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What Does Scripture Say About Itself?


(Taking into account the current and recently raised objections of modern theology.)

Regarding the nature and origin of Scripture, modern theologians deny what the
Church has always believed: Scripture is God's Word in the proper sense, inspired by
God, has combined an account of revelation which is prepared by God and human
authors. Their own testimony of Scripture is contrary to that. Because
1. Scripture testifies the Old Testament as God's Word.
a. The Old Testament specifies itself as God's Word.

b. The New Testament gives witness to the Old Testament. Christ and the
apostles refer to the Scriptures, the Holy Scriptures, God's Word, the
Scriptures, given by God.

2. The New Testament specifies itself as God's Word and Revelation.
a. According to the testimony of the New Testament the words of the
apostles stand on an equal footing with the words and writings of the

b. According to the testimony of the New Testament the oral proclamation
of the apostles is God's Word and revelation.

c. According to the testimony of the New Testament the apostles have the
same Gospel laid down in their writings that that preached orally.

3. Scripture testifies that the Holy Spirit has not only supplied the holy men of
God the thoughts, but also the words, that all of Scripture and all individual

A presentation for the Pastoral Conference of the state of Missouri, printed by decision of the
Exodus 24:4, 7; 34:27; Deuteronomy 31:9-13, 24-26; Joshua 1:7-8; Nehemiah 8:8, 18; Isaiah 8:16; Daniel
12:4; Isaiah 1:1; Jeremiah 1:1; 2 Chronicles 32:32; Psalm 40:8; Isaiah 29:11; 34:16; Zechariah 7:12; 2 Samuel
23:1-3; Psalm 1:2; 119:105.
Luke 16:19; John 5:39; Matthew 21:42; 22:29; 26:54; Luke 24:32, 44-45; Matthew 4:4, 7, 10; 22:43 - Matthew
2:17, 23; John 19:24; James 2:23; Romans 4:17, 3; 9:17; Galatians 4:30; 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:2; Galatians 3:8
- Matthew 1:22; 2:15; Romans 9:25; 1:2; 3:2; Hebrews 1:1; 8:8 - Hebrews 3:7-8; 10:15; Acts 1:16; 28:15; 1
Peter 1:10-12; 2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16.
John 5:46-47; Acts 26:22; Romans 1:1-2; 1 Peter 1:10-12; 2 Peter 3:2; Ephesians 2:19-20.
1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:24-25; 1:12; 1 Corinthians 15:1; Romans 1:1.
Romans 1:1ff. 1 Corinthians 1:1, 10; 2:6-13; 3:1-3; Galatians 1:9-10; 6:11, 14; 1 Peter 5:12; 1 John 1:1-4; 5:13;
John 20:30-31 - 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Peter 3:15-16; 1 Corinthians 14:37; 2 Corinthians 13:3.
parts are inspired, and that therefore no tittle of Scripture may be broken or

As evidence for their view and against the Church's dogma of inspiration, the
modern theologians refer to the form and nature of Scripture lying before their eyes.
Nevertheless, nowhere does it contradict what Scripture testifies about itself. That self-
witness of Scripture is not abolished nor diminished:
1. neither through their own research and efforts of the authors of the individual
2. nor through the various individuality of the prophets and apostles
3. nor through "even to unimportant details" that are mentioned in Scripture
4. nor through alleged, natural history, chronological, historical inaccuracies
interspersed in Scripture
5. nor through supposed contradictions contained in Scripture
6. nor through different readings of the Hebrew and Greek text.

As to the purpose and meaning of Scripture, modern theologians apprehend
Scripture, the document of salvation of history, as Canon that the Church needs as a
whole for her historical development, and accept only oral preaching, in contrast from
Scripture, as means of grace that is useful and necessary for faith and salvation.
According to its own testimony, however, Scripture is the supreme and final authority
in matters of faith and conscience, namely:
1. source and norm of all sound doctrine.

2. foundation of faith, rule and norm of faith and life.

3. guide and means for salvation.

1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Samuel 23:2; Psalm 45:2; Jeremiah 1:9; Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21; Galatians 3:16; Matthew
22:43-44; John 10:34-36 (Matthew 10:19-20; Luke 12:11-12) - Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Proverbs 30:5-6;
Revelation 22:18-19; Matthew 5:17-19; Luke 16:17; Acts 24:14.
Luke 1:1-4.
1 Corinthians 12:6.
2 Timothy 4:13.
Acts 7:16.
Numbers 25:9 and 1 Corinthians 10:8.
2 Timothy 3:16; Romans 15:4; John 5:39; 1 Peter 1:10-11; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 16:25; Acts 17:2;
26:22; 18:24, 28; 17:11.
2 Timothy 3:15; John 20:30-31; 1 John 5:13; Romans 10:17; 2 Peter 1:19; Ephesians 2:19-20; Joshua 1:7;
Isaiah 8:20; Psalm 119:105; Galatians 6:16.
John 5:39; 2 Timothy 3:15; John 20:30-31; Luke 10:25-26.
The question of inspiration of the Holy Scriptures has recently again claimed the
interest of Lutheran theologians, in Lutheran Christianity in general. In the "Forward"
of the current volume of "Lehre und Wehre" is the aforementioned lectures of
Professors Dr. W. Volck and Dr. F. Mhlau in Dorpat
in February, 1884, in which they
explained before a publicly gathered audience their opinion of the origin, nature, and
importance of the Scriptures. Both lectures appeared in print in the same year. Volck's
lecture has the title: "To what extent is inerrancy ascribed to the Bible?" Mhlau's lecture
deals with the subject: "Do we have the original text of the Scriptures?" At the place
already cited it has also been reported that the Synod of the Livonian island sel
protested against those enunciations of the Dorpat university lecturers. Still other
counter-testimonies have been raised. On the other hand, Dr. Th. Harnack, the highly
respected Professor emeritus in the Lutheran Church of Germany, has announced what
should be a "word of peace" to the assembly of his previous colleagues in a pamphlet
titled "On the Canon and Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures" (Dorpat, 1885). Even
Luthardt has given his Placet
in his "General Church News". A year later Volck
followed up with three more specific lectures for Lutheran Christians, particularly
scholars, under the inscription, "The Bible As Canon" (Dorpat, 1885). What Volck,
Mhlau, Harnack, Luthardt deny and affirm concerning the Bible is indeed nothing
new in the Lutheran Church. It is the so-called Hofmannian
theory that the entire
Hofmannian school endorses. And independently of Hofmann, Kahnis 25 years ago had
already subjected the ancient Church and Old Lutheran dogma of inspiration to a
sharp, spirited criticism, at that time to the horror of the entire Lutheran Church of
Germany. But now that Volck, Mhlau, and Harnack recently express and defend with
special emphasis the modern doctrine of inspiration and just want to make it
comprehensible to Christians, it is, of course, a sad sign of the times. Precisely men
whose names have previously had a good reputation in the Lutheran Church, yes, who
still now are regarded as representatives of "confessional" theology in so-called
"Lutheran" circles in Europe, deliberately contribute to destroy the foundation of the
Church, the principle of Scripture.
The theologians mentioned emphatically refer to Scripture itself, to the present
condition of Scripture, in order to justify their point of view. Because it is the first and
next thing to consult Scripture, whether or not it bears witness about its nature, its
origin, its meaning. And this is indeed the case. Precisely these scriptural passages in
which the Scripture testifies of itself must determine above all things our judgment of
Scripture. However, we also then have to consider in the second place, whether the

Modern day Tartu, Estonia. - DMJ
Modern day Saaremaa, the largest island in Estonia. - DMJ
Vote of assent. - DMJ
Johann Christian Konrad von Hofmann (1810-1877) was a Lutheran theologian and historian. - DMJ
other characteristics of Scripture does not contradict that self-witness of Scripture. So it
is now our task, with consideration of the objections of modern theology, to measure
the known ecclesiastical doctrine of inspiration of Scripture itself and answer the
question: "What does Scripture say about itself?" Although, thank God, in our church
circles no sympathy with the modern theological wisdom is still noticeable, we should
thus never forget that the seed of doubt, of unbelief, is sunk into all our hearts by
nature. And doubt that continually bubbles up from the natural heart has chosen as its
object from time immemorial precisely Scripture, the source of all divine Truth. Such
doubt is best defended when we always are aware anew of what Scripture says about
itself than what it gives to us and represents to us.

Regarding the nature and origin of Scripture, modern theologians deny what the Church
has always believed: Scripture is God's Word in the proper sense, inspired by God.
That the Holy Scripture is God's Word in the proper and unique sense, that Holy
Scripture is inspired by God according to content and form, that not only the thoughts,
but also the words, that all individual parts of Scripture are inspired, consequently that
Scripture is, of course, infallible, free from errors - this universally known dogma that
has been the faith and confession of Christians of all times is contested, denied, bitterly
fought, yes, doused with derision and contempt by modern theologians. And here we
are not talking about Rationalists or Union theologians - of which we ignore all of them
- but those so-called "Lutheran" theologians, those representatives of modern
"Lutheran" theology who reportedly want to serve the Church, who have particularly
chosen the slogan: "God's Word remains forever."
First, let's hear some evidence of these modern "Lutherans" about the "old
dogmaticians", i.e., the old and genuine Christian doctrine of inspiration.
writes in his "Testimony of the fundamental truths of Protestantism
against Dr. Hengstenberg: (Leipzig, 1862), page 113: "If the old dogmaticians implement
a concept, they do not ask what is historical, what is practical, what can go and stand
according to human intellect, but always trace their straight lines, it may now go over
mountain or valley, over water or fire, over hedges or fences. One particularly sees this
in the concept of inspiration. They start from the judgment: God is the actual author of
Scripture. This is of course a very unproven premise that has its basis neither in
Scripture nor in Christian consciousness. From these unproven judgments until now
they then determine inspiration as meaning that God the Holy Spirit incites the sacred
writer partially to write (impulsus ad scribendum), partly gave them utterance both things
as well as words (suggestio et rerum et verborum). If the old dogmaticians would have
inspiration that is still an historical fact, according to the Bible, as it is historical, and not

Karl Friedrich August Kahnis (1814-1888) was a German neo-Lutheran theologian. - DMJ
determined by the terms, then they would have soon seen that it is thus impossible to
apprehend inspiration."
Hofmann judges in his last work, "The Holy Scripture of The New Testament
Part One", page 9: "It is not much different with the rest of the organization of doctrine.
It is a mere logical implementation of the concept of inspiration asserted by Chemnitz.
Everything, everything that is necessary to know about their salvation, is found
perfectly in Holy Scripture, which has arisen as the written Word of God by an
inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that extends, without distinction of human authors, over
everyone and all individuals: thus this was not the view from Holy Scripture, but
springing from the doctrine of the terms of the written Word of God. What this means,
when one calls Scripture inspired, here is brought to light in perfect clarity and security.
But it was a mere illusion which dissolves as long as one holds toward the real nature of
Holy Scripture: one must put on the same power in order to keep it upright, as the
history of the New Testament canon, in order to make indifferent the distinction
between homologoumena and antilegomena."
Accordingly, Volck now expresses himself in his first lecture: "To What Extent is
Inerrancy Ascribed to the Bible?" page 9 as follows: "But what is it (the Bible)? The most
common answer to this question is that it is the one book that teaches in a clear and
satisfactory manner about what you must believe and do to inherit eternal life. As a
book of this content, the Bible is the revelation of God. This answer has been prevailing
in Lutheran theology of the 17th century and one still sees this today in theological and
lay circles. Is it true? Does this coincide with those defining the nature of the Bible as we
have it? It does not take much reflection to answer in the negative."
Further, page 10: "Add to that another defect that adheres to this definition. It
sets Bible and revelation equal to each other; it sees in the Bible a direct expression of
God for the purpose of instruction of people. As soon as one advocates this
identification, one must necessarily assume complete inerrancy of the Bible on all sides,
even in the slightest and smallest and most external things - for God certainly cannot
err; one must make the biblical writers into completely mindless tools of the revelatory
God; one must perhaps compare their spirit, as this has recently happened again, with a
spindle that the Holy Spirit set in motion or whose very passive service He Himself has
provided, with repression of the human spirit. It can be shown without difficulty that
just as little as that definition of the Bible, so this idea of the influence of the divine
Spirit can be correct to its authors."
What Volck remarks in his second pamphlet, "The Bible As Canon", page 48,
borders on blasphemy: "The Lutheran dogmaticians of the 17th century have carried
over the evolved doctrine of verbal inspiration from Reformed soil. It has its
representatives up to the latest time among theologians and laymen. Unfortunately,
even youth are often still taught in this sense, and so built their belief in the Book of
Books on sand from the outset."
This is the negation. And what is now the correct position? What is the Bible,
when it is not for what is unfortunately held by so many theologians and laymen and
even from tender youth?
Hofmann gives the following answer to this latter question on page 49 of the
work cited above: " For the time between the conclusion of the exemplary history of
salvation and the attainment of its antithesis the necessity appears to me that the
community of the former possesses a consistent and corresponding monument of the
same, through which it is prepared for the latter. And for the time between the
conclusion of the time of origin of the Christian Church and the end of the present
course of the world, the necessity appears to me that the Church has a consistent and
appropriate monument to their early history by which it is transferred from its
beginning to its goal. The emergence of these two monuments of sacred history
therefore belongs to these themselves, and that they were what they should be for the
community of God has hereafter been for a determining operation of the Holy Spirit, as
He Himself has ruled in sacred history."
Therefore Scripture is according to Hofmann a "monument of sacred history".
"Sacred history" or "salvation history", which Christ, Christ's work has for a middle
point, is a cornerstone of the Hofmannian system. This history is designed by God,
permeated by the Spirit of God. And the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments is
now a "monument" or a "certificate" of this history. Scripture simply reports that sacred
history, as otherwise a history book tells history. Of course, this monument has arisen
according to Hofmann under the "action of the Holy Spirit", the same Spirit that has
ruled in sacred history. However, the operation of the Holy Spirit, as Hofmann further
explains in the following, essentially consisted in nothing else than that the individual
writings, which the prophets and apostles wrote, were also united under the intention
of the writers as a whole, which then evolved into a corresponding canon for the
community of God. The activity of the Holy Spirit, according to Hofmann, is reduced to
divine providence that prevailed over the production of these documents, and their
effect eventually was this well-ordered, complete whole.
That's the wisdom that Volck now strives to instill into Christian laity and
Christian youth. He never tires in his first lecture to inculcate his hearers and readers to
this dear, newly found, i.e. inherited from Hofmann axiom: the Bible is the instrument
of sacred history, nothing else. "I emphasize that the Bible is not revelation, but the report
of revelation."
But one must not get the wrong idea about that "revelation" of which is
reported to us in the Bible. He continues on page 13: "I do not understand revelation as
a supernatural disclosure of teaching, but a progression of history." So sacred history,
whose design God's Hand has acted, is basically essentially only revelation. The
teaching of the prophets and apostles is abstraction from history, reflection about

