Inspiration and Authority

posted in: Blog, My Blog | 2
Theme: Doctrine
‘Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.’ 2 Peter 1:20-21

I started my preaching career as a Methodist Lay Minister in the Port Elizabeth North district. Every quarter I would meet with my fellow preachers to discuss issues and to receive a briefing from the Superintendent Minister. At one of these meetings, I got to talking with a woman preacher who was quite a bit older than me. The subject of the nature of the Bible came up, and I spoke passionately of my belief that the scriptures are both inspired and authoritative. She shook her head sadly and said, “When you are more spiritually mature you will come to understand that it is neither.” Her response amazed and perplexed me because this was my first encounter with a Liberal theological view of the Bible.

If the Bible is inspired, in the sense that orthodox Evangelicals believe it to be, then it is a very real form of the Word of God. Jesus is the Word made flesh and the Bible is the written Word. If it is inspired in the sense that the woman local preacher meant, then it is no more special than the works of Plato or Mohammed. We appreciate these writings and draw some profound ideas from them, but we do not claim that they are the products of men who ‘spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.’

If the Bible is purely a human product, then it will contain useful information, inspiring stories, and an ancient appreciation of God and His ways… but that’s all. If the Bible is the result of the Holy Spirit inspiring people to write and if, in its totality, it carries the approval of Almighty God, then it must have authority. By that, I mean that we need to obey what we truly believe it has to say about how we should believe and live.
Once we have settled the matter of the inspiration and authority of the Bible, we still need to wrestle with how to interpret and apply it. More about that in a future insert. For now let me ask what you believe – is the Bible inspired by God in a real and direct sense and do you accept its authority? Your answers to these questions are critical.

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2 Responses

  1. Peter

    Hi Chris, In response to your question to us, I believe that the Bible is inspired by God in a real and direct sense and I totally accepts it’s authority. If anything, I sometimes wish I could ask God to take back my free will and be subjected to His complete will for me. It’s too easy to walk away from God’s authority when it suites me.

  2. Dr Christopher Peppler

    Hi Peter. If we didn’t make crucial choices for ourselves then how would we grow to be faithful children of God in the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus?

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