A Pastoral Perspective on the Inspiration of the Scriptures
I don’t know how many times I have heard or seen sentences begun with these words of the title by those who were seeking to justify sin – too many times, I suspect. Sadly, it never seems to matter that the very behavior the person is seeking to excuse is spoken or written against elsewhere in the Bible. Interestingly, some of the words Jesus did say speak to this type of excuse for sin wherever the New Testament does speak against specific sins in locations other than the four gospels.
In the Gospel of John, chapter 13, just after the institution of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus predicts his betrayal and in chapters 14-16 he seeks to prepare his disciples for his departure. In the context of preparing his disciples for the event of his departure, he make several statements about the coming of the Holy Spirit and the nature of the ministry the Holy Spirit is to have among the disciples after He comes.
In John 14: 16-17, Jesus indicates that He will ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to them as Jesus’ replacement for God’s presence among them. In John 14:26, Jesus says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (NASB) The teaching ministry of the Jesus would be continued by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit would also remind them of what Jesus had taught them previously, which certainly has a bearing upon the inspiration of the scriptures.
In John 15:26 – 27, Jesus indicates that the Holy Spirit will testify about Jesus after the Holy Spirit comes and that the disciples will testify about Jesus also. The longest section dealing with the coming of the Holy Spirit in these three chapters of John’s gospel occurs in John 16:7-15. Beginning with the 13th verse of this section, Jesus says, “But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak: and He will disclose to you what is to come. (14) He will glorify me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. (15) All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” (NASB)
Of course, the point I would make is that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are always in total agreement, so it does not matter which one of the Trinity is depicted as saying anything anywhere in the New Testament because of the nature of the Trinity. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would say only what the Holy Spirit heard from the Father and from Jesus and Jesus said everything the Father has also belongs to Him (Jesus). This would include the words and thoughts of Jesus, whether here on earth or after His ascension.
The word of God is not divided against itself (as some would wish when confronted with their sin), but it is a unit, as is the Trinity, because it proceeds from the Trinity. This is why Paul can write confidently (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; (17) so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (NASB) All Scripture is equally inspired because of its source: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is why those seeking to pit the Scriptures against themselves really have no biblical basis for making such attempts.
We also have the words of the apostle Peter in 2 Peter 3: 14-16, which he penned under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, after penning words about the coming judgment, and he wrote: “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, (15) and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, (16) as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”
It is significant that the apostle Peter, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says that the letters of Paul are Scripture, for it is usually the letters of Paul that are maligned and distorted by those seeking to justify aberrant, sinful behaviors by saying Jesus said nothing about those sins. The Holy Spirit had something to say about those sins through the pens of those He inspired with the words He heard directly from the Father and from Jesus. If one does not believe these words then one does not really believe the words of Jesus.
I don’t worship the Bible, but I do worship the God who inspired the Bible and, just as He is inerrant and infallible, so is His Word. Those who would accuse me of bibliolatry while trying to turn the Scriptures against themselves are as Peter said they were – untaught or unstable or untaught and unstable. I do want it known that the instability of which I speak is not necessarily psychological, but spiritual and due to a lack of appropriate grounding in the Bible, the Word of God.
Fortunately, the Bible can do as Paul said and offer correction, but such correction can only take place after one trusts Christ for salvation and submits to His authority. Remember that everything the Father has belongs to Jesus and Jesus and the Father are One together with the Holy Spirit.