Page 13.
history configured by God. And now the Bible gives us a lecture about that history and
the teaching developed from it.
Volck gives the following information about the origin of this report in the same
lecture: "Therefore, the Bible is divine and human; divine because it originated through
the self-activity of the Holy Spirit and developing God's thoughts, human because it is
written by men and bringing to expression human thinking, willing, and feeling of their
authors. But if the Bible is now a work of God written by man, then their relative ability
of error results from it." The phrase "a work of God written by man" is repeated in later
lectures. A horrendous phrase! Who then essentially is the author? Men or God? Men
have written the Bible, expressed their thinking, willing and feeling. And the
production by men yet is, after all, a work of God? Then it is evidently not a work of
God in the sense in which every simple-minded hearer and reader understands the
expression. No, what God has done here is nothing other than that He led the activity,
writing, thinking, willing, feeling of the people who wrote independently of themselves
from these writings, directed to a simple goal. Men have carried out the work. And God
has made this work, as other works of men, subservient to His purposes and intentions.
Because according to Volck's and Hofmann's theory everything here was situated in the
making of this whole.
Harnack says this in plain words in his pamphlet quoted above, page 26: "On the
other hand, one spirit prevails over all these writings and binds them all by one content
to one final work, so that the divine influence is overarching and cohesive." The sacred
writers were, as page 27 expresses, in "independent activity". They have expressed their
own thoughts independently. Only that they, like other believers, when they organize
their works, received the impulse of the Spirit of God, and that the one object, namely
the sacred history or Christ, formed the subject of their reflection and the content of
their reporting. The particular thing that the Holy Spirit, or rather God has wrought
according to His providence, is the combination of all these writings to a final purpose
or to a suitable harmonious whole as canon of the Church. Harnack puts all the
emphasis in this context on "the absolute unity and wholeness of Scripture, in spite of
the fact that it is written in the course of fifteen or sixteen centuries, from very different
authors, in different languages and countries, and under entirely different
And he adds, "The resulting (i.e. from the absolute unity and
wholeness) visible particular activity of the Holy Spirit is likewise a necessary
requirement of the faith of the Church in her canon of Scripture.

1. Scripture testifies the Old Testament as God's Word.
a. The Old Testament specifies itself as God's Word. We turn to it as it is and
examine step by step Who actually is the Person Who speaks to us here.

Page 26.
The Law of Moses is the beginning. The Law is given through Moses, but given by
God through Moses. The law is God's Word and revelation in the truest sense of the
word. There can be no doubt about that. God Himself has spoken down the ten
commandments from Mount Sinai. God the Lord has all the rights and customs which
Israel should hold, made known to His servant Moses in the darkness of the cloud.
Moses has then written in a book precisely these words that God Himself spoke.
Accordingly, Exodus 20 is thought of as the legislative power, i.e. of the Law of the ten
commandments, and Exodus 21-23 are called the principal judgments that Israel should
submit to Moses, we are told in Exodus 24:3ff.: "Moses came and told the people all the
words of the Lord and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice
and said, 'All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.'" It continues: "And Moses
wrote down all the words of the Lord."
The words of the Lord that the Lord had said
now lay written before them. And this document is called "the Book of the Covenant".
"Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And
they said, 'All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.' And
Moses took the blood."
The written Law was henceforth the foundation of the
covenant between God and His people. What Moses read aloud from the book before
the ears of the people was what God had to say to His people. And the people praised
God, precisely to obey the words which it had heard read from the book. What Moses
wrote down in the book was regarded from that point on as Word and Law of the Lord.
In other words, it was God's will to litigate and act in the future with Israel according to
the written Law. So He Himself gave to Moses the command to write down all the
words of the Law that He had revealed to him. "And the Lord said to Moses, 'Write
these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and
with Israel.'"

At the end of the law of Moses is once again quite clearly stated that Israel had to
abide by the law, and precisely by the written Law: "Then Moses wrote this law and
gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD,
and to all the elders of Israel. And Moses commanded them, 'At the end of every seven
years, at the set time in the year of release, at the Feast of Booths, when all Israel comes
to appear before the LORD your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this
law before all Israel in their hearing. Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones,
and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD
your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who
have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as you live

Exodus 24:4.
Exodus 24:8-9a.
Exodus 34:27.
in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.'"
Therefore precisely "this
Law", which God has revealed to Moses and through Moses to Israel, is written down
by Moses. The written Law, the book of the Law should be read yearly before the ears
of all the people. What is read, what is in the book, means and is "this Law", the Law
that God gave through Moses, i.e. the Law of the Lord, God's Word. The people should
learn from the book, children and grandchildren should learn, what is the will of the
Lord their God. This is present in the book. When the children of Israel heard the book
of the Law read, then they hear the Lord's command. Israel, children and
grandchildren, should fear the Lord their God. And what is the fear of the Lord? That
they do and hold all the words of the Law that are read from the book. It is said in the
same context: "When Moses had finished writing the words of this Law in a book to the
very end, Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the
Lord, 'Take this Book of the Law and put it by the side of the ark of the covenant of the
Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against you.'" The Law of God, in
which God the Lord has clearly testified His will to His people, is a witness against
Israel in the event that Israel sins and transgresses. Precisely the written Law, the book
of the Law, is now a witness against Israel. This very book testifies to Israel, to future
generations, the holy will of the Lord their God, and therefore accuses Israel if it does
not obey the will of God.
The later writings of the Old Testament likewise put the book of the Law on the
same level with the Law itself. According to Joshua 1:7-8 the Lord exhorts his servant
Joshua, and through him and together with him all the people: "Only be strong and
very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant
commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have
good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth,
but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according
to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you
will have good success." Moses the servant of God had died. The work to which Moses
was appointed as a mediator, the legislative power, was completed. God henceforth
gave His people no more new commandments. But, however, He bound His people
who now dwelled in the promised land to the Law of Moses. Only if they thereafter do
all things and would neither deviate to the right nor to the left, they should have
happiness, blessings, and success. The Law of Moses should be Israel's rule and norm
for all times. But how? God no longer spoke to his people now, as formerly by Moses.
God no longer repeated and acknowledged, as during the wilderness wandering, the
earlier words that He had spoken on Sinai. So He instructed his people henceforth to
the written Law, "the book of the Law". This book, in which Moses wrote down all the
words of the law, should Joshua the prince, and his people consider day and night,

Deuteronomy 31:9-13.
considering, praying moving their lips, and do all things according to what was written
in them. When Joshua when Israel indeed gave attention to everything that was written,
then it walked in obedience to the Law, in obedience to God and acted wisely and had
blessings and success. "The book of this Law" for Israel after Moses' death was simply
the Law of the Lord. Thus Nehemiah 8:8, 18 expressly emphasized that Israel was read
"the book of the Law of God". Actually: "They read in the book, namely in the Law of
God." The book that Moses wrote bears the title "Law of God", . This very
book, as we say, the five books of Moses, is truly and really the Law of God itself. As
often as one reads this book, reads, recites, one hears precisely God's will and command
from it. In this book, through this book, and by no other means, God now lets us know
"His glorious Law and judgment" etc.
It scarcely needs remarking that the Torah of Moses or Torah of God, as it was
now the custom among Israel, contains in itself the written Torah, everything that we
still now find in the Pentateuch, including the history of Israel and of the patriarchs
until the death of Moses, just as the apostle cites from "the law" the history of Sarah and

Thus the book of the Law, according to Scripture, is the writings of Moses, not
merely a report of the legislative power on Mount Sinai, not merely an instrument of
that great revelation of God that Moses mediated, but is itself the Law of the Lord,
God's Word and revelation. God the Lord has revealed from heaven to men what they
should do and not do, and has explained His will first orally and then in writing, in
order that all families on earth would have it in mind. Everything that now is written
before us is God's will, order, and command for us. God's will is that we do and act
according to all that is written.
As with the law, so it is with the prophets. The prophets speak to Israel in the
name of the Lord. It is said that the Word of the Lord came to them. They appeared
before the people and said: "Thus says the Lord of Sabaoth." The proclamation of the
prophets was God's revelation. This is no doubt. But the prophets have only merely
written down the words that God initially informed the people about the command of
God, in order that their offspring would receive it. The prophet Isaiah received the
mandate: "Bind up the testimony; seal the Law among my disciples."
And Daniel: "But
you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall
run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase."

The written word of the prophets therefore is equally, as their oral preaching,
"prophecy". The book of Isaiah has the inscription "Vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz."

Galatians 4:22.
Isaiah 8:16.
Daniel 12:4.
Isaiah 1:1.
This is the title of the book. The writing of the prophets is called and is "vision",
"prophecy", that is, revelation. The prophet Jeremiah begins his writing with the words:
"These are the words of whom the word of the Lord came etc."
The word
of the Lord that he made known and made manifest he will give an account of in his
book. The prophets, as the content of their books proves, have written down even some
of what they have not first delivered orally. But their word has always been, whether
they spoke or wrote it, "word of the Lord", "prophecy". In 2 Chronicles 32:32 we find the
remark: "Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and his good deeds, behold, they are
written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet." Reference is made here to the book of the
prophecy of Isaiah
and this book, according to all its content, including the interwoven
histories, is considered as "vision", as God's revelation. The Messiah says in Psalm 40:7:
"Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me." The meaning is that
the Messiah comes in order to fulfill the prophecy of the prophets. This exists, set down
in writing, in the book. The book is identical with the prophecy. The prophet Jeremiah
about disobedient, stubborn Israel that the history of all the prophets are like a
sealed book to them that one, whoever receives it to read, could not read it. It is
assumed there that the history, the prophecies of all the prophets, are written in
Scripture. The writing of the prophets is called the "book of the Lord" in Isaiah 34:16.
Israel could and should be certain of the future of the Messiah, because it was written in
the book about Him. In the writing, through the writing the witness of God was sealed.
The Psalms, as they exist in the Canon, give themselves as God's Word. In his last
David the psalm writer says: "These are the last words of David: The oracle of
David, the son of Jesse...the sweet psalmist of Israel. "The Spirit of the Lord speaks by
me; His word is on my tongue. The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said
to me." Here David describes his speech, his song quite deliberately as the Word of the
Lord. But he means the song that he here
lays down in writing. "These are the last
words of David" etc. This is the title of this memorable piece of writing.
Finally, when in the Old Testament Scriptures, especially in the Psalms, the
"Word of God" is so often praised and glorified, then we must contemplate everything
that God made known to His people at various times and in various ways and what
was present as writing and book in clear, solid form. When David praises the blessed
man "who has delight in the Law of the Lord, and speaks about His Law day and
; when he confesses about it, "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my

Jeremiah 1:1-2.
Isaiah 36-39.
Jeremiah 29:11.
2 Samuel 23:1-3.
2 Samuel 23:1-6.
Psalm 1:2.
, he has Holy Scripture in mind, with which he was familiar from his youth, the
Torah of Moses. He asks God to open his eyes that he may see wondrous things out of
His Law.
What he has in mind, reads and looks day and night, he would like to grasp
and understand right. That is why he calls on God, that He might open the inner eye to
him. The "rights", "customs", "witnesses", "commandments", "paths" of the Lord, where
David has his whole desire, are precisely those words of the Lord that we still today
learn from book of the Law of Moses. The "Law of the Lord" had gained a distinct, firm
form in this book. God revealed no new rights and commands in the time of David. We
must only still accept, in order rightly to understand the praise of God's Word and Law,
that the Book of the Law, the Torah, was not a sealed book in David's time, that the
Israelites proper manner, what they heard and learned from this book, constantly
moved from their lips. What men, women, and children read and were inculcated from
this book lived in people and resounded in constant praise and confession.
b. The New Testament gives witness to the Old Testament. Christ and the apostles refer
to the Scriptures, the Holy Scriptures, God's Word, the Scriptures, given by God.
Christ, the true Witness, Who spoke God's Word from His own, pointed people
to the Scriptures. There God revealed to them what they needed to know for their
salvation. "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them."
To the Jews who
refused to believe Him, He proved from the Scriptures that He is the One Who should
come. The Jews recognized the Scriptures of the Old Testament as God's Word, as the
Word of Truth. But they also had to recognize Christ as the Messiah because the
Scriptures gave testimony of Him. In this sense the Lord says to them: "You search the
Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear
witness about Me."
He warned the Pharisees: "Have you never read in the Scriptures:
'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's
doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?"
He replied to the Sadducees, who denied the
resurrection of the dead: "You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor
the power of God."
The Sadducees condemned themselves by saying that they neither
knew nor understood the Scriptures, the Word of the living God. Thus to them also the
power of God, thus God Himself, the living, almighty God, was hidden to them.
How often did the Lord recall that the Scriptures must be fulfilled? The meaning
is there that what God has said, He must also give out, forasmuch as God cannot lie. He
thus said, as He gave Himself into the hands of His enemies and resisted Peter to strike

Psalm 119:105.
Psalm 119:18.
Luke 16:29.
John 5:39.
Matthew 21:42.
Matthew 22:29.
with the sword: "But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?"
was God's counsel and will that Christ should suffer and die. And this counsel and will
of God was made known and fixed in Scripture. That is why Scripture, what Scripture
says about the suffering of the Messiah, had to be fulfilled, because God's counsel and
foreknowledge cannot be changed and overturned. Even after His resurrection the Lord
applied all diligence to them, "to open the understanding of Scripture to His disciples".

