Summary: The Gospel of John, with its long intricate discourses, written by a very old man many years later, is an illustration of the Inspiration and Illumination of Scripture.
A man whose hobby was collecting old books was talking to a friend, who mentioned he’d just thrown out an old, tattered Bible while cleaning out the attic. “Who printed it, do you know?” the book lover asked.
“Oh, someone named Guten- something,” he replied.
“Gutenberg?!” the collector gasped. “You threw away a Gutenberg Bible?!?” Do you realize one just sold at an auction for over $400,000?”
The friend was unmoved. “Maybe so, but this one wouldn’t have been worth anything. Some guy named Martin Luther had written all over it.”
No less a philosopher than Plato, Writing in the essay Phaedo, one of the most profound pieces of all Greek literature, he said through one of the characters, “I think a man’s duty is one of two things; either to be taught or to find out what the truth is, or if he cannot, at least to take the best possible human doctrine and the hardest to disprove; and to ride on this like a raft over the waters of life and take the risk; unless he could have a more seaworthy vessel to carry him more safely and with less danger, some word of God to bring him through.”
25, 26.John 14:25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
The Lord had revealed many things during His ministry. But it was evident by their question that they failed to grasp much of it. It would be unproductive to tell them more. Therefore when the Spirit came He would complete the revelation and confirm the things already taught. (26)
∙ Jesus, during his earthly ministry, frequently put his divine imprimatur on the Old Testament, which he treated as the word of God. He quoted frequently from all parts of the Old Testament, which he regarded as the plenary, verbally inspired word of God. Now he gave his authoritative endorsement to the (as yet unwritten) books of the New Testament.
I. The Holy Spirit and Inspiration
John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
26. The Lord endorsed what we now have in the gospels (He would “bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”) The gospel of John, with its long intricate discourses, written by a very old man many years later, is an illustration of this. The Holy Spirit not only quickened John’s memory but enabled him to write down accurately the story and sayings of Jesus.
In this verse (John 14:26) also, The Lord endorsed what we now have in the epistles (“he shall teach you all things”).
Various theories of inspiration.
1. The natural theory. This says the Bible writers were inspired in the same sense that William Shakespeare was inspired. In other words, that spark of divine inspiration that
supposedly is in all men simply burned a little brighter in the hearts of the Bible writers.
2. The mechanical theory — that God coldly and woodenly dictated the Bible to his writers as an office manager would dictate an impersonal letter to his secretary. It should be noted here that the Bible is the story of divine love, and God is anything but mechanical or cold concerning this subject. The Holy Spirit therefore never transgressed the limits of the writer’s vocabulary. Thus, the educated Paul uses many of the “85 - cent” words, while the less educated John employs more of the “25 - cent” words. But both writings are equally inspired by God. (II Timothy 3:16).
Here Dr. Charles Hodge has well written:
“The Church has never held what has been stigmatized as the mechanical theory of inspiration. The sacred writers were not machines. Their self-consciousness was not suspended; nor were their intellectual powers superseded. Holy men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. It was men not machines; not unconscious instruments, but living, thinking, willing minds, whom the Spirit used as His organs . . . The sacred writers impressed their peculiarities on their several productions as plainly as though they were the subjects of no extraordinary influence.”
3. The Concept theory—that only the main thoughts in a chapter are inspired.
Matthew 5:18, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
4. The partial theory—that only parts of the Bible are inspired. This is the position of liberal theologians who like the love and heaven passages but reject the future judgment passages.
Paul refutes this: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).