"To testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24
**PUBLISHED AS A MISSION PROJECT OF PILGRIMS HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH**
THE MEANING AND MEN OF INSPIRATION
By Wayne Camp
Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Peter 1:16-21 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 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.
TEXT: 2 Samuel 23:1-2 Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, 2 The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.
I have made the statement in this paper that most, if not all the quotes from the Old Testament found in the New Testament are from the Septuagint. With some claiming the Septuagint to be a spurious version of the Old Testament which Christians should denounce, I have done some research on the claim that I have made that Jesus and the Apostles looked upon the Septuagint as the Word of God. Recently, in that research, I found something in T. P. Simmons book, Systematic Theology, I thought you would be interested in knowing. He refers to a writer named Horne, and says that, according to Horne, in the New Testament there are "about two hundred and sixty-three direct quotations from the Old Testament, and of these, eighty-eight are verbal quotations from the Septuagint; sixty-four are borrowed from it; thirty-seven have the same meaning, but different words; sixteen agree more nearly with the Hebrew; and twenty differ from both the Hebrew and the Septuagint" (P. 43).
As you can see, only 16 of the 263 references were probably taken from the Hebrew, while 189 of them came from the Septuagint. As I said before, there are many today who condemn the Septuagint as a spurious version but it was freely considered the word of God by both the Apostles and our Lord Jesus Christ. Of the Septuagint, the translators of the KJV 1611 wrote, "The translation of the Seventy dissenteth from the Originall in many places, neither doeth it come neere it, for perspicuitie, gravitie, majestie; yet which of the Apostles did condemne it? Condemne it? Nay, they used it, (as is apparent, and as St. Hierome and most learned men doe confesse) which they would not have done, nor by their example of using it, so grace and commend it to the Church, if it had been unworthy the appellation and name of the word of God." The work of the Seventy referred to by the KJV translators is the Septuagint, the work of Seventy men who translated it from the Hebrew into the Greek.
So, while I sometimes show you some weaknesses in the KJV, never accuse me of demeaning it as not being the Word of God. Or, if I had a copy of the Septuagint, I would declare to you that it is the Word of God which was used by Jesus and the apostles. There may be other English translations about which I could say the same; they are the word of God. I do not say this lightly. I do not say it carelessly. I do not say it indifferently. I say it with all seriousness. I say it with utmost gravity. Rather than demeaning the word of God I am commending it to you without restricting you to one single version, the 1769 revision of the KJV, which I happen to prefer above all others.
My purpose in this message is to consider the meaning and the men of inspiration. What do we mean when we say the Bible is the inspired word of God? More importantly, what do the writers of the Bible mean when they claim the Scriptures are inspired? When it gets right down to the nitty-gritty of the matter, it matters no what men think of inspiration. Nor does it matter what men mean when they claim something is inspired. We are Bible Baptists. I do not mean we belong to that group who have taken that name for themselves. I mean that we hold the Bible to be our only rule of faith and practice. We believe the Bible is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction, that it is truth without a mixture of error, that it is the only center for doctrinal agreement, and that it is the supreme authority by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried.
If you cannot give me a "thus saith the word of the Lord," for it, please dont try to force it on me as a test of doctrinal soundness. If you cannot give me a Scripture that sets it forth, dont declare any heretics who do not believe it.
Let us now study the meaning and the men of inspiration.
THE MEANING OF INSPIRATION AS SEEN IN GOD'S WONDERFUL WORD
Inspiration means that the original manuscripts were literally God breathed. 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: The Greek word is THEORNEUSTOS which literally means "breathed of God." This cannot be said of any other book. It cannot be said of any translation of the Scriptures as far as the translation and translating itself is concerned. This is a characteristic that belongs uniquely to the original manuscriptsGod breathed!
