Archive for the ‘Scriptures’ Category

The original text, not an English translation, is the authority

November 24, 2012

The NIV provides a very felicitous translation in terms of its public reading, but we do need to recognise that it has introduced certain verbs into verse 3. ‘Produced’, ‘prompted’ and ‘inspired’ are not there in the original…

…For reasons best known to themselves, the NIV translators have omitted the very significant link-word, kathos – ‘just as’, ‘even as’ – which makes the link back with what (Paul) has just said…

…Now again, the NIV omits a rather important link-word at the beginning of verse 8, the word ‘for’. ‘For the Lord’s message rang out from you’, which shows us that verse 8 is the evidence for verse 7.

David Jackman, The Authentic Church, Christian Focus, 1998, p.32, 38-39, 41

(commenting on 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 5, 8)

It also highlights the need to avoid consulting and using only one English translation in sermon and study preparation.

Scripture interprets Scripture

December 30, 2011

When controversy then happens, for the right understanding of any place or sentence of scripture, or for the reformation of any abuse within the kirk of God, we ought not so much to look what men before us have said or done, as unto that which the Holy Ghost uniformly speaks within the body of the scriptures, and unto that which Christ Jesus himself did, and commanded to be done.[16] For this is a thing universally granted, that the Spirit of God (which is the Spirit of unity) is in nothing contrary unto himself.[17] If then the interpretation, determination, or sentence of any doctor, kirk, or council, repugn to the plain word of God written in any other place of scripture, it is a thing most certain, that there is not the true understanding and meaning of the Holy Ghost, supposing that councils, realms, and nations have approved and received the same. For we dare not receive and admit any interpretation which directly repugns to any principal point of our faith, or to any other plain text of scripture, or yet unto the rule of charity.

Scots Confession, 1560

Abelard on the authority of Scripture

November 15, 2011

In order that the way be not blocked and posterity deprived of the healthy labor of treating and debating difficult questions of language and style, a distinction must be drawn between the work of later authors and the supreme canonical authority of the Old and New Testaments. If, in Scripture, anything seems absurd you are not permitted to say, “The author of this book did not hold to the truth”–but rather that the codex is defective or that the interpreter erred or that you do not understand. But if anything seems contrary to truth in the works of later authors, which are contained in innumerable books, the reader or auditor is free to judge, so that he may approve what is pleasing and reject what gives offense, unless the matter is established by certain reason or by canonical authority (of the Scriptures )

Abelard, Preface to Sic et Non

My vision’s more amazing than yours

November 15, 2011

Bridget of Sweden (1303-73), founder of the Brigittine order of nuns, had a wonderful vision which revealed to her that the immaculate conception was true…Catherine of Siena (1347-80), had a wonderful vision which revealed to her that the immaculate conception was false.

N.R. Needham, 2000 Years of Christ’s Power, Part Two: the Middle Ages, 2005, p.275

Which proves once again the need to test all things by God’s written Word.

Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the sufficiency of the Bible

June 17, 2011

If the 6 volumes of ‘Scripture Studies’ are practically the Bible topically arranged, with Bible proof-texts given, we might not improperly name the volumes- ‘The Bible’ in an arranged form. That is to say, they are not merely comments on the Bible, but they are practically the Bible itself…Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible itself, but we see also that if anyone lays the ‘Scripture Studies’ … after he has read them for 10 years-if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone…our experience shows that within 2 years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he has merely read the ‘S.S.’ with their references, and had not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of the two years.

Charles Taze Russell, Watchtower, Sept 15, 1910

He does not impart his holy spirit and understanding and appreciation of his Word apart from his visible organization.

