A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
by Steve West
Editor’s Note: Most of our readers will already be at least somewhat acquainted with John Owen (1616-1683), “the prince of Puritans,” but it is not likely that many have read him extensively. His works are not only voluminous – they are tightly packed and deeply considered. Owen is neither quick nor light reading!
Today we continue our year-long series of summaries of Owen’s famous works. We trust these will be of help in introducing and/or increasing your acquaintance with this giant Puritan theologian.
Summary, Part 2
Of the Divine Original of the Scriptures
Chapters I & II
The whole authority of Scripture depends on its divine origin, as is acknowledged by everyone who discusses this issue. In the New Testament, we hear over and over again how God spoke to Moses or spoke in the Old Testament. God spoke to the prophets and spoke through the prophets; he spoke in them before he spoke by them. God’s Spirit so worked in them that everything they recorded was from God—they were not at their own disposal in writing. They understood their own prophecies and the prophecies of others by study, prayer, and meditation, but they did not write their prophecies that way. They gave their prophecies as a musical instrument gives its notes when it is played. The word of God came to them and they took it in and gave it out again without altering a syllable. When God’s word came to the prophets it was like a burning fire that they could not contain inside without speaking it. In 2 Peter 1:20-21, we find that prophecies given by the Spirit (i.e. the written words) were not from men but from God. This means that not only the doctrines but the very words are from the Lord.
Since the very words of Scripture are from God, providence has kept them safe. There are some variants, but nothing in the word of God has been lost: the whole is preserved. What variants there are exist only in minor things so that we might search more diligently to ensure we are reading the very word of God as originally given. Even if every variant and error in copying or translation stood, we would still know the truth of the gospel in the text. Yet some scholars explore these things and publish about them not to aid the truth, but with the result that people who do not understand the evidence and issues lose confidence in their Bibles. When the words were given, neither the fancies nor the rational meditations of men altered what God had said. As Peter said, believers know that this is the case. We also know that God brought the word to the prophets, and the Holy Spirit carried them along so that they handled the word without any error. God began his word by writing it with his own finger, and then he gave and protected his word all the way through the Book of Revelation, after which he had completely and finally revealed his mind. Whatever Scripture says, God says. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
Buy the books
THE WORKS OF JOHN OWEN, VOLUME 16: THE CHURCH AND THE BIBLE