The God-Breathed Scripture: Scripture—God-Breathed and Profitable -- By: Edward J. Young

Journal: Grace Journal
Volume: GJ 07:3 (Fall 1966)
Article: The God-Breathed Scripture: Scripture—God-Breathed and Profitable
Author: Edward J. Young


The God-Breathed Scripture: Scripture—God-Breathed and Profitable

Edward J. Young

Professor of Old Testament
Westminster Theological Seminary

In any study of the nature of Biblical inspiration one naturally turns to 2 Timothy 3:16. The passage is clear cut and constitutes a ringing declaration of the Divine authorship of Scripture. Hence it is easy to understand why this verse is greatly loved by Christians and why they turn to it when they desire again to be reminded that the Book which brings so much blessing to them is a gift of God Himself.

If we turn to this passage, however, a charge may very well be laid against us. It will be said that we are paying attention to the teaching of Scripture at the expense of its phenomena or characteristics. “You listen only to the doctrine which Scripture teaches about itself,” so the charge runs, “but you pay no heed to the facts or the phenomena of Scripture. If you would begin your study with the phenomena of the Bible you would obtain a very different picture from that which you receive when you pay attention only to what the Bible says about itself.” This charge is often raised in our day against those who are concerned to defend the full and complete authority of Scripture. It is, of course, not a recent charge. It was made even in the days of Benjamin B. Warfield, and he regarded it necessary even in his day to refute it.

At first glance, it might appear that there is some justification for the position that the teaching of the Bible and its phenomena are to be placed upon a par each with the other, and that the phenomena of Scripture should be just as regulative of an acceptable doctrine of Scripture as the express teaching thereof. A little reflection, however, should make clear how untenable and unjustified such a position really is.

On the airplane I fall into conversation with the man in the seat next to me. He introduces himself as a Mr. Smith from New York, and tells me that he is on his way to San Francisco. Why should I not accept his testimony to himself? Normally, we assume that a person is telling the truth unless there be convincing reason to the contrary. But, for the sake of the argument, I am unwilling to accept Mr. Smith’s testimony. For one thing he speaks with a Southern accent; again I notice that the last initial on his briefcase is not S, but B, and finally I happen to note that he holds an airline ticket between New York and Chicago, not between New York and San Francisco. I have been studying the “phenomena” of Mr. Smith and from them conclude that he is not from New York, nor is he on his way to San Francisco, nor for that matter is his name Smith. Prudence, however, dictates that I keep my fi...

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