I just came across an amazing article on Biblical inspiration that goes into much greater detail, and with much more scholarly foundation, than my series has so far. I haven't had time to read the whole thing yet, but I will. I'll probably highlight bits of it in future posts.
The article is "Inerrancy, Inspiration, and Dictation" by Joel Stephen Williams, and it was published in the Restoration Quarterly, Vol. 37/No. 3 (1995). I had never heard of Williams before, but it appears he's an author and professor at Amridge (formerly Southern Christian) University.
Two quick quotes:
We must realize that the doctrine of inspiration is not the capstone of Christian theology. A fundamentalist view of inspiration does not insure orthodoxy. Many who hold to a fundamentalist view of inspiration are in extreme error on more significant truths such as the deity of Christ. Furthermore, many people come to faith in Christ and salvation without knowing even the rudimentary elements of a doctrine of inspiration.
Positive statements about the usefulness of the Scriptures in instructing mankind for salvation affirm more about the Bible than a negative statement that it is without error. The Bible is not the ultimate end. Instead, it is a witness to God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. As John the Baptist pointed toward Christ, the Bible is a witness pointing toward God.
This comes very close to my own perspective, as I expressed it in an email to my Mom last week. Here, then, is my "doctrine of the Bible," if you will:
I prefer to say that the biblical (particularly N.T. and prophets) authors are faithful witnesses to what they saw/heard, and their writings are to be trusted as the testimony of a faithful witness. . .without blurring the distinction between the witnesses and the truth to which they are testifying.
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