Monday, December 08, 2008

Murray on Scripture

The following quote from John Murray on scripture recently came to my attention (via a letter in the Record, written by my brother), which I expand a little here.

We may not impose upon the Bible our own standards of truthfulness or our own notions of right and wrong. It is easy for the proponents of inerrancy to set up certain canons of inerrancy which are arbitrarily conceived and which prejudice the whole question from the outset. And it is still easier for the opponents of inerrancy to set up certain criteria in terms of which the Bible could readily be shown to be in error. Both attempts must be resisted....In all questions pertinent to the doctrine of Scripture it is to be borne in mind that the sense of Scripture is Scripture; it is what Scripture means that constitutes Scripture teaching. We cannot deal, therefore, with the inerrancy of Scripture apart from hermeneutics.
Collected Writings 4, 26
A little further on, Murray writes...

Inerrancy in reference to Scripture is the inerrancy that accepts certain well-established and obviously recognized literary or verbal usus loquendi. It makes full allowance for the variety of literary devices which preserves language from stereotyped uniformity and monotony. And we must no allow the inerrancy which is implicit in the plenary inspiration of Scripture to be prejudiced by patterns of thought which are prescribed by pedantry rather than by sober judgement.
Collected Writings 4, 29