CHAPTER II INSPIRATION
BY EVANGELIST L. W. MUNHALL, M. A., D. D., GERMANTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA, AUTHOR OF “THE HIGHEST CRITICS VS. THE HIGHER CRITICS”
The Bible is inspired. It is therefore God’s Word. This is fundamental to the Christian faith.” Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10: 17).
But, it is asked, What do you mean by inspiration? Because there are numerous theories of inspiration, this is a proper question. Also, it is well, before answering the question, to state some of these theories. First, “The thoughts of the penman were inspired.” Second, “The thoughts were partially inspired.” But they who hold to this view are very indefinite in their statements of the extent of this inspiration. Third, “There were different degrees of inspiration.” The advocates of this view use the difference between “illumination” and inspiration to prove their theory. Fourth, “At one time the writers were inspired in the supervision of the work they did;” at another, “In the view they took of the work they were called upon to do;” and at another, “In directing the work.” But in all these views the theorists are at sea, and leave all who trust to their pilotage at sea, as to the exact character and limitations of inspiration. Fifth, “Dynamic inspiration”. But the efforts of those who hold to this view, to explain what they mean by the term are exceedingly vague and misty. But the popular and current theory now is that the “Concept” is inspired. But no one attempts to tell what the “Concept” is; indeed, I doubt if any one knows.
Also let this be said in this connection: Those who hold to any or all of the above named theories, in part or in whole, are
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emphatic in declaring that the Bible is not verbally inspired. The noisy ones will say, “No scholar believes in verbal inspiration.” In this they bear false witness. Another expression in common use among them is this: “Such belief drives men into infidelity.” And yet no one of them ever knew of a case. This class, with as much care and evident satisfaction as an infidel, hunt out the apparent contradictions and errors in the authorized and revised versions, and exultingly declare: “Here is conclusive evidence that the Bible is not verbally inspired.” Some of these gentlemen are dishonest because, First, they know that most of these apparent errors and contradictions were long ago satisfactorily answered, even to the silencing of infidel scoffers: and Second, they know that no one believes that the translations and revisions are inspired. The doctrine of verbal inspiration is simply this: The original writings, ipsissima verba, came through the penmen direct from God; and the critics are only throwing dust into the air when they rail against verbal inspiration and attempt to disprove it by pointing out the apparent errors and discrepancies of the authorized and revised texts.
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, in 1893. by a unanimous vote made the following deliverance: “The Bible as we now have it in its various translations and revisions when freed from all errors and mistakes of translators, copyists and printers, is the very Word of God, and consequently, wholly without error.”
We mean by Inspiration that the words composing the Bible are God-breathed. If they are not, then the Bible is not inspired at all, since it is composed only and solely of words.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16). The word rendered Scripture in this passage is Graphe. It means writing, anything written. The writing is composed of words. What else is this but verbal inspira-
tion; and they wrest the “Scriptures unto their own destruction,” who teach otherwise.
Prof. A. A. Hodge says: “The line can never rationally be drawn between the thoughts and words of Scripture… . That we have an inspired Bible, and a verbally inspired one, we have the witness of God Himself.”
Prof. Gaussen says: “The theory of a Divine Revelation. in which you would have the inspiration of thoughts, without the inspiration of the language, is so inevitably irrational that it cannot be sincere, and proves false even to those who propose it.”
Canon Westcott says: “The slightest consideration will show that words are as essential to intellectual processes as they are to mutual intercourse… . Thoughts are wedded to words as necessarily as soul to body. Without it the mysteries unveiled before the eyes of the seer would be confused shadows; with it, they are made clear lessons for human life.”
Dean Burgon, a man of vast learning, says: “You cannot dissect inspiration into substance and form. As for thoughts being inspired, apart from the words which give them expression, you might as well talk of a tune without notes, or a sum without figures. No such theory of inspiration is even intelligible. It is as illogical as it is worthless, and cannot be too sternly put down.”
This doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture, in all its elements and parts, has always been the doctrine of the Church. Dr. Westcott has proved this by a copious catena of quotations from Ante-Nicene Fathers in Appendix B to his “Introduction to the Study of the Gospels”. He quotes Clemens Romanus as saying that the Scriptures are “the true utterances of the Holy Ghost”.
