Derived inspiration: a discussion

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by LRL71, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. LRL71

    LRL71
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    0
    In another thread, a discussion was begun by Refreshed (Jason) and I, (LRL71-- Larry) regarding the topic of 'derived inspiration'. These following comments were part of the discussion at hand:

     
  2. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    So do you have a problem with this concept of "derived" inspiration?

    Every accurate translation, faithful to the original, should thus be labeled.

    OR

    God "reinspires" select translations in select languages.

    OR

    We don't have an "inspired" Bible.
     
  3. LRL71

    LRL71
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    0
    While rummaging the Google page for references to "'derived inspiration' bible", I found a couple of really good websites that give a better definition than that what I have heard before (although Jason's description describes the implications of derived inspiration). The use of this term is (or, was) particularly unfamiliar to me, especially since I have not even heard of the term while in college & seminary! The references I found are here (both are in PDF format, also known as Adobe Acrobat):

    Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary: www.dbts.edu/media/journals/1996_2/NonIssue.pdf

    The Open Word:
    http://theopenword.org/ots/00_insp.pdf

    Both websites only have small sections decribing the meaning of derived inspiration. The teaching is not necessarily a doctrinal statement, but rather an observation on the quality of inspiration (theopneustos) as a state of being 'God-breathed', thus equalling authoritative and being the Word of God. Both websites make the distinction that only the original autographs had been supernaturally God-breathed and that this is supported also in 2 Peter 1:21, which states that men who were moved by the Holy Spirit wrote as they were being carried along (that Greek word, 'carried along', is also used in Acts 27:15 to describe the way the storm carried along the ship that Paul was on), and thus spoke from God.

    It should be made clear that 'derived inspiration' does not mean that your English Bible, regardless of what translation, was not supernaturally inspired! Its inspiration (the state of being God-breathed) is derived from the Inspired and Inerrant original autographs. The idea of derived inspiration must remain subordinate to the divine act of inspiration that occurred when men were moved by the Holy Spirit and thus wrote the original autographs. Hopefully this clears up any question in my mind what this means, although I would say that the idea of a 'supernaturally inspired' KJV, or any other translation, is met with a bristling negative reaction.
     
  4. aefting

    aefting
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2002
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    0
    I may be in the minority and obviously there are fundamental theologians who differ from me, but I refuse to use the term "inspired" to refer to anything other than the original autographs. Now, if you want to say "derived qualities" or "derived characteristics" or "derived authority" then I"m with you. But inspiration implies the qualities of a God-breathed product -- absolute inerrancy and perfection -- something that no translation can stake claim to. Translations are authoritative, faithful, trustworthy, dependable, etc, to the degree that they reflect the orginial God-breathed autographs. Accurate theology requires a preciseness in terms, something I think we lose if we start talking about "derived inspiration."

    Does anyone know if Hodge, Erickson, Reymond, or others use "derived inspiration" in their systematic theology books? Does Warfield ever use the term?

    Andy
     
  5. robycop3

    robycop3
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2000
    Messages:
    7,573
    Likes Received:
    10
    We should all bear in mind that God often simply causes something to happen without any apparent supernatural acts. For example, He caused Nebuchadnezzar to attack Jerusalem rather than Rabbah by causing the lines in a goat's liver to appear in a certain pattern to the Chaldean "prophets", as well as causing a handful of arrows to fall in a certain pattern when dropped. (Ezekiel 21:21) He hardened the heart of the Pharaoh of the Exodus, Taui Thom, or whoever he was. We know these things only because God SAID He'd done it. Many other things He's caused or allowed to happen without doing any big, obviously-supernatural acts as He did at Mt. Sinai. For example, He's preserved the Jews, the most-persecuted people in history, as a distinct people. Within my lifetime, they've risen to a first-rate military power, much more than a match for all their traditional enemies together, without any obvious specific supernatural acts being employed.

    Who's to say that God didn't simply will for His word to be preserved & therefore it WAS preserved, without any fanfare or obvious supernatural acts? Are some people looking for something spectacular to have happened when it didn't?
     
  6. LRL71

    LRL71
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    0
    From my search of the subject, the use of the term 'derived inspiration' is very limited in scope, and the two references I mentioned above are the only two that I could find after searching several Google pages of search results.