Even now, after everything was done, the Lord took the sum of the gospel of Christ's
death and resurrection, of repentance and forgiveness of sins, from the Scriptures of the
Old Covenant. "And said to them, 'Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and
on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should
be proclaimed in his name to all nations.'"
Everything lay on Him to demonstrate to
friends and enemies that His teaching is from God. So He taught from the Scriptures.
For what was in Scripture was everything said and taught by God. Christ honored His
Father in all things. This is why He so earnestly emphasized the Scriptures. For He saw
in Scripture nothing else than the Word and the will of his Father. He even invoked
Scripture against Satan. With the one Word, "It is written" He rejected the temptations
of the devil.
That means as much as: "God has said it." Thus the matter was decided.
Finally it should be pointed out that Christ has expressly stated that David had
spoken "in the Spirit" when he wrote Psalm 110.
So according to Christ's judgment
Scripture is absolutely the speech of God's Spirit.
Christ has given witness to all of Scripture, to the entire canon of the Old
Testament, when He remarked to His disciples: "Everything written about me in the
Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."

Like Christ, the Lord, the apostles have thus adopted the Old Testament
Scriptures as the Deus locutus est
in their speech. The evangelists repeatedly emphasize
that Scripture has been fulfilled: "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the
or "in order that Scripture might be fulfilled, which says".
The same formula
is customary in the apostolic epistles. "And the Scripture was fulfilled that says,
"Abraham believed God etc."
"as it is written, 'I have made you the father of many

Matthew 26:54.
Luke 24:32, 45.
Luke 24:46-47.
Matthew 4:4, 7, 10.
Matthew 22:43.
Luke 24:44.
"God has spoken."
Matthew 2:17.
John 19:24.
James 2:23.
nations' etc."
It is a common way of speaking: "Scripture says." For example, "For what
does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as
Scripture says, speaks, like a person speaks. It is precisely God Who
speaks here. So instead of the subject "Scripture" the other subject "God" automatically
happens in speaking. "For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, 'For this very purpose I (God)
have raised you up, that I might show my power in you.'"
We read in Galatians 4:30:
"But what does the Scripture say? 'Cast out the slave woman and her son!'" What
Scripture says here is God's command.
Thus the words of Scripture are simply established with , for example, in
Galatians 3:16: - . Luther has correctly translated: "He (God) does not say,
'through seeds', as through many, but as through One, 'through your seed', who is
Christ." Similarly 2 Corinthians 6:2: "For He says, I have heard you in an acceptable time
etc." What Scripture says, God says. "Foreseeing" in Galatians 3:8 is attributed to
Scripture: "There Scripture foresaw that God justified the Gentiles by faith; it
proclaimed to Abraham: 'In you all nations shall be blessed.'" Scripture appears here as
a rational, thinking subject, yes, as a omniscient person. It is precisely the living God
Who is thought of together with Scripture.
Now it is also often noted expressis verbis
that God has spoken through the
prophets, through Scripture. "All this happened that it might be fulfilled what the Lord
said through the prophet, who said etc."
"This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken
by the prophet, 'Out of Egypt I called My Son.'"
"As He (God) said through Hosea
"Which (the Gospel of God) He promised beforehand through His prophets in the
holy Scriptures."
"Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our
fathers by the prophets etc."
"For He (God) finds fault with them when He says:
'Behold, the days are coming, etc.'"
The apostle remarks in Romans 3:2 that the Jews
were entrusted with , "the Word of God", and obviously there means
the Holy Scriptures. Modern theologians reject with contempt the "dogmatic formula":
"God is the true author of Scripture". They deny that God is the true subject Who has
spoken through the prophets, through the Scriptures. They thus deny what Scripture
emphatically affirms and asserts. Scripture asserts and repeats the assertion: "God has

Romans 4:17.
Romans 4:3.
Romans 9:17.
In express words, expressly.
Matthew 1:22.
Matthew 2:15.
Romans 9:25.
Romans 1:2.
Hebrews 1:1.
Hebrews 8:8.
spoken through the prophets, through the Scriptures." God is the speaking subject. The
prophets and their writings are the means God uses to speak to people. It is really
Satanic when one merely negates what God affirms. God spoke to Adam "For in the day
that you eat of it you shall surely die." Blinded by the devil, the modern scribes have the
audacity to push aside as untenable the simple, unambiguous self-testimony of
Scripture, that God has spoken through the prophets, that therefore God is the true
author of Scripture.
The Holy Spirit in particular is referred to as the author of Scripture. "Therefore,
as the Holy Spirit says, 'Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts' etc."

"And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 'This is the testament'
"The Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the
mouth of David etc."
"And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul
had made one statement: 'The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers' etc."
Holy Spirit could not give clearer testimony about the nature and authorship of
Scripture. Whoever does not understand these clear words or understood otherwise
than Christianity has understood them from the very beginning has a corrupt mind.
We follow up with three loci classici
that deal with the divine inspiration of Old
Testament Scripture.
Saint Peter writes: "Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied
about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what
person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the
sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were
serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you
through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from
We are talking about the prophecy of the prophets, indeed about the
prophecy that they announced to us, with which they have served us, the children of
the New Testament, i.e. in the present prophecy in the writings of the prophets. And
from here it is said that the Spirit of Christ was in them and wrote down precisely what
they prophesied, had previously testified future grace, Christ's suffering and glory.
Therefore the Spirit of Christ was the One Who testified, witnessed, through the
prophets. The speech, the witness of the Spirit, that exists in the writings of the
prophets, is explicitly distinguished from their own affairs, from the search and
research of the prophets. They have sought and researched with all diligence when the
time of fulfillment may perhaps come and how this time is obtained, to what and what

Hebrews 3:7-8.
Hebrews 10:15-16.
Acts 1:16.
Acts 28:25.
Classic places.
1 Peter 1:10-12.
manner of time alluded by the Spirit of Christ, Who enabled them to proclaim the
prophecy, have in their writings, researched in their own writings, that they had in
mind such a strange magnitude. But their research had no result. They knew just
enough no more, no less, than the Spirit of Christ revealed and uttered to them. This
testified to them and through them the grace of the New Testament, Christ's suffering
and glory, but revealed to them nothing about the time and hour when all this should
The well-known passage is found in 2 Peter 1:21: "For no prophecy has ever
spawned from the will of man; but holy men of God have spoken, impelled by the Holy
Spirit." This phrase is used to justify the previous statement: "And this know first, that
no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation", i.e. is dependent on its own,
human interpretation and explanation ( ). The sentiment is: man
can understand and interpret for himself no prophecy, no part of Scripture, but rather
Someone else, the Holy Spirit, must open and interpret the Scriptures, the prophecy.
And this is because no human mind and human will, but the Holy Spirit, has spawned
the prophecy. The prophecy of Scripture, the Holy Scriptures - the speech is in context
from this - is no product of mankind, of the human will. That "independent activity" of
the holy men of God have spoken, impelled by the Holy Spirit. Of course, those holy
men, the prophets, were the ones who spoke it, who wrote it - because the apostle deals
with the Old Testament Scriptures in verse 19 - but they wrote it, wrote down the
prophecy, they were impelled, moved, carried () by the Holy Spirit. They
stood entirely in the service, were tools of the Holy Spirit. It was the Holy Spirit Who
here made known His thoughts, His wisdom, in prophecy, and the prophets and used
their speech, writing as medium what He would want the people to know to do. The
Holy Spirit, no one else outside or near Him, is the Author of Scripture, the prophecy.
Scripture is the product of the Holy Spirit, and exclusively the product of the Spirit, not
a "human-authored work of God".
Saint Paul writes: "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for
teaching" etc.
Everything lies on the single term , with which the apostle
characterizes Scripture, even the Scripture of the Old Testament that Timothy has
learned from infancy. All interpreters, old and new, have unanimously translated it
"inspired by God" or "breathed by God". Only Cremer has recently challenged this
traditional meaning in his New Testament dictionary.
He gives that compound an
active sense "God breathing". We confess that we do not understand the deduction of
that linguist. The adjectiva verbalia
of always have passive meaning in the Greek
language. can only mean "breathed, inspired" according to the rules of

2 Timothy 3:16.
Hermann Cremer (1834-1903),"Biblisch-theologisches Wrterbuch der neutestamentlichen Grzitt"
verbal adjectives.
grammar, not "breathing, inspiring". And the structure with does not change this.
All composites of a similar nature have passive sense: , , ,
, , and so also "taught by God".
Even in the
two places cited by Cremer from profane scribblers is obviously meant
passively: Plutarch: and
Pseudophocylides: . In short, it is stated
linguistically: means and can mean nothing else than breathed by God. All
Scripture of the Old Testament is breathed by God according to the statement of the
apostle, all words of Scripture are the result of God's breath and spirit, as words and
writings of men go forth from the spirit of men. What Scripture blows on us from all
sides is God's breath, what confronts us in Scripture is God's Spirit, God's thoughts.
Everything here is nothing but God's Word.

2. The New Testament specifies itself as God's Word and Revelation.
a. According to the testimony of the New Testament the words of the apostles stand on
an equal footing with the words and writings of the prophets.
Christ says to the Jews: "For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he
wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?"

The Lord here demands the same recognition for His words as for the words and
writings of Moses. If the writings of Moses are God's Word, which no Jew denied,
which deserves and requires faith, then Christ's doctrine is God's speech and is worthy
of acceptance.
The apostle has taught what they have received from Christ. But they now
emphasize not only the mandate that they have received from Christ, but also place
special emphasis on its conformity with the prophets. In the beginning of Romans St.
Paul writes: "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the
gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy
Peter indicated in the previously cited passage that they, the apostles, who
have proclaimed the Gospel, have proclaimed nothing else than what the prophets
established, namely that they, like those, have spoken by the Holy Spirit. And in
another place he reminds Christians: "that you should remember the words that were
previously said to you by the holy prophets and on our commandment, that we are
apostles of the Lord and Savior."
The commandments and teachings of the apostles
have hereinafter the same value, the same meaning as the words of the holy prophets.
Prophets and apostles appear coordinated to each other in the famous passage: "So then

1 Thessalonians 4:9.
John 5:46-47.
Romans 1:1-2.
2 Peter 3:2.
you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and
members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone."

In all these passages the writings of the prophets are meant, because it is the
precisely the prophets who continue to live in their writings and also speak to
Christians. If "the prophets" are designated as the foundation of the New Testament
Church, especially the Gentile Church, then the written Word of the prophets can only
come into consideration. But this is, as we have proved from Scripture, God's Word and
revelation. Thus the same is true of the words of the apostles, who stand in the same
rank with the words and writings of the prophets. And as St. Paul in Ephesians 2:19-22
generally describes the Church of the New Testament, which was and is gathered from
Jews and Gentiles, which extends beyond the days of the apostles and grows towards
completion, i.e. the Church of all times, he thus reflects here with the term "built on the
foundation of the apostles" on the living and powerful word of the apostles through all
times, i.e. on the written word of the apostles. He even comprehends Romans 1:1-2
under the "Gospel of God", to whose service he is set apart, and which is identical and
equivalent to the writings of the prophets, likewise the written proclamation of the
Gospel that the Roman Christians should now hear from him.
b. According to the testimony of the New Testament the oral proclamation of the apostles
is God's Word and revelation.
St. Paul reminds Christians who are won through the preaching of the apostles
that they received from the apostles "the Word of divine preaching" and that they took
in the word of the apostles "as God's Word", "not as the word of men but as what it
really is, the Word of God."
St. Peter extols the Word of the Lord that remains in
eternity the living, imperishable seed, and adds: "And this word is the good news that
was preached to you", namely has been preached by the apostles.
The Word that the apostles preached was the Gospel . And the apostle
now stresses in 1 Peter 1:12 that they, the apostles, have preached the Gospel "by the
Holy Spirit Who was sent from heaven." The apostles were eyewitnesses and
earwitnesses of all that the Lord had taught, done, and suffered. What they taught, they
had from the Lord. However, they did not just draw from their memory when they
proclaimed the Gospel. Their preaching happened through the Holy Spirit. The Holy
Spirit determined, permeated their witness, in every case made available to them what
and how they should speak, made the things already previously known to them living
all over again in them. What the apostles spoke was the speaking of the Holy Spirit. The
Holy Spirit has spoken through them. The preaching of the apostles was inspired in the
true sense of the word. St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:1: "Now I would remind you,

Ephesians 2:19-20.
1 Thessalonians 2:13.
brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand" and
then gives the following for consideration to the Corinthians, that what he gave them
what he has received from the Lord. What he taught was therefore revelation and
indeed revelation for the purpose of communication to others. In Romans 1:1 Paul
labels his Gospel with the honorific title: "Gospel of God".
The unique dignity, the divine authority of the apostles is beyond all doubt. They
were, as it was said above, "Apostles of the Lord and Savior". How often Saint Paul
reminds in his letters, in Corinthians, Galatians, of the fact that he had his office directly
from God, from Christ. This implies that the apostles, when they preached as apostles,
by virtue of their office, spoke in God's Name, on God's behalf. They approached Jews
and Gentiles with the claim that their preaching should be listened to and believed to be
true as the living God's own words.
c. According to the testimony of the New Testament the apostles have the same Gospel
laid down in their writings that that preached orally.
If the oral preaching of the apostles was "truly God's Word", not the word of men
but God's Word in the proper sense of the word, then the same applies about their
written witness. For it stands precisely on the same line with their oral preaching.
Especially in their writings the apostles appear as apostles, as they that have the
call to teach the entire Church and to set up the obedience of faith among Jews and
Gentiles and, those who believe, to strengthen in faith.
Thus St. Paul in the letter to the Romans. In Romans 1:1 he calls himself: "Paul, a
servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God." He
writes this letter as such. He has not yet been personally among the Romans, has not
verbally preached the Gospel of Christ to them as other Gentiles. He thus gives in this
epistle a replacement, a brief summary of his gospel, of the Gospel of God.
First Corinthians carries a similar title at the beginning: "Paul, called by the will
of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus" etc. In 1 Corinthians 1:10 he begins an urgent
admonition and admonishes the brethren in Corinth "by the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ". They should receive his admonition as Christ's Word, as God's Word. He has
preached the crucified Christ to the Corinthians as to the rest of the Gentiles.
And he
repeats and reiterates precisely this sermon in this epistle, particularly in the first
chapters. According to 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 he has preached to them "the testimony of
God" and not "with lofty speech or wisdom", but "in demonstration of the Spirit and of
power". From 1 Corinthians 2:6 on he generally says: "We impart a secret and hidden
wisdom of God."
"God has revealed to us these things through the Spirit."

