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Thread: How do we determine whether the Bible is the Word of God?

  1. #21
    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    The sacred writings which Timothy knew from childhood could have only referred to the Tanakh, in context. None of the New Testament had been written when Timothy was a child.
    Yes, though by implication, "all Scripture" would seem to include all subsequent Scripture too. I just wanted to make it clear that all Scripture was meant.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

  2. #22
    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    Yes, though by implication, "all Scripture" would seem to include all subsequent Scripture too. I just wanted to make it clear that all Scripture was meant.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    Or it's possible we're looking at it the wrong way. Instead of Paul having a given set of writings in mind, he could be setting down the criteria for determining what is scripture.
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  3. #23
    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    Or it's possible we're looking at it the wrong way. Instead of Paul having a given set of writings in mind, he could be setting down the criteria for determining what is scripture.
    Could be! Good point...

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

  4. #24
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Physiocrat View Post
    Not sure if this is the best sub-forum but hey ho.

    I'm from a Protestant background and recently came across a Roman Catholic argument that we could determine that the scriptures were highly reliable using the standard tools of history and logic but it couldn't tell us that they were the inspired Word of God. The article claimed that they only way we can be sure that it is the Word of God because the Church (capital C for a reason) was founded by Christ so has the authority to declare it to be so. However this still doesn't answer the fundamental epistemological question of how does one move from solid truthful documents to the inspired Word of God.

    My tentative suggestion is that prophets of God are accompanied with signs and wonders to declare they're God's agent however we would likley only have the testimony of the prophet to distinguish between what were his words alone and those inspired by God.

    Any thoughts on the matter would be much appreciated.
    I think the Catholic analysis you saw is incomplete. I certainly agree that we can use historical criteria to look at the historical accuracy of Scripture. But we can also assess in an objective way that Scripture is the only primary source we have for the story of how God worked with Israel, and for Jesus.

    It's a matter for personal decision whether believe that story or not, but that's not the question you're looking at.

    There are plenty of questions about the books. Probably some of the NT letters weren't written by their claimed authors. And of course the Gospel writers have their own viewpoints, and their accounts don't completely coincide. But this kind of thing is true of all historical sources. We still have good enough evidence to know what Jesus was about, and how he affected the people who experienced him.

    We have faith in God and in Christ. That faith is in part based on what we know historically about Jesus, but in part on the experiences of his followers, historical, current, and even our own experience. In that sense the Catholic position has some validity. Not that the role of the Bible as primary source material depends upon the Church, but that our reaction to it does to some extent depend upon seeing how Jesus has affected the lives of his people. There's a similar Protestant idea, that Scripture doesn't really become Scripture for us without the illumination of the Holy Spirit.

    You can argue that it was the Church that chose the specific documents that form the NT. (The OT, of course, was chosen by Jewish tradition.) But the Gospels were accepted from as early as we know, and it's hard to see how anyone could have decided otherwise. (No, there are no other Gospels with claim to be anywhere near as good evidence as the canonical ones.) Similarly, Paul's letters are the earliest writings we have by anyone who experienced the consequences of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. On the other letters, I'm actually not sure the Church made such good decisions. It's pretty clear that some of the letters aren't by the claimed authors. Indeed I think they accepted some letters as Paul's that weren't. But historical judgement is based on weighing sources, so having a collection of varied sources isn't a problem as long as we assess them critically. I'm not aware of any other sources that might reasonably have been included, except maybe the Didache.
    Last edited by hedrick; 11-04-2017 at 10:33 PM.

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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee_merrill View Post
    Well, no, "the Scripture cannot be broken", said Jesus (John 10:35).
    Yup - it do say that. So Michael is God (also a claim made in scripture). Does "the scripture cannot be broken" refer to the scripture in question, or to scripture generally? The scripture cites God as saying "you are gods" - so the scripture in question is either inspired by God, or false. Given that Jesus gives it the thumbs up, I'll accept it as inspired.


    But why can't an adjective be used in this way (e.g. "all Scripture is blue").
    "All scripture is blue" does not mean the same thing as "all blue scripture" or "all scripture that is blue." The last two allow for the existence of scripture that is not blue, the first does not. Given that Paul records that one passage (and others) is his very own personal opinion, we have in undeniable existence at least one passage of scripture that was not inspired by God.


