0 Lecture Outline (3) : DOCTRINE OF THE WORD OF GOD



By: Dr. John Frame

DOCTRINE OF THE WORD OF GOD
Lecture Outline (3)

These are Dr. Frame's systematic theology lecture outlines for the doctrine of the Word of God. Though only in outline format, they are highly detailed and hopefully useful to all.




Previous : Lecture Outline (2) “ I.TheConcept Of The Word Of God

II. The Functions of the Word in and for Creation

In I, above, we have been talking about God's speech as such, whether uttered purely in reference to himself (ad intra, necessary speech) or having some reference to the creation (ad extra, free speech). Now we focus particularly on the latter category and ask about the various works which God's word performs in creation ant for creation. The three creation-functions will correspond roughly to the triad "meaning, power, self-expression" which we considered under I. Since the word is the powerful, meaningful self-expression of God, and since God is related to creation as Lord (cf. Introductory lectures), the word functions in and for creation as the self-expression of God's lordship. The threefold function outlined below, therefore, parallels the "lordship attributes."

A. The Word as God’s Decree
As Lord, God controls all things, and controls them by his speech. As we have seen (I, C, 2, c ), all of God s actions are performed by his word, his speech. His "decretive will," therefore, by which he controls the whole course of nature and history , is a function of his word. Everything happens because God has ordered it to happen by his word (Eph. 1: 11 ).

B.  The Word as God’s Decree



1.God not only controls all things, but he also speaks to his creatures. Only in biblical religion does the highest being, the ultimate being, confront us in personal address. Truly all the gods of the nations are "dumb." And those of non-Christian philosophy.

2.The biblical story, from Genesis to Revelation, is a story of God's address to man and man's response to that address, in obedience or disobedience. God calls his people to govern their lives by reference to this address (cf. below, VII on "authority").


3.The norm for man's life is not God's decree ("decretive will") but his address ("preceptive will"). This fact is obvious: God wishes us to base our lives upon what he has said to ~, not to someone else; and what he has said to !!2 is his address to us. Much of the "decretive will" is secret (though not all). We do not know precisely how God will govern the world over the next, say, ten years. God does not want us to rely ultimately on our fallible forecasts concerning the future, but upon his commands and promises. E.g., we preach the gospel not because we are sure that God will save this or that person, but because God has commanded us to preach.
 

C.The Word as God’s Presence

1.God's name is placed upon his people; Gen. 17:5, Num. 6:21, Deut. 12:5, etc. (cf. above, A, 2,8), I Sam. 12:22, Isa. 43:1,7, 45:3f, 62:2, Amos 9:12, Matt. 28:19f, Rev. 2:17,22:4.

2.The word is written on their heart: Deut. 6:6, Prov. 3:3,7:3, Ps. 119:11, Ezek.11:19, 18:31,36:26,37:23,27, Isa 11:9,51:7,54:13, Hab 2:14, Ps 37:31, 40:8 Jer. 24:7,32:40, John 6:45, II Cor. 3:2f, I Thes. 4:9, Heb. 8:8-12, I John 2:27, Jer. 31 :31-34 key text.

3."Revelation " as the knowledge of God given to all believers: Matt. 11 :25, Eph. 1: 17, Isa. 53:1, John 3:3, Rom. 1:17, II Cor. 4:6, Eph. 5:8, Phil. 3:15, Gal. 1:15f, Isa. 54:13, I John 2:27.

4.Christ as the present word: John 1:14, Matt. 28:20, Acts 1:1f, John 15:1-14, Rom. 10:6-10 (cf. Deut. 30:12ft).

5.The Spirit empowers, illumines, demonstrates, arouses response: I Thes. 1 :5, Rom. 15:18f, I Cor. 2:4, 14. Cf. Murray on the "internal testimony orthe Holy Spirit;" cf. also below VIII, B.




6.Formulation:
a.not a new address in addition to 2 above.
b.the taking root of God's address in our heart so as to determine our whole-souled response.
c.In Scripture, those who have the word written on their heart are obedient to God. (Rom. 2:14f guardedly uses different language in reference to unbelievers.)
d.But other Scripture suggests that God is present in his word to harden hearts and hasten judgment: Isa. 6:9ff, parallels.
e.Though the word in this sense gives us no new content, it is most helpful in enabling us to make new applications of that content already revealed. Cf. above, Part One, II, C.



