.

  7. The following evidence provides ammunition for the Christadelphian arsenal: (Since many religionists reverence Jesus it is usually advantageous to begin with this common ground.)
    1. Jesus quoted the Old Testament as completely authoritative and definitive. In so doing, he never once regarded the authority of the Law, Prophets, or Psalms as in any way dependent upon the personality of the human writers, or on the conditions under which they wrote.2
    2. Jesus cited the Old Testament in such a way as to establish its inspiration as infallible, (without error) verbal, (applying to the words used to convey the message) and plenary (extending to all parts alike). For example:
      1. Jesus answered the Jews, "Is it not written in your law, I said Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken . . . " (John 10:34,35). Jesus argued on the basis of one word in this quotation from Psa. 82:6. He further affirms that Scripture "cannot be broken."
      2. Jesus equated what Moses said with what God said:
      3. Mark 7:10 "Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother . . . "
      4. Mark 7: 9,10 "Full well ye reject the commandment of God . . . " (also vs. 13, "the word of God")
      5. Similarly -
      6. Mark 12:26,27 "Have ye not read in the book of Moses . . . ?"
      7. Matt. 22:31,32 "But . . . have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God?"
    3. The frequency with which Jesus cited Old Testament Scripture and the authority which he gave to it can be shown from the following passages:
      • Matt. 4:4, 7, 10 "It is written . . ." (citing Deut. 8:3; 6:16; 6:13)
      • Matt. 19:4-6 "Have ye not read . . ." (citing Gen. 1:27; 2:24)
      • Mark 12:10, 11 "Have ye not read this scripture . . ." (citing Psalm 118:22,23)
      • Mark 12:35, 36 "David himself said by the Holy Spirit . . ." (citing Psalm 110:1)
      • Luke 4:18-21 "This day is this scripture fulfilled . . ." (citing Isa. 61:1,2)
      • Luke 16:31 "If they hear not Moses and the prophets . . . "
      • Luke 22:37 "This that is written must yet be accomplished in me . . ." (citing Isa. 53:12)
      • Luke 24:25 "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken . . ." (see also vs. 26,27)
      • Luke 24:44 "All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me."
    4. Four points illustrate the position of the Apostle Paul on inspiration:
      1. Paul wrote, "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds as of many, but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ." (Gal. 3:16). Paul is arguing his case on the basis of one word from the Old Testament. (Gen. 13:15).
      2. Paul asserts that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God . . . " (2 Tim. 3:16,17). By inspiration, Paul means "God-breathed" Scripture.3
      3. Quotations from Moses, the Psalms and Prophets are considered authoritative pronouncements. For example, compare the following:
        • Rom. 15:9 from Psa. 18:49
        • Rom. 15:10 from Deut. 32:43
        • Rom. 15:11 from Psa. 117:1
        • Rom. 15:12 from Isa. 11:10
      4. Rom. 9:17 - "For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth." The Scripture cannot literally "say". God said this, (Exod. 9:16) and Scripture reliably records it.
    5. New Testament writers consider the Holy Spirit to be the author of Old Testament passages:4
      1. Heb. 3:7 - "The Holy Spirit saith . . ." quoting Psa. 95:7-11.
      2. Heb. 10:15 - "The Holy Spirit also is a witness to us; for after that he had said before . . ." quoting Jer. 31:33,34.
      3. See also Acts 1:16 - "The Holy Spirit by the mouth of David spake . . ." Psa. 69:25; 109:8.
      4. Acts 28:25 - "Well spake the Holy Spirit by Esaias the prophet . . ." citing Isa. 6:9,10.

  8. The prophets when inspired by God were at times compelled to speak what they spoke. Their human reactions were sometimes either to refrain from speaking or to utter words other than those directed by God. Two prophets serve as examples:
    1. Balaam - "If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more . . . have I now any power at all to say any thing? the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak." (Num. 22:18,38).5
    2. Jeremiah - "Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay." (Jer. 20:9).

  9. The "partial" inspiration position outlined in the problem has resulted in skepticism and barrenness. The epitaph of such theologies has already been written by Amos: "They shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it." (Amos 8:12). A spirit of unconcern about doctrine has resulted since on so many issues it is thought to be anyone's guess as to what is true. Perplexities about the Holy Scriptures have discouraged lay reading of the Bible and the idea has spread that the Bible is a book full of pitfalls which only the learned can hope to avoid. Sometimes it is considered virtuous to censure predecessors for being too definitive and dogmatic. New thought is complimented as being open-minded, flexible, and free from obscurantism. It should be noted that those who are "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Eph. 4:14) and "ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim. 3:7) are not commended in the New Testament.

  1. Instead of Scripture dictating what human thoughts ought to be, human thoughts are elevated by partial inspirationists to the position of deciding what is human and what is divine in the records. A partly divine and partly human Bible would only be of value if the human mind were sufficiently enlightened and infallible to distinguish between the human and divine parts. Return

  2. This point is especially noteworthy in terms of the modern interest in hermeneutics, (i.e., the interpretation of Scripture giving consideration to the environment and cultural conditions thought to influence the author's work). Return

  3. "Inspiration" is translated from the Greek word, "theopneustos", which means, "God-breathed". Robert Young, Analytical Concordance to the Holy Bible, (London: Lutterworth Press, 1965). In reading poetry one might feel "inspired", but this is not what the Apostle means when he states the Scriptures are inspired. The Scriptures are inspired because of their divine origin which makes their inspiration independent of the way in which they might effect any given reader. Return

  4. The writer to the Hebrews expresses the abiding authority of Scripture in his citation of the words of Psa. 95:7-11 and Jer. 31:33. He cites these passages using the present tense - "The Holy Spirit saith," (not said) (Heb. 3:7). Likewise, the "Holy Spirit bears {not bore} witness to us". (Heb. 10:15, cf. R.S.V.). Return

  5. See also Ezek. 2:7. To put words in someone's mouth is to tell him exactly what to say. (See, for example, 2 Sam. 14:2,3,19). Return