Thursday, July 4, 2013

Poythress' high regard for the Word

For my last post on Vern Poythress' significant book on harmonizing the Gospels, entitled Inerrancy and the Gospels, I will share three quotes that, among other things, emphasize the high regard that the author has for Scripture in general and the Gospels in particular. I have mentioned Poythress' deep respect and reverence for God's Word in other posts about this book, and these last three quotes emphasize this quality. This high view of Scripture espoused by Poythress is obviously integral to how he approaches the Bible as well as how he deals with problematic passages in the Gospels. This viewpoint of the Word, and his submitting to it, is something that I desire to emulate. A book such as Inerrancy and the Gospels helps me to do that.

First, let's consider how Poythress perceives the words of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels:
Jesus is God. So Jesus' speeches are divine speech. The four Gospel writers are human beings, but they were inspired by the Holy Spirit so that what they wrote is also divine speech. Whenever the Gospel writers report things from Jesus' speeches, we are seeing God's report of what God himself said. (163)
This next quote makes an interesting point,a point that underlines Poythress' willingness to accept God's Word as it has been delivered. Even though we may want more information, we may want more thorough answers, what we have been given is sufficient for all we need:
The main point here is that the Gospels give us information about speeches but not exhaustive information. Human curiosity is normal. We are curious to know more. It would be interesting to hear a full verbatim transcript of everything the disciples said to Jesus and to one another. But we do not have it, nor do we really need it. (186, emphasis mine)
Finally, Poythress touches upon what it may mean if we are not satisfied with the Scriptural account we have been given. It looks like a lack of trust, or worse, it looks like questioning God's wisdom. A high view of Scripture means reverencing what we have, not pining for what is not there:
The Gospels themselves are "summaries," in a sense, when we compare them to what it would be like to have records of everything that Jesus said and did. They are sparse. God planned it that way. We have to trust God's wisdom. He knew what would be best for us to have. He gave it to us in the four Gospels. An insistence on having more easily represents a lack of trust and a lack of contentment with God's choice. (187)
These three brief quotes expose Poythress as a man who admires, submits to, and reverences the Bible. I want to be that kind of man.

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