Take a few quotations from the Fathers: 1. Justin, speaking of the words of Scripture, says: “We must not suppose that the language proceeds from the men that are inspired,
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but from the Divine Word Himself, who moves them. Their work is to announce that which the Holy Spirit proposes to teach, through them, to those who wish to learn the true religion. The Divine power acts on men just as a plectrum on a harp or lyre.” “The history Moses wrote was by the Divine Inspiration.” And so, of all the Bible.
2. Irenaeus. “The writers spoke as acted on by the Spirit. All who foretold the Coming of Christ (Moses, David, Isaiah, etc.), received their inspiration from the Son, for how else could Scripture ‘testify’ of Him alone?” “Matthew might have written, ‘The generation of Jesus was on this wise,’ but the Holy Spirit, foreseeing the corruption of the truth, and fortifying us against deception, says, through Matthew, ‘The generation of Jesus the Messiah was on this wise.’ ” “The writers are beyond all falsehood” i.e., they are inerrant.
3. Clement of Alexandria. The foundations of our faith rest on no insecure basis. We have received them through God Himself through the Scripture, not one jot or tittle of which shall pass away till all is accomplished, for the mouth of the Lord, the Holy Spirit, spoke it. He ceases to be a man who spurns the tradition of the Church, and turns aside to human opinions; for the Scriptures are truly holy, since they make us holy, God-like. Of these Holy Writings or Words, the Bible is composed. Paul calls them God-breathed. (2 Tim. o:15, 16.) The Sacred Writings consist of these holy letters or syllables, since they are “God-breathed”. Again, “The Jews and Christians agree as to the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, but differ in interpretation. By our faith, we believe that every Scripture, since it is God-breathed, is profitable. If the words of the Lord are pure words, refined silver, tried seven times, and the Holy Spirit has, with all care, dictated them accurately, it was on this account the Saviour said that not one jot or tittle of them should pass away.”
4. Origen. “It is the doctrine acknowledged by all Christians, and evidently preached in the churches, that the Holy Spirit, inspired the Saints, Prophets and Apostles, and was present in those of old time, as in those He inspired at the Coming of Christ; for Christ, the Word of God, was in Moses when he wrote, and in the Prophets, and by His Spirit He did speak to them all things. The records of the Gospels are the Oracles of the Lord, pure Oracles, purified as silver seven times tried. They are without error, since they were accurately written, by the co-operation of the Holy Spirit.” “It is good to adhere to the words of Paul and the Apostles, as to God and our Lord Jesus Christ. There are many writings, but only one Book; four Evangelists, but only one Gospel. All the Sacred Writings breathe the same fullness. There is nothing, in the Law, the Prophets, the Gospel, the Apostles, that did not come from the fullness of God. Whoever has received these Scriptures as inspired by the Creator of the world, must expect to find in them all the difficulties which meet those who investigate the system of the universe. But God’s hand is not destroyed by our ignorance on particular points. The divinity of the Scriptures remains undisturbed by our weakness. It is a point in the teaching of the Church, that the Scriptures were written by the Spirit of God, and on this the opinion of the whole Church is one. All things that are written are true. He who is a student of God’s Oracles must place himself under the teaching of God.” So much for this Father of “Biblical Criticism,” mighty in the Church.
5. Augustine. The view of the Holy Scriptures held by Augustine was that held by Tertullian, Cyprian and all Fathers of the North African Church. No view of verbal inspiration could be more rigid.” The Scriptures are the letters of God, the voice of God, the writings of God.” “The writers record the words of God. Christ spoke by Moses, for He was the Spirit of the Creator, and all the
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prophecies are the voice of the Lord. From the Spirit came the gift of tongues. All Scripture is profitable since it is inspired of God. The Scriptures, whether in History, Prophecy, Psalms or Law, are of God. They cannot stand in part and fall in part. They are from God, who spake them all.” “As it was not the Apostles who spoke, but the Spirit of the Father in them, so it is the Spirit that speaks in all Scriptures.” “It avails nothing what I say, what he says, but what saith the Lord.”
Prof. B. B. Warfield, of Princeton Theological Seminary, said in an article, on The Westminster Doctrine of Inspiration: “Doubtless enough has been said to show that the confession teaches precisely the doctrine which is taught in the private writings of the framers, which was also the General Protestant Doctrine of the time, and not of that time only or of the Protestants only; for despite the contrary assertion that has recently become tolerably current, essentially this doctrine of inspiration (verbal) has been the doctrine of the Church of all ages and of all names.”
