« Prev § 6. Of the terms, Holy Scriptures and… Next »

§ 6. Of the terms, Holy Scriptures and Inspiration.

God determined that His revelation should be committed to writing, so that it might be preserved pure and uncorrupted throughout all future time; [1] therefore He has deposited it in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. [2] 39These are, therefore, defined to be the written Word of God. [3] GRH.: “The Holy Scripture is the Word of God recorded in the Holy Scriptures.” Between these and the Word of God, there is, then, no real distinction, inasmuch as they contain nothing more than this very Word of God, which was also orally proclaimed; [4] and they contain it entire and complete so that, aside from them, no Word of God is anywhere to be found. [5] By being the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures are distinguished from all other books for, in consequence of this, they are, in respect of all their contents, entirely divine; and this by virtue of the fact that they were communicated by inspiration from God to the prophets and apostles. [6] God is therefore their author (causa principalis), and the prophets and apostles only the instruments (causa instrumentalis) which God employed in their production. [7] We are, therefore, to ascribe the origin of the Holy Scriptures to a peculiar agency of God, by means of which He impelled the prophets and apostles to the production of the Holy Scriptures, [8] and communicated to them both the matter and the form of that which was to be written. [9] This agency of God, by means of which the Holy Scriptures were produced, we call Inspiration. [10] BR: “Divine inspiration was that agency by which God supernaturally communicated to the intellect of those who wrote, not only the correct conception of all that was to be written, but also the conception of the words themselves and of everything by which they were to be expressed, and by which He also instigated their will to the act of writing.” Hence it follows, that everything that is contained in the Holy Scriptures is altogether, and in every particular, true and free from all error. [11]

[1] CHMN. (Exam. Conc. Trid. I,20): “We show . . . . why and wherefore the Holy Scriptures were written; because, viz., by tradition purity of doctrine was not preserved; but, under shelter of that term, many strange and false things were mingled with the true.”

GRH.(II, 26): “‘Why did God desire His Word, at first orally promulgated, to be committed to writing?’ The principal causes appear to have been the following: 1. The shortness of human life. 2. The great number of men. 3. The unfaithfulness 40to be expected from the guardianship of tradition. 4. The weakness of human memory. 5. The stability of heavenly truth, Luke 1:4. 6. The wickedness of man. 7. In the New Testament, the perverseness of heretics, which was to be held in check.”

[2] GRH. (II, 13): “The scriptures have their designation from the formal, external act, viz., that of writing, by which the Word of God, at first orally promulgated, was, by the command of God, recorded. God himself made the grand and majestic beginning of this work when He inscribed His law on Mount Sinai, upon tablets of stone, which, on this account, are called ‘the writing of God.’ Ex. 32:16. To distinguish them from all other writings, they are called the Holy Scriptures, an appellation derived from Rom. 1:2 and 2 Tim. 3:15. The reasons of this designation are drawn, 1. From their original efficient cause, their Great Author, who is God most holy, yea holiness itself, Is. 6:3; Dan. 9:24. 2. From their instrumental cause, viz., holy men, 2 Pet. 1:21. 3. From their matter, for they contain holy and divine mysteries, precepts for holy living, Ps. 105:42. 4. From their design and effects, for the Holy Spirit sanctifies men through the reading and study of the Scriptures, John 17:17. 5. From the additional circumstance that they are widely different from all other writings, both ecclesiastical and profane, inasmuch as they are clothed with the sublime attribute of canonical authority, to which every believing and godly mind pays due deference.”

Terms synonymous with Holy Scripture are (Id. II,16): γραφη or γραφαι, John 7:38 and 42; Acts 8:12; Rom. 4:3; γραφαι αγιαι, Rom. 1:2; ιερα γραμματα, 2 Tim. 3:15; γραφη θευπνευστος, v. 16. Titles of honor which are attributed to the Word of God in Scripture, are the following: דכר יהוה λογια του θεου. Rom. 3:2; ζων ο λογος του θεου, Heb. 4:12; ρηματα τας ζωης αιωνιου, John 6:68. The whole collection is termed ספר התורה Josh. 1:8; ספר יהוה Is. 34:16; מקְרא Neh. 8:8.

[3] GRH. (II, 427): “The Holy Scriptures are the Word of God reduced to writing, according to His will, by the prophets, evangelists, and apostles, perfectly and perspicuously setting forth the doctrine of the nature and will of God, that men may thereby be brought unto eternal life.”