1 Corinthians 1:23.
1 Corinthians 2:7.
1 Corinthians 2:10.
impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit."
This is
especially true of his present words. He now speaks to the Corinthians in writing. The
fact that he understands this with his epistolary speech about his apostolic preaching,
"the divine preaching" proves the connection with chapter 3:1-3. It says, "But I, brothers,
could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.
I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are
not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among
you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?" Since the apostle was
among the Corinthians and orally preached to them, he could not give them solid food
because they were still carnal, but had to give them milk to drink as young children in
Christ. But even now, as he writes, they cannot tolerate solid food. Even now they need
milk. So the apostle now gives to them, in this letter, as before in his preaching, milk,
the simple Gospel of Christ the Crucified. His epistolary speech is thus the continuation
of his oral speech. What he does now that he writes, he subsumes under his "speaking".
In his epistles, as in his preaching, St. Paul maintains his apostolic office. What he
speaks or writes as an apostle is the "wisdom of God", "God's revelation."
In the introduction to Galatians, the apostle rails against the false apostles who
perverted the gospel of Christ which he had preached and confused the Galatian
churches and turned them away from the one true Gospel, outside of which there is no
other Gospel. As he writes: "As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is
preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed!"

Divinely certain that his gospel is God's gospel, the apostle cursed every other gospel.
He preaches the gospel as an apostle not called by or from man, but from God. By
virtue of his apostolic authority he now curses, as he writes, every other gospel.
Therefore he brings to bear his apostolic office in his letters as good as in his preaching.
The apostle Peter argues about the same purpose at the end of his first epistle:
"By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting
and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it"
, actually in what you
came to stand. The apostle Paul had first preached the grace of God in his oral
preaching in those parts of Asia Minor and introduced into the state of grace even those
to whom Peter sends his epistle. Peter continues the work and the preaching of Paul by
securing those hard tempted Christians through his epistolary encouragement in the
grace of God. The oral preaching of the apostles appears as the beginning, their written
speech as a continuation of apostolic efficacy. Talking and writing complement each
other, form a whole, a continuum.

1 Corinthians 2:13.
Galatians 1:9.
1 Peter 5:12.
St. John brings to light the meaning of his epistle at the beginning of his first
epistle. He writes: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which
we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands,
concerning the word of life -- the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and
testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was
made manifest to us -- that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so
that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be
complete." The oral proclamation and the writing of the apostle has the same content,
Christ, the Word of Life, and pursues the same objective, that those who hear the
preaching, read the epistle, have communion with the Son and with the Father and this
will always complete their joy. We now have in the writings of the apostles quite the
same thing that the first Christians had in their preaching, precisely what the apostles
themselves had heard, seen, touched: Christ, the Word made flesh, and in Him the
Father. As God revealed Himself in Christ to the apostles so that they saw, heard,
grasped with hands the eternal Word, He thus reveals Himself to us today in the
writings of the apostles. Here we find Christ, God's Son, and eternal life.
As with preaching, the intent of the apostolic writings was faith, that men believe
and are saved. "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God
that you may know that you have eternal life."
It has the same explanation with the
epistles as with the Gospels. "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the
disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may
believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life
in his name."

We see that oral and the written witness of the apostles are two coordinated
parts of apostolic efficacy. The latter is, like the former, "truly" God's Word. It makes
absolutely no difference whether the apostles speak or write. St. Paul observes: "We ask
you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a
spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us...."
Word and letters of the apostles are
on the same level.
The fact that the epistles of the apostles are Holy Scripture, such as those of the
Old Covenant, that God's Word is present in the apostolic Scriptures, that the Lord
speaks through the apostles even when they write, is also witnessed expressis verbis in
Scripture. We read in 2 Peter 3:15-16: "...just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to
you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in
them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand,

1 John 5:13.
John 20:30-31.
2 Thessalonians 2:2.
which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other
Scriptures." Paul's epistles therefore are Scripture in the same sense, i.e. Holy Scripture,
as "the other Scriptures". Whoever lays hands on such Scriptures, perverts and confuses
them, he does it to his own destruction because he lays hands on the Word of the living
God. Paul himself judges about the same Scriptures: "If anyone thinks that he is a
prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a
command of the Lord."
Paul does not here refer to previously given commandments,
but he himself confers in this regard all sorts of directives to Christians, and notices
from this, but in general about everything that he writes, as an apostle writes to
Christians: "These are the Lord's commandments." He is aware that Christ speaks
through him. That is why he writes another time: "...that even you may be aware of
Who speaks in me (or through me), namely Christ."
The previous verse ("and I warn
them now while absent") shows that Paul here means his written speech.

3. Scripture testifies that the Holy Spirit has not only supplied the holy men of
God the thoughts, but also the words, that all of Scripture and all individual parts are
inspired, and that therefore no tittle of Scripture may be broken or changed.
If we examine the scriptural passages in which Scripture bears witness of itself
and about its divine origin, we then find that it emphasizes inspiration not only of
thoughts, but also of words. Thus in the well-known passage: "Now we have received
not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand
the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human
wisdom but taught by the Spirit."
The fact that in this context even the written speech
of the apostles is meant has been shown above. So even from the apostolic writings the
divine inspiration of thought, as words, is attested. The Spirit of God has administered
to the apostles, as they spoke, as they wrote, has given the things that they themselves
know and should do to know other things; but also the words, in which the apostles
brought those spiritual, divine things, are taught by the Holy Spirit. Thus the apostles
"combined", as Paul adds, "spiritual with spiritual". This is the notion of the words:
. In the apostolic, even in the Holy Scriptures,
spiritual thoughts are with spiritual words, spiritual content is connected with spiritual
expression. Content and form, both are taught from God, is administered by the Spirit
of God.
Holy Scripture strongly emphasizes that God, that the Holy Spirit had spoken by
the tongue, by the mouth of the holy men of God. We read in 2 Samuel 23:2: "The Spirit
of the Lord speaks by me; his word is on my tongue." That is the title of the last song of

1 Corinthians 14:37.
2 Corinthians 13:3.
1 Corinthians 2:12-13.
David, which David has written, written down in verses, at the end of his days for
future generations. Psalm 45:1 states: "My tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe." This
is the headline of that psalm that is before us in the book of Psalms. The Lord spoke to
Jeremiah: "Behold, I have put my words in your mouth."
These are the words that are
immortalized in the book of the prophecy of Jeremiah. Luke 1:70 refers to the priest
Zechariah, in Acts 3:21 the apostle Peter refers to "what God has spoken by the mouth
of His holy prophets", i.e. to the prophecy of the prophets, how the same Israel stood
before the eyes at the time of fulfillment, i.e. to prophecy written in Scripture. And
precisely by the written word of God that is wrought by the prophets is emphasized
here, that God, that the Holy Spirit has spoken by the tongue, by the mouth of holy
men. The tongue, the mouth shaped the words, the expression of thoughts. And it is
precisely this expression, the form and shape, in the speech and revelation of God set
before our eyes in Scripture, is from God, is God's work, the Holy Spirit's action.
Where Christ and the apostles refer to Scripture, they not only introduce general
writing thoughts, not just individual sayings, they often put the finger on an individual
Word of Scripture and draw evidence for their cause from it. St. Paul writes in Galatians
3:16: "Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say,
'And to seeds,' referring to many, but referring to one, 'And to your Seed,' who is
Christ." He puts all the weight on the one word, "your Seed",
, on the singular of
that name and proves from this that Christ was promised to Abraham and remarks that
He, that God therefore had spoken, that God intentionally had chosen this expression.
Christ testifies and witnesses His divinity from Psalm 110 to the Pharisees from the one
word "my Lord" in Matthew 22:43-44. John 10:35 lays all emphasis on the term ,
, "gods", that title which Psalm 82 ascribes to authority. If He ascribes this name to
persons of authority, how much more to the One Whom the Father has sanctified and
sent into the world! Every sentence, every word that they found and read in Scripture
applies to Christ and to the apostles as God's Word in the truest sense of the word.
In Matthew 10:19-20 and Luke 12:11-12 it is only casually referred to as an
analogy. There the Lord promises His disciples, believers in general, that at the time of
persecution and responsibility the Holy Spirit will give them what and how they should
speak. As in this particular case, as in other cases, particularly in drafting of Holy
Scripture, the Holy Spirit indeed has the power to put His words on lips, His thoughts
in the heart of men.
The now so evilly reputed verbal inspiration, this "insignificant thing of
dogmatics", also has firm ground in Scripture. Yes, inspiration that is not also verbal
inspiration is in truth not inspiration. Thought and expression are so closely bound in
any rational speech, like body and soul. The person speaking gives their thoughts the

Jeremiah 1:9.
Genesis 22:18.
corresponding expression. Scripture is the speech of the living God. God has herein
disclosed his secret wisdom in language understandable to mankind. Everything
gushed out from the Spirit of God.
Certainly, all Scripture is God's Word, speech of the Holy Spirit, in its individual
parts. Everything that is written in the books of Moses falls under the title "Law of the
Lord". The books of the prophets are from beginning to end "prophecy". Everything
stands here under the rubric: "Thus says the Lord." Christ, the Lord, and the apostles
invoke the Scriptures as such, the whole of Scripture of the Old Testament. Everything
that is recorded in the Gospels, is "Gospel of Christ", "Gospel of God". Each letter of the
Apostles from the entrance greeting to the ending votum is apostolic testimony. Each of
Holy Scripture is a whole in which all individual parts belong into. It is basically a
completely absurd notion when one here distinguishes essential and non-essential, as is
popular among modern theologians, and only the former are considered as God's
Word, the latter can be subject to error. This is a "mechanical" construction. Then the
Holy Spirit has sometimes, as good Homer, celebrated and slept if there were
unimportant things to report, and the human pen has written further about himself and
often rambled because he was abandoned by the Spirit. But the moderns truly can
hardly believe that the essential thing, the salvation of humanity, is inspired by the
Holy Spirit. This is only a human report of salvation that God has purchased mankind,
of salvation history shaped by God. People have made everything itself, brought it forth
from their will and thoughts, expressed it with their words, and the Holy Spirit has
thereby made them only a vague assistant and kept watch over it, that the individual
pieces eventually merged into a harmonious whole.
Now if everything that is written in Scripture is inspired by God, spoken by God,
then it follows of itself that not one letter can be changed. Each word is an inviolable
relic, is infallible, unchangeable Word of God. Scripture expressly confirms this. Four
times we encounter in Scripture the stern warning to those who add something or take
something away from what God has commanded and spoken.
Every addition is
sacrilege because God's Word is mixed with man's word. Every warning is
accompanied by the threat: "Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you! I warn
everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them,
God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from
the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the book of
life." Christ raises His voice and says: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law
or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to
you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law
until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these
commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of

Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; Proverbs 30:5-6; Revelation 22:18-19.
heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of
We let ourselves be warned and confess with Paul: "I believe everything laid
down by the Law and written in the Prophets."

As evidence for their view and against the Church's dogma of inspiration, the modern
theologians refer to the form and nature of Scripture lying before their eyes. Nevertheless,
nowhere does it contradict what Scripture testifies about itself.
What Scripture says about itself, about its nature and its origin, is crucial for us.
The self-testimony of Scripture is clear and, when one reviews it in context,
overwhelming. The modern day scribes have a blanket over their eyes, lest they see this
bright light. They ignore the pertinent words of proof. Volck is content in his book "The
Bible As Canon" with a brief reference to 2 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 8:8, 10:15.
Or if they engage
in a discussion of them, they thus instantly move the simple-minded, unequivocal
statements of the Bible under their own confused notions and refuse the investigation,
in which sense there is spoken about the "Word of God", the "speaking of the Lord", the
"inspiration of the Holy Spirit". Thus it is answered ex professo by more or less setting
aside those Scripture passages in which the question about what is Scripture, they
generally refer to the "nature" of Scripture lying before their eyes, on the Bible, "as it is
historically". We now want to take a look at the accordingly taken abstractions and
examine whether the previously adduced Scriptural reasons for the Church's dogma of
inspiration are somehow refuted. We will recognize:
That self-witness of Scripture is not abolished nor diminished:
1. neither through their own research and efforts of the authors of the individual

Kahnis writes in his Testimony of the Basic Truths of Protestantism against Dr.
Hengstenberg: "I must repeat that one cannot be better convinced about the perfect
impossibility of that theory than by one quite vividly gradually accustoms himself to it.
The evangelist Luke, who insures in the introduction of his Gospel that after many took
it upon themselves to write down the Gospel facts, he also (i.e. placing himself in that
same line) wants to do this, after he carefully examines everything (i.e. on the basis of
historical research) - the evangelist Luke, who no doubt has used both oral as well as
written sources (according to my opinion also Matthew), who is said to have written
down what the Holy Spirit dictated to him?

