The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

2 Pet. 1:21

“Thus saith the Lord…”

Jer. 2:5

“…the serpent… said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said?”

Gen. 3:1 

 

 

Subsections

The Canon of the Bible
The Inerrency of the Bible

 

 

Order of Contents

Inspiration
.     Articles  6

.     Short Books  1
.     Popular Books  4
.     In-Depth Books  10
.     The History of  1

Authority
.     Where to Start?
.     Article  1

.     Books  5+
.     History of  2

Quotes

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Inspiration

 

Articles

1600’s

ed. Schmid, Heinrich – ‘Of the Sacred Scriptures’  53 pp. being ch. 4 of Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church

This work is a standard anthology of quotations from the main orthodox Lutheran theologians of the late-1500’s and 1600’s.

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1800’s

Cunningham, William – Chapters 27-32 on Inspiration  1878  68 pp.  of Theological Lectures, p. 343-411

Cunningham was one of the great lights of the Free Churhc of Scotland.

Girardeau, John – ‘The Ultimate Source, Rule and Judge of Theology: The Inspiration of the Scriptures’ & ‘The Authority of the Scriptures’  †1898  12 & 8 pp.  being two chapters in Discussions of Theological Questions   Buy  534 pages, see the Buy link for the table of contents.

Girardeau was a lesser known, though important, Southern presbyterian.

Haldane, Robert – ‘The Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures’ & ‘Extracts on the Verbal Inspiration of the Scriptures from the Works of Eminent Christian Writers’  1830  78 & 9 pp. being ch. 3 and the Appendix of The Books of the Old and New Testaments Proved to be Canonical, and their Verbal Inspiration Maintained and Established; with an Account of the Introduction and Character of the Apocrypha

Hodge, Charles – ‘Ground of Faith in the Scriptures’, a review of an essay by James H. Thornwell entitled, “Review of the Arguments of Romanists from the Infallibility of the Church and Testimony of the Fathers in behalf of the Apocrypha, discussed and refuted.” It was first published in the Princeton Review, 1845, and subsequently in Essays & Reviews, 1857, p. 185-200

Hodge was a northern presbyterian and professor at Old Princeton.

Martin, Hugh 

The Westminster Doctrine of the Inspiration of Scripture (with a Prefatory Note on the Free Church College Committee’s Report, and with Remarks on Dr. Marcus Dods’ Recent Sermon)  4th ed. 1890  31 pp.

Martin was one of the great lights of the Free Church of Scotland, known for his works on the Atonement and The Shadow of Calvary.  In the two works here linked, he takes aim at liberal professor in the Free Church of Scotland, Marcus Dods.

Letters to Marcus Dods: a Sequel to ‘The Westminster Doctrine of the Inspiration of Scripture’  2nd ed. 1877  56 pp.

Urquhart, John – ‘The Scripture Doctrine of Inspiration’  1895  84 pp.  being Book 1, chs. 1-6 of The Inspiration and Accuracy of the Holy Scriptures  590 pp.

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1900’s

Warfild, B.B.

‘The Inspiration of the Bible’  a lecture, from “Bibliotheca Sacra”, v. 51, 1894, pp. 614-640

Part V of Selected Short Writings: Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 2, ed. Meeter, pp. 537-638, including:

‘The Authority and Inspiration of the Scriptures’
‘The Divine and Human in the Bible’
‘The New Testament Use of the Septuagint, and Inspiration’
‘The Westminster Doctrine of Holy Scripture’
‘The Westminster Doctrine of Inpiration;
‘The Inerrancy of the Original Autographs’
‘The Westminster Confession and the Origianl Autographs’
‘The Rights of Criticism and of the Church’
‘A Review of Three Books on Inspiration’
‘Inspiration’  1915  28 paragraphs  from The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, ed. James Orr, vol. 3, pp. 1473-1483, this is also in Selected Short WritingsL Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 2, ed. Meeter, pp. 614 ff.

