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The Infallibility of the Bible

Query for the Month

of

June 2021

Next up-date: July 1st 2021 (God willing).

All the previous "Queries" are available (See above)

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!
 

In the meantime, try this site.   

 

Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.

In this reply the old-fashioned words of the KJV may have been modernised, and in some instances, the man-made punctuation has been altered for greater understanding.  Some of the comments are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.

  All the ideas expressed in this article, right or wrong, are my own. 


 

Query:

Do you believe that every word in the Bible is God-given and therefore infallible?

 

 

Response:

This question is one that comes up every now and then and when it does is normally hotly contested by both sides.  But here we should take a sensible look at what is called the Word of [a practical] God and leave the emotions out of it.

“The Bible” means “The Book”, but it is actually 66 books and letters written over a period of about 1,500 years with many different authors, most of whom remain anonymous.[1]  It uses three languages, Hebrew in the Old Testament, Greek in the New, and Aramaic in Daniel chapters 2:4–7:28.

Just like the Son of God, it has two facets – a divine part and a human one.[2]  We need to distinguish the one from the other in the life of Jesus Christ as we read,[3] and we need the guidance of the God the Spirit to show us how the two meld together in the words of the Bible. (They are both called, “The Word of God”.)

Don’t get me wrong here – every story has been deliberately chosen by God the Spirit and every word has been assessed for its inclusion in the story – IN THE ORIGINAL WRITINGS.  But as we don’t have any scrolls of any original text,[4] we must rely on transcribers [5] and then the translators for their accuracy in translating them into our preferred language.  So we must allow for errors and omissions by those men whoever they may have been.  In any given instance there are many synonyms which can used.  (e. g. “Perambulator” (pram) may be right in one language, but “baby carriage” is just as good.  And all three are right and good in a translation.) 

Moreover, sentence structure in many languages is different from English and must be adjusted as the translator deems correct.  A transliteration, or word for word translation, usually makes little sense to the reader so is not normally used.

The writings can also be grouped into three natural sections – the historical, the songs or poetry, and the prophetic divisions, each of which should be approached from a different angle.  There are differences of fact in the historical sections which were written by different men sometimes hundreds of years apart, but they are not faith-threatening.  Ezra is considered the greatest of the historic scribes.  Ezra 7:6. (History can help but it is not necessarily accurate, for it is written by the victors.)

Here is an example of a difference:

    1 Samuel 31:

3 And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers. 4 Then said Saul to his armourbearer, Draw your sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse [torture] me.

But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid.

Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.

5 And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. 6 So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together. 

But the Chronicler writes:

    1 Chronicles 10:

13 So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit [a spiritualist], to inquire of it;

14 And inquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse.  

At first reading of the second set of verses you would not be blamed for thinking that the LORD killed him, for it reads that way and the writer obviously thought so.  But the first record tells us that he committed suicide! 

Of course, in a way both are correct, for he did die as a result of turning from the LORD, but there was no violence on the part of the Saviour God, for He does not punish, hurt, or destroy, anyone, at any time, for any reason.  But even He cannot stop men being affected by their behaviour.

The songs and poetry must be given a certain amount of “poetic license”.[6]  Although not always evident in our English translations, quite a lot of the Bible text is written in poetic form.

In the prophetic parts the explanations of the symbols used as given in the Bible are absolutely necessary.  We must NOT assume that we know what is meant.

Now we must look at the foundation principle[7] of Bible reading:

    Numbers 12:

5 And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the Tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth [and stood in the court of the Sanctuary.][8]  6 And He said,

Hear now My words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make Myself known to him [or her][9] in a vision, and will speak to him in a dream.

  7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all My house.

 8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently [clearly], and not in dark speeches; and the similitude [the shape] of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses? 

From those words we can know that the majority of the prophets (and the people whose stories are in the Bible) were given visions and dreams which they then described AS THEY SAW AND HEARD THEM.  That is, with their biased views and understanding.  For instance, if an ancient one needed to be shown a modern person in a car, they would be shown a cart or a chariot.  Wings took the place of fast transport.  A “Philistine” was the ultimate “barbarian”.  And so on. 

