Hello brothers and sisters of Testify God:
There’s a question I really can’t figure out. I want to seek your understanding of it. In 2 Timothy 3:16, Brother Paul said, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” I, as well as many brothers and sisters, think that all words in the Bible are given by inspiration of God and are all God’s words, and we’ve never doubted this. However, recently when I read the Bible, I unexpectedly found some contradictions in it. The Bible says: “Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 36:9). But it says in 2 Kings 24:8: “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months.” From the two verses we can see 2 Chronicles says Jehoiachin was eight when he began to reign, while 2 Kings says it was when he was eighteen. What’s more, 2 Chronicles says he reigned for three months and ten days while 2 Kings says he only reigned for three months. If all the words in the Bible are God’s words and given by inspiration of God, then one thing should be recorded the same, and there should be no contradictions. Why are there different versions of the same thing? Now I am confused whether or not the Bible is given by inspiration of God. I’m looking forward to your reply.
Hello Sister Muyi:
Thank the Lord! If there is anything we don’t understand, we can discuss it together. The more we discuss, the clearer our understanding of the truth becomes. As to the issue whether or not all scripture is given by inspiration of God, we will talk a little bit about our own understanding so that we can learn from each other.
We all know that the saying “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” was spoken by Paul, not the Lord Jesus Himself. So unavoidably, there are mixtures of human ideas in it. Paul was just an apostle who spread. His words can’t represent God’s words. We should use the Lord Jesus’ words to evaluate if Paul’s words conform to the truth. Moreover, these words were in the letter that apostle Paul wrote to the Timothy Church in 60 A.D. At that time, people could only read the Old Testament. The New Testament hadn’t been compiled into a book yet, and there were just some letters kept in the churches. After 300 A.D., the leaders of those churches had a meeting together, in which they selected the Four Gospels, the letters of Paul, Peter, John, etc., and Revelation wrote by John after he saw the vision on Patmos Island after 90 A.D., to be arranged and organized into the New Testament. Subsequently, they combined the New Testament and the Old Testament to become the Old and New Testament we read today. The book of Timothy was written by Paul after 60 A.D., while the New Testament was formed after 300 A.D. They are more than 200 years apart. Therefore, we should know that when Paul said that all scripture was given by inspiration of God, he referred to the Old Testament, not the whole Bible. The view that the whole Bible is given by inspiration of God is inconsistent with the background of Paul saying these words. Additionally, the saying “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” was out of Paul’s mouth. The prophets didn’t say so when they conveyed God’s words. God has never said that the whole Bible is given by inspiration of God. The Holy Spirit never testified these words, either. Obviously, Paul’s words are totally groundless. It is his own understanding of the Bible. It doesn’t represent the will of the Lord Jesus, nor of the Holy Spirit. If we hold on to these words of Paul, aren’t we violating God’s will?
As to the issue whether or not all the words in the Bible are God’s words and given by inspiration of God , I saw a fellowship in a book. The book says: “Today, people believe the Bible is God, and that God is the Bible. So, too, do they believe that all the words of the Bible were the only words God spoke, and that they were all said by God. Those who believe in God even think that although all of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament were written by people, they were all given by inspiration of God, and a record of the utterances of the Holy Spirit. This is the erroneous interpretation of people, and it does not completely accord with the facts. In fact, apart from the books of prophecy, most of the Old Testament is historical record. Some of the epistles of the New Testament come from people’s experiences, and some come from the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit; the Pauline epistles, for example, arose from the work of a man, they were all the result of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, and they were written for the churches, were words of exhortation and encouragement for the brothers and sisters of the churches. They were not words spoken by the Holy Spirit—Paul could not speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit, and neither was he a prophet, much less did he see visions that John beheld. His epistles were written for the churches of Ephesus, Philadelphia, Galatia, and other churches” (“Concerning the Bible (3)”). From this passage I see it is an erroneous interpretation of people that the whole Bible is given by inspiration of God. It is not in accordance with the truth at all. In the Old Testament, there are the prophecies of the prophets as well as the historical records of God’s work. All the prophecies of the prophets were given by inspiration of God. They were written by the prophets after they saw the visions, heard the voice and gained revelation from God. In addition, we can see in the Bible that the scripture given by inspiration of God is all marked in the beginning with “the vision of Apostle so-and-so” or “To Apostle so-and-so the word of God came.” For example, Isaiah 1:1, “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.” And Jeremiah 1:2, “To whom the word of Jehovah came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.” And also in Malachi, it says: “The burden of the word of Jehovah to Israel by Malachi.” We can say that in the Old Testament, no one will find similar hints except for in the books of the prophets. Besides, in Revelation, the vision that John saw on Patmos Island was revealed by God, too. That’s to say, except for the books of prophecy, other parts of the Old Testament can be seen as historical record.