Warfield has some of the best writings on Inspiration and was a great defender of the Inerrancy of the Original Autographs of the Scriptures.  Be aware, though, that, in his adoption of the ‘critical texts’ of Scripture (dug up in the mid-1800’s) and the philosophy behind them, Warfield did quietly drop the doctrine of the special, providential preservation of the Scriptures through the New Testament era *in all ages* (as WCF 1.8 states:  “and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical”).  Warfield, unfortunately has been greatly influenctial in this regard towards those who have come after him.  For a correction of this, see The Majority Text.

Murray, John

‘Inspiration and Inerrancy’  8 pp. in Collected Writings, vol. 3, pp. 22-30

‘The Inspiration of the Scripture’  33 pp.  in Collected Writings, vol. 3, pp. 30-57

Clark, Gordon H. – ‘Inspiration and Language’  1961  39 pp.  being ch. 3 of Religion, Reason and Revelation, p. 111 ff.  Buy

 

 

Short Books

Hodge, A.A. & B.B. Warfield – Inspiration  HTML  1881  75 pp.

This is one of the best, short, yet in-depth, pieces that one can read on the subject.  This is on the required reading list for those in training for the ministry in the American presbytery of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing).

Wenham, John William – Our Lord’s View of the Old Testament  Buy  1961

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Popular Books

Engelder, Theodore – Scripture Cannot be Broken  1945  500 pp.  Buy  Concordia

“Other helpful volumes on the popular level include: Theodore Engelder, Scripture Cannot be Broken… a vigorous defense of verbal-plenary inspiration;” – Joel Beeke

Pink, A.W. – The Divine Inspiration of the Bible  Buy  1971

“…aims for personal edification more than doctrinal depth;” – Joel Beeke

Edwards, Brian – Nothing but the Truth: the Inspiration, Authority and History of the Bible Explained  Buy  1978

“…which excels for those unfamiliat with doctrinal terms and recent debate;” – Joel Beeke

Packer, J.I. – God has Spoken  Buy  1979

“…which stresses the joy of Bible study and examines what Scripture says about itself.  Packer’s work includes the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.” – Joel Beeke

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In-Depth Books

1600’s

Turretin, Francis – The Doctrine of Scripture  Buy  transl. John Beardslee III from Turretin’s Institutes

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1800’s

Alexander, Archibald – Evidences of the Authenticity, Inspiration, Canonical Authority of the Holy Scriptures  1906  326 pp.  This is a later expanded edition that includes A Brief Outline of the Evidences of the Christian Religion, 1825, and parts of The Canon of the Old and New Testaments Ascertained, 1833.

Alexander was the first professor of Old Princeton Seminary.

“Alexander’s work presents numerous ‘evidences’ but lacks his customary depth of thought;” – Joel Beeke

Bannerman, James – Inspiration: The Infallible Truth and Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures  1845  588 pages

Bannerman was another one of the great lights of the Free Church of Scotland.

“Bannerman excels on the history of the doctrine of inspiration.” – Joel Beeke

Carson, Alexander – The Theories of Inspiration of the Rev. Daniel Wilson, Rev. Dr. Pye Smith, and the Rev. Dr. Dick Proved to be Erroneous; with Remarks on the Christian Observer & Eclectic Review  1830  227 pp.

Carson was an Irish presbyterian turned baptist who was known for his work on Providence.

Gaussen, Louis

“It is Written”: or the Scriptures the Word of God  1856  194 pp.

Theopneustia. The Bible: Its Divine Origin and Inspiration Deduced from Internal Evidence and the Testimonies of Nature, History and Science  Buy  1867, 422 pages, it is also here on HTML

Gaussen was a Swiss-Reformed pastor.  This is the best and fullest book on the inspiration of the Bible, being Gaussen’s most well known work.