Matthew 5:17-19; Luke 16:17.
Acts 24:14.
Page 33.
Luke 1:1-4.
Page 114.
One can only thus wonder if one attributes to the orthodox teachers a childish,
grossly sensual idea of the dictation of the Holy Spirit. The dictation of the Holy Spirit
was not a mechanical audition, to which a mechanical writing out would have gone
apart. The holy men of God have not slept and dreamed, as they talked, as they wrote,
were moved by the Holy Spirit. Their interior, will and mind was in motion. They have
actually spoken, written. And that is a reasonable activity of reasonable people. They
have observed the common human way when writing, have made use of means that
writers also usually tend to use. Luke, however, has wanted to report the deeds of
Christ, as he accurately explores the histories before everything from the beginning, as
thus given in Israel, as he himself testifies in Luke 1:1-4. Matthew, John, who had been
eyewitnesses and earwitnesses, had what they had saw and heard quite well in their
memory as they wrote their Gospels. The apostles have followed a specific plan and
purpose with their writings. Matthew wanted to demonstrate in his Gospel that Christ
had fulfilled the prophecy of the Old Testament. John has recorded in his Gospel the
proof that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior of the World. So not only the style,
also the spirit of the holy scribes was active in the origin of the Scriptures.
But with all this they were moved, carried () by the Holy Spirit. The
Holy Spirit has set in motion this whole apparatus, human research, thinking, planning,
taken into His service, for the medium of its effectiveness, its speaking. Not the pen,
paper, or parchment with which the prophets and apostles wrote on, no, the prophets
and apostles themselves, the living people with their willing, thinking, researching,
designing, were pens, calami, of the Holy Spirit. As they write, the Holy Spirit has not
merely preserved it from error or led their writing back perhaps only to a certain goal,
no, the Spirit of God has made His heavenly wisdom, eternal thoughts, and even the
right words available to them among the research, thinking, writing, as it were,
backhandedly inputted to them. This is what the ancients mean by suggestio rerum et
An incomprehensible mystery is present here that human understanding
cannot weigh. We believe and confess according to Scripture the fact that the Holy Spirit
is the actual author of Scripture and has spoken by the prophets and apostles. The
"How?" is hidden. How inspiration happens, how the Holy Spirit has conveyed through
His own holy men, we cannot fathom. No man has seen into this workshop of the Holy
Spirit. We have enough on the final result, on the words of the prophets and apostles,
which is truly God's Word. Our faith, our salvation, depends on it. It is of no interest to
our faith, to our salvation, to follow step by step the way in which it has come to this
result. A person can move not more than a "scientific" interest to ponder over it. But
beyond such scientific musings one loses only that safe conclusion. We hold firm
according to the Scriptures, renouncing any rational mediation, the two propositions:
that the Holy Spirit is the true author of Scripture, but that the Holy Spirit has spoken

Suggestions and language.
through men, prophets and apostles. Everything that we read in Scripture is the speech
of the Holy Spirit; but the Spirit of God has spoken through organs and then of course
thus spoke that the organs and their peculiarities were in no way injured. Thus the
Spirit of God, however, has in no way influenced will and thought, yet , He
has, as the ancients say, suaviter, leniter,
almost imperceptibly, as secretly, incorporates
into their minds His divine wisdom, spiritual thoughts, spiritual words. The spirit of
the sacred writers has moved freely according to His kind and nature, flowed freely in
Holy Scripture. But yet he was entirely in the hands of the Holy Spirit. What gushed
forth from the mind, from the mouth, the pen of the prophets and apostles, was not
their own, not human wisdom, human word, but from beginning to end was the
outpouring of the Holy Spirit. From the first conception of the idea to the final
expression was all product of God's Spirit. An analogue of this wonderful process is
roughly the miracle of conversion. The conversion of a sinner is in solidum
a work of
the Holy Spirit, to which man does not contribute in the least from his own. And yet
conversion is no forced activity, no mechanical change, but a mysterious unexplained
effect of the Spirit of God on the will, the thoughts of man, that the will, the thoughts of
man thus determines that man now wants and gladly only wants what God wants, and
thinks what is divine.
Precisely the nature of Scripture, as it is historical, the nature e.g. of the Gospels,
in order to stop at this initial example, is, when one rightly looks at it, a testament to the
inspiration. Precisely the report of those facts which the apostles have seen and heard
and then recorded, is inspired. The consistency proves it. We find long speeches of the
Lord in Matthew and in John. These behave as speeches of Jesus. If the Lord has often
further explained the thoughts in His utterances that are found expressed in the
Gospels, then the words are still precisely those that we now read in Scripture, the very
of Jesus. The title of the speeches of Jesus show this: "He said". What then? Did
the apostles also write down, take shorthand or excerpt those speeches when they heard
them? Certainly not. Did they memorize word for word those long speeches? That is
impossible. Then their memories would have been raised above human limitations. No,
they wrote it and certainly exercised their power of thought and memory, the Holy
Spirit reproduced all this and brought to life what they had once heard from the Lord.
He has reminded them of everything that Jesus had taught them. Thus only in the
assumption that the Holy Spirit taught and supplied everything that the holy men
wrote, explains the consistency of the accounting of the deeds and miracles of the Lord,
in which even the slightest incidental circumstances are mentioned. The Gospels as they
exist are obviously a special work of God. The Spirit of God has here set down in

Pleasantly, gently.
Verba ipsissima.
writing through his organs, the apostles, the words and deeds of Christ and brought
into a short, fixed form in which they should be passed on to the memory of all
succeeding generations.
What the Scripture testifies about itself is also not altered:

2. nor through the various individuality of the prophets and apostles, 1
Corinthians 12:6.
Kahnis judges in the mentioned work: "One cannot indeed fail to recognize that,
for example, that the apostle Paul wrote just the same as he spoke in life, indeed as the
comparison of his letters shows with his speeches in Acts. If he has spoken and written
from revelation, but not so that now every word is revelation, but that he had worked
through on the basis on the revelation coming through him, that he conceptually
worked through under the assistance of the Holy Spirit - hence one talks of a Pauline
teaching concept - then he wrote as he spoke: under the assistance of the Holy Spirit,
but not as a mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit, but as a personality standing in the Holy
Spirit. The dialectic, the style, the many personals, etc. in Paul's letters is only thus
explained. Those who only a sense of style, who indeed sense how Paul often wrestles
with concepts and words. These are really elementary truths."

Similarly Hofmann: "One could neither be satisfied with the questions arising
from the nature of language, not the literary peculiarities of the author, nor the
impending purposes and the characteristics of the individual writings derived from it,
not the variety of teaching methods, nor the differences in the historical reports, without
coming into conflict with those dogmatic statements that are about the divine
inspiration of the Holy Scriptures."

And Volck remarks in his first lecture: "If the individual peculiarities of the
Biblical writers do not appear displaced, then the nature of the divine action must be
quite different on it, as it conducts itself after that (namely the ecclesiastical)

What is said here about the different teaching concepts of the author of the Holy
Scriptures has no support and reason in Scripture itself. The so-called Pauline, Petrine,
Johannine doctrinal concept only exists in the head of modernists interpreters of the
apostles. Here is not the place to dwell on this very popular topic in modern theology.
But that the authors of Holy Scripture, that, for example, the apostle Paul, Peter, John,
each has its particular language, his particular style, his particular way of presentation,
that in their writings their particular individuality finds it expression, is clear as day.
Paul, for example, throws into sharp relief the arrangement and connection of ideas by

op. cit. pages 113-114.
ibid, First Part, page 9.
Page 10.
frequent use of particles, John simply adds sentence on sentence, one sentence on
another, Peter brings weighty thoughts toward a short, concise expression as possible.
But how far this fact should contradict according to its full extent the divine inspiration
of Holy Scripture so clearly and strongly attested by Scripture is not foreseen. The Holy
Spirit has spoken through the Prophets and the Apostles, has made these living
persons, with their will, thinking, even with their particular qualities and skills, into His
organs. As little as the Holy Spirit removes or changes or infringes and decreases
natural powers and faculties of men in conversion, in the sanctifying of the nature, so
little has He in inspiration stripped the men who He chose as His tools of their nature,
their peculiar character; the Word also applies here: "There are diversities of gifts, but
one Spirit".
The Spirit of God Who works all in all has taken into His service and used
for His purpose the various talents of the apostles, as well as the prophets, their natural
gifts, as spiritual gifts. Therefore, it seemed good to Him to make known the divine
mysteries not with inexpressible words, as Paul heard them in the third heaven, not
with tongues of angels, but in human language, entirely in the way as otherwise men
care to share their thoughts, in order to bring the understanding near to men. He has
poured His heavenly wisdom into the manifold gifts of men and thus to signify the
same to men in their own way.
It is pure distortion when one makes the "dogmatic" version of the accusation
that the sacred writers are reduced to mere mouthpieces of the Holy Spirit. One will
then have nothing of it, that that dogmatic theologians expressly accept an
accommodation of the Holy Spirit to the individuality of human authors. And that is
not meant as the Holy Spirit might only borrow their particular way, as He might
accept here only a foreign coloring. No, what the old dogmaticians wanted is the fact
that the Holy Spirit lowered Himself to men's ways and precisely through men who
thought and wrote according to their usual way, His own had informed men.
An example may illustrate what was just said. One rightly extols the sharp
dialectic of the apostle Paul. This is the Pauline nature and characteristic. In his epistles,
for example, in Romans, he lets one thought follow from the other, inserts a term in the
other, raises questions that he then answered, brings objections that he then rejects,
explains the position by contradiction. In this way he sets apart according to all sides
the main theme in Romans, about justification by faith, shows the right understanding
of divine doctrine, excludes misunderstanding. Now does it follow from this that this
chief proposition, that a man is justified without works of the Law, was given only
perhaps to the apostle from on high and that he then independently "worked through"
this theme with his thoughts and thus essentially produced his own work to the Roman
Christians? We would perhaps thus conclude, if Paul himself did not testify, that he
serves God in the Gospel, that Christ speaks through him. What he preaches and writes

1 Corinthians 12:6.
is truly God's Word, God's speech. God speaks through him. God the Holy Spirit has
therefore thus guided and turned his thoughts in that dialectical movement of speech
that precisely that particular form and shape of doctrine emerged from it which
knowledge and edification was particularly beneficial for the reader. Therefore, it is the
dialectic of the Holy Spirit that is apparent to us in the Pauline epistles. The conclusions
drawn by the apostles and guided proofs are absolutely binding and obligatory,
because Paul was also impelled and defined to that end by the Holy Spirit.
That self-witness of Scripture is also not diminished:

3. through "even to unimportant details" that are mentioned in Scripture.
One such quite insignificant detail, about which the newer scribes cannot really
live down, is Paul's cloak left behind in Troas.
Here is brought to light, one thinks, the
mere human character of so many parts of Scripture. How, if it has now pleased the
Holy Spirit, rightly to discuss with men about such purely human things? Has the Spirit
of God not the power, great and small, important and seemingly unimportant, in short,
to make known to man what He wants? Do we want to impose to the Holy Spirit what
and how He should talk, teach Him what would be solely worthy of Him? We must
then also take offense that the great, immense God created the mosquitoes and the
creeping things of the earth. What penetrates through all of us is what the Holy Spirit
Himself has revealed to us in Scripture about His attitude to Scripture. And we have
seen precisely there that each of the Holy Scriptures proffers itself in its full extent as
prophetic or apostolic Scripture, as God's Word and speech. We do not find the slightest
evidence in Scripture in order to eliminate from the context of speech, speech of the
Holy Spirit, individual purely human, weak portions. And if we ask in the second place,
what the Holy Spirit have probably had for an interest in the communicating of such
insignificant data, then we will know, when we look more closely, that they are at least
beneficial for teaching, for edification, or that they help clarify a salutary doctrine or
admonition or a history that is woven into it.
Regarding the items Paul left behind in Troas, which included the cloak, his
books, and his parchment, we refer to the fine remarks of an English theologian.
[Robert] Haldane
in his pamphlet, "The Authenticity and Inspiration of the Holy
Scriptures" also comments about this: "Dr Doddridge, in his commentary on the
passage before us, has the following note. 'Bring with thee that cloak.' 'If here
signifies cloak, or mantle, it is, as Grotius justly observes, a proof of Pauls poverty, that
he had occasion to send so far for such a garment, which probably was not quite a new
one.' Since, as we here learn, this observation of Grotius appeared just to Dr Doddridge,
it might have prevented him from rashly treating the subject with the levity which

2 Timothy 4:13. Cf. Volck, "The Bible as Canon", page 45.
1764-1842. Haldane was a Scottish churchman.
appears in his remark, formerly quoted, and from thinking it not 'prudent' to assert, that
the text was dictated by the Holy Spirit. The observation of Grotius to which he refers,
is as follows: 'See the poverty of so great an Apostle, who considered so small a matter,
left at such a distance, to be a loss to him.' On the same place, Erasmus remarks: 'Behold
the Apostles household furniture, a cloak to defend him from rain, and a few books.'
Here then, we are reminded incidentally, (a manner of instruction common in the word
of God,) of Pauls poverty. In the low distressed circumstances of the Apostles, we see
the Lords warnings, as to the reception they were to meet with from the world, and the
hardships and privations they were to experience, fully verified. The evidence of the
truth of the gospel, which arises from the suffering condition of those who were first
employed to propagate it, is calculated to produce on our minds the strongest
conviction of its divine origin. In the wisdom of God it appears to have been appointed
for this end; and it is all along kept in view, in the accounts transmitted in the Scriptures
concerning them. 'I think that God hath set forth us the Apostles the last, as it were
appointed to death : for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to
menEven unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are
buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place,'

Paul also desires Timothy to bring with him the 'books, but especially the
parchments.' Whatever these parchments were, (whether the originals of the Epistles he
had written to the churches, and which he might wish in some way to attest, or to
explain,) to Timothy the use he intended to make of them, would be well known, and in
it he might have a further example of the Apostle's zeal, and unwearied exertion in the
service of God. To us the circumstance of his sending for the books and parchments,
affords a proof, that he himself was not slothful or deficient, in observing what he
enjoined on Timothy in his First Epistle
; to give attendance to reading. This teaches
us, that even those who were so highly favoured with the most distinguished gifts,
were not raised above the necessity of using means for their own improvement, and for
the stirring up of those gifts that were in them; and if this was the case respecting them,
how much is the duty here enforced upon us, to give diligence to retain the knowledge
of divine things which we may already possess, and to seek to add to our present
attainments, whatever we may suppose them to be. We are certain that they were not
useless books, which the apostle required to be brought to him at such a time, and from
so great a distance. They must have been intended to be profitable to himself, or in
some way to be turned to the advancement of that cause, to promote which was his
only desire, and for which he was now about to suffer. In any, or all of these views, the
contents of this verse convey instruction, and afford an example to us; and we can no
more conceive that the course of inspiration is here interrupted, without the smallest

