The Gospel Coalition

On Sunday I finished an eight week sermon series on the doctrine of Scripture. In this last sermon I encouraged the church to have the same doctrine of Scripture that Jesus did. If he his our Lord and our Master---even if he were only a great teacher---surely we want his view of the Bible to be our view of the Bible.

After working through four main texts (John 10:35, Matthew 5:17-19; 12:38-42; 19:4-5) I provided a summary of Jesus' doctrine of Scripture.
Jesus held Scripture in the highest possible esteem. He knew his Bible intimately and loved it deeply. He often spoke with language of Scripture. He easily alluded to Scripture. And in his moments of greatest trial and weakness---like being tempted by the devil or being killed on a cross---he quoted Scripture.

His mission was to fulfill Scripture, and his teaching always upheld Scripture.

He never disrespected, never disregarded, never disagreed with a single text of Scripture.

He affirmed every bit of law, prophecy, narrative, and poetry. He shuddered to think of anyone anywhere violating, ignoring, or rejecting Scripture.

Jesus believed in the inspiration of Scripture, down  to the sentences, to the phrases, to the words, to the smallest letter, to the tiniest mark.

He accepted the chronology, the miracles, and the authorial ascriptions as giving the straightforward facts of history.

He believed in keeping the spirit of the law without ever minimizing the letter of the law. He affirmed the human authorship of Scripture while at the same time bearing witness to the ultimate divine authorship of the Scriptures.

He treated the Bible as a necessary word, a sufficient word, a clear word, and the final word.

It was never acceptable in his mind to contradict Scripture or stand above Scripture.

He believed the Bible was all true, all edifying, all important, and all about him. He believed absolutely that the Bible was from God and was absolutely free from error. What Scripture says God says, and what God said was recorded infallibly in Scripture.

Jesus submitted his will to the Scriptures, committed his brain to study the Scriptures, and humbled his heart to obey the Scriptures.

In summary, it is impossible to revere the Scriptures more deeply or affirm them more completely than Jesus did. The Lord Jesus, God's Son and our Savior, believed his Bible was the word of God down to the tiniest speck and that nothing in all those specks and in all those books in his Bible could ever be broken.

For the exegetical, theological, and logical work that leads to that conclusion, you'll have to check out the whole sermon.


Comments:

Heather E. Carrillo

July 13, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Great post, as always, Mr. DeYoung. I agree with the commenter who said those people who like to deny inerrency just like to ignore the parts they don't like. There are parts I don't like (I actually just finished Leviticus this morning) but I know God has them in there for a reason.
And it makes sense to me that Jesus wouldn't "hold Himself above the scriptures." I mean, I wouldn't word it in that way, because it's almost a non-statement. It's His own revelation of Himself, so, He wouldn't disagree with it.

Truth Unites... and Divides

July 13, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Jesus' Doctrine of Scripture

Here's a review of a book titled:

Inerrancy and Worldview

Excerpts:

"The primary reason I find Poythress’s volume helpful is his method for defending inerrancy. Although Poythress traverses the varied terrain of common objections to scriptural truth in order to bolster the claim that the Bible is without error, his chief goal throughout the book is to highlight how worldview ultimately determines how one approaches the biblical text. Accordingly, Poythress presents inerrancy as both an intellectual and spiritual matter.

Poythress observes that the difference between a biblical worldview and most other worldviews is that the Bible presents a personal God. “According to the Bible, God is the Creator and sustainer of the world, and God is personal. God’s personal character makes a difference” (21). Since God is personal, so are language, knowledge, and truth. Worldviews constructed on the assumption that the universe is impersonal will approach language, knowledge, and truth much differently than a biblical worldview.



This distinction between a personal universe and an impersonal universe provides the framework within which Poythress answers several objections typically leveled against the trustworthiness of the Bible. He examines challenges offered by modern science, historical criticism, and linguistics, noting throughout how a person’s commitment to an impersonal worldview—like materialism, for example—will preclude his acceptance of biblical teaching. Poythress also examines protests against biblical inerrancy posited by sociology, psychology, Marxism, and feminism, observing how each academic discipline or worldview can lead to significant biases in how one approaches and handles the biblical text.



In the latter half of the book, Poythress examines a few specific problem passages while providing reasonable explanations for these “alleged contradictions” in Scripture. He concludes the book with several chapters that consider in more depth the notion—mentioned earlier in the book—that objections to inerrancy are, at their root, spiritual. Intellectual objections to the Bible’s truth claims are expressions of inner rebellion against the Creator, not the chief cause of a person’s unbelief."

Wow. That last sentence packs a wallop. Worth repeating:

"Intellectual objections to the Bible’s truth claims are expressions of inner rebellion against the Creator, not the chief cause of a person’s unbelief."

"He who has ears to hear, let him hear." (Matthew 11:15)

R. Delaney

July 13, 2012 at 09:49 AM

James,

Taking a jab at Calvinism is a diversionary tactic on your part. Those who love the Lord Jesus Christ love Him with a love that is incorruptable. How do I know that I'm saved? I keep loving the Lord and walking with Him. How did your apostasy happen? You stopped believing, stopped walking with and following Christ. Doctrinal knowledge doesn't necessarily translate into being born again. I know some people who comprehend only very basic doctrine, but they are transformed sinners who live for Christ. Those who follow the Great Shepherd hear his voice and follow him. Like Peter, they say, "Lord, to whom else shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God"

You said:

"Christianity is a good thing overall when it provides a moral guide for society. It also helps people by providing a mechanism for coping with sorrow and disappointment."

