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    Christian Theology - Thread: Inspiration of Scripture

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    1. #1
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      Inspiration of Scripture

      This is the definition of inspiration as found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

      "Dr. Knapp given as the definition of inspiration, "an extra-ordinary divine agency upon teachers while giving instruction, whether oral or written, by which they were taught what and how they should write or speak." Without deciding on any of the various theories of inspiration, the general doctrine of Christians is that the Bible is so inspired by God that it is the infallible guide of men, and is perfectly trustworthy in all its parts, as given by God."

      What does it mean to say that the writers were inspired by God to write the Bible? Is it important to you? How important?
      What about difference in stories in the gospels. Like there is one account of the demon possessed man who was very violent living among the tombs that Jesus healed. In one version of the gospel story there are two demon possessed men and in another there is only one Mark 5:1-20; Matthew 8:28-34). What do we do with discrepancies like that?
      Last edited by jsimms435; 01-11-2018 at 08:10 PM.

    2. #2
      MennoSota is offline Expert Member
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      Much of the debate on the integrity of the Scriptures focuses specifically on those problems (in the four Gospels). When you have parallel accounts of something, you expect them to be consistent, particularly if you’re maintaining that these accounts are inspired by God the Holy Spirit. We know that God may use different authors to record the same or similar events, and the authors can describe the event from their perspective, with their respective languages and literary styles. But still we would expect agreement in the substance of what is being taught if all accounts are speaking under the superintendence of God the Holy Spirit.

      That’s why it’s interesting to me that very early in church history there were attempts to write harmonies of the Gospels. There are three synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—which give a biographical sketch of the life and ministry of Jesus. Many events are parallel among those three authors, though they don’t always agree in each detail—how many angels were at the tomb on the day of resurrection, what the sign on the cross said, what day of the week Jesus and the disciples celebrated the Passover celebration in the upper room, and so forth.

      Those things have received a tremendous amount of careful attention by biblical scholars, some coming to the conclusion that there is no way to harmonize them and that we just have to accept that there are contradictions among the biblical writers, which would then seem to falsify any claim to divine inspiration. Others have felt that they indeed can be reconciled. For example, one Gospel writer tells us that there were two angels at the tomb on the day of the Resurrection, and another mentions only one. Now the critical word that’s absent from the text is the word only. If one writer says there were two angels at the tomb and the other one comes along and says there was only one, there you have a bona fide contradiction between the two. If one says there were two angels at the tomb and the other says we came and saw an angel, obviously if there are two angels, there has to be one angel—there’s no contradiction. There is a discrepancy; that is, they don’t say exactly the same thing. The question is, Can the two accounts be harmonized—are they logically compatible with one another?

      A good friend of mine in seminary was very troubled by these issues and quoted one of our professors who said, “The Bible is filled with contradiction.” And I said, “Why don’t you go home and I’ll meet you here tomorrow at one o’clock. You come back with fifty contradictions. If the Bible’s full of them, then that should be an easy task.” The next day at one o’clock I met him and I said, “Do you have your fifty?” He’d been up all night and he said, “No, but I found thirty.” And we went through each one of them, rigorously applying the principles of logic and symbolic logic. To his satisfaction I demonstrated to him that not one of his alleged contradictions in fact violated the law of contradiction.

      Now I have to say in closing that in my judgment he could have pulled out some more difficult passages. There are some extremely difficult passages in the Scriptures, and I’m not always happy with some of the resolutions, but I think that for the most part those difficult discrepancies have been thoroughly reconciled through biblical scholarship.
      ~ RC Sproul
      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bib...-c-sproul/amp/

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      Well, the example of the man from the tombs that I mentioned in Mark 5:1-20 and Matthew 8:28-34 appear to be the same event. Matthew identifies two men and Mark's account only mentions one. I guess it is possible that this happened more than once. Poor swine. Other than that, I don't know why there is a discrepancy. Some scholars would write this off as a copying error or a error because Mark was getting his information from a different source, possibly Peter and Peter was incorrect in the number of people who were there.
      It doesn't discount that a miracle happened or the importance of the miracle of course.

