My dear young Friends,—Let me introduce to you a subject of great importance and delight, namely, THE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE. Its importance cannot be exaggerated. It is the fountain of the knowledge of God, of His purposes, love, mercy, wisdom, and power, of heaven and hell. The Bible tells us of creation; of the Fall of Adam and its immediate and everlasting consequences in our corruption, blindness, death, condemnation, and hell, where there is no redemption; regeneration, faith and repentance. It is the instrument of regeneration. In it is the manifestation of Christ Jesus the Redeemer, High Priest, Prophet and King. In Holy Scripture God declares His anger with the wicked, and reveals the hell into which impenitent sinners will be cast. In it we see the necessary omnipresence of Jehovah in the whole world, and the gracious, the promised presence of the Trinity in the church. As in a glass we see in the Word of God His sovereign rule in the world, kindly causing His sun to shine on the field of the just and the unjust, not leaving Himself without a witness, and often vindicating His honor by taking vengeance on some of His enemies, making them examples, that others may fear. Oh, what a solemnly important Book do you take in your hands when you take up your Bible to read the customary chapter! May the divine Author open all your eyes that you may behold wondrous things in it; yea, and cause you to feel the tremendous truths it utters as if spoken personally to you.
Then, also, the subject of inspiration is delightful in the highest degree. Who is the Author of this Book? By whom did He write it? What are His ends in causing it to be written? Is it infallible? If so, how? Each of the above questions is of vast importance, and its investigation will give pleasure to those who are led to consider it. Languages, History, Poetry, and Science are delightful to those who take them up as studies. But they have their boundaries; their interest is limited, and also their power to delight. But the inspiration of the blessed Word, the revelation of the Almighty, is a boundless delight. For its glorious subject—rather should I say, the One Object, the burden of its testimony—is infinite.
Turn with me, dear young friends, to the grand subject of INSPIRATION. “This term is used for the mysterious power which the Divine Spirit put forth on the authors of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, in order to their composing these as they have been received by the church of God at their hands.” This is the definition of divine inspiration L. Gaussen, D.D., gives in his excellent work on “Theopneunstia: the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.” Plenary inspiration gives to the Scriptures their tremendous authority. Such inspiration necessarily excludes the possibility of error. It rendered the inspired writers of the sacred and authoritative Book infallible, though otherwise they were men subject to like passions with ourselves. Thus the Bible is the Word of God. The Holy Ghost, in the plenitude of His power, gave the very words of God to the writers of the Scriptures “Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of God spake by me, and His word was in my tongue” (2 Sam. 23:1,2). This wondrous inspiration is claimed by Peter for the prophets (Eph. 1:21). “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” “All Scripture” was so inspired—the two Testaments, Old and New. “Every word of God is pure.” Without this perfect inspiration that could not be affirmed of “all Scripture.” For the fatal flaw of human ignorance would be found in the record. And the crushing sense of fallibility would kill both interest and assurance as we read the Book. Verbal inspiration is that kind of inspiration which imparts not only the matter of the Scriptures, but the exact words by which the matter shall be expressed. The histories, as well as the prophecies, the denunciations, as well as the promises, the gospels, the epistles, the Revelation. The words of the ever adorable Redeemer, and the very words He heard His Father speak, are recorded. The prophecies concerning Him—His Person, incarnation, sufferings, His shameful death, His piercing cry on the cross, are set before us in the Psalms. Inspiration did not fill the prophets with perfect understanding of all they wrote, they are represented to us as forth-reaching after those things which they foretold (1 Pet. 1:10,11). Their hearts were inflamed with desire to know the mysteries they infallibly uttered, even as doubtless, for the most part, their faith looked to the predicted coming of the Messiah, and rested on the sacrifice of Himself to God for their salvation. They looked forward by faith to the atonement they foretold, as the faith of God’s elect today looks back, both looking's centered in one spot—Calvary; on one Object—the Lord Jesus.
Do not be carried away by the specious, the deceiving statement that the Bible “contains” the Word of God. Reflect on it. A container is different from what it contains; it holds something which itself is not. We say the Bible IS the Word of God. He gave it. He spoke it. It is infallible. Men will be judged by it. It is the last appeal. It is God’s very and immediate Word. By it every man will stand or fall in the last grand assize.