In other words, you recognize it's inherent value and worth--primarily for others. Then you note that its' beliefs help people during difficult times (but of course, it's just a delusion, but hey, it comforts those poor weak-minded religious folks).

If Christianity is not true, you should scrap the whole thing. You're living with an internally inconsistent world view. You want to maintain Christian morality and cultural values, but you don't acknowledge the very truths that undergird them. If you have any intellectual integrity, stop playing these games. Embrace the conclusions your beliefs lead to and stop utilizing Christianity because you like the moral framework...

TBR Recommends… « The Blessed Rebellion

July 13, 2012 at 05:23 PM

[...] DeYoung posted this overview of his recent sermon series on the doctrine of Scripture, particularly, Jesus’ view of [...]

Austin Thompson

July 12, 2012 at 12:34 AM

Very interesting. I wrote a blog a few months back entitled, "What is Jesus view of Scripture?" Which covered how Jesus viewed the Old Testament and the new. This post here was a good read! P.s. here's my post http://thepresenceofgod.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/what-is-jesus-view-of-scripture/

Dan

July 12, 2012 at 12:20 PM

I point again to Allison's 'Historical Theology' as it impresses upon me that theologians of old were by no means blind to any of the issues discussed here, nor of the implications of potential errors in Scripture. Certainly, in the past few centuries, Scripture has come under fire largely due to the idea that man can apply scrutiny and criticism to the Bible in the same manner as with any human literature, or to parse from it which parts are of God and which parts are from man. This is doubtless a hot topic that will not be resolved in blog comments, but I applaud Kevin's taking of time and trouble to preach on a matter that is so basic and critical to the Christian faith. Much of the attacks on Christianity are directed at Scripture, and many of them come from within the visible church. A sound doctrine of Scripture is central to preserving unity.

Mike Stephan

July 12, 2012 at 11:30 AM

James,

These alleged differences have been given plausible explanations. If you reject those, that is your judgement call. If you chose to set your own sense of reason above everything else, then you make yourself your god. Simple as that and no amount of anyone here explaining that to you will make a difference. I think your reasoning is flawed just as I suspect you think mine is since I do believe, after examining the evidence, and declare, with a straight face, that the Scriptures are inerrant.

You are coming off as on of those "new" atheists who like to shout about there being no God and their angry about it and at Him. I am not saying that is your belief system but that is how you are portraying yourself, in my opinion.

R. Delaney

July 12, 2012 at 10:44 AM

James, you seem to really be onto something that Bible scholars have somehow incredibly missed over the past several hundred years.

In fact, how do we even know the Bible contains any truth whatsoever? With all those errors, why should I believe any of it? How is the Bible reliable at all?

I guess it's a book with some nice moral stories, but of course we need to read it with our modern sensibilities. Scripture should be shaped by our moral intuitions. Obviously, the truth lies within us, not in any text claiming to be God-breathed.*

*please note, pervasive sarcasm

Joey Elliott

July 12, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Kevin,

First time commenter, long time reader. Long story short, thanks for the post. It is very helpful. I have recently written a personal testimony to inerrancy (because no one can disagree with a personal testimony, right?), and it is very encouraging to see more robust exegetical, theological, and logical defenses of it to support my experience. I have been following your sermon series with great interest.

DRT,

Hello again! To those who don't know, DRT and I enjoy going back and forth at the Jesus Creed blog. I'm glad I found you on here again, because I remembered you said that Kevin would very respectfully respond to your points even among sharp disagreement. As someone who hopefully has done the same (though not with the same forum as Kevin, obviously), I hope my question to you at this juncture will be taken respectfully:

Are you not overstating your position as much if not way more than "TGC folks"? I mean seriously, you accuse them of deceiving and misleading their flocks. That is a bold claim, and unless you are among the flock sitting in the pew, I just don't see how you can possibly utter that without blatantly overstating your position and what is going on. I know the overstatement is what you have a problem with, but let's get some balance here. Kevin delivered a well-prepared, well-studied, slow and disciplined, Spirit-led sermon series on the doctrine of Scripture. Over multiple weeks. From what I can tell, he made great effort to not overstate anything, but to help his flock through the nourishment of the Word. I think you need more attention to your own points, and in their delivery, to make it clear that you are not overstating yourself.

Dan

July 12, 2012 at 09:27 AM

I appreciated Kevin's last short paragraph: "For the exegetical, theological, and logical work that leads to that conclusion, you’ll have to check out the whole sermon."

Indeed! If one were reviewing a book, he would first typically proceed sequentially through the entire body of work. I do learn from some of the objections or challenges, but they are less helpful apart from (other commenters and myself alike) first having heard Kevin's full exposition.

faithworks

July 12, 2012 at 07:48 PM

@ James Rednour,

Based on what you have been saying, sounds like christianity and the Word of God is a crutch for many to get by in life. Denying the reality of the Word of God is where truth lies, and you have found it.
So when Jesus says, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" Your response will be no! I do not believe. Better to create a god that fits your own moral appetites then to bow the knee to one that commands holiness. The cost to follow Christ is just too great. So in the end if God does judge us by the standard of the 10 Commandments and you are found guilty, without God's mercy and grace through faith in Christ alone, then what choice will God have but to give you what you want, life without Him. Then what Jesus said in Matthew 10:28 will be found to be true, resinating in the inner most parts. "And dot fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

DRT

July 12, 2012 at 06:50 PM

Thomas Larson,

You ask for elaboration on Jesus disagreeing with a lot of scripture. I feel the most obvious evidence of this is what his messages where once he fulfilled the prophecies of scripture. Did he then say that we have to go to the law and double down on it? Did he inspire Paul and the others to make sure that we circumcise everyone or that we never can eat meat sacrificed to idols? Did he say that mixed fabrics and shellfish are taboo forever?

