Re: The Whole Bible Revealed in Zechariah (was Re: NT truth (formerly inerrancy?))

From: Don Winterstein <dfwinterstein@msn.com>
Date: Tue Jan 13 2004 - 06:10:21 EST

Richard: "I quoted Luke 4.3f: And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written
[SCRIPTURE], That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every WORD OF
GOD."

Don: Every Word of God that one lives by is not necessarily Scripture, and this passage does not imply as much. It further does not imply that any Word of God is Scripture. For example, if Word of God were Scripture, then Ezekiel 35 would be such a Word. Does a man live by that word? Just because Scripture talks about the Word of God that man lives by does not mean that Scripture is identical to such Word.

Richard: "If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came,
and the scripture cannot be broken...." "Does not the natural reading of the verse
equate the WORD OF GOD with the SCRIPTURE? If not, why not?"

Don: No equation; two separate concepts. Scripture witnesses to the Word, as I've said. What "it cannot be broken" means is open to interpretation. I suspect Jesus was here throwing words back at his listeners that they first threw at him. At most Jesus is saying that Scriptures reliably witness to the Word, and I fully accept that, much of the time.

Richard: "I quoted the first occurrence of the Word of God in Acts 4.31: And when they
had prayed [from the SCRIPTURES], the place was shaken where they were
assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they
spake the WORD OF GOD with boldness."

Don: Who says the Word of God cannot contain scriptural quotations? Of course it did. But the Word _was not_ identical to Scripture in this case or in any other, and it certainly had key components other than just Scripture.

Richard: "The "Word" here clearly refers to both the OT Scriptures that were searched
and the spoken Word that enlightened them with the Gospel. Since the NT was
not yet completed, the only witness to the Gospel was the OT Scritures and
the words of Christ's followers. I see no "contrast" between the OT
Scriptures and the Gospel Word preached."

Don: Who says the Word of God cannot contain scriptural quotations? Of course it did. So the Bereans heard the Word, and they then compared the Word as preached by Paul to the Scriptures. Two different things. Of course Paul would refer to Scriptures in his preaching of the Word, because these were Jews who respected the Scriptures, Paul knew that; and his ability to show how the ministry of Christ fulfilled Scriptures gave him an entry. Obviously the Word was not the same as Scriptures, otherwise the Bereans wouldn't have had to go to the Scriptures to make comparisons.

Richard: "YES! YES! YES! I do not merely believe, I KNOW that "Paul quoted OT
Scriptures at the people." Have you never read ANY of his writings?"

Don: This is childish--although I suppose I should have spelled it out: Do you actually
believe that Paul _exclusively_ quoted OT Scriptures at the people when he had the much
more important news of Jesus Christ to tell them about?? The good news of Jesus combined with scriptural references was the Word, and it was definitely not identical to Scripture. Why isn't that obvious?

Actually, several of these passages do not refer to Scriptures themselves, as Scriptures are simply writings. They refer instead to _contents_ of Scriptures lifted out and applied to life situations. When Scriptures are so applied, they can and often do become the Word of God. So I agree that when this sort of _application_ is what the word "Scriptures" refers to, then the Scriptures can be the Word of God. But if by Scriptures you simply mean a book as a collection of writings, it's not the Word of God. There are lots of writings in the book, and at any given time most of them do not apply.

Don

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: richard@biblewheel.com
  To: Don Winterstein ; Gary Collins ; asa@lists.calvin.edu
  Sent: Sunday, January 11, 2004 9:12 AM
  Subject: Re: The Whole Bible Revealed in Zechariah (was Re: NT truth (formerly inerrancy?))

  Hi Don,

  Thanks for the additional clarification. Most of your post concerned the
  fact that the phrase "Word of God" often means *more* than just Scripture. I
  don't know why you bothered writing all that, because I said exactly the
  same thing in my last post! Let me repeat. There seems to be three
  fundamental referents to the phrase "Word of God" in Scripture, which are
  often conflated:

  1) The Eternal Living Word: the Lord Jesus Christ
  2) The Power of God manifest physically
  3) The Written Word: sometimes individual Scriptures, sometimes the whole
  Bible.

  The sticking point is not that the phrase "word of God" often means *more*
  than just Scripture. I asserted that myself when I wrote the list above. The
  sticking point is your assertion that it never means Scriptures at all. You
  flatly deny Point 3, saying that the Scriptures are never called the Word of
  God in the Bible. This is the primary sticking point.

