One of the objections raised by folks regarding the issue Scripture’s authority stems from the difficulty of how we (Christians) can place a great deal of trust in a manuscript written long ago by ordinary men, prone, as all men are, to defects and biases. I admit that, on the surface, this is what it seems, but the internal and historical claims of the inerrancy of Scripture go beyond this common objection. I submit that this common objection misses the point. The focus for debate really rests on something far more profound and transcendent. See if you can detect it in the passages below, usually used to affirm the authority and inerrancy of Holy Scripture:
2 Peter 1:16, 20-21 16We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
20Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21For 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 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness
Did you catch it? Human authorship or participation is not central. The issue is not about the reality of the weakness of man but about the existence and influence of God. I submit that there are 2 questions that need to be answered and upon which the debate should be waged is,
- Does God exist? AND
- If He does exist, does He interact personally with human beings?
When considering publications like the NY Times, USA Today, Wallstreet Journal, Encyclopedia Britannica, Encarta, etc, no will argue that these are written by ordinary men, prone to defects and biases. Yet, of their millions of readers, subscribers and patrons few question the integrity of the writers in connection with their manuscripts, though many may disagree with them. Yet when it comes to the Holy Scriptures, the same concession is inadmissable and the integrity of the biblical manuscripts are thus discredited. Maybe it is precisely because the Scripture goes beyond orthodox literary decorum to claim divine inspiration.
If there is no God, the debate is over and Bible was written by men who either thought they were divinely inspired and they weren’t, or knew they weren’t but said they were. Either way, under those conditions, the Bible would be an unethical collection of writings based on that which is not truth, yet claiming superior authority, and, therefore, unworthy of any serious consideration…if there is no God!
But if, indeed, God exists, and if indeed, He does personally interact with human beings, then He most certainly can inspire men to scribe His truth for all men to encounter and thus the authority of Scripture can be firmly established. People may still disagree with its content but they cannot simply repudiate or dismiss its source. The summation of the internal claims of Scripture and the external, historical affirmations of those claims is that “Scripture is inscribed by men inspired by God.” The first part is obvious and undeniable. It is the second part that adherents cherish by faith but that antagonists must sufficiently disprove.
So let’s not rest arguments against the validity and authority of Scripture purely on the weakness of man. That fact is irrefutable. Let’s debate the issue on the true lodestone being the Living Lord Himself, God Almighty, the true Author of His Living Word.