No.

He changed it.

One changes things that one disagrees with.

But I do believe that he agreed that the law had its legitimate purpose and divine inspiration prior to his resurrection. I believe that too. But believing that it once held a legitimate purpose does not mean agreement in my book.

DRT

July 12, 2012 at 06:33 PM

Joey Elliott (and others),

I want to respond to the pushback that I am overstating the severity of the overstatements made by Kevin. So, I just watched the entire last sermon where Kevin goes through these claims and find that the overstatement is quite severe. I guess I can see why Kevin is not a scientist because he would not make a very good one.

He forms a hypothesis about the bible, in these cases inerrancy and a bunch of other claims about Jesus views of the bible and then he finds texts to quote which could possibly be interpreted in the way that would not refute his hypothesis and then he takes that as justification of his hypothesis, and then he extrapolates that finding to something even more general. This is wrong.

I will use the first example from the video. He starts by asking “What did jesus believe about the bible?” and conjectures “What he believed about the writings we should believe.” Good enough so far.

Then he goes into John 10.

In the John Pharisees say

a) “We are not going to stone you for a good deed but for blasphemy, because you, a man, are claiming to be God.”

So, Jesus is going to try and poke holes in their charges. So Jesus says

b) Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 10:35 If those people to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’ (and the scripture cannot be broken), 10:36 do you say about the one whom the Father set apart and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?

Kevin then rightly discusses how Jesus is not making some broad statement about his divinity here, but he is trying to “trip them up”. It seems obvious that, yes, Jesus is using their own laws to argue with them. He even referred to it as “your law”. So when Jesus says “and the scripture cannot be broken” he is reminding them that their rules of engagement are that the scripture cannot be broken.

The problem is that this says nothing about whether Jesus actually thinks that or not. That statement is not contradictory to Kevin’s view of what Jesus thinks, but it actually does not say that Jesus thinks it. All it says is that the Pharisees believe that and Jesus is trying to trip them up at their own game.

But, that’s not where Kevin goes with this. Instead, he generalizes this statement to say “Jesus believes that no word of scripture can be falsified”. “No statement can be found guilty of error” Then he again generalizes and says that the “if this is the word of god then scripture cannot be broken”.

Now there are some very significant problems with this view. First, it can easily be seen that he is arguing with Pharisees about their interpretation of the law and Kevin never even considers that it is irrelevant in this verse whether Jesus believes that or not. The argument rests on whether the Pharisees believe it, not Jesus. It is irrelevant whether Jesus believes it or not. So it certainly is not proof that Jesus believed it.

Next, we have to look at what the subject of the argument is. I have to point out that this conversation is occurring among Jews prior to Jesus rising from the dead. So necessarily the word scripture in this case refers to the old testament. Jesus even says it right then and there, he says “your law”.

And note that Jesus fulfilled the scriptures of the Old Testament and we are not subject to all of the laws in the OT. Of course we can argue, as I am sure that Kevin would, that we are still under some, but we are clearly not under all of them. So therefore, the sentence fragment coming from Jesus lips “(and the scripture cannot be broken)” absolutely cannot apply to our reading of the Old Testament in the same way it applied to the Jews at that time, even if you think that Jesus actually believed it.

And, to really drive this point home, it again is obvious to the point of ridiculousness that Jesus is talking about the Old Testament. I don’t care what else you think, he is not talking about the New Testament. When Kevin generalizes this to include the New Testament too he has gone so far beyond what is actually going on that it baffles me.

So you see, Kevin is not making any sort of proof, but he assumes it to be proof, and then he extrapolates his interpretation to include the New Testament.

This is simply irresponsible.

So am I doing the same thing in objecting to what he is doing so strongly? Am I also overstating when I am accusing him of overstating. Probably. But not by much.

James Rednour

July 12, 2012 at 06:10 PM

"I’m sure you have a lot of christian-ly knowledge, but it’s a new heart you need. Those who know Jesus don’t leave Him."

This is always the trump card that Calvinists tend to play as a last resort. If you fell away from the faith, you weren't really born again or you didn't have sufficient faith. I suppose I'm just not part of the elect. It's nothing more than a tautology. You can't disprove it because it's assumed to be true from the start. How do you know that YOU are saved? I thought I was for many years. My life reflected that belief. I never expected to leave the faith. Why don't you tell me how a person can know without a doubt that they are saved and will stay in that condition. If a believer believes that and their life reflects that belief and they later leave the faith, how did that happen? How do you know it won't happen to you?

"Why bother with where evangelical Christianity is heading? From your vantage point, who cares?"

Morbid curiosity, I suppose. Evangelical Christianity is an important force in the world particularly from both political and social perspectives. I prefer to stay informed. If TGC wants to wall themselves off from the rest of the internet or go to a moderated comment system then it can restrict comments to only those who are true believers. It would make for a more boring site but maybe it would make it more comfortable for you.

"And why would Christianity be a good thing if it’s not true?"

Christianity is a good thing overall when it provides a moral guide for society. It also helps people by providing a mechanism for coping with sorrow and disappointment. However, it is not good when it steps outside those areas and attempts to usurp scientific methodology or limit the rights of people who are different in some way (currently the prime example is sexual orientation).

