The God-Breathed Scripture: What Is God-Breathed Scripture? -- By: Edward J. Young

Journal: Grace Journal
Volume: GJ 07:3 (Fall 1966)
Article: The God-Breathed Scripture: What Is God-Breathed Scripture?
Author: Edward J. Young

The God-Breathed Scripture: What Is God-Breathed Scripture?

Edward J. Young

In our last lecture we sought to show, upon the basis of an exposition of 2 Timothy 3:16, that all Scripture is both God-breathed and profitable. The teaching of the verse is so clear that there would seem to be little reason for question. What Timothy teaches is beyond dispute. Why, then, are not all Christian people willing to agree upon the clear and simple teaching of the epistle? Why do even evangelicals sometimes refuse to come to grips with what the Bible so plainly asserts respecting itself? Why do some insist that there are errors in the Bible, still maintaining that the phenomena of the Scriptures alone must guide us in accepting a proper view?

The Original Copies of Scripture

Perhaps one answer to the above questions may be found in the fact that in the copies of the Scriptures now in our possession there are minor errors, and hence, it is assumed, these errors were probably also in the original copies. There are men who refuse to accept the position that in the original copies (the so-called autographs) of the Bible we have works that are entirely free from error. All too often, it is asserted that an appeal to the originals is really a flight from reality. We do not have these originals, so the argument runs; how then do we know that they are errorless? How can we say of them that they are infallible and inerrant? An appeal to the originals is too often discarded as being unworthy of consideration.

Nevertheless, we must consider the originals. Of course, it is true that we today do not possess these autographs; it is perfectly true that we have not seen them nor has any living man seen them. Does it therefore follow that an appeal to them is merely a way out of the difficulty? The present copies of the Bible do contain errors, we must acknowledge, and so we appeal to the originals which we have never seen. Is not this merely an escape from difficulty? It might seem that such were indeed the case; that is, at first sight it might appear to be so, until we begin to investigate the question more closely. And as an introduction to the question we may well consider again the language of Paul to Timothy.

When Paul makes his double statement about all Scripture, what Scripture precisely does he have in mind? When he declares that all Scripture is God-breathed and that it is profitable, of what Scripture is he speaking? Is he referring to the copies of the Bible that were extant in his day or is he referring to the autographs? In the little work to which we have already made reference, Professor Beegle asserts that the extant manuscripts of Scripture were regarded as being the same as the originals because the attr...

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