1 Corinthians 4:9, 11.
1 Timothy 4:18.
intimation to this effect, (of which such an example in the whole Bible cannot be
produced,) than we can believe it was the case concerning the verse which we formerly

What the Scripture testifies of itself, is not abolished nor diminished

4. through alleged, natural history, chronological, historical inaccuracies
interspersed in Scripture.
Volck writes in his lecture: "To what extent is inerrancy attributed to the Bible?":
"Now if the Bible is a work of God authored by men, then its relative ability for error
follows from it.... But how far does that ability for error go? What is its limit? The
answer to this question follows from our proposition that the Bible is the instrument of
salvation history. If it is this; if it expressed the historically revealed, eternal thoughts of
salvation of God, then its ability for error is admitted in regard to everything that 'either
does not fall at all in the field of salvation history or in no way effects the substance of
salvation history as quite immaterial.'"
So, for example, all notes of natural history,
world history, are purely human and therefore often erroneous.
It is difficult to make present a self-activity of the Holy Spirit, as such is
recognized by the name of the modern theologians in the manuscript of God's thoughts
of salvation history, which still suffers discontinuity at every moment. For those are still
not intimately intertwined with the substance of salvation history for the substance of
associated components of salvation history. No, the modern theologians also basically
deny the inspiration of those "eternal thoughts of salvation." But now is inspiration in
the true sense of the word not called into question in fact by those notes of subordinated
content, in the ecclesiastical sense, which we have shown as unscriptural? Certainly, if
indeed errors and inaccuracies of any kind can be detected. Errare humanum est.
the Holy Spirit cannot err. If the Holy Spirit is the actual author of Scripture, all of what
is written, then the ability of error is ruled out in advance. The Spirit of God, the All-
Knowing One, as much as He has accommodated Himself to the peculiarity of human
organs, can now and never sanction a human error. We would be mistaken to the
Scriptures, to that self-testimony that Scripture lays down about itself, when we
encounter obvious falsa and errata on inspection and examination of the "nature" of
Scripture. But if there are such, that is the important question, one by which we argue
with the modern scribes.
Do we read erroneous statements, false judgments about the nature and things
of nature in Scripture? For this area is of course subject to the human mind. Appearance

Pages 44-46.
Pages 14-15.
To err is human.
and experience here decide. One may reasonably expect that modern theologians, if
they want to verify the ability of error of Scripture in this area, will cite the most
astounding, striking examples. Volck notes in the same place: "To exemplify what I
mean: The question of whether the Scriptures teach a movement of the earth around the
sun or the sun around the earth has nothing to do with the history of salvation." He
wants to say that "Sun, stand still" of Joshua had emerged from the old erroneous
popular notion that the sun moved around the earth. Another broad trodden example
of the type is the reference to the biblical account of creation. We ask first of all: Is the
Copernican system, according to which the Earth orbits the Sun, really a foregone fact
that no reasonable person disagrees with anymore, at least no astronomer and
mathematician? Is the proposition that the earth revolves around the sun empirically so
firm and sure like the one that a good tree bears no rotten fruit, and a bad tree good
fruit? Are these heavenly creatures, sun, moon, stars, chiefly subject to the ways of men,
i.e., even to the inquiring understanding of men, like beasts of the earth, fish in water,
and everything that lies within the sight and sphere of men? We ask second of all: Are
those millennial periods of creation, from which modern science sends forth the current
population of the earth, based on actual appearance, perception, empiricism? Is it not
the of current geology that it backdates the now, since the completion of
heaven and earth, valid laws of evolution from the time of creation, from the time from
which no man can know something, from the time the almighty God said: "Where were
you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding."
it not a little thing to the Almighty God, Who created everything out of nothing, if he
wanted to give in one moment the substance of the earth that was hidden in the water,
the shape which now lies before the human eye? Does not the simple biblical account of
the six day work of God bear the stamp of truthfulness compared with the wild
cosmogonies of ancient heathens, compared even with the chaos of modern "scientific"
hypotheses of the origins of the world? Does not the simple-minded reader of the Bible
receive the impression from Genesis 1 and 2: Has God, the Creator, Who alone,
according to His wisdom, without counselors, not created and ordered everything,
given revelation to men about its origin and about the origin of heaven and earth, i.e.,
about a thing that no man might otherwise have figured out? Here man, the creature,
must simply listen and hear what God, His Creator, says to him. If man, the creature,
speaks and speculates about his and other creatures' genesis, i.e., about the action and
work of the Creator, from his own, with his created, limited understanding, then this is
the same foolishness as when the creature wants to make the Creator accountable, as
when the clay says to the potter: "Why did you make me this way?" Truly we feel a little
tempted to be mislead from this point on the revelation of God. On the other hand, if
we contemplate how none of the whimsical, perverse ideas of the ancients about the

Job 38:4.
earth as a disc, about the design and grouping of continents and oceans, are ignored in
the Bible, then we cannot ignore the higher Hand that has kept at bay and excluded all
human delusions.
Or does profane history perhaps chastise the sacred history lies? Volck refers to
the findings of Egyptian and Assyrian investigations of modern times. It is true: what
we, e.g., learn from the excerpts from Manethon from monument scholarship about the
prehistory of Egypt, will not coincide with what Genesis and Exodus tells us about the
sojourn of Jacob's family and the Israelites in Egypt. We find in the Egyptian sources, in
the referencing of the rule of an Asian shepherd people or the rule of lepers over Lower
Egypt, echoes of known events of sacred history. But on further inspection, the
inequality is greater than the similarity. Should we now adjust the biblical history
according to sporadic notes of ancient tradition or dark words on a monument? That
would be insanity. The latter partly contradict itself and are so fragmentary that even if
one wanted to keep them whole for credibility, perhaps there is still room for the
history of Joseph and the mighty works of God under Moses. Yes, whomever only
superficially compares the Egyptian sources with the biblical account here perceives a
difference here between myth and history, as between literature and reality. Only when
one could oppose a secure and reliable date of a contradictory statement of the Bible
according to general opinion of experts from the history of the Oriental peoples or
Greco-Roman history, would we find it understandable from their point of view, if the
modern critics speak of a historical inaccuracy that can be found in the Bible. We can
wait safely until they identify such an example. Various reports on one and the same
fact prove nothing. Who wants to fight us, where witness stands against a witness, to
believe in the testimony of the Bible? In most cases of this kind one can believe the
Bible, without profane historical tradition to deny all credibility. We lack in most cases
an accurate, complete picture of history. If we would have such a thing, then we would
easily see how the various individual traits hang together and how they most certainly
fit into the whole.
A comparison of sacred history, provided it mentions world-historical persons
and events, and world history, provided it rests on a secure basis, in fact shows a
wonderful match to each unprejudiced person. And there are examples of the fullness
that the newer monument research, which seeks to decipher the ancient documents
themselves, it has confirmed the biblical account and refuted the reports of later profane
scribblers. Until recently, one found in most textbooks on world history the note taken
from Greek authors that the Assyrian king Sennacherib followed Shalmaneser in 716
B.C. An Assyrian king, namely Sargon, becomes known in the Bible
, who must have
reigned after Shalmaneser and before Sennacherib. Thus it seemed the most dutiful,
since the profane scribblers still apply as an authority in this respect, to push aside

Isaiah 20:1.
Sargon as a mythical person. However, the latest study of the cuneiform inscriptions on
Assyrian monuments has now shown that that Sargon had been the most powerful and
glorious ruler of the later Assyrian empire and surmounted in importance, deeds, and
victories both his predecessor Shalmaneser, as well as his follower Sennacherib. One
known historical tradition is particularly for the informant Herodotus, and which most
readers of these lines will have imprinted in their memory in their high school
instruction, makes the Persian king Cyrus the successor and heir to his grandfather, the
Median king Astyages, and records the conquest of Babylon, one of the first exploits of
the young ruler of the kingdom of the Medes and Persians. This of course agrees poorly
with the historical narrative of the prophet Daniel, according to whom the Median King
Darius had occupied Babylon and had resided in Babel as the first great king of the
Medo-Persian Empire. However now it is generally accepted by historians that not
Cyrus, but the Median Cyaxares II followed Astyages in the regiment and ended the
Babylonian Empire. This fits quite well with the Median king Darius in Daniel. These
examples show how it is frivolous starting to introduce the first best Data of a
celebrated Greek or Roman historian easily as an instance against the correctness of a
biblical statement.
Volck remarks in the aforementioned lecture: "If differences would arise on the
basis of a examination of the chronology of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel according
to the results of Egyptian and Assyrian studies of the modern age, which were based on
errors in the biblical sources, then this would not in the least compromise the authority
of the Bible as a record of salvation history." It is true that there are differences between
the statements of the Bible about the reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah, and the
relevant details of the monuments. Monuments and Bible coincide in the determination
of the year of the destruction of Samaria, 722 B.C. But from this point the chronologies
digress forward and backward from each other. The Bible says that Ahab ruled Israel
918-896. According to the monuments Ahab gave the battle of Qarqar in the year 854.
The Bible sets the campaign of Sennacherib against Hezekiah in the year 714, the
monuments in the year 701. But does this mean that witness stands against witness, the
proof supplied that "the Biblical sources are based on errors"? A third and fourth
witness that were to appear for the monuments against the Bible is missing here. Thus
each impartial person must let the dissonance go, and it would be unfair from a purely
human point of view to blame an error on the Bible here. But we, we who are convinced
for quite different reasons from the veracity of the Biblical statements in great and small
things, admit that the Bible is correct here against the monuments. By the way, the
differences against the coincidence disappear when one takes a look at the result of
cuneiform research as a whole. Schrader
, the rationalist, judges in his work "The

Eberhard Schrader (1836-1908), was a German orientalist primarily known for his achievements in
Cuneiform Inscriptions and the Old Testament": "Moreover, the Bible receives a
justification even in chronological relationship from the monuments how one can wish
for the same at all."

Volck quotes Acts 7:[15-]16, where Shechem should be called Hebron instead, a
significant historical "inaccuracy" of the New Testament in his pamphlet, "The Bible as
Canon". It says: "And Jacob went down into Egypt, and he died, he and our fathers, and
they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a
sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem." It must first be said that the case is
not written off when one transposes "Shechem" in "Hebron" and grants to Stephen a slip
of the tongue occurring in the flow and zeal of speech. Stephen would have caused a
hopeless confusion if he would have had Hebron in mind. No doubt Abraham had
purchased for himself with money a field for a burial place.
But not from the children
of Hamor, cited by Stephen, but from Ephron the Hittite. In addition, Jacob certainly
has been buried in the family tomb of Abraham in Hebron.
But of the fathers of Israel,
the sons of Jacob, of whose funeral initially is mentioned in Acts 7:16, a similarity is not
reported. Rather, we read in Joshua 24:32 that the bones of Joseph were really buried at
Shechem, in the piece of field that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor in Genesis
33:19. Therefore Stephen would not be guilty of a threefold falsum
by saying Shechem
instead of Hebron, he would have confused Shechem with Hebron, the children of
Hamor with Ephron and the burial of Joseph with Jacob. And Luke would have
worthily respected this jumbled mess of Biblical accounts of tradition, since he wrote his
writings after thorough study of the sources. Is this believable, judged from a purely
human point of view? It certainly has its difficulties. But it is not helpful here that one
attaches a careless mistake
to those holy witnesses Stephen and Luke. On the
contrary, we come closest to the right understanding of this point when we remain
exactly with the wording and also leave intact the details cited in the Old Testament.
Stephen particularly speaks here about the sons of Jacob. Nothing is said in the Old
Testament about where these sons were buried. But if Joseph was buried in Shechem, in
the field purchased from the sons of Hamor, then it is not so unlikely that the same
thing happened with his brothers. Yes, Stephen, and with him Luke, assures this and
thus complements the narrative of the Old Testament. Other examples of this kind are
found that in the New Testament are added to the Old Testament history data, of which
we find nothing in the canon of the Old Testament. Is not this circumstance an exact
proof of the authorship of the Holy Spirit, Who can bring out forgotten things from the

Page 304.
Genesis 23:16-17.
Genesis 50:13.
past and with his teaching and revelation disregard the difference of the times? Or, if
Stephen here followed an unwritten tradition, then the Holy Spirit has in so doing made
certain truth from the uncertain, that this tradition was proclaimed and then written.
But if that notice of the funeral of Jacob's sons is a novum, then it stands to reason to
consider even the more remote remark that Abraham already bought a field in Shechem
from the sons of Hamor as a complement of the Biblical account. What the Old
Testament reports of the purchase and sale of Jacob and of the purchase of the land in
Hebron, we thereby do not alter in the least. Abraham lived a long time in Shechem
according to Genesis 12:6, and one has to assume that he lost this field with his
departure, so that Jacob had to pay for it again. We want to know just the remarks only
as a possible solution of the present difficulty. But if the thing may have thus acquitted
itself or something else, then we are still, from a human point of view, by no means
obliged to accept a error. This assumption only increases the difficulty. As in this place,
we are thus convinced even in other cases on closer examination that alleged
"inaccuracies" as such are far from proven. If we also lack the necessary material to
prove the correctness of this or that statement, then it is not yet established that
Scripture had erred here.
The last example discussed, in which the report of the Old Testament is applied
as the standard of truth for evaluation of a New Testament statement, also touches on a
further objection against the inerrancy of Scripture claimed by us on all sides. Had the
remark of Stephen proved to be incorrect, a contradiction within Scripture would thus
also be stated. The fact that the Bible contains all sorts of contradictions, at least in
subordinate questions, is opposite a standing argument of the opponents, the
proposition that the self-witness of Scripture about its Author and origin is not
damaged and diminished

5. through supposed contradictions contained in Scripture,
We also demand here that the contradiction proved, the need for the adoption of
a direct contradiction is established. One wants to think that the heretofore cited
example by Volck in both writings best serves the point. In his first writing
, in his
second writing
, he refers to the "contradictory" details of Number 25:9 and 1
Corinthians 10:8. According to the first passage, there are 24,000, according to the latter
23,000, who were struck by those plagues in the wilderness. What about it? If one reads
the two passages quoted in succession and spares himself further reflection, then one
ingrains in himself the idea that the Israelites who perished in the wilderness were
counted differently here and that only one of the specified sums could be right. On
closer examination of the narrative in Numbers 25, one becomes aware of a distinction