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      Quote Originally Posted by jsimms435 View Post
      Well, the example of the man from the tombs that I mentioned in Mark 5:1-20 and Matthew 8:28-34 appear to be the same event. Matthew identifies two men and Mark's account only mentions one. I guess it is possible that this happened more than once. Poor swine. Other than that, I don't know why there is a discrepancy. Some scholars would write this off as a copying error or a error because Mark was getting his information from a different source, possibly Peter and Peter was incorrect in the number of people who were there.
      It doesn't discount that a miracle happened or the importance of the miracle of course.
      Never noticed. Always thought there was one.

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      Quote Originally Posted by jsimms435 View Post
      This is the definition of inspiration as found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

      "Dr. Knapp given as the definition of inspiration, "an extra-ordinary divine agency upon teachers while giving instruction, whether oral or written, by which they were taught what and how they should write or speak." Without deciding on any of the various theories of inspiration, the general doctrine of Christians is that the Bible is so inspired by God that it is the infallible guide of men, and is perfectly trustworthy in all its parts, as given by God."

      What does it mean to say that the writers were inspired by God to write the Bible? Is it important to you? How important?
      What about difference in stories in the gospels. Like there is one account of the demon possessed man who was very violent living among the tombs that Jesus healed. In one version of the gospel story there are two demon possessed men and in another there is only one Mark 5:1-20; Matthew 8:28-34). What do we do with discrepancies like that?
      I recommend the book "Cold Case Christianity" by J. Warner Wallace.

      Sent from my LGLS755 using Tapatalk

    6. #6
      jsimms435's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by DHoffmann View Post
      I recommend the book "Cold Case Christianity" by J. Warner Wallace.

      Sent from my LGLS755 using Tapatalk
      Since I'm unlikely to get that book anytime soon maybe you could share relavent thought related to this topic?

      Sent from my H710VL using Tapatalk

    7. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by jsimms435 View Post
      Since I'm unlikely to get that book anytime soon maybe you could share relavent thought related to this topic?

      Sent from my H710VL using Tapatalk
      Well you and others pointed out inconsistencies in the NT gospels that I find to be 'just' after reading this book, there are many and it makes perfect sense tho I am sorry I didn't catch on to your original point, I'm merely trying suggest why we see these types of inconsistencies in the word and why its necessary and why its important.

      (From Amazon)

      From the Author

      I wrote Cold-Case Christianity because the*historic truth claims of Christianity are under attack from every direction. If ever there was a time to study the case for the eyewitness reliability of the gospels, the time is now:*