  So lets look at your answers to my arguments:

  I quoted Luke 4.3f:And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written
  [SCRIPTURE], That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every WORD OF
  GOD.

  I received no response.

  I gave a detailed analysis of the hermeneutic presuppostions that prohibit
  you from receiving the Bible as the Word of God.

  I received no resonse.

  I quoted John 10.35: If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came,
  and the scripture cannot be broken;

  You gave this response: "Yes, the Word of God came to them, and Scriptures
  described (witnessed to) that coming."

  Agreed. But how does that support your argument that Scriptures are NEVER
  refered to as the Word of God? Does not the natural reading of the verse
  equate the WORD OF GOD with the SCRIPTURE? If not, why not?

  I quoted the first occurrence of the Word of God in Acts 4.31: And when they
  had prayed [from the SCRIPTURES], the place was shaken where they were
  assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they
  spake the WORD OF GOD with boldness.

  I got no resonse to this one, which surprised me since I thought you would
  try to drive a wedge between the the Scriptures that were prayed and the
  Word of God that was mentioned after the fact. Of course, that would not be
  a good argument, since the Word of God can naturally be taken as refering to
  what they were doing both before and after the Holy Ghost came. This would
  be an example of your point that they were not *merely* quoting the Old
  Testament. I agree. But that was before the Bible was completed. Yet even
  today many Christians believe they get "special" words from God when they
  preach Jesus. But none of this has any bearing on the question of the nature
  of the Bible as the Word of God. You can assert your point over and over,
  but I have yet to see any evidence supporting your primary assertion that
  the Scripture should not be called the Word of God.

  Finally, your assertion that Acts 17 contrasts the Word of God with the
  Scritures. Lets look yet again:

  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received THE
  WORD with all readiness of mind, and searched the SCRIPTURES daily, whether
  those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable
  women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. But when the Jews of
  Thessalonica had knowledge that THE WORD OF GOD was preached of Paul at
  Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.

  You replied:

  ==Quote==
  If only you'd read this passage with an open mind you'd have seen how it
  actually _contrasts_ the Word of God with Scriptures!
  ==End Quote==

  The "Word" here clearly refers to both the OT Scriptures that were searched
  and the spoken Word that enlightened them with the Gospel. Since the NT was
  not yet completed, the only witness to the Gospel was the OT Scritures and
  the words of Christ's followers. I see no "contrast" between the OT
  Scriptures and the Gospel Word preached. I see exactly the opposite. The OT
  Scriptures were used as the standard Word of God by which to judge the new
  Word of God being preached. This demonstrates idenitity, not distinction.
  The distinction you suggest between Paul's preaching and the OT is extremely
  enlightening. Have you never read his writings? He directly quotes the OT 57
  times in the Book of Romans alone, and alludes to other passages many times
  more. How in the world can you suggest that

  Finally, I am compelled to answer your question:

  ==Quote==
  YES! YES! YES! I do not merely believe, I KNOW that "Paul quoted OT
  Scriptures at the people." Have you never read ANY of his writings?YES! YES! YES! I do not merely believe, I KNOW that "Paul quoted OT
  Scriptures at the people." Have you never read ANY of his writings?==End Quote==

  YES! YES! YES! I do not merely believe, I KNOW that "Paul quoted OT
  Scriptures at the people." Have you never read ANY of his writings? He
  directly *quotes* the OT Scriptures 57 times in the Book of Romans alone,
  and alludes to many others. In Galatians he says that the OT Scriptures
  "preached the Gospel to Abraham." Here's a link to the evidence, that
  happens to be published on my site because it reveals the divine integration
  of Genesis, Isaiah, and Romans on Spoke 1 of the Wheel:

  http://www.BibleWheel.com/Wheel/CitationsInRomans.asp

  I'm sorry Don, but the disjunction between your opinions and the teaching of
  the Bible seems complete. But then, what else could we expect when the
  written Word of God is flatly denied?

  Richard
  Discover the sevenfold symmetric perfection of the Holy Bible at
  http://www.BibleWheel.com

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: "Don Winterstein" <dfwinterstein@msn.com>
  To: "Gary Collins" <gwcollins@algol.co.uk>; <asa@lists.calvin.edu>;
  <richard@biblewheel.com>
  Sent: Sunday, January 11, 2004 1:26 AM
  Subject: Re: The Whole Bible Revealed in Zechariah (was Re: NT truth
  (formerly inerrancy?))

