This is a series of posts about the authority of scripture. You can read all of the posts in the series by clicking here.
Now, our doctrine of Scripture is, in common with all other doctrines essential to the faith, derived from Scripture itself. It does not require the philosophical seal of approval from men, no matter how devout or able they may be. For us, whatever God says is truth, for God is truth itself. He cannot lie. There are two classic places in the epistles of Paul where that doctrine is laid out clearly in all of its essentials.
1. I Corinthians 2:6-16 - From an epistle written very early on in Paul’s Apostolic Ministry
2. II Timothy 3:10 – 4:2 - From the very end of that ministry when Paul was facing imminent death. The consistency is amazing.
I Corinthians 2:6-16
By the inspiration of scripture, we mean that supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit upon the scriptural writers which rendered their writings an accurate record of the revelation or which resulted in what they wrote actually being the Word of God. This passage is one of the most important passages in the NT with regard to the relationship between the HS and the Word, resulting in the production of Holy Scripture. This passage is also one of the clearest we find anywhere in scripture detailing the process by which this result came about. It is fascinating that it occurs in a broader context discussing the contrast between God’s wisdom and human folly. We may base our religious convictions on only two alternatives: human speculative philosophy and divine revelation, sometimes a curious mixture of both. But we are not left to depend on the emptiness and only relative value of human philosophy, since God is a God of revelation. He has given to his people a ‘wisdom’ (Sophia) that is far superior to that which can be obtained from merely human resources. Three things about this wisdom:
1. It is for the Mature (v.6) –
Gk. Teleios, ‘the spiritually mature’; it is not for the unregenerate or mere babes in Christ who need milk not solid food. It is a childish or carnal thing to engage in when we dispute the wisdom of scripture.
2. It is from God (v.7a) –
Therefore it was long hidden to the unaided intellects of men. It is not a passing fashion in philosophy nor is it the world’s accumulated wisdom. Its source is entirely from God, secret unless revealed. And so we do not allow competitors or rivals, let alone imagined successors to be placed alongside of it in terms of its authority.
3. It is for our Glory (v.7b) –
Gk. Doxa, for our ‘eschatological glorification’, dealing not just with the beginnings of the Christian life in justification, but the ongoing process of sanctification culmination in eternity at our glorification. There is a difference between our evangelistic message in winning converts and our Christian nurture of those same converts, between our kerugma and our didache. It is a serious thought that our spiritual development may be retarded or even halted by finding ourselves at odds with the teaching of Scripture.
The understanding of God’s total purpose for our lives individually and corporately can only come by revelation. The necessity of that revelation is spoken of in v.9 using a loose translation of Isaiah 64:4. It tells us of the completely inaccessible nature of this information to the unaided human intellect. It is
- Invisible – no eye has ever seen it
- Inaudible – no ear has heard it
- Inconceivable – no mind has ever imagined it. So that it cannot be grasped by either scientific investigation or poetic imagination. It is beyond human speculation and inquiry altogether.
Check back next week for the next series in this post!
// Originally posted on Theology Matters //