As a background to that text in Numbers, we can also understand that Aaron and Miriam could both SEE and HEAR the LORD when He came to them!  We are told in verse five that all they saw was the Cloud in the doorway,[10] but they could understand the words in their own language. 

Yet we are told that “No man has seen God [the Father] at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of [close to] the Father, He hath declared [shown] Him [to us]”. John 1:18 and 5:37.[11]  He also said, “He that has seen Me, has seen the Father”.  John 14:9.  So who is the God of the Old Testament who is so often seen and heard?

Let’s come back to the text of note 1.  “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD”:  Deuteronomy 6:4.  Who is the ONE LORD?  He is mentioned by title in chapter 2 of Genesis.  “These are the generations [beginnings] of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens . . . Genesis 2:4.  Thus He is identified as the One LORD who created the earth and the universe.  And who is that? [12]

We are told:

    Colossians 1:

12 Giving thanks to [God] the Father, which has made us meet [fit] to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:  13 Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated [has allowed the moving of] us into the kingdom of His dear Son: 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood [His death to “self”], even the forgiveness of sins:

15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn [the Head] of every creature:[13] 16 for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: 17 and He is before [above] all things, and by Him all things consist [continue to exist.] 

Then we have, “And God said,[14] Let US make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth”. Genesis 1:26.

So now we have more than one!  This is reflected in the New Testament term “The Godhead”. 

    Acts 17:

29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think

that the Godhead is like to gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men everywhere to repent [and understand that They are Persons in Their own right]: . . . 

    Romans 1:

17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just [faithful ones] shall live by faith. [Habakkuk 2:4.] 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 because that which may be known of God is manifest in [not just to] them [in them being alive];[15] for God has showed it to them.

20 For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 

22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools . . . 

    Colossians 2:

8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily

The titles, Father, Son and Spirit (or Ghost) are given for us to learn about Their relationship, not Their bloodline, and are shadows not realities!  (See note 3.) 

  

 

 Conclusion:

My answer to the query is “No”, the words of the Bible are not inspired, otherwise we could not have so much variation in the translations.  In fact, we could not have any translations at all and would need to have the originals. 

But God the Spirit keeps close watch over everyone who reads it in whatever version or language to ensure that they receive the true meaning behind the words which are used – if they want it!

 

 

Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.  Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library. Recognition is not always given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.

Next query. To be discussed from 1st July 2021

Query:

In Daniel chapter 12:2 there is a reference to a resurrection of both good and bad people; “some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt”.  Who is this about and when will it happen?

For contact:

mail to:  nonconformist@mail.com  or ron_pars@hotmail.com

To see past queries and my responses, click here.

 

---------------------------------------------

Note 1:

The most misquoted and misunderstood Bible text (in my opinion) is:

    Deuteronomy 6:4

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 

This is usually misquoted or interpreted as “the LORD our God is one God by both Jew and Christian.  That is NOT what it is written.  There it is in black and white:  The LORD God is one LORD.[16] I prefer the King James Version (KJV) which was translated in many altered  printings from 1611 onwards.[17] 

It seems to be the choice of many older professed Christians.  However, because of the Old English used in it (it is over 400 years old), in my articles I modify the old words into their modern form where necessary.  The “thee’s” and the “thou’s” etc.

-----------------------------------------------

 Here is a comment from a more modern prophet:

 Note 2:

    (Manuscript 140, 1903). 

{Vol 5 Bible Commentary 1129.7}

There is no one who can explain the mystery of the incarnation of Christ.[18] Yet we know that He [although one of the Godhead] came to this earth and lived as a man among men. 

The Bible (The Book) is made up of specifically selected messages through which God the Spirit (the Holy Spirit) tries to teach us principles.  It is not the words which are inspired, but the men and women who wrote the stories who were given the Inspiration.[19]  Using their interest in the subject of their choice they wrote in their own words with only an occasional suggestion from the Spirit.[20] The four gospels on the life of Christ are similar but not the same.  There are additions and omissions in all of them.

