All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness
(2 Timothy 3:16).
I acknowledge that the apostle must be understood to speak only of the Jewish Scriptures, which Timothy had known from his childhood, for when he was a child no part of the Christian Scriptures had been published; but if the inspiration of the former is established, that of the latter will be readily conceded.… It was their inspiration which made them profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.
In order to uphold the authority of the Scripture, he declares that it is divinely inspired; for if it be so, it is beyond all controversy that men ought to receive it with reverence. This is a principle which distinguishes our religion from all others, that we know that God hath spoken to us, and are fully convinced that the prophets did not speak at their own suggestion, but that, being organs of the Holy Spirit, they only uttered what they had been commissioned from heaven to declare. Whoever then wishes to profit in the Scriptures, let him, first of all, lay down this as a settled point, that the Law and the Prophets are not a doctrine delivered according to the will and pleasure of men, but dictated by the Holy Spirit.
What it says of Scripture is, not that it is “breathed into by God” or is the product of the Divine “inbreathing” into its human authors, but that it is breathed out by God, “God-breathed,” the product of the creative breath of God. In a word, what is declared by this fundamental passage is simply that the Scriptures are a Divine product, without any indication of how God has operated in producing them. ...1
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