Page 15.
Page 50.
among those despondent from the wrath of God. The rulers of the people, the real
ringleaders, who had led Israel to harlotry and idolatry should be hanged, others are
strangled by the judges with the sword.
Most were swept away by the plague,
probably a pestilence. How, if Paul now has in mind in 1 Corinthians 10:8 about the
23,000 struck down directly by God, in distinction to those executed by human hands,
who may have been 1,000, while Numbers 25:9 summarily takes together those killed?
Or, if all 24,000 mentioned by Moses really died of the plague, then it is not to say that
24,000 died in one day, while according to Paul those 23,000 fell in one day. Paul
describes the plague of that One day while Moses in general speaks of the judgment
provoked by the harlotry of Israel. It is obviously prejudged of course, even after
reasonable reckoning, if one simply here sets in opposition the one number with the
And this is the case in other cases. If one and the same event is variously
described at two different places in the Bible, then it is obvious that different traits,
different sides are emphasized here and there in the same thing. We would have to
know precisely all the attendant circumstances and details of the relevant chief facts in
order to recognize how these different traits are interrelated. But as usually only some
data is communicated to us, as various circumstances are unknown to us, as all sorts of
intermediate links are missing, then it is often impossible for us to say with certainty
how the various traits agree in reality and probably even had place in a context.
Different possibilities can there be imagined. And it is subjective arbitrariness, yes,
crying injustice that one inflicts on Scripture when one reduces various forms of
reporting on conflict and contradiction of the correspondent. As long as no
contradictory opposition is demonstrated in the various statements, the required
recognition by today's Biblical scholarship of contradictions is nothing other than a
scientific swindle.
The aforementioned finds its application particularly in the present differences in
the four Gospels. Volck writes in his first lecture
: "Whoever would have not yet
discovered differences, for example in the Gospels, between the individual Gospels,
that can be eliminated by no harmony and that one had better openly admit, as they can
always be advanced by adversaries." It is true, the harmony must move within modest
limits. In many cases it is impossible to construe a complete, accurate composite image
from the various details of the Gospels perhaps one and the same miracle of Jesus, and
associate each of the various circumstances from the individual circumstances, that has
been the timing of the individual events, to answer with a Non liquet
, to impersonate
as a self-fictitious combination for evangelical truth. But as long as the various traits do

Numbers 25:4-5.
Page 14.
It is not clear.
not cancel each other out and mutually exclude each other - and one will never be able
to bring this for evidence -, it is, even judged purely humanly, foolishness and
foolhardiness, to restamp the differences as contradictions. In the four reports of the
resurrection of the Lord, for example, with which one has to maneuver against the
inerrancy of Scripture from the days of Lessing on, different indications are found, of
course, regarding the number and names of the women who went to the grave, and the
number of angels located at the grave. John mentions only one woman who made a
pilgrimage to the tomb of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Matthew two, Mark three, Luke even
more women. Matthew and Mark mention one angel, Luke and John two. Now in what
order and grouping the pious women went to the grave and returned home from the
grave on Easter morning, how the angels were stationed at the tomb, whether only
Maria Magdalene went alone and saw two angels and then the other women took the
same route and whether they beheld either two angels or only one, whether one of the
two angels was the actual preacher, behind him the other receding, or whether, what
Mary Magdalene experienced, later followed, than what befell the women at the open
tomb, we cannot decide. We lack sufficient evidence for it in the words of Scripture.
One was possible, even the other, also a third. It has just not pleased the Holy Spirit to
reveal to us a complete harmony of the Gospels. If we rightly observe and consider the
individually reported features from the life and works of Jesus from the different
evangelists, each for themselves, then we receive enough light about Jesus' days on
earth. But, in order to hold fast to the newly introduced example, it is still madness,
from the fact that we cannot demonstrate the pragmatic context of the individual events
of the history of Easter morning, precisely, because Scripture does not here preserve all
the particulars, to draw the conclusion that this or that indication must be based on
error. It truly does not take much understanding in order to comprehend immediately
through lection and consideration of the four evangelists resurrection reports that the
one has been able to collect even slightly what the other evangelist imparts, without
prejudice of the other, what the other one reports. In addition, we see from this
diversity of evangelical reports that the Holy Evangelists in the constitution of their
writings truly have not been guided by clever calculation and reckoning to the
impression that the reader would receive from their Gospels. Otherwise they would
have harmonized more. The following would then be connected more accurately and
anxiously to the writings of its predecessors. No, a higher Hand has here arranged and
configured everything. The Spirit of God has here connected and prevailed according to
His free discretion, quite carelessly and impartially as it were, without fear that future
criticism could damage somewhat His authority of His holy work.
Our faith is ultimately not affected by the fact that the Scriptures are in the
proper sense God's Word

6. through different readings of the Hebrew and Greek text.
Professor Mhlau of Dorpat argues against the conventional wisdom of "laity" in
his lecture, "Do We Have the Original Text of the Holy Scriptures?". The fact that in
many places different readings in various ancient documents are handed down to us
and that we cannot determine in many cases which was the original reading is, of
course, an undeniable fact. But this fact still proves nothing against the divine origin of
Scripture, but only proves that Scripture, after it was completed, was subjected to the
human weakness of the copyists. Inspiration had no relation to the later work of the
copyists. They could quite easily, by accident or on purpose (perhaps in the best
construction to improve an alleged error) change in their arduous work individual
words or syllables. After all, it is a miracle of divine providence that nothing more is
changed in the text. None of the variant readings somehow altered the genuine sense of
the point in question. In most cases it is only a difference in the forms of speech, word
order, and the like. And if we are occasionally uncertain whether a short parenthesis is
later omitted or added, then the actual meaning that the Holy Spirit wanted to make
known to us in the relevant section is not modified in the least by such an addition or
omission. None of the present critics will venture to say that any one of the holy
thoughts of God that God's Spirit has laid down in Scripture is lost to us in this way. So,
on the contrary, the preservation of the Biblical text bears witness through the time of
the world how God the Lord has been awake over His Word that went out of His
mouth. And that we, now and then, cannot precisely indicate the original reading is, for
our knowledge, for our faith, so little of importance, as that we no longer rightly
understand many dark passages of Scripture. The weakness of those who deal with the
writing, reading, contemplating of Scripture, truly does no harm to the value and
content of the Word itself.

In conclusion, one more question. Why do you think the Holy Spirit has not
entirely eliminated or avoided the above-mentioned difficulties? He could have spoken
smoothly and exactly everywhere that even all semblance of an error or contradiction
would have been excluded. We do not want to fathom the hidden wisdom of the Spirit
and do not want to argue with God. Only the one should also be noted. It is also
written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness"
and "With the crooked you show
yourself shrewd."
The simple do not stumble over such apparent challenges. These
disappear before the fullness of divine light that flows to them from the Word.
However, they purposely close their eyes to the bright sun in heaven, God's Word is a
stone of stumbling, a snare of perdition according to God's righteous judgment. May
God preserve us by grace in the simplicity of faith!

1 Corinthians 3:19, citing Job 5:13.
2 Samuel 22:27; Psalm 18:26
As to the purpose and meaning of Scripture, modern theologians apprehend Scripture,
the document of salvation of history, as Canon that the Church needs as a whole for her historical
development, and accept only oral preaching, in contrast from Scripture, as means of grace that
is useful and necessary for faith and salvation.

The Dorpat theologians comment about this as follows.
[Theodosius] Harnack judges in his pre-emptive brief for Volck, "About the
Canon and Inspiration of Holy Scripture"
: "There is a widespread view in our country
that the Christian faith itself is based on 'faith in Holy Scripture'; a perception that
regards the Bible as the God-ordained means of grace, explains it as the 'apple of the eye
of the Reformation and the evangelical faith' and subsequently asserts the absolute
necessity of Scripture for saving faith. This opinion contradicts both the Scriptures
themselves, as well as the testimony of the ancient and Reformation Church, as well as
the Christian experience. It is therefore considered untenable according to all sides
coming into consideration here. For we do not believe in a book, but in Jesus Christ, our
Lord and Savior."
: "Nothing else than Christ and He alone - not even the Bible - has the
congregation put into her midst, the individuals, in this ever abiding life. So I do believe
the Bible, but only because of my faith in Christ, i.e., because He authenticates it for me
and authenticates Christ to me with all His previous acts of God; because He is the
heart and soul and because the Spirit, Who speaks in it to us, is the 'Comforter'
promised and sent by Him. The Bible is not the revelation, but the guaranteed witness of
God about Him for us, the Word of God in its documentary form; and for this reason it
is dear and precious above all things. The question about Scripture is therefore always
only secondary; the first is and remains Christ."
: "The testimonium internum Spiritus sancti
is not based on the
subjective 'impression' of the saving power of individual passages or selections, but on
the unanimity of the documentary Words of God laid out in Holy Scripture with the self-
attesting Gospel preached in the Church and in the hearts of believers."
Volck remarks in his second publication "The Bible as Canon"
: "What is it that
brings individuals to faith in Christ, and thus makes a Christian? Perhaps Bible
reading? No! The witness of the Church about Christ. It seeks him out in this or that
form. "Faith comes by preaching", Paul says. If he were awakened by the reading of the

Page 6.
Pages 6-7.
Page 22.
Internal testimony of the Holy Spirit.
Page 14
Bible, then the task of mission would be simple. You should then send Bibles in their
language, assuming of the various heathen nations that they know how to read. People
have made such attempts. They are run without result. That Ethiopian eunuch in the
book of Acts zealously read His Bible. But reading does not encourage him. He answers
Philip's question, 'How can I if no one guides me?' One does not refer me to the New
Testament epistles that the apostles wrote and sent. For I ask: Find in the New
Testament a single epistle, a single document, that is addressed to the Gentiles for the
purpose of conversion. They all are addressed to communities that are already
Christian; but Christian how? Through the living Word of apostolic preaching."
And on pages 14-15: "There has been God's Word before a Bible was available;
and just as little as the documentary foundation of the Church is the Word, just as little
as it is the source of the faith of the individual. The latter arises from the living witness
of the Church, in order then to find again, of course, its object in the written Word and
thus to reach to full internal certainty. Luther came to faith in the Scriptures in this way.
It has been the oral word handed down to him by his confessor which helped to his
evangelical, for him personally critical, knowledge. This witness has proven itself to
him as divine as Scripture; and as such it became the foundation of his life and work."
This is the well-known Hofmann-esque theory that the Erlangen theologian
Frank also subscribes.
As a result, oral preaching is the actual means of grace. The
"self-attestation of the community, respectively of the individual preaching" is a "stream
of the living Word of God" that constantly gushes from the life existing and propagating
in the Church since Pentecost and which purifies itself again whenever it is tarnished
again by false doctrine.
According to this modern-believing view Scripture therefore has only secondary
importance for faith, for the salvation of mankind. The chief thing is Christ, Christ in
contrast to, detached from the Scriptures. The spoken Word, the preaching of the
Gospel above all testifies about Christ. It draws from itself, from its own experience,
and normalizes and corrects itself. And from preaching, in contrast to the written word,
comes saving faith. Scripture comes into question here only in second place. If one now
subsequently picks up Scripture, then of course one finds faith that has sprung from the
living witness in the Church here in the written Word, finds again its object and thus is
enough "for full internal certainty". But Scripture is not absolutely necessary for saving
faith. A Christian can eventually achieve the objective [of saving faith] without
Scripture if he only has "the spoken Word". And Scripture is by no means norm and
touchstone for oral preaching, but vice versa. A Christian then hears the internum
testimonium Spiritus sancti, he will then be convinced about the divineness of Holy
Scripture when he locates the Scripture that bears witness of itself in accordance with
the preaching in the Church and in the hearts of believers. The latter, verbum

See his "System of Certainty", Volume 2, pages 195ff.
, is the breakthrough
, the final authority. Oral tradition is the principle of
faith, of salvation. Scripture must also be measured accordingly. Truly genuine papist
Christians could thus manage without the Bible altogether without substantially
suffering harm. The consequence of the system actually demands, like the papists, total
abolition of the written Word. However, in order to keep up appearances, these
modern, Protestant papists still concede a particular meaning, an independent purpose
to Scripture. Individual Christians do not need Scripture for faith and salvation. But the
Church as a whole needs such a historical document for her purposes, for the way that
she has to travel.
Volck says about it in the quoted writing
: "However, I nonetheless maintain
that one diminishes the Bible in its meaning when one lets it be nothing else than a
devotional book for the individual, for what purpose the Pietists has made it. It is this;
but it is not this first and foremost, and not exclusively. It has a higher significance,
namely to serve the Church as norm and guiding principle. What makes them do that? It
would not be suitable if it contained a summary of doctrines and precepts, a collection
of instruction in order to recover counsel should the situation arise. For what collection
would be sufficient 'for the infinite possibility of diverse situations' in which the Church
can come! No! What guides and points the Church on the way, that she has set aside,
what rightly helps the erring, supports the faltering, can inform the questioning, is
solely the history of divine revelation, whose result and product it is itself."
This is nothing more than logomachy and deception!
What, who then is the
"Church", in distinction from individual Christians, therefore also from the whole of
Christians? And what is the way that the Church follows, what is the goal to which it
strives towards, in distinction from faith and salvation? If one will obtain any rhyme or
reason from those high-sounding words of the Dorpat theologians, then it can only be
that the ecclesiastical "theology" that of course needs none other, follows much higher
goals, than faith and salvation, purely academic purposes, nevertheless a record a
salvation history, a substantial base, in order to spin out their starving arts from it.
We now consult Scripture itself, for what purpose it is useful to us. According to
its own testimony, however, Scripture is the supreme and final authority in matters of faith and
conscience, namely:

The preached Word.
Page 27.
Phrase und Schwindel.
1. source and norm of all sound doctrine.

