by B.B. Warfield
The phrase, “Given by inspiration of God,” or “Inspired of God,” occurs, as is well-known, but once in the New Testament—in the classical passage, to wit, II Tim. iii. 16, which is rendered in the Authorized Version, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,” and by the Revised Version, “Every Scripture inspired of God is, etc.” The Greek word represented by it, and standing in this passage as an epithet or predicate of “Scripture” “theopneustos” though occurring here only in the New Testament and found nowhere earlier in all Greek literature, has nevertheless not hitherto seemed of doubtful interpretation. Its form, its subsequent usage, the implications of parallel terms and of the analogy of faith, have combined with the suggestions of the context to assign to it a meaning which has been constantly attributed to it from the first records of Christian interpretation until yesterday. This unvarying understanding of the word is thus reported by the leading lexicographers: Schleusner “New Test. Lexicon.” Glasgow reprint of fourth Leipzig edition, 1824:
Robinson “Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament,” new ed., New York, 1872:
“Thayer-Grimm “Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament,” New York, 1887:
Cremer “Biblico-Theological Lexicon of New Testament Greek” ed. 2, E.T., Edinburgh, 1878:
And the commentators generally will be found to speak no otherwise. The completeness of this lexical consent has recently, however, been broken, and that by no less an authority than Prof. Hermann Cremer himself, the second edition of whose great “Biblico-theological Lexicon” we have just adduced as in entire agreement with the current view. The date of issue of this edition, in its original German form, was 1872. The third edition was delayed until 1883. In the interval Dr. Cremer was called upon to write the article on “Inspiration “ in the second edition of Herzog’s “Realencyklopaedie” (Vol. iv, sub voc., pp. 746 seq.), which saw the light in 1880. In preparing this article he was led to take an entirely new view2 of the meaning of ‘theopneustos’, according to which it defines Scripture, in II Tim. iii. 16, not according to its origin, but according to its effect—not as “inspired of God,” but as “inspiring its readers.” The statement of his new view was transferred to the third edition of his “Lexicon” (1883; E.T. as “Supplement,” 1886) very much in the form in which it appears in Herzog; and it has retained its place in the “Lexicon,” with practically no alteration, ever since.3 As its expression in Herzog was the earliest, and therefore is historically the most important, and as the article in the “Lexicon” is easily accessible in both German and English, and moreover does not essentially differ from what is said in Herzog, we shall quote here Dr. Cremer’s statement of the case in preference from Herzog. He says:
Here, we will perceive, is a carefully reasoned attempt to reverse the previous lexical consensus as to the meaning of this important word. We have not observed many traces of the influence of this new determination of its import. The present writer, after going over the ground under Prof. Cremer’s guidance, too hastily adopted his conclusion in a paper of “Pauls’s Doctrine of the Old Testament” published in The Presbyterian Quarterly for July, 1899; and an adverse critcism of Dr. Cremer’s reasoning, from the pen of Prof. Dr. L. Schulze, of Rostock, appeared in the Theologisches Literaturblatt for May 22, 1896 (xvii. 21, pp. 253, 254), in the course of a review of the eighth edition of the “lexicon.” But there has not met our eye as yet any really thorough reexamination of the whole matter, such as a restatement of it like Dr. Cremer’s might have been expected to provoke. The case surely warrants and indeed demands it. Dr. Cremer’s statement is more than a statement— it is an argument; and his conclusion is revolutionary, not indeed as to doctrine—for that rests on a broader basis than a single text or an isolated word—but as to the meaning borne by an outstanding New Testament term. It would seem that there is, then, no apology needed for undertaking a somewhat minute examination of the facts in the case under the guidance of Dr. Cremer’s very full and well-reasoned statement.
It may conduce, in the end, to clearness of presentation if we begin somewhat in medias res by raising the question of the width of the usage of the word. Is it broadly a Greek word, or distinctively a Hellenistic word, or even a purely Christian word? So far as appears from the usage as ascertained,5 it would seem to be post-Christian. Whether we should also call it Christian, coined possibly by Paul and used only in Christian circles, depends, in the present state of our knowledge, on the determination of two rather nice questions. One of these concerns the genuineness of the reading ‘theopneustous’ in the tract on “The Opinions of Philosophers” (v, 2, 3), which has come doun to us among the works of Plutarch, as well as in its dependent document, the “History of Philosophy” (106), transmitted among the works of Galen. The other concerns the character, whether Jewish or Jewish-Christian, of certain portions of the fifth book of the “Sibylline Oracles” and of the “Poem of Admonition,” once attributed to Phocylides but now long recognized to be the work of a late Alexandrian Jew,6—in both of which the word occurs. Dr. Cremer considers the reading to be false in the Plutarchian tract, and thinks the fifth book of the “Sybillines” and the Pseudo-Phocylidian poem Jewish in origin. He therefore pronounces the word a Hellenistic one. These decisions, however, can scarcely be looked upon as certain; and they will bear scrutiny, especially as they are accompanied with some incidental errors of statement.
It would certainly require considerable boldness to decide with confidence upon the authorship of any given portion of the fifth book of the “Sibyllines.” Friedlieb (who Dr. Cremer follows) and Badt ascribe the whole book to a Jewish, but Alexandre, Reuss and Dechent to a Christian author; while others parcel it out variously between the two classes of sources—the most assigning the sections containing the word in question, however, to a Jewish author (Bleck, Lucke, Gfrorrer; Ewald, Hilgenfeld; Schurer). Schurer pratically gives up in despair the problem of distributing the book to its several authors, and contents himself with saying that Jewish pieces preponderate and run in date from the first Christian century to Hadrian.7 In these circumstances surely a certain amount of doubt may fairly be thought to rest on the Jewish or Christian origin of our word in the Sibylline text. On the other hand, there seems to be pretty good positive reason for supposing the Pseudo- Phocylidian poem to be in its entirety a Christian production. Its Jewish origin was still strenuously maintained by Bernays,8 but its relation to the “Teaching of the Apostles” has caused the subject to be reopened, and we think has brought it to at least a probable settlement in favor of Scaliger’s opinion that it is the work ‘anonumon’ Christiani.”9 In the face of this probability the brilliant and attractive, but not always entirely convincing conjectures by which Bernays removed some of the Christian traits from the text may now be neglected: and among them that by which he discarded the line containing our word. So far then as its occurrence in the fifth book of the “Sibyllines” and in Pseudo-Phocylides is concerned, no compelling reason appears why the word may not be considered a distinctiveley Christian one: though it must at the same time be recognized that the sections in the fifth “Sibyl” in which it occurs are more probably Jewish than Christian.
With reference to the Plutarchian passage something more needs to be said. “In the unique passage, Plutarch de plac. phil. 5, 2 (904 F.):” ‘Ton oneiron tous men theopneustous kat anagken ginesthai. Tous de phusikous aneidolopoiou menes psuches to sumpheron aute ktl.’“ says Dr. Cremer, “it is with the greatest probability to be ascrived to the transcriber, in whose mind ‘theopneustos’ lay in the sense of the Vulgate rendering, divinitus inspirata, and it stands, as Wyttenbach conjectures, for ‘theopemptous’.” The remark concerning Wyttenbach is erroneous — only one of a series of odd misstatements with have dogged the textual notes on this passage. Wyttenbach prints ‘theoneustous’ in his text and accompanies it with this textual note:10 “‘Theopemptous reposuit editor Lips. ut ex Gal. et Mosc. At in neutro haic reperio. Sane non est quare compilatori elegantias obtrudamus.”‘Theopemptous’ is therefore not Wyttenbach’s conjecture: Wyttenbach does not even accept it, and this has of late been made a reproach to him:11 he ascribes it to “the Leipzig editor,” that is to Christian Daniel Beck, whose edition of this tract was published at Leipzig, in 1787. But Wyttenbach even more gravely misquotes Beck than he has himself been misquoted by Dr. Cremer. For Beck, who prints in his text: ‘ton oneiron tous men theopneustous’, annotates as follows: “Olim: ‘tous oneirous tous theopneustous —Reddidi textis elegantiorem lectionem, quae in M. et G. est. ‘theopneustous’ sapere Christianum librarium videtur pro ‘theopemptous’.”12 That is to say, Wyttenbach has transferred Beck’s note on ‘ton oneirov tous men’ to ‘theopemptous’. It is this clause and not ‘theopemptous’ that Beck professes to have got out of the Moscow MS. and Galen: ‘theopemptous’ he presents merely as a pure conjecture founded on the one consideration that ‘theopneustos’ has a flavor of Christian scribe about it; and he does not venture to put ‘theopemptous’ into the text. The odd thing is that Hutten follows Wyttenbach in his misrepresentation of Beck, writing in his note: “Beck. dedit ‘thopemptous’ ut elegantiorem lectionem e Mosq. et Gal. sumptam. In neutro se hoc reperisse W. notat, addens, non esse quare compilatori elegantias obtrudamus. Cors. e Gas. notat ‘ton oneiron tous men theopneustous’.”13 Corsini does indeed so report, his note running: “Paullo aliter” (i.e., from the ordinary text which he reprints from Stephens) “Galenus, ‘ton oneiron tous men theopneustous’, somniorum ea quidem quae divinitus inspirata sint, etc.”14 But this is exactly what Beck says, and nothing other, except that he adds that this form is also found in the Moscow MS. We must conclude that Hutten in looking at Beck’s note was preoccupied with Wyttenbach’s misreport of it. The upshot of the whole matter is that the reading ‘theopemptous’ was merely a conjecture of Beck’s, founded solely on his notion that ‘theopneustous’ was a purely Christian term, and possessing no diplomatic basis whatsoever. Accordingly it has not found its way into the printed text of Plutarch: all editions, with one exception, down to and including those of Dubner-Dohner (Didot’s “Bibliotheca”) of 1856 and Bernardakis (Teubner’s series) of 1893 read ‘theopneustous’.
