Tuesday, July 29, 2014

More About Prayer V

To find the links for all posts in this series and then all the related posts in this series, look at the last post here.  Hopefully, your mind isn't completely made up about prayer and that you are interested in prayer.  I'm going to be on the road starting late tonight, which is why I have posted this early.  I won't have anything again at least until Sunday or Monday, but it's possible later.  Read the posts on prayer.


Related to this series on prayer, as I better understand the other primary position, one different than my own (the scriptural one :-D ), I am getting a handle on the various iterations of that position, and I'd like to talk about that.  In general, the position is that we pray for what we have faith that God can do.  If we do that, He might hear us and He will answer us with a no, maybe, or yes.  "Praying in the will of God" is praying for whatever God might permit.  It just can't be a wrong prayer, a sinful one, and if it isn't, it is in the will of God.  So you can and really should pray for whatever you want, as long as it isn't wrong and you believe God can do it.  And God can do anything.  As I read through this presentation thus far, I can see why prayers aren't criticized very much, because that position leads to a very wide latitude.

Now as someone reads the first paragraph, he might say that it isn't the actual position.  But using the very argumentation of the ones who would say it isn't, you get that as the position.  However, the iteration that modifies it slightly in a way that will fit Mark 11:24 is the following.  You are allowed to pray for whatever it is that God gives you the faith to pray for.  This is what I'm hearing.  Now, perhaps because I am not well read and I don't get out much, I had never heard that view in my entire life.  But I have a question for this most conservative version of the other viewpoint.  How do you know that God has given you the faith to pray that prayer and it isn't just something you want to pray for?

What I am saying is there is absolutely no means of verification of whether God has given you that faith or not.  As I see it, it is the sister or brother of God speaking to you.  What is the verification that God is speaking to you?  When a pastor says, "God told me," how do you know that God told him?  You just have to take his word for it.  And perhaps there are some experiential manifestations that authenticate his experience, which he can list off.

So.  The reason these men don't pray for the two blind men in our church to see is because God hasn't given them the faith to pray it.  However, God evidently has given him the faith to pray for his child with leukemia or the person in his church with a brain tumor.  You can't question it.  It just is what it is. You've got to go with that.  I don't see this as faith, but as mysticism.  It is entirely subjective and can't be questioned because it is beyond criticism.  There is little objective criteria for evaluation, only it isn't wrong to do, it's permitted to do.  You couldn't pray to sin, but outside of that, it is permissible. And if he doesn't pray for every sick person in the hospital, his out on that is that God hasn't given him the faith to pray for those things.  Subject over.  You'll have to assume he got that message from God.

"Faith" in this case is a form of extra-scriptural revelation.  Giving you the faith to pray is giving you the knowledge of who to pray for, that is, telling you who to pray for.  You aren't going to pray for everyone who is sick, so you've got to depend on God giving you the faith to do it.  Jesus said God has the power to move mountains, but how many people are praying for the men whose legs have been blown off by an improvised explosive device?  It's not that God can't replace those, so why not?

What I also see is that there is something on the degree of answer to prayer in which these who think that almost anything goes themselves will stop.   In many cases, they would say that they don't pray for new legs for a man, because that is of a category that is not normative in the era in which we live.  You can pray for a barren (infertile) woman, but she has to be in the right age category for God to answer that or give you the faith to pray it.  And all of these are God telling them what faith is and what is not. Do you see the problems here?

Someone might say, "You can't pray to consume it upon your own lusts."  OK.  But what is a prayer request that is in the category of "your own lust"?  This is almost impossible to determine when accompanied by an appropriate explanation.  Let's say you need a new car.   Can you pray for a Mercedes or are you left with a Ford Taurus and an older year of one of those if it's not "your own lust"?  I want to take people to an African country to preach on a weekly basis, so I want a passenger plane and fuel for every week.  That isn't for me.  It's for a gospel work.  It's not my own lust.  So why is it that is not a permitted prayer?  This is where we might get back to, "God hasn't given you the faith to pray for that."  The president  and his surrogates fly all over the world on someone else's tab, so it might not even be a "miracle."