There is nothing truer in the world than that both the Jewish Church and the Christian Church believed the doctrine, because of their conception of the Holy Scriptures as the result of the “Creative Breath of God,” even as matter itself, the soul of man, and the world, were created by the same “Breath of the Almighty“—the very conception Paul had when he said, “Every Scripture is God-breathed!” The pervasive evidence of verbal inspiration stares one in the face at the opening of every page of the Bible. It is not a “few texts,” here and there, on which it depends, but it “stands” rooted in the whole body of the Word of God. He who knows what the Jews understood by the expression, “the Oracles of God,” a divinely oracular Book, different from every other—a Book of God’s own “Testimony”—will know that no other conception of its contents could prevail than this, that it was “divinely inspired,” having “God” as
its Author, and truth without error as its matter. The manner in which the Old Testament is quoted in the New is crowning demonstration of its verbal inspiration. That subjectless verb, “saith” (rendered, “It saith”), that nominative, the “Scripture saith,” that personal subject, “He” (“He saith”), that identification of God with the “Scripture,” (“the Scripture foreseeing,” giving to it eyes, mouth and foreknowledge, as a living organism equal with God), that recognition of the human writer, as “Moses saith,” “David saith,” “Isaiah saith,” is a divinely governed authorship; therefore it is all one to say, “Moses saith,” “It saith,” “the Scripture saith,” “He saith,” since in all it is “God saith”—all this proves the “high place,” the estimate and conception which Christ, His Apostles, and the whole Jewish and Christian Church, had of the “Scriptures,” and that they are a God-breathed, oracular Book, created by the Breath of God—a verbally inspired Book, whose “words” were the “Words of God,” infallible, authoritative, final, the court of last appeal, the very “Utterance” and “Voice” “of God,” who spoke in time past in the Prophets, and who has spoken to us in these last days in His Son—”words” commanded to be written in the days of Moses and commanded to be written in the Apostles’ days—the Spirit promised “to guide,” to permit no lapse of “remembrance,” and to “reveal” the future.
Such form of citation, quotation, reference, and allusion to the Old Testament came from the conception of the Scriptures as the verbally inspired Book of God. It was by means of this specific and customary formula of quotation, Christ and His Apostles made known to the Church their exalted estimate of the “Volume of the Book.” On this ground alone arose all the high attributes ascribed to it—its Divine origin, sanctity, sublimity, infallibility, authority and sufficiency for mankind. This uniform emphasis of the Scriptures as the product of the “Breath of God,” not mere “human literature,” as the critics would have it, nor a “human element” uncon-
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trolled by the Divine, nor the miserable excuse of “wordless thoughts,” the thoughts “inspired,” but the “words not”—is characteristic of the treatment the Old Testament Scriptures everywhere receive in the New Testament. On no other view than that of verbal inspiration could such a manner of quotation, whether strict or free, have arisen. It is as the “Creation” and the “Oracles” of God they are referred to. On this their authority, holiness, perfection and perpetuity rest. And as to the “authorship” of the “Books” of Scripture, the citation of different texts existing in different “Books,” render the names of different human authors, as “Moses saith,” “David saith,” “Isaiah saith,” is proof that the authors of the texts are the authors of the “Books” in which they are found, and which bear their name. Only “Higher Critics” could dispute this.
SOME PROOFS OF VERBAL INSPIRATION
The Bible plainly teaches that its words are inspired, and that it is the Word of God. Let us examine into this matter a little, by considering briefly three kinds of evidence, viz.:
First. Direct testimony.
Second. Inferential testimony.
Third. Resultant testimony.
FIRST. Let us note the Direct Testimony of the Bible to the fact of verbal inspiration.
“And Moses said unto the Lord, I am not eloquent [a man of words], neither heretofore nor since Thou hast spoken unto Thy servant: for I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? … . Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt speak” (Ex. 4: 10-12). “And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee, and with Israel” (Ex. 34:27).”And He said, Hear now My words: if there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will
make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream… . With him [Moses] will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold” (Num. 12:6, 8). “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from it” (Deut. 4:2).”But the prophet which shall speak a word presumptuously in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, … that prophet shall die” (Deut. 18:20).
In Mark 12:36, Jesus said: “David himself said in the Holy Spirit.” If we turn to 2 Sam. 23:2, we will find what it was David said: “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and His word was upon my tongue.”