A new face has been put on the matter, however, by the publication of 1879 of Diels’ “Doxographi Graeci,” in which the whole class of ancient literature to which Plutarch’s “De plac. philos.” belongs is subjected to a searching study, with a view to tracing the mutual relations of the several pieces and the sources from which they are constructed.15 With this excursion into “higher criticism,” into which there enters a highly speculative element, that, despite the scientific thoroughness and admirable acuteness which give the whole an unusually attractive aspect, leaves some doubts in the mind of the sober reader,16 we have now happily little to do. Suffice it to say that Diels looks upon the Plutarchian tract as an epitome of a hypothetical Aetios, made about 150 A.D. and already used by Athenagoras (c. 177 A.D.):17 and on the Galenic tract as in its later portion an excerpt from the Plutarchian tract, made about A.D. 500.18 In the course of his work, he has framed a printed a careful recension of the text of both tracts,19 and in both of them he reads at the place of interest to us, ‘theopemptous’.20 Here for the first (and as yet only21) time ‘theopemptous’ makes its appearance in the text of what we may, in deference to Diels’ findings and after the example of Gerke,22 call, at least, the “[Pseudo?-] Plutarch.”23 The key to the situation, with Diels, lies in the reading of the Pseudo-Galen: for as an excerpt from the [Pseudo?-] Plutarch the Pseudo-Galen becomes a valuable witness to its text, and is treated in this case indeed as a determinative witness, inasmuch as the whole MS. transmission of [Psuedo?-] Plutarch, so far as known, reads here ‘theopneustous’. Editing ‘theopemptous’ in Pseudo- Galen, Diels edits it also, on that sole documentary ground, in [Pseudo?-- ] Plutarch. That we may form some estimate of the likelihood of the new reading, we must, therefore, form some estimate of its likelihood in the text of the Pseudo-Galen, as well as of the principles on which the text of the [Pseudo?-] Plutarch is to be framed.
The editions of Pseudo-Galen — including that of Kuhn24 — have hitherto read ‘theopneustous’ at our place, and from this we may possibly infer, that this is the reading of the common run of the MSS.25 Diels constructs his text for this portion of the treatise from two kindred MSS. only, and records the readings of no others: as no variation is given upon our word, we may infer that thses two MSS. at least agree in reading ‘theopemptous’. The former of them (Codex Laurentianus lxxiv, 3), of the twelfth of early thirteenth century, is described as transcribed “with incredible corruptness”; the latter (Codex Laurentianus lviii, 2), of the fifteenth century, as written more carefully; both represent a common very corrupt archetype.26 This archetype is reconstructed from the consent of the two, and where they differ the preference is given to the former. The text thus framed is confessedly corrupt:27 but though it must therefore be cautiously used, Diels considers it nevertheless a treasure house of the best readings for the [Pseudo?-] Plutarch.28 Especially in the latter part of the [Pseudo?-] Plutarch, where the help of Eusebius and the other eclogoe fails, he thinks the case would often be desperate if we did not have the Pseudo-Galen. Three examples of the preservation of the right reading by it alone he hives us, one of them being our present passage, in which he follows, therefore, the reading of the Pseudo-Galen against the entire MS. transmission.
Diels considers the whole MS. transmission of the [Pseudo?-] Plutarch to take us back to an archetype of about A.D. 1000, and selects from it three codices as nearest to the archetype,29 viz., A = Codex Mosquensis 339 (nune 352) of saec. xi. or xii. (the same as the Mosq. quoted by Beck), collated by Matthaei and in places reexamined for Diels by Voelkelius;B = Codex Marcianus 521 [xcii, 7], of saec. xiv, very closely related to A, collated by Diels himself; and C = Codex Parisinus 1672 of saec. xiii. ex. vel. xin. in which is a copy of a corpus of Plutarch put together by Planudes or a contemporary. Through these three codices he reaches the original apograph which stands at the root of all the extant MSS., and from it, by the aid of the excerpts from the tract - - in our passage the Psuedo-Galen’s only — he attains his text.
His note on our reading runs thus: “‘Theopemptous’ G cf. Arist. de divinat. 2p. 463b 13: ‘theopneustous’ (A) B C, cf. Prol. p. 15.” The parenthesis in which A is enclosed means that A is here cited from the silence of Matthaei’s collation.30 The reference to the Prolegomena is to the passage already alluded to, in which the Galenic reading ‘thepemptous’ is cited as one of three chosen instances of excellent readings preserved by Galen alone. The note there runs thus: “alteri loco christiani librarii pius fraus nocuit. V. 2, 3, ‘Hrophilos ton oneiron tous men thepneustous kat’ anagken ginethai’. fuit scilicet ‘theopemptous’, quod sero intellectum est a Wyttenbachio in indice Plutarcheo. si Galenum inspexisset, ipsum illud ‘theopemptous’ inventurus erat. simili fraude versus 121 Phocylideis a Byzantinis insertus est, ubi vox illa sacra [II Tim. iii. 16] I. Bernaysio interpolationis originem manifesto aperuit.” That is to say, the reading of the Pseudo-Galen is preferred to that of the MSS., because the reading ‘theopneustous’ explains itself as a pious fraud of a Christian scribe, giving a place in the text of Plutarch to “this sacred word”—another example of which procedure is to be found in Pseudo-Phoc. 121, extruded by Bernays from the text on this very ground. On this remark, as on a hinge, turns, it would seem, the decision of the whole question. The problem of the reading, indeed, may be set forth at this point in the from of this alternative: —Which is most likely,—that ‘theopneustous’ in the [Pseudo?-] Plutarch originated in the pious fraud of a Christian scribe? —or that ‘theopemptous’ in the text of Pseudo-Galen edited by Diels originated in the error of a careless scribe?
When we posit the problem in this definite form we cannot feel at all certain that Diels’ solution is the right one. There is an a priori unlikelihood in its way: deliberate corruption of texts is relatively rare and not to be assumed without good reason. The parallel from the Pseudo-Phocylikes fails, now that it seems probable that the whole poem is of Christian origin. There seems no motive for such a pious fraud as is charged: what gain could be had from intruding ‘theopneustous’ into the Plutarchian text? and what special sanctity attached to this word? And if a sacrosanct character be attributed to the word, could it not be equally plausibly argued that it was therefore offensive to the Christian consciousness in this heathen connection, and was accordingly replaced by the less sacred ‘theopemptous’, a word of heathen associations and indeed with a secondary sense not far from “extraordinary.”31 Or if it be now said that it is not intended to charge conscious fraud, it is pertinent to ask what special associations Christians had with the word ‘theopneustous’ in connection with dreams which would cause it to abtrude itself unconsciously in such a connection. One is almost equally at a loss to account for the intrusion of the word in the place of the simpler ‘theopemptos’, whether the intrusion be looked upon as deliberate or unconscious. On the other hand, the substitution of ‘theopemptos’ for ‘theopneustos’ in the text of Pseudo-Galen seems quite readily accountable, and that whether it be attributed to the original excerpter or to some later copyist of the tract. The term was associated with dreams in the minds of all acquainted with the literature of the subject. Diels himself refers us to a passage in Aristotle where the collocation occurs,32 and familiar passages from Philo33 and the “Clementina”34 will suggest themselves to others. “God-sent dreams” must have almost had the rank of a “terminus technicus.”35 Moreover the scribe and just written the word in the immediate context, and that not without close contiguity with the word ‘oneirous’,36 and may be readily supposed to have had it still ligering in his memory when he came to write the succeeding section. In fine, the intrusion in to the text of ‘theopneustous’, a rare word and one suggested to a dull or inattentive scribe by nothing, seems far less easy to account for than the intrusion of ‘theopemptous’, a common word, an ordinary term in this connection, and a term suggested to the scribe by the immediate context. On transcriptional grounds certainly the former appears far more likely to be original—”proclivi scriptioni praestat ardua.”
The decisive consideration against ‘theopneustous’ in the mind of Diels—as it had been before him in the mind of Beck—seems to have been, indeed, nothing but the assumption that ‘theopneustos’, as a distinctively Christian word, must argue a Christian hand, wherever it is found. That, however, in our present study is precisely the matter under investigation; and we must specially guard against permitting to intrude decisively into our premises what we propose to arrive at only by way of conclusion. Whether the word be genuine in the [Pseudo?-] Plutarch or not, is just one of the most important factors in deciding whether it be a peculiarly Christian word or not. An instructive parallel may be found in the teatment accorded by some great authorities to the cognate word ‘theopnoos’ when it turned up on an inscription which seems obviously heathen.37 This inscription, inscribed (about the third century) on the face of a man-headed sphinx at Memphis, sings the praises of the sphinx’s beauty—among the items mentioned being that ‘ephuper[th]e prosopon echei to th[e]o[pn]oun’, while, below, the body is that of the lion, king of beasts. Boeckh comments on this: “Vs. 4, 5, recte legit Letronnius, qui ‘theopnoon’ money Christianum quidam sonare.” But why sould Letronnius infer Christianity from the word ‘theopnoon’, or Boeckh think it worth while to record the fact? Fortunately the heathen use of ‘theopnoos’ is beyond question.38 It provides an excellent illustration, therefore, of the rashness of pronouncing words of this kind to be of Christian origin; and suggests the hesitancy with which we should extrude such a word from the text of [Pseudo?-] Plutarch on the sole ground what it “tastes of a Christian scribe.” Surely if a heathen could invent and use the one word, he might equally well invent and use the other. And certainly it is a great mistake to look upon compounds with ‘theos’ of this kind as in any sense exclusively Christian. The long list of heathen terms of this character given by Dr. Cremer, indeed, is itself enough to indicate the heathen facility for their coinage. Many such words, we may well believe, were found by Christians ready made to their hand, and had only to be adapted to their richer useage. Ahat is mroe distinctively Christian is the parallel list of words conpounded with ‘pneuma’39 or even ‘christos’40 which were placed by their side, such as [‘pneumatikos’], ‘pneumatokinetos’, ‘pneumatophoros’, ‘pneumatemphoros’; ‘christographos’, ‘christokinetos’, ‘christoleptos’, ‘christophoros’.