Inspiration means that the men who wrote the original manuscripts were literally born along by God as they did it. 2 Peter 1:21 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. There are two things in this verse that I would call to your attention. Note that the Scriptures were not the product of the will of man. Some worldly monarch did not decide the world needed something it could call the word of God and then get a group of scholars together and have them to write this wonderful book we call the word of God. It is no more a product of the will of man than is the new birth (Jn. 1:13).
The second thing that I would call to your attention and ask you to consider is in contrast with the first. Not only may it be said that the prophecy of the Scripture is not the product of the will of man, but it may and should be affirmed that it is the product of the Holy Spirit of God. Those Holy men of God who wrote it did so as they were born along by the Holy Spirit. I venture to say that they were as irresistibly born along as is the sinner when God calls him to salvation, perhaps, more so, if that be possible. Those men were so controlled and what they wrote was so God breathed that no revisions, no corrections, and no re-writings were necessary.
Inspiration means that the men who wrote used words that were taught them by the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. They wrote things which their eye had not seen. They wrote things which their ears had never heard. They wrote things which had never entered into the heart of man. They wrote things which they had never studied. Some of them were ignorant and unlearned fishermen but what they wrote was in perfect harmony with the writing of Moses who was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt and with Paul who sat at the feet of the famous scholar, Gamaliel. This was only possible because they were born along in their writing by the Holy Spirit who breathed the words of those original manuscripts.
Inspiration means that the Holy Spirit spoke by those who wrote the original manuscripts. 2 Samuel 23:2 The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. This is how David, at the end of his life, describes his writing in the Bible. The Spirit of the Lord was actually speaking by him and the word of the Lord was in his tongue. He was not self-motivated in his writing. He was not just writing words that he thought others ought to hear. There is no way David would have written some of the things he did except the Lord had born him along and caused him to do it. It was God's words that flowed from his tongue and pen.
Inspiration means that the Holy Spirit spoke by the mouth of chosen men such as David. Acts 1:16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. When David wrote those words concerning Judas, words written many years before they were fulfilled, the Holy Spirit was actually using his mouth and his pen to set down his word. There is no way David could have known, that many years in advance, all the details concerning Judas that are found in Psalm 69, 109 and others. The only possible explanation is that he was born along by the Holy Ghost and what he wrote is that which God breathed. God used his mouth and his pen to write his word.
Consider also these words uttered by members of the church at Jerusalem. Acts 4:24-25 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: 25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? These words (v-25), and those which follow, are taken from the second Psalm. If one reads that Psalm, and then the accounts of the crucifixion, the only conclusion is that David was not speaking of his own will, but God was speaking by him. That is inspiration. That is Divine inspiration of those original words in those original manuscripts which were penned by David.
Inspiration means that the Holy Ghost spoke by the mouth of chosen men such as Isaiah. Acts 28:25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers. Paul tells us what inspiration means. It means that things that had never been written and things that had never been revealed as they were being revealed, and things which would not come to pass for many years down the road were written down by a Holy man of God as he was born along by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit so took over the pen and mouth of Isaiah that what he wrote was God speaking by him. When the Holy Ghost spoke by a man there was no need of revision, corrections, changes, or any such things as are necessary in translations. According to the translators of the AV 1611 they made many revisions and corrections before finally presenting their work to the king. That is translation, not inspiration. When God spoke infallibly by Isaiah, that was inspiration!
Jesus himself tells us the meaning of inspiration. Mark 12:35-36 And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David? 36 For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. This is found in Psalm 110. Jesus affirms that David was inspired by God. That what he wrote in Psalm 110 was what the Holy Ghost said by David. Peter refers to this same Psalm for authority in his message on Pentecost (Acts 2:24-25).
Paul also helps us to understand the meaning of the inspiration of the original manuscripts. He refers back to when David made an appeal to Israel in Psalm 95. Psalm 95:7-11 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. 10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: 11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest. Paul, in his epistle to the Hebrews ascribes these words to the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 3:7-11 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) These men, Paul, Peter, and the God-man all considered these words spoken and written by the Psalmist David to be the very words of God.