  Richard wrote:

>If I interpret your assertions using the rules of plain English, I am
  forced
>to conclude that your faith, though richly informed by Scripture, has
  become
>completely unanchored from it. As far as I can tell, God could make the
>Sunday Comics as much the Word of God for you as the Bible with which you
>prop your door, depending merely on where He chooses to manifest His Power.

>While I appreciate this view of the Power of God (for indeed He can
  manifest
>where, when, and how He will), I must object on biblical and theological
>grounds to your complete disjunction of the Written Word from the Living
>Word of God.

  If you'd just asked for clarification of this one "disjunction" issue,
  Richard, I think you could have saved yourself a lot of effort, as that
  seems to be the main sticking point.

  While my faith may be less well-anchored to the Bible than the average
  Christian claims his or her faith is (I say "claims" because the average
  Christian doesn't really have much knowledge of the Bible to speak of), I
  hardly subscribe to the view that the Bible has no connection to the Word of
  God. The Bible witnesses of the Word of God as it (he?) has acted down
  through history. Christianity is very strongly historical. The activity of
  the Word of God in the past is very relevant to Christians today. The Word
  of God today often comes through the written testimony to the Word of God in
  the past--in other words, through the Bible. However, the Word of God is
  not constrained to come only through the Bible. It can and does come in
  many ways. For example, it can come through a personal witness to Jesus.
  It can come through a drink of water for the thirsty, or a piece of bread
  for the hungry.

  I see most or all such usages of the term "Word of God" in the Acts to be of
  these non-Scriptural kinds. After all, "Scripture" refers only to writing,
  and "Bible" also refers only to writing. Hence if someone orally states
  teachings from Scriptures, his statements already via the act of oral
  expression have become something other than Scriptures. It should come as
  no surprise to any Christian that Christian witnessing often makes reference
  to the Word of God as it came in the past, because Christianity is very
  strongly historical. But surely you don't suppose that what the Acts calls
  the Word of God consisted simply of Scriptural quotations that people threw
  back and forth at one another! That would be bizarre, especially as they
  had the good news of Jesus Christ to talk about. I believe, in fact, that
  "Word of God" in the Acts refers mostly if not exclusively to spoken words
  about the ministry and teachings of Jesus. These might well have
  incorporated scriptural references.

  Scriptures per se _are not_ the Word of God. As I said before, they may and
  often have become the Word of God for some people at various times. But is
  a Scripture reading in a Sunday service the Word of God to someone sitting
  in the pew and letting the words drift in one ear and out the other? No
  way. Is the Bible the Word of God for someone who never reads it? No way.

  Scriptures witness to past words of God. Many of those words to people and
  nations in the past are not the Word of God to people today, as they are
  irrelevant. By studying and contemplating such words people may be able to
  find some relevance to themselves, and hence God may speak through those
  words after contemplation; but for large parts of the Bible and for a great
  many individual Christians this never happens. So those parts of the Bible
  never become the Word of God to those Christians. For those Christians it
  is as if those parts of the Bible did not exist or, at best, are simply
  meaningless.

  "If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture
  cannot be broken;...." Yes, the Word of God came to them, and Scriptures
  described (witnessed to) that coming.

  So the Word of God is the power of God acting on the lives of real people in
  real time via some physical means. It is not a collection of written
  statements that may simply be gathering dust. The Word of God is never
  simply an object that a person can hold in his hands and say, "I've got the
  Word of God here." If it is not the living and active power of God, it is
  not the Word of God.

>These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received THE
>WORD with all readiness of mind, and searched the SCRIPTURES daily, whether
>those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable
>women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. But when the Jews of
>Thessalonica had knowledge that THE WORD OF GOD was preached of Paul at
>Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.

>Here we see a complete conflation of the WORD OF GOD with SCRIPTURE.

  If only you'd read this passage with an open mind you'd have seen how it
  actually _contrasts_ the Word of God with Scriptures! Do you actually
  believe that Paul quoted OT Scriptures at the people when he had the much
  more important news of Jesus Christ to tell them about?? That would have
  been bizarre. And if Paul had preached only Scriptures, why would the Jews
  have taken offense?

  Don
Received on Tue Jan 13 06:06:08 2004

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