As the reasons which have been determining with Diels in framing his text do not appear to us able to bear the weight laid on them, we naturally cannot adopt his text with any confidence. We doubt whether ‘theopemptous’ was the original reading in the Pseudo-Galen; we doubt whether, if that were the case, we should on that ground edit it in the [Pseudo?-] Plutarch. Our feeling is decided that the intrusion of ‘theopemptous’ into the text which originally read ‘theopneustous’ would be far more easily accounted for that the reverse. One should be slow, of course, in rejecting a reading commended by such a scholarly tact as Diels’. But we may take courage from the fact that Bernardakis, with Diels’ text before him, continues to read ‘theopneustous’ even though recognizing ‘theopemptous’ as the reading of Galen. We think we must be permitted to hold the matter still at least sub judice and to profess our inability in the circumstances to look upon the word as a purely Christian term.41 It would be interesting to know what phraseology was used by Herophilus himself (born c. B.C. 300) in the passage which the [Pheudo?-] Plutarch excerpts. But this excerpt seems to be the only source of information we have in the matter,42 and it would perhaps be overbold to suppose that the compiler had preserved the very words of the great physician. Were such a presumption deemed plausible we should be forced to carry back the first known use of the word ‘theopneustos’ to the third century before Christ, but not to a provenance other than that Alexandria where its earliest use is otherwise traceable. Perhaps if we cannot call it a purely Christian term or yet, with Dr. Cremer, an exclusively Hellenistic one, we may venture to think of it, provisionally at least, as belonging to Alexandrian Greek. Whether we should also say to late Alexandrian usage will possibly depend on the degree of likelihood we ascribe it its representing in the text of the [Pseudo?-] Plutarch an actual usage of Herophilus.
Our interest in determining the reading the [Pseudo?-] Plutarch culminates, of course, in its hearing on the meaning of ‘theopneustos’. Prof. Schulze’s remark43 that no copyist would have substituted ‘theopneustos’ here for ‘theopemptos’ if linguistic usage had attached an active sense to the former, is no doubt quite just. This is admitted, indeed, by Dr. Cremer, who considers that the scribe to whom the substitution is thought to be due “had ‘theopneustos’ in his mind in the sense of the Vulgate rendering, divinitus inspirata”; and only seeks to break the force of this admission by urging that the constant exegetical tradition which assigned this meaning to ‘theopneustos’, rests on a misunderstanding of the word and reads into it a sense derived from Alexandrian-Jewish conceptions of inspiration. This appeal from a fixed later to an assumed original sense of the word possesses force, no doubt, only in case that traces of such as assumed original sense can be adduced; and meanwhile the presence of ‘theopneustos’ as a synonym of ‘theopemptos’, even in the vocabulary of somewhat late scribes, must rank as one item in the evidence by which its meaning is to be ascertained. The whole face of the matter is changed, however, if ‘theopneustos’ be allowed to be probably or even possibly genuine in the [Pseudo?-] Plutarch. In that case it could scarcely be thought to reflect the later Christianconception of inspiration, imposed on Paul’s term by thinkers affected by Philo’s doctrine of Scripture, but would stand as an independent bit of evidence as to the original meaning of the term. The clerical substitution of ‘theopemptos’ for it under the influence of literary associations would indeed, in this case too, only witness to a synonymy in the mind of the later scribes, who may well be supposed Christians and sharers in the common conception that Christians read into ‘theopneustos’. But the implications of the passage itself would be valid testimony to the original import of the term here used. And it would seem quite clear that the implications of the passage itself assign to it a passive sense, and that a sense not very remote from ‘theopemptos’. “Herophilus says,” we read, “that theopneustic dreams” (“dreams divinely inspired,” Holland; “the dreams that are caused by divine instinct,” Goodwin), “come by necessity; but natural ones” (“natural dreams,” Holland; “the dreams which have their origin from a natural cause,” Goodwin), “from the soul’s imagery of what is fitting to it and its consequences,” etc.44 The contrast here between dreams that are ‘theopneustoi’ and those that are ‘psusikoi’, the former of which are imposed on the soul while the latter are its own production, would seem certainly to imply that ‘theopneustos’ here imports something nearly akin to “God-given,” though naturally with implications of its own as to the mode of the giving. It might be possible to read it as designating dreams that are breathed into by God, filled with His inspiration and thus made the vehicles of His message, if we otherwise knew that such is the implication of the term. But nothing so subtle as this is suggested by the language as it stands, which appears to convey merely the simple notion that theopneustic dreams differ from all natural ones, whether the latter belong to the higher or lower elements of our nature, in that they come from God and are therefore not necessarily agreeable to the soul’s own image-making faculties or the product of its immanent desires, but take form and bear a meaning imposed on them from without.
There are few other instances of the occurrence of the word which have much chance of lying entirely outside the sphere of influence of its use in II Tim. iii.16. In the first rank of these will certainly be placed the two instances in the fifth book of the “Sibyllines.” The former of these occurs in a description of the city of Cyme, which is called the “foolish one,” and described as cast down by wicked hands, “along with her theopneustic streams (‘namasi theopneustois’)” no longer to shout her boasts into the air but henceforth to remain “dead amid the Cymean streams.”45 The description skillfully brings together all that we know of Cyme — adverts to her former greatness (“the largest and noblest of all the AEolian cities,” Strabo tells us,46 and with Lesbos, “the metropolis” of all the rest), her reputation for folly (also adverted to and quaintly explained by Strabo), her present decadence, and her situation by running waters (a trait indicated also by her coins which show that there was a stream near by called Xanthus). It has been customary to understand by “the theopneustic streams” mentioned, some streams or fountains in the neighborhood known for the presumptively oracular powers of their waters.47 But there does not seem to have been preserved any notice of the existence of such oracular waters belonging to Cyme, and it makes against this assumption that the Cymeans, like the rest of the Ionians and AEolians, were accustomed to resort for their oracles to the somewhat distant Branchidae, in the south.48 It appears much more likely, then, that the streams adverted to are natural streams and stand here only as part of the rather full and very exact description of the town — the reference being primarily to the Xanthus and to it as an element merely in the excellence of the situation. In that case “theopneustic,” here too, would seem to mean something akin to “God-given,” or perhaps more broadly still “divine,” in the sense of specially excellent and desirable.
The second Sibylline passage is a portion of a lament over the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem, wherein (we are told) gold, “deceiver of the word and souls,” was not worshiped, but men “adored in sacrifices, with pure and noble hacatombs, the great Father-God of all theopneustic things.”49 Here Alexandre translates, “Qui caelestis vitam pater omnibus afflat”; and Terry, “The God and mighty maker of all breathing things.”50 And they seem supported in their general conception by the fact that we appear to have before us here only a slightly varied form of a formula met with elsewhere in the Sibyllines. Thus, a Rzach points out, we have at iii, 27851 a condemnation of those who “neither fear nor desire to honor the deathless Father-God of all men,”52 and at iii, 604, essentially the same phrase is repeated. We seem, in a word, to meet here only with the Sibylline equivalent of the Homeric “‘pater andron te theon te’.” Accordingly ‘theopneuston’ would seem to stand here in the stead of ‘anthropon’ in the parallel passages, and merely to designate men, doubtless with a reminiscence of Gen. ii. 7 — or perhaps, more widely, creatures, with a reminiscence of such a passage as Ps. civ. 30. In either event it is the creative power of God that is prominently in the mind of the writer as he writes down the word ‘theopneuston’, which is to him obviously the proper term for “creatures” in correlation with the ‘genetes theos’.
By the side of these Sibylline passages it is perhaps natural to place the line from the Pseudo-Phocylides, which marks the culmination of his praise of “speech” as the greatest gift of God — a weapon, he says, sharper than steel and more to be desired than the swiftness of birds, or the speed of horses, or the strength of lions, or the horns of bulls or the stings of bees — “for best [of all] is the speech of theopneustic wisdom,” so that the wise man is better than the strong one, and it is wisdom that rules alike in the field, the city and the sea. It is certainly simplest to understand “theopneustic wisdom” here shortly as “God-given wisdom.” Undoubtedly it is itself the inspirer of the speech that manifests it, and we might manage to interpret the ‘theopneustou’ as so designating it — “God-inspiring, God-breathing wisdom.” But this can scarcely be considered natural; and it equally undoubtedly lies more closely at hand to interpret it as designating the source of the wisdom itself as lying in God. Wisdom is conceived as theopneustic, in a word, because wisdom itself is thought of as coming from God, as being the product of the divine activity — here designated, as so frequently in the Old Testament, as operating as a breathing.
A passage that has come to light since Dr. Cremer’s investigation for this word-study was made, is of not dissimilar implication. It is found in the recently published “Testament of Abraham,”53 a piece which in its original form, its editor, Prof. James, assigns to a second- century Egyptian Jewish-Christian, though it has suffered much mediaevalization in the ninth or tenth century. It runs as follows: “And Michael the archangel came immediately with a multitude of angels, and they took his precious soul (‘ten timian autous psuchen’) in the hands in a God-woven cloth (‘sindoni theouphanto’); and they prepared (‘ekedeusan’) the body of righteous Abraham unto the third day of his death with theopneustic ointments and herbs (‘murismasi theopneustois kai aromasin’), and they buried him in the land of promise.” Here ‘theopneustos’ can hardly mean “God-breathing,” and “God-imbued” is not much better, and though we might be tempted to make it mean “divinely sweet” (a kind of derivative sense of “God-redolent ointment”; for ‘pneo’ means also “to smell,” “to breathe of a thing”), it is doubtless better to take it semply, as the parallel with ‘theophanto’ suggests, as importing something not far from “God-given.” The cloth in which the soul was carried up to God and the unguents with which the body was prepared for burial were alike from God — were “God-provided”; the words to designate this being chosen in each case with nice reference to their specific application, but covering to their writer little more specific meaning than the simple adjective “divine” would have done.
