Scripture: Inspiration of the Scripture

Jonathan Edwards

Edwards talks about how the Scriptures are inspired.

Scripture: Inspiration of the Scripture
by Jonathan Edwards

229. Scripture. God has a design and meaning which the penmen never thought of, which he makes appear these ways: by his own interpretation, and by his directing the penmen to such a phrase and manner of speaking, that has a much more exact agreement and consonancy with the thing remotely pointed to, than with the thing meant by the penmen….

303. Solomon’s Song. I imagine that Solomon, when he wrote this song, being a very philosophical, musing man and a pious man, and of a very loving temper, set himself in his own musings to imagine and to point forth to himself a pure, virtuous, pious, and entire love, and represented the musings and feelings of his mind that in a philosophical and religious frame was carried away in a sort of transport, and in that his musings and the train of his imaginations were guided and led on by the Spirit of God. Solomon, in his wisdom and great experience, had learned the vanity of all other love than of such a sort of one. God’s Spirit made use of his loving inclination, joined with his musing philosophical disposition, and so directed and conducted it in this train of imagination as to represent the love that there is between Christ and his spouse. God saw it very needful and exceeding useful that there should be some such representation of it. The relation that there is between Christ and the church, we know, is very often compared to that that there is between a man and his wife. Yea, this similitude is abundantly insisted on almost everywhere in the Scripture, and a virtuous and pious and pure love between a man and his spouse is very much of an image of the love between Christ and the church. So that it is not at all strange that the Spirit of God which is love, should direct a holy amorous disposition after such a manner, as to make such a representation, and it is very agreeable to other the like representations.

352. Inspiration of the Scripture. As Moses was so intimately conversant with God, and so continually under the divine conduct, it cannot be thought that when he wrote the history of the creation and fall of man, and the history of the church from the creation, he should not be under the divine direction in such an affair. Doubtless, he wrote by God’s direction, as we are informed that he wrote the law and history of the Israelite church. And the other histories of the Old Testament were written by their prophets, for they used to be the writers of the history of the church, 1 Chr. 29:29.

358. Inspiration of the Scriptures. It is certainly necessary that in the Word of God we should have a history of the life of Christ, of his incarnation, his death, his resurrection and ascension, his actions in the world, and of the instructions he gave the world. If there be any history that is divine, without doubt we have some divine history of this kind, because we cannot be Christians without it. And it is reasonable to suppose that we have some further revelation of the doctrines of the gospel, besides what we have in this history of the life of Christ, because we are there informed that the disciples were not fully instructed, because they could not bear many Christian doctrines at that time (John 16:12-13). It is reasonable to suppose that the Christian church should have [had] delivered unto them that more full discovery of truth, which the Holy Ghost gave the apostles, when he descended. For this more full and clear revelation was given [to] them for the Christian church, and not for themselves only. But we have not this at all, if we have it not in the epistles of the apostles. It is also exceedingly agreeable to reason that we should have some divine account of the first beginning and establishment of the Christian church, the history of the apostles, the calling of the Gentiles, and the success of the gospel after Christ’s resurrection, so much spoken of by Christ and in the Old Testament. But we have this nowhere else but in Luke’s Acts of the Apostles. It is also reasonable to expect that the Christian church should have some prophecy of the future changes that it was to pass through to the end of the world. For it has, we know, been God’s method from the beginning of the world, to inform his church, beforehand, something of their future state. We cannot therefore think that the Christian church, from Christ to the end of the world, should have nothing of this nature. But we have such a prophecy nowhere, if it is not in the book of Revelation.

We may certainly conclude that God expects that those books of the New Testament, which are and have been received by the Christian church as apostolic writings, should be received by us as parts of the New Testament, except there be some distinguishing mark, some apparent difference in them, or in something relating to them that we can come at, that directs us which to choose and which to refuse. If God expects that we shall receive any New Testament at all, we must suppose that God’s providence would be concerned in this matter. If he has ordered it so in his providence, that such and such books should be put into the New Testament, received by his church, and from age to age delivered down as such (without any distinguishing properties or circumstances), it is his plain voice to us that we must receive them as his Word. God took this care with respect to the books of the Old Testament, that no books should be received by the Jewish church and delivered down in the canon of the Old Testament, but what were his Word and owned by Christ. We may therefore conclude that he would still take the same care of his church with respect to the New Testament.

465. Christian Religion. Inspiration of Scripture. It is an evidence that the apostles had their doctrine from inspiration of some invisible guide and instructor, that there was such a vast and apparent difference made in them at once after Pentecost. They were illiterate, simple, undesigning, ignorant men before, but afterward, how do they express themselves in their speeches and epistles! They do not speak as being in the least at a loss about the scheme of salvation and the gospel mysteries. With what positiveness and authority do they teach! In how learned and intelligent a manner! How [did] Saul come by his scheme and by all his knowledge of the Christian doctrines and mysteries, immediately upon his conversion? He was evidently under the influence of some spirit in his teaching.

598. The Scriptures. Much of the Scriptures is apt to seem insipid to us now, as though there were no great matter of instruction in it, because the points of instruction most plainly contained in it, are old to us and what we have been taught from our infancy. They have been most plainly taught in the world these many hundred years, so that doctrines seem self-evident and so plain to us now, that there seems to have been no need of a particular revelation of such things, especially of insisting upon them so much. But how exceedingly different would it have seemed if we had lived in those times when the revelation was given, when the things were in a great measure new, at least as to that distinctness and expressiveness of their revelation? It is so now with some of those that seem to us very plain points of what is now called natural religion. If we had an idea of the state of the world when God gave the revelation, they would appear glorious instructions, bringing great light into the world, and most worthy of God. We are ready to despise that which we are so used to, which is so common a

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