I beg of you all to study this great and deep mysterious subject. May you be led to do so on your knees, as it were, and with a conviction that you have in your hands the balance of the sanctuary, the golden reed, the measuring line. In the Scripture, Christ is made known as the One whom “every eye shall see,” before whom all will be gathered and divided as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats, to hear their respective everlastingly final words of eternal life and eternal death. Oh that we may hear the blessed, the heaven-bestowing words, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” So desires and prays,
Your affectionate friend,
Brighton, August, 1921. J. K. Popham
My dear young Friends,—My letter to you in last month’s Friendly was on the great subject of inspiration, a subject worthy of your strict attention. The enemy of souls, and of Immanuel, is doing his utmost to destroy men’s natural belief in the sacred revelation, knowing that, in so far as he succeeds, he removes the barrier of the natural reverence and fear of God, and opens the floodgates of profanity, atheism, dishonesty, and all manner of wickedness. When men feel free to cast aside the Bible, there is nothing to rule their consciences, or influence their conduct. Even the Jews, whose great privilege and advantage it was to possess the oracles of God, went into all manner of evil when they cast away their priceless treasure (Rom. 3:2; Jer. 8:9). They had the key of knowledge, and took it away from the people. So do our Higher Critics, They wrest from us the Book which God has given us. They tell us that ignorant and prejudiced men wrote it. How can they expect those who believe them to respect the Bible and reverence God and seek to walk according to the Book they themselves have so grievously discredited? Leaving such teachers, the blind leaders of the blind, I will now ask your attention to a point of some consequences in connection with the inspiration of the Word of God, that is, the necessity of it.
THE NECESSITY OF INSPIRATION
1. The necessity of inspiration arises out of our ignorance of the truths of which the Bible treats, and brings to our notice:
(a) Creation. The world is before us, we are in it, part of it. But how, and by whom, it came into being, whence its beauty, the orderly succession of its seasons; the two great lights to rule the day and the night, we know only from the infallible Scriptures: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” The planning mind and the working hand may be seen in creation (Gen. 1:1; Ps. 33:6; Rom. 1:20). Thus even the natural man may perceive God’s invisible things in His omnipotent works, while all is beautifully plain to faith (Heb. 11:3). He left nothing in the work of creation to the uncertain guesses of men. It is infallibly declared to be his work. And when atheists and religious infidels ask us to believe that this wonderful world and man, in his physical and immortal being, came of themselves, they ask us to give credit to a greater miracle than the Holy Scripture reveals, they invite us to stare at a blank wall before which we are to stand in the confusion of black and destructive ignorance and despair; they demand of us that we insult God, do violence to our conscience, and reject our chart, our cable—the oracles of God. Blessed forever be God that He has given us the only reliable account of His own work in creation. Following this certain guide, we shall naturally perceive the beauty of Ps. 148., where all His works are called on to praise Him.
(b) The divine Being is not only infinitely above us, but it is impossible that we should know Him except as He reveals Himself, and that by those means upon which we may implicitly rely. Such a revelation He has been pleased to give, mercifully considering our ignorance and inability to find Him out. The Bible is that revelation. By the prophets in old time, by His Son in these days, He has spoken. His incomprehensible Being, His perfections, must ever have been unknown and unknowable to creatures if He had not made them known. But because some have eyes given them to look on Him and admire Him, He has said in His Son, “Behold Me” (Heb. 1:1, 2).
He has also revealed His purposes concerning men. Their positions in providence, their state in eternity, are from Himself. Everything in them and with respect to them is from Him; only their sin is excepted in this their universal dependence. And if it be demanded of us how we can make such an assertion, the unfaltering answer is, the Word of God declares it. It declares that “man’s goings are of the Lord” (Prov. 20:24). Jeremiah knew this well, and confessed, “0 Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (10:23). And blessedly is this the case with respect to the church (see Eph. 1.; Rom. 11:11,15,16).
(c) Without revelation who can have any knowledge of a future state? The conscience of man tells him that he is accountable to God, and as the judgment does not take place in this world, there is another world in which he must appear before his Maker and Judge. But a specific knowledge of eternity is not inherent in him. Mercifully, then, revelation, the inspired Bible, comes with its sacred and infallible voice. It informs us of the grand assize, of the books which will then be opened and of the Book of Life in which are the names of the elect.