Are we limiting God by asking for some of the little things we ask for?  This is where the Charismatics come through.  They do ask and suggest that everyone ask for lots of big things.  What is holding me back from praying for a church of 1,000?  But, really, why stop there?  Why can't I have a church the size of the state of California?  Is that not possible with God?  He created the world.  The answer: God hasn't directed in that way.  Why?  No explanation.  He just hasn't.  On the other hand, the Charismatics would be proud of me if I said I wanted a church the size of Joel Osteen's.  Way to go!!

And if we do venture out in a prayer that goes beyond what medicine could do (which God created, so He did that too), if it doesn't get answered, what difference does it make?  You got a no answer.  Again, the no answer doctrine, gleaned from 2 Corinthians 12 by those who take this view.  You can't hardly pray a prayer that is not in the will of God.  And faith is diminished to something based on what you were moved to do through some mystical feeling that you had.

There are many reasons why I have pointed out the trajectory of this other view, not my own, and one I see as unscriptural, from revivalism and Keswick theology.  It fits right with those.  Nudge it a little further and a person will be Charismatic.  But there are acceptable forms of revivalism and Keswick to varying degrees, sometimes heap fulls of it, among independent Baptists and fundamentalists.  Some would say that it for sure isn't that with them, because they are opposed to revivalism and Keswick.  And yet I see extra scriptural revelation and mysticism.

All of what I've talked about so far would be tempered the exact right amount by Jesus' model prayer.  I have none of those problems when I use His outline, as if what Jesus would say about prayer would be sufficient.  What other passage in the Bible do you have that actually tells us how to pray?  Jesus says some things about it.  The Apostles say some things that are not and could not be in disagreement with Jesus.  But then we have a few scattered examples, which don't have complete information.  I am one to assume those are not going to contradict the other passages.

Some have asked, "If we're praying for what we know we'll receive, how does prayer make any difference?"  James said that scriptural prayer avails much.  It does make a difference.   When I pray for wisdom, I get wisdom that I would not have already had, because God gives it to me in answer to prayer.   When I'm in temptation and I pray, I get help that I would not have received if I had not prayed, to keep me from sinning.  When I pray for those in authority, God works in a manner in which I have a more quiet and peaceable life.  When I pray for boldness in evangelism, I get boldness that I would not have had if I had not prayed.  These are God's will in the sense that He will answer them.  I know He will, and I based that on scripture.

Scriptural prayer avails much.  That particular point in James 5 describes what occurs when one prays like I'm explaining.  The unsure, uncertain prayers do not avail, even if they look like it.  I would contend that most of the unsaved people "prayed for" with these prayers do not get saved and of those with deadly diseases, they don't get healed.  I think the statistical analysis would be something not much better or worse than the statistics for Charismatics.  Something is wrong with a prayer that does not avail.  All of my scriptural prayers avail.  How do I know?  They are based on scripture and God doesn't lie.  He isn't going to heal everyone and He isn't going to save everyone, but He will do all the things He said He would do, that are a basis for our prayers.

What about the backslider?  That question was posed.  When you pray for his love to abound, does it abound?  Is he filled with the knowledge of God's will?  The backslider is a sort of keswick category of carnal Christian.  When that term is used in the Bible, it's an unsaved person.  Is there a saved backslider, a sort of Christian who lives for long periods of perpetual carnality?  Sometimes we don't know how to pray as we ought.  This is not speaking of someone who just ignores scripture.  This is talking about someone who is struggling through the categorization of a particular person.  Is he weak, feebleminded, unruly?  Has he crept in unawares?  Does his disobedience represent the inability of an unsaved person or the struggle of a saved person?   What I'm describing in this paragraph is one reason why the Holy Spirit prays for us, because He does know, when we don't.  I pray sometimes for a better understanding of how to pray, to know better how to pray.  This is not because I don't know what scripture says to pray, but because I don't know the specific need of a particular individual.  Sometimes these types of problems are because we are depending in an unscriptural way upon prayer.  Not everything is solved through prayer.  Paul kept praying for the removal of the minister of Satan sent to buffet him, but the right thing was to take care of it himself -- God's grace was sufficient.  God wasn't going to do it for him.  He was going to have to obey the means by which God accomplishes these things.

