Jump to content

Did The Biblical Authors Believe In The Inerrancy Of Scripture?


Neon Genesis
 Share

Recommended Posts

Fundies try to claim that the biblical authors believed they were divinely inspired by God and were writing scripture perfectly without contradictions. They quote the usual verses to argue their point like where it talks about scripture being God-breathed. We were studying this in Sunday school at my parents' church this morning and one of the verses they used to "prove" the bible was the inerrant word of God was John 16:12-15

‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
They argued that since the Holy Spirit was telling the apostles what to write down, this meant the gospels were intended to be seen as inerrant. But even if this meant that the apostles believed they were divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit, that doesn't mean the gospel authors saw themselves as such since the fundies are presuming the gospels were written by the apostles when they never say who wrote them. I brought up the verse in 1 Cor 7:12 where Paul says
To the rest I say—I and not the Lord—that if any believer* has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her.

 

I asked them if the biblical authors believed everything they wrote was divinely inspired, why does Paul say in this verse that not everything he writes comes from God and some of what he writes is his own personal opinion? They tried to explain it by saying Paul was quoting the gospel of Matthew's views on divorce and Paul was not saying that not everything he wrote was inspired. Never mind that Paul's letters were written before the gospels, this response doesn't even make any sense as it doesn't answer my question as the verse clearly says Paul is writing something God didn't tell him to and says nothing about Jesus' or Matthew's view on divorce. There are also scholars like Bart D Ehrman and Marcus Borg who argue that since Matthew and Luke are based on Mark and share the same stories with each other but they edit the stories and reimagine them to suit their theological beliefs, the gospel writers did not see themselves as divinely inspired. And since Paul thought the end of the world was going to happen in his lifetime, he didn't see himself as writing scripture for something that was supposed to only be a short-term religion. Which one do you think it is? Do you think the bible authors intended to be read as inspired or does it differ from author to author? If the biblical authors intended to be seen as inspired and without errors, why do they completely change parts of stories they're copying from each other to fit their agendas?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest marabod

But there was no such biblical authors who knew upfront they would be biblical authors. Same as now there is no Nobel prize winners who know they would be Nobel prize winners.

 

Priests, Rabbis, Monks, Hermits, enlightened enthusiasts, Theologian amateurs and professionals, literate peasants etc - were recording their thoughts, fantasies, memoirs, stories, fables and dreams, and later someone else was reading them, and copying them if they were intreresting, and sometimes joining them together... and this with time made up the Bible. I doubt very much they were specially writing for the bible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest marabod

Bible means Biblitheka, a Library. It us not one book, but over 70 books under one cover. It is rather a book shelf with different brochures than a single book with different chapters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I brought up the verse in 1 Cor 7:12 where Paul says

To the rest I say—I and not the Lord—that if any believer* has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her.

 

That's a great start. I'd also move on down to verse 25:

 

I Corinthians 7:25

Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. (NIV)

 

Interestingly, not only do these verses (vv 12 & 25) indicate that Paul was presenting his own views rather than something communicated by God, but the second one clearly establishes the fact that Paul simply considered himself to be a "trustworthy" authority for making such a "judgment."

 

Also, the epistles attributed to Paul are fairly consistent in the way that they open. Of the thirteen, nine contain a reference to his apostleship in the very first verse (Rom 1:1; I Cor 1:1; II Cor 1:1; Gal 1:1; Eph 1:1; Col 1:1; I Tim 1:1; II Tim 1:1; Tit 1:1). Of the four that do not begin with a specific reference to apostleship, one makes mention of it later in the letter (I Thessalonians 2:6), and two others allude to it with different terminology ("servants of Christ" in Philippians 1:1 and "prisoner of Christ" in Philemon 1:1). When taking into consideration the fact that Paul (or whoever the authors really were) never once claims that the letters are divinely inspired, the consistent appeal to his apostleship is clearly intended to establish his own authority. In other words, the reason the churches were supposed to adhere to the epistles' teachings was because of his apostleship, and not because God was dictating the message.

 

There are a couple other interesting statements made in Paul's letters. First off:

 

I Corinthians 1:14-16

I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.) (NIV)

 

If Paul's writing had been communicated by an omniscient God, then why didn't he know whether or not he had baptized anyone else? The fact that he couldn't recall that information indicates that he was relying on his own memory, not information from an omniscient God.

 

Next:

II Corinthians 12:2

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know -- God knows. (NIV)

 

Just like the previous verse, if Paul's writing had been communicated by an omniscient God, then why didn't he know whether it was a real experience or just a vision? Again, this indicates that Paul was relying on his own perception, not information from an omniscient God.

