Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 11, 1959
NUMBER 6, PAGE 1,5b-7b

The Bible, Whence Is It? From Heaven Or From Men? -- (V)

Robert H. Farish, San Bernardino, California

We have, in former articles, established the authenticity and the credibility of the New Testament. This was done by showing that the testimony was actually the testimony of the alleged witnesses and then establishing that the witnesses were competent and thus their testimony is credible. In addition to these qualifications which fully equipped the witnesses as to competency they were inspired of God to write what they wrote and thus their testimony is infallible. Our task is to prove that the New Testament is inspired of God; that mere human genius does not answer to the claim of the witnesses nor the requirements of the case. Evidence found in the testimony itself sets it beyond the reach of human genius.

When it is proved that the Scriptures are inspired of God, the proposition that the Bible is from heaven is proved. "Manifestly the authority of the Holy Scriptures depends upon their inspiration, for they are authoritative only as they are truly divine, and they are divine only as they are truly inspired — they are divinely authoritative simply and alone in virtue of their inspiration." (I. B. Grubbs — Christian Standard January 13, 1883.) Commenting on 2 Tim. 3:15,16 Brother Grubbs wrote, "The Holy Scriptures are profitable in the several directions specified precisely because they are divinely inspired." (Ibid.)

Inspiration means, "God breathed". Inspiration is the direct impartation of knowledge of the things of God, that is, those things which cannot be known by human observation and reflection. By inspiration God revealed the truth to the witnesses and secured their minds against human weaknesses. The human weakness of forgetfulness could not affect the testimony of these witnesses. Inspiration is not to be confused with genius nor is it to be thought of as simply a development in refinement of the soul to the point where it can perceive the will of God in human experiences. Inspiration is direct and miraculous; it is not a matter of development.

The first argument on inspiration is based on the integrity of the witnesses which has already been established. These men whose integrity cannot be successfully questioned, made the claim that they were inspired in both their oral and written testimony. These witnesses wrote in their testimony that Christ promised direct divine guidance to his apostles — And when they bring you before the synagogue, and the rulers, and the authorities, be not anxious how or what ye shall answer: for the Holy Spirit shall teach you in that very hour what ye ought to say." (Luke 12:11,12); "But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you:" (John 14:26); "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth (John 16:13.) These and other passages record the claim that a member of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, would be with the witnesses to directly teach them all the truth and to bring to their remembrance the things that Christ had taught them while he was with them. The witnesses did not have to meditate upon their experiences in order to learn what the will of God is, for the Lord told them not to pre-meditate what to say. The apostle Paul wrote, "But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words." (1 Cor. 2:12,13.) He also claimed that the gospel which he preached "is not after man. For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ." (Gal. 1:11,12.) These passages are sufficient to establish that the testimony claims that Christ promised inspiration to the witnesses and that the witnesses received this inspiration as promised.

That inspiration belonged to the writings of the witnesses as well as to their oral testimony is also claimed by the witnesses in their written testimony. Inspiration for the writings is expressly claimed by Paul. "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable — " (2 Tim. 3:16.) Peter classes Paul's writings with "the other scriptures," (2 Peter 3:16.) This identifies Paul's writings with the scriptures which are inspired of God. "Prophecy of scripture" is that which "men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit". (2 Peter 1:21.)

"Scripture" is used in the Bible in the sense of inspired writings, i.e. that which the Holy Spirit moved men to write. Christ said that David in the Spirit called him Lord (Matt. 22:43) "saying", yet this was "written" in the Psalms which are scripture. Paul wrote the Corinthians," If any man thinketh himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him take knowledge of the things which I write unto you, that they are the commandment of the Lord." (1 Cor. 14:37.) In view of these clear positive claims of inspiration, the integrity of the witnesses cannot be maintained if we deny that their writings were inspired. If they were men of integrity, they were also inspired of God to write what they wrote.

The undesigned coincidences, accuracy of historical, political, and social references, the specific citations of names and relationships and the recording of testimony uncomplimentary to the witnesses, along with the superhuman restraint in style of relating the most momentous events and experiences plus many other like considerations are offered as evidence of the inspiration of the scriptures. These things do not characterize the writings produced by human genius. Human genius combined with the most painstaking care cannot attain to the level of these writings.