Some may want to extrapolate from the previous paragraph that it represents an uncertainty that opens the door to pray without assurance.  What we pray, we should know the Lord will answer. We know what God said he would do.  We have the Bible.  To pray with wisdom, you pray for wisdom.  He'll give it if you desire it and ask for it, but the wisdom might require you to do something other than pray.  Sometimes prayer is a cop-out, not the intended path of obedience.  That is why you are uncertain and why you can't ask in faith, believing.  Prayer isn't a brainless activity.  You've got to think about praying as you ought.  Scripture is sufficient to supply the knowledge you need, but you've got to apply it.

Surely you won't always pray a right prayer.  It won't fulfill scripture or it won't be prayed with the fulfillment of scriptural prerequisites.  Sometimes you won't pray in faith, sometimes you won't pray with the knowledge that you will receive what you are praying for, sometimes you won't pray according to God's will, sometimes you will pray to consume it upon your own lusts, and sometimes you will pray like a Pharisee, who stands on a street corner praying to be seen of men.  Sometimes you just won't pray.  However, doing it the wrong way doesn't justify more wrongdoing.  That people don't pray as they ought is not license to mimic them.

Like some depend on experience and myticism to determine what to pray for, they also decide what constitutes an answer.   To some, when a believer prays for men in authority in order to obtain peace and quiet, if he doesn't reach 100% peace and quiet, then the prayer wasn't answered.  If the prayer wasn't answered, well, then prayer is uncertain.  And if prayer is uncertain, then pray for whatever you want, except to sin, with permission.  A fraction more peace and quiet is an answer to prayer and the prayer was worth it.  I assume it.  I don't look for some external measurement, but sometimes I "see" what I believe is the answer.  The Supreme Court gave Christian businesses an opportunity for peace and quiet with the Hobby Lobby decision.  That looked like an answer to prayer to me.  My belief that God answered is not dependent on obvious measurables.  When I look for answers, I might see answers that aren't even answers, but I see them, because I want to see them.  Sometimes I think I see them, but my basis for believing they occurred is because God said they would.

The above consideration goes the other direction.  I've heard many stories about the prayer for power. People pray for power, and then they go about doing things that evidence power.  The evidence they produce authenticates the power.  They didn't get any more power, but they testify they did.  This allows experience to become authority.  This is why, again, you believe it based upon what God said, not based upon your own witness.  Can we say that we have seen answers to prayer?  Sure, but what you rely upon is scripture.

More to Come

Monday, July 28, 2014

More On Prayer IV

Related Posts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, and Parts One, Two, and Three

Announcement.  For those who read here and might be in the area, I will be preaching at Lehigh Valley Baptist Church in Emmaus, PA next Sunday, August 3.  I will be out East for the David Warner-Julianna Wilhite wedding on Friday, August 1, then at Calvary Baptist Church in Carrboro, NC, Sunday, September 21 to Friday, September 26 for a conference, and finally at Mid-Coast Baptist Church in Brunswick, Maine, Thursday, October 23 to Sunday, October 26.  I mention this so you will come if you are in the area.   For the latter two, people from other churches and pastors might attend, since they are during the week too, not just the Lord's Day.  If you have any questions, I would think that the folks at these churches could answer them.


We know biblical faith must be preceded by knowledge, but what is the knowledge?  Is it the knowledge that God can answer the prayer or that He will answer the prayer?  The model prayer of Jesus in Luke 11 and Matthew 6 contain requests that God both can and will answer -- none that He merely can answer.

"Will" has various meanings.  For instance, God is not willing that any perish (2 Pet 3:9), but that obviously doesn't mean that no one will perish.  More will perish than will not (Mt 7:13-14).  "Will" has the sense of "wish" in 2 Peter 3:9.   Because we pray for someone to be saved doesn't mean that God "will" save that person.  God is not willing that any should perish.  He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ez 18:32).  And yet they do perish and do die.  We don't know who God will save and who He won't.

So what is it that we know God wills?  We know He wills what He says He wills.  He wills what He says He will do.  For instance, He will conform every believer to His image (Rom 8:29).  We know that.  So when we pray for someone's love to abound more and more (Philip 1:9), which Paul prayed, that fits with Romans 8:29 and what we know God will do.  "Will" is what God will do, which is sovereign will.

