Preservation: The Corollary Of Inspiration -- By: Harold G. Stigers

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 22:3 (Sep 1979)
Article: Preservation: The Corollary Of Inspiration
Author: Harold G. Stigers

Preservation: The Corollary Of Inspiration

Harold G. Stigers*

In the current discussion concerning the inspiration of the Scriptures, the basic necessity of inspiration has been stated quite clearly.1 Yet nothing really has been said concerning another factor that is a related necessity: the preservation of those inspired writings. How did the sacred writings come down to us? Was it merely a matter of chance that it happens we have today 39 books of the OT? Did they get lost, and were they then found and made canonical by a council at a later date in their history?

This particular view is without historical foundation and is contrary to the internal evidence of the Scriptures themselves. The preservation of the Scriptures is bound up with their authority so that the two are really indissoluble. The former is a most necessary outgrowth of their inspiration.

Some remarks on the enduring character of the Scriptures will lead into the consideration of the necessity, method and history of their preservation. Christ the Lord sets out as the essence of Scripture that it was indestructible, this necessitating its preservation right down to his own day: “Verily, I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot2 or one tittle3 shall in no manner pass from the law4 until all is fulfilled.” Jesus Christ was saying that what Scripture embodied was the enduring Word of God and that it would abide as long as the purposes of God existed.5

In demonstration of his divine stature Jesus had recourse to the law, calling to its authentication the fact that the Scriptures God had given could not be broken.6 God’s Word possessed an unbreakable character to which the Jews themselves assented.

It is specifically averted that the things the prophets wrote have become part of the divine record concerning the grace of God and may surely be trusted as the authoritative and therefore indestructible Word of God.7

*Harold Stigers, author, archaeologist and exegete, currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri.

I. The Necessity Of Preservation

Josephus sets out for us the foundation of all divine authority, the law of Moses:

For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, but only twenty-two, w...

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