(d) Though there is in the natural conscience an idea that God is, and that He must be worshipped, yet, since the Fall, men know not what homage will please Him. Hence the innumerable forms, offerings, prayers and praises which we, in profound ignorance, have evolved out of our own hearts. But, in mercy to His Own, the Lord has given forth His mind and will with regard to how and with what He will be worshipped-(John 4:24; Heb. 10:19—22).
In the above points we may see the necessity of an inspired Bible. Think of those points, my friends, and the Lord give you understanding, and a feeling of your own ignorance, and His good Spirit to instruct you. Then you will see the loveliness of an infallible Book, and feel its power, and praise its divine Author.
Your affectionate friend,
Brighton, September, 1921. J. K. Popham
My dear young Friends,—Having called your attention to the tremendously important subject of INSPIRATION, and one of its related subjects, namely, the necessity of it, I now ask you to observe the excellence of it. This we will call the second of the many related subjects of divine inspiration. In infinite goodness God has made a revelation of Himself and His works. In this blessed revelation there is neither uncertainty nor vagueness.
i. There is no uncertainty. “Every word of God is pure,” “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” “All the words of My mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge” (Prov. 30:5; Ps. 12:6; Prov. 8:8,9). Here, as projected on a mirror, we see the beauteous lines of the absolute certainty of Holy Scripture; it is free from the perplexing defect of that uncertainty which attaches to all things human. When men err, it is because they understand not God in His Word. Christ, whose searching words reach the root of all the matters of which He speaks, told the Sadducees how it was that they denied the resurrection: “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Matt. 22:29). Though they were acquainted with the Scriptures, they knew them not; neither did they know the power of God subjectively, that is in their hearts, though they saw it objectively, in creation and in the history of their own nation. In this one passage we see that we are taught the inestimable blessing of an infallible Bible. And in passing, let me say how wondrous a mercy it is when the Holy Ghost accompanies the word with His own saving power. For it was not only ignorance of the Scriptures which left the Sadducees to the blind wandering of their own prejudiced hearts, but also their terrible destitution of the power of God. In every revelation they make of God, of His subsistence in a Trinity of Persons, the Eternal Father, the Eternal Son, and the Eternal Spirit: in the histories related, the genealogies recorded, the threatenings thundered, the promises written in blood and confirmed by an oath: in the beatific glimpses of heaven, as the abode of the Bridegroom and His purchased bride, and of the abyss of divine punishment, the dark abode of lost angels and men, given us through the partially-parted veil of Scripture; in all this there is divine certainty. Every word is true; and heaven and earth shall pass away, but the word of the living God shall not pass away; all shall be fulfilled. Believing the Scriptures, we believe the “more sure word of prophecy” which “came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:19,20).
ii. There is nothing vague in the Word of God. All His words are plain to him that understandeth. To say there is nothing vague in the Scriptures is not saying there is nothing mysterious in them. They contain many mysterious prophecies, dates, and times, around which controversies have raged, and which few of the Lord’s people have understood. But whether understood or not, they are definite in themselves. Mistakes about them, unnatural, forced meanings attached to them by men, leave them unaffected. The breath of human opinion does not sully them. The Eternal Spirit, their infallible Author, knows His own meaning in them, and He will, in His own time, bring that to light in acts of grace in His people, and in solemn, awful providence in the world. Then will the mouths of false interpreters, of Arminian teachers, of men who, if possible, would deceive the very elect, be stopped. Then to each of them it will be said by Him, “What hast thou to do to declare My statutes, or that thou shouldest take My covenant in thy mouth?” (Ps. 1:16.) While the poor, weak, fearing people of God, who have been perplexed about many of their Lord’s words and ways, will have the veil removed from their eyes, their ears shall hearken, their rash judgments of Him will be corrected, and they shall say to Him, “Now are we sure that Thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask Thee: by this we know that Thou camest forth from God” (Isa. 32:3,4; John 16:30).
