There is another stance on inspiration which you do not mention. It has
some similarities with the C position. Rather than verbal inspiration, where
every single word came directly from the Holy Spirit and the writers simply
acted as penmen, it is call thought inspiration. In this position, The Holy
Spirit inspired the writers at the thought level and not the word level.
The Holy Spirit inspired the writers to write but did not give them the
exact words to use. In this way the personality, education, experience and
humanity of the writer comes through in the writings. Because it is written
by flawed humans it contains inconsistencies much the same as is found in
most situations where an assortment of witnesses to an event will give
varying accounts of what happened. thus the Gospels are not identical
accounts, but four separate, individual accounts that are different from
each other. One would not expect them to be exactly the same. One would
not expect the Bible to be inerrant in word.
There is an important factor which is sometimes missed. Jesus gave us the
comforter (i.e. the Holy Spirit) to lead us into all truth. This is the
same Holy Spirit which inspired the Bible to be written in the first place.
So, if we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in our study, then we can rest
assured that the same truth which He inspired into the Bible, we can get out
of the Bible.
So who cares if all the numbers don't add up? Who cares if this list of
names doesn't precisely match that list? There is a level at which truth
exists even within a flawed matrix. We can still know the truth that God
mean for us to know. It is not either fully inerrant or nothing!!
I believe that the reason why there is so many "denominations" and
differences between what people believe is because none of us really allows
the Holy Spirit to lead us as could be our privilege in our search for
truth. Sometimes it's -- if it was good enough for mom and dad it is good
enough for me. Or, If it was good enough for mom and dad then it certainly
isn't good enough for me. Or, My favorite pastor (priest, teacher,
spiritual mentor) believed such and such, so it must be truth. Or, This is
what I believe and that's good enough for me. Or, Science is the final
arbiter of truth, the Bible must take second place.
I think that each one must be willing to allow our beliefs to be modified by
the work of the Holy Spirit to line up with the truth He inspired to be in
the Bible. No one of us can make anyone else believe what we believe, but
if each learns the truth to be taught us by the Holy Spirit that He inspired
into the Bible, then we may find that we believe many of the same things.
The problem is that we are often stubborn and prideful in our knowledge. We
know the truth and we cannot be wrong!
The Truth is in the Bible, not because every single word is inerrently
written down and translated, but because God inspired the truth into the
text through the thoughts of the writers. Asking, "What does the Bible
say?", does not mean what words are used, but what was the inspired truth
that men tried to express through fallible human language.
I'd like to recommend the book "Inspiration; Hard Questions, Honest
Answers." by Alden Thompson, 1991, Review and Herald Publishing Company. He
discusses in greater detail the ideas barely touched on here. He also
proposes that the Bible is, for the most part, a Case book and not just a
----- Original Message -----
From: "John W Burgeson" <email@example.com>
Sent: Saturday, July 06, 2002 12:59 PM
> An adequate response to #2 and #3 seems to require the question of
> scripture inerrancy be addressed. I see five separate Christian positions
> (there are others) more or less clearly. Visualize them as being along a
> horizontal line as follows:
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sat Jul 06 2002 - 20:53:39 EDT