It is surely in this same category also that we are to place the verse of Nonnus which Dr. Cremer adduces as showing distinctly that the word ‘theopneustos’ “is not to be taken as equivalent to inspiratus, inspired by God, but as rather meaning filled with God’s spirit and therefore radiating it.” Nonnus is paraphrasing John i.27 and makes the Baptist say: “And he that cometh after me stands to-day in your midst, the tip of whose foot I am not worthy to approach with human hand though only to loose the thongs of the theopneustic sandal.”54 Here surely the meaning is not directly that our Lord’s sandal “radiated divinity,” though certainly that may be one of the implications of the epithet, but more simply that it partook of the divinity of the divine Person whose property it was and in contact with whom it had been. All about Christ was divine. We should not go far wrong, therefore, it we interpreted ‘theopneustos’ here simply as “divine.” What is “divine” is no doubt “redolent of Divinity,” but it is so called not because of what it does, but because of what it is, and Nonnus’ mind when he called the sandal theopneustic was occupied rather with the divine influence that made the sandal what it was, viz., something more than a mere sandal, because it had touched those divine feet, than with any influence which the sandal was now calculated to exert. The later line which Dr. Cremer asks us to compare is not sell calculated to modify this decision. In it John i. 33 is being paraphrased and the Baptist is contrasting his mission with that of Ghrist who was to baptize with fire and the Holy Spirit ‘en puri baptizon kai pneumati). He, John, was sent, on the contrary, he says, to baptize the body of already regenerate men, and to do it in lavers that are destitute of both fire and the spirit — fireless and spiritless (‘apuroisi kai apneustoisi loetrois’).55 It may indeed be possible to interpret, “unburning and unspiritualizing”; but this does not seem the exact shade of thought the words are meant to express; though in any case the bearing of the phrase on the meaning of ‘theopneustos’ in the former line is of the slightest.
Of the passages cited by Dr. Cremer there remain only the two he derives from Wetstein, in which ‘theopneustos’ appears as an epithet of certain men. To these chould be added an inscription found at Bostra, in which a certain acclesiastic is designated an ‘archiereus thepneustos’.56 Dr. Cremer himself thinks it clear that in such passages we have a passive sense, but interprets it as divinely spirited,”endued with the divine spirit,” rather than as “divinely inspired,” — in accordance with a distinction drawn by Ewald. Certainly it is difficult to understand the word in this connection as expressing simple origination by God; it was something more than the mere fact that God made them that was intended to be affirmed by calling Marcus and Antipater theopneustic men. Nor does it seem very natural to suppose that the intention was to designate them as precisely what we ordinarily mean by God-inspired men. It lies very near to sppose, therefore, that what it was intended to say about them, is that they were God-pervaded men, men in whom God dwelt in an expecial manner; and this supposition may be thought to be supported by the parallel, in the passage from the “Vita Sabae,” with ‘christophoros’. Of whom this “caravan of all theopneustics, of all his christophers,” was composed, we have no means of determining, as Cotelerius’ “Monumenta,” from which Wetstein quoted the passage, is not accessible to us as we write. But the general sense of the word does not seem to be doubtful. Ignatius, (“ad Ephes.” ix.) tells us that all Christians constitute such a caravan, of “God-bearers and shrine-bearers, holy-thing-bearers, completely clothed in the commandments of Christ”; and Zahn rightly comments that thus the Christians appear as the real “ ‘enitheoi’ or ‘enthousiazontes’, since they carry Christ and God in themselves.” Particularly distinguished Christians might therefore very properly be conceived in a supereminent sense as filled with God and bearers of Christ; and this might very appropriately be expressed by the double attribution of ‘theopneustos’ and ‘christophoros’. Only it would seem to be necessary to understand that thus a secondary and derived sense would be attributed to ‘theopneustos’, about which there should still cling a flavor of the idea of origination. The ‘theopneustos aner’ is God-filled by the act of God Himself, that is to say, he is a God-endowed man, one made what he is by God’s own efficiency. No doubt in usage the sense might suffer still more attrition and come to suggest little more than “divine” — which is the epithet given to Marcus of Scetis57 by Nicephoeus Callistus, (“H. E.,”xi, 35) —’ho theios Markos’— that is to say “Saint Mark,” of which ‘ho theopneustos Markos’ is doubtless a very good synonym. The conception conveyed by ‘theopneustos’ in this usage is thus something very distinct from that expressed by the Vulgate rendering, a Deo inspiratus, when taken strictly; that would seem to require, as Ewald suggests, some such form as ‘theempneustos’; the theopneustic man is not the man “breathed into by God.” But it is equally distinct from that expressed by the phrase, “pervaded by God,” used as an expression of the character of the man so described, without implication of the origin of this charateristic. What it would seem specifically to indicate is that he has been framed by God-made as the man as such; and the distinguished Christian as duch as much as the Christian at large; and the use of ‘theopneustos’ to describe the one or the other would appear to rest ultimately on this conception. He is, in what he has become, the product of the divine energy — of the divine breath.
We cannot think it speaking too strongly, therefore, to say that there is discoveragle in none of these passages the slightest trace of an active sense of ‘theopneustos’, by which it should express the idea, for example, of “breathing the divine spirit,” or even such a quasi-active idea as that of “redolent of God.” Everywhere the word appears as purely passive and expresses production by God. And if we proceed from these passages to those much more numerous ones, in which it is, as in II Tim. iii. 16, an epithet or predicate of Scripture, and where therefore its signification may have been affected by the way in which Christian antiquity understood that passage, the impression of the passive sense of the word grows, of course, ever stronger. Though these passages may not be placed in the first rank of material for the determination of the meaning of II Tim. iii. 16, by which they may have themselves been affected; it is manifestly improper to exclude them from consideration altogether. Even as part bearers of the exegetical tradition they are worthy of adduction: and it is scarcely conceivable that the term should have been entirely voided of its current sense, by the influence of a single employment of it by Paul — especially if we are to believe that its natural meaning as used by him differed from that assigned it by subsequent writers. The patristic use of the term in connection with Scripture has therefore its own weight, as evidence to the natural employment of the term by Greek-speaking Christian writers.
This use of it does not seem to occur in the very earliest patristic literature; but from the time of Clement of Alexandria the term ‘theopneustos’ appears as one of the most common technical designations of Scripture. The following scattered instances, gathered at random, will serve to illustrate this use of it sufficiently for our purpose. Clement of Alexandria; “Strom.,” vii. 16, section 101 (Klotz, iii. 286; Potter, 894), “Accordingly those fall from their eminence who follow not God whither He leads; and He leads us in the inspired Scriptures (‘kata tas theopneustous graphas’)”; “Strom.,” vii. 16, section 103 (Klotz, iii. 287; Potter, 896), “But they crave glory, as many as willfully sophisticate the things wedded to inspired words (‘tois theeopneustois logois’) handed down by the blessed apostles and teachers, by diverse arguments, opposing human teaching to the divine tradition for the sake of establishing the heresy”; “Protrept.” 9, section 87 (Klotz., i. 73, 74; Potter 71), “This teaching the apostle knows as truly divine (‘theian’): ‘Thou, O Timothy,” he says, ‘from a child hast known the holy letters which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith that is in Jesus Christ’; for truly holy are those letters that sanctify and deify; and the writings or volumes that consist of these holy letters or syllables, the same apostle consequently calls ‘inspired by God, seeing that they are profitable for doctrine,’ etc.” Origen: “De Principiis,” iv, 8 (cf. also title to Book iv), “Having thus spoken briefly on the subject of the Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures (‘peri tou theopneustou tes theias graphes’)”; Migne, (ii, 1276), “The Jews and Christians agree as to the inspiration of the Holy Scripture (‘theio gegraphthai pneumati’), but differ as to its interpretation”; (12, 1084), “Therefore the inspired books (‘theopneusta biblia’) are twenty-two”; (14, 1309), “The inspired Scripture”; (13, 664-5), “For we must seek the nourishment of the whole inspired Scripture (‘pases tes theopneustou graphes’); “Hom. xx. in Joshuam,” 2 (Robinson’s “Origen’s Philocalia,” p.63), “Let us not then be stupefied by listening to Scriptures which we do not understand, but let it be to us according to our faith by which we believe that ‘every Scripture, seeing that it is inspired (‘theopneustos’), is profitable’: for you must needs admit one of two things regarding these Scriptures, either that they are not inspired (‘theopneustoi’) because they are not profitable, as the unbeliever takes it, or, as a believer, you must admit that since they are inspired (‘theopneustoi’) they are profitable”; “Selecta in Psalmos,” ps. i, 3 (Migne XII, ii. 1080; De la Rue, 527), “Being about to begin the interpretation of the Psalms, we prefix a very excellent tradition handed down by the Hebrew58 to us generally concerning the whole divine Scripture (‘katholikos peri pases theias graphes’); for he affirmed that the whole inspired Scripture (‘ten holen theopneuston graphen’).... But if ‘the words of the Lord are pure words, fined silver, tried as the earth, purified seven times’ (Ps. 11. 7) and the Holy Spirit has with all care dictated them accurately through the ministers of the word (‘meta pases akribeias exetasmenos to hagion pneuma hupeobebleken auta kea ton huperton tou logou’), let the proportion never escape us, according to which the wisdom of God is first with respect to the whole theopneustic Scripture unto the last letter (‘kath hen epi pasan ephthase graphen he sophia tou theou theopneuston mechri tou tuchontos grammatos’); and haply it was on this account that the Saviour said, “One iota or one letter shall not pass from the law till all be fulfilled’: and it is just so that the divine art in the creation of the world, not only appeared in the heaven and sun and moon and stars, interpenetrating their whole bodies, but also on earth did the same in paltry matter, so that not even the bodies of the least animals are disdained by the artificer.... So we understand concerning all the things written by the inspiration (‘ex epipnoias’) of the Holy Spirit....” Athanasius (Migne, 27, 214): ‘pasa graphe hemon ton christianon theopneustos estin; (Migne, 25, 152): ‘theopneustos kaleitai’; (Bened. Par., 1777, i. 767): “Saying also myself, ‘Since many have taken in hand to set forth to themselves the so- called apocrypha and to sing them with ‘te theopneusto graphe....’“ Cyrillus Hier., “Catechet.,” iv. 33: “This is taught us by ‘hai theopneustoi graphai’ of both the Old and New Covenant.” Basil, “On the Spirit,” xxi (ad fin.): “How can he who calls Scripture ‘God-inspired’ because it was written through the inspiration of the Spirit (‘ho theopneuston ten graphen onomaxon, dia tes epipnoias tou hagiou pneumatos suggrapheisan’), use the language of one who insults and belittles Him?” “Letters,” xvii. 3: “All bread is nutritious, but it may be injurious to the sick; just so, all Scripture is God-inspired (‘pasa graphe theopneustos’) and profitable”; (Migne, xxx. 81): “The words of God- inspired Scripture (‘hoi tes thepneustou graphes logoi’) shall stand on the tribune of Christ”; (Migne, 31, 744): “For every word or deed must be believed by the witness of the ‘theopneustou graphes’, for the assurance of the good and the shame of the wicked”; (Migne, 31, 1080): “Apart from the witness of the ‘theopneuston graphon’ it is not possible, etc.”; (Migne, 31, 1500): “From what sort of Scripture are we to dispute at this time? ‘Panta homotima, kai panta pneumatika. Panta theopneusta, kai panta ophelima’“; (Migne, 31, 1536): “On the interpretation and remarking of the names and terms ‘tes theopneustou graphes’“; (Migne, 32, 228): ‘mengiste de hodos pros ten tou kathekontos heresin kai he melete ton theopneuston graphon’. Gregory Naz. (Migne, 35, 504): ‘peri tou thepneustou ton hagion graphon; (Migne, 36, 472, cf. 37, 589), ‘peri ton gesion biblion tes theopneustou graphes’; (Migne, 36, 1589), ‘tois theopneustois graphais’. Gregory Nyssen, “Against Eunom.,” vii. 1: “What we understand of the matter is as follows: ‘He theopneustos graphe’, as the divine apostle calls it, is the Scripture of the Holy Spirit and its intention is the profit of men”; (Migne, 44, 68), ‘mones tes theopneustou diathekes’. Cyrillus Alex. (Migne, 68, 225), ‘polumeros kai polutropos he theopneustos graphe tes dia christou soterias proanaphonei tous tupous’. Neilos Abbas (Migne, 79, 141, cf. 529): ‘graphe he theopneustos ouden legei akairos ktl’. Theodoret of Cyrrhus (“H. E.”, i. 6; Migne, iii. 920). John of Damascus (Migne, 85, 1041), etc.
