The Divine Inspiration of Scripture Demonstrated

Lithograph of the Reverend John Brown of Haddington

Here’s part two of my planned, looong series of consecutive excerpts from “An Introduction to the Right Understanding of the Oracles of God” from the Self-Interpreting Bible (1859 edition), edited by Rev. John Brown of Haddington. You’ll always be able to access each post in this series by clicking on the category “An Introduction to the Right Understanding of the Oracles of God” in the sidebar or at the bottom of any of the posts in this series.

While reason, then, plainly suggests the possibility, the desirableness, and the necessity of a revelation from God, adapted to our circumstances, the books of the Old and New Testament manifest themselves reasonable, credible, and divinely inspired: It is their DIVINE INSPIRATION (which indeed supposes them reasonable and credible) that we now attempt to demonstrate. In what manner the influence, by which the penmen of the Scriptures were directed, affected them, we pretend not fully to explain. It is enough for us to know, that thereby they were infallibly guided and determined to declare what they did not formerly know; to conceive properly of what they had formerly known; and to express their subject in terms absolutely just in themselves, and calculated to convey the truths represented to others. But so far we may conclude, that, while the penmen exercised their own reason and judgment (Ps. 45:1; Mark 12:36; Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:11) the Holy Ghost:

(1) Effectually stirred them up to write (2 Pet. 1:21);

(2) Appointed to each his proper share or subject correspondent with his natural talents, and the necessities of the church in his time (Mat. 25:15; 2 Pet. 1:21);

(3) Enlightened their minds, and gave them a duly distinct view of the truths which they were to deliver (Jer. 1:11-16; 13:9-14; Ezek. 4:4-8; Dan. 10:1,14; 9:22-27; 8:15-19; 12:8; Amos 7:7,8; 8:2; Zec. 1:19, 21; 4:11-14; 5:6; John 16:13; Eph. 3:3,4; 1 Pet. 1:10,11). Perhaps this illumination was given all at once to Paul, when caught up to the third heaven, but was bestowed gradually on the other apostles (Mark 4:34; Luke 24:17,45; John 20:22; Acts 2:4; 10:9-15,28,34).

(4) He strengthened and refreshed their memories to recollect whatever they had seen or heard, which he judged proper to be inserted in their writings (Jer. 31:3; Luke 1:3; John 14:26).

(5) Amidst a multitude of facts, he directed them to write precisely what was proper for the edification of the church, and neither more nor less (John 20:30, 31; 21:25; Rom. 4:23, 24; 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:6-11).

(6) He excited in their minds such images and ideas as had been treasured up in their memories, and directed them to other ends and purposes than themselves would ever have done of their own accord. Thus, under inspiration, Amos draws his figures from herds, flocks, and fields; Paul makes use of his classical learning (Amos 1, 9; Acts 17:28; 1 Cor. 15:33; Tit. 1:2).

(7) He immediately suggested and imprinted on their minds such things as could not be known by reason, observation or information, but were matters of pure revelation (Is. 46:9, 10; 41:22,23; 45:21) whether they respected doctrines (1 Tim. 3:16), or facts past or future (Gen. 1:2,3; Lev. 26 &c).

(8) He so superintended every particular writer, as to render him infallible in his matter, words, and arrangement; and by his superintending influence, made them all in connexion so to write, as to render the whole Scripture, at any given period, a sufficient infallible rule to direct men to true holiness and everlasting happiness (Deut. 8:4; Ps. 1:2; 19:7-11; 119:105; Mat. 22:29; Luke 16:29,31; John 5:39; Rom. 15:4; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; 2 Pet. 1:19). Many of the sentences recorded in Scripture are not inspired in themselves, being the words of Satan or of wicked men; but the Scripture report relative to these expressions is directed by divine inspiration. –That our books of the Old and New Testament, the APOCRYPHAL TRACTS being excluded from both, are of an INFALLIBLE and DIVINE original, is thus evident.

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2 responses

  1. If you check, the Mormons, Islam, etc., they say the exact same thing. So who’s right? All claim divine and infallible inspiration.

    1. I think the answer to your question is self-evident, who I would say is right. It’s easy for you to draw an equivalency between what I say about the Bible and what the Mormons and the Muslims say about their books without providing any documentation. It doesn’t prove anything. I’ve provided the Rev. John Brown of Haddington’s statements about the Bible’s attestation to its own inspiration with the Scripture passages from which those characteristics are drawn. Have you bothered looking at the passages?

      Besides, Joseph Smith’s claim to inspiration is on a far more nonsensical basis: the use of seer stones which he’d previously used for treasure hunting (please read the link, along with those to the Scripture passages above).

      As for the Koran, it’s originals actually underwent the kind of official revision unbelievers like to pretend was made to the Bible at the council of Nicea (which didn’t happen). Called the Uthmanic recension, the originals were gathered up, claimed to be copied perfectly, the originals or earlier copies were burned, and the new official recension published to all corners of the Caliphate. With the Bible’s fast publication across both the Eastern and Western halves of the Roman empire, such a recension would be impossible–earlier copies can always be dug up somewhere. Yet detractors of the integrity of the Bible’s textual transmission make such claims anyway.

      The Scriptural evidence alone (again, see the verse links above) for the inspiration of Scripture is far more intelligent and realistic than either of these religions’ claims.

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