Re: NT truth (formerly inerrancy?)

From: Robert Schneider <rjschn39@bellsouth.net>
Date: Mon Jan 05 2004 - 07:38:46 EST

Adding to Burgy's and Don's comments, I think authorship and possible dating of these two texts is a factor to consider. While not in any way rejecting the canonical status of these two works, and recognizing there is not unanimous agreement, I wish to point out that the majority of NT scholars have concluded that there is overwhelming evidence against Pauline authorship of the letters to Timothy. They are un-Pauline in vocabulary and style, and describe a church far more developed than that in Paul's time. The first half of the 2nd century seems a reasonable assumption for this pseudonymous work, according to most scholars. Whether or not the authorship is Pauline, one would be hard put to be certain that the phrase "all scripture" refers only to the Hebrew or Septuagint canons (themselves still fluid), or whether the author might have had in mind writings that never made it into the canon (e.g., I Enoch, which the author of Jude refers to), or even some writings that eventually made it into the NT canon, or some that did not (e.g., the Didache). What did he mean by "all"?!

The same is the case with 2 Peter. Despite the fact that the author claims to be the Peter who witnessed the Transfiguration, there are many other indications in the letter itself that it was written long after Peter's martyrdom in 64 or 65 AD. Some NT scholars date this letter as late as 150 AD. If it had been written by the historical Peter, I could understand his saying that there are some things in Paul's letters that were hard to understand, had he been given some of those letters in Rome before his death. But I doubt he would have referred to them as "scripture" and particularly commended them to be used with care. The existence of a Pauline corpus is difficult to trace back before the second century. I am convinced of the pseudonymity of this letter also. A feature of this letter is the establishment of a body of written texts as the authoritative source of belief over the spiritual inspiration. It is perhaps a clue that the church is beginning to try to get a hold on the pluriform expressions of christianity (many spirit-driven such as the Montanists), by establishing a canon upon which can be constructed a common orthodox theology.

A prominent leader of the Southern Baptist Convention once gave an address in which he quoted 2 Tim. 3:16: "all scripture is God-breathed"--"and God does not have halitosis!" Cute, but it doesn't get anyone any nearer to solving the question "all WHAT scripture?"

Bob Schneider

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Don Winterstein
  To: Gary Collins ; asa@lists.calvin.edu
  Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2004 5:23 AM
  Subject: Re: NT truth (formerly inerrancy?)

  Gary Collins wrote:

  "...There are some verses in Peter's 2nd letter (2 Pe 3:15-16
  "(15) Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our
  dear brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave
  him. (16) He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of
  these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to
  understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do
  the other scriptures, to their own destruction." (NIV) which suggest
  that Peter at least saw Paul's writings as Scripture, even though the
  canon had not then been formed...."

  One must be careful in drawing detailed conclusions from translations; the NIV often adds words to give an interpretation rather than a strict translation. However, in this case "the other Scriptures" [my NIV capitalizes /Scriptures/] is strictly accurate and hence does suggest that Paul's letters had become part of an incipient canon. Interesting point.

  Now if only we knew what "God-breathed" really means! --Almost certainly different things in different instances.

  Don

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Gary Collins
    To: asa@lists.calvin.edu
    Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2004 9:07 AM
    Subject: Re: NT truth (formerly inerrancy?)

    On Sun, 4 Jan 2004 05:20:01 -0500, asa-digest wrote:

>Date: Sat, 3 Jan 2004 09:38:52 -0700
>From: John W Burgeson <jwburgeson@juno.com>
>Subject: Re: NT truth (formerly inerrancy?)
>
>On Wed, 31 Dec 2003 06:59:29 -0800 (PST) Sheila Wilson
><sheila-wilson@sbcglobal.net> writes:
>2 Timothy 3:16-17 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.>>
>
>It was also written some years before the gospels and before most of the
>NT, as I understand. The author, whom I assume to be Paul, had to be
>speaking only of the OT.
>
>Burgy

    Hi Burgy,

    You're probably right (and certainly Paul wouldn't jhave had the NT
    canon). But there are some verses in Peter's 2nd letter (2 Pe 3:15-16
    "(15) Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our
    dear brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave
    him. (16) He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of
    these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to
    understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do
    the other scriptures, to their own destruction." (NIV) which suggest
    that Peter at least saw Paul's writings as Scripture, even though the
    canon had not then been formed. (Assuming that Peter was actually
    the author of the letters that bear his name). So maybe there were
    writings outside of the OT, possibly even Paul's own, that were
    also regarded as Scripture, and could have been included in the
    all-encompassing text of 2 Tim 3 16 (?)

    /Gary
     
Received on Tue Jan 6 07:38:25 2004

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