    I agree with you here, 'aefting', that the term 'derived inspiration' comes close to being a misnomer and is causing some negative reaction. I had this reaction also, since we know that the act/event of inspiration only occurred at the writing of the original autographs. Most certainly, the meaning of the term is within the definition of infallibility. I would, like yourself, ascribe a different title to this peculiar teaching describing within the bounds of infallibility. Jason had mentioned before that the Greek/Hebrew manuscripts have a strong percentage of agreement, and that we can be sure that we do indeed have all of the text of the Bible that was contained in the original autographs. The problems with 'derived inspiration' is that it assumes that the degree of accuracy of the manuscripts is close to the originals, thus making them in effect 'inspired' (theopneustos = God-breathed). The problem with derived inspiration, as it is currentl defined, is that errors are in the manuscripts, and one cannot assign 'inspiration' to a manuscript that did not have that Divine event occur to it, thus making it an inspired product. This little seed of error could cause problems with this teaching.

    I understand Jason's reasoning behind the concept, as well as the other two links that I provided which mention 'derived inspiration'. Unfortunatetly, there is little else available regarding 'derived inspiration'. I am sure that other fundamental and evangelical scholars, theologians, and pastors would like to comment on this subject, but there isn't anything out there that I could find. I think that the level of support for 'derived' inspiration would be very minimal at best, once it is discovered by other evangelical/fundamental theologians. Perhaps I could send an e-mail to some theologians and see what they think of 'derived inspiration'?
     
  7. skanwmatos

    skanwmatos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Messages:
    1,314
    Likes Received:
    0
    To deny derivative inspiration is to deny historical fundamentalist orthodoxy:

    Larry Pettegrew of John MacArthur's Master's Seminary states: "Yes, translations partake of derivative inspiration as long as they reflect accurately the original documents (II Tim. 3:15)." Dr. Pettegrew expands on that statement in endnote #3, pages 11 and 12. "By the term 'derivative inspiration' is meant that a copy or translation is the Word of God to the degree that it reflects and reproduces the original text. In the words of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, 'We further affirm that copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original.' K. McCune adds: 'In the Scriptural record, there are examples where the copies of God's Word were considered authoritative in as much as they reproduced the autographa (Deut 17:14-20) . . . . The authority of the copy lay in the assumed correct copying of the inspired original" (p. 20).

    "Jesus Christ used a copy of Isaiah to proclaim His Messianic purposes (Luke 4:16-21), and in so doing placed His stamp of approval on the copy as truly representing God's Word. Likewise, the apostles used current copies of the Old Testament in their defense of the Christian message (Acts 17:2; 18:28). Divine authority could only have been granted their arguments as they set forth the true message as given by God, even though they received that message derivatively through copies of the autographs.

    "This is not to say that Jesus Christ or the Apostles saw no difference between the original text and their copies and translations. But they ignored any minor differences in their practical use of the Word of God. 'They approached their Bibles in the common sense fashion with which anyone approaches a copy of an original work. To the extent that the copy reproduced the original Word of God, to that extent the copy derived authority as being the Word of God also' (McCune, 23)."
     
  8. LRL71

    LRL71
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok, Larry Pettegrew seems to have put those words of 'derived inspiration' into the mouths of the above-mentioned biblical scholars. Both McCune and the Chicago Statement make no mention of the term 'derived inspiration', and Pettegrew is only making a description of derived inspiration from their comments on infallibility and authority. I think that Pettegrew, in the above mentioned statement, only described an aspect of infallibility and re-termed it as 'derived inspiration' rather than stating the correct definition of the infallibility of the Bible's authority. Again, the use of the term 'derived/derivative inspiration' is not common at all, and to say that this is 'fundamentalist orthodoxy' is quite a stretch. The use of this term is quite rare, and seems to be used only within the realm of two small fundamentalist seminaries.
     
  9. skanwmatos

    skanwmatos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Messages:
    1,314
    Likes Received:
    0
    There are two aspects to derivative inspiration.

    1. The original languages are inspired.

    2. The versions are derived from the original languages.

    Which of those two points do you deny?

