See the phrase, ‘in the Holy Spirit’? This passage is one of many in the Bible that give us the doctrine of the inspiration of the Scriptures.
The Bible: An Inspired Book
Inspired how? Like Tolstoy? Shakespeare? Margaret Wise Brown?
The Bible is inspired in the sense that it is the word of God given through human agents.
Here’s how that doctrine is formulated:
The Bible is God’s written communication to man. We believe that the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit and written without error in the original manuscripts. It was written by men who were “carried along by the Holy Spirit”. As such, it is completely and fully trustworthy.
The teaching of the apostles about the Scriptures:
The breath of God.
2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is God-breathed…
Carried along by the Spirit.
2 Peter 1:20-21 – No prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation…
References to the writers:
Mark 12:36 – David, in the Spirit said…
Acts 1:16a – Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David…
The writer’s experience in their own words:
2 Samuel 23:1-2 – Now these are the last words of David . . . “The Spirit of the LORD speaks by me; his word is on my tongue.”
Jeremiah 1:9 – Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.”
Galatians 1:11-12 – For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
The Scriptures contain the phrase “Thus says the Lord” 415 times.
And some variation of the idea “God said” 2700 times.
God’s word came to me in dreams, visions, audible words, inspired writing.
“God causes His message to enter into a man’s mind, by psychological process that are in part opaque to us, so that the man may then faithfully relay the message to others. . . . All Scripture is a product of his creative power, and so is an authentic disclosure of “His” mind and presentation of his message ” – J.I. Packer, The Adequacy of Human Language
‘In the Spirit’ When Jesus spoke like this, his audience understood and accepted it.
We aren’t living in 1st century Israel. We are living in the pluralistic world of the 21st century.
Is the Bible inspired by God? Does this contain the very thoughts of God?
That’s a big question.
Does the Bible bear the marks of divine inspiration?
Let’s consider the uniqueness of the Bible.
Shepherds, kings, scholars, fishermen, prophets, a military general, a royal food taster, a tax collector, a physician and a priest. Written in palaces, prisons, places of exile. Writing history, poetry, philosophy, biography, ethics, romance, prophetic utterances.
Fascinating histories of Genesis, Judges, Kings Chronicles.
Deeply moving biographies of Ruth and Esther.
The wit and wisdom of Solomon’s proverbs,
The fiery passion of his Love Songs.
The existential autobiography of Ecclesiastes.
The universally relatable treatment of the problem of evil in Job.
The full range of human emotion expressed in prayer in the Psalms.
1,000,000 citations in other writings. (all but 11 verses reproducible)
Within a century of original writings. Two complete sources within 250 years.
Unlike any writing in antiquity.
Homer: 2,200 years after written.
Roman emperors sought to stamp out Christianity.
Philosophical naturalism of the 1800s sought to undermine the Scriptures.
Yet it remains the most published book in history. Portions translated in 3,589 languages.
Unique Historical Accuracy
One hundred years ago, scholars, looking at the data available to them, saw that much of the history in the Bible was unique to the Bible. Kings, cities and nations in the Bible were not found anywhere else.
One hundred years of archaeological discoveries have confirmed time and again the reliability of the Bible’s history.
For example: King David – unmentioned in any non-Hebrew sources and considered a legendary figure.
A Canaanite artifact was discovered in 1993 dating to the 9th Century B.C. Known as the Tel Dan Stele, it is a piece of a wall with historical inscriptions referring to events involving Jehoram, son of Ahab and king of the house of David.
In the last century, archaeologists have found corroboration of Bible history in Assyrian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Moabite, Canaanite remains. All of these are confirmations of the reliable history of the Bible.
Unique Prophetic Accuracy
The Bible’s record of the past is reliable.
What is even more remarkable than that is the Bible’s record of the future.
Unique to the Christian Scriptures is a large body of prophetic writings which predict future events. We’ve covered in the past the large number of prophecies which came together in the life of Jesus.
One of the most incredible prophecies in the Old Testament is a message repeated on multiple occasions by multiple prophets.
The gist of it is this: Israel will be defeated by enemies and scattered in an act of judgment by God. But someday God in his mercy will regather his people to the land of their fathers.
The scattering happened in 70AD when a Roman army completely destroyed Jerusalem. The people of Israel were scattered for nearly 2,000 years.
On May 14, 1948, a document was signed which is now known as the Israeli Declaration of Independence. On that day something miraculous occurred. The people of Israel once again had a nation state on their historical land.
The fledgling state was immediately invaded by 5 Arab armies. With little support from the outside world, the holocaust survivors who had gathered in Israel defeated the 5 armies.
The purpose of the Bible is one unified story line, revealing Jesus the Christ.
“the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed.’
