Good exposition on Doctrine of Scripture?

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Anthony John Gizzarelli | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Sep 10 2013 11:25 PM

Hello, I am an undergraduate student majoring in Christian Ministry, and have, for some time, been troubled by a lack of a firm understanding of the inspiration of the New Testament. I understand how it was formed and why we canonized the books that we did - but I'm looking for a good exposition on the Doctrine of Scripture for a better understanding. A couple questions I'm looking to answer:

What is the support for the actual words of the New Testament being inspired? This is important to me because often exegesis consists of picking apart words and dissecting their full meaning - but I want to be sure that the exact words of the New Testament are inspired so that I can be sure I am approaching exegesis in a God honoring way. This is the most important question I seek to find an answer to.

Another question I have...

Why did Luther remove the apocrypha from the protestant canon? I know he based the protestant Old Testament off of the books that the Jews of his time had canonized - but I see references in the New Testament to the books in the apocrypha. If the New Testament writers quoted them, should we be developing theology from them?

I just want to get a much stronger understanding of the Doctrine of Scripture. I'd like to understand why I am doing exegesis in a particular way, and be sure I am not acting completely on blind faith and presuppositions in regards to the authority of the New Testament when I am preparing sermons / teachings. 

Any suggestions? Any monographs or systematic theologies that tackle this topic particularly well? 

Thanks!

A.J.

Posts 176
Rob | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 2:33 AM

Michael Heiser of Logos Software had an interesting series on "inspiration" a while back on his website, "The Naked Bible".

 

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 4:06 AM

Anthony John Gizzarelli:

What is the support for the actual words of the New Testament being inspired? This is important to me because often exegesis consists of picking apart words and dissecting their full meaning - but I want to be sure that the exact words of the New Testament are inspired so that I can be sure I am approaching exegesis in a God honoring way. This is the most important question I seek to find an answer to.

Anthony,

welcome to the Logos forum!

Your Logos library will be a good place to find out about your question - which is actually a debated concept and you should expect different authors to hold varying positions. The question you posted (I bolded the most relevant part in the quote) concerns what is known as "verbal inspiration" of scripture.

What you may do first is run a basic search against your library for "verbal inspiration" in quotes, restricting the search to large text, title and topic. This will give you hits where the phrase "verbal inspiration" is in a title, header or headword. You may play around with verbal WITHIN 2 WORDS inspiration to capture phrases like "verbal plenary inspiration".

Generall, C.F. Henry is regarded as one of the foremost defenders of verbal inspiration and - without having read it myself - I'd expect a thorough treatment in http://www.logos.com/product/7854/god-revelation-and-authority, but many people get overwhelmed by this opus.

You may wish to check out this article and the resources mentioned there (many of those are in Logos): http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/article_inspiration.html and perhaps http://www.wrs.edu/Materials_for_Web_Site/Courses/Theology_1/Chapter_5--Verbal_Inspiration.pdf     

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Posts 1198
Liam | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 6:00 AM

Anthony, Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology has several lengthy chapters on this. It's extremely helpful for understanding inspiration especially, but also many other doctrines. 

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 6:21 AM

Just to be clear, YHWH did not inspire the words in your Bible. The words that were inspired were Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, not English. As soon as you can, start learning those. I would start with Hebrew, because it is by far the most important, but I'm quite sure most would suggest learning Greek so that you can study the "New" Testament. Either way, you should learn both, and Aramaic if you have a chance.

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Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 6:21 AM

Liam Walsh:

Anthony, Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology has several lengthy chapters on this. It's extremely helpful for understanding inspiration especially, but also many other doctrines. 

Yes Yes Yes Quite a few full length "systematic theology" titles have very suitable treatments. I think you (OP) could benefit from some titles available on Logos. Specialised works are also available.

Searching on the Logos product page will yield more than a few nuggets.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 6:28 AM

I would avoid systematic theologies like the plague, unless you have reached the point in your life where you understand that most of what you read is nonsense. At that point, proceed cautiously.

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 6:39 AM

Warfield's Revelation and Inspiration is a classic study.

Geisler's General Introduction to the Bible has an extensive section on Inspiration comparing the verbal, plenary view of inspiration to many others. Unfortunately if you don't have it in Logos already it is no longer available. It was one of the Moody Press volumes removed from Logos some time back.

