The Scriptures — Inspired or Expired?

“That Book in Your Hand”

The first of my sermons on Bibliology (the study of what the Scriptures are, and how they came to us) dealt with the inspiration of the Scriptures, from II Timothy 3:16.  I have been writing for about a week on thoughts related to that sermon.

This series is more academic/technical than my usual writing, and some readers may be wondering why, and why I have spent so much time on the Greek word theopneustos (“given by inspiration of God”).  This post may provide some explanation.

An unfortunate teaching began in the 1880s and has spread through the theology department of seminaries and Christian universities and colleges, whether reformed, evangelical, or Christian fundamentalist.  Most pastors with theological training have heard this teaching, and many have been influenced by it.  It is essentially a problem of definitions, but it can cause confusion and have significant pastoral ramifications.

My primary purpose in the sermon I preached and in this series of posts is to lay down a marker for our church fellowship as to what we believe and teach.

Defining theopneustos

God breathed the Scriptures into existence, and He breathed life into the Scriptures.  They are divine in origin and divine in nature, a living, life-giving, and life-changing Book.

I have written five posts on evidences for the meaning of theopneustos, which I have now summarised (with links to the detail) in this post, The Meaning of theopneustos.  Near the bottom, I’ve added two sections on the grammatical context and the translational / theological history of the word.  That page (with the supporting links) explains the reasons for the definition I have given and the assertions I make in this post about the meaning of the word.

The act by which God gave the Scriptures (historically called “immediate inspiration”) is not the full meaning of theopneustos.  The meaning goes beyond etymology, and includes the connotations of the breath of God.  The focus is not primarily on the divine origin of the Bible, but on the divine nature resulting from that divine origin.

This divine nature or quality is present in an accurate copy.  The nature of the Scriptures resides in the words and concepts, not in paper and ink.  Thus, a completely accurate copy is as fully inspired as the original, even though it was not “immediately inspired.”

This living and life-giving nature is present in translations.  Thus, the nations can receive life through the Scriptures (Romans 16:25-27).  Peter can tell Greek readers that their Old Testament translation gives them a “sure word of prophecy” (II Peter 1:19).  Paul can tell Timothy to “preach the Word” from his Greek translation of the Old Testament because it is theopneustos and profitable.  Just as Timothy’s imperfect but reasonably accurate translation was theopneustos, so any reasonably accurate translation in any language is inspired today.  Neither Timothy’s translation nor ours were “immediately inspired.”

An Unfortunate Teaching

The Latin root “spiro” from which “inspiration” is derived means “breathe.”  We still see this root in words like “respiratory.”  “Inspire” (though in modern English it has acquired other connotations) meant “breathe into,” while “ex-spire / expire” (which also now has other meanings) meant “breathe out.”

For centuries, theopneustos was understood to refer to both the Divine origin (historical) AND the Divine nature (current) of the Scriptures.  We see this in both the history of translations and in theological writing.  (If you have read my prior posts but not the summary page linked above, this is discussed near the bottom.)   Thus, theopneustos was translated with some form of the expression “inspired by God” (breathed into) in every major translation until 1970.

Benjamin B. Warfield — A Word Redefined

In the late 19th century, Benjamin Warfield (eventually of Princeton Theological Seminary) changed the focus.  Writing in 1881 (with A.A. Hodge), Warfield responded to heretical challenges to the authority and inerrancy of Scripture.  However, as he focused on the theological problem, he redefined theopneustos (inspiration) to mean “immediate inspiration.”

Warfield specifically said he was narrowing the definition, and suggested his technical definition was narrower than Biblical usage (citations and analysis of some of his teaching here: Warfield’s Redefinition of Inspiration).

For Warfield, “inspired” became no longer what “is,” a statement about the current nature of Scripture, but only what “was,” a statement about how God gave the Scriptures, their origin.  He taught that the Scriptures were “breathed-out” (ex-spired) rather than “breathed-into” (inspired), and that only the original autographs were inspired (past tense rather than the Biblical present tense).

Warfield’s Followers

Warfield was a brilliant theologian and writer, and his teaching “swept the field,” so to speak.  Some, like Arthur Pink, still held to the historic view of inspiration, but the vast majority of theologians and theological seminaries followed Warfield’s redefinition of inspiration.

Thus, another great scholar of more recent times, Gleason Archer, in his Survey of Old Testament Introduction wrote of theopneustos:

This word is really to be rendered ‘breathed out by God’ rather than ‘breathed into by God.’  The emphasis is upon the divine origin of the inscripturated revelation itself rather than upon a special quality infused into the words of Scripture.