D.Mutual Involvement of the Three Functions (each united with the others so as to form a "perspective" on the whole.)

1.Decree includes address and presence. His addresses and his indwellings are part of his eternal plan.
2.Address presupposes decree, needs presence to be rightly understood.
3.All we know of decree and presence, we learn through address.
4.The word of God's address is a decree; it is powerful to achieve its purposes (Rom. 1: 16, etc.), even when disobeyed.
5.The word of presence is also a decree in that its purposes are achieved.
6.The decree is an address to the cosmos (Ps. 147:15, 148:5,8, etc.).
7.Presence is the powerful working of address in changing lives.
8.Presence operates in bounds established by decree and address.
9.The decree is efficacious because God's power is omnipresent in the cosmos. The decree expresses that presence.
10.The address is a presence of God within a particular place and to particular hearers and readers.
11.Presence is a secondary address (but not a new address, a new content--see above, C, 6, a) by which the full implications and applications of the address become known to us and experienced by us.
 



III.The Media of the Word

A. All of God's words to creatures are mediated; i.e., they come by way of means. In fact, revelation to creatures always involves created means of some sort. In that sense, there is no "direct" revelation.


1.Even when God spoke ~ directly, as to the people at Mt. Sinai, he utilized human language, the natural processes for the transmission of sound, the human brains of the hearers, etc.

2.Even inspired writers of Scripture often get information by "natural" means (Luke 1: 1-4). Revelation does not ever exclude such means.

3.At some point, of course, there is "direct" involvement between the divine energy and some natural process. But that point is long before the point at which we become conscious of the word.

4.Van Til sometimes speaks of "direct revelation in history" (over against Barth) meaning that God's word in history is "clear," "unambiguous," "unquestionable." In that sense, of course, I would agree that direct revelation exists.



B.The Humanity of God’s Address to Mankind

1.When God addresses human beings, he uses human language. Therefore, even the most "direct" revelation (like that on Mt. Sinai) has a human side, a human nature, a human aspect to it. In his more normal procedure, he brings his address to us by means of human authors, and that adds an even greater "human element."

2.Is the humanity of the revelation a liability?
a.No, it is a perfection! The very goal of revelation is for God to express himself clearly in human language so as to communicate with us.
b.Does humanity entail fallibility?
(1)Murray: If so, then there is no infallible revelation at all. But if God can overcome fallibility at one point, surely he can do it at all points. So humanity does not necessarily imply fallibility
(2)Humanity entails limit, finitude and therefore ignorance. But ignorance and error are not the same. One who is ignorant, yet perfectly aware of the extent of his ignorance and sinlessly honest might never make a false assertion.
(3)Christ was fully human, yet not fallible.
(4)If God cannot correct the mistakes of human authors, he is not the God of Scripture.
(5)Is human language inherently incapable of referring to God? See Frame, "God and Biblical Language," in Montgomery, ed., God'sInerrant Word.



C.Enumeration of the Media

1.Event-media
God reveals himself to us through what he does, in nature and history . We might be inclined to associate these media with the word as decree, and the other two types of media with address and presence, respectively. In general, that is a legitimate parallelism. But the "event-media" are not the same as the "word as decree." Event-media bring us God's address as well as his decree. There are other non-parallels in the scheme.
a.Nature and General History: Ps. 19, 46:8-10, 65, 104, Rom. 1-2, Deut. 4:26, 30:19,31:28,32:1, Gen. 9:12-17.
(1)Nature and history are not the word, but media through which the word conveys its message to man.
(2)Through this revelation, the "invisible power and deity" of God are "clearly seen" (Rom. 1).
(3)His "ordinances" are also revealed, Rom. 1:32, so that God's moral law is known. Hence all are responsible before God.
(4)Scripture does not teach that nature apart from the message of the gospel can bring anyone to salvation.
(a)Fallen man resists, hinders, perverts the revelation in nature (Rom. 1).
(b)Salvation comes only through the preaching of Christ, Rom. 10: 13ff. Unless they hear that message, there is no hope. Cf. Acts 17.
(5)God did not intend for anyone to study nature in abstraction from his spoken and written words.
(6)The believer discerns in nature the wisdom of God's plan, and rejoices therein.
(7)Nature furnishes information necessary for the application of other revelation. (Adam's eyes told him where the fruit was that God was forbidding.)


b.Redemptive History: "the mighty acts of God," Ex. 14:31, 15, Deut.8:11-18, Ps. 66:5-7,135,136,145:4,12, John 2:11, Acts 2:22,15,12, Rom. 1:4, Heb.2:1-4, Rev. 15:3f.
(I) Perform all the functions of (a) above.
(2) Indicate God's saving purposes, including the special judgments he performs in delivering his people.

c.Miracle
(1)Biblical terminology for miracle overlaps with (b) above--the terminology for "mighty acts of God."
(2)Its revelatory function virtually the same as (b), though with more intensity, excitement.
(3)Definitions of miracle will be given in the course "Doctrine of God." In my view, Scriptural usage is somewhat fluid. The N. T. terms, dunamis, semeion, teras, suggest: (note interesting correspondence with our triadic scheme).
(a) Manifestations of divine power
(b) Giving revelation
(c) Arousing awe, wonder



2.Word-media
Of course, all media are media by which the word of God reaches us. But in this group of media, the word of God takes the form of actual human words; thus it is "verbal" in two senses. It was once fashionable to say that in Scripture God reveals himself only by "events," and that words ascribed to God were not to be considered as revelation at all except perhaps in a secondary sense (e.g., G.Ernest Wright). JamesBarr (Oldand New in Interpretation) pointed out, however, that attractive as this notion might be to modern theologians, it has no basis in Scripture. In Scripture, God clearly speaks as well as acts. As prophecy, the words precede the events; as interpretation, they follow the events. Event and word form an inseparable revelatory unit.


a.The Divine Voice
(1) The divine voice, heard without any "secondary author," is very rarely heard. by God's people generally. Ex. 20, Luke 3:22 are the only clear examples I know of. In one sense, the voice of the incarnate Jesus would fall in this category . And of course Gen. 1:28ff, 2:16, etc.

(2)Generally, the divine voice is addressed to specific men, usually called prophets or apostles, who are charged with bringing the divine message to others.

(3)In theophany and vision, the divine voice is usually more crucial, more important, than the visual content. The prophet is more a listener than a viewer. What is seen, usually, is intended to reinforce what is said (Hence in these lectures, I speak of the "doctrine of the Word," usually, rather than "doctrine of revelation." The latter has a more visual coloring, the former more auditory . It is interesting that "revelation" is almost never used in Scripture (as it is in theology) as a general term for divine-human communication. It tends, rather to describe consummations, heightenings, of the revelatory process.) In Scripture, divine communication is more a matter of hearing-obedience than of seeing-contemplation (contra Eastern religions ). Cf. John 14:9ff.

(4)Revelation can be given to a prophet or apostle without theophany, vision, or divine voice. It can be a much more "natural" process (as Luke 1:14).
(5)Clearly, the divine voice is the word of God. No one dare disobey or despise it. Though adapted to the creature's understanding, and though expressed in human language, it nevertheless carries with it all the power, authority , wonder which God himself exhibits. The divine voice addressed to man has no less power, authority, etc.


then the word spoken by God to himself in eternity.

b.The Word Through Prophets and Apostles: God not only speaks to prophets and apostles; he speaks through them to others in such a way that their word is truly his. A sort of "incarnation" of the word. Yet there is no decrease in power or authority from the divine voice to the prophetic utterance.
(1)Before the Fall: Man is God's image, is capable of truly reproducing God's interpretation of reality, Gen. 2:19f, 23.
(2)Fall to Noah:
(a)Despite sin, man takes the promise of grace upon his lips, Gen. 3:20,4:1,26.
(b)Lamech's false prophecy of defiance, 4:23f.

(3)Noah:  II Pet. 2:5, Gen. 9:24-27.
(4)Patriarchs: Gen. 27:27-29, 39f, 49:2-27.
(5)Moses (the classic prophet)
(a)distinctiveness of his experience, authority of his words, Num. 12:1-8, Deut. 18:15-22.
(b)word of God in his mouth; above passages, also Ex. 4:10-16, 7:1ff. (cf. Ps. 82:6, John 10:34).
(c)covenant mediator, substitute for God's voice, Ex. 19:9, 20:18-22 (cf. Deut. 18:16t).
(d)authority of his words--that of God, Deut. 1: 1-3,4: 1-9, 5:1, 29ff, 6:1-9, Luke 16:2931, John 5:45-47.
(e)religious veneration given to word of Moses, Ps. 19, 119, 12, etc.


(6)Old Testament Prophets (after Moses) (E. J. Young, MyServants, the Prophets): Deut. 18:15-19, Jer. 1:6-19, Ezek. 13:2f, 17 (cf. Jer. 17:9, I John 3:20). "Word in the mouth."
(7)New Testament Prophets: Acts 11:27,13:1, 15:32,19:6,21:9,19, Rom. 12:5, I Cor. 11:4F, 12:10, 14:1ff, I Tim. 1 :18,4:14, Rev. 11:3ff(cf. Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:17ft). Same authority as O.T.?
(a) the promise: Matt. 10:19f, 40ff, John 14:23-26, 15:26f, 16: 13.
(b)the fulfillment
(i)Gift of the Spirit produces apostolic preaching, Acts 1:5,8,2:4,4:8,31,6:3,5,10,7:55,9:17, 13:9f,52ff.
(ii)Apostles claim divine source for their message: II Thes. 2:2, II Cor. 4:1-6, Gal. 1:1,11[, 16,2:2, ICor. 2:10-13,7:40, II Cor. 12:1,7, Eph. 3:3, I Cor. 4:1, Rom. 16:25 (cf. Rom. 3:1ft).




C.The Written Word: God gives his word in written form. The word is not identical with any particular bit of paper or ink (or recording tape, or microfilm, or whatever), but the message conveyed by the paper and ink or other medium is identical with God's very word. It is no less the word of God than is prophecy, the verbal message given in theophany, or any other utterance of the word of God. The written word is, like prophecy, a kind of "incarnation": a divine message in the form of human language and created media of communication. It has both divine and human attributes. Again, no loss of power or authority as we move from a to b to c.

(1)Covenant Memorials: Books of Generations: Gen. 28:1822,35; 14f, 8:20,12:7f, 13:18, 35:3, Gen.2:4, 5:1, 6:9, 10:1, 11:10, 11:27, 25:12,19,36:9, 37:2--demonstrates possibility and desirability of permanent documentary attestation of covenant history, from the beginning of that history.



(2)Covenant Document: Kline, Structure of Biblical Authority

(a)The Lord addresses the servant-emphasis on divine authorship: Ex. 24:12,31:18, 32:15f, 34:1, 27f, 32; cf. Deut. 4:13, 9:10f, 10:2-4,31:14-29 (God's "witness" against the people, not the people's witness to God.)
(b)Original: the "book of life"? (Clowney, Preachingand Biblical Theology, 42, note). Ex. 32:32,17:14, Dan. 12:1,etc.
(c)N.B.: The concept of a written word of God does not begin with twentieth-century fundamentalism or seventeenth-century rationalism or medieval scholasticism or post-apostolic defensiveness or late Jewish legalism. It is embedded in the original constitution of the people of God and is assumed throughout Scripture (see below).




(3)Written Prophecy: Isa. 8:1, 30:8ff, 34:16f, Jer. 25:13,30:2,36:1-32, 51 :60ff, Dan. 9:1f(cf. Jer. 25:11f, II Chr. 36:21, Ezr. 1:1); cf. Jer. 26:17ff with Mic. 3:12f, Isa. 2:2-4 with Mic. 4:1-5, Hab. 2:14, Isa. 11 :9, Dan. 9:9ff.



(4)The Old Testament as a Whole
(a) Formula and titles used in N.T. "it is written," "Scripture says, it says--God says," (Warfield, "It Says, etc.," The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, 299-348), "oracles of God," (Warfield, ibid., 351-407), "Scripture," (ibid., 229-241 "Holy Scripture," "law ," "prophets," "royal law of liberty," etc.
(b)N.T. teaching about the O.T.: cf. Murray in The Infallible Word, various articles of Warfield. Matt. 5:17-19, John 5:45,10:33-36, Rom. 15:4, II Tim. 3:16, II Pet. 1:21, Jas. 4:5, 11.
(c)Warning: be careful that you do not make the whole argument appear to rest on II Tim. 3: 16 and II Pet. 1 :21, sometimes dismissed by liberals as late and legalistic. Though these two passages are important, it is more important that people come to see how the idea of a written word of God permeates all of Scripture. Cf. later discussion on "The Necessity of the Word."

(5)The New Testament

(a)In the nature of the case, the N . T. could not talk about itself as a completed collection of writings. Yet it leaves no doubt that it is God's purpose to give such a collection to his church.
(b)Probabilities: If God promised, then gave, a distinctive verbal revelation for the new covenant community (above, b, viii.), we would naturally expect that this revelation, like that of the O . T ., would be inscripturated, unless there were cogent reasons for thinking otherwise.
(c )The N . T. revelation was codified into a permanent "body of truth" (paradosis, tradition): Matt. 11:27, I Cor. 15:2f, II Thes. 2:15 (cf. II Tim. 3), II Thes. 3:6, I Tim. 6:20 (cf. Rom. 3:1ft), II Tim. 1:12ff, 2:2, II Pet. 2:21, Jude 3.

(d)N . T . writers claimed this status for their writings, claimed divine inspiration as their source: Col. 4: 16, I Thes. 5 :27, II Thes. 3:14 (cf. 2:15), I Cor. 14:37, I Tim. 5:18 (Deut. 25:4, Luke 10:7), II Pet. 3:16.

(e) Which books? Cf. course in N. T. Canon.



(6)Transmission Of The Written Word

(a) Was the word given to the human authors by "dictation?"
(i)Sometimes, yes: Ex. 34:27f, Rev. 2: 1 ff, I Pet. I: 10f, Jeremiah.
(ii)Generally, no. Infallible documents are usually produced through normal human research under God's inspiration. Inspiration is not bound to the process of dictation as a means of authorship. Luke 1 :1-4.
(iii)"Dictation" as a metaphor to stress the conformity of the document to the mind of God? Yes. Used as such by many theologians including the Reformers.
(iv)How can God produce such conformity to his mind without literal dictation? By controlling the writer's heredity , environment, education, concerns, etc. Inspiration is a Calvinistic doctrine.
a)Transcendence and immanence: the Word can be perfectly human because it is so perfectly divine. Because the speaker is sovereign over all things, he can speak human language without "dictating"; he can speak human language "naturally."  The world cannot shut him out; he is not compromised by speaking human language; on the contrary, in that act he demonstrates his deity .
b)"Organic inspiration": God inspires Scripture using the human faculties of the writers. The product displays the human characteristics of the writer--his background, skills, concerns, style, personality, linguistic peculiarities, etc.



(b)The autographa and the apographa (original manuscripts and copies) (See Greg Bahnsen, "The Inerrancy of the Autographa," in Geisler, Inerrancy (Zondervan, 1979).

i) "Only the autograph (the original prophetically certified document) is inspired"-because God has not promised inerrant transmission.

ii)Scripture itself recognizes a distinction between the original manuscript and the copies.
aa) Use of Scripture portions that are obviously copies: 1 Kings 2:3, Prov. 25:1, Ezra 7:14, 2 Tim. 4:13, Luke 4:16-21.
bb) So it is not important for us to possess the physical page of the original, but the original message.
cc) But Scripture assumes that the teaching of the copies is authoritative because they are faithful to their origin, prophetic and divine.
dd) Scripture references to the authority of the original: Ex. 32-34, Deut. 10:2,4,Jer. 36:1-32, Deut. 17:18-20,2 Kings 22,2 Chron. 34, Deut. 4:2, 12:32, Prov. 30:6, Rev. 22:18-19, Matt. 15:6.






iii)Can we trust our present Bibles?

aa)To the degree that our Bibles reflect the autographic text, they are the Word of God.
bb) There are objective means of determining what belongs to the autographic text: textual criticism.
cc) Can we be wrong in making this determination? Yes. But one could also err in his understanding of the autographic manuscript. So,




iv)Larger issue: all our knowledge of Scripture, our access to it, is burdened with human fallibility . Even if we had the autographs, we would have imperfect means of understanding their language, their teaching, and even if we had perfect knowledge of the languages, grammar, etc., we would still distort the teaching because of our sin. So having the autograph would not be much help; in fact it might even compound the problem by providing a "holy object" for human idolatry .



v)God might, to be sure, have imparted infallibility to the whole process by which he transmitted his Word to us.

aa) He might have given infallibility not only to the inspiration of the autographs, but also to the copying of these, their publication, their interpretation and application. For his own reasons, however, he determined not to do that.
bb) Or he might have chosen to grant infallible autographs, plus an infallible textual tradition, but to leave the interpretation of the text to fallible readers. This is the assumption of those who defend the "majority" text underlying the KJV.
cc) But there is no biblical reason to assume that God did either or these things. Rather, he imparted infallibity to the original autograph and then left the rest of the process of transmission to fallible human beings.




vi)The question, then, is: of what use is an inspired, infallible text when our only access to it is humanly fallible?




vii)Response:

a)The "infallible autograph" enables us consistently to confess the truthfulness of God.
b)Our access to the text is not merely human, not merely fallible, for the testimony of the Spirit guides us.

c) Van Til's "underwaterbridge" --though you can't see it, you're glad it's there.



d)On most all teachings of Scripture, there is room for doubt only on the most skeptical epistemological presuppositions; but these presuppositions are forbidden to the Christian. We must assume that God has spoken clearly and has given us adequate means to learn what he has said. Else, the whole biblical story makes no sense. Cf. X, below.



e)On these fundamental doctrines, the Spirit builds the regenerate life. They become, to the Christian, the most fundamental presuppositions of life. They are, therefore, convictions of utter certainty , whatever theoretical doubts there may be as to their epistemological justification. In fact, these doctrines, to the believer, are more certain than any extra-biblical epistemological considerations can be.


f)On some areas there is room for debate within the general framework of Christian presuppositions. Here is needed the paradoxical yet practicable combination of boldness and teachability noted earlier in connection with preaching (III, H). The N.T. quotes the Septuagint O.T. translation as the word of God,--and sometimes corrects it!



g)Even if we had only the Old Testament, we would have a book which is sufficient to make us "complete, thoroughly furnished unto every good work" (II Tim. 3: 17). There is enough redundancy in natural language that loss of a few words (and most textual problems deal only with a few words) or even, sometimes, of a great many, brings little net loss of meaning. Of course there is always some loss - loss of nuance or color if nothing else; and the Christian textual critic must be concerned not to lose anything of God's precious word. But such questions do not detract from the completeness of what we already have. No one can use the incompleteness of our present access to Scripture to excuse himself for disobedience.




d.Uninspired Preaching and Teaching; Christian Insight

(1)The teaching office continues, though inspiration has ceased. Even during the biblical period, we have no reason to assume that ~ teacher was inspired, especially since, in one sense, the teaching function was universal in the church (the "general office", Col.3:16, Eph. 4:29, I John 2:27, "word as presence").
(2)Thus we must assume that it is possible to preach the truth without inspiration, i.e., that God uses uninspired people to convey his truth.
(3)In such teaching, we cannot say that the teacher is infallible, or that his word has the power and authority associated with God's word.
(4)At the same time, insofar as he faithfully and rightly proclaims the word of God  that word continues to be fully powerful and fully authoritative, even on the lips of an uninspired person.
(5)The Spirit is active in the uninspired preacher if he is preaching obediently. The Spirit brings forth the truth. Therefore, though there is no inspiration, something ~ inspiration is going on.
(6)Cf. Second Helvetic Confession, I, "The preaching of the Word is the Word."
(7)There is paradox here: fallibility, but also authority. Practically, it calls us to boldness, combined with teachability.




3.Person-media
Not only does God reveal himself through events and words, but also in persons, both his own person and in other persons who reflect him in significant ways. Since he is a person, he is, in many ways, most clearly revealed in personal lives.

a.Theophany
(1)In theophany, God appears in the form of something created, often as an angel or man. Ex. 23:31, Gen. 16:7ff, 21:17ff, etc.
(2)The theophany tends to stress the giving of a verbal message (above, 2a).
(3)The theophany shows how God is the mediator of his own revelation. There is always a divine "medium" as well as created media. God does not speak and then allow his message to be taken over by autonomous created forces. Rather, he speaks, and then personally accompanies his word until it accomplishes its purpose ( cf. Jer. 1: 11 t). This fact will be clear in what follows.



b.Christ, the Mediator of All God’s Speech:  Christ is the word, and also the ultimate mediator of the word, as he is the one mediator between God and man (I Tim. 2:5).
(1)Creation and Providence (A-B above), John 1:3, 10, I Cor. 8:5, Col. 1: 16, Heb. 1 :2.
(2)Redemptive History, Prophecy, Scripture: Christ the worker of mighty deeds, the theme of the Scriptures: Luke 24:25-27, John 5:45-47, I Cor. 10:4, etc.
(3)Christ, the prophet, John 12:47-49,7:16, 3:34ff, 5:20,8:28,19:24, 31,17:8.
(4)Christ the ultimate example: John 13:35, Matt. 11 :29, 16:24, I Pet. 9:21,1 John 3:16.
(5)Christ the Spirit through whom the word is illumined and the life made exemplary, II Cor. 3:17f.




c.The Spirit Inspires, Illumines, Demonstrates, Sanctifies: Cf. above, II, A, I, c; II, B,3, e; Murray, "The Attestation of Scripture."
(1)Inspiration: A work of the Spirit creating an identity between divine and human worlds. Isa. 61:1, I Cor. 2:13, II Tim. 3:16, II Pet. 1:21.
(2)Illumination: Noetic regeneration, through which we rightly discern and use the word of God already revealed. I Cor. 2:12--16, II Cor. 3:15-18, John 3:5f.
(3)Demonstration: Powerful persuasion of the truth. I Thes. 1:5, I Cor. 2:4.
(4)Producing Sanctified Speech (above, H), Rom. 8: 15f, Gal. 4:6, I Cor. 12.2, Eph. 5:18f, Coi. 3:16.
(5)Indwelling: By which the word is "written on the heart" and we become conformed to the image of Christ (cf. II, C).



d.The Apostolic Example: Words have no meaning except as they are put to use by persons. Thus divine acts interpret divine words, as well as vice versa (above, A-C). Similarly, the apostolic example is correlative to the apostolic teaching. Cf. also Part One, II, C. Not every apostolic action is normative (Gal. 2:11-14); yet the apostles' lives embodied a godliness adequate to demonstrate the meaning of their teaching.

(1)Exhortations to imitate: I Cor. 4:16, 11:1,Phil.3:17,IThes.1:6, 2:6, II Thes. 3:7-9, Heb. 13:7.
(2)The "travelogue" or "apostolic parousia": The personal visit of the apostle adds something significant to the force of his written word, Rom. 1:8-17,15:1433, I Cor. 4:14-21,5:1-5, II Cor. 75-16, 12:1413:10, Gal. 4:12-20, Eph. 6:21[, Col. 4:7ff, I Tim. 3:14f, II Tim. 4:6-18, Tit. 3:12-14, Heb. 13:8f, 22f, II John 12, III John 13f.
(3)Teaching by godly example did not cease at the end of the apostolic period. The uninspired teachers or the church are also urged to be godly examples: I Thes. 1:7, I Tim. 4:12, Tit. 2:7, I Pet. 5:3. Cf. 2, d above on uninspired teaching. Instruction by example is always part of the work of teaching, and inseparable from it.



e.The Human Constitution
(1)Not only Christ, the apostles and the church teachers reveal God in their persons. To an extent,.?! human beings reflect God, for we are made in his image, Gen. 1:26f, 5:1, 9:6, I Cor. 11:7, Jas. 3:9. Even unbelievers retain the image, though in them it is "marred." Cf. course in "Doctrine of Man."
(2)The "work of the law" is written on every heart, to which "conscience" bears witness, Rom. 2:14f
(3)Believers are renewed in the image of Christ, and thus come to reflect God in a new way: Eph. 4:2, Col. 3:10, Lev. 19:2, Jer. 31 :31 ff. Cf. I, C, 1, II, C.



4.Interrelations of Media (perspectival)
a. When God acts (events) and speaks (words), he thereby reveals that he is personally present. Thus, there is a kind or theophany wherever there are divine acts or words. The acts and words always involve the presence of Christ through the Spirit.
b.Mighty acts of God always communicate something to man and thus function as a verbal address, though that address may be interpreted only by revelation which is more focally verbal.
c.The speaking of God's word is always an impressive event, a mighty act. Speaking is an act of God.
d.The presence of God is also a mighty act.
e.The presence of God in person is also a kind of "word" by which the more explicitly verbal revelation is applied to the heart and to the changing circumstances of life. It does not confer infallibility on the hearer however , and it communicates no ~ content; it applies that content already given--unfolds it, makes explicit what was implicit, etc.



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Next : Part 4IV. The Message of The Word"


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