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What Do We Have Here?

Reconsidering the Nature of Scripture

Posted Thursday, September 22, 2005 by Brian Beers

I grew up in Protestant, usually Baptist, churches. I have heard the Bible preached nearly every Sunday of my life. And there I learned to cherish the Bible and read it. During this time I also observed the ongoing battle over the inerrancy (truthfulness) of the Bible. I find that this habit of reading my Bible created dissonance even between me those who vigorously defend the inerrancy of my Bible. Their methods distort the nature of the Bible. Over the past several years, I have discerned flaws within the methods of those defend the inerrancy of the Bible, and I seek to correct their methods.
I realize now that if I am to succeed I must do more than try to dismantle current methods of defending the truthfulness of the Bible, I must offer an alternative. These methods have been used for generations now. In the future I will attack those methods directly, but expounding on those can only be half of the process. I want to provide a positive statement about the nature of the Bible not based on the elaborate, unstable arguments in vogue.

Methods based on flawed extra-Biblical ideas (fighting “scientists” with science) degenerated into a shouting match long ago. Others based on flawed exegesis. Can you count the number of times that the hapax legomena, “God-breathed,” has been used to support a view of inspiration?
Were it not for the written Scriptures we would have little hope of knowing our Savior. We have no other trustworthy basis for our faith. I am interested in the foundation that we can lay down for defending the truthfulness of the Bible. Please participate with me in this. It is a task far too grand for one person.
Each comment is numbered, and as we progress I want us to reference previous comments by number as we extend our arguments. When you reference a comment hyperlink it, setting the URL to be #[Comment Number]. I will post a couple of comments to prime the discussion, and then we’ll see if this will work.

Using the Comment Headings indicate if you consider your contribution to be

1)   Direct observation

2)   Scripture
      One or more passages of Scripture with a brief interpretation.

3)   Deduction

4)   Refutation
      Someone says something off the wall (other than me), and you wish to pin them to the wall.

5)   Speculation
      Even wild speculation may bear fruit if someone else can substantiate it.

Other categories may be necessary, but here we go.

Thursday, September 22, 2005 5:08 PM

Brian wrote: Direct Observation

We have the Bible as a collection of written documents.

Thursday, September 22, 2005 5:09 PM

Brian wrote: Scripture

2 Peter 3:15-16  15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,  16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

Paul’s writings were considered Scripture.

Thursday, September 22, 2005 5:10 PM

Brian wrote: Deduction

Based on 1 and 2:

People wrote the Bible

Thursday, September 22, 2005 6:39 PM

anybudee wrote: Scripture

1Thes 2:8 ...we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well.

1Thes 2:13 ...when you received the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the Word of God,

Paul's preaching, the gospel, is the Word of God

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 7:25 AM

anybudee wrote: Scripture

John 5:39  You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life.  These are the Scriptures that testify about me,  40  yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

Something more than study of the scriptures is necessary for eternal life.

(a new tack)

Thursday, September 29, 2005 7:10 AM

Josh Michael wrote: Observation Direct observation based upon the verses cited in comment #4, "Scripture" and "Word of God" are not equivalent terms since what Paul has just described as the "Word of God" (his preaching to the Thessalonians prior to the writing of the epistle) was not inscripturated. 

Thursday, September 29, 2005 5:51 PM

Brian wrote: Scripture

Deuteronomy 18:18-22
18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ 21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.

How to recognize a true prophet.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 5:55 PM

Brian wrote: Scripture

Matthew 23:29-31
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.

Shows human recognition of true prophets.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 5:59 PM

Brian wrote: Observation Based on 7 and 8 we see that even those who killed the prophets were able to recognize the truth of their messages and that they were true prophets.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005 2:19 PM

Brian wrote: Observation Methodologically speaking, however, the Bible is even the first to anticipate the surviving record of the past that characterizes modern history telling. Such relics abound on the narrative surface itself, appearing as facts to be interpreted and brought into pattern…In terms of communicative design and force, it is the novelty of the gesture toward historicity that matters. Whatever the truth value of the references and explanations made, their very making strengthens the discourse in public and accessible features of reality.[1]

The Bible can be externally verified

[1] Sternberg, Meir “The Poetics of Biblical Narrative” Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1987

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