Weekly Web Gems | Evan Vanderwey

July 12, 2012 at 05:23 AM

[...] What did Jesus think of the Bible?. . . Kevin DeYoung summarizes the answer in 12 statements. [...]

R. Delaney

July 12, 2012 at 05:00 PM

"Making a decision for Christ" is not being born again. The Pharisees studied the OT meticulously, yet they had a veil covering their eyes everytime the Scriptures were read (according to the apostle Paul)

I'm sure you have a lot of christian-ly knowledge, but it's a new heart you need. Those who know Jesus don't leave Him.

Why bother with where evangelical Christianity is heading? From your vantage point, who cares? And why would Christianity be a good thing if it's not true? You don't make sense...

James Rednour

July 12, 2012 at 04:48 PM

@R. Delaney

I read TGC because I like to keep abreast on where evangelical Christianity is heading. No more, no less. I think Christianity is a good thing overall for the majority of believers. It is the foundation of the culture in which we live, and is certainly preferable to something like Islam. I consider myself lucky to have been born in a society which is based upon those principles.

As for never having been born again or not having a biblical understanding of my fallen nature, that is absolutely false. I made a decision from Christ way back in my childhood. I have studied the Bible for most of my life and have discipled numerous new believers during my life. I have a thorough understanding of Christian doctrine and what the Bible teaches. If it is true that "once saved always saved" then I am still saved. An ardent Calvinist would argue that I never truly was saved if I could fall away, but I submit that if I was not saved then no one can be assured of their own salvation either because I was truly the model for a Christian.

Anyway, I'm going to step out of this thread now. We are way off the original topic and I do not want to give the impression that I am merely interested in arguing for or against Christianity in general. That is not my purpose and I do not want my actions to be misconstrued as such.

R. Delaney

July 12, 2012 at 04:20 PM

James,

A biblical understanding of your fallen nature, which affects your intellect and reasoning, seems to have eluded you. It is a shame you were so involved in your church and a professing Christian without being born again. As you admit, you were just following your parents and the things you were taught. I think this emphasizes the importance of understanding what you believe and why you believe it.

I'm not sure why you would be reading evangelical Christian blogs, and taking the time to interact with believers. Perhaps your Christian upbringing has established a need in you to remain in some kind of fellowship with those who call Jesus Lord. Still, if you're not trying to "deconvert" anyone, this doesn't make sense.

However, I would recommend that you be upfront with those you interact with by identifying yourself as an apostate. That would prevent any confusion for those who are not sure where you're coming from.

Thanks

faithworks

July 12, 2012 at 04:14 PM

@ James Rednour,

So you not sure if God exist. You do know that it is a scientific impossibly for nothing to create everything, I mean...you can't make a flower, a grain of sand or a bird from nothing, right?

James Rednour

July 12, 2012 at 03:43 PM

Hi faithworks,

I've probably broken every one of the ten commandments at some point in my life (including murder if you use Jesus' redefinition of it in the sermon on the mount). I think every person living has done so. Assuming that the ten commandments were actually handed down by God (an assumption for which there is no evidence), I have no idea how God (if He exists) will react to the fact that I have broken them. I don't believe in a heaven or hell as there is no evidence to believe in these things other than in scriptures. The only life that we have with any certainty is the one which we are currently living. You may think that that is a depressing view, but I view the picture of an afterlife in which the overwhelming number of people who have ever lived are doomed to eternal torment as much, much worse.

So I guess the answer is no, it doesn't concern me. For all I know Zeus is actually God and placing my faith in Christ instead of him would anger him to the point that he would tie me to a rock and let the birds eat my innards for eternity after I die. The only things that we can know with any certainty are the things we experience now. No one knows what will happen after death, so it's pointless to build one's life around it. There are still benefits for many in practicing Christianity without worrying about eternal damnation, though.

James Rednour

July 12, 2012 at 03:23 PM

Thanks Mike. I understand your point of view. I lived it for decades. I'm not out to deconvert anyone. It's simply my view that Biblical inerrancy is an untenable belief. We can agree to disagree in a civil manner. Good luck to you!

faithworks

July 12, 2012 at 03:22 PM

@ James Rednour

Sorry to here of your new found faith, that of basically trusting in your own intellect and self to determine right from wrong. Sounds like you are a pretty good person, you seem to have navigated your way to truth. Breaking the shackles of being a "model Christianity", and the myths there in. But let me ask you this. Have you ever told a lie? Stolen? Used God's name in vain and/or looked with lust? If you like me can say yes, then by your own admission you are a lying thieving, blasphemer and adulterer at heart. If God were to judge you by the standard of the 10 Commandments (bearing in mind that we just looked at 4 of them) do you think you would be innocent or guilty? Would you go to heaven or hell? Does it concern you?

Mike Stephan

July 12, 2012 at 02:17 PM

James,

Your response proved my point for me. Your sense of reason and mine took us to two different places. You think I am wrong and I think that you, as well, are wrong.

And you said it more eloquently than I could. I still disagree but it is beautifully stated.

Mike

James Rednour

July 12, 2012 at 02:00 PM

Hi JLP,

I agree that is true now (largely due to statistics in that growth will be more rapid in areas where Christianity was virtually non-existant before), but that has not been true for the vast majority of the history of Christianity. For a religion that proclaims that the last shall be first, Christianity has failed miserably at this for most of its history.

JLP

July 12, 2012 at 01:52 PM

Hi James,

Christianity is actually spreading most rapidly and flourishing in some of the poorest parts of the world: East Africa, India, etc.

James Rednour

July 12, 2012 at 01:30 PM

Hi Mike,

"These alleged differences have been given plausible explanations."

