The New Testament as Literature Part 1 -- By: John H. Bennetch

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 107:426 (Apr 1950)
Article: The New Testament as Literature Part 1
Author: John H. Bennetch


The New Testament as Literature
Part 1

John Henry Bennetch

God has spoken. He is one that reveals Himself, not that hides—critic and skeptic notwithstanding. “The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse,” to use the language of Paul; “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork…” to use the words of David. It has been said that creation is the “world book” and that the Bible is the “word book” revealing God. At all events, creation is supplemented by a written revelation, so much the better for man to know his Maker. What the one book could not tell, the other could. What one part of the Bible could not reveal because of human infirmity, another part would (cf. John 16:12). Of a certainty, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son” (Heb 1:1–2). More than this He could not say. Christ brought up the climax.

The Bible is by so much a divine book, true revelation, inspired word for word in the original documents and that accuracy transmitted by a faithful God through the many copies of these originals. Just so it must be received, because Christ Himself did not quibble about a jot or tittle of the Old Testament in His day, and He lived a millennium and one-half after the Jewish Scriptures began to be written. So far from doubting the over-all accuracy of the message—if not the perfectness of each copy, yet of their united witness to the text: such as may be ascertained by a textual critic—He took the stand, “Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and

earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matt 5:18). The servant is not above his Lord, of course. In consequence a believer will not question his Bible today, no, not for a moment. If the Old Testament was preserved by God for some fifteen hundred years until Christ, surely it has been kept since then and the New Testament along with it.

Here in Scripture, then, is revelation. But the Bible is no less a piece of literature for being the vehicle of divine truth. Man took part in recording this truth, sometimes consciously and sometimes not consciously. Though himself sinful, the work that a writer did in recording the mind of God was not so. Inspiration guarantees the faultlessness not of the writer but of his writing. Just as Chris...

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