Could you go into a bit more depth concerning the inspiration of the Bible. I’m aware that 2 Timothy 3:16 states all scripture is inspired by God, but because it’s in scripture, it’s circular reasoning. I’m aware of Jesus’ frequent quoting of the OT, so that’s not the issue. I’m also aware that the canon of the NT was chosen by church leaders based on apostolic succession, but due to the fact that it is likely that the apostles wrote material not included in the Bible, how can we know (short of blind faith) that the church leaders made the correct decisions when determining the canon?


First of all, 2 Tim 3:16 is not circular reasoning. It is a statement. It is a claim. It would only be circular reasoning if it was used as an argument for inspiration, which is not what Paul is doing. Now, perhaps some Christians use 2 Tim 3:16 as evidence that the Bible is inspired. I have never seen that done, but if it were, THAT would be circular reasoning.

When I use 2 Tim 3:16, I call this a claim, not an argument. It is a claim which is either true or false. It is our job as human beings to weight the truth of this claim. I have done so to a very great extent and found the claim to be supported by the evidence. When Paul said in 2 Tim 3:16 that all scripture is inspired by God, he was asking Timothy and those he taught to accept this by faith, but absolutely not by blind faith. I assume you are aware of a vast array of evidence that the Bible is inspired by God. If not, then just spend a good amount of time at my web site or perhaps you can read my book "Reasons for Belief" ( There are fulfilled prophecies, historical accuracy, consistency of message, scientific wisdom, the testimony of public miracles and much more. The direct, concrete evidence for the inspiration of the New Testament is not as strong.

There is not as much history to check for inspired accuracy, there is not as much fulfilled prophecy, there are not as many statments relevant to science which can be checked for evidence for inspiration. However, there is some of each of these in the New Testament. Hebrews 11:3 is a statement which is consistent with cosmology. Jesus prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem, the accuracy of Luke/Acts is legendary, the consistency of message between the New Testament and Old Testament is amazing. The quality of the New Testament writings is evidence for their inspiration. If you do not see this right away, you can read some of the uninspired writings in early Christianity such as 1 Clement, Didache, Epistle of Barnabas, Letters of Ignatius and others. The difference in quality between the New Testament and these books is striking.

Nevertheless, to a significant extent, I accept that ALL scripture is inspired by God on faith in the Bible as a whole and in God who inspired the parts of the Bible which are clearly inspired because of the evidence. The signs mentioned in the previous paragraph is evidence that the New Testament is inspired. I also believe, by faith, that God has sufficient concern that the contents of the Bible are inspired to make this happen. Yes, faith in God is a major part of the reason I believe that the ENTIRE New Testament is inspired.

John Oakes

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