Erickson's Christian Theology has a good discussion of the issues in any theory of inspiration.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 7:02 AM

If I remember right, Luther didn't remove the apocrypha ... he just put them at the front (in Japan) where they're more accessible. Last I heard NRSV has them and it's pretty protestant-ish.

Actually the inspired book of Enoch (and maybe Barnabas / Hermas) got the boot. Tertullian made a valient effort concerning Noah memorizing Enoch, but Eusebius wasn't buying it. He had Grudem.

"I didn't know God made honky tonk angels."

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 7:14 AM

Denise:
Actually the inspired book of Enoch (and maybe Barnabas / Hermas) got the boot. Tertullian made a valient effort concerning Noah memorizing Enoch, but Eusebius wasn't buying it. He had Grudem.

Big Smile Sounds like another endorsement for Grudem. Yes

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Mike Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 7:32 AM

Luther did not remove the Apocrypha books from the canon.  Our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters added those books after the Reformation at the Council of Trent.  A better question might be "Why were they added?"

Luther, as someone notes, included the Apocrypha at the back of his Bible as recommended devotional reading, but not to be regarded as Scripture.

Check the Canon of Athanasius (3rd century).

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 7:52 AM

Indeed the Sinaiticus-ers got their apocrypha following the Council of Trent. It all adds up. (The LXX was a Trent by-product).

"I didn't know God made honky tonk angels."

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Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 8:21 AM

The OP is evidently someone new to the topic at hand and seeking information. That's is the raison d'etre of this thread.

In such a setting, I regard it as poor humour when a someone makes an inside joke by proferring stuff that could confuse rather than enlighten, e.g. something that is a punchline but could appear to the outsider as a factual statement. Marking it as humour would clear things up. That way the OP, or someone in his shoes drawn to this thread, will not go on a tangent.

Anyone who's ever spoken before non-experts and/or non-native speakers of English, should know this.

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Sleiman | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 8:31 AM

“For as the substantial Word of God became like to men in all things ‘except sin’ (Heb. 4:15), so the words of God, expressed in human language, are made like to human speech in every respect except error.” from Divino Afflante Spiritu

Hi Anthony, welcome to the forums. Your questions are awesome! To say that it is of utmost importance is an understatement. I'm going to offer some suggestions from a different angle (after all Logos users represent a vast variety of doctrinal/theological backgrounds). 

My suggestions are going to be from a Catholic point of view. This way you have a broader base to start from. Now that you've been warned, although I'm extremely tempted to give the very simple Catholic answers to your questions, I'm going to have to avoid raising opportunity for debate here, so I'm going to stick with suggestions for reading: 

Here are some Catholic suggestions in Logos as responses to your first question:

Most Relevant:

Catholic Teaching:

Other:

