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In what sense, if at all, can the Bible be said to be the inspired word of God?

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Introduction

Katie Barfoot 04/05/2007 In what sense, if at all, can the Bible be said to be the inspired word of God? The Bible is the work of various authors, who lived in different continents and wrote in different eras. Furthermore, much of the text does not claim to have been 'dictated' by God and is not always God speaking to people. In parts it consists of people speaking to God, as in the Psalms, and people speaking to people, as in the New Testament letters written by Paul. In light of this, some maintain that it is not possible to treat the Bible as a book of divine oracles, delivered once by God and recorded by its authors through divine inspiration, since biblical authors were products of their time and subsequently their understanding of divine truth was culturally conditioned. Nevertheless, fundamentalist Christians hold that that the Bible is the revealed word of God. Indeed, one of Jesus' closest friends, Peter, wrote, 1"Above all, you must understand that no prophesy in Scripture ever came from the prophets themselves or because they wanted to prophesy. It was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God." In 2 Timothy 3:16, the apostle Paul reminded Timothy that "all scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives." ...read more.

Middle

People have a natural tendency to read into the scriptures their own prejudices and maintain that they are biblically justified. Furthermore, it is important that we realise that the understanding expressed in some parts of the Bible is based on a mature experience of life and is subsequently likely to be fully appreciated solely by mature persons. Amongst others, Thomas Aquinas holds that Christians partially rely on Revealed Theology for guidance since it is impossible to discover certain truths, such as the Incarnation and the Resurrection, through human reason. In response to Hegel's claim that Christianity has been adopted to explain the existence of the universe, Kierkegaard takes a similar stance, maintaining that the Christian message could not have been constructed by man. Christians assert that divine proclamations were firstly revealed through the prophets, and then through Christ and the Apostles. Such teachings are allegedly authoritatively recorded in the Bible. In light of this, those that adhere to the 'Propositional' view of revelation believe that the Bible reveals truths about God and is thus the inspired word of God. Nevertheless, there is much disagreement between Protestants and Catholics as to whether the Bible is the sole source of divine revelation, for the Catholic Church also emphasises the importance of tradition. ...read more.

Conclusion

Those who adhere to this view hold that the Scriptures are not timeless words from God, but rather written by authors of who are affected by their culture and are products of their time. Emphasis is placed on the Bible's basic message being the outcome of experience. 5Gabriel Moran claims that the Bible becomes a source of revelation from God through personal relationship with Jesus. The Bible thus becomes the word of God to the believer. It is with this belief that I relate most fully, since the atheist may read the Scriptures but will not necessarily become a Christian as a result. A genuine desire for closeness to God is needed for God to guide a believer reading the Bible. Issues of exegesis are overcome since interpretation is undertaken with the help of divine intervention. Furthermore, if the meaning of passages remains unclear, then it would seem that they are of little importance or God would have clearly revealed their meaning. We certainly cannot reject the teaching in 2 Timothy that "all scripture is the inspired word of God." As for more liberal approaches, it is necessary to recognise that not scripture should be viewed literally, but God will guide the believer as to how texts should be addressed. Word count: 1336 1 The Bible, 2 Peter 1:20-21 2 3 John Locke, A Second Vindication of Reasonableness of Christianity (1768). 4 Author of The Groundwork of Philosophy of Religion. 5 Author of Theology of Revelation 1 ...read more.

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