Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

User avatar
robbyyoung
Posts: 811
Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:23 am

Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Post by robbyyoung » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:06 pm

Hello All,

Is it accurate to say inspired scripture ended at the close of the Apostolic Era? If so, how can this be defended biblically? Here are some critical questions I have:

Does God not provide additional truths in the now “age to come”, which began 2000 years ago?

Does God not provide a means to help us clarify doctrine, with face-to-face modern prophets? If not by prophets, then how? And, wouldn't this still be inspired scripture?

What are your personal thoughts on the matter? As for me, I believe Christians can provide inspired words from God. For example, some believe that the 66 books are God ordained, but how so? Additionally, who ultimately gets to decide "no more"?

Thanks in advance for any and all contributions, God Bless.
Last edited by robbyyoung on Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:32 am, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
Homer
Posts: 2682
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:08 pm

Re: Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Post by Homer » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:53 pm

Hi Robby,

You asked:
Who got decide that and who ultimately decided "no more"?
I think those who put the cannon together determined by scripture that God had completed His revelation to man:

Jude 3 (NASB)
3. Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all (Greek hapax) handed down to the saints.


Compare the Greek hapax as used by Peter:

1 Peter 3:18 (NASB)
18. For Christ also died for sins once for all (hapax), the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

We need further revelation of "the faith" no more than we need Christ to again go to the cross for our sins.

Thayer's Lexicon comments regarding hapax:
used of what is so done as to be of perpetual validity and never need repetition, once for all

User avatar
robbyyoung
Posts: 811
Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:23 am

Re: Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Post by robbyyoung » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:55 am

Homer wrote:Hi Robby,

You asked:
Who got decide that and who ultimately decided "no more"?
I think those who put the cannon together determined by scripture that God had completed His revelation to man:

Jude 3 (NASB)
3. Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all (Greek hapax) handed down to the saints.


Compare the Greek hapax as used by Peter:

1 Peter 3:18 (NASB)
18. For Christ also died for sins once for all (hapax), the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

We need further revelation of "the faith" no more than we need Christ to again go to the cross for our sins.

Thayer's Lexicon comments regarding hapax:
used of what is so done as to be of perpetual validity and never need repetition, once for all
Hi Homer,

Thanks for the input, and yes, I agree with Jude’s passage concerning the consummation of the Gospel message and established faith. However, supportive writings, such as Jude, actually proves why the close of doctrinal faith issues should not be the measure whereby we reject or accept writings, else Jude would be excluded! For example, Jude’s writings were accepted, even though he said the matter was closed prior to his writing. Therefore, expounding on a closed matter is apparently biblical as well as possibly inspired. In other words, Jude was either instructing, teaching, or clarifying what is already a closed matter.

Thus, I don’t think Jude 3 is sufficient to say that extended writings on the faith are invalid, else his writings are then invalidated—coming after the matter was apparently closed. So IMO, accepting or rejecting writings cannot be based upon Jude 3.

Although the doctrines may have been established and closed by the Apostles, (inspired) writings continued to either instruct, clarify, or teach (such as Jude). IMO, Jude 3 is not referring to the latter, therefore, accepting or rejecting additional church writings cannot be based on this passage.

What are your thoughts?

Blessings.

User avatar
Paidion
Posts: 5017
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:22 pm
Location: Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Post by Paidion » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:23 pm

Robby, I see lots of problems with "the canon of inspired Scripture" being exclusively the 66 books of the Protestant Bible.

Why not the 73 books of the Catholic Bible? Or why not the 76 books of the Orthodox Bible?

Who determined "the canon of inspired New Testament Scripture"? Was it Irenæus (born A.D. 130)? Was it Origen (born A.D 185)?
Was it Athanasius (born A.D. 296)? All three had a New Testament canon. But each of the three canons differed from the others. The fourth-century church adopted the canon of Athanasius. And this is PRECISELY the same list that is in our New Testaments today. Was Athanasius inspired to select the "correct" list? If so, then there must be inspiration outside of the Bible.

Origen's canon was the same as that of Athanasius except that it didn't include James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Jude. The same with Irenæus' canon except that it also excluded Hebrews.

If we place our faith in the list of Athanasius, we have a little problem with the Protestant Old Testament. Athanasius' list of books of the Old Testament was also identical to the list in the Protestant Bible except that it included Baruch, a book that is not found in the Protestant Bible (though it does form part of the Catholic and Orthodox Bibles).

So again, the question arises. By what authority do many people accept the 66 books of the Protestant Bible as the exclusively inspired books?
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 82.