This divine excellence of the Bible will, I hope, be perceived by you, even naturally. Lacking inspiration, no superiority of this nature could be claimed for the Book we revere, but it's most necessary character (as the Word of God) involves the excellence I have claimed for it. Men blessed with faith do rely on it, its every word they receive, many of them they prove by sweet experience, they feel it to be God’s Word to, and in, their hearts, and to them might, in a spiritual sense, be addressed the all-comprehensive words of Joshua to Israel, “And ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you: all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof” (Josh. 23:14).
So may you all, dear young readers, come to know the very and immediate Word of God.
Your affectionate friend,
Brighton, October, 1921. J. K. Popham
My dear young Friends,—Once more the vastly important subject of the inspiration of the Word of God is my theme. The Bible is the Book of books; it is the only complete revelation of God and of His will which we possess. The creation of the world is a revelation of God; some of His invisible things are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead. Thus all who “deny Him” are without excuse. But this revelation, though beautiful and comprehensive, does not reveal all the divine nature; many of the glorious perfections of Deity do not appear in the beneficent consideration of man and beast, which must strike every candid observer of that wondrous work, which its omnipotent Author pronounced “very good.”
Providence, too, is a revelation of God. His care of His creatures, of “two sparrows”; His wisdom in guiding all the myriads of human and satanic thoughts, wishes, and intentions of His own designs and ends, turning a designed curse into an undesired blessing, as seen in the selling of Joseph by his jealous brethren, and in Balaam’s design to curse Israel (Gen. 37. and 45:4—11; Num. 22:23). His power in giving to the earth and sea their marvelous reproductiveness to provide for man and beast; His care for the government of nations, giving kings to reign and princes to execute judgment, setting up one and putting down another. All these providences declare the sovereignty, wisdom, and power of Jehovah. Still, notwithstanding, much of His glorious character remains hidden from our eyes, which divine providence was never intended to reveal. For “no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.” No work of God in providence reveals either the one or the other, as standing alone. Yet both love and hatred are in God, in Him as infinite perfections: “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
There must then be another revelation of God which discovers Him as fully as He chooses to be known. That revelation is the Bible. “All Scripture is given by Inspiration of God.” Verbal, plenary inspiration alone can give absolute authority. God’s great end in giving His Word can only be met by such authority. Consider that end: For “doctrine, for reproof, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16,17).
The authority of the Word of God is inherent. Destroy its authority, and you destroy the Bible. It is proper to it, even as eternity is proper to God. The judgment of the Scriptures is final. There is no appeal from its sentence. All judgment is by a standard; weight is by a balance. The Word answers to both. What men say, is right or wrong according to its agreement or disagreement with the Word: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20). The Scriptures penetrate to the thoughts of man, yea, to every imagination of his thoughts (Gen. 6:5), and no despising contradiction by any man will invalidate that authoritative statement. The eternal Deity of Christ, His proper Sonship, His vicarious death, His resurrection, His High Priestly work in heaven are all distinctly taught in Holy Scripture, and no man can deny those glorious truths, and be guiltless of trampling underfoot the authority of that sacred Book. In truth, there is no doctrine taught in the Word of God, conduct commanded, no sin forbidden, no service instituted, no ordinance laid down for observance, no word uttered with respect to God or man, time or eternity-that is not replete with divine authority.
But men acknowledge not this authority. Satan is permitted to blind the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. The authority of the Scriptures is abhorrent to the critic. He bows to no authority. His own inner consciousness, aided by his boasted learning, is the only arbiter he will acknowledge. But the light of divine truth will shine in every elect sinner’s heart and cause him to tremble at God’s Word, causing him to prove the truth of the scripture which says: “The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Ps. 119:130).
No son or daughter of Adam will escape from the authority of the Word of God. Here or hereafter each one will find that “The Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:12,13).
May my readers be among those blessed people who have a great High Priest passed into the heavens for them, and so, one day, receive into their hearts the gracious resolve, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
So prays their affectionate friend,
Brighton, November 1921. J. K. Popham
My dear young Friends,—Having addressed to you some observations on the Inspiration of the Bible. I am now going to make a few remarks on the various uses to which the divine Author puts His infallible Book. In all His wondrous works God has an end. Nothing He has made terminates in itself; all creatures live for an appointed purpose. “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself” (Rom. 14:7). The sun and moon were made for a purpose: “And God made two great lights in the firmament of heaven, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night” (Gen. 1:16). In infinite wisdom, and by omnipotence, God directs and works all things to their predestined end—His glory. “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36; Prov. 16:4).
