Understanding The Bible
Clarence E. Mason's "Bibliology"
PART-6: OBJECTIONS TO DOCTRINE
OF VERBAL INSPIRATION
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BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
- OBJECTIONS TO DOCTRINE OF VERBAL INSPIRATION
- Translations Render Inspiration of No Value The
objection is lodged that since we contend that inspiration bears directly
only upon the original documents and that we admit that not one of these is
in known existence, it then follows that our doctrine has profited us
- This is no objection at all. It does not bear on the
fact of inspiration. It only contests the value of inspiration.
- The problem of translation and transmission is
relatively inferior. It is without mystery. The work of copying and
translating the Scriptures has been done by many men checking and
rechecking one another. These men were all versed in the study of
- The objection fails to take into consideration the
painstaking care which has characterized the transmission of the text down
through the ages. The early scribes were committed to one task--to
perpetuate the text as they found it. In order to be certain of their
accuracy they developed a number of checks. In each book they counted the
number of words and letters. They knew the middle letter of each book.
They knew the middle letter of the Law. (For instance: they determined
that the Hebrew letter Aleph occurred 42, 377 times in the OT and the
letter Beth occurred 38, 218 times.)
- "Eat simply the bread of the Scriptures as it presents
itself to thee; and do not distress thyself at finding here and there a
small particle of sand which the millstone may have left in it. Thou
mayest, then, dismiss all these doubts which at one time so horribly
tormented myself. If the Holy Scriptures--which have been so often copied,
and which have passed so often through faulty hands of ever fallible
men--were absolutely without
variations, the miracle would be so great, that faith in them would be no
longer faith. I am astonished on the contrary that the result of all these
transcriptions has not been a much greater number of different readings."
- Errors of Reasonings or of Doctrine in the Scriptures
It is contended by others that there are errors of logic or of teaching in
the Scriptures, hence it is impossible that the very words of the Bible bear
the authority of God. God could not be the author of these mistakes.
- Apparent mistakes of logic or doctrine need more study
on the part of the reader.
- Who are we to contend that the authors of Scripture did
not present rational arguments or make the correct use of the Scripture
which they quoted? "An argument is ill-grounded because you do not seize
its scope! A doctrine is a prejudice because you do not admit it! A
quotation is not to the point, because its true meaning has escaped you!"
It is claimed that the Word of God contradicts itself. What one biblical
author states, another changes, amends, or denies.
- We must admit that if actual contradictions can be
proved to have existed in the original, then the doctrine of Verbal
Inspiration is false and must be rejected. However, the burden of proof
lies with the objector. It must be proved that the interpretations of both
conflicting Scriptures are accurate and bear of no other reconciling
interpretation. If supposed contradictory Scriptures can be shown to have
a possible harmony, then they are not contradictory.
- Causes for supposed contradictions (Gaussen)
- We fail to take all the circumstances into account.
(1) Mk. 16:5, cp. Lk. 24:4
(2) Mt. 20:30, cp. Mk. 10:46 and Lk. 18:35
(3) Mt. 27:5, cp. Acts 1:18
(4) Details of resurrection of Christ as seen in Gospels. Remember
supposed contradictions must be proved actually irreconcilable.
- We fail to realize that the Holy Spirit did not have
the same design in each of the Gospels. Compare the genealogy of Matthew
with that of Luke.
- We fail to realize that the error may be in the
- We fail to pay attention to a variant reading which
could resolve the difficulty.
- We fail to realize that certain acts and discourses
were repeated more than once in the ministry of Christ.
- We fail to understand the methods of computing
- Errors Contrary to Science
It is contended that the miracles presented in Scripture are contrary to
natural law, therefore could not have happened. Hence, any record of their
having happened is false.
If Genesis 1:1 be accepted as true, the rest of the Bible can easily be
judged true. Miracles present no difficulty to the one who believes in the
existence of a personal God.
- The Declaration of Paul Himself 1 Cor. 7:10, 12, 25 It
is claimed that in these verses Paul plainly states that on some matters he
spoke with only human authority.
- Verses 10-11
On this particular point the Lord (and the OT) had already spoken. Paul
only reminds his readers of the Lord's teaching (cp. Mt. 5:31-32; Mal.
- Verse 12
On this point the Lord (in His earthly ministry) had given no teaching.
Far from disclaiming authority, Paul is placing his own teaching on the
same level as that of the Lord.
- Verses 25-26
On this particular point no commandment is given by either the Lord or by
Paul. The issue is to be decided by the individual involved as the Lord
gives wisdom. Paul does give an opinion. Note that Paul acknowledges that
this is an opinion. It was not the object of revelation. It was, however,
the object of inspiration. God wanted Paul's opinion there just as it was
stated and Paul defends the opinion as being from the Holy Spirit (v.40).
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