Bibliology

Holy Scripture and Modern Negations

(About this series)

CHAPTER IV — HOLY SCRIPTURE AND MODERN NEGATIONS

BY PROFESSOR JAMES ORR, D. D., UNITED FREE CHURCH COLLEGE, GLASGOW, SCOTLAND

Is there today in the midst of criticism and unsettlement a tenable doctrine of Holy Scripture for the Christian Church and for the world; and if there is, what is that doctrine? That is unquestionably a very pressing question at the present time.

“Is there a book which we can regard as the repository of a true revelation of God and an infallible guide in the way of life, and as to our duties to God and man?” is a question of immense importance to us all. Fifty years ago, perhaps less than that, the question hardly needed to be asked among Christian people. It was universally conceded, taken for granted, that there is such a book, the book which we call the Bible. Here, it was believed, is a volume which is an inspired record of the whole will of God for man’s salvation; accept as true and inspired the teaching of that book, follow its guidance, and you cannot stumble, you cannot err in attaining the supreme end of existence, in finding salvation, in grasping the prize of a glorious immortality. Read more about Holy Scripture and Modern Negations

From the Archives: What Is the Role of the Holy Spirit in Interpretation

From Paraklesis, a resource of Baptist Bible Seminary (Fall, 2012). Used by permission.

We might better ask the question, “Does the Holy Spirit have a role in interpretation?” If the Holy Spirit does have a role, what is that role?

The purpose of this article is to propose first that the role of the Holy Spirit in interpretation is not to enable the reader to grasp the meaning of a text. We will look briefly at certain verses which supposedly teach this to see whether they actually do teach this.

This article then proposes that a role of the Holy Spirit in interpretation is actually post-interpretation. The role of the Holy Spirit is to enable the reader to make a correct evaluation of the meaning of a text so that he can welcome or accept that meaning. The Holy Spirit also assures the reader of the truth of Scripture. A role of the Holy Spirit also may be to enable the reader to relate the meaning which comes from interpretation to his life. The article looks briefly at texts which seem to support these proposals and this suggestion.

The Holy Spirit does not enable the reader to discover the (author’s intended) meaning of a passage. He does not teach the reader the meaning of a text. The Holy Spirit does not help the reader to comprehend Scripture. Read more about From the Archives: What Is the Role of the Holy Spirit in Interpretation

The Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch

(About this series)

CHAPTER II — The Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch

BY PROFESSOR GEORGE FREDERICK WRIGHT, D. D., LL. D., OBERLIN COLLEGE, OBERLIN, OHIO

During the last quarter of a century an influential school of critics has deluged the world with articles and volumes attempting to prove that the Pentateuch did not originate during the time of Moses, and that most of the laws attributed to him did not come into existence until several centuries after his death, and many of them not till the time of Ezekiel. By these critics the patriarchs are relegated to the realm of myth or dim legend and the history of the Pentateuch generally is discredited. In answering these destructive contentions and defending the history which they discredit we can do no better than to give a brief summary of the arguments of Mr. Harold M. Wiener, a young orthodox Jew, who is both a well established barrister in London, and a scholar of the widest attainments. What he has written upon the subject during the last ten years would fill a thousand octavo pages; while our condensation must be limited to less than twenty. In approaching the subject it comes in place to consider Read more about The Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch

The Christian and Church History

From Faith Pulpit, Summer 2015. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

As I study church history, 2 Timothy 3:16 and 17 is a comforting passage. When one studies the discipline of church history, many unsettling episodes present themselves. We often wonder how people could make the decisions they did, and even more, how they justified those decisions with the authorities they used.

We as Bible-believers have the benefit of going back to the divine source—the Word of God—as our authority. Whether we realize it or not, we are affected in the way we think by the events of the past. And it is true that no person or group can be completely isolated and not use their own personal understandings to interpret the Bible. Further, try as we might, we often struggle to understand the context of the Old Testament and even first-century Christianity.

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From the Archives: God Gave Us a Book

Can the supernatural and the natural realms talk together? Is communication possible between God and people? This crucial question polarized our nation’s founding fathers. All of the founders believed in a supernatural realm—God was a given. But a few of the founders insisted that God created the universe to run on its own without Him (a view known as Deism). For all practical purposes, these men dismissed the very possibility of communication between the natural and supernatural realms.

Since the early influences of Deism, American culture has been shaped by the anti-supernaturalist philosophies of biological evolution and secular humanism. Secularism is not merely anti-religious, although it is that. Secularism is, more fundamentally, an utter denial of the sacred and thus a disaffirmation of the indispensability of a supernatural realm—a supposition rendered reasonable by the theory of biological evolution. Whereas Deism was stuck with a Creator (albeit a silent one), evolutionism eliminated the notion of a Creator and completely eradicated the necessity of a supernatural realm. Secularism stands in at this point to assert what evolutionism suggested: supernaturalism is a myth.

It would seem that most Americans today embrace some form of evolutionism (fueled by evolutionism’s monopoly of the public education system), but few Americans are pure secularists. Surveys indicate that most Americans pray, and praying evidences at least a wishful hope in the existence of a supernatural realm (which goes far to explain the angst secularist educators suffer when public school students talk to God). Despite the inroads of Deism and secularism, many Americans still believe in a supernatural realm with which communication is possible. Read more about From the Archives: God Gave Us a Book

The Role of the Holy Spirit in Interpretation

The theological term most commonly used by theologians to express the role of the Holy Spirit in biblical understanding is illumination. While the term isn’t directly used of the Holy Spirit, the concept is present, for example in John 1:5 and 1:9, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it… the true Light which coming into the world, enlightens every man.” In this context Jesus is the Light, and His enlightening or illumining work is accomplished with everyone.

But if Christ illumines everyone, to what extent does the Holy Spirit illumine? Does the Bible even teach that the Holy Spirit illumines, or is illumination by the Holy Spirit a theological rather than exegetical concept?

Three views

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The Preservation of Scripture: Its Process and Form

Originally posted January, 2010 as “Preservation: How and What?”

The doctrine of preservation of the Scriptures has been hotly debated in recent years. Much has been written and said, but most of the rhetoric on the subject has been closely connected to defending or rejecting one view or another on the translation issue. The result has often been that important foundational questions have been overlooked in a rush to get to conclusion A or B in the translation debate.

Among the neglected questions are these: (1) what process did God say He would use to preserve His word and (2) what form did He say that preserved word would take? Both of these are subsets of another neglected question: What does Scripture actually claim (and not claim) about it’s own preservation? Read more about The Preservation of Scripture: Its Process and Form

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