The Bible makes very definite claims for itself.
No Bible reader has a right to reject what the Bible says about itself.
If we are to ever understand the Bible, we must approach it sympathetically. Otherwise, the Bible, even if we read and study it, will be a closed book for us.
Here is a striking claim the Bible makes for itself:
1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (King James Version)
1Co 2:13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. (English Standard Version)
1Co 2:13 Every word we speak was taught to us by God’s Spirit, not by human wisdom. And this same Spirit helps us teach spiritual things to spiritual people. (Contemporary English Version)
1Co 2:13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. (New Living Translation, Second Edition, 2004)
This is a specific claim to verbal inspiration.
Divine inspiration of Scripture is asserted also at 2 Timothy 3:16,
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
The divine inspiration of Scripture writers is asserted by Peter in his second letter,
2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Failure to accept the Bible’s own testimony to itself has closed this Book to so-called “modern scholarship” (a misnomer if ever there was one!). Much modern scholarship is dishonest, for instead of explaining the Bible, it attempts to explain away the Bible, refusing to honestly come to grips with its claims and message.
In an effort to escape the Bible’s obvious message, dishonest scholarship has tried to deny its authenticity and authorship, ascribing, for example, the books of Moses to multiple late authorship; denying the unity of Isaiah; asserting that the gospels, particularly the Gospel of John, are of late origin, and do not reflect the so-called “historical Jesus,” but views and traditions of the early Church of the third or fourth century.
Fatal to such incorrect views of the Gospels is the fact that the Gospels are quoted many times in early Christian literature. Critics cannot logically explain how books can be quoted or translated before they were written, or how such stupenduous claims could be foisted upon a gullible public long after the possibility of disproof by eyewitnesses has passed.
The only way to get at the message of the Bible is to be completely open to its message.
To approach Scripture with humanistic and naturalistic (that is, anti-theistic) presuppositions is to try to twist Scripture to fit a worldview which it most emphatically will not support. The only valid approach to Scripture is to be honest to its claims and message and grant its right to set forth a theistic, supernaturalistic worldview.
To deny the possibility of miracle (as Hume and his modern counterparts) is to deny the possibility of history, for both are based upon the record of eye-witness testimony, and such denial is absurd.
There are more pathways to truth and knowledge than an arbitrarily narrowly defined so-called “scientific method.”
Like missing the right exit on a freeway, continued advance in the wrong direction is not progress. Genuine progress will require a return to where we went wrong, and a fresh start in the right direction. Much “scholarship” needs to recognize it has pursued a wrong path, and recognize that it needs to return to sound principles of former generations of reverent, truthful, believing scholarship.
It is neither truthful nor fair scholarship to approach a work of literature from a consistently unsympathetic and hostile worldview in the attempt to legitimately understand its message. Rather, in our attempt to understand a work of literature, we must let it speak for itself.
The task of scholarship is to place the reader as close as possible in sympathetic relationship to the viewpoint of the writer and recipients of the literary work, and not to attempt to explain it away in an effort to force it to agree with popular contemporary philosophical presuppositions or fads in “modern scholarship.”
Approach the Bible by believing, not denying, what it says.