Now the truth of a divinely predestinated use and end for all things applies in an eminent degree to the verbally, plenarily inspired Scriptures. Emphatically it has its appointed uses. All I can attempt in monthly letters is to just point out, in a general way, the great matters I am anxious you should know.
The uses to which the glorious Inspirer of the Scriptures puts them are, (i.) To give to the church a knowledge of God: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son” (Heb. 1:1,2). The blessedness of man, as created in Adam, consisted in the knowledge of God. The trees of the garden were the bountiful gift of the Creator, and spoke to Adam of Him, but there was then a knowledge only of good. The forbidden tree would (if, and when, eaten of) give knowledge of evil as contrasted with good; would bring the knowledge of disobedience, of shame, of tenor, and of displeasure in the law-Giver. From that eventful day man has lived in ignorance of, and enmity to, God. And for this ignorance and enmity there is no remedy but the one which God Himself found and provided: His election of Christ to be the Savior of the church, which is His body. To Adam and Eve this remedy was preached and brought; to Abel the gospel of sacrifice was taught, while Cain was left in ignorance and enmity. From that day till Christ came in the flesh the Lord manifested Himself to individual persons, then to the nation He chose and “separated from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.” To that chosen nation the Lord made Himself known by prophets, types and shadows, and by such means gave the form of worship wherein He was duly honored. But when Christ came, the adumbration gave place to a distinct manifestation “And” now, “without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested (margin) in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16). This glorious manifestation of God was, and is, in the church (ver. 15). And every child of God according to divine ordination, is taught of the Father this great and glorious mystery, and so comes to Christ (John 6:45). (ii.) The next use the Most High God makes of the Scriptures is to beget His people. “Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures (James 1:18). Who can number the people to whom a threatening word out of the law, or a scripture concerning God, or eternity, heaven or hell, was made spirit and life, imparting to them a new nature? This is an exceedingly solemn and blessed use which the Spirit makes of the inspired Word. (iii.) The next use which is made of the Word is to give light. “The entrance of Thy Word giveth light: it giveth understanding to the simple” (Ps. 119:130). Here is the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment and equity. The knowledge of and His claims on a sinner; of His holy law, and its inability to give life to one dead in trespasses and sins; of Christ and His work of redemption; of the Holy Ghost and His office in the church as the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, and of His cleansing blood, His justifying righteousness. (iv.) The fourth use of Holy Scripture is to admonish, warn and exhort the saints, to set before them their duties, as now brought into a new relationship to God. (v.) In the open, public preaching, the Scriptures are used to warn the wicked, to tell them of their sad, lost; dead and guilty condition, and that, dying in that condition, they must endure the wrath of God for ever. (vi.) The Word informs us of the coming day of judgment, when all the nations of the earth shall be gathered before God, the Judge of all (Matt. 25:31—46). (vii.) Yet another and important use the Spirit will have His own Word put to is, that Christ’s commission to His apostles first, and then to every sent minister to the end of the world, shall be fulfilled: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15,16; Matt. 28:18—20). This is for the gathering to “one fold” all the blood- bought sheep.
The above are some of the uses which the Spirit makes of Holy Scripture. They are wonderful uses, of vast importance, and issue in the glory of God “in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Eph. 3:21).
Of course, you will have observed that in my letter to you on Inspiration and its uses, I have assumed that you do believe in the wondrous work of the Holy Ghost in His chosen penmen. I have deliberately used simple language; all technical terms have been avoided, except those most commonly used when inspiration is contended for, viz., verbal and plenary, the meaning of which you all knew.
When you read these lines, the last month of the year will have come. To many the year will have seemed astonishingly short, and the few remaining days of it, added to those which have fled, may remind us that “we spend our years as a tale that is told,” and that soon we must “pass the gloomy vale.” 0, but if we have given to us eternal life, if the Lord has spoken peace by the blood of Christ, if we know Christ by the revelation of Him in us, if we have received the sealing of the Spirit, all is well.
