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1 John 2:12 by Robert Dean
Series:1st John (2000)
Duration:58 mins 17 secs

Inspiration and Sufficiency; 1 John 2:12


Sometimes we get into conversation with people who ask: How do I know that you are right? How do you know that the Bible is right? And then we appeal to the Bible and say that the Bible says. Immediately the response it that we can't do that, it's circular reasoning; that we can't use the Bible to prove the Bible. But they are wrong, because if we use any system to prove the Bible then what we are saying is that that system has authority over the Bible. But if the Bible is the very word of God, God's revelation to man, to what higher authority can we appeal to validate God? There is none. Se we need to be careful not to fall into the trap of validating the wrong question when we are talking to people. We can show why the Bible validates itself as the Word of God but we are not going to some external system to prove that the Bible is the Word of God.

2 Timothy 3:16, 17 NASB "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching…" In the Greek what we have is an adjective, pasa [pasa] andf the noun graphe [grafh], meaning "all Scripture." Then that is followed by an adjective theopneustos [qeopneustoj]. There is no verb there. There is no "is" in the first phrase of the verse. There is an adjective modifying a noun, then another nominative adjective, theopneustos, linked by a conjunction to another nominative adjective. That has led some people, to want to translate this (you have to supply the "is") with an "is" but where should that "is" go? Should it be translated "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable," or should it read, "All Scripture inspired by God is profitable." There is a vast difference in the meanings of those two sentences. If it is "All Scripture is inspired" then you are saying stating that every single verse is breathed out by God and is also profitable. But if you are saying that "All Scripture inspired by God" then there may be some Scriptures that aren't inspired by God. There are some translations that have taken it that way. What we have here grammatically is that there are two predicate adjectives, they should be treated as predicate adjectives and the "is" should be inserted prior to the noun theopneustos. It is a point of grammar that when you have the head noun followed by a second anarthrous noun—theopneustos does not have the article with it—

then the second more general noun is taken as a predicate adjective. So it should be translated, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching…"

"…for teaching [doctrine], for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness." Doctrine is the principles extracted from the Scripture so that we can understand it. We are designed to think categorically; we learn everything categorically. What we do with doctrine is compare Scripture with Scripture and put together what the Bible teaches on a particular subject as we go from Genesis to Revelation. "Reproof" means that is challenges us where we are wrong. Everyone at some point or another is going to have their toes stepped on. It is not always a pleasant experience to have the spotlight of the Word of God shine on our lives. And "for training in righteousness" is application. Notice the chain of events: it starts with doctrine and ends in training. [17] "so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." The word "adequate" in the Scriptures is the word artios [a)rtioj] which means qualified, proficient or competent. The word for "equipped" is exartizo [e)cartizw] which means to be educated, edified and prepared. It is a training manual to teach us how to think first and act second. Action should follow the way we think. So 2 Timothy 3:17, 17 emphasises the fact that God is the source of Scripture, it has a purpose and that is to change our lives that we may be prepared, proficient and equipped to do what God wants us to do.

Somebody always raises the objection at the this point: Yes, but the problem isn't God, the problem is He is doing it through men, fallible sinners, so how can God guarantee truth from error? So we look at the mechanics in 2 Peter 1:20, 21 NASB "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is {a matter} of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." Understanding what God says isn't based on our subjective frame of reference. God communicated the prophecies of the Old Testament to communicate something specific. It is objective revelation and you can't just go into the Scriptures and try to make them mean whatever you want it to mean. It wasn't even a matter of the prophet's interpretation. God gave the prophets information and they communicated that information, they didn't interpret it first and then give it. They gave exactly what God gave, so the prophecy wasn't a matter of individual interpretation. Prophecy in Scripture did not generate from the will of the prophet in the Old Testament, it came because he was moved. The Greek word is phero [ferw], it is used of the wind blowing and pushing a sail boat across a lake. There you have unseen activity but nevertheless it is moving the craft in a particular direction. The men were moved by the Holy Spirit who spoke from God. They didn't write their experiences, they wrote what God told them to write. We see from this verse that prophecy does not originate from any act of human will, that the Holy Spirit is the agent of revelation, that what men wrote did not originate from them but from God, and that in the process God prevented the sin nature of the writers from diverting, misdirecting, confusing or misleading them in some way so that they would record something in error.

