The Human and Supernatural Nature of Scripture

It is interesting to think about the inherent nature of Scripture. In this post I am going to focus primarily on the N.T. epistles. Paul the apostle to the Gentiles was genuinely concerned for the spiritual well-being of the believers to whom he wrote. As he wrote a letter he shared genuine concern and theological instruction to equip the believers with the truth necessary to live properly. The epistles were occasional letters. They were written for a specific reason and there is a flow of logic traced throughout the letters.

As a result of this occasional nature of the letters there are some today who deny a traditional definition of inerrancy. There are others who deny a traditional definition of inspiration. The truth is that these denials are unnecessary. I am comfortable with accepting both of these definitions while having a proper understanding of the nature of Scripture.

Here is an example of this:

Paul writes to Timothy (yes, I accept Pauline authorship of the Pastorals with the employment of an amanuensis) to encourage him in his role as an apostolic representative. He gives Timothy instruction that is extremely useful for the occasion. In the process of writing, the Holy Spirit is working through Paul (as he speaks through an amanuensis) to communicate truths that God deems necessary. Throughout the whole process the Spirit does not override the personal, occasional nature of the letter. Still, there is a divine nature to this very “human” correspondence. This is why (for me) there is no problem with Paul (or others) including personal notes in the letter (2 Tim. 4:9-22).

It is quite possible that there are misunderstandings involved on both sides of this argument. I have found that there are some who (supposedly) hold a traditional view of inerrancy and inspiration who believe that God audibly dictated the words to record. This is accurate in only a very few cases (such as some of Jesus’ words to John in Revelation). I do not think that it is legitimate to flop to the other side of the spectrum and deny a divine nature to the Scriptures. It is attested by the writings themselves.

The human authors wrote occasional letters in which God was involved, superintending the whole process without overriding the personal, human, and occasional nature of the writings. The are human and supernatural in nature.

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