“Theopneustia” is the Greek word in 2 Tim. 3:16 for “inspired”, or more literally, “God-breathed”.  One highlight among many is Gaussen responding to the objection against inspiration that the NT writers often misquote the OT.  Gaussen lists and superbly analyzes the dozen or so ways in which the NT writers reference the OT (literally, in paraphrase, summarizing, interpreting, applying, giving the spirit of, combining the teachings of, etc.).

“Gaussen’s treatise is the nineteenth-century classic;” – Joel Beeke

“A classic defense of the conservative view and authority of the Scriptures.” – Cyril J. Barber

Janeway, Jacob – The Internal Evidence of the Holy Bible, or, The Bible Proved from its own pages to be a Divine Revelation  1845  300 pp. with a two page Introduction by Samuel Miller

Janeway was an Old School Presbyterian.

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1900’s

Warfield, B.B. – The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible  Buy  1958  442 pp.

Warfield has some of the best writings on Inspiration and was a great defender of the Inerrancy of the Original Autographs of the Scriptures.  Be aware, though, that, in his adoption of the ‘critical texts’ of Scripture (dug up in the mid-1800’s) and the philosophy behind them, Warfield did quietly drop the doctrine of the special, providential preservation of the Scriptures through the New Testament era *in all ages* (as WCF 1.8 states:  “and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical”).  Warfield, unfortunately has been greatly influenctial in this regard towards those who have come after him.  For a correction of this, see The Majority Text.

“The twentieth-century classic… which contains the bulk of articles (many of which have never been surpassed exegetically or theologically) in ‘Revelation and Inspiration’ (New York: Oxford, 1927), as well as a superior 65-page introduction by Cornelious Van Til.  Warfield is essential reading for understanding the ‘old Princeton’ position on divine inspiration.” – Joel Beeke

“A work which deserves a place on every pastor’s desk.” – Cyril J. Barber

Clark, Gordon – God’s Hammer: the Bible and its Critics  Buy  1982

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The History of the Doctrine of Inspiration

Calvin

Murray, John – ‘Calvin’s Doctrine of Scripture’  18 pp.  in Collected Writings, vol. 3, pp. 158-175

Packer, J.I. – Calvin’s View of Scripture  in God’s Inerrant Word: a Symposium on the Trustworthiness of Scripture, ed. John W. Montgomery

Westminster

Warfield, B.B.

‘The Westminster Doctrine of Holy Scripture’  106 pp.  being ch. 3 of vol. 6 of Works  Buy

‘The Doctrine of Inspiration of the Westminster Divines’  76 pp. being ch. 4 of vol. 6 of Works  Buy

Lutheranism – 1600’s

Preus, Robert – The Inspiration of Scripture: a Study of the Theology of the 17th Century Lutheran Dogmaticians  Buy  1957

Preus (1924–1995)

“…is an able monograph on the theology of seventeenth-century Lutheran dogmaticians.” – Joel Beeke

Warfield – Early 1900’s

Lloyd, Marc – ‘What the Bible Says, God Says: B.B. Warfield’s Doctrine of Scripture’  28 pp.

Nicole, Roger – ‘The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture:
J. D. G. Dunn versus B. B. Warfield’  1983  16 pp.

 

 

 

The Authority of the Bible

 

Where to Start?

Lloyd-Jones, Martyn -.Authority  Buy  1966  96 pp.

“Where should you begin?  Read a persuasive, little book by D. Martyn Lloyd Jones titled Authority…  which is a clarion call to return to the authority of Christ, the Word, and the Holy Spirit.” – Joel Beeke

Crampton, Gary – The Bible: God’s Word  Buy  1989  170 pp.

 

 

Articles

1500’s

Calvin, John – ‘Of the Power of the Church in Articles of Faith’  17 pp.  being Book 4, ch. 8 of The Institutes of the Christian Religion

In this masterful treatment, the reformer proves from Scripture that the Church derives all of her authority from the Word, is under it, that the Word is sufficient, and that the Church regulated in doctrine, worship and government by the Word.  One of the best chapters in Calvin’s Institutes.