With every good wish for your temporal and eternal welfare,
I am, my dear young friends,
Your affectionate friend,
Brighton, December, 1921. J. K. Popham
Consequences of denying Inspiration
My dear young Friends,—I concluded my last letter to you by advising you to meet all critics of the Bible with one word, “Inspiration.” What is meant by “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,” the critics do not agree among themselves. Some deny and reject all miraculous inspiration, attributing to it no more than they do to poets. Others, while admitting a divine inspiration, restrict it to a part only of the Word of God. There is yet a third class of critics, who extend inspiration to all parts of the Bible, but not equally to all. Thus men, denying God, some entirely, others partly, in his Word, become lost in uncertainties. We will leave them in the mists of their own guesses, and attend to the ever-blessed, plenary, verbal inspiration of the Scriptures of which we are assured by the apostle Paul, “all Scripture is God-breathed.” The apostle Peter tells us: “Holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:21). And Peter elucidates the words of “the sweet Psalmist of Israel who said, The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and His word was in my tongue” (2 Sam. 23:2), and of all the writers of the Old Testament from Moses to Malachi.
I want you to consider with me one or two terrible consequences of the denial of the inspiration of the Bible. 1. The rejection of the beautiful, awe-inspiring account of Creation: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Did the Eternity, the Majesty, the Omnipotence, the glory of “I AM THAT I AM” ever appear to any of you as you read that account? And did you recollect at the same time that it was the Word who was with God, and who was God, who made the things that Moses tells us were made by God? (Gen 1.; John. 1:1—3; Heb. 1:2.) But none of these things can be rightly believed unless we have faith (Heb. 11:3). Now ask yourselves: “What is it that gives men, learned men, liberty to believe and teach Evolution? The answer is, “The utter rejection of Inspiration.” Men who reject that mysterious truth may easily, in their judicial blindness, sing of the poetry of Gen. 1., and repudiate those parts of the books of Moses which they think to be mistakes, or of later dates.
ii. Think of the bewildering uncertainty which the denial of Inspiration throws us into. It leads to no where in this life. Put an uncertain, that is, an uninspired Bible into my hand; tell me that that book will teach me the way to flee from the wrath to come, which, knowing that I deserve it, I am fearing. But I say, “How am I to know that it is to be depended on?” The critic answers, “Oh, we know which parts were given by Inspiration and which were not.” Again I ask, nay, I demand, for my case is urgent,” How do you know?” He replies: “By my learning, my researches, and my inner consciousness.” Here I object, “You ask me to place my confidence, my trust, in you, a man like myself, in your learning which is successfully opposed by learning greater than yours, by researches far beyond yours, which prove to a demonstration that your data are false, unfounded. How can I trust an uncertain guide, a fallible man, when my search is for a city which hath foundations, whose Builder, and Maker is God?” “Inner consciousness”! What is that? A conclusion which an unbeliever in God, a man whose carnal mind is enmity against God, arrives at; a foregone conclusion that, as God is not truly in all his thoughts, so neither is that divine Being in Creation, in the history of the Bible, in the virgin birth, in the vicarious atonement of the Incarnate Son, in His resurrection. All is mist, miasma, poison, eternal death, on the ground of the rejection, in whole or in part—the “in part” being worse, if possible, than utter rejection—of the divine, therefore infallible, Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.
Oh, my friends, beware of this terrible heresy of no—or part—Inspiration. By it you have no ground. There is no uncertainty in the Scripture teaching respecting God, God in Christ, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; respecting sin, condemnation, and salvation for all for whom the Lord Jesus, the Son of God Incarnate, died. The Lord help you to believe, hold fast, and love an Inspired Bible, and grant to you to be begotten with the Word of truth, that you may know that “with Him there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17—21).
