The Inspiration of Scripture – fully God and fully man

I’m reading through James Philip’s exposition of the Westminster Confession from his midweek services in 1966.  Apart from it not having any paragraphs it’s a good book. I was struck by his treatment of the inspiration of scripture….

 

”Holy Men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”
These words explain how inspiration takes place if you can explain it at all. Peter is saying that the inspired Scriptures have come about in this way by holy men of God being wrought upon by the Holy Spirit. Essentially, this is a mystery, but I think we can explain this mystery to a certain extent, and I think the key lies in the mystery of Christ’s person. There is mystery in the Person of Christ. The Church and the Christian Faith have always proclaimed that  Jesus Christ has two natures; in the one Person, two natures: divine and human. This is the mystery of the Incarnation, the Word made flesh. Now we must never mean by that, that when God became man He laid aside his Godhead. Christ remained the Second Person of the Trinity when He assumed our flesh and nature: and ”disguised” (if you like that word) in human nature, there is the divine nature: two natures- one person.

 

The union of the two natures is so complete that you can never point to any passage in the New Testament in which you can say ”This is the divine Christ speaking” or ”This is the human Christ speaking” because that would be to divide  what God had joined together and it cannot be done. At every point in the gospel it is the divine-human, human-divine Christ speaking. The two natures are inseperably linked and yet He was God and He was man. In the same way the  Scriptures have a two-fold nature………

 

On any page of Scripture you can never say, ”Well, this part here is inspired, but this part is not.”. This you cannot do. To do so would be to separate something that God has joined together. Of every verse you must say ”This is both divine and human”. This epistle was written by Peter; this was the man who wrote it;  but, at the same time you must say ”God is the author”.  but the personality of the writer is never obscured. Nobody could read the epistles of Paul, for example without seeing the man shining through. The picture of the man is abundantly clear in his writings; yet, in the deepest sense, we must also say ”Thus saith the Lord”. This is the great mystery. You remember how it was that Jesus would be born? The angel Gabriel came to Mary and said ”The Holy Spirit shall come upon you….” (Luke 1:35,36). With all reverence I say that the Scriptures as the inspired word of God had a birth like that. These words as they were originally spoken, declared the virgin birth of Christ, and we can speak in a similar way of the virgin birth of the Scriptures. The power of the Highest overshadowed men who were sinners, just as Mary was a sinner, and in Mary, and through Mary, the sinless son of God was born. And in and through sinful man who were the writers of Scriptures, this unique thing which we call the written word of God came into being. This is a great mystery. This is not to explain it; it is to cast light on it, to let us see how mysterious and glorious it really is. (page 12,13)
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One thought on “The Inspiration of Scripture – fully God and fully man”

  1. This is a great mystery to me; He inhabits our peculiarities, complete with our flaws and failures, instead of abolishing them. He often uses our frailties alongside, or instead of, our strengths. The word of God penned by human hands sanctified the hands instead of diluted the word. I suppose in the same way He came to fulfill the law, not abolish it, He somehow fulfills our unique existence, but the dignity that gives us seems sorely undeserved. I guess that’s redemptive grace. Thank you for your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

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