Not as the Word of Men

The Apostle Paul explained that the Holy Spirit was the source of both divine revelation and illumination in 1 Cor. 2:6-16.

There are many other places to which one might turn in order to substantiate the Scripture’s own testimony to itself; however, I have long believed that the teaching of 1 and 2 Thessalonians is among the most overlooked and under-appreciated in this regard. A brief consideration of its teaching bolsters the confidence of believers regarding the divine truth of the apostolic word.

 

Theologians have frequently appealed to the internal testimony of Scripture as a substantiating proof of its divine authorship. For instance, B.B. Warfield, in his article “‘It says;’ ‘Scripture says;’ ‘God says,’” takes note of the divine authorship of Scripture from the consistent way in which the New Testament introduces its Old Testament citations. Others have pointed out the way in which the Apostle Peter acknowledged that the Apostle Paul’s writing was to be classified along with “other Scriptures” (2 Pet. 3:15-16). Peter also spoke of his own revelation as “the prophetic word more fully confirmed,” while explaining that “no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:19-21). The Apostle Paul explained that the Holy Spirit was the source of both divine revelation and illumination in 1 Cor. 2:6-16. There are many other places to which one might turn in order to substantiate the Scripture’s own testimony to itself; however, I have long believed that the teaching of 1 and 2 Thessalonians is among the most overlooked and under-appreciated in this regard. A brief consideration of its teaching bolsters the confidence of believers regarding the divine truth of the apostolic word.

In his New Testament Biblical Theology, G.K. Beale notes the significant place that 1 and 2 Thessalonians hold in regard to the doctrine of divinely inspired and authoritative revelation. He writes,

“In 1 Thess. 2:13 he says that when the Thessalonians “received from us the word of God’s message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.” In 2 Thess. 3:1 he prays “that the word of the Lord may run and be glorified, just as it did also with you.” It is evident that Paul’s authoritative oral message is also expressed in authoritative written form: “So, he who rejects this [the instructions in Paul’s letter] is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you” (1 Thess. 4:8); “I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren” (1 Thess. 5:27); “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us” (2 Thess. 2:15); “If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame” (2 Thess. 3:14).”1

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