Archer follows Warfield, changing “inspired” to “ex-spired,” a reference only to the divine origin of the Bible.  The New International Version, in the 1970s, abandoned “inspiration” and translated, “All Scripture is God-breathed,” based solely on etymology.  The English Standard Version went further:  “All Scripture is breathed out by God” (emphasis mine), moving past etymology to base translation on a theological redefinition from the 1880s.

Warfield’s limitation of inspiration to the original autographs alone has been widely adopted.  Another evangelical theologian, Greg Bahnsen wrote:

Therefore, inspiration may be applied legitimately only to the autographs of Scripture.

Even a superb school like Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary says at the beginning of a document on their website (more on this document later — it improves further down):

The biblical and historic fundamentalist view on the inspiration of the Scripture is that only the original manuscripts are God-breathed and therefore inerrant (2 Tim 3:16).

These are only representative — if you search the Internet for “inspiration” and “autographs” you will find hundreds of similar statements.  Many who believe in inspiration today limit it to the originals.  Copies, even accurate ones, are not inspired by God at all, and a translation certainly isn’t inspired. 

Inspiration has Expired 

“That Book in Your Hand”, by this teaching, is not inspired, not given by inspiration of God.  Since we don’t have the original manuscripts, and since inspiration is limited to those original autographs, “inspired” has not only been changed to “expired”, inspiration itself has expired — it ceased to exist when the original autographs ceased to exist.  You do not have an inspired Bible, and you never will.  No one does.  That is the harsh statement of the theological consensus that follows Warfield’s redefinition of inspiration.

Where the Teaching is Right — and Where it is Wrong

Warfield’s teaching, followed so widely today, is correct in recognising the unique miraculous act of God in the original giving of the Scriptures (immediate inspiration, sometimes called “inscripturation”).  Inspiration (theopneustos) by etymology clearly has some reference to immediate inspiration, the divine origin of the Scriptures, and there is no error in drawing on that fact.  Furthermore, immediate inspiration is properly limited to the original autographs.

The error is in tearing a Biblical word away from its Scriptural usage and giving it a narrow technical definition.  Paul was not writing only about immediate inspiration when he penned theopneustos.  He was writing about the Book Timothy was to preach, which could not have been original autographs in Greek-speaking Ephesus.

Derived Inspiration?

Bahnsen elsewhere at least momentarily backed away from the error, saying of a modern translation:

…but it is still the very Word of God, inspired and inerrant – to the degree that it reflects the original work of God, which… is a qualification that is very seldom in need of being stated.

He said that his translation is inspired in a qualified way (and the qualification is so obvious it rarely needs stated).  This is much better, much closer to Biblical usage — where no qualification was stated.  Others have spoken of copies and translations (“That Book in Your Hand”) as being inspired in a derived sense, deriving their inspiration from their faithfulness to the original.  The Detroit Baptist statement I cited above says later:

All other texts, copies, reproductions, translations, and versions partake of inspiration in an indirect, linear fashion from previous copies and translations to the extent that they reproduce the text of the original manuscripts.

This is far superior to the stark opening statement I cited previously, affirming what one of my professors (and many other theologians) adamantly denied.  It admits Book-in-hand inspiration (in some sense), which is more than many are willing to do.  It is accurate in recognising that the inspiration of copies and translations is dependent on fidelity to the original — but it still misses the point to an extent.

Those who speak of “derived” or “indirect” inspiration tend to treat it almost as an after-thought, as if the thing that really matters is the theological discussion of the act of immediate inspiration.  They have it backwards.  To the pastor and teacher, to the man in the pew, and to the professional theogian in his spiritual life, for that matter, immediate inspiration is of no value at all unless the divine nature of the Scriptures lives on.  The focus is wrong, and far from Paul’s focus.

We should not minimise what Paul is saying by qualifying or using terms like “derived” or “indirect.”  Paul was talking about Timothy’s Greek translation when he said it is theopneustos — and he simply didn’t insert “derived” or “indirect” to lessen the force of his statement.  We shouldn’t, either.

Those who speak of “derived” inspiration are still primarily talking about the origin (immediate inspiration) of the Scriptures.  They are using a definition of inspiration that was adopted for theological controversies, rather than one determined by Paul’s actual usage of the word.  That definition drives them to use words that diminish the impact of the message of II Timothy 3:16 for believers who hold a divine Book in their hands.