Some prophets’ writings or sayings are not recorded in its pages.[21]  

Sometimes, as in the case of Moses, they were given a vision which included some words spoken by those who were present at the time.  Moses was not there at the creation, but God the Son gave him the details of what happened and what He said.  Then in chapter 5:1 of Genesis Moses told us that he had help in the words of Adam also.  Likewise, with the words of Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth.  Genesis 10:1.  In chapter 3 of Genesis he recorded the words of Satan through the serpent, and they are obviously false (for he is “the father of lies” John 8:44) but they are accurately recorded.

So, who was speaking, who was listening, and when and where it was said are very important points to notice when we read.

 

---------------------------------------------

 

Note 3:

    {Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7, pp. 62, 63. (1905).

{Evangelism 615.1}  [1946]

{Vol 7 SDA Bible Commentary 441.9}  [1970]

There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit — those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, [Matthew 28:19] and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ. — Evangelism, 615.  {7ABC 441.9}

    {Review and Herald May 2, 1912, par. 3}

{Counsels on Health, 222.} [1923] 

{Vol 7 SDA Bible Commentary 442.1} [1970]

The Godhead was stirred with pity for the race, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave themselves to the working out of the plan of redemption. — Counsels on Health, 222.  {7ABC 442.1}

     {The Southern Watchman, February 23, 1904, p. 122.} 

{Vol 7 SDA Bible Commentary 442.2}  [1970]

Those who proclaim the third angel’s message must put on the whole armor of God, that they may stand boldly at their post, in the face of detraction and falsehood, fighting the good fight of faith, resisting the enemy with the word, “It is written.”

Keep yourselves where the three great powers of heaven, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, can be your efficiency.  These powers work with the one who gives himself unreservedly to God.  The strength of heaven is at the command of God’s believing ones. 

The man who takes God as his trust is barricaded by an impregnable wall. — The Southern Watchman, February 23, 1904, p.  122. {7ABC 442.2}

    {The Signs of the Times, June 19, 1901.}

{Vol 7 SDA Bible Commentary 442.3} [1970]

Our sanctification is the work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  It is the fulfilment of the covenant that God has made with those who bind themselves up with Him, to stand with Him, with His Son, and with His Spirit in holy fellowship.  Have you been born again?  Have you become a new being in Christ Jesus?  Then co-operate with the three great powers of heaven who are working in your behalf.  Doing this you will reveal to the world the principles of righteousness. — The Signs of the Times, June 19, 1901.  {7ABC 442.3}

    {Manuscript 145, 1901.}

{Evangelism, 616.}   [1946]

{Vol 7 SDA Bible Commentary 442.4-5} [1970]

The eternal heavenly dignitaries — God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit — arming them [the disciples] with more than mortal energy, ...  would advance with them to the work and convince the world of sin. — Evangelism, 616.  {7ABC 442.4}

We are to co-operate with the three highest powers in heaven, — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, — and these powers will work through us, making us workers together with God. — Evangelism, 617.  {7ABC 442.5}

    {Testimonies for the Church Vol 6:91.}   [1901]

{Vol 7 SDA Bible Commentary 442.6} [1970]

Those who are baptized in the threefold name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, at the very entrance of their Christian life declare publicly that they have forsaken the service of Satan and have become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. — Testimonies for the Church 6:91. {7ABC 442.6}

 

-----------------------------------------------------------

See also the following quotes:

A Most Important Thought

by

E. G. White

 

    {Manuscript 24, 1886 (written in Europe in 1886)}

{Vol 1 Selected Messages 20.4 to 21.2}

The disciples traveling to Emmaus needed to be disentangled in their interpretation of the Scriptures.  Jesus walked with them disguised, and as a man He talked with them.  [Luke 24:13-31.]   Beginning at Moses and the prophets He taught them in all things concerning Himself, that His life, His mission, His sufferings, His death were just as the Word of God had foretold.  He opened their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures.  How quickly He straightened out the tangled ends and showed the unity and divine verity [truthfulness] of the Scriptures. 

