the authority of scripture

It’s a funny thing, the debate over the authority of scripture.
In recent days I’ve been talking with a bunch of liberals about 2Tim3:16.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

It’s actually quite amazing to see the grammatical contortions that people go through to avoid the obvious import of this verse.

The first thing that you hear often is that the verse is saying “All God-breathed scripture is useful for …” the obvious import being that not all scripture is God-breathed.
It’s such a poor argument that it’s laughable

The greek is “pasa graphhe theopneustos kai ohphelimos…” literally “all scripture godwind/breath/spirit and useful…”
So liberal reply falls flat. The kai is a conjunction opening up another idea so the first clause is “pasa graphhe theopneustos” which is a classic Pauline non-verbal clause. Theopneustos is an adjective and there’s only one noun to apply it to, i.e. scripture. Simply put, “all scripture is godbreathed” and then the conjunction “kai” to introduce a new thought.

Liberal argument #2, “theopneustos means ‘breathed on by God’ or ‘breathing out God’

Again, it’s pretty poor. For this to be the case you would have to have a preposition and God would be the indirect object or there would be a clearer verb. Either way it’s simply not there in the text.

So where does this leave us? It leaves me increasingly convinced, ultimately, that Calvin’s proof of the authority of scripture is correct. There was a long time when I didn’t buy his reasoning but the more that I talk to those that reject this key doctrine, the more it is becoming clear to me.

Here’s the full argument

5. Let it therefore be held as fixed, that those who are inwardly taught by the Holy Spirit acquiesce implicitly in Scripture; that Scripture carrying its own evidence along with it, deigns not to submit to proofs and arguments, but owes the full conviction with which we ought to receive it to the testimony of the Spirit.

Or, in other words, Jesus’ sheep know His voice and those that don’t know it, aren’t His sheep. (John 10:4)
A sad conclusion but one that, ISTM, makes more and more sense.

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8 comments on “the authority of scripture

  1. I have also heard opponents try to exclude the New Testament from the term “Scripture” here (chiefly to try to unburden themselves of St. Paul), but that leaves them in a mess as well. There are many, many Old Testament passages they wish were not God-breathed.

    (The idea they put forth is that since the books that now make of the NT were not written when that verse was penned, they cannot be included in it.)

  2. 2 Peter 3:16
    [Paul] writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

    I think this means that Peter considered Paul’s letters to be “Scripture” before there was ever a Cannon of the NT.

  3. It’s always a blessing to hear a fellow calvanist declare the truth of the Scriptures. And an even greater blessing is to witness one deeply engaged in the study of the Word.

    keep it up, co-heir!

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