User avatar
steve
Posts: 3362
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:45 pm

Re: Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Post by steve » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:05 pm

I don't think there was anything supernatural in the selection of books for the canon of scripture. The books written by prophets (and those written by Ezra) were collected by the Jews to be included in the Old Testament, while those written by apostles (and their nearest assistants) were collected by the Church for the New Testament. There was, for a while, some question about the genuine apostolic origins of some books, which hindered their immediate acceptance for the New Testament. They were included as soon as their apostolic origins were regarded as established.

User avatar
robbyyoung
Posts: 811
Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:23 am

Re: Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Post by robbyyoung » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:57 am

Hi Steve and Paidion,

Thanks for your added value to the discussion, and I too agree that the history of the cannon is not altogether indicative of inspiration. But what about real-time inspiration being counted as authoritative? For example—post Apostolic Era—church history (or the age to come) records numerous writings to this very day. Are we to believe that all of these writings are void of inspiration? If inspiration denotes proclaiming what thus says the Lord, wouldn’t that include explaining or clarifying His Word, such as teaching, preaching, and prophesying?

Most Christians have extensive libraries that either teach or instruct others on ancient doctrines. Why can’t these post Apostolic Era authors claim inspiration? Paul said, “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each” (1 Cor 3:5). Apparently, Apollos and others were just as authoritative as Paul and the other Apostles, but unfortunately we are unfamiliar with their writings. However, is God no longer assigning inspired servants in the world? I believe He is, and If so, the plethora of information which builds upon the foundation Christ established must be enormous.

So consequently, Steve and Paidion, do you believe your writings and teachings are inspired and a contributing factor to God’s Word? If not, why not? For I believe we all have the capability to build upon Christ’s foundation of truth. IMHO, a Christian’s library ought to be vast, acknowledging God continues to speak and clarify His truths through His servants.

Blessings.

dwight92070
Posts: 615
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2011 12:09 am

Re: Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Post by dwight92070 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:25 pm

robbyyoung wrote:Hi Steve and Paidion,

Thanks for your added value to the discussion, and I too agree that the history of the cannon is not altogether indicative of inspiration. But what about real-time inspiration being counted as authoritative? For example—post Apostolic Era—church history (or the age to come) records numerous writings to this very day. Are we to believe that all of these writings are void of inspiration? If inspiration denotes proclaiming what thus says the Lord, wouldn’t that include explaining or clarifying His Word, such as teaching, preaching, and prophesying?

Most Christians have extensive libraries that either teach or instruct others on ancient doctrines. Why can’t these post Apostolic Era authors claim inspiration? Paul said, “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each” (1 Cor 3:5). Apparently, Apollos and others were just as authoritative as Paul and the other Apostles, but unfortunately we are unfamiliar with their writings. However, is God no longer assigning inspired servants in the world? I believe He is, and If so, the plethora of information which builds upon the foundation Christ established must be enormous.

So consequently, Steve and Paidion, do you believe your writings and teachings are inspired and a contributing factor to God’s Word? If not, why not? For I believe we all have the capability to build upon Christ’s foundation of truth. IMHO, a Christian’s library ought to be vast, acknowledging God continues to speak and clarify His truths through His servants.

Blessings.
Dwight: If all or many Christian's teachings and writings since the time of Christ are to be considered equal in authority and inspiration as the Bible, then we have a huge quagmire. Obviously, the teachings and writings of one Christian conflict and contradict those of another Christian. So which of the two are we to accept as the word of God? We have strong warnings from Moses and Jesus Himself to not add to nor take away from the words of the book of this prophecy. Deut. 4:2; 12:32 and Revelation 22:18-19. That reference in Revelation could be referring to just that book, or since it is in the last verses of the entire Bible, I believe it could also refer to the entire Bible. But which one of us would dare to claim that our words are equal in authority to Jesus' or Paul's? Given the strong warning in Revelation that you won't even be able the holy city, i.e. the New Jerusalem, it appears that that person would be eternally lost. Are you willing to risk your eternal destiny by claiming that your teaching is just as inspired as Jesus' or Paul's?

Dwight: It behooves us to remember the words of John the Baptist: "After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals." Mark 1:7 and "He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all." John 3:31

Dwight: Our words will never be equal in authority or inspiration to Jesus' words, nor IMO to any Biblical author.

User avatar
robbyyoung
Posts: 811
Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:23 am

Re: Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Post by robbyyoung » Sat Jan 20, 2018 6:47 pm

Hi Dwight,

Thanks for joining the discussion. The truth is the truth, to include its interpretation. We know for a fact (biblically) that the church is equipped with the Holy Spirit of God, therefore, if teachers, preachers, prophets, etc… (1 Cor 12:28) are led by the Spirit of God to expound on what "thus says the Lord", isn’t it in fact ancillary, at the very least, to the foundational tenets of scripture? Unless you are contending that the spiritual gifts of various utterances are mute, how can you defend this position by the Word of God?