How much men [and women] in these times need their understanding opened.  {1SM 20.4}

The Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God’s mode of thought and expression.  It is that of humanity.  God, as a writer, is not represented.  Men will often say such an expression is not like God.  But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible.  The writers of the Bible were God’s penmen, not His pen.  Look at the different writers [See their different styles and their different stories.][22]  {1SM 21.1}

It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. [Remember 2 Peter 1:21?]  Inspiration acts not on the man’s words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts.  But the words receive the impress of the individual mind.  The divine mind is diffused [watered down]The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the word of God.—Manuscript 24, 1886 (written in Europe in 1886).  {1SM 21.2}

        (Letter 121, 1901)

{Vol 7 Bible Commentary 946.1} [1970]

The Lord speaks to human beings in imperfect speech, in order that the degenerate senses, the dull, earthly perception, of earthly beings may comprehend His words.  Thus is shown God’s condescension.  He meets fallen human beings where they are.  The Bible, perfect as it is in its simplicity, does not answer to the great ideas of God; for infinite ideas cannot be perfectly embodied in finite vehicles of thought. 

Instead of the expressions of the Bible being exaggerated, as many people suppose, the strong expressions break down before the magnificence of the thought, though the penman selected the most expressive language through which to convey the truths of higher education.  Sinful beings can only bear to look upon a shadow of the brightness of heaven’s glory (Letter 121, 1901).  {7BC 946.1}

---------------------------------------------


[1] Just because a book has the major character’s name on it does not prove that he or she wrote it.  However, when they did they often used the third person narrative so that it became impersonal.

[2] I am not going to back up all of my statements by Bible quotes, and if you are not sure of what I say you should check for yourself.  It is a continual surprise to me how many church leaders misquote what is written so you should check and see if I am.  See Note 1 for the most frequently used one.

[3] He is usually called “the Son of man” in the human references.  e.g. Matthew 8:20.

[4] Nothing earlier than 2nd century before Christ. Moses was about 13 centuries earlier.  Most about 1000AD Click here. (But read with caution, for it is only a man’s opinion.) List of Hebrew manuscripts.

[5] A “transcriber” copies in the same language with no changes in the words used.  Scribe  Old Testament

[6] “License or liberty taken by a poet, prose writer, or other artist in deviating from rule, conventional form, logic, or fact, in order to produce a desired effect.”  Click here.

[7] The very first.

[8] In those days women were expected to come close to God until that freedom was removed by later church leaders who added a special place for them in the temple courts.

[9] In many instances, the masculine form in the Bible can be read as both male and female.

[10] The “Cloud” which showed the presence of the LORD went with them during the exodus. Exodus 13:21-22.

[11] It is not my purpose to prove that God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit are three Persons in this article. That is so plain in the Bible that it needs no proof from me.  Anyone who denies this denies the divinity of the Saviour.

[12] See also Ecclesiastes 12:1; Isaiah 40:28; 43:15; Ephesians 2:8; :9 etc.

[13] Known from the creation as “Michael – He who is like God”.  Daniel 10:21.

[14] The word “God” is the abbreviated form of “Godhead” and can apply to any one or all three of Them.

[15] “I am”, therefore there is a Lifegiver.

[16] Here are 50 English translations of that verse.  Deuteronomy 6:4

[17] It is called the king James Bible because he ordered it.  See here for more details.  Here for supposed revisions

[18] That is, HOW it was accomplished.  We just have to take God’s word for it till we experience His gift.

[19] Acts 1:16; 2 Peter 1:21.

[20] Acts 1:1. “The former treatise [gospel] have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and

    teach . . .” 

[21] For instance, Gad, 1 Samuel 22:25; Nathan, 2 Samuel 7:2; Iddo, 2 Chronicles 9:29; Shemiah, 2 Chronicles 12:15.  The book of one of the greatest, Enoch, has been lost with only a fragment left in Jude 1:14.  The version currently available is a counterfeit.

[22] Matthew writes of a King [a Lion]: Mark tells us of a Servant [an Ox]; Luke (a non-Jew) tells us of a Man [a human being]; and John (the beloved) describes Him as the Son of God [an Eagle]. Compare Ezekiel 1:10 where angels, who are also made in His image, are described in picture form as being such a mixture.


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.  Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library. Recognition is not always given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.

Next query. To be discussed from 1st July 2021

Query: 

In Daniel chapter 12:2 there is a reference to a resurrection of both good and bad people; “some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt”.  Who is this about and when will it happen?

 

 

For contact:

mail to:  nonconformist@mail.com  or ron_pars@hotmail.com

To see some early past queries and my responses, click here.

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