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Essay/Term paper: The bible and the word "inspire"

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Religion

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The Bible and the Word "Inspire"

According to the Random House Dictionary, the word inspire means "to infuse an
animating, quickening, or exalting influence into, or to communicate or suggest
by a divine influence." This definition indicates, when applied to the scripture,
that the stories and writings in the Bible did not come solely from the minds of
the respective authors, but rather from a divine source. This suggests that the
authors were scribes, reproducing what was instilled in them by God. This idea
is strengthened by looking at distinct examples from the scripture that show
that scripture is inspired, and not made up. By using the form of criticism
known as literary criticism, we can analyze certain installments of the
scripture and use them to prove that the scripture is, in fact, inspired, not a
collection of false statements.

There are times in the Bible and in Biblical history that the prophets
themselves are confronted with people doubting the validity of the scripture,
and trying to discredit it. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for
teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man
of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Here Timothy is
relating a charge given to him by Paul. As a story that is being told, it can be
easily inferred that Paul had confronted opposition to the belief that scripture
was in fact inspired by God, and therefore valid. Using literary criticism
allows us to stay on the surface of what is being said, and not necessarily have
to dig behind it to find the true meaning (we'll leave that to historical
criticism) and therefore by looking at the phrase "scripture is God-breathed" we
can further say that God breathed His word into the authors, and they recorded
it. God can be viewed as an indirect author, and the inspiration for scripture.

"We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the
power and the comings of our Lord Jesus Christ but we were eyewitnesses of His
majesty." "Above all you must understand that no prophecy of scripture came
about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in
the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy
Spirit." From the standpoint of a literary critic, these two passages represent
the question at hand as to whether or not scripture is inspired. Literary
criticism looks at the passage as a whole, and reads what it says, just as a
normal person would. Using this method, we see easily that scripture is in fact
inspired, because it states that there were no cleverly invented stories, but
rather God's own words. God's plans for his people are carefully laid out, and
there is much doubt that He would entrust average people to teach others about
His word without careful explanation as to exactly what it is, and how it came
to be. This is why much of the Bible, especially the Pentateuch, tells the
historical story of the Israelites and there great escape from Egypt. God needed
to be sure that exactly what He wanted to be in what was to be called His word
was there, and nothing was added or falsified. In this sense, God can be seen as
the editor of the Bible.

Historical criticism says that if only facts are reliable, than find
facts in the Bible. Historical critics are forced the differentiate between fact
and myth, leaving quite a bit of room for human error. Due to this weakness,
historical criticism is the least compatible method of proving that scripture is
inspired. Historical criticism seems to ignore the fact that scripture is also
literature, and to use their method of historical criticism, you must take apart
the Bible, thereby destroying the literary flow. Literary criticism looks at the
scripture in a way that is similar to how the average person reads it.
Historical criticism is traditionally elitist, and not available to anyone
except the academy. Also, is using historical criticism, complete objectivity is
never achieved, because one cannot observe without influencing the object being
observed. Many times when scholars are using historical criticism to try and
explain certain things about the Bible, the Bible becomes irrelevant to the
Church, therefore killing the entire reason for the Bible's existence; the
teaching of God's word. Lastly, the Bible itself says that none of its contents
are interpretations of God's word, but rather an unadulterated version of the
truth; God's word verbatim. Historical criticism uses a historical
interpretation to try and prove its point, thereby disproving its own validity.
If historical scholars use a method that does not apply to the Bible, then it
becomes irrelevant itself. This irrelevance is displayed using the Hermeneutical
circle, because the circle implies that there is a cycle and a relationship
between history and the content of the text, and while there may be in certain
parts, that does nothing to prove that scripture is inspired, and only says that
scripture has a possibly factual background.


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