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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More on the mechanics of inspiration

Does it matter what view you hold concerning the mechanics of inspiration, as long as you hold verbal inspiration of the whole Bible? Perhaps not.

I have noticed one thing in several online discussions of the theories of inspiration that I find disturbing. Several articles that list false theories of inspiration include the dictation theory in these false theories right alongside the views that deny inspiration, such as the natural inspiration, illumination, and partial inspiration theories. UNLIKE these other theories, the "dictation theory" holds a high view the doctrine of verbal inspiration. That it differs from the "superintendence theory" does not make it a "false theory". In fact, there may be more evidence of "dictation" than "superintendence".

With a high view of inspiration and biblical authority, one must admit that at least portions of the Bible are dictated -- because the Bible says so. Read and compare these verses of Scripture: Exod. 24:4; 34:27; Deut. 4:2; Isa. 59:21; Jer. 30:1-2; 36:1-8; Hab. 2:2; Gal. 1:12; Rev. 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14. What verses state superintendence? Scriptures such as II Timothy 3:16-17 and II Peter 1:20-21 are agreeable with either view.

The chief objection to the dictation theory seems to be the accusation that it cannot explain the different styles and vocabularies used by the different human authors of the Bible. Proponents have explained, just not to the satisfaction of those who disagrre. Yet, ultimately, the "superintendence view" can no more fully explain how the Bible is 100% the word of God without error, still fully the words that the writers chose themselves in their given situations. Either view holds some mystery not fully understood by human minds. Regardless of "mechanics" the influence of the Spirit of God over the writers of Scripture extended beyond their thoughts, or simple ilumination or natural inspiration. His influence extended to the selection of the very words the authors chose (Deut. 18:18; Zech 7:12), the tense (Matt. 22:32), the number (Gal. 3:16), and even the smallest marks (Matt. 5:17-18).

Whether or not you agree with the "dictation theory", I urge you not to classify it with other theories of inspiration that actually deny inspiration. Dictation does not!

1 comment:

R. L. Vaughn said...

I was interested today to discover that Baptist evangelist John R. Rice believed in the "dictation theory". He quoted John Calvin, B.B. Warfield, Louis Gaussen, and others. Citing Ezek 3:4, B.B. Warfield writes, "It is a process of nothing other than 'dictation' that is described (2 S. xiv 3.19), though, of course, the question may remain open of the exact processes by which this dictation is accomplished." Rice wrote, "When men take part in a miracle, it is God that does it."