This is an audio book review of the book by A. W. Pink. I picked it up because I’m interested in hearing all sides on the topic. I believe in Divine inspiration of the Tanakh, or Old Testament, albeit my views on the topic probably aren’t orthodox. However, I do not subscribe to the notion of New Testament inspiration. Can Arthur Pink change my mind? Let’s look at The Divine Inspiration of the Bible.
First, let me talk about the book for a second. To be fair, it was written in 1917. However, it’s pretty difficult to sit through. Every point has at least 3 analogies. Moreover, most analogies have subcategories. Furthermore, most of his points are made with lofty rhetoric and flowing hyperbole. I did not enjoy the book, and I don’t recommend to others. On the bright side, it’s only 3 hours long.
The Divine Inspiration of the Bible by A. W. Pink
This book takes a predictable approach to the conversation. It starts with 2 Timothy 3:16, which we have previously looked at. He then lays out a logical argument for divine inspiration. This is, of course, a drastic oversimplification.
- God loves us and wants to guide us.
- The best way to do that through generations is the written word.
- Authors claimed divine guidance.
- They wrote negative things about themselves and their heroes instead of glossing over their flaws like humans tend to do.
- Unlike other cultures, they attribute both success and failure to God. Either blessing or judgement.
- There’s a harmony and symmetry to their writings.
- They accurately predicted events, which only God can do.
- Jesus and New Testament authors called Tanakh the word of God.
- Paul said “all scriptures”, so here we are.
I take issue with his citations of prophecy in the book. He focuses exclusively on Messianic prophecy, which is the deficit of begging the question. Why? Because most Messianic prophecies were not fulfilled by Jesus. Christians dismiss this fact because they believe in a second coming. Thus, he is presuming there will be future fulfillment and using that presumption as proof.
Furthermore, the already fulfilled prophecies are questionable. For example, is Jesus the seed of David? If José is the father, perhaps. However, if Jesus was miraculously conceived by Mary via divine fertilization, he in fact would not be a descendant of David.
Moreover, these prophecies require massaging. When David speaks in the first person, it requires me to presume he is rather talking about his “seed” Jesus. However, when Isaiah speaks of the messiah’s seed, I have to assume he doesn’t mean seed, but rather he is referencing his resurrection or the church.
Harmony in the Bible.
This is his weakest point in my opinion. In fact, the doctrine of the New Testament is often contradictory to Old Testament doctrine. Again, Christians are comfortable with this because they feel that the NT reveals “deeper truths” in Tanakh. However, this is again begging the question. It requires me to accept your explanation for the contradictions, and thereby conclude that they aren’t in fact contradictory. Hence, this “harmony” comes from human reasoning, not divine ordering.
I point out these things not to say that A. W. Pink is wrong. He could be right.. Rather, I say them to explain why his explanation is unconvincing to me. I started the book doubting New Testament inspiration, and his case didn’t move me at all from that position.