It all leads to Jesus and it all leads to an unprecedented message of grace.
Not a ladder to heaven, but the story of a God who came down to us. Grace.
The Bible has extraordinary power. To explain human experience.
To transform human experience.
To transform societies.
The Bible is extraordinarily unique and is exactly what we would expect from a book authored by God.
“The doctrine of plenary inspiration holds that the original documents of the Bible were written by men, who, though permitted to exercise of their own personalities and literary talents, yet wrote under the control and guidance of the Spirit of God, the result being in every word of the original documents a perfect and errorless recording of the exact message which God desired to give man.” -B.B. Warfield, The Inspirate and Authority of the Bible
“The bible must be the invention of either good men or angels, bad men or devils, or of God.” -Charles Wesley
God is there and he is not silent.
Beware the Scribes
Now back to the temple square. Jesus stands in the temple quoting Psalm 110. A messianic text, anticipating the Lordship of the coming king.
God is here and he is not silent.
It was an extraordinary moment.
Why is he called Son of David?
“Son of David” was common terminology beginning a century before Jesus.
The Scribes were correct in understanding that he will come from line of David.
They were ignorant in not seeing that he will reign as Lord.
He will not come to be a servant to the teachings and interests of the Scribes. He will come to receive their service as their Lord.
He is talking about himself.
The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
Psalm 110:1 (ESV)
This chapter is the most frequently cited Old Testament text in the NT. 33x.
Jesus was presenting himself as LORD.
The one whom David would have seen and fallen in worship.
The Scribes were silent.
The people listened with delight.
The word is Hedeos, from the root meaning sweet. Hedonism.
Isn’t that your experience when you read the words of Jesus? Isn’t that your experience when you read about his ways with people? His compassion for the sick, his tenderness for the outcast, his wisdom and boldness with authorities?
They should have taken delight.
Instead they were filled with rage.
That was just the beginning.
After silencing the Sanhedrin who came to investigate Jesus and tell the world what they thought about him. Jesus began to tell the world what he thought about them.
Matthew 23 contains a much longer version of this event. 7 Judgments pronounced against the Scribes and Pharisees.
Seats in synagogues – the seats along the edge and the front which faced the congregation seated on the floor in the middle, positioned to address the congregation
Greetings – when they walked through, the people were expected to rise before them.
Devoured widows houses, Scribes did not receive a salary, were financially supported by donors and patrons.
Josephus tells of a “Jewish scoundrel exiled to Rome who affected the ways of a scribe and succeeded in persuading a high standing woman named Fulvia to make substantial gifts to the temple in Jerusalem” and embezzled the money. The case became public knowledge and outraged the city.
Like the television preachers who promise health and blessing to vulnerable audiences, especially the elderly.
It’s ugliness is seen in the most pronounced light when it is a widow who has no income that is taken advantage of – her whole house “her whole livelihood” is devoured.
Prayers for a pretense.
Everything they do is to be seen by men.
They had the written Word of God but did not recognize the living Word of God.
39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
“It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true Word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers, will bring us to Him.” – C.S. Lewis
They will receive a greater condemnation.
In what sense is their judgment greater?
Because those who presume to teach others will receive stricter judgment.
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (meizon, mega)
Because they know better.
47 And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
Paul an example of someone who resisted Christianity but out of ignorance.
though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief,
1 Timothy 1:13
Beware the Scribes and leaders like them. They seek to manipulate people, religion and even God himself for their personal gain.
Let me share with you a parable from Charles Spurgeon:
The Gardener’s Carrot
“Once upon a time there was a king who ruled over everything in a land. One day there was a gardener who grew an enormous carrot. He took it to his king and said, “My lord, this is the greatest carrot I’ve ever grown or ever will grow; therefore, I want to present it to you as a token of my love and respect for you.” The king was touched and discerned the man’s heart, so as he turned to go, the king said, “Wait! You are clearly a good steward of the earth. I want to give a plot of land to you freely as a gift, so you can garden it all.” The gardener was amazed and delighted and went home rejoicing.
But there was a nobleman at the king’s court who overheard all this, and he said, “My! If that is what you get for a carrot, what if you gave the king something better?” The next day the nobleman came before the king, and he was leading a handsome black stallion. He bowed low and said, “My lord, I breed horses, and this is the greatest horse I’ve ever bred or ever will; therefore, I want to present it to you as a token of my love and respect for you.” But the king discerned his heart and said, “Thank you,” and took the horse and simply dismissed him.
The nobleman was perplexed, so the king said, “Let me explain. That gardener was giving me the carrot, but you were giving yourself the horse.”
Tom Brown is the planting pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Wichita. Tom and his wife, Mandy, have worked together in ministry for 18 years and have four children. More about Pastor Tom Brown