Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | August 30, 2006

Inspiration (God-Breathed) – Part 1

Well, summer Greek is over and now it is on to Greek 2 starting tomorrow, however at a much slower pace.  Time will still be limited though, since it will be back to a more normal work schedule for me.  Last week we concluded our review of Article 2, which distinguished general and special revelation.  Today we begin our review of Article 3, which proclaims the Scriptures to be inspired by God.  In this Article 2 Peter 1:20-21 is cited where it indicates that God inspired men to speak His words to His people through the Holy Spirit.  Thus, it is through this miraculous event that the word of God is delivered to mankind.  The apostle Paul goes so far as to that this message pronounced by prophets and apostles was “God Breathed” (2 Timothy 3:15-17).    

How did this work?  It is difficult for us to know with any certainty, since all the prophets and apostles have been dead for of 1900 years (in future entries we will support this statement further).  We must first concede that it worked through God’s miraculous power, which He employed by human agency to speak His word.  Not only that, but the Sovereign Lord of the universe chose to condescend to our level and communicate in a way that we could understand.  Nonetheless, great men of the Church have pondered this question and sought to explain how this miraculous privilege was achieved.  Geerhardous Vos offers the following on this matter:    

The phrase is here taken to designate an inner occurrence which, apart from the bodily ear, the prophet perceives a divine voice addressing him, and that with such objectivity as to enable him clearly to distinguish its content from the content of his own thinking.  Biblical Theology, p 218

When a holy God uses fallen men to speak His word it is important to understand that the human agent must have been able to distinguish his own words and thoughts from that of His Creator.  Vos goes on to stress this ability to distinguish the two in the following: 

The main point to affirm is that the prophet indiscriminately calls whatever he utters in the discharge of his function ‘the word of Jehovah’, and means this in a strict, literal sense.  Biblical Theology, p 220

This miracle of God’s revelation was not only limited to occurring while the prophet or apostle was conscience.  We also have example in Scripture where this revelation was supplied during a dream or visionary state where the human agent was not fully conscience.  Dreams are common to all humanity and by experience we know that it is difficult to even accurately recall what was being dreamt within a few minutes of consciousness. However, divine dreams or visionary possessed the inherent ability to be impressed upon the mind of the agent as Vos points out in the following:  

The Biblical prophets coming out of the visionary state have a distinct remembrance of the things seen and heard.  Biblical prophecy is not a process in which God dialogues the mind of man.  Biblical Theology, p 226

As opposed to a hallucination or pagan trance, divine visions or dreams were clear, succinct, not fuzzy or ethereal.  Thus, the human agent would be able to recite or record with assurance that this was no ordinary communication, but revelation from the Holy One. 

We will continue our discussion of Article 3 in our next entry.   

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