From An Introduction to the New Testament by Raymond Brown:
Four different (and even contradictory) general positions in reference to inspiration come into play.
(1) Some maintain that the inspiration of the Scriptures is a pious theological belief that has no validity. Much NT criticism that emerged in Germany at the end of the 18th century and during the 19th century was a reaction to traditional Christian theology. This reactive factor is still to be reckoned with, for some scholars and teachers counteract biblical literalism by debunking any special religious status for the NT writings. For them, NT Christianity should be judged only in terms of its sociological import as a minor religious movement in the early Roman Empire.
(2) Without committing themselves to any view positive or negative about inspiration, many interpreters would regard references to it as totally inappropriate in a scholarly study of the Scriptures. The fact that both Testaments were produced by believers for believers and were preserved by believers to encourage belief is not a factor that should enter into interpretation. When passages that have theological import present difficulties, no appeal can be made to inspiration or any other religious factor (e.g., church tradition) in interpreting them. Whether by intention or not, this attitude has the effect of making a doctrine of inspiration irrelevant.
(3) The literalist end of the spectrum of biblical interpreters would make divine inspiration so dominant a factor that the limitations of the human writers become irrelevant, even as do many of the hermeneutical issues I have raised in the preceding subsection. God knows all things and God communicates through the Scriptures; therefore the Scriptures respond to problems of all times, even those that the human authors never thought of. This stress on inspiration is often correlated with a sweeping theory of inerrancy whereby biblical data relevant to scientific, historical, and religious issues are deemed infallible and unquestionable. Practically, then, all biblical literature is looked on as historical; and apparent contrarieties, such as those between the infancy narratives of Matt and Luke, must be harmonized.
(4) A number of interpreters take an intermediate position. They accept inspiration, deeming it important for the interpretation of Scripture; but they do not think that God’s role as an author removed human limitations. In this approach, God who providentially provided for Israel a record of salvific history involving Moses and the prophets also provided for Christians a basic record of the salvific role and message of Jesus. Yet those who wrote down the Christian record were time-conditioned people of the 1st and early 2d century, addressing audiences of their era in the worldview of that period. They did not know the distant future. Although what they wrote is relevant to future Christian existence, their writing does not necessarily provide ready-made answers for unforeseeable theological and moral issues that would arise in subsequent centuries. God chose to deal with such subsequent problems not by overriding all the human limitations of the biblical writers but by supplying a Spirit that is a living aid in ongoing interpretation.
Within position (4) there are different attitudes on inerrancy. Some would dispense altogether with inerrancy as a wrong deduction from the valid thesis that God inspired the Scriptures. Others would contend that inspiration did produce an inerrancy affecting religious issues (but not science or history), so that all theological stances in the Scriptures would be inerrant. Still others, recognizing diversity within the Scriptures even on religious issues, would maintain only a limited theological inerrancy. Finally, another solution does not posit a quantitative limitation of inerrancy confining it to certain passages or certain issues, but a qualitative one whereby all Scripture is inerrant to the extent that it serves the purpose for which God intended it. Recognition of this type of limitation is implicit in the statement made at Vatican Council II: “The books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching firmly, faithfully, and without error that truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation.”22 Yet even this response runs up against the problem of finding a criterion: How exactly does one know what God wanted put into the Scriptures for the sake of our salvation?
Two proposed criteria for what Scripture teaches authoritatively reflect divisions in Western Christianity since the Reformation. One is that the Spirit guides the individual reader of the Bible to religious or theological truth, i.e., “private interpretation” of the Bible. The other is that the Spirit supplies guidance through church teaching. Each criterion has difficulties. Private interpretation is logically paralyzed when two who claim to have the Spirit disagree. Not every spirit is from God (1 John 4:1–3), but how does one know which spirit is? Moreover, at least in the mainline churches that emerged from the Reformation, church tradition of various kinds (e.g., creeds, confessions of faith) has had a role, explicit or implicit, in guiding private interpretation. Roman Catholics who appeal explicitly to Spirit-guided church teaching are often unaware that their church has seldom if ever definitively pronounced on the literal meaning of a passage of Scripture, i.e., what an author meant when he wrote it. Most often the church has commented on the ongoing meaning of Scripture by resisting the claims of those who would reject established practices or beliefs as unbiblical. Moreover, church interpretations of Scripture in Roman Catholicism are affected by qualifications laid out in reference to church teaching in general which have the effect of recognizing historical conditioning.

As to your second question, an interesting suggestion in Logos as a response to why Luther removed books from the established canon is provided in the Evangelical Review of Theology, vol 19,1995Luther regarded the limits of the canon of Scripture as a humanly imposed tradition, and felt free to doubt the church’s accepted practice. His inclination to reject a book like James was not followed by his disciples, but it does show how ‘liberal’ Luther could be with his material.

May the Holy Spirit help you discern and all blessings on your quest.

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Sleiman | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 8:42 AM

Michael Childs:
Check the Canon of Athanasius (3rd century).
Here's St. Augustine's:logosres:npnf02;ref=Augustine.De_doctr._christ._2.8.13 :

