We continue to look at scholars and their point of view with the blog article linked above. The title of the post is:
The Bible is not Alone
In that post, Dr. James McGrath has made some very dangerous statements. through the years we have already shown him to be a false teacher. One that ha sno respect for the Bible as God’s word and doubts that the Bible actually contains God’s word. He continues to prove us correct.
I was referring to the conundrum for those who speak of the Bible as their ultimate authority,
For those who are not sure what the word conundrum means, we post the definition below:
a problem that is difficult to deal with (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/conundrum)
Having the Bible as a person’s ultimate authority is not a problem nor is it difficult to deal with. people need guidance on how to live their lives and the Bible does not encourage contributing to the criminal statistics. It is only a difficult problem for those who reject the Bible as God’s word. The Bible does address all aspects of society and there is no other book that can do that with any authority. Only God’s word has it and those who reject the Bible as an ultimate authority do so on the basis that they do not want to humble themselves and accept God’s word as his word. They want to live life their way, not God’s.
That got us on to the idea of sola scriptura, and so I emphasized that the Bible isn’t alone, either
Actually, despite his point of view, the Bible is alone. It is the only book authored by a divine being; it is the all-time best seller, not just among holy books but all books, it provides superior standards to live by which are copied by basically every false religion out there in the modern and also the ancient world. Also, the Bible has divine help available to help all who do not understand its content. No other book has this aid.
This is true in many senses. One is the fact that the Bible is connected to the church that assembled its contents.
The church did not assemble the Bible’s content. That content was already ready circulating in individual formats long before the Council of Nicaea. The Hebrews already had the OT put together, which means that the church had nothing to do with the contents of the first testament. Then it was the Holy Spirit who brought the contents to the biblical writers.
The contents were not the wild imaginations of goat herders, elites, scribes etc., looking to control a group of people. All the early church did was take the holy, inspired words of God and put them together in one volume. They did not alter the texts, there was no conspiracy, there was no war between orthodoxy and ancient liberalism. The church was used by God to make sure that false teaching did not enter the volume.
That is the key. God made sure we knew what was right and what was wrong when he had the early church assemble the pre-existing biblical content.
Another is the fact that the Bible has no meaning without a reader, and readers do not merely obtain meaning transmitted precisely to them from the Bible’s pages, but bring with them baggage and lenses that affect what they understand
This is just painting the situation with a very broad brush. While some people bring baggage to their reading of the Bible, not everyone does. Preachers are not to do so and Jesus said that we do not use baggage and lenses when we read the Bible. We are to follow the HS to the truth. Dr. McGrath is mistaken when he says that the Bible has no meaning without a reader. It always has meaning even if no one reads its pages. It always contains the truth even if no one dusts it off and turns a few pages to see what is inside.
The meaning is there waiting to be read. He is also wrong when he says that people do not get the clear meaning of the biblical content merely by reading it. Of course they do. Why would God have written it in the first place if the reader could not understand the basics of its content? Why make the good news a difficult mystery to solve, when God declares that he desires that all men be saved? He would be undermining his own desires if he did that.
While some parts of the Bible are hard to understand, they are not impossible to grasp with a little correct biblical teaching done by true, honest bible teachers.
the Bible makes reference to texts and information outside its pages.
Dr. McGrath makes more errors with this statement as he uses the following as his support points:
Jude quoting 1 Enoch. Jannes and Jambres. The Book of Jashar.
He completely misunderstands the use of those incidents. Jannes and Jambres were Egyptian magicians used by the Pharaoh to try to thwart Moses and Aaron. They were not used by the Bible as a reference, or anything else. You can do a little read up on them at the following links:
Jude did not quote 1 Enoch. Yes, the same words may be found in 1 Enoch as is found in Jude, but Jude did not quote from that book It is said that 1 Enoch was written about 160 BC but that us debateable and we would have to find out when the earliest extant manuscript is dated to double-check but if you read this link, you will find that the book wasn’t rediscovered until the 17th century AD.
A copy was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, but that copy may not date till the first century AD. There is plenty of time to change the content of 1 Enoch to read like Jude. But that is a minor point. Here is what Jude wrote
14 It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with [p]many thousands of His holy ones, 15 to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” 16 These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; [q]they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.
Notice he is talking about the real Enoch and what he said when he was still alive. Jude was not quoting some book. There is also no evidence that Jude actually quoted from 1 Enoch. Having the same words and the same quotes does not mean he quoted or copied. We could g round and round on this topic but it is false to assume that Jude quoted as the HS would have led him to the actual words of the real Enoch.
Finally, the book of Jasser. When you read the passages containing the title of that work, it reads like any other book mentioned in the Kings, Chronicles and other OT books. The biblical author is not quoting or referencing those books but is clearly stating that if you want more details go read those books. The Bible is not going to be providing more details on those situations already recorded in its pages.
The acts of the different kings are the same. If you want the details on the 10, 20 or 30 years of reign of each king, God is saying go to a history book and read them. His word has more important topics to deal with.
I could add to this (even though it didn’t come up in the Sunday school discussion on that occasion) the fact that the Bible is not intelligible to modern readers without outside individuals and resources.
This is just not so. God does not need the help of blind, deceived, fallible, mortal man to illuminate what he is saying. Those words of Dr. McGrath are saying that human works are superior to the Bible and know more than the Bible does. Then while we are to study to show ourselves approved unto God, we do our study with the help and guidance of the HS. Not just any book will do. We still have to be careful about true and false teaching.
Also, just because a book is written by someone claiming to be a Christian does not make their insight automatically correct. Not every book on the Bible written by a Christian is good and not all are bad. Discernment is part of the learning process.
Languages change over time, impacting the intelligibility of translations. Those who read the Bible in the original languages nowadays are never native speakers of ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek. And so the Bible is not self-explanatory even on the linguistic level, to say nothing of text critical issues and cultural differences.
Does not matter. This is just an excuse to ignore what the Bible teaches when it says things people like Dr. McGrath do not like. True believers have the HS guiding them to the truth but only if they are willing to follow the HS to the truth.
The Bible is never alone. Scriptura non sola. And that is just as well, because in a manner comparable to what is in the graph above, the Bible’s perspicuity has declined with time
For those who do not know what the word perspicuity means, here is the definition:
clearness or lucidity, ( http://www.dictionary.com/browse/perspicuity)
Again, Dr.McGrath makes a grave error as he ignores the passage that tells us that God and Jesus remain the same. Their views do not change. That fact helps keep the Bible clear and lucid in perpetuity. The Bible’s clarity and lucidity have not declined with time or due to the fact that no one is a native speaker of the ancient biblical languages.
It isn’t the Bible’s fault that people do not understand it very clearly. The reason people do not understand the Bible is that they do not believe God or his word. The spirit of truth does not work with unbelievers. Thus they will not get to the truth but end up writing distorted, misleading posts like the one we linked to in the beginning of this post.
The Bible is very clear and its message has not changed from the day God had different men pen his words for everyone to read.