There is a fallacy in the assumption that if man is involved it is going to guarantee error. If that is true then Jesus could not have been impeccable because the incarnation and second person of the Trinity involved a sinner. Her name was Mary. But God guaranteed that that which was born from Mary was without sin.

Did Jesus use the Scriptures in a merely general way? Did He just use the Scriptures as though they were just generally true and to draw general principles from them? Or did He emphasise the minutia of the Scriptures?

Matthew 5:17, 18 NASB "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished." He is referring first of all to the Law and the Prophets, and that is the term that referred to the Old Testament Scriptures. Often the Old Testament was just referred to as the Law and the Prophets, and that covered all three sections of the Hebrew Scriptures. Jesus came to bring to pass that which they prophesied, to fulfil them.

John 10:22ff NASB "At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, 'How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.' Jesus answered them, 'I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these testify of Me. But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me'… My Father, who has given {them} to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch {them} out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one'." In the English that loses a lot in translation. What we find in the Greek is that when Jesus uses the word "one" it is a neuter singular, not a masculine singular. If He had used a masculine singular it would mean I and the Father are the same person, and He does not say that. He uses a neuter which means I and the Father are one in essence; we share the essence of deity. He is clearly claiming to have identical essence with the Father but that He is a distinct person from the Father. [31] "The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him." They knew exactly what He was saying, and he is basing His argument on the gender of the number. This is detail, not some general idea. Then as they are picking up stones to stone Him Jesus uses an incredibly sophisticated argument. [32] "Jesus answered them, 'I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?' [33] The Jews answered Him, 'For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out {to be} God'. [34] Jesus answered them, 'Has it not been written in your Law, 'I SAID, YOU ARE GODS'? [35] If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?" He is quoting from a passage in the 82nd Psalm. It is not a dominant psalm and not one most of us would go to to prove the deity of Christ, it is a relatively obscure psalm. Jesus plucks out His defence from a relatively obscure psalm, and in that context the psalmist is referring to the human leaders and judges of Israel and calls them by the name elohim. It is not God's proper name, Yahweh, but it is recognising the fact that governing authorities have their responsibility delegated to them by God. Jesus' argument is incredibly shrewd and sophisticated. He is saying, if it is okay to call them gods and they were human, why is it wrong for me to call myself the Son of God when I am the Son of God? He says, "and the Scripture cannot be broken." In other words, you can't violate the Scriptures because you are mad at me and want to stone me. The Scripture has the final authority.

John 8:55-58 NASB "and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw {it} and was glad. So the Jews said to Him, 'You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?' Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am'"—imperfect tense of the verb, indicating He has continual existence.

In Matthew 22:23-33 the Sadducees wanted to confound Him is His interpretation of the Law. They made up a story. The Sadducees didn't believe in resurrection but they are going to test Jesus on resurrection anyway. "Teacher, Moses said, 'IF A MAN DIES HAVING NO CHILDREN, HIS BROTHER AS NEXT OF KIN SHALL MARRY HIS WIFE, AND RAISE UP CHILDREN FOR HIS BROTHER.' Now there were seven brothers with us; and the first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother; so also the second, and the third, down to the seventh. Last of all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had {married} her. But Jesus answered and said to them, 'You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: 'I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.' When the crowds heard {this,} they were astonished at His teaching." When God was talking to Moses he said, present tense, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." These three men had already been dead at least 350 years, and yet God is using the present tense. Jesus bases His argument for the reality of resurrection on the present tense of that verb.

The point is that Jesus said that the most obscure details of Scripture are all equally infallibly inspired. We see from these Scriptures that inspiration is verbal, the very letters are important. 

There are three corollaries to the doctrine of inspiration that we must not forget. 1) Though every word is equally infallible and authoritative not every word is equally applicable to every believer. There are passage sin the Old Testament that were addressed to Israel only and don't apply to us today. 2) If every word is breathed out by God then it is the responsibility of the pastor-teacher to investigate and exegete every word, the entire counsel of God. 3) If every word is breathed out by God then the Bible is absolutely and totally sufficient for salvation, spiritual growth and problem-solving. 2 Peter 1:3, 4 NASB "seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of {the} divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust."

So when John says "I am writing to you little children" he is conscious of the fact that he is writing the Words of God, and he is giving infallible, inerrant instruction to his congregation on how to live the Spiritual life.