 

 

Also take a look at the opening of Luke:

 

Luke 1

[1] Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,

[2] Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;

[3] It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,

[4] That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

 

Here the author claims that he is writing with perfect understanding himself on the basis of supposed eyewitness testimony, without any mention at all of God having anything to do with the writing.

 

So, I think it's safe to say that, at least in these cases, the authors did not consider themselves to be writing the "inspired, perfect Word of God."

 

In addition, the Bible authors simply wrote books or letters, not the Bible. It was only later on that certain books and letters were put together and "canonized" into Scripture. The authors themselves could never have envisioned the final product that came about years and years later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When it boils down to it, the privilege of holding "inspired" status is a politically endowed status conferred upon the books that the prevailing sects deem as inspired.

 

Most authors I've read on the subject hold the view that most, if not all , of the writers did not view their writings as divinely inspired at the time of the writing. Inerrant is a more modern term. I believe the prevailing term has been infallible for most of the 2 thousand years of Christian history. The Revelation presents itself as divinely inspired, but some scholars believe the book to be a pious forgery. So who knows what the belief of the actual author of Revelation was?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Revelation presents itself as divinely inspired, but some scholars believe the book to be a pious forgery. So who knows what the belief of the actual author of Revelation was?

According to Bart D Ehrman in Misquoting Jesus, when the author of Revelation says not to alter any word in the text, this is not referring to biblical inerrancy as fundamentalists claim. The author is threatening scribes not to alter the texts with fire and brimstone because there was no copyright in those times and it wasn't uncommon for scribes to alter textual variants when copying the texts, whether intentionally or accidentally. It wasn't about believing everything in the texts being literally true. It was a warning for when scribes copied the manuscripts.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Revelation presents itself as divinely inspired, but some scholars believe the book to be a pious forgery. So who knows what the belief of the actual author of Revelation was?

According to Bart D Ehrman in Misquoting Jesus, when the author of Revelation says not to alter any word in the text, this is not referring to biblical inerrancy as fundamentalists claim. The author is threatening scribes not to alter the texts with fire and brimstone because there was no copyright in those times and it wasn't uncommon for scribes to alter textual variants when copying the texts, whether intentionally or accidentally. It wasn't about believing everything in the texts being literally true. It was a warning for when scribes copied the manuscripts.

 

I would add that Revelation 22:18-19 is referring specifically to the book of Revelation. Christians who assume that it is referring to the whole Bible evidently don't understand that the Bible did not suddenly appear in the form that we have it now. Each book was a separate book, and therefore the comment about "this book" is not referring at all to the other books.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest marabod

 

I would add that Revelation 22:18-19 is referring specifically to the book of Revelation. Christians who assume that it is referring to the whole Bible evidently don't understand that the Bible did not suddenly appear in the form that we have it now. Each book was a separate book, and therefore the comment about "this book" is not referring at all to the other books.

 

Great observation! Bible is a shortened plural form of the word Biblus, "a Book", so "Bible" or "Bibliotheka" means a "collection", a Library of books. When Revelation was written there was no New Testament, moreover, if it was indeed written by John, then it was 300 years before the very name "New Testament" appeared - so it only can refer to itself. Because if the reference was to the existing collection of Old testament books, then the reference was supposed to be in plural OR pointing to some specific book out of it.

 

BTW when Revelation mentions a sealed book - this must be a scroll, sealed like a letter with a wax seal. Or seals. The modern form of a book as we know it (pages, covers etc) was not existing yet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would add that Revelation 22:18-19 is referring specifically to the book of Revelation. Christians who assume that it is referring to the whole Bible evidently don't understand that the Bible did not suddenly appear in the form that we have it now. Each book was a separate book, and therefore the comment about "this book" is not referring at all to the other books.

Other ancient texts also have curses to protect them.

 

mwc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest marabod

I would add that Revelation 22:18-19 is referring specifically to the book of Revelation. Christians who assume that it is referring to the whole Bible evidently don't understand that the Bible did not suddenly appear in the form that we have it now. Each book was a separate book, and therefore the comment about "this book" is not referring at all to the other books.

Other ancient texts also have curses to protect them.

 

mwc

 

Sure, girlie! Curses - thats what they are! You are fully right as usually. You touch this phookin ancient text - BANG! - the curse is yours. You thought you are just about to read about the way how cheezus was executed - no! no! the Curses come instead. Don't touch ancient texts at all, read NYT instead. Or Womens Weekly. To be honest, you inflict a thrill on me with all these your feminine trends. don't take me wrong please, I am just informing. C yas :wub:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The biblical writers probably did not see their writings exactly as inspired, but they did believe that they themselves had revelation from God and that their teachings were authoritative upon the church. The letters probably weren't intended to be like they are now (by the writers at least) but they were not writing for nothing.