Not really. Most of these explanations are contrived. They assert inerrancy as axiomatic and then approach the scripture to see how they can pigeonhole an explanation that maintains their assumption. Those types of arguments are not convincing.

"If you chose to set your own sense of reason above everything else, then you make yourself your god."

I don't set myself up as a god, only a thinking and reasoning entity. If God exists, he created me as a thinking, reasoning being. Why not use those tools that He gave me?

"I do believe, after examining the evidence, and declare, with a straight face, that the Scriptures are inerrant."

I guess you have a different view of inerrant than I do. To me, the term inerrant means "without error". If you have two statements that are asserted as facts and they contradict each other, then one of those statements is in error. If you have one error, you no longer have inerrancy. If you want to define inerrancy as meaning "without error except for a bunch of unimportant little errors that we can ignore" that's a different story, but those who proclaim that the Bible is inerrant do not make that claim because they know if they give ground there then they risk the whole edifice of scriptural authority falling down. It's exactly the same argument as believing in a literal Adam and Eve.

"You are coming off as on of those “new” atheists who like to shout about there being no God and their angry about it and at Him. I am not saying that is your belief system but that is how you are portraying yourself, in my opinion."

I'm more of a Christian Deist than an atheist, and I'm certainly not angry. I was an evangelical Christian for over thirty years. I was a Royal Ambassador, taught Bible studies for over twenty years to various age groups and was chairman of deacons in my church on multiple occasions. I was the model Christian. It took a monumental effort to free myself of the things I was raised to believe, but thankfully I did. There may be a God and the Bible contains quite a bit of good teachings, but there is no reason to believe in miracles like a virgin birth or a bodily resurrection. Those are mythical assertions that contradict all known scientific principles. As Carl Sagan stated: "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". That extraordinary evidence is completely absent when it comes to the claims that the Bible makes. Myth was necessary in the past to help give meaning behind the mysterious. That is no longer the case now that we have come to understand many of the principles that govern our world via deductive reasoning. Those that we do not yet understand will reveal themselves further as we continue to use reason to investigate instead of accepting things on faith.

The only reason the overwhelming majority of Christians are Christians is because their parents were also Christians. That is the case for me, it is the case for Kevin, and I suspect it is the case for you. There is no fundamental truth or goodness about that, only that you were raised to believe and accept it. Isn't it interesting though that Christianity has largely been the religion of the wealthy and educated world (Rome, Western Europe, the USA, and now SE Asia)? For a religion whose scriptures continually state that the love and pursuit of wealth is diametrically opposed to God, those are the places exactly where it has flourished. Something is wrong with that picture.

NPK

July 11, 2012 at 12:55 PM

R. Delaney - because it makes it easier to ignore the parts we don't like.

R. Delaney

July 11, 2012 at 12:07 PM

One has to wonder why there is such vociferous opposition to the doctrine of inerrancy coming from professing Christians.

JLP

July 11, 2012 at 11:31 AM

The question remains as to what text(s) Jesus' "Bible" included.

nin

July 11, 2012 at 11:30 AM

With all due respect, if I'm not mistaken, isn't Jesus the author of scripture so why is it a surprise that he would hold scripture in the highest of esteem?

Thomas Larsen

July 11, 2012 at 11:03 PM

DRT, you wrote that Jesus "disagreed with a lot of scripture. Sabbath keeping for instance. Food laws for instance." Can you elaborate?

Allan Knapp

July 11, 2012 at 09:46 AM

Thanks, Kevin for the great sermon series.
It has been a good reminder that the one true God of the universe made everything,can do anything, and He chose to communicate with us through the Bible. So, I need to take seriously His claims, pray to understand the wisdom God implanted in all creation, and always go back to God's Bible for the truth.
In the big picture, it makes sense that Jesus would be all in with scripture - it is His book and he supervised the writing.

DRT

July 11, 2012 at 09:01 AM

Now Matthew 12:38 to 42

12:38 Then some of the experts in the law along with some Pharisees 56 answered him, 57 “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” 12:39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 12:40 For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. 12:41 The people of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented when Jonah preached to them – and now, something greater than Jonah is here! 12:42 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon – and now, something greater than Solomon is here!


Perhaps I need to listen to your sermon on this one, but my bet is that you are using Jesus quote of Jonah as evidence that he supports the historicity of this. I can't imaging thinking that way for a couple of reasons.

First, I can easily say "Just as George Washington could not lie and deny that he chopped down that cherry tree" and no one would object knowing that the story is not factually correct.

Second,tTop that off with the fact that it is actually no quite true that Jesus was in the tomb for three days and three nights either, or at least he was not in the sense of the plain reading where it is implied that it was a full three days. So too it is likely that the Jonah story is not 100% true. I mean really, did the animals put on ashes and sack cloth?

DRT

July 11, 2012 at 08:52 AM

Kevin, OK, fair enough about the woman in adultery. That is not essential to my argument, though it does make it more straightforward.

Of course Jesus would not have taught to break the law. Given what I have said in my responses so far, it is clear that the law was there for a purpose and a big part of that purpose is to magnify sin and evil. But this in no way says that the OT is inerrant or without factual historical errors, it only says that they Jews were supposed to follow the law!

And clearly Jesus did contradict the law by his views on sabbath keeping and dietary laws.

DRT

July 11, 2012 at 08:44 AM

My last comment should have started with the following, and then go into the block quote:

Now Matthew 5:17 to 19

I have no idea how you can get a view of inerrancy from this text, but let me describe why you can't. You can't because Jesus does not say anything about inerrancy.