    But you just said the second "is" is valid, so why not the first? And "kai" seems to me startling if "theopneustos" is simply an adjective here.
    It is a run on, complex sentence ... when the sentence is simplified the και is not at all surprising. The second "is" can be valid - as a matter of reducing the length of the sentence for acceptable English grammar: "Every scripture inspired by God is useful ..." doesn't change the meaning (though it does impact on nuance).

    "From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures that are able to give you the wisdom you need for salvation through faith in the Messiah Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good action."



    So, "From childhood, you have known the holy writings ... every scripture inspired by God and useful ... "
    Last edited by tabibito; 11-05-2017 at 11:47 AM.
    και εκζητησατε με και ευρησετε με οτι ζητησετε με εν ολη καρδία υμων

  6. #26
    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tabibito View Post
    Does "the scripture cannot be broken" refer to the scripture in question, or to scripture generally?
    I think it means Scripture generally, as in the NIV rendering "If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside—".

    Given that Paul records that one passage (and others) is his very own personal opinion, we have in undeniable existence at least one passage of scripture that was not inspired by God.
    "Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches." (1 Co 7:17)

    So this does not appear to be just a matter of Paul's opinion, these were directions for all the churches, and thus authoritative, and thus inspired.

    It is a run on, complex sentence ... when the sentence is simplified the και is not at all surprising. The second "is" can be valid - as a matter of reducing the length of the sentence for acceptable English grammar: "Every scripture inspired by God is useful ..." doesn't change the meaning (though it does impact on nuance).
    But the "kai" comes into English as "all Scripture inspired by God is also useful..." which is a little surprising.

    So, "From childhood, you have known the holy writings ... every scripture inspired by God and useful ... "
    Source: Ethelbert William Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (London; New York: Eyre & Spottiswoode; E. & J. B. Young & Co., 1898), 45–46.


    Now the case stands thus. The Revisers have translated eight of these passages, which we have cited, on the same principles as the A.V., i.e., supplying in italics the verb substantive “is” and “are” respectively, and taking the copulative καὶ, “and,” as joining together the two predicates. But when the Revisers come to the ninth passage (2 Tim. 3:16), they separate the two conjoined predicates, making the first a part of the subject, and then are obliged to translate the καὶ in the sense of “also,” when there is nothing antecedent to it. Thus:—
    “Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable.”
    Now, if the Revisers had translated the other eight passages in the same way, the renderings would have been consistent, whatever else they might not have been.
    Rom. 7:12 would have been—
    “The holy commandment is also just.”
    1 Cor. 11:30 would have been—
    “Many weak ones are also sickly.”
    2 Cor. 10:10 would have been—
    “His weighty letters are also powerful.”
    1 Tim. 1:15 and 4:9 would have been—
    “The faithful saying is also worthy of all acceptation.”
    1 Tim. 2:3 would have been—
    “This good thing is also acceptable.”
    1 Tim. 4:4 would have been—
    “Every good creature of God is also nothing to be refused.”
    Heb. 4:13 would have been—
    “All naked things are also opened,” etc.
    But the Revisers do not translate them thus! And the fact that they render the whole of these eight passages as in the A.V., and single out 2 Tim. 3:16 for different treatment, forbids us to accept the inconsistent rendering, and deprives it of all authority.

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    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

  7. #27
    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    The argument is not one that I have previously encountered.
    However, the rendering
    “Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable.”
    also is one that I have not previously encountered.

    This will take a little investigation.

    However, one can readily be eliminated from further enquiry:
    “Every good creature of God is also nothing to be refused.”
    This actually makes more sense than the standard translation – there are a number of creatures that are rather poisonous if ingested. Others need to be treated with extreme care if sudden death is not to result from consumption: fugu, for example.
    Last edited by tabibito; 11-09-2017 at 05:09 AM.
    και εκζητησατε με και ευρησετε με οτι ζητησετε με εν ολη καρδία υμων

  8. #28
    tWebber NorrinRadd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tabibito View Post
    ... Given that Paul records that one passage (and others) is his very own personal opinion, we have in undeniable existence at least one passage of scripture that was not inspired by God.
    No, it's not undeniable. It is probably not the case that, in 1 Cor. 7:12, Paul is saying, "Now this part is just my opinion." Rather, he is probably clarifying that he is expanding on and applying what the Lord taught as recorded in the Gospels (vv. 10-11).
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