To illustrate this argument on the super-human restraint and elevation of style of inspiration in contrast to genius, we give here a production of each Socrates made a speech to the men of Athens and Plato recorded it; Paul made a speech to men of Athens and Luke recorded it. Paul's speech was made by inspiration and also recorded by inspiration. Socrates is admittedly a genius as is also Plato.

First, let us take a look at the descriptions of the respective origins of the missions of these two. "Socrates describes the origin of his mission. The Delphic oracle had pronounced him the wisest of men. This he found incredible, and to prove it false, he proceeded to interrogate those who had a reputation for wisdom. He was amazed to find that, notwithstanding their reputation, they were ignorant men, and came to believe that he might after all be wisest of men since, though he too was ignorant, he at least knew that he was ignorant." (Plato, Apology of Socrates, New Testament Background: Selected Documents.) Note the contrast between this and Paul's description of the origin of his mission. "Whereupon as I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, at midday, 0 king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them that journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice saying unto me in the Hebrew language, Saul, Saul, why persecuteth thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the goad. And I said, who art thou Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But arise, and stand upon thy feet: for to this end have I appeared unto thee, to appoint thee a minister and a witness both of the things wherein thou hast seen me and of the things wherein I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom I send thee, to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in me. Where fore, 0 King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but declared both to them of Damascus first, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance." (Acts 26:-12-20.) Note the difference in the two: Paul's conviction was of such character as to cause him to immediately begin to carry out his mission; he entertained no doubt as to the divine origin and authority of his commission; on the other hand, Socrates was doubtful, he went about to test, by human experience, the validity o the oracle's pronouncement. He came to believe, from his experience with other men who were reputed to be wise that he might after all be the wisest of men.

Socrates' speech to the men of Athens as recorded by Plato: ". . . Men of Athens, I honour and love you; but I shall obey God rather than you, and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy, exhorting anyone whom I meet and saying to him after my manner: you my friend, a citizen of the great and mighty and wise city of Athens are you not ashamed of heaping up the greatest amount of money and honour and reputation, and caring so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul, which you never regard or heed at all? And if the person with whom I am arguing, says: Yes, but I d care; then I do not leave him or let him go at once; but I proceed to interrogate and examine and cross-examine him, and if I think that he has no virtue in him, but only says he has, I reproach him with under-valuing the greater, and overvaluing the less. And I shall repeat the same words to everyone whom I meet, young and old, citizen and alien, but especially to the citizens, inasmuch as they are my brethren. For know that this is the command of God; and I believe that no greater good has ever happened in the state than my service to God. For I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties, but first and chiefly to care about the improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money and every good of man, public as well as private . . ." (Apology of Socrates as recorded by Plato, New Testament Background: Selected Documents.)

Paul's speech as recorded by Luke: 'Ye men of Athens, in all things I perceive that ye are very religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. What therefore ye worship in ignorance, this I set forth unto you. The God that made the world and all things therein, he being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is he served by men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself giveth to all life, and breath and all things; and he made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain even of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone graven by art and device of man. The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent; inasmuch as he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." (Acts 17 :22-31.)

These two specimens are representative respectively of genius and of inspiration. It is possible for the reader to examine for himself and see the points wherein the work of inspiration exhibits its superhuman character. These selections considered together will provide a personal conviction, which will be highly satisfactory to the reader. He does not have to depend upon assertions or conclusions of others; he can draw his own conclusions.

Conclusion The budding skeptic seems. to feel that those who contend that the Bible is from heaven are under obligation to answer every baseless assertion which infidels make about the Bible. One of the most remarkable things, to me, is the shameful gullibility exercised by some people in their efforts to escape exercising their power of believing. Baseless assertions are eagerly seized upon and paraded as if they were facts based upon irrefragable evidence. A scholastic degree attached to a man's name is frequently allowed to serve as a substitute for evidence. Brother I. B. Grubbs wrote, 'There is a sort of idolatrous worship offered at the shrine, of scholarship that greatly interferes with mental independence in interpretation and the ready acceptance of conclusions that may be fully justified . . . The unreasonable reverence for great names and the idolatry offered to learning which is so exceedingly prevalent must be abandoned ...." (Exegetical Analysis with Notes on Epistles) While this was written seventy-five years ago in a preface to rule of hermeneutics, it is applicable to some current attitudes toward the Bible. My closing admonition is: look at the evidence without colored glasses. If you do this, you will have enduring conviction that the Bible is from Heaven.