Heretics and Apostates?

A few have charged Warfield (and those who followed in his footsteps) with heresy or apostasy.  This is serious error, in both fact and spirit.  The mistake discussed here is a problem of definition, not apostasy or heresy, and to level such charges is untrue and uncharitable.  Warfield’s statements about “inspiration” are entirely true of “immediate inspiration,” and he provided an immense service to God’s people.  His work should be appreciated, even if it isn’t infallible.

Does it Matter?

Truth always matters, of course, but this has pastoral implications.  If I preach Warfield’s teaching on inspiration as the whole meaning of theopneustos, I have stolen II Timothy 3:16 from the people in our church.  I merely describe something that happened historically, rather than affirming their faith in “That Book in Your Hand.”

Paul’s entire purpose was to affirm the value of Timothy’s Book-in-hand.  He didn’t include the “only in the originals” caveat that is usually included today.  It simply isn’t there in II Timothy 3:16 — and if I were to teach it, it would weaken, rather than strengthen, the hearers’ faith in “That Book in Their Hands.”

God’s people have been taught by His Spirit to recognise the Scriptures as a Book that is divine in nature as well as origin.  When we redefine “inspired” we are effectively teaching, whether we mean to or not, that their Book-in-hand is not divine — it isn’t inspired, only the originals are.  Their Book is merely man’s best effort, copying and translating through the centuries, to try to give them something that approximates the original inspired text.

Can anyone think, reading II Timothy 3:10-4:8, that this is really what Paul intended to convey — that God did something really good in the past, but we don’t have it any longer?  What God did in inspiration only applies to the originals, Timothy, certainly not to your copies and translations.  Can anyone read that Scripture passage and think that is really the force of what Paul meant to teach?  Too many of our theologians have gone astray, turning a passage affirming your Book-in-hand into a teaching that casts doubts about that Book.

What Paul Intended

Arthur Pink:

The word “inspire” signifies to in-breathe, and breath is both the means and evidence of life; for as soon as a person ceases to breathe he is dead. The Word of God, then, is vitalized by the very life of God, and therefore it is a living Book. Men’s books are like themselves—dying creatures; but God’s Book is like Himself—it “lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:23).

And again:

The Holy Scriptures not only were “inspired of God,” but they are so now. They come as really and as truly God’s Word to us, as they did unto those to whom they were first addressed. In substantiation of what I have just said, it is striking to note “Therefore as the Holy Spirit says, Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Heb. 3:7, 8); and again, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says (not “said”) unto the churches” (Rev. 2:7). (emphasis mine)

Arthur Pink was correct when he said that in 1936, and it is true today.  Thus Christians have believed through the centuries.  Few modern theologians would say it so directly, but there are some.

Modern preoccupation with the no-longer-extant autographs too often neglects the very real and pragmatic plight of present-day Christians who desperately wish that the custodians of Biblical inspiration would give them some inclination as to the authority of their Bible, the one they hold in their hands.  Is it or is it not the Word of God?  Is it inspired or is it not?

Goodrick’s concluding words:

…one should hardly enlist 2 Tim 3:16-17 to support the pristine character of the autographs.  Rather, he should exploit it to the full to demonstrate how valuable the God-breathed Scriptures are.  And this, after all, is more important.

I would not say Goodrick gets everything right, but he is entirely correct about the purpose of Paul’s writing.  This is what theopneustos means, in context.

Theologians should return to the term “immediate inspiration,” or perhaps use “inspired inscripturation.”  They should not use theopneustos, “given by inspiration of God,” to describe only the origin of Scripture.  It is a Biblical word, and should be used in keeping with its Biblical context and usage.

However, professional theologians are not the “custodians of Biblical inspiration.”  That title belongs to the church (I Timothy 3:15), taught and led by pastors.  We use and appreciate the work of theologians, but pastors teach in the church the inspired Word to men, women, and children.  Our church, one “custodian of Biblical inspiration,” teaches thus:

The Bible in your hand is inspired, “given by inspiration of God.”  The word theopneustos belongs to you when you read the Bible, to your pastor when he preaches it, and to all of us as we live it.  “That Book in Your Hand” came from God, and it is and will continue to be a God-thing in character and quality, God-breathed, divine in nature.  Living, life-giving, and life-changing, we read it, study it, believe it, and obey it. 

Update: Next main article.

About Jon Gleason

Former Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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25 Responses to The Scriptures — Inspired or Expired?