1600’s

ed. Schmid, Heinrich – ‘Authority of the Scriptures’  13 pp. being ch. 4, section 8 of Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church

This work is a standard anthology of translated quotations from the main orthodox Lutheran theologians of the late-1500’s and 1600’s.

1800’s

Cunningham, William – Chapters 21-26 on the Authority of Scripture  1878  73 pp.  in Theological Lectures, p. 269-342

Cunningham was one of the great lights of the Free Churhc of Scotland.

1900’s

Murray, John

‘The Infallibility of Scripture’  in Collected Writings, vol. 1, pp. 9-15  Buy

‘The Attestation of Scripture’  26 pp.

This is on the required reading list for those in training for the ministry in the American presbytery of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing).

 

 

Books

1500’s

Whitaker, William – A Disputation on Holy Scripture, Against the Papists, especially Bellarmine and Stapleton  †1595  742 pp.

Whittaker was an English Puritan.

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1900’s

ed. Stonehouse, Ned & Paul Woolley – The Infallible Word: a Symposium by the Members of the Faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary  Buy  1946

“The two most helpful books on biblical authority are The Infallible Word…  the symposium contains an excellent series of Reformed essays dealing with the general character of biblical authority and canonicity.  It concludes by stressing the relevancy and distinctive characteristics of these doctrines as well as the importance of preaching them.” – Joel Beeke

“A carefully reasoned series of essays dealing with the general character of Biblical authority, containing a chapter on the canonicity of the Scriptures, and concluding with an emphasis upon their relevancy, place in preaching, and distinctive characteristics of the Word of God.  By members of the faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary.” – Cyril J. Barber

Ramm, Bernard – The Pattern of Religious Authority  Buy  1957  117 pp.

“The two most helpful books on biblical authority are…  Bernard Ramm, The Pattern of Religious Authority…  Ramm addresses issues on authority that confront the conservative evangelical.  He distinguishes between the ‘grounds of accepting an authority’ and ‘the right of authority’, and claims that reason, intuition, or incilnation are modes of perceiving or receiving an authority but do not constitute the right of the authority received.  He argues that the believer’s doctrine of authority is threefold: the authority of the Scriptures, of the Holy Spirit, and of Christ.  This threefold delineation is contrasted with Roman Catholocism, modernism, and neo-orthodoxy.” – Joel Beeke

ed. Boice, James – The Foundation of Biblical Authority  Buy  1978  with articles by John Gerstner, James Packer, Francis Schaeffer, R.C. Sproul and others.

“Helpful articles…  the first major publication of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI), founded in 1977.” – Joel Beeke

Ridderbos, Herman – Studies in Scripture and its Authority  1978  120 pp.

Henry, Carl – God, Revelation and Authority, vol. 4  Buy  1979

“…contains a massive technical treatment of Biblical authority.” – Joel Beeke

 

 

The History of the Doctrine of Biblical Authority

Davies, Rupert Eric – The Problem of Authority in the Continental Reformers: a Study in Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin  Buy  1946

Fortsman, Henry Jackson – Calvin’s Doctrine of Biblical Authority  1962  Stanford University Press

“…includes ahelpful epilogue on ‘Calvin, Calvinism, and the Contemporary Situation’ as well as an excellent bibliography.” – Joel Beeke

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Quotes

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

“True, they [the Biblical writers] were the pen-men of the Holy Spirit, but then they were pen-men.”

“It is a grand evidence of the inspiration of the apostles that the theology of the post-apostolic Fathers is so puerile.”

“God speaks.  He speaks in his Word to all to whom it comes.”

“Believe not any man on his own mere word.  Sacredly reserve your faith for the Word of the living God.”

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“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…”

2 Tim. 3:16

 

 

 

Related Pages

The Inerrancy of the Bible

The Canon of the Bible