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May 30, 2006



Another thing about this passage that I question is the use of the word "useful" instead of the phrase "the only thing". Useful is defined as capable of being serviceable. That is different from inerrant.


I agree. Some people seem to think that scripture is our only source of spiritual or moral information. I just don't think this is the case.

It is a source that has been highly valued by generations of Christians, but we need to learn how to continue to value it without coming to the point of idolizing it.


Hmmm, never considered the fact that one could worship the Bible itself in place of the God it represents and points to.

I think that many people also use the Bible to justify their worship of rules and restrictions.


Here are my opinions on the three questions.
#1 Paul was a very educated Jewish man, so he would know the old testement which at that time was scripture, but also there were some early new testement writings around because Paul refers to Luke 10:7 in 1 Tim 5:18.
#2 Many christian scholars define inspired as "God breathed" A definition I found is "To influence, move, or guide by divine or supernatural." Inspiration in a biblical sence comes from the Holy Spirit(I cor2:11-13) But I think the best verse to explain scripture is 2Pet 1:20-21
#3I like my NAS translation on that verse the word used there is "profitable" which means to yield advantagous returns or results. Much better then "useful".
Also on #2 2Pet 3:15-16, Peter refers to Pauls writings as scipture.


Here's my take on the three questions:
1) Judging from the usage of "graphe" in the other letters of Paul, Scripture most likely refers to the Tanakh (Hebrew OT) and at the very least to the Torah.
2) "God-breathed" is tough. This is the only usage of the term in either the NT or the Greek OT. Not much to go on. My take on inspiration is that when the human authors finished writing exactly what they intended, it was exactly what God intended. How that works, I have no clue.
3) This one requires more thought than I can muster--I've been up too long--but I think the difference likely refers to purpose (useful) versus nature (inerrant/infallible).

Peter Ballard

Hi Bill, I saw you referencing my errancy article page at pomomusings' blog in 2005 and I'm glad you appreciated it. Anyway, just to let you know that it's moved to http://www.peterballard.org/errancy.html


To R and Laura:

1. My point was that Paul was not referring to the Bible as we know it today. He may have been thinking of other books that we don't even include in our canon. For example, the author of Jude quotes the Book of Enoch. Laura, do you know when the Tanakh as we have it today was established?

2. I chose not to talk about 2 Peter 1:20-21 because the post was already getting long. One comment I will make is that this verse refers to prophecy and yet not all of what we call scripture is prophecy. Only some parts are.

If we start getting into what God intended that brings up the subject of determinism. I don't pretend to understand how God's will is made actual either, Laura. I'm not so sure that he ever intended for us to have inerrant scripture, though. I see no reason why that has to be so.

3. My point is that "useful" or "profitable" are both much different than "inerrant."

In reference 2 Peter 3:15-16--this does not establish that all of what Paul wrote should be called scripture. It also says nothing about his writings being inerrant. Rather, Peter writes of the "wisdom God gave him." This is much different than saying God gave him a perfect message that must contain any errors.

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