First, lets assume that Saint Paul is right about the function of the Law. What does Paul say about the Law? Why did they have the Law?

Here is a quote from this webpage http://www.abu.nb.ca/courses/pauline/law.htm that gives an explanation fairly close to my own thoughts. The Law magnified sin so that when Jesus defeated sin he will have defeated the most terrible thing that sin can offer.

Kevin DeYoung

July 11, 2012 at 08:39 AM

I deal with most of these objections in the full sermon. I don't, however, bring up the story of the woman caught in adultery because every scholar agrees it was not part of the original manuscripts.

DRT

July 11, 2012 at 08:37 AM

3.2.2. True Purpose of the Law

A. Law as Bringing Knowledge of Sin and Increasing Sin

Although the ostensive purpose of the Law is as a means of obtaining life (Lev 18:5), Paul comes to believe that the Law has another purpose. In his view, God knew that human beings could not be declared righteous by obedience to the Law (even though theoretically this was possible). So God had, it seems, an ulterior motive in giving the Law, because the Law's real purpose is to bring Jews and other human beings to a knowledge of their sinfulness.(9) It could be argued that the fact that the Law was given to the Israelites in such sublime and terrifying circumstances is a foreboding of this negative function (Exod 19:9, 16; 24:15; Deut 4:11; 5:22). The Law is even intended to function to increase sin in the world. The Law, in other words, prepares for Christ, and once it has fulfilled this purpose it becomes salvation-historically obsolete.

1. Rom 3:19-20; 5:12-13; 7:7-8; Gal 3:19

Paul explains that the giving of the Law creates the possibility of sin, defined as violation of a commandment; as such it serves to make disobedient human beings into "sinners." This was God's purpose in giving the Law, because there must first be an well defined problem for which Christ could be the solution. Without the Law, human beings would not know what sin was and so in the strict sense would not be sinners, even though they would still be disobedient to God. In Rom 3:19-20, Paul explains that the purpose of the Law is for Jews to conclude that no one can "be declared righteous from the works of the Law" (3:19). The Law accomplishes this task by defining sin and bringing its violators into a state in which they know themselves as sinners: "For through the Law is a knowledge of sin" (dia gar nomou epignôsis hamartias) (3:20). In other words, because of the Law sin defined as transgression becomes possible and therefore a knowledge of oneself as a sinner arises. Similarly, in Rom 5:13, Paul says that, "Sin is not taken into account without Law" (hamartia de ouk ellogeitai mę ontos nomou). His point is that, in a strict sense, sin presupposes Law: in the absence of Law, there is no sin in the sense of a violation of a commandment, although there may be disobedience.

The same idea is expressed in Rom 7:7-8


So, it is quite clear that Paul indeed did believe that scripture came from god and that the people must try to obey the law. And certainly that is what Jesus thought too. That they must try to obey the law because he, indeed, needed to defeat sin, evil and death at its worst.

So let's get back to the text in Matthew. In Matthew 5:17-19

5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them. 5:18 I 18 tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter will pass from the law until everything takes place. 5:19 So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.


Jesus is indeed holding up the fact that the Jewish people need to continue to be striving to live up to the law. That is exactly why the law was given, it is there to show that despite our best intentions and clear instruction from god we will not be able to live up to it. And not only that, that our ego like the Jewish leaders will lead to unspeakable evil in the world. Those who are following the law actually have sin and evil magnified, and that is required for Jesus to be able to defeat that sin and evil.

So Jesus here is saying that they must continue to perform the law. And once Jesus rose from the dead he created a new kingdom, the Kingdom of God! He did not abolish them, the actual law is still there, but once he fulfills the law then it makes it so we don't have to follow the law anymore because he has given us a new covenant.

And clearly he is not referring to anything in the new testament here. That is simply wrong headed if you feel his is because he is clearly talking about the OT law, and the holiness of the teachers of the law.

So you see, again, this does not support biblical inerrancy or the bible be free of error in any way!

Ryan Over

July 11, 2012 at 08:17 PM

I agree with some of the comments that note that the texts do not fully support the doctrine of scripture outlined in the above conclusions. Scott rightly noted that Jesus was not an American Evangelical. Therefore, Jesus probably had a much different focus than we do.

The texts of scripture are not formed by single manuscripts, rather by multiple manuscripts that often differ substantially as biblical scholars conclude (See http://www.amazon.com/An-Introduction-Old-Testament-Edition/dp/0310263417 which notes the substantial differences between the Septuagint and Masoretic texts of the OT). However, the differences are not in content and do not bear weight on whether the bible condemns homosexuality for instance.

We also must be careful about the Chronology and "literality" of texts which do not necessarily contradict Jesus' words and align most strongly with an American Fundamentalist position than anything else. It could be that our traditional interpretations are wrong. See Daltons Book for a challenge to the traditional interpretation of Genesis 1. It seems to make better sense out of the text than our 21st century reading of it.

Justin B.

July 11, 2012 at 08:16 AM

"It was never acceptable in his mind to contradict Scripture or stand above Scripture."

I'm sorry, but this is just horrible. Jesus is God, and Scripture does not stand "above" Him. What you've written argues that there is an authority above God Himself.

I agree with DRT in that you've gone way beyond what the Scripture actually says.

