Understanding The Bible
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Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
IV. TESTIMONY OF THE EARLY CHURCH
A. Clement of Rome
"Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit." Wescott on Clement: "He recognizes moreover the lasting import of the recorded history, and the significance of the most minute details: the scarlet thread which Rahab hung out of the window was to 'show that a redemption should be made by the blood of the Lord for all who believe and hope upon God.'"
B. Justin Martyr
"We must not suppose that the language proceeds from the men who are inspired, but from the divine Word which moves them. Their work is to announce that the Holy Spirit descending upon them purposes through them to teach those who wish to learn the true religion. For neither by nature nor human thought can men recognize such great and divine truths, but by the gift which came down from above upon the holy men, who needed no art of words, nor skill in captious and contentious speaking, but only to offer themselves in purity to the operation of the Divine Spirit, in order that the divine power of itself might reveal to us the knowledge of divine and heavenly things acting on just men as a plectrum on a harp or lyre."
"The Spirit of God is not with all men, but abiding with some, whose conversation is just, and being united with their soul it proclaimed to all other souls by prophetic teaching that which had been hidden, and those which obeyed wisdom attracted to themselves a kindred spirit, while those who did not obey. . .were found to fight against God. "
D. Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch
"The men of God being filled with the Holy Spirit and gifted with prophecy, having inspiration and wisdom from God, were taught of Him, and became holy and just. Wherefore also they were deemed worthy to obtain this recompense, to be made instruments of God and receive the wisdom which cometh from Him, by which wisdom they spake of the creation of the world and all other things.. .which happened before their birth, and during their own time, and which are now being accomplished in our days; and so we are convinced that in things to come the event will be as they say.'
"God sent forth from the first men who by their justice and innocency were worthy to know God, and to make Him known, and filled them to overflowing with the Divine Spirit;.. gave us a written Testament, that we might more fully and more deeply learn of Him and of His counsels of His will."
"Truly it is most evidently preached in the Churches that the Holy Spirit inspired each of the Saints, Prophets, and Apostles, and that the same Spirit was present in those of old time as in those who were inspired at the coming of Christ; for Christ, the Word of God, was in Moses and the Prophets.. .and by His Spirit they spake and did all things."
"...records of the Gospels are 'Oracles of the Lord, pure Oracles as silver purified seven times in the fire' (Ps. 12:6), and that there is a meaning in their minutest details; while they are without error, inasmuch as we believe that they were accurately written by the cooperation of the Holy Spirit. "
"Amidst the darkness, superstition, ignorance, and corruption of the Middle Ages, the doctrine of the Plenary Inspiration of all the canonical writings of the Old and New Testament was uniformly and spontaneously held down to the time of the Reformation, except by a few stray heretics and a few heretical sects. The medieval churchmen did not criticize the Bible, nor did they forbid its use; they translated it, used it in disputes, and had due respect for its origin and character." (Gaussen)
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