We stand with Scripture. We measure all teaching and preaching against
Scripture. What we teach and preach, we do not give as good, pious opinion, but we
give out the truth. And indeed, it is because we have tested it against Scripture, because
we can prove it with Scripture. We really draw all teaching and preaching from
Scripture. We do not give our own. Our understanding is darkened. We would know
nothing about the things that we discuss in teaching and preaching if God would not
have taught and revealed it to us. God has revealed it to us in Scripture. Scripture is
God's speech and revelation. We know from Scripture's own testimony that we are here
on the right path.
The apostle remarks in Romans 15:4, after he referred to an Old Testament
prophecy of Christ and used it for the instruction of Christians: "Whatever was written
in former days was written for our instruction." The intended purpose of God of
Scripture is to instruct Christians.
The teaching of Scripture alone is true teaching. 2 Timothy 3:16 says: "All
Scripture, given by God, is profitable for doctrine." Saint Paul the apostle in this context
warns his pupil Timothy against false teachers who are themselves deceived, go astray
into error themselves and lead others into error
and admonishes him: "Continue in
what you have learned and have firmly believed."
He adds: "knowing from whom
you learned it." Timothy learned from Paul, from the apostle of Jesus Christ who has
received his gospel directly from Christ. Timothy should remain in the apostle's
doctrine, then he does not go into error, as those deceivers. But then Paul also refers
Timothy to the Scriptures, which he has learned from infancy.
He should hold fast
and remain loyal to the teaching of Scripture. There he is and remains secure from error.
That is why the apostle stresses this in 2 Timothy 3:16, because Scripture is given by
God, is profitable to us for doctrine, proffers us true doctrine, the truth. Whoever does
not remains in what he has learned, in Scripture and the apostle's doctrine, which is
indeed written in Scripture, wanders from the truth and leads others into error. Thus
Scripture, God's Word, is the standard and norm of doctrine.
The summary of Christian doctrine is Christ, the Lord, the Redeemer, Christ's
death and resurrection, the grace of Jesus Christ. This content of Christian teaching and
preaching is not only precisely proved by Scripture, but also taken from Scripture.
Where Christ wants to prove to the Jews that He is the promised Messiah, the
true Christ, He wants to point them into Scripture: "Search the Scriptures."

2 Timothy 3:13.
2 Timothy 3:14.
2 Timothy 3:15.
John 5:39.
testify of Me." Scripture, which the Jews accepted as the Word of God, as infallible
truth, testifies about Christ's witness. Precisely Scripture can make everyone certain
who is the Christ, that this Jesus really is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Christ,
the eternal, true witness, who spoke God's Word among His own, refers to His teaching
for proof, His testimony on Scripture and wants us to determine with it to give glory to
Scripture and to recover certainty from Scripture about the teaching that is in fashion
among us.
Saint Paul reminds the Corinthian Christians of the Gospel
that he proclaimed
to them, of the Gospel from Christ, and exhorts them to remain with it, and emphasizes
for this purpose that he received this Gospel from Christ.
Moreover, he introduces
Scripture, in order to reaffirm His teaching, as the final and supreme authority. He
reminds them that Christ died for our sins, and adds: "according to the Scriptures."

The Scriptures that has prophesied about Christ's death and resurrection is the seal of
those great saving acts of Christ that make up the content of Saint Paul's Gospel. Now if
even St. Paul, an apostle, who himself had direct revelation from Christ, feels the need
to authenticate his teaching with Scripture, how much more today, that we no longer
receive direct instruction from God, do we point with our teaching and preaching to the
norm and authority of Scripture! Paul, who spoke from revelation, based his teaching
on Scripture. And those modern teachers of the Church, who speak from their own
experience, believe the Scriptures, as foundation of doctrine, are able to do without it.
Certainly, those who learn from them, believe them, that are set on slippery places.
The Acts of the Apostles shows us that it was common practice among the
apostles and the students of the apostles to measure doctrine, the preaching about
Christ, against Scripture, to demonstrate it with Scripture, to test it according to
Scripture. Paul confessed before King Agrippa: "I stand here testifying both to small
and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to
We read about Apollos: "Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria,
came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures.... He
powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was
The Christians at Berea have the praise: "they received the word with all
eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so."
According to
modern theory and practice, doctrine and preaching in itself has become dependent on
their norm and corrective, and to test their feelings on what they listen and learn, what
they hear in their own hearts. Scripture is initially set aside as a touchstone. But where

1 Corinthians 15:1ff.
1 Corinthians 15:3.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4.
Acts 26:22.
Acts 18:24, 28.
Acts 17:11.
these teachers and their students are moved is obvious. They have lost Christ, the
Biblical Christ, with Scripture.
Scripture purports itself, above all things, as source of all teaching. Once more
we recall 1 Peter 1:10-12. The apostle says there that the prophets prophesied about the
future grace that the Spirit of Christ has testified the sufferings of Christ beforehand
through them and the glory hereafter. He says about them what the prophets have
demonstrated to us, i.e. speaks about the writings of the prophets. Precisely what the
prophets have testified has now been proclaimed by those who have preached the
Gospel, i.e., by the apostles, . The evangelists, the apostles, have announced
Christ's suffering and glory, proclaimed Christ's grace. If they would not have
proclaimed these things, announced them, then the Gentiles, those who now have
become Christians, would know nothing about it. What the apostles have proclaimed is,
as noted, as the apostles emphasize, nothing other than what the prophets have already
testified before in their writings. So by the writings of the prophets, by the proclamation
of the apostles, which is now put down in writing, Christ, Christ's suffering and glory,
the grace of Jesus Christ is now known and made manifest. Without such testimony and
giving of information, no one would hear anything about it. So therefore Scripture is the
testimony of the prophets, like the apostle, the source of sound doctrine about Christ.
Likewise, St. Paul testifies that the "mystery that was kept secret for long ages",
even the mystery of Christ, even "through the prophetic writings" from which the
apostle drew the preaching of Christ, "has been made known".

And the Acts of the Apostles reports about Paul that he "reasoned from the
Scriptures" with the Jews, that he "explained and proved Scripture" to them, namely,
"that Christ must die and rise again from the dead".

The apostles held this. They drew their teaching and preaching from Scripture,
even though they themselves spoke from revelation, moved by the Holy Spirit. Thus
we, who today no longer have revelation, especially hold to the teaching and preaching
of Christ from Scripture, to extract the writings of the prophets and apostles from
Scripture, to open Scripture and hold it before those who hear us.
Well, we pass off our teaching and preaching as God's Word. We inculcate it to
our hearers: what we say to you is God's Word, God's truth, this is truth, this is firm
and certain. But solely because Christian teaching and preaching is drawn from Holy
Scripture and continually is drawn from it and is determined by Scripture and is proved
with Scripture, it deserves this title: God's Word. There is truly only one Word of God.
God's Word is what God Himself says, what He Himself spoke, directly or indirectly,
through prophets and apostles. This is before us now in Scripture. Currently we do not
hear prophets and apostles anymore. So for us there is no word of God other than

Romans 16:25-26.
Acts 17:2-3.
Scripture. But of course even this Word of God, Scripture, is now known and revealed
by the mouth of the Christian teacher and preacher. Yes, indeed, God's word is a living
stream. Scripture is not merely given for the purpose that individuals read and consider
it in silence for themselves. The noblest tradition of the word, the Scriptures is that it is
freely publicly read, sung, presented, interpreted, is applied to particular conditions
and needs. Christian preaching, when it is of the right kind, brings not a single new
thought, no thought that it would have taken and gotten from Scripture, and precisely
the words as they are, as the Spirit has given it, are presented to the community, shaped
in the hearts of the hearers, the sense and understanding as precisely the words give it,
brought to the awareness of the hearers, led to the heart. Thus it is indeed only
Scripture and God's Word that we teach and preach. On the other hand, those who
walk outside Scripture according to the modern regula docendi
in teaching and
preaching, those who truly practice their principle, from experience, draw from
experience, from the life of the Church, from their own experience, from their own brain
and regulate themselves with their own judgment, certainly do not teach and preach
God's Word, but human delusion and lies of the devil.
Scripture is according to its own witness:

2. foundation of faith, rule and norm of faith and life.

Holy Scripture, because it is God's Word, is norm and source of sound doctrine.
And therefore also foundation of faith. This is the characteristic, its own power of the
divine Word, individuals themselves may now bring it forth from their Bible or may
encounter Him in the preaching and teaching gushing forth from Scripture, that it
generates and receives saving faith. Scripture, God's Word, is essentially the witness of
God about Christ. And this witness is convincing, works faith, faith in the Lord Jesus
Christ. Scripture clearly and distinctly teaches this.
According to 2 Timothy 3:15, Scripture instructs us for salvation "through faith in
Christ Jesus". By instructing us to faith, it points us to salvation.
The apostle assures in John 20:30-31 and 1 John 5:13 that he wrote what he wrote
for the purpose that those who read and hear "believe in the Name of the Son of God."
Scripture aims at faith.
Saint Paul writes in Romans 10:17: "So then faith comes from preaching." So far
Volck. What devil has led him to simply omit the indispensable addition to this
sentence? This reads: "and preaching by the Word of God." This last sentence explains
to what extent and why preaching, the oral proclamation of the Gospel works faith.
Precisely only because and insofar as preaching comes from the Word, from the Word
of God, from the Word that God has spoken, from the Word of God that is before our

Rule of teaching.
eyes in Scripture. God's Word alone can produce faith. What is faith? Faith is a divine
light in the heart, divine certainty. Who else can employ such light, give such certainty,
than God Himself? And He does it through His Word. God's Word is in motion, in flux.
It is taught, preached, carried along by word of mouth. It is also in movement and
activity, when the individual reads it to himself, thinks on it, and considers it. And this
movement of God's word finds its target in the hearts of men. When the Word strikes
and touches the heart, God Himself touches the heart and takes captive the heart of
men. When the newer theologians detach preaching from the Word of God and derive
faith from such preaching, then such faith is certainly a pure formation of man, self-
deception, and trickery of Satan.
The Word of God, the Word of Scripture, is the foundation from which faith
grows and on which He rests His unwavering basis.
Peter refers to it as a tendency of his epistle, and that's a part of inspired
Scripture, to testify to Christians that this is the true grace of God, in which they stand,
therefore to strengthen their faith.

And when Peter calls Scripture "a firm prophetic Word"
and Paul says about
the Church, the community of believers, that they are built up on the foundation of the
apostles and prophets, i.e. Scripture
, then Scripture affirms precisely what modern
theologians deny in cold blood: Scripture is the foundation of faith, the foundation of
the Church.
Every faithful Christian knows from experience that in fear, trials, and
temptations the Word, that is written, is the last refugium
, that one ultimately cannot
otherwise struggle and control the devil than when one holds before the devil: "It is
written." Of course, the modern scientific theology is not the theology of the cross and
the testing that Luther boasts. It knows no counsel for the agony of death.
As source, power and ground of faith, so Scripture is now also rule and norm of
Christian faith and life. We simply quote some well-known scriptural passages that
require no further explanation. "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your
mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do
according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and
then you will have good success."
"To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will
not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn."
"Your Word is a
lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
"And we have something more sure, the

1 Peter 5:12.
2 Peter 1:19.
Ephesians 2:19-20.
Joshua 1:8.
Isaiah 8:20.
Psalm 119:105.
prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a
dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts."
"And as
for all who walk by this rule (described just before), peace and mercy be upon them."

Finally, one might think of such Psalms, such as Psalm 119, in which David
praises God's Word, "the book of the Law", as the peace, comfort, light, the only support
of the faithful. Yes, whoever wanders through Scripture with a simple mind, he finds
confirmed on each page the phrase: "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable
for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man
of God may be competent, equipped for every good work."

It is almost unbelievable that a Biblical theologian establishes in all seriousness
the allegation that Scripture is primarily and essentially no doctrinal book and
devotional book for the individual Christian. And it is even more unbelievable that a so-
called faithful theologian dares to deny that Scripture is necessary for saving faith,
therefore for salvation. It is almost an insult for a simple-minded, righteous Biblical
Christian when one still further tries hard to argue and to prove the phrase:

3. Scripture is a guide and means for salvation.

If Scripture is the source of sound doctrine, foundation of faith, is above all God's
Word, then it is now also profitable and necessary for salvation. The blind Jews have
even more light than today's "Bible-believing" "Christian" theologians. For they think in
all seriousness, as Jesus acknowledges, that they might have eternal life in Scripture, in
the written Word.
A child, who has only learned a little from Scripture, even knows
that Holy Scripture instructs us for salvation, that one can learn how one is saved from
this book and only from this book.
The preached Word especially can save our
The orally proclaimed Gospel especially is the power of God to salvation.
only forasmuch and insofar as it is God's Word or, no prophet or apostle preaches that
to us anymore, forasmuch and insofar as the Word of Scripture is applied to our hearts
and consciences by preaching. What John the Apostle wrote, what chiefly is written,
aims that we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that we "by faith have
life in His name."
When a scribe once referred the question to Jesus: "Master, what
must I do that I inherit eternal life?" - the Lord answered him: "What is written in the

2 Peter 1:19.
Galatians 6:16.
2 Timothy 3:16-17.
John 5:39.
2 Timothy 3:15.
James 1:21.
Romans 1:16.
John 20:31.
Law? How do you read it?"
The Lord directed him, the Lord directs us, into the Law,
i.e., into Scripture, if we desire the answer to the question of how we gain eternal life.
Whoever seeks something different in Scripture than eternal life profanes God's Word.
And whoever seeks his salvation elsewhere than in the scriptures misses the goal. He
will not escape condemnation. Even that "living Christ", who should live in the Church
independently from Scripture, on whom man should believe until one approaches
Scripture, even that "faith in Christ" that is not created by Scripture and is based and
rests on Scripture, is not rescued from death and from the power of the devil. God help
us that we should believe in the written Word and, for the sake of this Word, believe in
Christ our Savior and therefore be saved by Word and faith!
Georg Stckhardt

Translated by Rev. David M. Juhl
Completed on Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter, A.D. 2014

Luke 10:25-26.