Your affectionate friend,
Brighton, February, 1926. J. K. Popham
Advantages of belief in Inspiration
My dear young Friends,—In my last letter I spoke of the sin, and some consequences, of the rejection of the inspired Word of God. May I hope that you seriously considered the important matter? That you see the evil of rejecting the Word which He has magnified above all His Name? That you see it is a wicked thing to adversely judge that Book which will judge all men? This month I wish you to consider with me the advantage of believing the verbal inspiration of the ”Scripture which cannot be broken.” The advantage may be seen in the following particulars:—
i. When the believer in the inspiration of it takes up the Bible to read, there is a sense of certainty; he believes that every word of God is pure, and free from error. This is an immense advantage. The chief advantage of the Jews was that “unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Rom. 3:1,2). And though some did not believe, God who gave that covenant nation His Word is faithful and He will fulfil it; and as it is “the word of truth,” by it He begets His people that they may be a kind of firstfruits. Heaven and earth shall pass away before one word of God shall miss fulfillment. All that Holy Scripture reveals of God, of His purposes, love, justice, wisdom and power; all that He says of men, good and evil, and their ultimate destinations, shall be made good, and be fully manifested throughout eternity. The histories, prophecies, promises, threatenings were verbally inspired, and will live in the truth and fulfillment of them throughout eternity. Certainty in natural things is necessary for comfort, how much more in things eternal. Remember then this first fruit, and contrast it with the blank, dismal, disconcerting, oscillating, sinful, dangerous condition of those men who deny, either in whole or in part, the perfect inspiration of the Scriptures.
ii. Our apprehensions of God and His ways can only be right as we receive the revelation of Himself and of them from His Word. I speak not here of the work of the Holy Ghost in the regenerate, but of our natural and rational perception of what the Bible says. I speak reverently of God, the true and living God, but a strange being is he of whom the Evolutionist, the Socinian, and the Arminian speak and write. He did not create the world over which he is supposed to rule, for it came somehow into being of itself; he cannot be a Trinity, for such a thing as three in one and one in three is against, contrary to reason; he cannot be happy, because he is ever anxious to save men and make them happy; he cannot succeed, because men refuse his offers and thwart his efforts. 0 what folly, what wickedness, what blindness and madness seize and control men when they deny God in His Word! Dear young people, follow, read, with diligence, the Word of God, and the Lord give you understanding that you may live,
iii. The gospel, an integral part of the Bible, a large part of it, is a glorious light (2 Cor. 4:4). It is impossible to express the wickedness of the contemners of it, as all are who deny verbal inspiration. But it will ever be the glorious gospel; and to the people who sit in darkness, and in the region and shadow of death, this light springs up (Matt. 4:15,16). The sacrifice of the Lord Jesus was, and will everlastingly be, vicarious; and therefore His blood will ever be sufficient for the free and full pardon of all those who, by the Spirit’s grace, confess and forsake their sins. Whatever mist of ignorance, whatever bar of unbelief, there may be in our hearts, the light of the glorious gospel is sufficient to remove. The light of the gospel reveals God in His gracious nature, in His justice and love, for both justice and love are in His gift of His only begotten Son; it reveals Him in His benign intentions to sinners, His faithfulness to His promises which in Christ are yea and amen; in the ultimate end of His people both as to their souls and bodies; at death they join the spirits of just men made perfect, and harp with the harpers, and sing as it were a new song before the throne; and in the resurrection their bodies will be fashioned like unto the glorious body of the Lord Jesus (Rev. 14:2,3; Phil. 3:21; 1 John. 3:1,2). The Word of God states all the above. There is nothing cloudy, misty, uncertain, or contradictory, all is infallible, all from the lip of divine truth, from the faithful and true Witness.
The same clear, unequivocal testimony is given with regard to the world which lieth in wickedness. Men say in their hearts and in their lives they will not have the God-Man to reign over them, but rebellion does not render the Sovereign impotent. He is long-suffering, but He is terrible in His justice. Besides the” Book of Life,” in which are the names of “the redeemed from among men,” there are other books, and the lost will be “judged out of those things which were written” therein. All eternally sure, spoken by God that cannot lie. May He give us faith to receive and hold fast to the inerrant Book which He has mercifully given to man, and by means of which He begets His own children, and declares Himself to be the God of salvation.
iv. There is a blessed prospect before the people of God. A divine vista is opened in the Scriptures, “spirits of just men made perfect, harpers with their harps, crowned with a crown of life;” and also with respect to their bodies the infallible Word sets forth an everlasting future of shining glory, for Christ “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself” (Phil. 3:21; also 1 John. 3:1,2).
Deny inspiration, and all I have said is uncertain. God give each one to hold fast the divine inspiration of the Bible. Jesus Christ is the faithful and true Witness, and what He said of saints and the ungodly is true, everlastingly true. May the Holy Ghost give us faith in Him and His holy Word.
Your affectionate friend,
Brighton, April, 1926. J. K. Popham