HOLL. (77): “In the definition of the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God signified formally the purpose of God, or the conception of the divine mind, revealed for the salvation of men immediately to the prophets and apostles, and mediately, through their ministrations, to the whole race of man.”

For the sake of the greatest possible accuracy, the following distinctions 41are made. GRH. (II, 14): “By the term Scripture, we are not to understand so much the external form, or sign, i.e., the particular letters employed, the art of writing and the expressions by which the divine revelation is described, as the matter itself or the thing signified, just that which is marked and represented by the writing, viz., the Word of God itself, which instructs us concerning the nature and will of God. For, as in all writing, performed by an intelligent agent, so also in these prophetic and apostolic writings, two things are to be considered, viz., in the first place, the letters, syllables, and sentences which are written, and which are external symbols signifying and expressing conceptions of the mind; and secondly, those conceptions themselves, which are the thing signified, expressed by these external symbols of letters, syllables, and sentences; wherefore in the term Scriptures we embrace both of these, and the latter especially.” According as the term is taken in one or the other of these significations, the relation of the Church to the Scriptures is differently expressed. GRH. (II, 15): “Whence we add, by way of corollary, that certain things are predicated of Scripture, with reference to its matter, as that it is more ancient than the Church, that it is the very Word of God itself, formerly preached orally by the apostles and prophets; and others in reference to its form, as that it is, in point of time, later than the Church, that at the last day it will perish, while, on the other hand, as to its matter, it can never be destroyed or perish, John 10:35.”

[4] GRH. (II, 15): “That there is no real difference between the Word of God and the Holy Scriptures, viewed in reference to the matter contained in them, is proved, 1. By the subject-matter of Scripture. The prophets and apostles wrote that, and nothing else than that, which, taught by divine inspiration, they had before preached orally, 1 Cor. 15:1; 2 Cor. 1:13; Phil. 3:1; 2 Thess. 2:15; 1 John 1:3. 2. By the identity of the spoken and written Word. Because the recorded predictions of the Old Testament are frequently quoted in the New, with these words: ‘That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets,’ Matt. 1:22, 2:15, 4:14, etc. Therefore, what the prophets said or predicted, is the same as that which they wrote. 3. By the rule of logic: ‘The accident does not alter the essence.’ It is a mere circumstance in regard to the Word of God, whether it be proclaimed orally or committed to writing. It is one and the same Word of God, whether it be presented to us in the form of spoken or of written language; since neither the original efficient cause, nor the matter, nor the internal form, nor the object, is thereby changed, but only the 42mode of presentation by the use of different organs. 4. By the demonstrative particle employed by the apostles. Paul speaks thus distinctively of the Mosaic writings and the other like books of the Old and New Testament: ‘τουτ εστι το ρημα της πιστεως,’ ‘this is the word of faith,’ Rom. 10:8; Peter, in 1 Pet. 1:25.”

CAL. (I, 528): “The fanatical sects, especially, deny that the Scriptures are, strictly speaking, the Word of God, maintaining that the internal Word of God alone can properly be called the Word of God.” (Schwenckfeld, Rathmann, Weigel.)33Ample quotations from Schwenckfeld and Weigel in GRH. xiii:69 sqq.; for Rathmann, see WALCH's Streitigkeiten innerhalb d. Luth. Kirche, iv:577 sqq.

[5] GRH. (II, 16): 1. “This distinction of the Papists between the written and unwritten Word may, in a certain sense, be admitted, viz., if by the term ‘unwritten Word’ be understood the divine revelation proclaimed orally by the patriarchs before the Mosaic books were written, but after the publication of the Scripture Canon, there can be no unwritten Word of God, as distinct form Scripture.”

2. “We must distinguish between the leading truths of divine revelation which are necessary, essential, etc., and their more full explanation. The prophets and apostles committed to writing the principal doctrines of revelation, which are necessary to be known by all, and which we do not deny that they explained orally at greater length.”

[6] QUEN. (I, 56): “The internal form, or that which gives existence to the Scriptures, so that they are indeed the Word of God, that, namely, which constitutes them and distinguishes them from all other writings, is the inspired sense of Scripture, which, in general, is the conception of the divine intellect concerning divine mysteries and our salvation, formed from eternity, and revealed in time and communicated in writing to us; or it is divine inspiration itself, 2 Tim. 3:16, by which, namely, it is constituted a divine, and is distinguished from a human word.”

