Revelation And Inspiration -- By: E. P. Barrows

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 028:112 (Oct 1871)
Article: Revelation And Inspiration
Author: E. P. Barrows

Revelation And Inspiration

Rev. E. P. Barrows


The Inspiration Of The Record How Ascertained

The gospel rests on a basis of facts, in such a full sense that if the substratum of facts be taken away the gospel itself perishes. The facts that underlie the gospel history are to be ascertained by candid investigation according to the ordinary rules of evidence. In the preceding series of Articles we have endeavored to point out concisely the main lines of historic evidence by which this basis of facts is shown to be impregnable to all the assaults of scepticism — that the gospel history is genuine; that it has come down to us in a form essentially uncorrupt; and that it is worthy of full credence. In demonstrating this, we have also shown its supernatural character; and also that the very existence of such a supernatural history implies a preceding series of supernatural revelations, such as we have in the Old Testament, and a sequel of supernatural manifestations, like that

recorded in the Acts of the Apostles and implied in the apostolic epistles.

The reader may perhaps ask, what more do we need for our salvation? If the gospel history is genuine, uncorrupt, and worthy of full credence, why not take it as a sufficient rule of faith and practice, without troubling ourselves further with questions concerning the inspiration of the record? We answer that the very question now before us is whether one can consistently believe so much without believing more. Thus far we have considered the gospel narratives as worthy of credence in the ordinary historic sense. We have shown that the writers upon whose testimony we receive the facts of the gospel were honest and competent witnesses, and that their statements of facts are therefore reliable. But it must be obvious to every reflecting mind that questions of the gravest import remain to be settled. In the manifestation of the Son of God the world received, beyond all doubt, a supernatural revelation from heaven. The revelation itself was, of course, infallible; since “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” But what about the record of that revelation which we have in the New Testament? Is that infallible also; or was it penned by fallible men, honest indeed, and competent in the common acceptation of the words, but liable to the misconceptions, prejudices, and false inferences of their age? Were the writers of the gospel history so illuminated and guided by God’s Spirit that their record possesses for us a divine authority; or is it only a fallible record of an infallible revelation? Even upon this latter supposition we must believe that the great facts of our Lord’s life and the substance of his teaching a...

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