Inspiration means that when those prophets of God testified concerning the coming and suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ it was the Spirit who was in them and upon them that was doing the testifying. 1 Peter 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Every Old Testament prophet of God gave witness to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. They also preached that salvation was/is in Christ. The testified before hand the sufferings and glory of Christ. When they did so, it was not of their own will, nor of the will of some other man, but by the will of God who bore them along and breathed his words to them so that they infallibly recorded those words in those original manuscripts.
Inspiration means that the words which were read in the Old Testament were the words spoken by God. Matthew 22:31-32 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. This expression from the mouth of God is found a number of times in the Old Testament. It is God's words that are recorded there by the pen of those holy men whom he bore along.
Inspiration means that what the prophets wrote are the very oracles of God.. The word oracle comes from the Greek word LOGION (logion) a derivative of the word LOGON meaning "word." It is used in Scripture to denote a Divine utterance, something that is the very word of God. The contents of the Law of Moses were oracles of God. Acts 7:38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us. All the written utterances of God through the Old Testament prophets are the oracles of God. Romans 3:2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. The entire body of scriptural doctrine found in the word of God are the oracles of God. Hebrews 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. The utterances of any preacher or teacher is supposed to be so in line with the teachings of the word of God that it will be as the oracles of God. 1 Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God. This is why we must be able to back what we say with the word of God. We must never form our own opinions and then try to find Scripture which will seemingly support out position. We must arrive at out position because the word of God teaches the same.
Let me illustrate. A preacher once told me about a sermon he was preaching and a certain lost man was in the congregation holding his baby in his arms. The brother was preaching on the second coming of Christ. He told me, "I said, When Christ returns there will be two in the field, one will be taken and the other left. There will be men holding their babies in their arms, the babies will be taken and the men left. You should have seen the look on that lost mans face."
I asked, "Brother, where is that verse that says that babies will be raptured when Christ returns." He stammered and sputtered for a minute and said, "Well, dont you believe that."
I replied, "That is not the question. The question is, "Where is that verse of Scripture that says that babies will be raptured when Christ comes again."
He responded, "Well, I have always heard that."
Again I insisted, "That is not the question. I still want to know where that Scripture is found that says babies will be raptured out of lost fathers arms when Jesus returns and the saved are gathered to him."
The brother was speaking what he had always heard and what he believed, but he was not speaking "as the oracles of God" for there is no Scripture that says all the babies on earth, or any of the babies on earth will be raptured at the return of Christ.
I had a similar discussion with a young preacher who was advocating that all the babies on earth at the time of the flood were taken out before the flood and did not drown. I pointed out to him that the biblical record shows that only one person was taken out before the flood (Enoch was translated some time before the flood.), and only eight were preserved through the flood. There is absolutely no Scripture to support his contention. When he preached that and taught that he was not speaking "as the oracles of God" because the oracles of God, the utterances of God, the word of God never says anything to that effect. Believe it, if you must, but do not teach or preach it as truth unless you can support it from the word of God. Our message must line up with the word of God.
Inspiration means God testifying through his Spirit in his prophets. Nehemiah 9:30 Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands. It is apparent from this verse that only men who are indwelt by and controlled by the Spirit of God were inspired by God to write his word and set forth his oracles. God testified by his Spirit in his prophets. Not only were they born along by God's Spirit, they were indwelt by God's Spirit.
Inspiration means God speaking by the mouth of his prophets. Acts 3:21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
Inspiration means the word of the Lord came to the prophet. Sometimes they were first commanded to speak what the Lord would have and then they also recorded what God would have them. Ezekiel 13:1-3 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD; 3 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! Jeremiah 1:4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying. On other occasions they were told to write what the Lord gave them. Jeremiah 30:2 Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.