[7] QUEN. (I, 55): “The efficient or principal cause of Scripture is the triune God, 2 Tim. 3:16 (the Father, Heb. 1:1; the Son, John 1:18, and the Holy Spirit, 2 Sam. 23:2; 1 Pet. 1:11; 2 Pet. 1:21); 1. By an original decree. 2. By subsequent inspiration, or by ordering that holy men of God should write, and by inspiring what was to be written.”

GRH. (II, 26): “The instrumental causes of Holy Scripture were holy men of God, 2 Pet. 1:21, i.e., men peculiarly and immediately elected and called by God for the purpose of committing to writing the divine revelations; such were the prophets of the Old Testament and the evangelists and apostles of the New Testament; 43whom, therefore, we properly call the amanuenses of God, the hand of Christ, and the scribes or notaries of the Holy Spirit, since they neither spoke nor wrote by their own human will, but, borne along by the Holy Spirit (φερομενοι υπο του πνευματος αγιου), were acted upon, led, driven, inspired, and governed by the Holy Spirit. They wrote not as men, but as men of God, i.e., as servants of God and peculiar organs of the Holy Spirit. When, therefore, a canonical book is called a book of Moses, the psalms of David, an epistle of Paul, etc., this is merely a reference to the agent, not to the principal cause.”

QUEN. (I, 55): “God, therefore, alone, if we wish to speak accurately, is to be called the author of the Sacred Scriptures; the prophets and apostles cannot be called the authors, except by a kind of catachresis.” To the remark that prophets and apostles may be called the amanuenses of God, QUEN. (I:52) adds: “And not as though these divine amanuenses wrote ignorantly and unwillingly, beyond the reach of and contrary to their own will; for they wrote cheerfully, willingly and intelligently. They are said to be φερομενοι, driven, moved, urged on by the Holy Spirit, not as though they were in a state of unconsciousness, as the Enthusiasts pretended to be, and as the heathen feigned that there was a certain ενθουσιασμος in their soothsayers; not, further, by any means, as though the prophets themselves did not understand their own prophecies or the things which they wrote, which was formerly. . . . the error of the Montanists; but, because they wrote nothing of their own accord, but everything at the dictation of the Holy Spirit.” Inasmuch as it holds good of all the sacred writers, that they are inspired, those are also accounted such who were not, in the strictest sense, apostles. HOLL. (80): “By the name apostles we here designate those holy men of God, who, after the birth of Christ, wrote the Scriptures of the New Testament; although they did not all belong to the college of the apostles, chosen by Christ, before His ascension, to teach all nations; but who, after Christ’s ascension, were numbered with the apostles; such were Matthias (whose writings, however, we do not possess) and Paul. But also those apostolic men, nearest to the apostles in office and dignity, are called apostles in a wider sense; such are Mark and Luke, the evangelists, cf. Rom. 16:7.”

[8] HOLL. (83): “Inspiration denotes as well the antecedent divine instigation or peculiar impulse of the will to engage in writing, as the immediate illumination by which the mind of the sacred writer is fully enlightened through the supernatural illumination of divine grace, and the conceptions of the things to be written are 44themselves suggested immediately by the Holy Spirit.” The co-operation which here takes place on the part of God is described by QUEN. (I, 65) as “a most special and extraordinary concurrence, peculiar to the sacred writers,” and to be carefully distinguished from “the general and common concurrence of God, by virtue of which He is present to all believers sincerely meditating upon, and writing about, sacred things.” HOLL. (83) distinguishes between inspiration and divine governance. “For the latter merely guards against anything being written that is not true, becoming, congruous; whereas the former, through the Holy Spirit dictating, suggests the conception of the things to be written. The divine governance would warrant the infallibility of the Holy Scriptures, but not their inspiration.” If the impulse to engage in writing be embraced under the term inspiration, then it follows that all the Holy Scriptures were written by the command of God, because all are inspired. QUEN. (I, 65): “All the canonical books, of both the Old and New Testaments, were written by God, who peculiarly incited and impelled the sacred writers to engage in the work, and, therefore, the Scriptures of the New Testament were recorded according to the command and will of God by the evangelists and apostles.”

