The Authority And Inspiration Of The Scriptures -- By: Frank Hugh Foster

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 052:206 (Apr 1895)
Article: The Authority And Inspiration Of The Scriptures
Author: Frank Hugh Foster

The Authority And Inspiration Of The Scriptures

Prof. Frank Hugh Foster

The Nature And Limitations Of The Authority Of The Scriptures

Given the authority of the Scriptures, the nature and limitations of that authority will be found, not by some a priori principle, which must amount to a mere guess, but by an examination of the phenomena presented by the Scriptures^ or of their statements about themselves, if there are any such to be found.

Upon the general claim of the Scriptures to possess authority, there can be no doubt to the most superficial reader. The command, Search the Scriptures, and the further command, Obey the Scriptures, are implicitly or explicitly written upon their every page. But if they were not, the whole impression of the Bible is a claim to authority. Its different books constitute a unit in their supreme impression of sin, of ruin, and of salvation by God through spiritual union with himself. In this single impression made by these different writings, there is an air of entire certainty and absoluteness, which constitutes in and of itself a claim to authority.

But, now, where does that authority lie? For what is authority claimed? The reply is, For the final form which the teaching and institutions of the Scriptures take.

Between the Old Testament and the New, the relation is that of the preparative and rudimentary to the final and com-

plete. The law was a “schoolmaster” to bring us to Christ. Within this twofold and progressive book, the revelation which God made was progressive. His triune nature, his love, the universal purposes of his mercy, the method of salvation, were all only gradually revealed, and hence only partially apprehended at first. The conceptions of the people as to truth and duty were consequently progressive, and hence necessarily imperfect in the early stages of the revelation. For example, polygamy was practised by David without thought of wrong, and was even sanctioned by God (2 Sam. 12:8), but it was not contemplated in the original constitution of things, nor can it be regarded in one instructed in the lofty morality of the New Testament as permissible. So the commendation lavished upon the deed of Jael in slaying Sisera could not be bestowed upon one who should in this day, when we possess the teaching of the New Testament, commit a similar deed, which, because committed under so great light, would be nothing better than a foul murder. The sentiments expressed in the so-called “imprecatory Psalms”—“Happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the rock”— are not upon the level even of the book of Proverbs, which ...

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