Matthew confirmed that inspiration means God speaking by using the mouth of a prophet such as he did by the mouth of Isaiah. Matthew 1:22-23 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
That is inspiration. That is what inspiration means and there is no biblical authority for claiming inspiration for anything but those original manuscripts and the holy men of God who spoke and wrote them.
It is evident that inspiration is much more than a group of highly educated Greek and Hebrew scholars getting together and translating something that is already written. And Greek scholar with a high degree of honesty could translate the New Testament even if he were unsaved and/or in an unscriptural church. Any Hebrew scholar with a high degree of honesty could translate the Old Testament even if he were unsaved and/or a member of an unscriptural church. In fact, there is no evidence the men who translated the Septuagint were saved men, considering the condition of the Jewish nation at the time it was translated. Yet, our Lord Jesus Christ declared it to be the Word of God, with all of its weaknesses. He and the apostles quoted it exactly over 80 times.
THE MEN WHOM GOD INSPIRED TO WRITE HIS WONDERFUL WORD
We will be further enlightened on the difference in inspiration and translation if we will consider the men whom God inspired. Though very different in many ways, they had some very vital things in common.
They were men of very varied occupationsshepherds, kings, a physician, a tax collector, a gatherer of sycamore fruit, fishermen, a former persecutor and Jewish zealotyet, they had some common characteristics.
They were men who wrote in many different places and under very varied circumstances. They wrote in tents, deserts, cities, palaces, dungeons, caves, shepherd fields, and who knows where else, yet, they had some common characteristics.
They were men of varied education. Moses was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt. Paul was educated at the feet of Gamaliel. Ezra was a ready scribe in the Hebrew tongue. Others were ignorant and unlearned fishermen. Yet, these men had some common characteristics which we will do well to consider.
The first characteristic in common among the men who wrote the original manuscripts is they were holy men of God. 2 Peter 1:21 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. There were not lost men. They were not pagans. They were not saved men in a false religion. They were holy men of God.
The second thing in common about these men is they were God's holy prophets. Luke 1:70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began. They were not prophets of Baal. They were not prophets who ate at Jezebels table. They were not worshippers of Dagon or another of the myriad of gods and goddesses made and worshipped by men. They were not false apostles and deceitful workers who transformed themselves as apostles of Christ. They were God's very own holy prophets.
They were God-chosen, God-called men, saved men. The men God used to write the Old Testament were God-chosen, God-called men of the nation of Israel. An example is Jeremiah. Jeremiah 1:4-5 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Jeremiah was not alone. Every writer of the Old Testament Scriptures could have had the same thing said of him by God. God set his electing love on him before he was ever conceived or formed in his mothers womb. God set him apart as a chosen vessel as he did Saul of Tarsus. God ordained him a prophet.
Consider also the case of Amos. Amos 7:14-17 Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: 15 And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. 16 Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac. 17 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land. Amos was not a prophet by profession. He was a herdsman and a gatherer of sycomore fruit. Had God left him alone that is how he would have spent his life. Amos was not a prophet because of parentage. He was not the son of a prophet who was simply following in old dads footsteps. Amos was not a prophet by choice. He was apparently in the field of his choice when he was following the herds or gathering sycomore fruit. But, God took him and God made him a prophet and sent him forth with God's message.
As with the men whom God used to write his words in the Old Testament, the men who wrote the New Testament were God-called and God-chosen men.
There is no doubt that they were all saved men. There is no doubt that they were all members of a New Testament Church. They were called to the work and did not hesitate to claim inspiration for what they wrote. Peter put himself and other New Testament writers on the same level as Old Testament prophets. 2 Peter 3:1-2 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: 2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour. 2 Peter 3:15-16 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
Paul did not hesitate to claim inspiration for himself. 1 Thessalonians 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
When Paul declared that all Scripture was given by inspiration of God he was writing what scholars say was the next to last book of the New Testament and he claimed that all those written before were God breathed. 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. And, there is no doubt that he was a God-called, God-chosen holy man.