    Oh, and, where did you get the idea that only two small seminaries take an orthodox position on derivative inspiration? I can name at least a dozen. [​IMG]
     
  10. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    Inspiration is only climed for the documenstr not a translation.

    If one could claim that a translation is inspired then anyone could claim there language is superior over another. No language can translate the OT and NT with 100 percent accuracy. Even our language does not have all the tenses and voices and moods of the original languages. Anyone ever seen a hithpael in English? Or how about idioms that have no meaning in our culture or words that don't translate in our language? How would you translate a prohibitive imperative in English. Ever notice how so often a first class conditional sentence is translated with a third class conditional sentence in English in every translation I have seen including the KJV.
     
  11. russell55

    russell55
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2002
    Messages:
    2,424
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't think its the doctrine itself that anyone is objecting to. It's the name. It makes it sound as if a translation is somehow "God-breathed". It isn't. It's a translation of the God-breathed text.

    You can derive authority. You can be God's word by derivation. But how do you derive "God-breathedness"?

    The doctrine is fine. The name given to the doctrine stinks.

    I had never heard the term "derived inspiration" before someone used it on this board a couple of weeks ago. I think it is probably a term that certain groups may be familiar with, but other groups, while espousing what the doctrine teaches, don't use that particular name for it.
     
  12. LRL71

    LRL71
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    0
    1. Incorrect. The original autographs are inspired documents, not the 'original languages'. Little detail, I know...... ;)

    2. Incorrect again. Versions are translated from manuscript copies-- which have errors in them-- of the original autographs-- which are inerrant & inspired. The error-free quality of 'inspiration' is not in the manuscripts and is not in the translations of those manuscripts. Infallibility is inherent in the translations from the copied manuscripts and are not 'inspired' so long as they are faithfully translated from the copies of manuscrips in the original Hebrew/Aramaic & Greek. Inspiration only applies to the original autographs. Sorry!

    If you can name a 'dozen' seminaries that at least mention the term 'derived inspiration', please let me know. I went to Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary in Lansdale, PA a few years ago, and never heard of the term while in Bibliology class. [​IMG]
     
  13. aefting

    aefting
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2002
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with what Larry Petegrew is teaching; I just would not use the term, derived inspiration, to explain it. If you start talking about inpirired translations, derived or otherwise, then you will get people thinking that their translation has absolutely no errors or misleading translations in it. You'll get people thinking that if you try to improve an English translation that you are attacking the Word of God itself. I think we see the fruits of such sloppy terminology in the KJVO debate today.

    Andy
     
  14. LRL71

    LRL71
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with what Larry Petegrew is teaching; I just would not use the term, derived inspiration, to explain it. If you start talking about inpirired translations, derived or otherwise, then you will get people thinking that their translation has absolutely no errors or misleading translations in it. You'll get people thinking that if you try to improve an English translation that you are attacking the Word of God itself. I think we see the fruits of such sloppy terminology in the KJVO debate today.

    Andy
    </font>[/QUOTE]Much agreed here! See my previous post in reply to Jason's comments. I understand the concepts behind 'derived inspiration', but disagree with the usage of the terminology. Too much confusion, I think, especially considering how misleading it can be in regard to the historic biblical doctrine of inspiration. We do have an authoritative and infallible Bible today, but there is no such thing as an 'inspired' translation. "Derived Authority" would probably be a better term for this teaching.
    :cool:
     
  15. skanwmatos

    skanwmatos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Messages:
    1,314
    Likes Received:
    0
    Little INCORRECT detail. Read the old creeds and confessions of Christendom and note that historic orthodoxy believed the original language texts available to them were the inspired word of God. To abandon inspiration of the original languages is to abandon historic orthodoxy.
    Once again you err. Derivation IS translation, just as the apographs are derived from the autographs, the printed texts are derived from the apographs, and the versions are derived from the texts.
    I suggest you talk to Gordon Lovic, Clint Banz, Warren Vanhetlo, and others, again. Maybe you just fell asleep when the historic orthodox position was being taught.
     
  16. aefting

    aefting
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2002
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    0
    OK, let's pick one, the Westminster Confession, and see what is says:

    What I see here is that the originals were immediately inspired by God but the copies are only authentical. BTW, "kept pure in all ages" cannot mean "totally free from error" simply because every known manuscript has errors in it. Far be it from me to criticize the Westminster divines, but I think a better phrase would be "essentially pure."

