What would Jesus believe? (about Scripture)

WWJB – What would Jesus believe? J. P. Moreland offers the following helpful discussion on what Jesus believed about Scripture.

First, Jesus held that Scripture’s assertions are true. This is nicely illustrated in two texts. John 10: 35 says “the Scripture cannot be broken.” In context this means that it cannot be found to assert a falsehood … Similarly, Jesus taught that all (each and every) things taught about him had to happen (Luke 18:31; 24:44). Why all of them and why did they have to happen? The underlying assumption is that everything Scripture asserts is true. Thus, Jesus can simply claim, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:3).

Second, Jesus held that inspiration characterizes Scripture down to … the smallest units of language that convey meaning … Thus, inspiration is not a mere feature of paragraphs, sentences, or the general drift of a passage. Within the proper framework of interpretation, the very words themselves (in the original Hebrew and Greek texts) were inspired. In the heat of theological debate, Jesus defended views in which his entire case turned on an implicit tense of a verb (Matthew 22:32) or the choice of a single word (Matthew 22:43-45). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that even the smallest letter or stroke of God’s Word would be fulfilled (found to be true) …

Finally, Jesus held a plenary view of inspiration, i.e., that all the components of the Old Testament were equally inspired. This set him apart from some (e.g., the Sadducees) who accepted only the inspiration of the Books of Moses and others who held that the Law was more inspired than, say, the prophets. Not so for Jesus. In Luke 24:44 Jesus uses a widely employed threefold division to refer to the inspired canon of Scripture—“the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms”—a canon that includes the thirty-nine books of the Protestant Bible and excludes Intertestamental writings. However, in Matthew 5:17-19 Jesus uses an odd, lesser used phrase to refer to the same canon—“the Law or (not and) the Prophets.” In so doing, Jesus means to place the “Prophets” (the rest of the Old Testament) on an equal footing with the Books of Moses.

You can read the full article for Moreland’s explanation and defense of the above points.

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