John did not hesitate to claim revelation and inspiration for what he wrote in the Revelation, the last book of the New Testament. Revelation 1:4-5 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; 5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. Revelation 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
THE MEN WHOM GOD DID NOT INSPIRE TO WRITE HIS WONDERFUL WORD
If we are to fully appreciate this matter of God's inspiration of his wonderful word, we must also take a look at the men whom God did not use to write his word.
I can affirm without fear of contradiction or equivocation that God never used a lost man to write a single book of his inspired word. I can affirm with equal certainty that God never used a member of a false religion or an unscriptural church to write his word. I affirm emphatically, and without fear of successful negation, that every inspired writer of the word of God was a holy man of God and a man who, like David, hated every false way. Even when the nation of Israel was in a very backslidden state, God always preserved himself a remnant who did not bow their knees to Baal. Out of such a remnant he would call his men to rise up and carry his word to his wayward people. And, I venture to declare that every writer of the New Testament was a holy man of God and member of one of the Lords churches.
Though some of their words are found in the Bible, God did not inspire any of the magicians or wise men in Egypt to write his wonderful word. Though some of his words are found in the Bible, God did not call on the false prophet Balaam to write any of his word. Though some of their words are found in the Bible, God did not inspire the false prophets of Baal nor the false prophets who ate at Jezebels table to write any of his word. Though some of his words are found in the book of Jeremiah, God did not inspire the false prophet Hananiah to write any of his holy word. Though some of the words of Amaziah the priest of Bethel are found in the book of Amos, God did not inspire him to write a page of his wonderful word. Though some of the words of Satan are found in the Bible God never inspired one of his false apostles or deceitful workers to write a line of his magnified word. Though Hymenaeus and Philetus are named in Pauls second epistle to Timothy, God never inspired them to write a single line of his word. 2 Timothy 2:17-18 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. Though she is mentioned in the Bible and God's people are commanded to come out of her, God never went to the old harlot of Babylon or any of her daughters to find writers to inspire to write his blessed book.
God does sometimes use unsaved men, even exceptionally wicked men, or men in false religion, to accomplish his purpose, but he has never used such to write his wonderful, wonderful word. Why, on one occasion he even caused a donkey to deliver a message to the false prophet Balaam, but that donkey did not pen a single word of God's Holy book.
God used Pharoah to cause Israel to be willing to leave Egypt, but he never let such a person author his word. God used Nebuchadnezzar and others to chastise the nation of Israel but he never used such men as scribes in the writing of his blessed book. God even sent false prophets among the nation of Israel to prove them, but he never used them to write his book. God used the religious leaders and people of Rome and Israel to accomplish his purpose in the crucifixion of Christ but he never used such people to pen his precious word.
Only one kind of men would be inspired and born along by the Holy Spirit in the writing of God's Holy Bible. They were holy men of God, faithful in the nation of Israel or faithful in the New Testament Church, or both.
THE MEANING OF INSPIRATION CONSIDERED NEGATIVELY
Inspiration does not mean simply that God's providence worked it out that what these men wrote happened to be his word. God's providence is all-inclusive in its scope and certainly was not inactive in the writing of the Scripture. But, inspiration goes far beyond providential control.
Let me say again that what I am writing is not in any way an attack on the KJV. I recommend it; I preach from it; I declare it to be the word of God. But, it is a translation of the inspired word; not the original.
What does inspiration not mean. Inspiration does not mean that God merely gave men some ideas and let them develop them as they saw fit. If I believed in theistic evolution, I might also be able to believe that God's blessed book simply evolved out of God planting a few ideas in some mens heads and letting them develop them as they pleased. Let me remind you again that the Scriptures are not the product of the will of man but holy men of God were borne along by the Holy Spirit as they spoke and wrote.
Neither does inspiration mean that God found some brilliant and ready scribes in the Hebrew and Greek and caused them to write his word. Every one of the King James translators were scholars in Greek or Hebrew or both. They were the best that King James could muster from the Church of England "clergymen". That is not true of the men whom God employed and bore along by his Spirit in the giving of his Holy word.
