March 20, 2016

Not The Smallest Letter Or Stroke

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Not The Smallest Letter or Stroke – By Don R. Patton

“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:18)

Paul affirms that “All Scripture is inspired by God…” (II Timothy 3:16).

A poll conducted by Gallup, June 4, 2014, resulted in the headline, “Three in Four in U.S. Still See the Bible as Word of God.” While this conclusion encompassed several erroneous ideas of inspiration, their investigation revealed that only “21%… consider it fables and history.” Well, I suppose that sounds better than expected, but it is a long way from what it should be, especially considering the distorted notions about inspiration.

The statement by Jesus, quoted above, tells us He believed God’s law involved even the smallest letter, even the smallest stroke used to make that letter. He is teaching that God’s authority extends to even the small parts of the Word.

That authority extends to the very words of inspiration, is asserted by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians.

“For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God…which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit,… combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.” (I Corinthians 2:10, 13)

Furthermore, in many passages, the point being made depends on what many would consider insignificant components of a word or phrase.

Jesus’ argument for the resurrection demonstrates that He believed that Scripture was authoritative, down to the tense of the verbs. His audience, the Sadducees, challenged his belief in the resurrection. He responded…

“But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: 32 ‘I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” (Matthew 22:31-32)

Do you see the point? Probably not if you fail to appreciate the fact that the distinction between “I am” and “I was” makes a difference. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had been dead hundreds of years when God spoke these words to Moses. (“the passage about the burning bush,” according to the account of Mark and Luke: Mk.12:26; Lk.20:37) The point is, long after they were dead, God did not say, I was their God. He said, “I am their God.”

Jesus is saying, “There! That proves the resurrection. Have you not read? Don’t you get it?” If they had understood the authority of tenses, they would. But they were the “liberal scholars” of that day, so they missed it. Jesus thought it was a good argument. They thought He was being “picky.” Which of the two attitudes do believe was appropriate?

The poll referenced earlier documented a sickening array of perverted ideas of “inspiration.” We should understand that Paul did not use the English word “inspired” to describe Scripture. That is the word translators have used to communicate the meaning of the Greek word chosen by the Holy Spirit (theo/pneustoß). This word does not speak of an indirect influence, an “in-spiring.” Rather it describes a direct “spiration.” The idea is expressed well in the New English Standard Version. “All Scripture is breathed out by God…” (II Timothy 3:16)

Paul said that the process of the production of scripture was so guided that Scripture was directly produced by God. It is “God breathed.” This word is consistent with the way Jesus used scripture. No term could more emphatically assert the practical authority of the “smallest letter or stroke.” The Sadducees, the liberals of Jesus’ day, and the liberals of today, think this attitude is silly. It should be obvious that the Son of God and His apostle Paul disagree.



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