In addition, most of the epistles of the New Testament are from man’s experiences. They are not all God’s words. Some of the Pauline epistles, for example, are from Paul’s work experience, and some are from the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. But they cannot be called God’s words nor the revelation of the Holy Spirit. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:17: “That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting;” 1 Corinthians 7:25: “Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that has obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.” It is clear that Paul’s words represent his own experience, seeing and knowledge. His words were not directly instructed by God and are different from the inspiration the prophets received. If what he said was absolutely the word of God coming to him, then he would dare not say, “as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting,” or “I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment….” In the Bible, only the words from Jehovah, the prophecies from the prophets in the Old Testament, and a few verses in the Four Gospels in the New Testament are God’s words. Like when the Lord Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you,” “I say to you,” or “Jesus said,” all of them are God’s words. For example, “And Jesus said to them, Come you after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17); “And he said to them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent” (Luke 4:43), etc. All of the words with “Jesus said” are God’s words. Similarly, in the Old Testament there are God’s words which were written by people with inspiration of Jehovah. For example, Jehovah said: “for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17); “And Jehovah said to Satan, Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil?” (Job 1:8); “Now Jehovah had said to Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1), etc. From these words we can see that no matter whether they are the words of the Lord Jesus or of Jehovah God, Their words are marked with “the Lord Jesus said” or “Jehovah God said.” The words which are not marked with that are not God’s words.
Besides God’s words, whose words are there in the Bible? Let’s look at Genesis, Jehovah said: “For in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.” And the serpent said to the woman, “You shall not surely die”; Job 1:7: “And Jehovah said to Satan, From where come you? Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it”; Numbers 22:30: “And the ass said to Balaam, Am not I your ass, on which you have ridden ever since I was your to this day? was I ever wont to do so to you? And he said, No”; Matthew 4:9-10: “And said to him, All these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me. Then said Jesus to him, Get you hence, Satan”; Luke 6:2: “And certain of the Pharisees said to them, Why do you that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?” From these words recorded in the Bible, we can see that these words include dialogues between God and Satan, the words of a devil tempting Jesus, of Pharisees’ condemnation of Jesus, of an ass, etc. The fact proves that not all the words in the Bible are given by inspiration of God. They are not all God’s words, either.
Then let’s discern whether all the words in the Bible are God’s words from a different perspective. If all the words in the Bible are God’s words and given by inspiration of God, then there shouldn’t be any contradictions. However, in the Bible, there are many things which are recorded in different versions. For example, one verse reads: “Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you, That this night, before the cock crow, you shall deny me thrice” (Matthew 26:34). But there is a different version of it: “And Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, you shall deny me thrice” (Mark 14:30). Here we can see that Mark recorded “before the cock crow twice,” but Matthew recorded “before the cock crow.” Which one is true? Moreover, it was recorded in Matthew 27:5: “And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.” But Acts 1:18 records: “Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the middle, and all his bowels gushed out.” They are two versions of Judas’ death. Matthew said Judas hung himself while Paul said he burst asunder in the middle. What is the explanation for this? Besides, there are two versions of the age when Jehoiachin reigned. Why is it so? If there are no mixtures of people’s ideas in these books and they are all given by inspiration of God, why are there different versions of the same thing? Could there be something wrong in God’s words? Absolutely not! It’s because people have different experiences and knowledge; their levels of education and caliber vary, too. Therefore, what they recorded are different. For example, in the Four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each have different versions of the work of the Lord Jesus, each with its own characteristics. They were all recorded by man, so we can’t say that everything they recorded was given by inspiration of God.
Sister, through our fellowship, have you gained discernment that not all scripture is given by inspiration of God and that not all the words in the Bible are God’s words? But today I’m not proclaiming that the Bible is totally valueless by fellowshiping the inside story and substance of the Bible. Rather, I’m trying to give you a correct view of the Bible. We should know clearly that God’s words are God’s words, which we should pay attention to experiencing and practicing; man’s words are man’s words, which we cannot compare to nor regard as God’s words. It is utterly wrong to regard man’s words as God’s words. It is blasphemous to God! Because man’s words are never the truth. At most they are the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and personal understanding. Only God’s words are the truth. Just as the Lord Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). God’s words are the truth. No matter what questions we have, we can find the answers in God’s words. We hope the above fellowshiping is of use to you. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch and we will look into it with you.
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