Dan

July 11, 2012 at 08:14 PM

Saw this earlier today and was excited as our study group in the used-to-be Bible belt an hour west of MSU has been going through Gregg Allison's "Historical Theology" the past few weeks, and ALL of the initial chapters have dealt with various doctrines of Scripture. May not be able to listen to all of the sermons, but will certainly catch some. I like the way that some of the evening sermons handle common questions about Scripture, such as differing interpretations and how we resolve disagreements. We had actually spent considerable time today talking about just that topic. Thank you for posting!

DRT

July 11, 2012 at 08:14 AM

Here is one example. Being as you specifically referenced John 10:35, I am pretty sure you are using that verse to show that Jesus thought that the scriptures cannot be broken. But that is not what the text actually says.

Looking at the arc of the story, you will see that Jesus himself had already gone against the scripture, for example in John 8 they said that the woman should be stoned " In the law Moses commanded us to stone to death such women. What then do you say?" Clearly Jesus did not think that the woman should be stoned, he put himself above a clear teaching of scripture and that is why the teachers were so mad at him.

Now back to chapter 10, at this point the Jewish leaders are quite mad at Jesus because they say that he is breaking the law. They are saying that he is putting himself above scripture. So now when we get to the actual scene that is going on in John 10:31, you will see this:

The Jewish leaders picked up rocks again to stone him to death. 10:32 Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good deeds from the Father. For which one of them are you going to stone me?” 10:33 The Jewish leaders replied, “We are not going to stone you for a good deed but for blasphemy, because you, a man, are claiming to be God.”


OK, could not be more clear that they think that Jesus is putting himself above scripture. But this still does not tell us what Jesus is thinking about scripture.

But now we have the context to understand what Jesus is saying in 10:35, so here it is:

10:34 Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 10:35 If those people to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’ (and the scripture cannot be broken), 10:36 do you say about the one whom the Father set apart 86 and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?


What Jesus is doing here is using the logic of the Jewish leaders to show that he is right. He is not telling us what he thinks, he is using the logic and thoughts of the Jewish leaders to show that they are being inconsistent in their approach. When he starts with "Is is not written in your law".......and the says "and the scripture cannot be broken..." he is not making the declaration that scripture cannot be broken from his perspective, he is reminding them that they believe that scripture cannot be broken. This does not tell us what Jesus really thinks about inerrancy or errors in scripture, it tellls us that Jesus knew that the Jewish leaders felt that scripture could not be broken so he is using their own logic to prove his point.

Andrew Wilson

July 11, 2012 at 08:12 AM

Great post, Kevin. Like you, I can't see any evidence that Jesus "disagreed with" or "contradicted" Scripture, and with great respect to DRT, I don't think either of these verbs are appropriate with respect to Sabbath or food laws; they sound closer to "abolish" than "fulfill", in the language of Matt 5:17. Personally, though, I'm not convinced the claim that Jesus believed the Bible was absolutely without error can be supported from the texts themselves (although as usually articulated, I believe the Bible is inerrant myself): I can't see how we could demonstrate that from the gospels. But a fascinating and helpful post. Thanks.

DRT

July 11, 2012 at 07:47 AM

Kevin,

I have no idea how you talked yourself into this list of points, but you are obviously deluding yourself. You are generalizing some things that Jesus said in ways that are not warranted to match your own idolization of scripture, not what Jesus actually has said.

"He never disrespected, never disregarded, never disagreed with a single text of Scripture." Um, he disagreed with a lot of scripture. Sabbath keeping for instance. Food laws for instance. Your statement cannot stand on its own.

"He affirmed every bit of law, prophecy, narrative, and poetry. He shuddered to think of anyone anywhere violating, ignoring, or rejecting Scripture." He did not affirm "every bit" as you say. You are extrapolating in a way that the bible does not support. And where does it say that he "shuddered to think"? It does not.

"He accepted the chronology, the miracles, and the authorial ascriptions as giving the straightforward facts of history." Purely conjecture. They do not have to be the literal facts of history for Jesus to use them and recognize the truth in the stories. Again, you are going beyond, way beyond, what is actually said.

"It was never acceptable in his mind to contradict Scripture or stand above Scripture." Come on. Again, dietary laws, sabbath keeping. If you are nuanciing this statement in some other way then you are no longer speaking english. This statement cannot stand on its own along with scripture. It is clearly not what scripture teaches

"He believed the Bible was all true, all edifying, all important, and all about him. He believed absolutely that the Bible was from God and was absolutely free from error. What Scripture says God says, and what God said was recorded infallibly in Scripture." Again, the common usage of the terms error and infallibly would make this patently false. The only way you believe this is because you make up your own definitions for these terms that allow you to wiggle around and use them, but then when you use them out of that context, like in this post, you should use the common usage of the terms. Of course there are errors in the text when the plain usage of the term is used. The earth is not on foundations, there are different accounts of the same events. Why do you insist on nuancing words and then use them without the nuance. It seems to me that it is intentionally misleading to the people in the pews.

Kevin, it is irresponsible to teach people conclusions like these that are so easily shown to not be true if you use the common usage of our shared language in this world. I contend it is inaccurate at best and deceptive at worst.

This ongoing overstatement by TGC folks needs to stop. It is unfair to the people who are trying to follow Jesus. Let your yes be yes and no being no. There is no need to overstate your conclusions so grossly.

James Rednour

July 11, 2012 at 05:52 PM

"R. Delaney – because it makes it easier to ignore the parts we don’t like."

Oh, this is a good one! I can easily turn this around and state that holding to a ridiculous doctrine of hard inerrancy helps justify things like telling homosexuals they are living in sin, or telling women that God designed them to raise children and do housework or hold to the belief in a 6000 year-old universe. If you throw away inerrancy, suddenly a bunch of stuff that is rightfully repulsive or downright dumb to the vast majority of thinking people is no longer justifiable. No matter, Christian fundamentalism has seen its apex. It's all downhill from here.

