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

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Sun Jan 18 2004 - 20:20:10 EST

Don Winterstein wrote:

> George Murphy wrote:
> "...There are places in scripture where language close to "Word of
> God" is used
> for parts of scripture - e.g., /ta logia tou theou/, "the oracles of
> God" in Rom.3:2."
> I see this passage as a reference to the divine interventions of God
> through prophets on behalf of the Jews down through their history.
> The interventions are, to be sure, described and recorded in various
> scriptures, so that through the scriptures we can trace their
> history. But Paul is referring to the interventions themselves as
> events that have become the personal property of all Jews rather than
> merely to the writings that describe them. If Paul were referring
> only to the writings--well, those writings are easily transferable and
> could be given to some other people, and then those people would be
> equal to the Jews in terms of having the oracles of God. But that's
> not what Paul was implying. The writings are transferable, but the
> status from being chosen and from experiencing the oracles was not.
> So the transcendingly important things were the actual collective
> experiences of the Jews, not the ways they were written up in
> scriptures.

        This won't work. /ta logia/ means words, not "occurrences" and is properly
translated "oracles." It could refer to oracles _spoken_ through the prophets but it is
also used by Philo (slightly before Paul) to mean passages of scripture & is used in the
same sense by some of the church fathers. Paul is referring to words given to & kept by
the Jews - i.e., scripture.
> --Not that I'm trying to denigrate scriptures. They are essential for
> the historical context of our faith, for "doctrine, reproof, ...," and
> when read they often become the Word of God. It's just that I don't
> see them, as objects, as being identical to the Word of God.
> George: "...There is no justification at all for your
> interpretation of John 1."
> Don: Perhaps so. I think I was making a feeble effort at systematic
> theology here, but I'm really not even interested in such things, so
> let's ignore it. My main thesis is that "word of God" and like terms
> in the Bible never unambiguously refer to scriptures, whereas among
> most Protestants today those terms refer to practically nothing but
> scriptures. I see this as a potentially damaging distortion of the
> Word.

        If your purpose is simply to argue that the phrase "Word of God" should not be
limited to the Bible, as some Christians do, I agree completely. It should be
understood, as I noted, in connection with Christ as the Word and the proclamation of
Christ. But in order to do that it isn't necessary to deny the phrase to scripture. As
in many other cases (christology, Trinity, original sin, &c), proper theology involves
observing the proper boundaries on both right & left.


George L. Murphy
Received on Sun Jan 18 20:22:34 2004

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