 

As far as Pauline authorship goes, the ones that are seen as authentic are: Philippians, Galatians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, 1 Thessalonians, Romans, and Philemon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sure, girlie! Curses - thats what they are! You are fully right as usually. You touch this phookin ancient text - BANG! - the curse is yours. You thought you are just about to read about the way how cheezus was executed - no! no! the Curses come instead. Don't touch ancient texts at all, read NYT instead. Or Womens Weekly. To be honest, you inflict a thrill on me with all these your feminine trends. don't take me wrong please, I am just informing. C yas :wub:

Ah, is this what it has come to?

 

Not only do you utterly fail to attempt to support your own hypothesis but you admit to being willfully ignorant and ultimately turn to lying in your own thread.

 

So you must sling rather unoriginal ad hom's at me? I'm a girl? Is that it? Many of the girls I know are extremely capable people. Oh, but you've taken my manhood away. Nope. It's still down there.

 

What's left? Oh, right, you're still a self-admitted ignoramus and apparently proud of it.

 

I believe I made the offer in your thread to start over or to continue...should I take this post as a sign that you wish to simply continue? I would have preferred the former.

 

mwc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest marabod

Sure, girlie! Curses - thats what they are! You are fully right as usually. You touch this phookin ancient text - BANG! - the curse is yours. You thought you are just about to read about the way how cheezus was executed - no! no! the Curses come instead. Don't touch ancient texts at all, read NYT instead. Or Womens Weekly. To be honest, you inflict a thrill on me with all these your feminine trends. don't take me wrong please, I am just informing. C yas :wub:

Ah, is this what it has come to?

 

Not only do you utterly fail to attempt to support your own hypothesis but you admit to being willfully ignorant and ultimately turn to lying in your own thread.

 

So you must sling rather unoriginal ad hom's at me? I'm a girl? Is that it? Many of the girls I know are extremely capable people. Oh, but you've taken my manhood away. Nope. It's still down there.

 

What's left? Oh, right, you're still a self-admitted ignoramus and apparently proud of it.

 

I believe I made the offer in your thread to start over or to continue...should I take this post as a sign that you wish to simply continue? I would have preferred the former.

 

mwc

 

No, no! it was not an ad hom at all, save God! I am not in a position to respond to anything else but to your own posts, as we are not acquainted personally. As soon as I find these posts to be... I would say... mildly irrational/emotionally driven/ sensible/ sensual/ soft and gentle... so I just presume them feminine, and respond appropriately. The tag on your avatar, insisting you are a male, easily can be a common internet smokescreen, used by a female for some reasons - I actually can also change gender (if you do not object of course!). It cannot be an ad hom, as I feel some attraction to you, so it is contrary! I just like your sista slightly irrational and weak-minded. Sorry for me disclosing such personal preferences... But if you are even a male - who cares? nobody is perfect!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ummm. Yeah.

 

mwc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you! Can we arrange a date please?

Sure thing. Tuck in your cock and come blow me. Your dad told me you swallow. And if you're as good as he was we'll have plenty of fun. Have your mom bring the camera. We'll want to put this on YouTube for the rest of your family. Mine will already be here of course. Your goat or mine?

 

mwc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Revelation presents itself as divinely inspired, but some scholars believe the book to be a pious forgery. So who knows what the belief of the actual author of Revelation was?

According to Bart D Ehrman in Misquoting Jesus, when the author of Revelation says not to alter any word in the text, this is not referring to biblical inerrancy as fundamentalists claim. The author is threatening scribes not to alter the texts with fire and brimstone because there was no copyright in those times and it wasn't uncommon for scribes to alter textual variants when copying the texts, whether intentionally or accidentally. It wasn't about believing everything in the texts being literally true. It was a warning for when scribes copied the manuscripts.

 

Thank you , Neon G, for your feedback on this.

 

I am aware that the threat of hellfire for altering the words of the text are limited to the prophecy contained in the book of Revelation.

 

What I was saying is that , from the perspective of the narrator, it's hard to think that the writer of the Book of Revelation would not believe that his work was inspired by God. In the text, we have Jesus and angels speaking to him.

 

However, if the work is a pious fraud, and not the product of a religious zealots visions and hallucinations, then I'm not sure if the writer thought his work was divinely inspired or not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

However, if the work is a pious fraud, and not the product of a religious zealots visions and hallucinations, then I'm not sure if the writer thought his work was divinely inspired or not.

If I'm remembering correctly, the church fathers were split on this issue but I don't remember which ones it was that questioned it but even Martin Luther rejected Revelation even though he's the one who came up with the doctrine of sola scriptua in the first place.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.