Jeremiah said: “Ah! Lord God! behold I cannot speak, for I am a child. But the Lord saith unto me, Say not I am a child, for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces, for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put My words in thy mouth” (Jer. 1:6-9).
Balaam was compelled to speak against his will. He said: “Lo, I am come unto thee; have I now any power at all to say anything? the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak.” He did his very utmost to curse the Israelites, but as often as he tried it, he blessed them. Balak at last said, “Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all.” But Balaam answered, “Told not I thee, saying, All the Lord speaketh, that must I do” (Num. 22:38; 23:26).
In the five books of Moses, in the books called historical, and books included under the general title of the Psalms, such expressions as the following occur hundreds of times: “Thus saith the Lord;” “The Lord said;” “The Lord spake;” “The Lord hath spoken;” “The saying of the Lord;” and “The word of the Lord.” There is no other thought expressed in
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these books concerning inspiration than that the writers spoke and wrote the very words that God gave them.
Turning to the books called prophetical, we find Isaiah saying, “Hear the word of the Lord” (Isa. 1:10); and no fewer than twenty times does he explicitly declare that his writings are the “words of the Lord.” Almost one hundred times does Jeremiah say, “The word of the Lord came unto me,” or declare he was uttering the “words of the Lord,” and the “word of the living God.” Ezekiel says that his writings are the “words of God” quite sixty times. Here is a sample: “Son of man, all My words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears. And go get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord God” (Ezek. 3:10-11). Daniel said, “And when I heard the voice of His words” (Dan. 10:9). Hosea said, “The word of the Lord” (Hosea 1:1).”The word of the Lord that came to Joel” (Joel 1:1). Amos said, “Hear the word of the Lord” (Amos 3:1). Obadiah said, “Thus saith the Lord God” (Oba. 1:1).”The word of the Lord came unto Jonah” (Jonah 1:1). “The word of the Lord that came to Micah” (Micah 1:1). Nahum said, “Thus saith the Lord” (Nah. 1:12). Habakkuk wrote, “The Lord answered me and said” (Flab. 2:2).”The word of the Lord which came to Zephaniah” (Zeph. 1:1). ‘ “Came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet” (Hag. 1:1).”Came the word of the Lord unto Zechariah” (Zech. 1:1).”The word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi” (Mai. 1:1). And in this last of the Old Testament books, is it twenty-four times said, “Thus saith the Lord.”
The words Jesus Himself uttered were inspired. The words He spoke were not His own, but actually put into His mouth. In the most express manner it was foretold that Christ should thus speak, just as Moses spake. “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up, like unto me. To Him ye shall hearken.” Twice it is said, “like unto me.” And how like to Moses, ex-
cept as the whole context shows, “like unto” him in verbal inspiration? To Moses God said: “I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what to say. Thou shalt put words in Aaron’s mouth, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach you what you shall say. And he shall be thy spokesman to the people. And he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God” (Ex. 4:11-16). Therefore did Jesus, the Prophet, utter inspired words “like unto Moses.” The very words He spoke God put into His mouth and on His tongue. Therefore did He say, assuring the Jews that Moses wrote of Him: “I have not spoken from Myself, but the Father who sent Me gave Me commandment what I should say and what I should speak. I speak therefore even as the Father said to Me, even so I speak” (John 12:49, 50). “I have given unto them the words Thou gavest Me, and they have received them” (John 17:8).”The Son can do nothing from Himself” (5:19). Since Jesus Christ had to be divinely helped, “like unto Moses,” the very words put into His mouth, Himself God’s mouth, and as God to the people, how should not the Evangelists and Apostles need the same Divine guidance and help to qualify them for their work, and guarantee its inerrant truthfulness and its Divine authority? If Moses and Isaiah, if Jesus Christ Himself, had to be divinely assisted, how should the narrators of New Testament history and oracles be exempted from the same Divine activity of the Spirit, all-controlling and guiding into the full truth? What are the words of Jesus to John, and to the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse, but the literal words of God dictated verbally by Jesus Christ?
Jesus said to the disciples, “And when they lead you to the judgment, and deliver you up, be not anxious beforehand what ye shall speak: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost” (Mark 13:11).