Dwight, my inquiry is not based on the history of defiling Christ’s foundational tenets, but by expounding on them. But to expound on the truth, you must be in the truth, to elaborate on what “thus says the Lord”; but, isn't spiritual gifts the modem to do just that?

Nevertheless, your concerns are valid, because anything that contradicts foundational doctrines should be dismissed as a lie. But, the 1st Century believers were no stranger to this deception, and neither are post Apostolic believers. If the Holy Spirit sustains us, the gifts of The Spirit will always provide further clarification, hence, teachers, preachers, and prophets. For example, everything Paul said was not inspired but could be authoritative, we read in 1 Cor 7:12 that Paul gives his own judgement on marriage issues. However, do we read his judgement as inspired? No, we don’t, but could they be authoritative, absolutely. Then why can’t inspiration and authoritative processes of this sort be ongoing to this very day, especially in the multitude of writings?

Dwight, you keep eluding to “the bible” as if it existed as we know it today. The Apostles only knew of one form of scripture, The Law and the Prophets and Jesus’ interpretation of the latter. Their teachings and instructions were inspired, by God, to equip the church to sustain themselves in Israel’s last days and beyond--through teachers, preachers, and apostles. Are you saying this is over? If not, then inspiration which clarifies the truth must still be active and on par with the same sound judgement Paul and others exercised. You mentioned Deut 4 & 12, but by your own mandate, Paul was guilty of adding his “two-cents” to the Word of God in 1 Cor 7:12! But if you say, no—Paul clearly distinguished his comments from The Lord’s, well I hope you don’t consider his comments “as scripture”. But if they’re not scripture, then what are they? Whatever your answer is, all subsequent Christians writings, consistent with Jesus’ teachings, are on par with Paul’s comments! Maybe every man should be convicted in his own heart.

As for Rev 22, this is a non-sequitur to the biblical reality of Christians building upon Christ’s sure foundation outside this lone prophecy addressed to the seven churches in Asia. Additionally, “this book” is clearly referencing the prophecy therein, not any ongoing teachings and instructions relating to God’s eternal truths.
Dwight: Our words will never be equal in authority or inspiration to Jesus' words, nor IMO to any Biblical author.
The Word of God says, "For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor 3:11). Therefore, whatever is said can only further clarify the truth. But if there is only one truth, proclaimed through, preacher, teachers, etc... why wouldn't their words be on par in authority or inspiration as Jesus' and the NT Writers? For we read, "Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward" (1 Cor 3:12-14). Dwight, our words and deeds must be equal in authority and inspiration as Jesus in order to receive a reward. Anything less will in fact suffer loss! Thus, teachers are specifically on notice; "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness" (James 3:1). I think your judgement is not entirely aligned with scripture, especially if The Spirit is still at work today. Our words, especially speaking on God's behalf, matter greatly.

Blessings.

User avatar
Paidion
Posts: 5017
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:22 pm
Location: Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Post by Paidion » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:14 pm

Steve wrote:I don't think there was anything supernatural in the selection of books for the canon of scripture. The books written by prophets (and those written by Ezra) were collected by the Jews to be included in the Old Testament, while those written by apostles (and their nearest assistants) were collected by the Church for the New Testament.
I see it this way also, as does Robby. But that is exactly the reason why I question how it is known that these particular books and no others are inspired.
It seems that the Protestant reformers chose the books of the Hebrew Bible as their Old Testament. We own a copy of "The Jewish Study Bible" and I noticed that that the Hebrew writings that are in the Jewish Bible are the same as those in the Protestant Old Testament. I also noticed in the preface to the Jewish Study Bible, there was no mention made of "inspiration." This led me to speculate that perhaps the Jews don't have the same concept of inspiration as do fundamentalists and other evangelical groups.

In any case, here is the problem for me. If there was nothing "supernatural in the selection of books for the canon of scripture," then how do we know that these books are exclusively the ones that are inspired?

For example, many, including myself, consider the author of Clement's letter to the Corinthians, to have been authored by Paul's fellow-labourer Clement (Philippians 4:3). If so, why wouldn't this book have been included in the New Testament "canon"? In any case, modern authors date the birth of the author Clement as A.D. 30 and his death as A.D. 100 and so it seems likely that he was the apostolic Clement. Why was his letter rejected from forming part of the New Testament writings?

Consider the Protestant Old Testament "canon," which is also the Bible of Judaism. Among the Hebrew writings were two that told of the heroic deeds of a woman who saved the Hebrew people from slaughter. One is the book of Esther, and the other is the book of Judith. Why was Esther chosen to be part of the "canon" whereas Judith was rejected. The book of Esther does not even contain the word "God" whereas "God" occurs 97 times in the book of Judith. Anyway, I don't understand the basis of the belief that the book of Esther was inspired by God but the book of Judith was not. Is the only basis that it happens to be one of the books that the Jews included in their Bible whereas Judith is not?