David, one of God's Holy men, was but a shepherd from Israel when God began to use him. Amos was a herdsman and gatherer of sycamore fruit. Some of the New Testament writers were ignorant and unlearned men where world standards of education were concerned. Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. Yet, through the power of his Spirit, God was able to take such men and cause them to write his exact words, his holy, inerrant words down so that they needed nor correcting or revising.
Nor does inspiration mean that God gave men some words and if they wanted to use different words than he gave them they could. There is a fundamental difference in inspiration and translation that needs to be understood. When a man was born along by the Holy Spirit as were the writers of the original manuscripts he must use the words that are the Spirit-breathed words of God. When a man was born along by the Holy Spirit he was not free to reject the words which the Holy Spirit taught him and substitute the words mans wisdom might teach him. 1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
In translating, a translator who loves the celebration of Easter, or is under edict of a monarch to preserve certain holidays, might choose to substitute the word Easter for passover because the translator is not under the direct supervision of the Holy Spirit as were the writers of the original. Acts 12:4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. If you have the New King James Version the verse reads, Acts 12:4 So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover. If you have a New American Standard Version the verse reads, Acts 12:4 And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people. Here is a literal, word by word, translation from the Greek as found in the Englishmans Greek New Testament, Whom also having seized he put in prison, having delivered to four sets of four soldiers to guard him, purposing after the passover to bring out him to the people.
The Greek word that is crucial in this matter is PASCHA which is correctly translated Passover. It is from the Hebrew word PASACH which means Passover. It is found 29 times in 26 verses in the Greek text. Twenty eight times it is translated passover, as it should have been. One time, for a reason not explained by the translators, the word Easter is inserted.
In this same chapter the translators almost slipped in Christmas when they used the word child instead of servant as the context required. Acts 4:27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together. It is apparent that this verse has reference to Jesus when he was a man. The Greek word PAIS (pais), may be translated child when referring to a small boy. Jesus was 33 years old approximately when the event referred to in Acts 4:27 transpired; he was hardly a little boy any more. In this context the word should have been translated servant. It is so translated in verse 25 where it refers to David as God's servant. Exactly the same word is used in verse 25 as is used in verse 27. According to Thayer it should have been translated servant in Acts 3:13 and 3:26 where Son is used in the KJV instead. It is translated servant in these verses in the New King James Version and the New American Standard Version. It is translated child in Acts 4:30 but should have been translated servant in that verse also since Jesus was an adult when these miracles were worked in his name. The fondness of the Roman Catholics and the Church of England for the mother-child idea apparently influenced the translators to slip in this worship of the child rather than the servant, as it should read.
The translator who is a believer in the universal invisible church theory, or who is under a monarchs decree, might be influenced by his religious prejudice to substitute the word church rather than to translate the inspired word, ekklesia. In his instructions to the translators King James decreed, "The old ecclesiastical words to be kept, as the word church not to be translated congregation." It is apparent the King knew the translation would be assembly or congregation. But he ordered the translators to not translate and they obeyed man.
The inspired writers had no choice; they must use the word ekklesia, which translates "assembly" or "congregation." The translators, not being born along by the Holy Spirit as were the writers of the original, apparently felt compelled to obey King James and to protect their doctrine of the universal invisible church. They, therefore, refused to translate the word except where it referred to an assembly of citizens as in Acts 19:32, 39, & 41.
The translator who holds to the practice of sprinkling might be influenced by his prejudice to transliterate the word baptizo without defining or translating it so that his translation will not contradict his doctrine or the doctrine of his church. The inspired writer, on the other hand, was compelled by the Holy Spirit to use the word baptizo which means plunge, immerse, submerge. The inspired writer was not free to use the word baptizo, or rantizo, or even cheo, as he wished. He must use one and only one word which means immersion, and nothing less.
