Dear Brother in Christ:
In the March issue of Food for the Flock, you stated that Divine Inspiration pertains only to the Holy Scriptures as they were written in their original languages, and not to the different translations. In the July issue in your remarks on Essential Rudiments, you differentiated between Revelation and Inspiration. Revelation, you stated, is the unfolding of the mind of God to man. Would that not have reference to the original Scriptures ? Inspiration, you said, is the preservation of this Divine Revelation for others. Would that not apply to the Bible as we have it now ? We all recognize the value of the King James Version. Would it not have the effect of undermining the faith of young Christians if we take away the thought of Inspiration from our English Bible as we have it ?
Perhaps a few papers on how our Bible has come to us, and how it has been preserved for us, might be helpful, and make us appreciate the goodness of God in giving us His Word in our own tongue.
With kindest regards,
Your brother by grace,
Dear Brother C,
We do appreciate your kind letter. Others also have been received this month, but I feel that the subject you have raised is of such vital importance that a reply to yours should be made immediately. May the Lord guide us, and yet restrain us in this friendly exchange of thought in regard to the great doctrine of Inspiration.
The statements you refer to in Food for the Flock, are bas-icly true, and would be conceded as such by all sound spiritual scholars, but these statements must never be used to deprive us of our precious English Bible. Thank God for His Word in the language in which we were born. We love and revere it, for as has been already said in The Forum, most of us were led to Christ through it, and have been taught those things which are surely believed among us by its sacred pages.
The will of God has come to us through four different avenues: first, revelation; second, inspiration; third, translation; and fourth, interpretation. Let us briefly, and in the fear of God, consider these:
REVELATION: How the apostle Paul delights to refer to this important fact, “For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by revelation of Jesus Christ,” (Gal. 1:12). “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you,” (1 Cor. 11:23). These two references are sufficient to prove that Divine Revelation is the direct communication of God’s will by Himself, without any instrument, to His chosen servants. Paul’s statement makes clear that the gospel did not come to him through men, the earlier apostles, nor was it the outgrowth of his education in human schools; it came directly from the Lord.
INSPIRATION: How we praise God that in His mercy He has preserved for us that which He revealed to Paul and others. In His wisdom the Lord has done this in writings, in a book. Of the writings of the holy men who received direct revelations we read, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (by the breath of God),” (2 Tim. 3:16). Consequently, the writings of these divinely chosen human authors of the Bible contain within them the imparted life of God. These writings were perfect, exactly what God wanted, in them there is no deficiency nor redundancy.
TRANSLATION: If it were not for the splendid work of translation very few would be able to read the Word of God. We owe a perpetual debt of gratitude to the men who studied the original languages, and perused the ancient manuscripts, and translated the Bible. The problem that you suggest is, since the original manuscripts were uniquely inspired of God, can we rely upon a translation as being the Word of God. The apostles certainly did. The copy of the Old Testament used by them is known as the Septuagint. This translation was made from the Hebrew to the Greek during the second century before Christ. From the Greek translation of the Old Testament there are some 350 quotations to be found in the Gospels, the Book of the Acts, and the Epistles, and all alike are mentioned as the Word of God. Surely we too may rest upon this fact, that while different translations may provide different shades of meaning to the student, they all are the expression of God’s Word in our own language.
May the richest blessing of the Lord rest upon you.
Sincerely in Christ,