Contemporary Problems in Biblical Interpretation Part I: Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God? -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 116:461 (Jan 1959)
Article: Contemporary Problems in Biblical Interpretation Part I: Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God?
Author: John F. Walvoord


Contemporary Problems in Biblical Interpretation
Part I:
Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God?

John F. Walvoord

[Editor’s Note: This article is the first in a series on the general subject, “Contemporary Problems in Biblical Interpretation.”]

The Bible has always occupied the central place in the Christian faith. From the time of the writing of the first books of the Old Testament in the days of Moses until modern times the Holy Scriptures have been regarded by all Christian theologians as the unique and incomparable Word of God. According to Murray: “Christians of varied and diverse theological standpoints aver that the Bible is the Word of God, that it is inspired by the Holy Spirit and that it occupies a unique place as the norm of Christian faith and life.”1 More books have been written and more has been said about the Bible than any other book in all the world. Though sometimes neglected and the object of constant attack, the Scriptures today continue to be read and believed more than any other writing coming from the pens of men.

Modern Questions about the Bible

Contemporary Biblical interpretation, however, makes plain that there are many problems in receiving the Bible as the Word of God. In the twentieth century more than any previous period of the Christian era there is a rising tide of unbelief and rejection of the authority of Scripture. For sincere Christians who realize that their own faith in God and their joyous hope of the future is vitally related to Scripture there is the demand to re-examine the claims of the Scriptures and to determine, at least for their own satisfaction, whether God has spoken authoritatively in His Word. Rival claims of the Roman Catholic Church for final authority in matters of faith, the beliefs of non-Christian religions, and the conclusions of various national systems of thought tend to oppose the authority of Scripture. As Bernard Ramm states in beginning his

study on authority: “The concept of authority has become one of the most controversial notions of modern times.”2 In this study a careful distinction must be observed between various aspects of Biblical investigation. One of the primary questions is, What is the Bible? or the question of canonicity. The unique place of the sixty-six books of the Bible is being challenged today and the Apocryphal books formerly rejected are being included in the new edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.3

Another vital question is whether the Bible is actually the inspired Word of God. In o...

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