Archive for the ‘Scripture’ Category

False Prophecy of Christ’s Return

November 29, 2014

(Anabaptist John Hut) construed the Turkish inroads into Christendom as a sign of Christ’s imminent return. Appealing to Revelation 13 and Daniel 12, he interpreted the traditional figure of three and one half to mean that three and one half years – either from the recent restitution of believers’ baptism or from the outbreak of the Peasants’ War— had been given by the Lord during which the good news of a saving repentance could still be proclaimed. According to one reliable testimony, he foresaw the advent of Christ for Pentecost, 31 May 1528.

The Radical Reformation, G.H. Williams, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1962, p.163

What John Hut ignored was the author’s original intent in writing Revelation and read his own times into the book. The failure of his prophecy demonstrates the falsity of his method.

Wycliffe on Scripture

April 19, 2014

Holy Scripture is the faultless, most true, most perfect, and most holy law of God, which it is the duty of all men to learn to know, to defend, and to observe, inasmuch as they are bound to serve the Lord in accordance with it, under the promise of an eternal reward.

John Wycliffe, Of the Truth of Holy Scripture

Claim the Bible is unclear and make way for your Infallible organisation

September 6, 2013
  • “For the Scripture is not like other books, dictated by the Holy Ghost, it contains things of deepest importance, which in many instances are very difficult and obscure. To understand and explain such things there is always required the coming of the same Holy Ghost.” (The Great encyclical Letters of Leo XII, p. 227).
  • “We must, therefore, conclude that the Scriptures alone cannot be a sufficient guide and rule of faith…because they are not of themselves clear and intelligible even in matters of the highest importance…” (The Faith of Our Fathers, James Gibbons p. 73).
  • “Is it possible to misunderstand the Bible? Yes, even the Bible itself says so. ‘In these epistles there are certain things difficult to understand, which the unlearned and the unstable distort, just as they do the rest of the Scriptures also, to their own destruction’ (2nd Peter 3:16).” (A Catechism for Adults, p. 10).

Time and again various groups have either claimed the Bible is incomplete, error-ridden or obscure. All these claims make way for them to be the infallible interpreter. In the quotes above, it’s the Roman Catholic Church and its claims to interpret the Bible. But the Mormons and the JWs have the same general approach. All in all they detract from the clarity of Scripture.

never give a word more meanings than the context requires

May 5, 2013

…a cardinal principle of semantics (is) never give a word more meanings than the context requires

Douglas Moo, The Letter of James. Pillar Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000, p.243

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.

How to get legitimate application from Scripture

November 24, 2012

If I can get the context right and see why it was written to people in their situation, that will very often open up the application for me in a way that is penetrating and persuasive. If we are cutting with the grain, our applications will be that much more obvious and clearly more directly drawn from Scripture, and when that happens our understanding will be muich deeper and more significant. And the way to get there is by reading, reading and reading again; by careful observation of what it actually says, and by finding out the context as clearly as we can, so that by understanding the text in context we can move on to the application with confidence.

David Jackman, The Authentic Church, Christian Focus, 1998, p.21

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

Someone hands you a crown; you test it for the correct weight, to see if it is pure gold or contains any dross; but you do not thereby create the value of the crown

December 23, 2011

Our opponents also put the authority of the Church above Scripture. Why? Because the church gave us the books of Scripture; therefore, they argue, the Church gave authority to these books. The Church rejected the Gospels of Nicodemus and Thomas, but accepted the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They glory in this argument, but actually it is merely a stuid and bare-faced example of the fallacy per accidens. Discerning the spirits and discriminating between them does not give the spirits their authority. Likewise, testing metals does not make the metals either good or bad. Or again, when citizens make a judgement about their king’s decree (that it is authentic, and that it means this or that), that judgement does not bestow authority on the decree, but rather seeks to accept without a mistake the actual authority that is in the king’s majesty, by being subject to his acknowledged decree. Someone hands you a crown; you test it for the correct weight, to see if it is pure gold or contains any dross; but you do not thereby create the value of the crown…The devil has mixed his own…books into the divine books; and the Church has sorted sorted out the divine from the diabolical. In so doing, the Church has not given authority to the divine books, but has withdrawn authority from the others, showing that they are not divine.

Martin Bucer, Commonplaces


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

Ehrman’s Misunderstanding of the doctrine of inerrancy

October 9, 2011

I began seeing the New Testament AS A VERY HUMAN BOOK. The N.T. as we actually have it, I knew, was the product of human hands, the hands of the scribes who transmitted it. Then I began to see that not just the scribal text BUT THE ORIGINAL TEXT ITSELF was a very human book. This stood very much at odds with how I had regarded the text in my late teens as a newly minted “born again” Christian, convinced that the Bible was the inerrant Word of God and that the biblical words themselves had come to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As I realized already in graduate school, even IF God had inspired the original words, WE DON’T HAVE THE ORIGINAL WORDS. So the doctrine of inspiration was in a sense IRREVELANT to the Bible as we have it, since the words God REPUTEDLY INSPIRED had been changed, and in some cases, LOST. Moreover, I came to think that my earlier views of inspiration were not only irrelevant, they were probably wrong. For the only reason (I came to think) for God to inspire the Bible would be so that his people would have his actual words; but if he really wanted people to have his actual words, surely he would have miraculously preserved those words, just as he had miraculously inspired them in the first place. GIVEN THE CIRCUMSTANCE THAT HE DIDN’T PRESERVE THE WORDS, THE CONCLUSION SEEMED INESCAPABLE TO ME THAT HE HADN’T GONE THROUGH THE TROUBLE OF INSPIRING THEM.

Bart Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus, (New York:HarperCollins, 2005)

A couple of comments. It is a shame that when Ehrman was at Moody or Wheaton he was not taught (or did not pick up) that inerrancy and recognising the human authorship of the Bible are compatible. Also, Ehrman demands that God ‘preserve’ the text of the Bible without any textual variants. Since no document of antiquity exists without variants he is demanding that Scripture be unique and not at all a human product. Again, Scripture is the inerrant Word of God but it is the words of inspired men also. In the transmission and copying of the text scribes made errors. However, the origianl text can be ascertained by comparing text with text. This is textual criticism – Ehrman’s area of expertise.

And how does he know certain words have been ‘lost’?

Ehrman had a wrong view of inerrancy early on but he never allowed this view to be corrected or matured to consider the kind of sophisticated statement of inerrancy that allows for variants, the loss of the autographs and the human process that God oversaw in preserving the text we have that is by far the best attested in all antiquity.

James White comments:

How would God accomplish this feat that Ehrman demands. If a scribe was about to misspell a word, would he burst into flames? Disappear in a flash of light? Would God take him over, put him in a trance, and override his humanity so as to “fix” the problem? Would an angel appear and shout “Stop! Spell that word with two nu’s!” All such scenarios seem utterly absurd because, again, the operating assumption itself is flawed.

The King James Only Controversy, James R. White, Bethany, 2009 2nd ed., pp.304-305