The Inspiration And Interpretation Of God’s Word, With Special Reference To Peter Enns -- By: James W. Scott
WTJ 71:2 (Fall 2009) p. 247
The Inspiration And Interpretation Of God’s Word,
With Special Reference To Peter Enns
The Interpretation Of Representative Passages
James W. Scott is Managing Editor of New Horizons in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Publications Coordinator for the Committee on Christian Education of the OPC.
In Part I, we argued that the doctrine of inspiration has important implications for the proper interpretation of Scripture, especially providing guidance as we seek to understand passages that seemingly make erroneous statements or contradict other passages. We maintained, over against the views of Peter Enns, that if Scripture is truly the written word of God, then it rises above the personalities of those who wrote it and above the cultures in which it was written, reflecting the omniscience, truthfulness, and immutability of God himself. The entire text of Scripture, then, originated in the mind of God, not in human thought, and was written by men under the direct and immediate guidance of the Holy Spirit. We recognized that God communicates in a manner that is appropriate to the language, capabilities, and circumstances of his spokesmen and his intended audience, but we insisted that he does so in accordance with his nature and thus without compromising the truth and consistency of his word.
Thus, if any interpretation of any passage of Scripture is inconsistent with its being infallible and inerrant, according to God’s perfect standard of truth, then that interpretation must be rejected as contrary to the nature of Scripture. Since God is the Author of Scripture, his understanding of the sacred text is the original meaning of it, and that meaning may not have been fully understood by the human writer or his immediate audience. The divine meaning of Scripture is determined by the language of the text itself, with all of its assumptions and implications, as understood in its full context, which is the mind of God as it comes to expression in the totality of Scripture (and general revelation)—not by some calculation of what the human author (or his audience), within the supposed confines of his culture, probably thought it meant.
We will now illustrate our theoretical discussion with concrete examples from Scripture. These passages have been put forward by Peter Enns in support of his view of a thoroughly enculturated Scripture, and they include the passages
WTJ 71:2 (Fall 2009) p. 248
upon which he has focused the most attention. We want to show that his interpretations are mistaken and that these passages can be persuasively interpreted in accordance with the biblical view of Scripture as the inspired and inerr...
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