The translator might come to words in that which he is translating which he does not know how to translate; while an inspired writer never had to question whether he was using the correct word or not. The KJV translators wrote: "There be many words in the Scriptures, which be never found there but once, (having neither brother nor neighbour, as the Hebrewes speake) so that we cannot be holpen by conference of places. Againe, there be many rare names of certaine birds, beastes, and precious stones, &c. concerning which the Hebrewes themselves are so divided among themselves for judgement, that they may seeme to have defined this or that, rather because they would say something, the because they were sure of that which they said, as S. Hierome somewhere saith of the Septuagint. Now in such case, doth not a margine do well to admonish the Reader to seeke further, and not to conclude or dogmatize upon this or that . . ." In other words, the translators just did not know what to use sometimes; that would never be the case with one borne along by the Holy Spirit as were the writers of the original.
The inspired writer conferred not with flesh and blood about what he wrote, nor did it need correcting, changing, or revising. Translators, even the translators of the AV 1611 KJV, admit in their message to the readers that they did correct, change, and revise their translations many times after conferring with one another. They also wrote that there might be things in their translation that are "halting, or superfluous, or not so agreeable to the original" which may need to "be corrected, and the truth set in place." It is amazing that these translators of the Church of England would suspect that there might be things in their translation that were not agreeable to the original manuscripts while 385 years later there are some Baptists who are denying that possibility and claiming infallibility for the translation. What makes it even more incredible is the fact that these same Baptists usually, if not always, preach from a revision of that 1611 translation which they deny needs any revision.
Listen once again to the words of the translators of the AV 1611 KJV. They write in their message to the readers, "If any thing be halting, or superfluous, or not so agreeable to the originall, the same may be corrected, and the trueth set in place. Can you see that this is a disclaimer by the translators that they were infallible in their translation as some are claiming for them today. This is a repudiation by the translators of the claims made by some today that the KJV is without error in the translation. This is an encouragement by the translators for all readers of their work to study further and, when problems in their translation are found, to correct it and set forth the truth.
I have not written this to defame the King James Version. I preach from a revision of the AV 1611 every time I go in the pulpit and declare it to be the word of God. I was interested in a contrast the KJV translators made concerning translations and the original manuscripts. They spoke of how their king might make a speech that was very wonderful when he delivered it. A foreigner might be present who would translate that speech into another language such as French. It would still be the kings speech but it would loose some of its majesty in the translating. Likewise, they said that translations, even their own translation, could never come up to the original manuscripts, though they were still the word of God.
The KJV translators also used the temple as an example. Though it was rebuilt after being destroyed it never was quite as glorious as was the original. This is true as seen in the book of Ezra. When the foundation was laid and the Jews came together, the younger Jews lifted up their voices in joy and praise for the rebuilding. Among those at the meeting were some "ancient men," as Ezra calls them, who wept rather than rejoice. These "ancient men" had seen the original temple, Solomons temple. And, although only the foundation had been laid to rebuild, they could see that the rebuilt temple would never equal the original, so they wept.
I rejoice in the marvelous preservation of the Word of God. But, no translation can ever equal the glory of the original which was God-breathed and which holy men of God wrote and spoke as they were borne along by the Holy Spirit. While we rejoice in the marvelous preservation of the word in translations, we must never claim for them the majesty of the original.
Yet, being not one of the ancient men who saw and wrote the original, I rejoice with the younger that we do have some translations of Scripture that we may lift up and preach as the word of God. For, though they are translations, they are the word of God translated, and that I love and commend to you. But, I cannot join the ranks of those who place translations on an equal with the original. And, God forbid that I ever join the ranks of some who exalt the AV 1611 translation above the original and claim that it improves upon the Greek and Hebrew. Nothing can ever equal the perfection and glory of the original. That the KJV translators knew well. Read their message to their readers, if you dare.
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Last updated on Friday, March 04, 2011