If, then, we are to make an induction from the use of the word, we shall find it bearing a uniformly passive significance, rooted in the idea of the creative breath of God. All that is, is God-breathed (“Sibyll.” v. 406); and accordingly the rivers that water the Cymean plain are God-breated (“Sibyll.” v. 308), the spices God provides for the dead body of His friend “:Testament of Abraham,” A. xx), and above all the wisdom He implants in the heart of man (Ps.-Phocyl. 121), the dreams He sends with a message from Him (Ps.-Plut., v. 2, 3) and the Scriptures He gives His people (II Tim. iii. 16). By an extension of meaning by no means extreme, those whom He has greatly honored as His followers, whom He has created into His saints, are called God-breated men (“Vita Sabae” 16. Inscription in Kaibel); and even the sandals that have touched the feet of the Son of God are called God-breathed sandals (Nonnus), i. e., sandals that have been made by this divine contact something other than what they were; in both these cases, the word approaching more or less the broader meaning of “divine.” Nowhere is there a trace of such an active significance as “God-breathing”; and though in the application of the word to individual men and to our Lord’s sandals there may be an approach to the sense of “God-imbued,” this sense is attained by a pathway of development from the simple idea of God-given, God-determined, and the like.
It it carefully to be observed, of course, that, although Dr. Cremer wishes to reach an active signification for the word in II Tim. iii. 16, he does not venture to assign an active sense to it immediately and directly, but approaches this goal through the medium of another signification. It is fully recognized by him that the word is originally passive in its meaning; it is merely contended that this original passive sense is not “God-inspired,” but rather “God-filled” — a sense which, it is pleaded, will readily pass into the active sense of “God-breathing,” after the analogy of such words as ‘apneustos’, ‘eupneustos’, which from “ill- or well-breathed: came to mean “breathing ill or well.” What is filled with God will certainly be redolent of God, and what is redolent of God will certainly breathe out God. His reasons for preferring the sense of “gifted or filled with God’s Spirit, divinely spirited,” to “God-inspired” for the original passive connotation of the word are drawn expecially from that he thinks the unsuitableness of the latter idea to some of the connections in which the word is found. It thought that, as an epithet of an individual man, as an epithet of Scripture or a fountain, and (in the later editions of the “Lexicon” at least) especially, as an epithet of a sandal, “God-inspired” is incongruous, and something like “filled with God’s Spirit and therefore radiating it” is suggested. There is obviously some confusion here arising from the very natural contemplation of the Vulgate translation “a Deo inspiratus” as the alternative rendering to what is proposed. There is, we may well admit, nothing in the word ‘theopneustos’ to warrant the in- of the Vulgate rendering: this word speaks not of an “inspiration” by God, but of a “spiration” by God. The alternatives brought before us by Dr. Cremer’s presentation are not to be confined, therefore, to the two, “Divinely spirited” and “Divinely inspired,” but must be made to include the three, “Divinely spirited,” “Divinely inspired,” and “Divinely spired.” The failure of Dr. Cremer to note this introduces, as we say, some confusion into his statement. We need only thus incidentally refer to it at this point, however. It is of more immediate importance to observe that what we are naturally led to by Dr. Cremer’s remarks, is to an envestigation of the natural meaning of the word ‘theopneustos’ under the laws of word-formation. In these remarks he is leaning rather heavily on the discussion of Ewald to which he refers us, and it will conduce to a better understanding of the matter if we will follow his directions and turn to our Ewald.
Ewald, like Dr. Cremer, is dissatisfied with the current explanation of ‘theopneustos’ and seeks to obtain for it an active sense, but is as little inclined as Dr. Cremer to assign an active sense directly to it. He rather criticises Winer,59 for using language when speaking of ‘theopneustos’ which would seem to imply that such compounds could really be active — as if “it were to be taken as a passive, although such words as ‘eupneustos’, ‘apneustos’, are used actively.” He cannot admit that any compound of a word like ‘-pneustos’ can be really active in primary meaning, and explains that ‘eupneustos’ means not so much “breathing good,” i. e., propelling something good by the breath, as “endowed with good breath,” and expresses, therefore, just like ‘apneustos’, “breathless,” i. e., “dead,” a subjective condition, and is therefore to be compared with a half-passive verb, as indeed the word- form suggests. Just so, ‘theopneustos’, he says, is not so much our “God-breathing” as our “full of God’s Spirit,” “permeated and animated by God’s Spirit.” Thus, he supposes ‘theopneustos’ to mean “blown through by God” (Gottdurchwehet, “God-pervaded”), rather than “Blown into by God” (Gotteingewehet, “God-inspired”) as the Vulgate (inspiratus) and Luther (eingegeben) render it — an idea which, as he rightly says, would have required something like ‘theempneustos’60 (or we may say ‘theeispneustos’)61 to express it.
At first he seems to have thought that by this explanation he had removed all implication as to the origination of Schripture from the epithet: it expresses, he said,62 what Scripture is — viz., pervaded by God, full of His Spirit — without the least hint as to how it got to be so. He afterwards came to see this was going too far, and contented himself with saying that though certainly implicating a doctrine of the origin of the Scriptures, the term throus the emphasis on its quality.63 He now, therefore, expressed himself thus: “It is certainly undeniable that the new expression ‘theopneustos’, II Tim. iii. 16, is intended to say very much what Philo meant, but did not yet know how to express sharply by means of such a compressed and strong term. For ‘theopneustos’ (like ‘eupneustos’, accurately, ‘well-breathed’) must mean ‘God-breathed’ or ‘God-animated’ (Gottbeathmet, or Gottbegeistert), and, in accordance with the genius of the compressed, clear Greek compounds, this includes in itself the implication that the words are spoken by the Sprit of God, or by those who are inspired by God,” — a thing which, he adds, is repeatedly asserted in Scripture to have been the case, as, for example, in II Pet. i. 21. On another occasion,64 he substantially repeats this, objecting to the translations inspiratus, eingegeben, as introducing an idea not lying in the word and liable to mislead, affirming a general but not perfect accord of the idea involved in it with Philo’s conception of Scripture and insisting on the incomplete parallelism between the term and our dogmatic idea of “inspiration.” “This term,” he says, “no doubt expresses only what is everywhere presupposed by Philo as to Scripture and repeatedly said by him in other words; still his usage is not yet so far developed; and it is accordant with this that in the New Testament, also, it is only in one of the latest books that the word is thus used. This author was passibly the first who so applied it.” Again, ‘theopneustos’ “means, purely passively, God-sprited (Gottbegeistet), or full of God’s Spirit, not at all, when taken strictly what we call dicriminatingly God-inspired (Gottbegeistert) or filled with God’s inspiration (Begeisterung), but in itself only, in a quite general sense, God-breathed, God-inspired (Gottbeathmet, gottbegeistert), or filled with the divine spirit. In itself, therefore, it permits the most divers applications and we must appeal purely to the context in each instance in order to obtain its exact meaning.”
Here we have in full what Dr. Cremer says so much more briefly in his articles. In order to orient ourselves with reference to it, we shall need to consider in turn the two points that are emphasized. These are, first, the passive form and sinse of the word; and, secondly, the particular passive sense attributed to it, to wit: Gottbegeistet rather than Gottbegeistert,”endowed with God’s Spirit,” rather than “inspired by God.”