This same gift included all the disciples on the day of Pen-
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tecost, for “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1, 4). The multitude that heard “marveled, saying, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own language? … We do hear them speaking in our tongues the mighty works of God” (Acts 2:7, 11).
Paul says: “Which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth” (1 Cor. 2:13).”And for this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that, when ye received from us the word of the message, even the word of God, ye accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God” (1 Thess. 2:13).
And so the Bible uniformly teaches the doctrine of verbal inspiration. It is the Word of God. This is the invariable testimony of the Book itself. It never, in a single instance, says that the thoughts of the writers were inspired; or, that these writers had a “Concept.” The Scriptures are called “The oracles of God” (Rom. 3:2); “The Word of God” (Luke 8:11); “The Word of the Lord” (Acts 13:48); “The Word of life” (Phil. 2:16); “The Word of Christ” (Col. 3:16); “The Word of truth” (Eph. 1:13); “The Word of faith” (Rom. 10:8); and, by these and similar statements, do they declare, more than two thousand times, that the Bible is the Word of God—that the words are God-breathed, are inspired (theopneustos).
SECOND. What of the Inferential Testimony to the fact of verbal inspiration? I mean by Inferential Testimony that which is assumed by the Bible, and the natural implication belonging to many of its statements.
The Bible assumes to be from God in that it meets man face to face with drawn sword and says: “Thou shalt!” and “Thou shalt not!” and demands immediate, unconditional and irreversible surrender to the authority of heaven, and sub-
mission to all the laws and will of God, as made known in its pages. This of itself would not signify a great deal, though unique, were it not for the striking and significant results of such submission; but. the natural inference of such assumption is, that the words of demand and command are from God.
A great many statements of the Bible plainly indicate that the words are inspired. The following are a few instances: “Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven” (Psa. 119:89). This is characteristic of the entire Psalm.” The words of the Lord are pure words” (Psa. 12:6).”Is not My word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (Jer. 23:29).”The Word of our God shall stand forever” (Isa. 40:8); and so on, almost ad infinitum. Everywhere in the sacred record you find this same suggestion of Divine authorship. Jesus and the Apostles always recognized it, and gave it prominence and emphasis. Its importance and value should not be underestimated.
THIRD. The Resultant Testimony. What of it? Paul tells us that “Every sacred writing” is “God-breathed.” (Pasa Graphe Theopneustos.) “No prophecy ever came by the will of man; but men spake from God, being moved [pheromenoi, borne along] by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21). (This passage does not justify the so-called “mechanical theory of inspiration.” Such theory is nowhere taught in the Scriptures. Indeed, the obvious fact that the individual characteristics of the writers were in no way changed or destroyed, disproves such theory.) It is said: “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7). Elihu said, “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath .given me life” (Job 33:4). Now, then, the very same Almighty power that gave life to Adam and Elihu, and which made the “Heavens … and
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all the host of them,” is, in some mysterious sense, in the words of the Sacred Record. Therefore are we told: “For the Word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). What results will follow believing the Word and submission to its requirements?
1. It will impart spiritual life and save the soul. ”Receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).”Having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the Word of God, which liveth and abideth” (1 Pet. 1:23).”Of His own will begat He us by the Word of truth” (James 1:18). Jesus said: “The words I have spoken unto you are spirit, and are life” (John 6:63).
As a good seed contains the germ of life, so that when cast into the soil of earth at the proper season, under the influence of sunshine and showers, it germinates and springs up to reproduce itself in kind; even so the words of the Bible, if received into the mind and heart to be believed and obeyed, germinate, and spiritual life is the result, reproducing its kind; and that believing soul is made partaker of the Divine nature. (2 Pet. 1:4.) “He is a new creature [creation]; the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). The power and life of the Almighty lie hidden in the words of the Sacred Record; they are Godbreathed; and that power and life will be manifest in the case of every one who will receive them with meekness to believe them and submit to their requirements. All the books men have written cannot do this.
2. It has cleansing power.” Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking
heed thereto according to Thy Word” (Psa. 119:9). Jesus said: “Already ye are clean because of the Word which I have spoken unto you” (John
15:3).”That He might sanctify it, having cleansed it, by the washing of water with the Word” (Eph. 5:26).
3. By the Word we are kept from evil and the power of the evil one. The Psalmist said: “By the words of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer” (Psa. 17:4); and, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psa. 119:11). Therefore, Jesus said: “I have given them Thy Word… . Sanctify them through [in] the truth. Thy Word is truth” (John 17:14, 17).
