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

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 029:113 (Jan 1872)
Article: Revelation And Inspiration
Author: E. P. Barrows

Revelation And Inspiration

Rev. E. P. Barrows

No. IX.

Inspiration Considered In Its End

We propose, in the present Number, to consider the inspiration of the record with reference to its end, leaving out of view, as far as possible, all questions concerning its mode. The inspiration of the record can have in view no other end than that of giving to men, under the sanction of divine authority, a sure rule of faith and practice. Since any divinely authorized rule of faith and practice must have the two attributes of infallibility and sufficiency, the proposition that the books of scripture are inspired includes the two ideas that they are without error, and that they are sufficient for our salvation. It is manifest that each inspired book, taken separately, must be without error; but when we come to the quality of sufficiency, that belongs not so much to single books, as to the whole considered collectively. It was not the divine plan to reveal all truth at once. He communicated it, as occasion required, “in many parts and in many ways,”1 using to this end the many and diverse gifts of his servants, till, at last, when the record had attained to all needful fulness, the canon of scripture was closed. It is of this record that we affirm infallibility and sufficiency; both qualities being included in its divine authority, which we now proceed to consider.

Here we begin with the great fundamental truth that Jesus of Nazareth was, in the fullest sense of the words, an » infallible teacher. We do not assume the infallibility of the

record to prove the infallibility of the Saviour. We take the gospel narratives simply as written by honest and competent men, and as worthy of credence in the ordinary acceptation of the words; and we affirm that the numerous declarations recorded by them which fell from the Saviour’s own lips show that he was a teacher raised above all error. He claimed for himself the attribute of infallibility in so many ways, that we must receive as an axiom of Christianity that what he taught was pure truth, without any admixture of falsehood. It was not the declaration of the beloved disciple alone, that before his incarnation he dwelt from eternity in the Father’s bosom.2 He himself said: “Father, glorify thou me with thine own self,3 with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”4 “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.”

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