    Andy
     
  17. LRL71

    LRL71
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    0
    I suggest you talk to Gordon Lovic, Clint Banz, Warren Vanhetlo, and others, again. Maybe you just fell asleep when the historic orthodox position was being taught. [/QB]</font>[/QUOTE]I took Bibliology in 1994 (fall semester) with Dr. Burggraff. I know, long time ago..... Dr. Lovik taught me Greek, and I took three trips to Israel with him in the late 90's. Great teachers. Unfortunately, Dr. Burggraff did not have anything to say regarding the subject. Of course, like any other seminary student, I worked night shift while putting myself through school. Perhaps this is the reason of my sleepiness as skanwmatos is describing...... [​IMG]

    Again, others here are 'skirting' the objections I am bringing up, but there is so little out there about 'derived inspiration'; nothing is written about the subject at all from any major 'evangelical' school about it at all.... I would not venture to say that this term is not used or discussed by some fundamentalists or evangelicals. Even the early fundamentalists are completely silent, as far as I know. If this teaching is so 'orthodox', why isn't it more prominent? Infallible Authority is derived from the copies of the extant manuscripts and their translations also hold that same authority so long as they are faithfully and carfully translated. No English Bible (or any other language translation) can claim the title of 'inspired'; again, only the original autographs are inspired and inerrant! Another poster here, I believe is 'aefting', made the point regarding the Westminster Confession, and its' silence regarding any claim of a translation being 'inspired'. Inspiration demands inerrancy, and the extant manuscripts and translations out there are NOT inerrant (that is, without any errors).
     
  18. skanwmatos

    skanwmatos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Messages:
    1,314
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry, but I disagree. Historically "inerrancy" was not even a position held by the orthodox. The word was co-opted around 1900 and applied to the autographs. Until that time the creeds and confessions all used the word "infallible." The bible is "unfailing" in its history, promises, and prophecy. And even the word "inerrant" does not carry the meaning most people (such as you) ascribe to it. "Inerrant" applies to the movement of the planets in their orbits. They never leave their orbits, but there is considerable variation within their orbital plane. The same is true of the bible. It is "inerrant" in that it contains no provable error of fact, but there is considerable variation within the manuscripts and texts, but those variants don't produce an error of fact.
     
  19. skanwmatos

    skanwmatos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Messages:
    1,314
    Likes Received:
    0
  20. aefting

    aefting
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2002
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    0
    One thing I think we can all agree on is that the Scriptures breathed out by God must confirm to His character. Psalm 119:137 (NASB) says, “ Righteous are You, O LORD, And upright are Your judgments.” Since God is true, faithful, and completely perfect, so is His Word. Man, however, is none of these things and what man touches, whether they be manuscripts, texts, or translations, is marked by man's fallibility. God has providentially preserved His Word in a state of essential purity within a great number of extant manuscripts, but those manuscripts and the text and translations upon which they are based contain errors.

    All Hebrew manuscripts, for example, are corrupt at 1 Sam 13:1, where they lack the age at which Saul began to reign (the LXX, incidentally may preserved the age for us). It is virtually certain that all Hebrew manuscripts are corrupt at 1 Chron. 19:18, where they read 7000 instead of 700 (cf., 2 Sam. 10:18). Then there are all the Qere/Kethib alternatives that sometimes affect the truthfulness of the passage (cf., Isaiah 9:3 – “increased the joy” vs. “not increased the joy”). I could go on and on but I think we have to say that the original autographs are of a fundamentally different character than the manuscripts, texts, and translations.

    Personally, I have always considered the terms “inerrant” and “infallible” to be virtual synonyms. Robert Reymond discusses the terms on page 70 of his systematic theology and says they mean “essentially the same thing.” Some, I think, use “infallible” to mean “mostly but not quite totally without error,” and use it to refer to manuscripts, texts, and translations. I’m fine with that as long as everyone understands the distinction.


    Dr. Burggraff is an amazing teacher. He came down to preach at my church occasionally when I lived in Maryland. I always appreciated his ministry.

    Andy
     

Share This Page

Loading...