Authenticity And Inspiration Of The Scriptures -- By: James H. Fairchild

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 049:193 (Jan 1892)
Article: Authenticity And Inspiration Of The Scriptures
Author: James H. Fairchild


Authenticity And Inspiration Of The Scriptures1

Rev. James H. Fairchild

I. Authenticity

1. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments purport to contain revelations or communications from God to man. They are a history of his manifestations to the race. No more important question can arise than this: What place in our study of religion and theology are we to give to these Scriptures? Are they a true record of the events and communications which they present? If they are substantially correct, if the events which they record really occurred, then the Scriptures must be accepted as the chief source of our knowledge of God, and of religion. They are a revelation of God to men.

2. Our inquiry then is as to the truth of the Scripture record. But here we need to discriminate. We have no occasion to inquire as to the truth of the general ethical

teachings of the Scriptures; for example, the ten commandments, or the sermon on the mount, or of other prominent statements of ethical principles. We know these to be true, in the nature of the case. That they come to us by God’s direct intervention, is an interesting and important fact; but this is not essential to our conviction of their truth. We know the Scriptures to be ethically true, by a direct survey of their contents.

The same can be said of the great essential doctrines of religion contained in the Scriptures. They are seen to be true in their own light. That God exists, the creator and ruler of the universe, infinite in wisdom and power, and perfect in goodness; that men come under the law of obligation, the law of God, and are responsible to him in reference to all their conduct; that they are bound to reverence and worship him, to love him supremely, and their neighbors as themselves—these great doctrines we know to be true. A revelation may give higher motives to the performance of these duties, but does not change the obligation. These fundamental points of doctrine and of duty are not involved in our inquiry as to the truth of the Scriptures.

The essential point of the inquiry is, are the Scriptures historically true? Is the record which they give of the manifestations of God to men, in the history of the Jewish people, and in the advent and life and teachings of Jesus Christ, an authentic and reliable record? Are the Scriptures essentially true as history? But here let us observe that absolute truthfulness is not necessarily required. If the Scriptures are essentially true—that is, true as other ancient historical writings, then they contain a revelation from God, and we have a revealed religion.

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