The origin of the New Testament.
The origin of the New Testament is very peculiar and unique. Only in The Revelation do we find any commission by God to write down anything in the New Testament. In no other book is there any indication that God ordered anybody to write down the New Testament as word of God. And yet we accept it equal to the Old Testament where there are numerous indications that God willed the writing of the Old Testament as word of God.
We do not doubt that the writers of the New Testament were inspired by the Holy Spirit. According to John 14:26 the Holy Spirit “…will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” And in John 16:13 “…the Spirit of truth, …will guide you into all truth.” In Luke 24:45 Jesus “opened their (the disciples’) minds so they could understand the Scriptures”. Paul states in 1Tim. 2:7 “…the Lord will give you insight into all this.” Therefore, though we do not find an order by God to write down the New Testament, the involvement of the Holy Spirit is attested over and over again. It was the Holy Spirit who gave the disciples insight to explain the meaning of the Old Testament in the light of the death and resurrection of Christ. Even when Paul gives teaching on marital matters in 1Cor.7:40, he states: “…I too have the Spirit of God.”
Inspiration of the Holy Spirit:
Concerning the involvement of the Holy Spirit in the lives and teachings of the disciples, there can be no doubt at all. But when we come to the writing of the New Testament itself, there are two opposing interpretations. This could have a huge influence on how we see and handle the differences in the Greek manuscripts.
The one interpretation is that the Holy Spirit dictated every word of the New Testament, the mechanical approach. This would mean that the writers of the New Testament had no part in the words written down in the New Testament. Every word would then have come directly from the Holy Spirit. Furthermore it would mean that the writers of the New Testament would be reduces to mindless writing machines. A word by word approach fails to explain the uniqueness of the work of every writer. The appeal of this approach would be to discern every word of the original manuscript or autograph.
The other approach to the inspiration is the organic interpretation. According to this approach, the Holy Spirit inspired the writers from within their own spirit, conscience and mind to write down what God wants us to read. This explains why each writer’s own talents, writing skills, preference for certain expressions or words can clearly be distinguished in their work. However we interpret the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we accept the New Testament as word of God, equal to the Old Testament.
Authorities point out that there are some differences between the manuscripts available to us. These differences can clearly be seen in the many versions of the Bible on the market. This could cause one to doubt the authenticity of the Bible. Yet there is no antique document authenticated with less or better proof than the New Testament. When we honestly and objectively look at how the New Testament came into being, we find logic answers to most if not all our concerns. When we take all these aspects into account, we can easily understand how and why deviations occurred. This helps us to evaluate the differences. In this way we could with almost total certainty reconstruct every single word that had been written in the original autographs of every part of the New Testament.
My prayer is that you will stand in awe at our God who made Himself known to us through His written word, the Bible. Certainly we are privileged to be called to become His children.