Tag Archives: Revelation

The inspiration of scripture: divine disclosure

Raphael’s 1518 painting of Ezekiel’s visionNote: If this is your first exposure to this series, I’d appreciate it if you’d start with the introduction to the series so that you’re able to put this post in context.

The previous installment in this series cataloged those few texts in which God (or a related heavenly being such as angel) is claimed to have told someone to write something, and to have quoted to that person the exact words they should write. I concluded that discussion with the observation that “no biblical writer claims that God wrote or dictated the book they wrote, though they may claim that for very short texts that they quoted in their books.”

Various biblical texts also testify that God told somebody to write something, but didn’t tell that person exactly what words to use. These passages paint a picture related to, but noticeably different from, those passages that paint a picture of divine dictation of some short text.

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The inspiration of scripture: divine dictation

Charlton Heston as Moses in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten CommandmentsNote: If this is your first exposure to this series, I’d appreciate it if you’d start with the introduction to the series so that you’re able to put this post in context.

I grew up with the notion that the phrase “God inspired the Bible” was functionally equivalent to “God wrote the Bible.” In my young mind, the biblical writers were essentially stenographers, more or less taking dictation from God. In the churches that nourished my childhood faith, the phrases “the Bible says” and “God says” meant the same thing.

As it turns out, the Bible does in fact portray divine dictation as one way in which the creation of a text might be prompted and guided.

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