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God's Authorization

As soon as we say “God spoke”, we run into a difficulty. God does not have a mouth like you or me. For God is Spirit (John 4:24). That is not to say that God cannot produce sounds that humans can hear. It is just saying that God’s communicating to us through the Bible does not have to be what is called pure dictation. Namely, God does not have to give every single word out loud to every human author who is writing the pages of Scripture.

In fact, most of the Bible is not dictated from God. Since this is the case, it is wise for us to ask then, “How can the Scriptures be the product of God if he was not directly speaking most of it?”

When George W. Bush was president, he assigned Condoleezza Rice to be his Secretary of State. In her memoirs, there were plenty of instances that she was assigned to speak for the United States on an international situation. This happened on the news, but more often with the foreign officials she was meeting with. At times, she would communicate directly what the president had said to her about a matter. However, even more times she was the representative for America. Her words spoke for the president even if he never said anything directly about the matter. That was her role.

How could she do this? She was authorized by the president to speak for him. This idea of authorization is very important. God can simply authorize Jeremiah, Isaiah, Peter, or Paul, to speak for Him on matters related to God. This is one of the ways we should see the Bible being the product of God (more ways next week). Namely, God authorized certain individuals to speak for him. These individuals, during their time on earth, spoke about matters from which they were authorized to speak for God. That is not to say that their verbatim words written were identical to the words God physically spoke. He did not need to speak directly if he had authorized individuals to represent him on such matters.

Why did God authorize some individuals and not others? This likely has to do with him seeing them fit for the task that was before them in each respective century. Still, that meant that as Jeremiah spoke to the people, or Paul to the churches, they were given the freedom to think for themselves and write according to the need in front of them, and this was to speak for God.

Reflective Questions:

Did you know most of the Bible was not dictated?

Have you given too much weight to the idea of God dictating everything that is written in the Bible?

Have you considered authorization?

Does this give more room for blending the categories of humanity and divinity involved in the writing of Scripture?

-Pastor Isaac

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