On the former point there would seem to be little room for difference of opinion. We still read in Schmiedel’s Winer: “Verbals in ‘-tos’ correspond sometimes to Latin Participlies in -tus, sometimes to adjectives in -bilis”; and then in a note (despite Ewald’s long-ago protest), after the adduction of authorities, “‘theopneustos’, inspiratus (II Tim. iii. 16; passive like ‘empneustos’, while ‘eupneustos’, are active).”65 To these Thayer-Grimm adds also ‘puripneustos’ and ‘dusdiapneustos’ as used actively and ‘dusanapneustos’ as used apparently either actively or passively. Ewald, however, has already taught us to look beneath the “active” usage of ‘eupneustos’ and ‘apneustos’ for the “half-passive: background, and it may equally be found in the other cases; in each instance it is a state or condition at least, that is described by the word, and it is often only a matter of point of view whether we catch the passive conception or not. For example, we shall look upon ‘dusdiapneustos’ as active or passive according as we think of the object it describes as a “slowly evaporating” or a “slowly evaporated” object — that is, as an object that only slowly evaporates, or as an object that can be only with difficulty evaporated. We may prefer the former expression; the Greeks preferred the latter: that is all. We fully accord with Prof. Schulze, therefore, when he says that all words compounded with ‘-pneustos’ have the passive sense as their original implication, and the active sense, when it occurs, is always a derived one. On this showing it cannot be contended, or course, that ‘theopneustos’ may not have, like some of its relatives, developed an active or quasi-active meaning, but a passive sense is certainly implied as its original one, and a certain presumption is thus raised for the originality of the passive sense which is found to attach to it in its most ordinary usage.66
This conclusion finds confirmation in a consideration which has its bearing on the second point also — the consideration that compounds of verbals in ‘-tos’ with ‘theos’ normally express an effect produced by God’s activity. This is briefly adverted to be Prof. Schulze, who urges that “The closely related ‘theodidaktos’, and many, or rather most, of the compounds of ‘theo-’ in the Fathers, bear the passive sense,” adducing in illustration: ‘theoblastos’, ‘theobouletos’, theogenetos’, ‘theograptos’, ‘theodmetos’, ‘theodotos’, ‘theodoretos’, ‘theothreptos’, ‘theokinetos’, ‘theokletos’, ‘theopoietos’, ‘theophoretos’, ‘theochrestos’, ‘theochristos’. The statement may be much broadened and made to cover the whole body of such compounds occurring in Greek literature. Let any one run his eye down the list of compounds of ‘theos’ with verbals in ‘-tos’ as they occur on the pages of any Greek Lexicon, and he will be quickly convinced that the notion normally expressed is that of a result produced by God. The sixth edition of Liddell and Scott happens to be the one lying at hand as we write; and in it we find entered (if we have counted aright), some eighty-six compounds of this type, or shich, at least, seventy-five bear quite simply the sense of a result produced by God. We adjoin the list: ‘theelatos’, ‘theobastaktos’, ‘theoblustos’, ‘theobrabeutos’, ‘theogenetos’, ‘theognostos’, ‘theograptos’, ‘theodektos’, ‘theodidaktos’, ‘theodmetos’,’theodometos’, ‘theodotos’, ‘theodoretos’, ‘theothetos’, ‘theodataratos’, ‘theodataskeuastos’, ‘theokeleustos’, ‘theokinetos’, ‘theokletos’, ‘theokmetos’, ‘theokrantos’, ‘theokritos’, ‘thektetos’, ‘theoktistos’, ‘theoktitos’, ‘theokubernetos’, ‘theokurotos’, ‘theolektos’, ‘theoleptos’, ‘theomakaristos’, ‘theomisetos’, ‘theomustos’, ‘theopaistos’, ‘theoparadotos’, ‘theopemptos’, ‘theoperatos’, ‘theoplektos’, ‘theoploutos’, ‘theopoietos’, ‘theoponetos’, ‘theoprosdektos’, ‘theoptustos’, ‘theorgetos’, ‘theorretos’, ‘theortos’, ‘theosdotos’, ‘theostreptos’, ‘theosteriktos’, ‘theostugetos’, ‘theosullektos’, theosumphutos’, ‘theosunaktos’, ‘theosutos’, ‘theosphragistos’, ‘theosostos’, ‘theoteratos’, ‘theoteuktos’, theoptimetos’, ‘thetreptos’, ‘theotupotos’, ‘theoupostatos’, ‘theouphantos’, ‘theophantos’, ‘theophthegktos’, ‘theophiletos’, ‘theophoitos’, ‘theophoretos’, ‘theophrouretos’, theophulaktos’, ‘theocholotos’, ‘theochrestos’, ‘theochristos’. The eleven instances that remain, as in some sort exceptions to the general rule, include cases of different kinds. In some of them the verbal is derived from a deponent verb and is therefore passive only in form, but naturally bears an active sense: such are ‘theodeletos’ (God-injuring), ‘theomimetos’ (God-imitating), ‘theoseptos’ (feared as God). Others may passible be really passives, although we prefer an active form in English to express the idea involved: such are, perhaps, ‘theoklutos’ (God- heard,” where we should rather say, “calling on the gods”), ‘theokolletos’ (“God-joined,” where we should rather say, “united with God”), ‘theopreptos’ (“God-distinguished,” where we should rather say, “meet for a god”). There remain only these five: ‘theaitetos’ (“obtained from God”), ‘theothutos’ (“offered to the gods”), ‘theorrastos’ and the more usual ‘theorrotos’ (“flowing from the gods”), and ‘theochoretos’ (“containing God”). In these the relation of ‘theos’ to the verbal idea is clearly not that of producing cause to the expressed result, but some other: perhaps what we need to recognize is that the verbal here involves a relation which we ordinarily express by a preposition, and that the sense would be suggested by some such phrases as “God-asked-of,” “God- offered-to-,” “God-flowed-from,” “God-made-room-for.” In any event, these few exceptional cases cannot avail to set aside the normal sense of this compound, as exhibited in the immense majority of the cases of its occurrence. If analogy is to count for anything, its whole weight is thrown thus in favor of the interpretation which sees in ‘theopneustos’, quite simply, the sense of “God-breathed,” i. e., produced by God’s creative breath.
If we ask, then, what account is to be given of Ewald’s and, after him, Prof. Cremer’s wish, to take it in the specific sense of “God-spirited,” that is, “imbued with the Spirit of God,” we may easily feel ourselves somewhat puzzled to return a satisfactory answer. We should doubtless not go far wrong in saying, as already suggested, that their action is proximately due to their not having brought all the alternatives fairly before them. They seem to have worked, as we have said, on the hypothesis that the only choice lay between the Vulgate rendering, “God-inspired,” and their own “God-imbued.” Ewald, as we have seen, argues (and as we think rightly) that “God-inspired” is scarcely consonant with the word-form, but would have required something like ‘theempneustos’. Similarly we may observe Dr. Cremer in the second edition of his “Lexicon” (when he was arguing for the current conception) saying that “the formation of the word cannot be traced to the use of ‘pneo’, but only of ‘empneo’,” and supporting this by the remark that “the simple verb is never used of divine action”; and throughout his latter article, operating on the presumption that the rendering “inspired” solely will come into comparison with his own newly proposed one. All this seems to be due, not merely to the traditional rendering of the word itself, but also to the conception of the nature of the divine action commmonly expressed by the term, “inspiration,” and indeed to the doctrine of Holy Scripture, dominant in the minds of these scholars.67 If we will shake ourselves loose from these obscuring prepossessions and consider the term without preoccupation of mind, it would seem that the simple rendering “God-breathed” would commend itself powerfully to us: certainly not, with the Vulgate and Luther, “God-inbreathed,” since the preposition “in” is wholly lacking in the term and is not demanded for the sense in any of its applications; but equally certainly not “God-imbued” or “God-infused” in the sense of imbued in infused with (rather than by) God, since, according to all analogy, as well as according to the simplest construction of the compound, the relation of “God” to the act expressed is that of “agent.” On any other supposition than that this third and assuredly the most natural alternative, “God-breathed,” was not before their minds, the whole treatment of Ewald and Dr. Cremer will remain somewhat inexplicable.
Why otherwise, for example, should the latter have remarked, that the “word must be traced to the use of ‘empneo’ and not to the simple verb ‘pneo’?” Dr. Cremer, it is true, adds, as we have said, that the simple verb is never used of divine action. In any case, however, this statement is over-drawn. Not only is ‘pneo’ applied in a physical sense to God in such passages of the LXX. as Ps cxlvii. 7 (18) (‘pneusei to pneuma autou’) and Isa. xl. 24, and of Symmachus and Theodotion as Isa. xl. 7; and not only in the earlies Fathers is itt used of the greatest gifts of Christ the Divine Lord, in such passages as Ign., “Eph.” 17: — “For this cause the Lord received ointment on His head, that He might breathe incorruption upon His Church (‘ina pnee te ekklesia aphtharsian’) “; but in what may be rightly called the nomative passage, Gen. ii. 7, it is practically justified, in its application to God, by the LXX. use of ‘pnoe’ in the objective clause, and actually employed for the verb itself by both Symmachus and Theodotion. And if we will penetrate beveath the mere matter of the usage of a word to the conception itself, nothing could be more misleading than such a remark as Dr. Cremer’s. For surely there was no conception more deeply rooted in the Hebrew mind, at least, than that of the creative “breath of God”; and this conception was assuredly not wholly unknown even in ethnic circles. To a Hebrew, at all events, the “breath of God” would seem self-evidently creative; and no locution would more readily suggest itself to him as expressive of the Divine act of “making” than just that by which it would be affirmed that He breathed things into existence. The “breath of the Almighty” — ‘pnoe pantokratoros’ — was traditionally in his mouth as the fit designation of the creative act (Job xxxii. 8, xxxiii. 4); and not only was he accustomed to think of man owing his existence to the breathing of the breath of God into his nostrils (Gen. ii. 7, especially Symm. Theod.) and of his life as therefore the “breath of God” (‘pneuma theion’, LXX., Job xxvii. 8), which God needs but to draw back to Himself that all flesh should perish (Job xxxiv. 14): but he conceived also that it was by the breath of God’s mouth (‘pneumati tou stomatos’, Ps. xxxiii. 6), that all the hosts of the heavens were made, and by the sending forth of His breath, (‘pneuma’, Ps. civ. 30) that the multiplicity of animal life was created. By His breath even (‘pnoe’, Job xxxvii. 10), he had been told, the ice is formed; and by His breath (‘pneuma’, Isa. xi. 5, cf. Job iv. 9) all the wicked are consumed. It is indeed the whole conception of the Spirit of God as the executive of the Godhead that is involved here; the conception that it is the Spirit of God that is the active agent in the production of all that is. To the Hebrew consciousness, creation itself should thus naturally appear as, not indeed an “inspiration,” and much less an “infusion of the Divine essence,” but certainly a “spiration”; and all that exists would appeal to it as, therefore, in the proper sense theopneustic, i. e., simply, “breathed by God,” Produced by the creative breath of the Almighty, the ‘pnoe pantokratoros’.