  1. SPM says:

    Amen, and AMEN!

  2. Pingback: Some Thoughts, Links, and Sources on Inerrancy and Inspiration | The BitterSweet End

  3. Jon Gleason says:

    Note about the above pingback. I do not agree with or endorse much on that blog. But I welcome comments with which I disagree, and the blog author has obviously read and given some thought to more than one of my posts, and his comments and his pingback (in at least this case) are welcome.

  4. Ennio Palozzo says:

    seems like I am coming to this on its anniversary (of three years ago),. Perhaps what I think is irrelevant to those well armed with scholarly work in defence of traditional beliefs., but I was interested to explore if inspired might have also meant approval, in the sense that God might approve e.g. “eye for an eye” law, but it would not reflect Him. Was not Paul also in dispute as to whether the scriptures were also meant for the “unworthy” uncircumcised. So Paul would have had questions about the Bible and pondered How much is it of man and how much of God, shall await your learned reply with much interest.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, Ennio, I’m sorry for not responding sooner.

      I don’t think one needs scholarly work to simply read what the Bible says. I’m fortunate to have been given the opportunity and ability to study the original languages, which sometimes opens up things I might have missed otherwise. But it is pretty clear what the Scriptures say about this.

      Everywhere, it refers to the Scriptures as the very words of God, what God says. I’ll give just one example:
      Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

      That’s quoting Old Testament Scripture (from the Book of Joel) and it says it is what God says. There are many places that indicate the same thing.

      Also, since God is unchanging and holy, I don’t see how we could say He approved something that didn’t reflect Him.

      So while it is an interesting idea, I don’t think it can stand. It seems to me the Bible has to either stand together or fall together. It claims for its foundation the authorship of God Himself. If you reject that, I think you have to pretty much abandon the whole thing.

      • Ennio Palozzo says:

        …so, how could it be that in the Old Testament the rule /law was an “eye for an eye” and in the new testament “I tell you love your enemies, do good to them who harm you…”
        other contradictions can be found. can you answer this?

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Hello, Ennio. I can’t claim to answer every apparent contradiction, nor would I expect to be able to answer every single one.

        But many are relatively easy, and this is one of those.

        The Old Testament law was, indeed, a law. It was describing the justice which should be undertaken under the civil law of the land. We have no right to be merciful or forgiving at the expense of others. This was saying that a victim has the right to equal justice, that the government must ensure that the punishment fits the crime.

        Jesus, however, was not telling His disciples how to run a government or a legal system. He wasn’t writing a legal code when He taught them to love their enemies. He was talking to individuals.

        A week ago, a man in Charleston, South Carolina, said to the man who had just murdered his wife, “I forgive you and my family forgives you.” Based on his words, he was following Jesus’ teaching to love our enemies. But the government has a different responsibility, the responsibility to execute justice.

        The Old Testament in this case was speaking to government responsibilities, the New Testament to individual responses. There is no reason to expect them to say the exact same thing. The Old Testament told government what is justice. The New Testament told followers of Jesus that He expects more of us than to just demand justice when we are wronged.

  5. Ennio Palozzo says:

    the government’s response could be “capital punishment”, does the “individual” allow that or still forgives?

    • Jon Gleason says:

      In any reasonable judicial system, capital crimes are those in which the government has a compelling interest in punishing the crime. It is not only the victim that has been damaged, but society as a whole, and a murderer or rapist should not be allowed to go free whether victims (or their friends and families) forgive or not.

      An individual does not have a choice to “allow that” — the government will do what it is going to do. A victim may forgive, but when the victim is not the only one that has been wronged, that has no bearing on what the government should do.

      The recent killings at the church in South Carolina give us a good example. Representatives of the victims’ families said that they forgave, but the actions of the killer damaged not only his direct victims and their families, but the soul of a society. They may forgive, but that does not mean he should go free.

      • Ennio Palozzo says:

        understand (I think), you separate the individual and society, can you do that?, what if individual only living being (no society)?…anywhy lot’s of other contradictions between old and new testament…no missionaries in the OT, ok in the new…, why so long for redemption?, did OT expext to live forever?, was God a Spirit or like us (recall the Garden of Eden)…take them one at a time interested in you answers…

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Of course you must separate the individual and society! I have no right to compel you to pay me money, but government has the right to compel people to pay taxes. I have no right to imprison you, but the government does if you break the law. A moral instruction for governments would be to tax you fairly. A moral instruction for me would be to not take any money from you at all. No one expects the same moral instructions to apply to individuals as to governments. There may be the same underlying moral principles, but the specific instructions applying those principles will be very different.