James Rednour

July 11, 2012 at 05:15 PM

"Your opposition to inerrancy has more to do with your opposition to the God revealed in Scripture than anything else."

I don't even know what this is supposed to mean. If there is an obvious contradiction in a record, somewhere there is in error. I would think that anyone with a shred of common sense would agree that if A says one thing and B says another, then A != B. Wouldn't you agree with that? Or is there some special rule about the Bible that stipulates that clear contradictions within it somehow do not qualify as errors? If I twist myself into enough of a logical pretzel, I suppose I could argue that 2 + 2 = 5, but I'd be lying to myself. Is God a deceiver or does he actually want us to use our brains to distinguish truth from error?

James Rednour

July 11, 2012 at 05:08 PM

"I can’t re-invent the wheel for you regarding alleged contradictions in Scripture. You will have to consult the literature on the subject that has answered such objections."

Oh I have. None of the explanations make any sense whatsoever. For example, one of the lineages is actually Mary's? Please. There is zero scriptural support for that position. No woman's genealogy was kept in patriarchal Israel. And besides, what the point of even given Jesus' genealogy through Joseph if Joseph was not his father? The genealogies of Jesus make no sense from an traditional Christian point of view.

Here's are a few others. How many people went to Jesus tomb? How do you reconcile the differences in the Gospel? What were Jesus' last words on the cross? Did Jesus make no reply to Pilate as specified in Mark or did he go into a grand soliloquy as specified in John? The Gospels are completely contradictory in how they portray the story of Jesus. You only need to find one error in the Bible to refute the claim it is inerrant. That is a simple task. How can any Christian claim with a straight face that it is inerrant? The only explanation I have is that they haven't actually read it.

R. Delaney

July 11, 2012 at 04:40 PM

the first sentence above should have been in quotes...

My comments then follow.

R. Delaney

July 11, 2012 at 04:32 PM

It appears that Jesus rejected some of the clear teachings of the O.T. (although, technically, the O.T. didn’t even exist as we know it).

It would really help if you obtained some basic knowledge of Scripture and doctrine before you make silly statements like this. Such an objection may rouse the ignorant, but if you hope to give it some teeth you'll have to do some spade work.

R. Delaney

July 11, 2012 at 04:23 PM

"Because the Bible is not inerrant and to claim it is makes you a liar."

"For example, who was Joseph’s father? Someone (Matthew, Luke or both) got it wrong."

Yeah, right...the dummies who meticulously copied and assembled the canon totally missed that one.

I can't re-invent the wheel for you regarding alleged contradictions in Scripture. You will have to consult the literature on the subject that has answered such objections.

God doesn't inspire or "breath out" error, therefore claiming the Bible is inerrant is stating no more than an obvious deduction from what God has revealed about Himself.

Your opposition to inerrancy has more to do with your opposition to the God revealed in Scripture than anything else.

Scott

July 11, 2012 at 02:52 PM

Jesus was an American evangelical?!?

nate

July 11, 2012 at 02:43 PM

hmm... Let's see if DeYoung's claims hold up:

Exodus 21:24
"an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot."

Matthew 5:38
"You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

It appears that Jesus rejected some of the clear teachings of the O.T. (although, technically, the O.T. didn't even exist as we know it).

Truth Unites... and Divides

July 11, 2012 at 01:53 PM

Pastor DeYoung: "In summary, it is impossible to revere the Scriptures more deeply or affirm them more completely than Jesus did."

Corollary: It is impossible for any of us to commit "Bibliolatry".

James Rednour

July 11, 2012 at 01:49 PM

"One has to wonder why there is such vociferous opposition to the doctrine of inerrancy coming from professing Christians."

Because the Bible is not inerrant and to claim it is makes you a liar.

For example, who was Joseph's father? Someone (Matthew, Luke or both) got it wrong.

RogerH

July 11, 2012 at 01:42 PM

Kevin,
I agree with what you've summarized as Jesus' doctrine of scripture (I don't think you really meant to imply that Scripture is somehow "above" God), but what I'm struggling with lately is how do we know then *what exactly* constitutes scripture? How and why do we trust the canon of scripture that we've got? How do we know which books are inspired and which aren't? Jesus obviously didn't speak to that, since most of the New Testament wasn't yet written. I've been taught sola scriptura since my wee Sunday school days, but admittedly without a firm foundation of apologetics behind it.

I'm not trying to stir the pot here, I'm truly struggling with this and could use some direction. Please refer me to your full sermon series if you've covered this there. Thanks.

Lois W

July 11, 2012 at 01:32 PM

Kevin, thank you for this! There wells up in me profound gratitude that the God who calls me to know Him, and makes that possible through the work of His Son, is a self-revealing God! He has communicated, in words! The Spirit gives understanding and uses the Word to transform our sinful hearts. I hear people talk in hushed, reverent tones about the "mystery" of what we believe, but that mystery has now been made known, as Paul writes to the Romans (16:25-27)! We are of all people most blessed, as we look back to the Incarnation and the Cross. God may often "move in a mysterious way", but faith trusts the God we know. We know Him through the words He speaks to us. Thank you for this summary, and for the exhortation. Your congregation is blessed!

[…] DeYoung on Jesus’ Doctrine of Scripture - a truly Christian view of Scripture will follow Christ in how the Bible is […]

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August 2, 2012 at 07:14 AM

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