The voice said: “Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field… . The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the Word of our God shall stand forever” (Isa. 40:6, 8).”For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (2 Cor. 13:8).
This, then, is the sum of our contention: The Bible is made up of writings, and these are composed of words. The WORDS are inspired—God-breathed. Therefore is the Bible inspired—is God’s Word.
This is plainly seen, first, in the uniform declaration of the Book. All the Old Testament Prophets, Jesus our Lord, and all the New Testament writers, bear the same testimony concerning this transcendentally important matter. Not a single word or thought to the contrary can anywhere be found in ail their declarations. The attitude of Jesus toward the Old Testament and His utterances confirm beyond question our contention. He had the very same Old Testament we have today. He believed it to be the Word of God, and proclaimed it as such. He said, “One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the laws, till all be fulfilled.” In thwarting the tempter He said: “It is written! it is written! it is written!” In confounding the Jews, He said: “If ye believed Moses ye would believe Me; for he wrote of Me.” He never criticised the Scriptures, but always appealed to them as His Father’s words, authoritative and final.
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Jesus is the life and the light of man. The same is true of the Scriptures. Jesus said: “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” The Psalmist said, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” In an inexplicable way Jesus is identified with the Word.” The Word was God… . and the Word became flesh.” And when the victories of the Gospel shall have been finally accomplished, and Jesus shall assert His regal rights, His name is called, “The Word of God.” (See Rev. 19:11, 13.)
Second. The Bible assumes to be God’s Word by its imperious demands. Who but God has a right to require of men what the Bible does?
Third. The Bible has fulfilled all its claims and promises. The marvelous, far-reaching results of proclaiming and believing it, demonstrably prove its supernatural origin and character.
That there are difficulties, I well enough know. But many difficulties have disappeared as a result of patient, reverent, scholarly research; and without doubt others will soon go the same way. So, while I bid the scholars and reverent critics God-speed in their noble work, with the late learned Bishop Ryle I say: “Give me the plenary verbal theory with all its difficulties, rather than the doubt. I accept the difficulties, and humbly wait for their solution; but while I wait I am standing on a rock.”
Let this, then, be our attitude, to tell it out to the wide world that the blessed Bible, the “Holy Scriptures” of both Testaments, are the product of the “Breath of God,” who made heaven and earth, and “breathed” into man His soul; the product of that Divine “Breath” that regenerates, that illuminates and sanctifies the soul; a “God-breathed Scriptures,” whose “words” are the “words of God.” Tell it to the Church in her seminaries, universities and colleges, from her pulpits, Sunday Schools and Bible classes, and sound it in every convention, conference and assembly that her concep-
tion and estimate of the Scriptures must be no lower and no less than were the high conception and estimate of the “Volume of the Book” by our Lord and His Apostles; that what they regarded as the “Breath of God,” she must so regard in opposition to every breath of man that dares to breathe otherwise. Say, with the immortal Athanasius, who knew how to read Greek better than the “drift of scholarly opinion” “in our time”: “O my child, not only the ancient, but the new Scriptures are God-breathed, as Paul saith, ‘Every Scripture is God-breathed.’” Say to the rising ministry, “Speak as the Oracles of God speak”— the words that “God hath spoken,” the words that Christ has written. Be at least, as decent as Balaam! “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do;” and whatsoever He saith unto you, say. Tell it to every reader and hearer of the Word, that what “Moses saith” and “David saith” and “Isaiah, Peter, Paul, John and the Scripture, saith,” is what “God saith.” Tell it to the dying saint, when his last pulse quivers at the- wrist, and friends are weeping by his bed, and “Science” has exhausted in vain all her poor resources, that God, who breathed the Scriptures, “cannot lie,” that Jesus is a Rock, and that the “firm Foundation” laid in the Word for his faith can never disappoint his trust. To every question of Exegesis or of Criticism, return the answer, “What saith the Scriptures”? “How readest thou?” “It is written!” And cease to deride the most sacred, age-established, and time-honored tradition the Apostolic Church has left ns. With such an attitude as this, the days will revisit the Church, as once they were “in the beginning,” and God, honored in His Word, will no longer restrain the Spirit, but open the windows of heaven, and pour upon her a blessing so great that there will not be room to receive it. God hasten the day!