This would not, it needs to be remembered, necessarily imply an “immediate creation,” as we call it. When Elihu declares that it is the breath of the Almighty that has given him life or understanding (Job xxxii. 8, xxxiii. 4), he need not be read as excluding the second causes by which he was brought into existence; nor need the Psalmist (civ. 30) be understood to teach an “immediate creation” of the whole existing animal mass. But each certainly means to say that it is God who has made all these things, and that by His breath: He breathed them into being — they are all ‘theopneustoi’. So far from the word presenting a difficulty therefore from the point of view of its conception, it is just, after the nature of Greek compounds, the appropriate crystallization into one concise term of a conception that was a ruling idea in every Jewish mind. Particularly, then, if we are to suppose (with both Ewald and Cremer) that the word is a coinage of Paul’s, or even of Hellenistic origin, nothing could be more natural than that it should have enshrined in it the Hebraic conviction that God produces all that He would bring into being by a mere breath. From this point of view, therefore, there seems no occasion to seek beyond the bare form of the word itself for a sense to attribute to it. If we cannot naturally give it the meaning of “God-inspired,” we certainly do not need to go so far afield as to attribute to it the sense of “filled with God”: the natural sense which belongs to it by virtue of its formation, and which is commended to us by the analogy of like compounds, is also most consonant with the thought-forms of the circles in which it perhaps arose and certainly was almost exclusively used. What the word naturally means from this point of view also, is “God-spirited,” “God-breathed,” “produced by the creative breath of the Almighty.”
Thus it appears that such a conception as “God-breathed” lies well within the general circle of ideas of the Hellenistic writers, who certainly most prevailingly use the word. An application of this conception to Scripture, such as is made in II Tim. iii. 16, was no less consonant with the ideas concerning the origin and nature of Scripture which prevailed in the circles out of which that epistle proceeded. This may indeed be fairly held to be generally conceded.
The main object of Ewald’s earlier treatment of this passage, to be sure, was to void the word ‘theopneustos’ of all implication as to the origination of Scripture. By assigning to it the sense of “God- pervaded,” “full of God’s Spirit,” he supposed be had made it a description of what Scripture is, without the least suggestion of how it came to be such; and he did not hesitate accordingly, to affirm that it had nothing whatever to say as to the origin of Scripture.68 But he afterwards, as we have already pointed out, say the error of this position, and so far corrected it as to explain that, of course, the term ‘theopneustos’ includes in itself the implication that the words so designated are spoken by the Spirit of God or by men inspired by God — in accordance with what is repeatedly said elsewhere in Scripture, as, for example, in II Pet. i. 21 — yet still to insist that it throws its chief emphasis rather on the nature than the origin of these words.69 And he never thought of devying that in the circles in which the word was used in application to Scripture, the idea of the origination of Scripture by the act of God was current and indeed dominant. Philo’s complete identification of Scripture with the spoken word of God was indeed the subject under treatment by him, when he penned the note from which we have last quoted; and he ded not fail explicitly to allow that the conceptions of the writer of the passage in II Timothy were very closely related to those of Philo. “It is certainly undeniable,” he writes, “that the new term ‘theopneustos’, II Tim. iii. 16, is intended to express very much what Philo Meant, and did not yet know how to say sharply by means of so compressed and direct a term”; and again, in another place, “this term, no doubt, embobies only what is everywhere presupposed by Philo as to the Scriptures, and is repeatedly expressed by him in other words; yet his usage is not yet so far developed; and it is in accordance with this that in the New Testament, too, it is only one of the latest writings which uses the term in this way.”70
It would seem, to be sure, that it is precisely this affinity with Philo’s conception of Scripture which Dr. Cremer wishes to exclude in his treatment of the term. “Let it be added,” he writes, near the close of the extract from his Herzog article which we have given above, “that the expression ‘breathed by God, inspired by God,’ though an outgrowth of the Biblical idea, certainly, so far as it is referred to the prophecy which does not arise out of the human will II Pet. i. 20), yet can scarcely be applied to the whole of the rest of Scripture — unless we are to find in II Tim. iii. 16 the expression of a conception of sacred Scriputre similar to the Philonian.” And a little later he urges against the testimony of the exegetical tradition to the meaning of the word, that it was affected by the conceptions of Alexandrian Judaism — that is, he suggests, practically of heathenism. There obviously lies beveath this mode of representation an attempt to represent the idea of the nature and origin of Scripture exhibited in the New Testament, as standing in some fundamental disaccord with that of the Philonian tracts, and the assimilation of the conception expressed in II Tim. iii. 16 to the latter as therefore its separation from the former. Something like this is affirmed also by Holtzmann when he writes:71 “It is accordingly clear that the author shares the Jewish conception of the purely supernatural origin of the Scriptures in is straitest acceptation, according to which, therefore, the theopneusty is ascribed immediately to the Scriptures themselves, and not merely, as in II Pet. i. 21, to their writers; and so far as the thing itself is concerned there is nothing incorrect implied in the translation, tota Scriptura.” The notion that the Biblical and Philonian ideas of Scripture somewhat markedly differ is apparently common to the two writers: only Holtzmann identifies the idea expressed in II Tim. iii. 16 with the Philonian, and therefore pronoundes it to be a mark of late origin for that epistle; while Cremer wishes to detach it from the Philonian, that he may not be forced to recognize the Philonian conception as possessing New Testament authorization.
No such fundamental difference between the Philonian and New Testament conceptions as is here erected, however, can possible be made out; though whatever minor differences may be traceable between the general New Testament conception and treatment of Scripture and that of Philo, it remains a plain matter of fact that no other general view of Scripture than the so-called Philonian is discernible in the New Testament, all of whose writer — as is true of Jesus Himself also, according to His reported words, — consistently look upon the written words of Scripture as the express utterances of God, owing their origin to His direct spiration and their character to this their divine origin. It is peculiarly absurd to contrast II Pet. i. 21 with II Tim. iii. 16 (as Holtzmann does explicitly and the others implicitly), on the ground of a difference of conception as to “inspiration,” shown in the ascription of aspiration in the former passage to the writers, in the latter immediately to the words of Scripture. It is, on the face of it, the “word of prophecy” to which Peter ascribes divine surety; it is written prophecy which he declares to be of no “private interpretation”; and if he proceeds to exhibit how God produced this sure written word of prophecy — viz., through men of God carried onward, apart from their own will, by the determining power of the Holy Ghost72 — surely this exposition of the mode of the divine action in producing the Scriptures can only by the utmost confusion of ideas be pleaded as a denial of the fact that the Scriptures were produced by the Divine action. To Peter as truly as to Paul, and to the Paul of the earlier epistles as truly as to the Paul of II Timothy, or as to Philo himself, the Scriptures are the product of the Divnie Spirit, and would be most appropriately described by the epithet of “God-breathed,” i. e., produced by the breath, the inspiration, of God.
The entire distinction which it is sought to erect between the New Testament and the Philonic conceptions of Scripture, as if to the New Testament writers the Scriptures were less the oracles of God than to Philo, and owed their origin less directly to God’s action, and might therefore be treated as less divine in Character or operation, hangs in the mere air. There may be fairly recongnized certain differences between the New Testament and the Philonic conceptions of Scripture; but they certainly do not move in this fundamental region. The epithet “God-breathed,” “produced by the creative breath of the Almighty,” commends itself, therefore, as one which would lie near at hand and would readily express the fundamental view as to the origination of Scripture current among the whole body of New Testament writers, as well as among the whole mass of their Jewish contemporaries, amid whom they were bred. The distinction between the inspiration of the writers and that of the record, is a subtlety of later times of which they were guiltless: as is also the distinction between the origination of Scripture by the action of the Holy Ghost and the infusing of the Holy Spirit into Scriptures originating by human activity. To the writers of this age of simpler faith, the Scriptures are penetrated by God because they were given by God: and the question of their effects, or even of their nature, as not consciously separated from the question of their origin. The one sufficient and decisive fact concerning them to these writers, inclusive of all else and determinative of all else that was true of them as the Word of God, was that they were “God-given,” or, more precisely, the product of God’s creative “breath.”