St. Augustine:
Now the whole canon of Scripture on which we say this judgment is to be exercised, is contained in the following books:—Five books of Moses, that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; one book of Joshua the son of Nun; one of Judges; one short book called Ruth, which seems rather to belong to the beginning of Kings; next, four books of Kings, and two of Chronicles,—these last not following one another, but running parallel, so to speak, and going over the same ground. The books now mentioned are history, which contains a connected narrative of the times, and follows the order of the events. There are other books which seem to follow no regular order, and are connected neither with the order of the preceding books nor with one another, such as Job, and Tobias, and Esther, and Judith, and the two books of Maccabees, and the two of Ezra, which last look more like a sequel to the continuous regular history which terminates with the books of Kings and Chronicles. Next are the Prophets, in which there is one book of the Psalms of David; and three books of Solomon, viz., Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes. For two books, one called Wisdom and the other Ecclesiasticus, are ascribed to Solomon from a certain resemblance of style, but the most likely opinion is that they were written by Jesus the son of Sirach.2 Still they are to be reckoned among the prophetical books, since they have attained recognition as being authoritative. The remainder are the books which are strictly called the Prophets: twelve separate books of the prophets which are connected with one another, and having never been disjoined, are reckoned as one book; the names of these prophets are as follows:—Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; then there are the four greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel. The authority of the Old Testament is contained within the limits of these forty-four books. That of the New Testament, again, is contained within the following:—Four books of the Gospel, according to Matthew, according to Mark, according to Luke, according to John; fourteen epistles of the Apostle Paul—one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, two to the Thessalonians, one to the Colossians, two to Timothy, one to Titus, to Philemon, to the Hebrews: two of Peter; three of John; one of Jude; and one of James; one book of the Acts of the Apostles; and one of the Revelation of John.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 9:14 AM

Lee, the OP's challenge is that the NT itself makes no claim to inspiration. And the two NT authors that did lay claim, ran up against Deu 13. That sort of leaves the OP with a sizable stack of opinions.  

"I didn't know God made honky tonk angels."

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 9:21 AM

Sleiman:
His inclination to reject a book like James was not followed by his disciples

Afraid that is a bit of overstatement. Luther did not reject James, but he did consider it less than the rest of the canon.

PREFACE TO THE EPISTLES OF SAINT JAMES AND SAINT JUDE 1545 (1522)

Though this Epistle of St. James was rejected by the ancients, I praise it and hold it a good book, because it sets up no doctrine of men and lays great stress upon God’s law. But to state my own opinion about it, though without injury to anyone, I consider that it is not the writing of any apostle.

You can read the rest—including his reasons for rejecting apostolic authorship—here:

 “Works of Martin Luther—Prefaces to the Books of the Bible”, God Rules.net, http://www.godrules.net/library/luther/NEW1luther_f8.htm , Accessed 06/10/2013.

BTW: Personally believe he missed the basic message of James.

Posts 1685
Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 10:15 AM

Anthony John Gizzarelli:
Hello, I am an undergraduate student majoring in Christian Ministry, and have, for some time, been troubled by a lack of a firm understanding of the inspiration of the New Testament. I understand how it was formed and why we canonized the books that we did - but I'm looking for a good exposition on the Doctrine of Scripture for a better understanding.

Good questions deleted....

I find that I learn to trust scripture more when actually studying it rather than just talking about it.  That said, we cannot entirely avoid talking about it.  One author I have found helpful in this is the Late great Lutheran theologian Hermann Sasse.  Unfortunately, apart from his articles in TDNT, he does not appear to be available in Logos.  He actually evolved over time in his views and a good collection of essays showing this is Scripture and the Church, Selected Essays of Hermann Sasse

Much of the discussion is rather Lutheran centric, in that it talking about Scripture he has to also talk about what Scripture does for us, as well as his extensive historical research, but that is exactly why I value it now.

SDG

Ken McGuire

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

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Jonathan Pitts | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 10:58 AM

Dare to entertain your questions, and be free to find whatever answers they require.

These two books have helped me recently.

http://vyrso.com/product/23193/the-bible-as-improv

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Having-Words-With-God-Conversation/dp/0800662806

Posts 4951
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Sep 11 2013 11:33 AM

The improv book seems to advocate moving far enough from the Scriptures so that the troubling details blur away and one can then operate in blissful ignorance, creating a perspective thereafter known as "the big picture".

Ick!

So much for drawing close...

Hmm

YHWH is a jazz master...who insists that we play classical.

In other words, He can riff and improvise however He sees fit...but we read from the page.

I refer to my previous post and provide this addendum--not all nonsense is systematic.

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