The opposite view is that held by the Papists, who foolishly assert that the evangelists and apostles did not write by any divine command, but were incidentally urged by some accidental circumstance originating elsewhere, or by necessity. It is, indeed, granted that we do not possess the proof of an express and outward command of God in the case of each of the sacred writings, but it is at the same time observed that the want of this is not felt where the impulse exists. GRH. (II, 30): “In the holy men of God, the external command and the internal impulse correspond to each other. For what else is that divine impulse than an internal and secret command of precisely the same authority and weight with one that is external and manifest?” The latter is proved (by HOLL. (81), but also in the same manner by all the earlier writers) to have existed in the case of all the books of Scripture: “1. By the general command of Christ, Matt. 28:19. (GRH. (II, 31): Those who were commanded to teach all nations, were also commanded to reduce their teachings to writing; for they could not teach all nations, even of the succeeding age, orally and without writing.) 2. By the impulse of the Holy Spirit, which Peter teaches, 2 Pet. 1:21. 3. By the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, which Paul inculcated, 2 Tim. 3:16. 4. By the apostolic office, in which these holy men became the ambassadors of God, 2 Cor. 5:20. Ambassadors 45are restricted by the commands of their sovereign. Peter, as an ambassador of God, did not undertake to preach to the Gentiles without a divine command; therefore still less would he dare to write an epistle unless commanded by God.” That, however, the external instigations alluded to in the antithesis of the Papists are not excluded, GRH. (II, 33) had already stated: “The inducements to engage in writing brought to bear upon the apostles from without, do not annul the internal command, but rather confirm it, since those circumstances were made to influence the apostles by the wonderful arrangement of divine Providence, and to them was subsequently added the interior impulse of the Holy Spirit, urged on by which they applied their hand to the work.”

[9] Hereby an inspiration both of subject-matter and of the words is asserted, from which it follows that there is absolutely nothing in the Holy Scriptures that is not inspired. These assertions are contained in the following two sentences (of HOLL., 83 and 85):

“I. The conceptions of all that is contained in the Holy Scriptures were immediately communicated by the Holy Spirit to the prophets and apostles.

“II. All the words, without exception, contained in the Holy Manuscript, were dictated by the Holy Spirit to the pen of the prophets and apostles.”

These two sentences we illustrate by the following remarks of QUEN. and HOLL. In reference to No. I: 1. “In inspiration, we recognize a divine assistance and direction, which includes the inspiration and dictation of the Holy Spirit; but we deny as insufficient such a bare divine assistance and direction as would simply prevent the sacred writers from departing from the truth in speaking and writing. . . . The Holy Spirit guides others also in writing, i.e., so that we observe here a difference in this respect, that the Holy Spirit so directed the inspired men, that He at the same time suggested and communicated all things to them in so far as they are recorded in Scripture.” — QUEN, I,68.

2. Inspiration embraces all that is contained in Scripture, and therefore also those things which could have been otherwise known to the apostles and prophets, because in this case it was necessary that these things should be said just at the particular time when the design which God had in view required it. HOLL. (84): “The things which were known to the sacred writers may be considered either absolutely and in themselves, or relatively, in so far as they were to be written by the purpose of God. In the former manner they were previously known by the sacred writers, but not in the latter. For, although the sacred amanuenses may have known 46certain things, which are described by them before the act of writing, yet it was not, in the nature of the case, known to them whether God desired these things to be described, or under what circumstances, in what order, and with what words they should be committed to writing.”

3. In like manner inspiration embraces things that are not of a spiritual nature. HOLL. (83): “There are contained in Scripture historical, chronological, genealogical, astronomical, natural-historical, and political matters, which, although the knowledge of them is not actually necessary to salvation, are nevertheless divinely revealed, because an acquaintance with them assists not a little in the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, and in illustrating the doctrines and moral precepts. If only the mysteries of the faith, which are contained in the Holy Scriptures, depend upon divine inspiration, and all the rest, which may be known by the light of nature, depend merely upon the divine direction, then not all of Scripture is inspired. But Paul declares that the whole of Scripture is divinely inspired. Therefore not only the mysteries of the faith, but also the remaining truths that may be known by the light of nature, which are contained in Scripture, are divinely suggested and inspired;” therefore,