        As to your other contradictions — Jonah was a missionary in the Old Testament. Daniel and his friends were taken by force to Babylon, but they behaved as missionaries while there. God intended Israel to be a light to the nations, they just didn’t do it very well.

        The wait for redemption is not a contradiction. Provision was made for redemption in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament there was trust in a Redeemer to come (Isaiah 53), in the New there is trust in the Redeemer who has come. It is the same Redeemer and the same faith.

        Did they expect to live forever in the Old Testament? Job 19:25-27 certainly appears to refer to faith in a resurrection. Verses such as Isaiah 25:8 and 26:19, Hosea 6:3 and 13:14, and Psalm 17:15, all refer to a belief in a coming resurrection.

        God is a Spirit and always has been, but He has always been able to appear like a man when it accomplishes His purpose. Angels are the same, they are spirits, but can appear as human beings.

        If we go on, you may find something that is hard for me to explain, but perhaps you should consider that whoever is telling you the Bible is full of contradictions is either misinformed or dishonest. These things you’ve listed are not contradictions at all, nor are they even hard to explain or understand..

        Some of the differences between the Old and New Testament are simply because of the fact that the Bible tells a story. It is the story of how God’s created people rejected Him, went their own way, and He brought them back to Himself.

        No one expects any other book to say exactly the same thing in the first chapter as in the last. The story develops as it goes along, you don’t know the whole thing at once. It builds to a climax, and then you have what comes after that.

        That’s the way the Bible is, too. Of course there are differences, but they are not contradictions. The Old Testament doesn’t tell everything — it was building to the climax, the central event in the story, the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospels are building to that event as well, and then at the end of each Gospel, they describe that central event. The rest of the New Testament is describing the result of that central event, what happens now because of it. Of course it has more of the story.

        The difference between this story and every other story is that it covers the events of thousands of years and is a true story which was completely planned by the Author.

      • Ennio Palozzo says:

        I wrote my last post very much in a hurry, you are right the question about redemption is not one of the contradictions…howver for mankind to wait 4000 years was a long time, and the gospels seem very confused about Jesus’ mission, very often love is seen as the mission, also the identity of God simply a problem: Genesis shows a “human-like” god,the Spiritual seems to come along later, maybe much later. The missionaries in the OT were they to “the house of Israel”…this is another proble about “the chosen race/chosen people”…In fact the Bible is so full of problems and contadictions that it does not seem very intelligent to believe suchversions (often conflicting) versions of reality.

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Well, Ennio, I’ve dispensed with the problems you’ve raised pretty quickly and easily.

        But consider for a moment the assumption your comments makes — that a true book about an infinite and eternal God would be without difficulties for finite people trying to understand it. That’s not logical at all. Of course there will be some difficulties. A six year old might read a literary classic and find it full of difficulties and contradictions — but maybe it is hard to understand because the concepts are a little advanced for him.

        (Jonah was not a missionary to “the house of Israel” — he went to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, one of Israel’s deadliest enemies. A precursor to Jesus saying, “Love thine enemies” — and that’s in the Old Testament.)

  6. Ennio palozzo says:

    Is not the bible written to be understood by all? Story of JOnah is interesting, what might have been the motive? Did not Jesus come just for the Jews? You have lost patience with me, and maybe you don,,’t like to confront problems with the bible, others will bring them up also, ignoring me is hardly a solution for your faith..

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, Ennio, I don’t see why you say I’m ignoring you. But I will say that the Bible is written to be understood by those who are willing to approach it with a desire to learn what it says. Your last post, at least, gives doubt that you are really prepared to give the Scriptures a fair hearing. It didn’t give a serious response in regard to OT missionaries.

      And when someone has answered every objection you have raised so far, to then say what you did about the Bible being so full of contradictions and problems hardly gives the impression of one who is approaching the subject with integrity.

      But I’ll add this. The purpose of this site is not a debate forum, but to be an aid to Christians who want to increase in their faith and obedience to God. The purpose of this particular post was to discuss what the Bible means when it talks about inspiration. It is not to discuss every contradiction that someone might think they see in the Bible. People who come to this post (and many still do, three years on) don’t come here for that purpose. Your initial comment was on topic in discussing what “inspiration” actually means, but this has gone pretty far afield from the topic of the post.