In general, I would like to know if there is any basis for believing the books of the Protestant Bible and no others to be inspired by God? Is there any basis beyond the fact that "The books written by prophets (and those written by Ezra) were collected by the Jews to be included in the Old Testament, while those written by apostles (and their nearest assistants) were collected by the Church for the New Testament"? How do the choices of the Jews and the Church determine which books are inspired?

I have read that someone has said that the contents of the books themselves indicate their inspiration. If that is the case, what is there about the book of Esther that indicates its inspiration that is lacking in the book of Judith?
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 82.

User avatar
Homer
Posts: 2682
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:08 pm

Re: Why is the inspiration of scripture over?

Post by Homer » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:55 am

Hi Robby,

In your OP you asaked:
As for me, I believe Christians can provide inspired words from God. For example, some believe that the 66 books are God ordained, but how so? Additionally, who ultimately gets to decide "no more"?
Please correct me if I misunderstand you, but you seem to be saying the revelation of God to man is not complete and there might be additional revelation past the apostolic age. If this is what you mean, I think it is a very flawed and dangerous idea, one that directly promoted Joseph Smith as a prophet and helped establish the Mormon church.

Sidney Rigdon was a prominent preacher among the Baptists and Restoration Movement of the early 19th century. Rigdon began to speculate that revelation might not be complete. Along came Joseph Smith, claiming to be a prophet, and Rigdon soon became the Mormon's most effective orator and worked hand in hand with Smith in establishing his cult.
For I believe we all have the capability to build upon Christ’s foundation of truth. IMHO, a Christian’s library ought to be vast, acknowledging God continues to speak and clarify His truths through His servants.
I'm not sure what you mean here by "clarify His truths". If you mean that people gifted as expositors can be of great help I agree. However they are speaking their opinions, else we would all agree doctrinally.
If the Holy Spirit sustains us, the gifts of The Spirit will always provide further clarification, hence, teachers, preachers, and prophets. For example, everything Paul said was not inspired but could be authoritative, we read in 1 Cor 7:12 that Paul gives his own judgement on marriage issues. However, do we read his judgement as inspired? No, we don’t, but could they be authoritative, absolutely. Then why can’t inspiration and authoritative processes of this sort be ongoing to this very day, especially in the multitude of writings?
Could you clarify what you mean by "not inspired but could be authoritative"? Paul was an Apostle, appointed by our Lord to speak in His name. If you read 1 Cor. 7 in context, v. 17 informs us Paul's words were a command given to all the churches:

1 Corinthians 7:17 (NASB)
17. Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct (Greek diatasso) in all the churches.


Diatasso is most often translated "command". Paul's instructions were commandments of an Apostle.
The Word of God says, "For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor 3:11). Therefore, whatever is said can only further clarify the truth. But if there is only one truth, proclaimed through, preacher, teachers, etc... why wouldn't their words be on par in authority or inspiration as Jesus' and the NT Writers? For we read, "Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward" (1 Cor 3:12-14). Dwight, our words and deeds must be equal in authority and inspiration as Jesus in order to receive a reward. Anything less will in fact suffer loss!
If you carefully examine the passage and context I think you will find that in the "gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest" statement the work that becomes manifest refers to the converts added to the church by the evangelistic and teaching work that is the subject Paul is dealing with. The passage is inapplicable.

Here is what I believe regarding this matter. Considering Jesus words to the Apostles just prior to His death:

John 16:12-15 (NASB)
12. “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.


I believe the "you" refers to those there who heard Him, and to no one else. This gives me great confidence that we have the true gospel. There was much to be revealed to them that they were not ready to hear. A good example is the decision made at the council of Jerusalem, Acts 15. As Peter's story of his vision regarding going to the house of Cornelius shows us, prior to this time he was not ready to hear it. If the Spirit had not inspired the Apostles to change regarding the gentiles coming into the church on an equal basis, Christianity would have likely been no more than a sect of Judaism, and perhaps dissappeared. But thanks be to God that the Apostles were guided into all truth.

If we are to understand Jesus' promise to the Apostles to be of equal application to us, then why do we not all agree? If we think we have preachers and teachers inspired as the Apostles were we would have no sure guide, but hundreds and thousands of opinions claiming authority. We have the scriptures, that is enough.

I have nothing to say regarding how the cannon of scripture was put together. I am comfortable that we have all we need, and doubt that we, many centuries after those near the time of the apostles, can do a better job.. We have gifted teachers and expositors that are very helpful but we need to be like the Bereans commended in the Book of Acts and search the scriptures ourselves.

Post Reply

Return to “General Questions”