4. Even apparently unimportant matters are, none the less, to be regarded as also inspired. QUEN. (I, 71): “A matter may be of small moment, considered in itself and with reference to the estimation in which it is held by men, and yet of great importance if we regard the end and wise design which God has in view with regard to it. Many things in Scripture seem to be of small account (2 Tim. 4:13), in regard to which some suppose that our theory of inspiration derogates from the dignity of the Holy Spirit; but they are, nevertheless, of great moment, if we regard the end had in view (Rom. 15:4) and the all-wise design of God, in accordance with which these things were introduced into the Scriptures.” CALIXTUS (in QUEN., I,69) is a prominent advocate of the opposite view, viz.: “Neither is it taught in Scripture, that it is necessary to ascribe all the particulars that are contained in it to a peculiar divine revelation, but that the principal topics, those which the Scripture is mainly and peculiarly designed to teach, viz., those which relate to the redemption and salvation of the human race, are to be ascribed solely to that particular divine revelation; while in writing concerning other things, known in some other way, either by experience or the light of nature, the writers were so directed by the divine assistance and by the Holy Spirit, that they wrote nothing but what was actual, true, becoming, and congruous.” The proof of plenary inspiration is drawn 1. From 472 Tim. 3:16. (QUEN. (I, 71): “The word πασα may be taken distributively, of the single books or parts of Scripture, or collectively for those parts taken as a whole, so that πασα is the same as hole; in either case our opinion remains true, viz., that all Scripture is inspired.”) Whence the following argument of CAL. (I, 555): “If all Scripture be inspired, then there can be nothing in the Holy Scriptures that was not divinely suggested and by inspiration communicated to those who wrote. For, if even a single particle of Scripture were derived from human knowledge and memory, or from human revelation, then it could not be asserted that all Scripture is divinely inspired.” 2. From 2 Pet. 1:21 (although Peter does not allude particularly to writing, but speaking,. . . yet by λαλιαν both speaking and writing are here implied, and both are comprehended under this term cf. Acts 2:31; 3:24; Rom. 3:19; for just as the holy men of God were incited and impelled by the Holy Spirit to speak, so were they also incited and impelled by Him to write). 3. By the promise of Christ, John 14:26. 4. From 1 Cor. 2:10. We add, from CAL. (I, 556), the following additional proofs: “From the originating cause of Scripture, if indeed the sacred writers were merely the pen, the hand, or the amanuenses of the Holy Spirit; from the nature of the direction of the Holy Spirit, which is usually described as such that the Scriptures were written by His direction, wherefore Gregory the Great declared that the whole of the Holy Scriptures were nothing more nor less than a letter from God the Creator to man His creature; from the equal authority of all that is contained in Scripture. For not merely those things which directly refer to the subjects of faith and salvation are the Word of God, but everything that is found in Scripture, Rom. 3:2, and, for the same reason that they are called by this name, they well deserve to be regarded as the immediate Word of God.”

In relation to No. II., HOLL. (87): “The divine inspiration of the words known by common usage, was necessary to the proper expression of the mind of the Holy Spirit. For the prophets and apostles were not at liberty to clothe the divine meaning in such words as they might of their own accord select; but it was their duty to adhere to, and depend upon, the oral dictation of the Holy Spirit, so that they might commit the Holy Scriptures to writing, in the order and connection so graciously and excellently given, and in which they would appear in perfect accordance with the mind of the Holy Spirit.” QUEN. (I, 76) thus accounts for the variety of style: “There is a great diversity among the sacred writers in regard to style and mode of speaking, which appears to 48arise from the fact that the Holy Spirit accommodated Himself to the ordinary mode of speaking, leaving to each one his own manner; yet we do not thereby deny that the Holy Spirit suggested the particular words to these individuals.”

CAL., however (I, 574), remarks: “The Holy Spirit, Supreme Author of the Holy Scriptures, was not bound to the style of any one, but, as a perfectly free teacher of languages, could use, through any person soever, the character, style, and mode of speech that He chose, and could just as easily propose the divine oracles through Jeremiah in a highly ornate style, as through Isaiah in one of great simplicity. But He regarded not so much the ability of the writers to speak as the character of the subjects concerning which He wished them to speak; and, throughout the whole, He used His own authority (αυτεξουσια) under the guidance of His unlimited wisdom. So that we need not wonder that the same Spirit employed diversities of style. . . . The cause of this diversity of style is the fact that the Holy Spirit gave to each one to speak as He pleased.” Yet CAL. adds also: “Although the style of Scripture is plain and very well suited, not only to the genius of the readers and hearers, but also to the old and customary style of speech of the sacred writers, yet there may be recognized in it a condescension, συγκαταβασις, of the Holy Spirit; because He accommodated Himself sometimes to the ordinary method of speaking, leaving to the writers their own style of speech; but it must not be denied that the Holy Spirit breathed into them the words.” The inspiration of the Hebrew vowel-points was included in this theory; conf. GRH.’s argument ex absurdo (II, 272): “It would follow that the Scriptures were not communicated by God through the prophets, so far as the single words are concerned, since without the vowel-points the words cannot possibly exist; therefore not all Scripture is inspired.” From the theory of verbal inspiration there arose also the assertion: “The style of the New Testament is free from every trace of barbarism and from solecisms.” (QUEN., I, 82.) The proof of verbal inspiration was drawn, 1. From 2 Tim. 3:16. (All Scripture is wholly inspired; not only its meaning, or the thing signified, but also the words, as signs of things, were divinely inspired. Therefore, etc., etc. (HOLL., 85.)) 2. From 1 Cor. 2:13; Ex. 34:27,28; Matt. 5:18.

