I’ve decided to open with this oft-debated passage. It’s a good one, in that it introduces the sorts of issues that make this phenomenon important. Here is a PDF of the primary texts involved, along with commentary from Beale and Carson’s edited commentary on the use of the OT in the NT. Here is an article that surveys the views taken with respect to this passage. I’ll give you all some time to read through the material before chiming in.
As you read and think about this, I’d like you to share some thoughts about how one might articulate inspiration and inerrancy (this goes back to my old series of threads complaining that inerrancy needs to be better articulated).
(Some of you) asked for it!
“how one might articulate inspiration and inerrancy”. Definition of inerrancy = lack of error. If you make a statement, and it is free of errors, it is inerrant. However, if that statement can be interpreted at least 7 different ways, then the statement is obviously not saying anything, it is ambiguous. So my conclusion is that “inerrancy” in bible translation means nothing. You get what YOU take from it. Nothing more, nothing less. If you have to go to experts to interpret it for you, the bible verse is meaningless. Inspiration? The inspiration lies with you, as the reader, to make something of the verse. And if what you intreprete is different from what someone else interpretes, even if that person is an expert, you go with what you interprete. How else can you explain it?
this is an odd reply. I’ve come to expect more from Gary. It says “the only thing that can be without error are things that I understand and don’t need a specialist for.” This is truly specious logic. How many of us can say that about ANY area of life? How about physics? Gardening? Football? I don’t have a comprehensive knowledge of any of these areas (and a lot more), so I guess the problem isn’t with me, it’s with those areas. I can’t trust a brain surgeon any more, or even a mechanic (well, I don’t really trust them anyway). . Wow — this is flawed on so many levels.
I think what you’re getting at is that the idea of an error is subject to definition.
Inerrancy can only apply to absolute perfection therefore there is only one candidate for that position GOD
Scripture inspired by GOD (recorded in its original form (language)) should therefore be considered as inerrant.
Any translation is by necessity subject to interpretation and introduction of errors, no matter how highly qualified and esteemed are the scholars/experts/translators.
OT passages cited in NT giving their explanation and/or fulfillment (as for example the use of Psalm 16 in Acts 2) were most certainly inspired and Im sure were referring here to inspiration by the Holy Spirit.
Based on all we know about Peter it would be rather impossible to consider him a great scholar.
I don’t think the NT or anything else points to Peter as a great scholar (of a reputation akin to Paul’s for example). The discussion of inerrancy typically does *not* refer to translation; it refers to either the transmission of the text itself or the text as it stands at the end of that transmission process.
The problem is what is to be considered an error in the bible and at what level inspiration took place. A slippery slope among scholars, but this shows us that it is God’s word in Human words. Both features are present. The source of the info in the Bible in general is divine, although the mechanism to write it down, edit and transmit it is entirely human. No Holy Ghost writing found, although it could have been possible.
The divine aspect of the Bible is seen by other means (larger contextual clues), not by textual transmission, grammar, syntax, verbiage, science or historiography.
How about this…The Holy Spirit is suppose to inspire each of us to give meaning/interpretation to what we read in scripture. Then why are there so many people with different interpretations? With a brain surgeon, I would ask for several additional opinions before I was operated on. They are all given the same data, but one might suggest one course of treatment (maybe operate), another a different form of treatment (maybe “wait and see”). One realistically has to be a better treatment than the other, but no one really knows which is best. Like quantum mechanics, you don’t know the true state, until after the fact. I think I am confused, and better give up trying to explain.
I think the word you’re looking for with respect to each of us is “illumine” not inspire (theologians would reject the use of “inspire” in your sentence). The reason there are so many interpretations is not a problem of the text; it is a problem of us — we are simply so far removed from the original context of this thing we call the Bible. If we were contemporary to the writing, we’d have a high degree of understanding and thus “uniformity of interpretation.” Even the church fathers were centuries removed, and people like Augustine didn’t know Greek or Hebrew.
Interesting. I always learn something from the comment threads.
Based on the articles, the comments, and stuff you’ve said in other venues, “inspiration” has a lot to do with the process, and not as much to do with the original autographs being some sort of document where God moved on the writer and put them in a trance and they wrote almost devoid of freewill, automatic writing style, as is sometimes implied in various discussions about the issues of inerrancy/inspiration.
I think I can see now why you describe yourself as “text neutral” concerning which manuscript traditions (byzantine, alexandrine, septuigaint, etc.) and are o.k. with letting them all have their day in court.
In my view (and not unique to me), the autographs are the end result of the process of inspiration — the end of the production trail. As such, the result is inspired since the process is inspired. From that point on the issue is the transmission of the text, and there is no guarantee in Scripture that the transmission process would be inerrant or inspired (and thousands of manuscripts demonstrate that). Textual criticism seeks to (theoretically) reconstruct the autograph, but given that none of us are omniscient, obtaining that is wishful thinking. Textual critics with a high view of inspiration and Scripture more accurately try to do the very best they can to discern the best text possible, but they cannot claim omniscient certainty that what they have reconstructed *the* autograph (where it’s needed and especially where it’s tough).
Having thus been “illumined” concerning the Psalm, and believing the text statement, “The psalm appears to
say You will not let me die, but Peter takes it to mean something more like You will not let me remain dead once I have died”, and Acts 2:30-31 …(“” refers to text, not word for word below):
View 1 – Don’t like it, “Peter’s interpretation stems from errors in Septuagint.”
View 2 – I like it, “similar to Qumran pesher approach, pesher refers to resurrection.”
View 3 – Don’t like it, “deeper meaning by God, but not intended by author”, So God has secret codes, meanings for people other than the people at the current time (dispensationalists would be pleased).
View 4 – OK, but too complex. “NT has priority in unpacking OT” (I like), but 4 stages for development of meaning too complicated for me.
View 5 – Don’t like it. Typology, “Communion with God replaced with resurrection”.
View 6 – I like it. “Single message, OT and NT”, author (David) wrote of both himself and the Messiah.
View 7 – I like it. Direct Prophecy, “my Soul” David & Christ, “Holy One” Christ only.
Views 2, 6, and 7 seem to be able to co-exist.
I would agree that views can co-exist. We’d have to be omniscient to know exactly which one is right.
I wonder if you think you’ll address Peter’s use of Joel 2:28-32 in Acts 2:17-21 — especially with regard to the matter of fulfillment.
aaaarrgghhh! Eschatology rears its ugly head. Again. Make it go away! Maybe I’ll post that one next and add some commentary. Maybe.
Actually, this is the context in which I ask the question… The Companion Bible Appendix 183: http://www.biblestudysite.com/183.htm
The real question is this: Would you agree that Peter’s use of the passage from Joel is a refutation of the charge of drunkenness rather than a pronouncement of the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy?
For what it’s worth, I’m not arguing for Bullinger’s position that the Church “was [not] formed at Pentecost”.
No, I would not. The entirety of the passage in Joel is not included in the quotation, which may or may not mean anything (that goes to the problem of OT citation for prophecy covered in my series on prophecy). At the very least, Peter either saw *some* fulfillment here, or *thought* that the Joel prophecy was entirely fulfilled when it wasn’t (God knowing better) or (final option) one does not need a precise quotation to have a complete fulfillment. Such is the nature of prophetic material; filled with such ambiguities.
Thanks for your input, Dr. Heiser. I don’t really have any more to add at this point, but I didn’t want to ignore your response. I appreciate your willingness to comment.