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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On Inspiration of Scripture

            What does it mean that I believe that God inspired the writing of scripture in the original languages?  First, that the words of scripture were directed by God and not the various individuals who wrote the words down, even though the various writings show the differences in writing style of the individuals.  This is a thing I believe on faith.  As much as one can show from history, archeology, etc. that certain prophetic statements were before their occurrence, and persons in different times and places wrote things that coordinated with history in ways that could not have been planned, I ultimately believe that God directed those writers because of what the Holy Spirit communicated to my spirit, first to repent and believe on Jesus, and later, as I desired to like to glorify Jesus.
            Second, is that God directed that the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek languages of the time had words that had just the right nuances to communicate what God wished to communicate.  I cannot prove that, either, but I can see as I study scripture that certain words had just the right nuances that scripture communicates just the right thing, and in some cases more than one, by exactly the word used in the original languages.  This is a significant struggle for our most brilliant minds how to say things that most closely communicate all that the original language said, and simultaneously aviod adding nuances that communicate things not in scripture.
            Third is the opposite of the second.  I need to desire to learn about what God wished to communicate because some persons, sometimes accidentally and sometimes intentionally, have built doctrines out of reading scripture in another language without proper teaching, and built ideas on nuances of a translation’s word, the nuance of which was not in the original language.  One of the most obvious examples, historically, is the middle ages Catholic church’s sale of indulgances, built on a nuance of a word in Latin from Ephesians 5:31-32 that was not in the original Greek.    I use this as an example as, I am told, even Catholic theologians do not defend this anymore.
            Shortly after this blog, I will write one about Acts 19, and how Luke used ekklesia to describe the mob the idolmaker’s guild organized.  That shows how the word could not possibly have much of the cultural baggage connected to the word “church” in English, and equivalent in many languages today.  It is extremely easy, particularly for those of us who were sent to institutional churches when young, to subliminally read the culture we grew up in into the stories in scripture we read.  This is further complicated by two things.  There are theologians and “pastors” out there who do not believe scripture, but know that their paycheck is tied to people who do believe keeping on sending in money to keep them paid.  Their skill, in turn, does not translate to anything else in our culture.  Therefore, they are more than willing to say those things they feel comfortable with, use the Bible to tell inspiring stories, to keep the money coming.  A further problem is there are believing leaders doing the same thing, particularly if, over time, they come, and almost assuredly almost all have some problem in their organization they know doesn’t quite align with scripture, but if it is corrected the whole house of cards could fall.  This, in turn, in our culture, makes the believer that is part of their church who is desiring to seek Jesus with all their heart a threat to their livelihood. 
            I look at this from the aspect of a person who, when in college, considered going to seminary.  I actually applied and was accepted to two different ones.  The Holy Spirit spoke into me directing me to not do so.  For all the difficulties I have faced in life, I am happy that I did not go in that direction.  Part of my being able to speak the message of Jesus in total honesty is not having my financial well being dependent on some person’s idea of what is good and not good to say in public about living for Jesus being connected to it.
Note:  I originally meant to post this in early February, 2011, and just found that, somehow, it had been held as a draft.  Therefore, my reference to a future blog entry on Acts 19 is back in February, 2011.

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