[10] Inspiration is, therefore, a divine agency employed in connection with the recording of the truth, and, in several respects, it differs from Revelation.

If we consider the latter as embracing the whole compass of Christian faith, it owes its very existence to inspiration. CAL. (I, 49280): “Divine inspiration may be regarded either as the source and efficient cause of revelation, in which sense it is an act of God as inspiring, or as the form which revelation assumes, or the revealed Word.” But if revelation be taken in its etymological sense, as the communication of that which was before unknown, then it differs from inspiration in the following respects: 1. The latter may contain also that which was before known, merely specifying the particular time and manner in which it is to be consummated, and, 2. The subject-matter of revelation may be communicated to man in various ways, but that of inspiration only by an immediate divine suggestion. QUEN. (I, 68): “Revelation, formally and etymologically viewed, is the manifestation of things unknown and hidden, and can be made in many and various ways, viz., by outward speech, or by dreams and visions. Inspiration is that act of the Holy Spirit by which an actual knowledge of things is supernaturally conveyed to an intelligent creature, or it is an internal suggestion or infusion of conceptions, whether the things conceived were previously known to the writer or not. The former could precede the commitment to writing; the latter was always associated with it and influenced the writing itself.” Add to this the remarks: “With all this I do not deny that divine inspiration itself may be called revelation, in a certain sense; in so far, namely, as it is a manifestation of certain circumstances, as also of the order and manner in which certain things are to be written. (We must distinguish between divine revelation when by it the subject-matter itself is made known, and when it refers to the peculiar circumstances and time and manner and order in which the subject-matter is to be reduced to writing.” (I, 72) “And when, also, revelation concurs and coincides with divine inspiration, when, viz., the divine mysteries are revealed by inspiration and inspired by revelation, in the very act of writing. Thus CALOVIUS very properly remarks: ‘That all the particulars contained in the Holy Scriptures are not, indeed, to be regarded as having been received by a peculiar and new revelation, but by the special dictation, inspiration, and suggestion of the Holy Spirit.’”

[11] HOLL. (88): “Divine inspiration, by which the subject-matter and the words to be spoken, as well as those to be written, were immediately suggested to the prophets and apostles by the Holy Spirit, preserved them free from all error, as well in the preaching as in the writing of the divine Word.”

CAL. (I, 551): “No error, even in unimportant matters, no defect of memory, not to say untruth, can have any place in all the Holy Scriptures.”

QUEN. (I, 80): “We are to distinguish between the conversation 50of the apostles and their preaching and writing; or between infirmities in conduct and errors in doctrine. In doctrine the apostles never could err, after receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, . . . but in their conduct and outward conversation they were not sinless, but, in consequence of innate original corruption, were still subject to infirmities and failings.” The more accurate development of the doctrine of inspiration begins with GRH. HUT. (Loci Theologici (30)) still thus briefly expresses himself in regard to it: “Although God did not directly write the Scriptures, but used prophets and apostles as His pen and instrument, yet the Scripture is not, on that account, of any the less authority. For it is God, and indeed God alone, who inspired the prophets and apostles, not only as they spoke, but also as they wrote; and He made use of their lips, their tongues, their hands, their pen. Therefore, or in this respect, the Scriptures, as they are, were written by God Himself. For the prophets and apostles were merely instruments.” This contains, however, essentially everything that we have adduced above from the later theologians. It was mainly the controversy with the Roman Catholics that gave occasion for detailed specifications; for these very well knew that they would rob the Protestant Church of all its weapons, without thereby injuring themselves, if they could cast suspicion upon the true inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. Such discriminations were also called forth in part by the fanatics, who treated the written Word of God with little respect; partly by the Socinians and Arminians, who adhered to a merely partial inspiration of the Scriptures. In opposition to these, it became of great importance to the Lutheran theologians to defend with all earnestness the doctrine of the inspiration, not only of the matter, but of the very words.

« Prev § 6. Of the terms, Holy Scriptures and… Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version


| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |