There are some who believe the Bible contains contradictions and discrepancies and these can be explained away by pointing out the human authors use of literary devices. The Literary Device Theory is a recent hermeneutic used to explain alleged inconsistencies in the four Gospel accounts.
These scholars try to answer what they see as troublesome questions. Why do Gospel narratives differ? Did the Gospel writers exaggerate the various accounts of Christ? Did they makeup some of them? What were their intentions in using certain words or phrases?
Christian writer Lydia McGrew argues convincingly this leads to a flawed and unnecessary apologetic that does “more harm than good.” I agree, she claims these seeming inconsistencies often harbor “undesigned coincidences” that actually bolster the historicity of the Scriptures.
Are the Scriptures the word of man, or the Word of God; human or divine? The answer to this question can explain why some believe the Scriptures have divine authority and why some don’t.
I do not believe there is a credible biblical scholar who will not admit that the various human authors personal writing traits can be recognized in their individual writings. The shortest Gospel, Mark, uses the word “immediately” forty times. It is a communicative trait peculiar to Mark.
Recognizing such traits is a great distance from saying individual biblical authors contrived or crafted their narratives to produce a certain result in the heart and mind of the reader. There is no reason to believe the Gospels are anything less than the simple, straightforward, eyewitness accounts they profess to be.
For these reasons the definition of biblical inspiration by the late Dr. Charles C. Ryrie best articulates my own understanding of divine inspiration. He wrote, “My own definition of biblical inspiration is that it is God’s superintendence of the human authors so that, using their own individual personalities, they composed and recorded without error His revelation to man in the words of the original autographs.
“Several features of the definition are worth emphasizing: (1) God superintended but did not dictate the material; (2) He used human authors and their own individual styles; (3) nevertheless, the product was, in its original manuscripts, without error.”
Ryrie’s definition dovetails with Peter’s words, “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,” 2 Peter 1:20-21.
When we say a Gospel writer wrote this for this reason we are attributing the writing and the subsequent interpretation to an act of the human will and thus robbing it of any authoritative inspiration. The Scriptures become a product of the human will rather than a book written by “men moved by the Holy Spirit.”
The Literary Device Theory perniciously reduces the Word of God to a subjective interpretation rather than a book of divine revelation and authority, to be interpreted as we please instead of as He intended.
Leave a Reply