      Anti-Christian Books Are Increasingly Influential:*Books like Richard Dawkins'*The God Delusion, Christopher Hitchens'*God is Not Great, Sam Harris'*Letter To A Christian Nation, and Bart Ehrman's*Forged: Writing in the Name of God - Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are*have influenced millions of readers and challenged the essential truth claims of the gospel accounts.Fewer People Identify Themselves As Christians:*The number of people who identify themselves as Christians in America, for example, has decreased by over 10% in the past 20 years (American Religious Identification Survey 1990-2008)Young People Are Leaving the Church in Record Numbers:*As many as 70% of those who identify themselves as Christians entering college will walk away from their faith by the time they are seniors and only about a third of these young people will ever return to the Church (LifeWay Research Study 2007)Intellectual Skepticism Is a Growing Problem:*When young ex-Christians are asked about their reasons for leaving, the largest percentage identify intellectual skepticism or doubt as the culprit (Smith and Denton, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers, 2005)The Claims of the Gospels Are Under Attack:*When surveyed, young members of the church are less and less convinced that the gospel accounts are reliable. 63% don't believe that Jesus is the Son of the one true God. 51% don't believe that Jesus rose from the dead (Josh McDowell, The Last Christian Generation, 2006)*It's time for a "Cold-Case" approach to the Gospels. Cold-Case Detectives investigate specific types of criminal events:*
      Events that occurred in the distant pastFor which there are typically no living eyewitnessesAnd little or no direct physical evidenceThese cases are made by examining the nature of circumstantial evidence and assembling a convincing, cumulative circumstantial case. The claims of the New Testament Gospels can be similarly investigated:*
      The gospels record events that occurred in the distant pastFor which there are no living eyewitnessesAnd no direct physical evidenceThe tools used by Cold-Case Investigators can be applied to the New Testament gospels to determine if the facts they represent are a true record of the life of Jesus.*
      **
      I want to teach you how to be a good detective.*Cold-Case Christianity will:*
      Provide you with ten principles of cold-case investigations and equip you to use these concepts as you consider the claims of the New Testament gospel authors. These simple principles will give you new insight into the historic evidence for Christianity.Provide you with a four step template to evaluate the claims of the gospel writers. Cold-Case Christianity will teach you how to evaluate eyewitnesses to determine if they are reliable. You'll then be able to employ this template as you examine the claims of the gospel eyewitnesses.Provide you with the confidence and encouragement necessary to make an impact on your world. As your evidential certainty grows, so too will your desire to share the truth with others. Cold-Case Christianity will equip you to reach others with the truth.*Cold-Case Christianity will help you understand the power of circumstantial evidence, drawing on 25 years of law enforcement experience (15 years spent working Cold-Case Homicides). I'll share my personal journey from atheism to Christian certainty while describing the essential components of eyewitness reliability, abductive reasoning and the rules of evidence. You'll come away with fresh insight and the ability to articulate what you already intuitively understand from your cultural familiarity with homicide investigations. You'll also be able to apply this renewed understanding to the case for Christianity.



      Sent from my LGLS755 using Tapatalk

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      The apparent discrepancies should be resolved, but this doesn't affect the definition that was given nor the truth of it.

    9. Likes DHoffmann liked this post
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      Quote Originally Posted by jsimms435 View Post
      This is the definition of inspiration as found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

      "Dr. Knapp given as the definition of inspiration, "an extra-ordinary divine agency upon teachers while giving instruction, whether oral or written, by which they were taught what and how they should write or speak." Without deciding on any of the various theories of inspiration, the general doctrine of Christians is that the Bible is so inspired by God that it is the infallible guide of men, and is perfectly trustworthy in all its parts, as given by God."

      What does it mean to say that the writers were inspired by God to write the Bible? Is it important to you? How important?
      What about difference in stories in the gospels. Like there is one account of the demon possessed man who was very violent living among the tombs that Jesus healed. In one version of the gospel story there are two demon possessed men and in another there is only one Mark 5:1-20; Matthew 8:28-34). What do we do with discrepancies like that?

      There is mystery here.....

      On the one hand, Scripture was written by men (most of whom we can't even identify). They seem anyway to be using their own vocabulary, styles, etc. Some did research; some obviously used pre-existing sources. In some cases, it seems they had no idea they were inspired or writing God's Scripture. I tend to believe there's some wisdom in seeing each book within the context of the original time and place. On the other hand, I believe that their words are His words and are exactly what God Himself meant to convey; I accept Scripture as God's literal words, and I accept that its authority springs directly from its Author which I believe is God.

      How did this "crank out?" How can both be true? What was the process here? I've not a clue. And that's okay.



      - Josiah

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      I like what you said there, Josiah. In the end, we have to assume something...or else we have no religion. That's because the things of God cannot be proven by us with 100% certainty. Everything can be doubted if we work at it.

      It could be said that the writers of the OT and NT were just recording their own thoughts, but if that's so, nothing is ironclad. Nothing. But we here accept the Bible as God's word because the Bible has held up to all sorts of criticism over the years, and it testifies that the writers wrote as God inspired them to write.

      Believe it and you're a Christian; don't think it is what it purports to be and you're something else. 'No offense' to people in the latter group, but that's just the way it is.

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