Doctrine of the Bible

Survey of Bible Doctrine
Doctrine of the Bible
Stephen E. LaFleur, ThD
Inspiration – How did God produce the Bible?
A. Definition – God’s superintending of human authors so
that, using their own individual personalities, they composed
and recorded without error in the words of the original
autographs His revelation to man.
B. Theories of Inspiration
1. Natural inspiration – there is no supernatural element.
The Bible was written by great men, who often erred.
2. Partial inspiration – the bible contains God’s word but
must be sorted out to find them. Other parts are purely
human and may be in error.
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3. Conceptual inspiration – the thoughts of scripture
are inspired but the actual words used are not.
There are factual and scientific errors.
4. Dictation theory of inspiration – All writers
passively recorded God’s words without any
participation of their own styles or personalities.
5. Verbal, plenary inspiration – all of the actual
words of the Bible are inspired and without
error. This fits the Bible’s description.
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C. Defense for verbal, plenary inspiration
1. The Bible claims it (II Timothy 3:16)
2. The Bible describes it
a. “God-breathed” writings (II Timothy 3:16)
b. “Spirit-enabled” writings (II Peter 1:20, 21)
c. “God-superintended” writings & writers
d. Scripture describes “God-Spirit-Man” interaction
1) Zech 7:12
2) Acts 4:24, 25
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3. God uses several methods of inspiration
A. Direct dictation (Deut. 9:10)
B. Superintending human research ( Luke 1:1-4)
C. Spoken revelation (Gal. 1:12)
D. Inspiration is “verbal” – the very words are
inspired (I Cor. 2:12,13, Gal. 3:26, Matt. 22:31)
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II. Inerrancy – How do we know the Bible is completely true?
A. Definition: “Scripture is without error. It tells the truth”
B. The problem
1. Inerrancy is an issue because some religious scholars
have repeatedly redefined such terms as “infallible”
to mean the Bible could still have factual historical errors.
2. When inerrancy is not held, one by one, certain Bible
doctrines (deity of Christ), historical facts (literal creation),
and other Biblical views are denied.
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C. The Bible claims inerrancy
1. Logical reasoning
a. The Bible is God’s Word (Matt. 4:4-11)
b. God is always truthful (Titus 1:2, Heb. 6:18)
c. Therefore the Bible is completely true (inerrancy)
2. The teachings of Christ
a. Matt 4:4
b. Matt 5:18
c. John 10:35
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D. Clarification of Inerrancy
1. Inerrancy still allows for approximation, free
quotations, figures of speech, language of
appearances (the sun set, etc.) and different
but not contradictory accounts of the same
2. As inerrantists, we acknowledge that there are
sometimes apparent contradictions but we affirm
that with further knowledge, the seeming
discrepancy would disappear. This is continually
the case as archaeology repeatedly confirms
Bible statements.
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III. Illumination – How does the Scripture change lives?
A. Definition – the ministry of the Holy Spirit helping the
believer to understand and apply the truths of the Bible
B. Description
1. Illumination is the work of the Spirit (John 16:12-15)
2. Illumination is the Holy Spirit’s work in believers and
not in some mystical function of the words of the
scripture. (I Cor. 2:12-15, Eph. 1:18)
3. The Holy Spirit will use our study and meditation to
help us understand AND to apply to our lives.
4. The reader’s accuracy will affect the Spirit’s illumination.
5. The spirit uses those with gifts of teaching/exhortation for
aid in illumination.
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IV. Canonicity – How do we know the right books are there?
A. Definition – the collection of 66 books were properly
recognized by the early church as the complete authoritative
scriptures not to be added to or to be subtracted from.
B. Tests of Canonicity
1. Is it authoritative (thus saith the Lord) – OT must
have authority from a spiritual leader of Israel, NT
must have authority from original apostle.
2. Is it prophetic (II Peter 1:20)?
3. Is it authentic (consistent with other revelation)?
4. Is it dynamic (life-changing)?
5. Was it accepted and used by the first believers?
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C. Formation of the Canon
1. How the OT books were determined
a. The NT refers to the OT as “scripture” (Matt. 21:42)
b. The Council of Jamnia (AD 90) recognized 39 books
c. Josephus (AD 95) recognized 39 books.
2. How the NT books were determined
a. The apostles claimed authority for their writings
b. Their writings were equated with OT scriptures
c. The Council of Athenasius (AD367) and Council of
Carthage (AD 397) recognized 27 books as inspired
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D. The Apocrypha were initially regarded as Scripture
1. The Apocrypha was initially quoted as authoritative
in scriptures but was “disallowed” in that they were
only found in the Greek Septuagint text and not in
the Hebrew or Aramaic texts.
2. The 1611 KJV included the Apocrypha but was later
deleted for the reasons stated above. Since then,
copies in Hebrew and Aramaic have been found
which give credence to reconsideration or at the
least, time in study.
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3. In contrast, however, Jesus mentions in
Matthew 23:35 that the close of the OT
historical scripture was the death of Zechariah
in 400 BC. This excludes any books written
after Malachi and before the NT.
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There is just one way to fully understand the Bible and to gain
all there is from it . . .
“Study to shew thyself approved unto
God, a workman that needeth not to be
ashamed, rightly dividing the word of
truth. “
II Timothy 2:15
Doctrine of the Bible