      If you want to continue the discussion along the lines you’ve taken this one, I’m not necessarily unwilling, but this is not the post. Perhaps an alternative would be this one: Not only do most of the “contradictions” people think they see in Scripture disappear under closer scrutiny, but there is some pretty compelling evidence on the other side of the question.

      • Ennio Palozzo says:

        Thankyou for the link, maybe I’ll use it at some point. I don’t think you have understood me, I am very open-minded and of “good will”, I think a lot of “Christians” are not really. Thankyou for your time and answers, but please note well that an answer is not necessarily “the” answer, my questions are valid, even if at time I have seemed to get off the point, the answers not necessarily satisfactory….maybe the Bible needs to be seen in a new light, have you ever considered that? A new birth…

      • Ennio Palozzo says:

        if you have time and the “inspiration”, I would be interested to know why you believe in God (without considering Jesus)…couple of points/paragraphs maybe..

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Hello, Ennio, I’ve not been able to get to this for several days.

        You note that an answer is not necessarily “the” answer. That is manifestly true. But an alleged contradiction can only be asserted to be a contradiction if there is no possible answer that resolves the contradiction. This is simple logic. Nor have you disputed the answers to show they can’t resolve the alleged contradictions, you’ve just moved on to more assertions of contradictions. Your questions are valid, but your responses to the answers to those questions are not valid.

        Nevertheless, I’ll answer your final post. But I won’t do it in this post, I won’t distract from this post further with off-topic discussion. In any event, others might be interested, so it makes more sense as a front page article. I will write another article to address that, and put a link to it here when I have done so. It may not happen for several days, I am quite busy.

      • Ennio Palozzo says:

        fine, whenever it’s convenient for you. True, I have not disputed your answers, just wanted to see what you would say first, (you are busy, are you a writer or minister of religion?). supplying me a link to discuss this further will be ok, Have been reading parts of “Zealot” and Bishop Sloan’s book :”Anew Christianity for a new Age”. you are aware of these books I imagine, the second one is the one that probably challenges you the most…I am somewhere in there, I think salvation is that way and you might need to revise your own “faith”…

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Hello, Ennio. You asked if I’m a minister. Yes, an ordained minister and the pastor of Free Baptist Church in Glenrothes, Scotland. But I’m what is called a “bivocational minister” (also known as a “tentmaking pastor”) and I work as a computer consultant to support my family. So blogging comes pretty low on my list of priorities.

        Anyway, I’ve written an article as to some of the reasons I believe in the Bible and the God described in the Bible. You said “without considering Jesus.” That, of course, is impossible for a Christian to answer, since we believe Jesus is God the Son, and the primary means by which God has let us know of Himself (John 1:18). So one HAS to “consider Jesus” in asking whether (or why) one believes in the Bible or God. If there were no Jesus, there would be no reason to believe.

        In fact, though most of my article is not directly about Jesus, without Him the whole article would fall apart. For I’ve said that the Bible rings true, and it does, but without Jesus, it wouldn’t. To ask a Christian to say why they believe without considering Jesus is like asking a baker to make a cake without flour, yeast, eggs, and sugar. You might be able to construct something that looks like a cake, but something would be missing….

        Anyway, the article is here:

      • Ennio Palozzo says:

        …Thankyou, for your continuing answers, of course I shall read the article as soon as I can. You probably misunderstood what I was getting at. My question arose out of a concern that Jesus might only have been human, as many scholars in our times would insist upon. If this were so, would you/we still believe in God, you appear to say no, and I would have to argue that you are wrong because you/we would still have to explain why the great Old Testament figures/personalities believed in God: They believed (without/prior to Jesus), you have not thought much about this perhaps. (I think you have to now).

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Hello, Ennio. This is the last comment along these lines on this thread — I will be glad to respond in the comments on the article I’ve linked to, if you want to discuss it there. But I won’t clear anymore comments like this through moderation on this thread.

        You ask if I would still believe in God if Jesus were only a man. That is logically equivalent to asking if I would still believe in science if gravity didn’t exist. There is abundant evidence for science in addition to gravity, but without gravity it would be impossible for us to even exist or know about science.

        Similarly also with God. There is abundant evidence for God outside of Jesus, but if Jesus were only a man, we would not really know what God is like. And in fact, if God had not come in the flesh to rescue us from our sins, there would have been no reason for Him to delay the judgment of the world — and we would not exist.

        Fortunately, we don’t have to contemplate science without gravity, nor do we have to contemplate God without Jesus, God the Son.

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