Watchtower, July 1, 1965, pg. 391

more quotes like this

Witsius on the authority of Scripture

May 19, 2011

Let the Theologian ascend from the lower school of natural study, to the higher department of Scripture, and, sitting at the feet of God as his teacher, learn from his mouth the hidden mysteries of salvation, which ‘eye hath not seen, nor ear heard; which none of the princes of this world knew;’ which the most accurate reason cannot search out; which the heavenly chorus of angels, though always beholding the face of God, ‘desire to look into.’ In the hidden book of Scripture, and no where else, are opened the secrets of the more sacred wisdom. Whatever is not drawn from them–whatever is not built upon them–whatever does not most exactly accord with them–however it may recommend itself by the appearance of the most sublime wisdom, or rest upon ancient tradition, consent of learned men, or the weight of plausible argument–is vain, futile, and, in short, a very lie. ‘To the law and to the testimony. If any one speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.’ Let the Theologian delight in these sacred oracles: let him exercise himself in them day and night; let him meditate on them; let him live in them; let him derive all his wisdom from them; let him compare all his thoughts with them; let him embrace nothing in religion which he does not find here. Let him not bind his faith to a man–not to a Prophet–not to an Apostle–not even to an Angel himself, as if the dictum of either man or angel were to be the rule of faith. Let his whole ground of faith be in God alone. For it is a Divine, not a human faith, which we learn and teach; so pure that it can rest upon no ground but the authority of God, who is never false, and never can deceive. The attentive study of the Scriptures has a sort of constraining power. It fills the mind with the most splendid form of heavenly truth, which it teaches with purity, solidity, certainty, and without the least mixture of error. It soothes the mind with an inexpressible sweetness; it satisfies the sacred hunger and thirst for knowledge with flowing rivers of honey and butter; it penetrates into the innermost heart with irresistible influence; it imprints its own testimony so firmly upon the mind, that the believing soul rests upon it with the same security, as if it had been carried up into the third heaven, and heard it from God’s own mouth; it touches all the affections, and breathes the sweetest fragrance of holiness upon the pious reader, even though he may not perhaps comprehend the full extent of his reading. We can scarcely say, how strongly we are opposed to that preposterous method of study, which, alas! too much prevails among us–of forming our views of Divine things from human writings, and afterwards supporting them by Scripture authorities, the result either of our own inquiry, or adduced by others too rashly, and without further examination or bearing upon the subject; when we ought to draw our views of Divine truths immediately from the Scriptures themselves, and to make no other use of human writings, than as indices marking those places in the chief points of Theology, from which we may be instructed in the mind of the Lord.

Witsius, quoted by Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry

The Power of God’s Word

May 16, 2011

One of the most dramatic examples of the Bible’s divine ability to transform men and women involved the famous mutiny on the “Bounty.” Following their rebellion against the notorious Captain Bligh, nine mutineers, along with the Tahatian men and women who accompanied them, found their way to Pitcairn Island, a tiny dot in the South Pacific only two miles long and a mile wide. Ten years later, drink and fighting had left only one man alive–John Adams. Eleven women and 23 children made up the rest of the Island’s population. So far this is the familiar story made famous in the book and motion picture. But the rest of the story is even more remarkable. About this time, Adams came across the “Bounty’s” Bible in the bottom of an old chest. He began to read it, and the divine power of God’s Word reached into the heart of that hardened murderer on a tiny volcanic speck in the vast Pacific Ocean–and changed his life forever. The peace and love that Adams found in the Bible entirely replaced the old life of quarreling, brawling, and liquor. He began to teach the children from the Bible until every person on the island had experienced the same amazing change that he had found. Today, with a population of slightly less than 100, nearly every person on Pitcairn Island is a Christian.

Power of God’s Word to Convert

May 16, 2011

Many years ago in a Moscow theater, matinee idol Alexander Rostovzev was converted while playing the role of Jesus in a sacrilegious play entitled Christ in a Tuxedo. He was supposed to read two verses from the Sermon on the Mount, remove his gown, and cry out, “Give me my tuxedo and top hat!” But as he read the words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted,” he began to tremble. Instead of following the script, he kept reading from Matthew 5, ignoring the coughs, calls, and foot-stamping of his fellow actors. Finally, recalling a verse he had learned in his childhood in a Russian Orthodox church, he cried, “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom!” (Luke 23:42). Before the curtain could be lowered, Rostovzev had trusted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.

Universalism is not taught in Scripture

May 11, 2011

As even universalists have to admit:

It is best in fact to admit quite frankly that any view of the future destiny of [unbelievers] which is to be tolerable to us today must go beyond the explicit teaching of the New Testament….[This] does not really give us what we want, and it only leads to insincerity if we try to satisfy ourselves by artificial explanations of its language. And we are in the end on surer ground when as Christians we claim the right to go beyond the letter, since we do so under the irresistible leading of the moral principles of the New Testament and of Christ Himself.

C. W. Emmet’s, ‘The Bible and Hell’ (1917) quoted by Richard Bauckham

Of course, like modern universalists such as Rob Bell, Emmet had to impose a paradigm on the NT and ignore/downplay texts that did not ‘fit’. This reminds me of what Sherlock Holmes might say:

I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.


The universalist twists the data to suit the universalist theory rather than adopt a theology that suits the facts of the NT texts.

Looking for the text’s ‘deeper meaning’?

February 25, 2011

…before I was a Christian, I was in a cult whose answer to every uncongenial passage was, “We have to look for the deeper meaning.” Funny how the “deeper meaning” was always the precise opposite of what the passage said, and exactly in harmony with what our cult believed.

Dan Phillips