In these circumstances it can hardly be needful to pause to point out in detail how completely this conception accords with the whole New Testament doctrine of Scripture, and with the entire body of phraseology currently used in it to express its divine origination. We need only recall the declarations that the Holy Spirit is the author of Scripture (Heb. iii. 7, x. 15), “in whom” it is, therefore, that its human authors speak (Matt. xxii. 43; Mark xii. 36), because it is He that speaks what they speak “through them” (Acts i. 16, iv. 25), they being but the media of the prophetic word (Matt. i. 22, ii. 15, iii. 3, iv. 14, viii. 17, xii. 17, xiii. 35, xxi. 4, xxiv. 15, xxvii. 9, Luke xviii. 31, Acts ii. 16, xxvii. 25, Rom. i. 2, Luke i. 76, Acts i. 16, iii. 18, 21). The whole underlying conception of such modes of expression is in principle set forth in the command of Jesus to His disciples, that, in their times of need, they should depend wholly on the Divine Spirit speaking in them (Matt. x. 20; Mark xiii. 11; cf. Luke i. 41, 67, xii. 12; Acts iv. 8): and perhaps even more decidely still in Peter’s description of the prophets of Scripture as “borne by the Holy Ghost,” as ‘pneumatophoroi’, whose words are, therefore, of no “private interpretation,” and of the highest surety (II Pet. i.21). In all such expressions the main affirmation is that Scripture, as the product of the activity of the Spirit, is just the “breath of God”; and the highest possible emphasis is laid on their origination by the divine agency of the Spirit. The primary characteristic of Scripture in the minds of the New Testament writers is thus revealed as, in a word, its Divine origin.
That this was the sole dominating conception attached from the beginning to the term ‘theopneustos’ as an epithet of Scripture, is futher witnessed by the unbroken exegetical tradition of its meaning in the sole passage of the New Testament in which it occurs. Dr. Cremer admits that such is the exegetical tradition, though he seeks to break the weight of this fact by pleading that the unanimity of the patristic interpretation of the passage is due rather to preconceived opinions on the part of the Fathers as to the nature of Scripture, derived from Alexandrian Judaism, than to the natural effect on their minds of the passage itself. Here we are pointed to the universal consent of Jewish and Christian students of the Word as to the divine origin of the Scriptures they held in common — a fact impressive enough of itself — as a reason for discrediting the testimony of the latter as to the meaning of a fundamental passage bearing on the doctrine of Holy Scripture. One is tempted to ask whether it can be really proved that the theology of Alexandrian Judaism exercised so universal and absolute a dominion over the thinking of the Church, that it is likely to be due to its influence alone that the Christian doctrine of inspiration took shape, in despite (as we are told) of the natural implications of the Christian documents themselves. And one is very likely to insist that, whatever may be its origin, this conception of the divine origination of Scripture was certainly shared by the New Testament writers themselves, and may very well therefore have found expression in II Tim. iii. 16 — which would therefore need no adjustment to current ideas to make it teach it. At all events, it is admitted that this view of the teaching of II Tim. iii. 16 is supported by the unbroken exegetical tradition; and this fact certainly requires to be taken into consideration in determining the meaning of the word.
It is quite true that Dr. Cremer in one sentence does not seem to keep in mind the unbrokenness of the exegetical tradition. We read: “Origen also, in ‘Hom. 21 in Jerem.’, seems so [i. e., as Dr. Cremer does] to understand it [that is, ‘theopneustos’]: — sacra volumina spiritus plenitudinem spirant.” The unwary reader may infer from this that these words of Origen are explanatory of II Tim. iii. 16, and that they therefore break the exegetical tradition and show that Origen assigned to that passage the meaning that “the Holy Scriptures breathe out the plenitude of the Spirit.” Such is, however, not the case. Origen is not here commenting on II Tim. iii. 16, but only freely expressing his own notion as to the nature of Scripture. His words here do not, therefore, break the constancy of the exegetical tradition, but at the worst only the universality of that Philonian conception of Scripture, to the universality of which among the Fathers, Dr. Cremer attributes the unbrokenness of the exegetical tradition. What results from their adduction is, then, not a weakening of the patristic testimony to the meaning of ‘theopneustos’ in II Tim. iii. 16, but (at the worst) a possible hint that Dr. Cremer’s explanation of the unanimity of that testimony may not, after all, be applicable. When commenting on II Tim. iii. 16, Origen uniformly takes the word ‘theopneustos’ as indicatory of the origin of Scripture; though when himself speaking of what Scripture is, he may sometimes speak as Dr. Cremer would have him speak. It looks as if his interpretation of II Tim. iii. 16 were expository of its meaning to him rather thatn impository of his views on it. Let us, by way of illustration, place a fuller citation of Origen’s words, in the passage adduced by Dr. Cremer, side by side with a passage directly dealing with II Tim. iii. 16, and note the result.
Here Origen is writing quite freely: and his theme is the divine fullness of Scripture. There is nothing in Scripture which is vain or empty and all its fullness is derived from Him from whom it is dipped by the prophets. Contrast his manner, now, when he is expounding II Tim. iii. 16.
It is obvious that here Origen does not understand II Tim. iii. 16, to teach that Scripture is inspired only because it is profitable, and that we are to determine its profitableness first and its inspiration therefrom; what he draws from the passage is that Scripture is profitable because it is inspired, and that though we may not see in any particular case how, or even that, it is profitable, we must still believe it to be profitable because it is inspired, i. e., obniously because it is given of God for that end.
It seemed to be necesary to adduce at some length these passages from Origen, inasmuch as the partial adduction of one of them, alsone, by Dr. Cremer might prove misleading to the unwary reader. But there appears to be no need of multiplying passages from the other early expositors of II Tim. iii. 16, seeing that it is freely confessed that the exegetical tradition runs all in one groove. We may differ as to the wieght we allow to this fact; but surely as a piece of testimony corroborative of the meaning of the word derived from other considerations, it is worth noting that it has from the beginning been understood only in one was — even by those, such as Origen and we may add Clement, who may not themselves be absolutely consistent in Preserving the point of view taught them in this passage.73
The final test of the sense assigned to any word is, of course, derived from its fitness to the context in which it is found. And Dr. Cremer does not fail to urge with reference to ‘theopneustos’ in II Tim. iii. 16, that the meaning he assigns to it corresponds well with the context, expecially with the succeeding clauses; as well as, he adds, with the language elsewhere in the New Testament, as, for example, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, where what Scripture says is spoken of as the utterance, the saying of the Holy Ghost, with which he would further compare even Acts xxviii. 25.
That the words of Scripture are conceived, not only in Hebrews but throughout the New Testament, as the utterances of the Holy Ghost is obvious enough and not to be denied. But it is equally obvious that the ground of this conception is everywhere the ascription of these words to the Holy Ghost as their reponsible author: littera scripta manet and remains what it was when written, viz., the words of the writer. The fact that all Scripture is conceived as a body of Oracles and approached with awe as the utterances of God certainly does not in the east suggest that these utterances may not be described as God-given words or throw a preference for a interpretation of ‘theopneustos’ which would transmute it into an assertion that they are rather God-giving words.
And the same may be said of the contextual argument. Naturally, if ‘theopneustos’ means “God-giving,” it would as an epithet or predicate of Scripture serve very well to lay a foundation for declaring this “God-giving Scripture” also profitable, etc. But an equal foundation for this declaration is laid by the description ot it as “God-given.” The passage just quoted from Origen will alone teach us this. All that can be said on this score for the new interpretation, therefore, is that it also could be made accordant with the context; and as much, and much more, can be said for the old. We leave the matter in this form, since obviously a detailed interpretation of the whole passage cannot be entered into here, but must be reserved for a later occasion. It may well suffice to say not that obviously no advantage can be claimed for the new interpretation from this point of view. The question is, after all, not what can the word be made to mean, but what does it mean; and the witness of its usage elsewhere, its form and mode of composition, and the sense given it by its readers from the first, supply here the primary evidence. Only if the sense thus commended to us were unsuitable to the context would we be justified in seeking further for a new interpretation — thus demanded by the context. This can by no means be claimed in the present instance, and nothing can be demanded of us beyond showing that the more natural current sense of the word is accordant with the context.
The result of our investigation would seem thus, certainly, to discredit the new interpretation of ‘theopneustos’ offered by Ewald and Cremer. From all points of approach alike we appear to be conducted to the conclusion that it is primarily expressive of the origination of Scripture, not of its nature and much less of its effects. What is ‘theopneustos’ is “God-breathed,” produced by the creative breath of the Almighty. And Scripture is called ‘theopneustos’ in order to designate it as “God-breathed,” the product of Divine spiration, the creation of that Spirit who is in all spheres of the Divine activity the executive of the Godhead. The traditional translation of the word by the Latin inspiratus a Deo is no doubt also discredited, it we are to take it at the foot of the letter. It does not express a breathing into the Scriptures by God. But the ordinary conception attached to it, whether among the Fathers or the Dognaticians, is in general vindicated. What it affirms is that the Scriptures owe their origin to an activity of God the Holy Ghost and are in the highest and truest sense His creation. It is on this foundation of Divine origin that all the high attributes of Scripture are built.
Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield (1851-1921) is widely recognized as the greatest English-speaking orthodox theologian of the early twentieth century, and perhaps of the whole century.
Born in Lexington, Kentucky, he entered Princeton College in 1868 and later graduated from the Seminary in 1876. After a brief spell of pastoral ministry in Baltimore, he taught at Western Seminary, Allegheny, Pennsylvania before succeeding A. A. Hodge as Professor of Didactic and Polemical Theology in 1887.
Warfield was a judicious and gracious preacher (“His words proceeded out of his mouth as if they walked on velvet” said F.L. Patton); but it was through his pen that he gave his lasting legacy to the church. Largely confined to Princeton because of his wife’s long-term ill health he devoted his energies to the hundreds of articles and reviews which flowed from the marriage of his fertile mind and monumental scholarship to disciplined study and research.
Always generous in his acknowledgment of God-given scholarly gifts and insights, Warfield was also devastating in his critical analysis of every misuse to which he saw such gifts being devoted. An intellectual of Olympian proportions, he commanded the respect and devotion of his peers: “Nearly everything I have done” (wrote J. Gresham Machen to his mother) “has been done with the inspiring hope that Dr. Warfield would think well if it . . . he was the greatest man I have known”. This article was first published in 1892, by the American Sunday School Union, Philadelphia, Pa.
This article is taken from The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, pp. 245-296.
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