Jesus said about prayer in Mark 11:24, "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."  I've looked at it in the Greek.  It's a good translation, so nothing there for anyone to rest his hopes that Jesus meant something different than how it reads.  When you are praying, to have what you are asking for, you have to believe that you will receive it.  It seems to me that one person provided an argument against Jesus teaching there, and, that is, the conclusion must be tempered by what Jesus said in vv. 22-23:

22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

The argument, as I would assume it, since it had not been enunciated, is that since God doesn't move mountains, that is something we can't be sure He'll do; therefore, we can pray for those things we're not sure about, and that must be taken into consideration next to v. 24.  The idea introduced here, it seems, is that we pray for things we're not sure we're going to receive, like we're not sure that mountains will be moved.

The context of Mark 11:24 doesn't change the meaning that I proposed above, the obvious meaning.  "Have faith in God," Jesus says in answer to Peter's comment about the fig tree withering.  Parallel to this Mark passage in Matthew 21, we know that the power on the fig tree from Jesus was a power of judgment, representative of Jesus' judgment on the nation Israel.  Jesus has that kind of power in His judgment.  No one should doubt His power.  He can do this.

The moving of mountains that Jesus talks about is a figure of speech, hyperbole really.  It was in common language of that day, like it continues today -- "mover of mountains."  Whatever it is that you confront as a problem, God has the power to deal with it.  But that's not all there is in this instruction. It is followed by verse 24.

Prayer is not a way to bend God around our will, but it is for us to bend around His.  We've got to believe that we will receive it.  The kingdom coming is a pretty sizable request along the lines of mountains moving, especially in light of what we know will lead into the kingdom, actual mountains moving.   God will do what He says He will do.  The fig tree withered because Jesus has that kind of power.  Israel would be judged because Jesus has that kind of power.  You can count on what He says He will do.  That's the basis of our faith.

The Church of Christ approaches the doctrine of salvation from the perspective of proof texts about baptism (cf. Acts 2:38).  A proper understanding comes from seeing everything the Bible says about prayer, especially the classic, propositional passages and primary examples, and then fitting the proof texts into those.  This is rightly dividing the Word of Truth.  We should assume that the praying of the New Testament will conform to all the teaching in the New Testament on prayer.  The baptismal regenerationists go the opposite direction, conforming the rest of the New Testament to their baptism passages.  We shouldn't reflect their hermeneutic.

Examples of prayer or statements about prayer, we should assume fit all the other teaching on prayer. One of the examples explored through a challenge in the comment section was Romans 1:10:  "Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you."  Some argued here that Paul was uncertain of a prosperous journey, as seen in the conditional aspect of the sentence.  The argument is that since he was uncertain, that means we are permitted to ask things of which we are not sure we will receive in contradiction to Mark 11:24.

Warning:  Very technical paragraph.  I pushed back a little by saying that the condition here, the "if clause," the protasis in a conditional sentence, was a first class condition, since it is the Greek ei (eipos) with the indicative.  Does doubt or certainty reside in the condition?  Those arguing for praying for the uncertain say that this clause is uncertain.  Many various conclusions are made by the most scholarly from the conditions, the protasis, of conditional sentences.  This is one of four samples of eipos in the protasis of a conditional sentence. The one here is followed by a future indicative, the only example of that, and the other three are followed by an aorist subjunctive (Rom 11:14; Philip 3:11) or a present optative (Acts 27:12).   It is difficult to compare Romans 1:10 with those three because they are a different mood.  In his Greek Grammar (p. 1024), A. T. Robertson calls Romans 1:10 a first class condition and Acts 27:12 a fourth class.   There is an ellipsis of the apodosis in Romans 1:10 that some, but not all, assume uncertainty.   Several Greek grammars have said that when the apodosis is merely implied in the context by ellipsis, it can be translated "supposing that," so "supposing that if..."

The Greek form is a first class condition, which would assume the condition to be true for the sake of argument.  Paul is making request to come to the church in Rome with the assumption that he is coming to them.  And we know that Paul does in fact make it.  Did he know that?  I think we should assume it, because he asked it.  How certain is a conditional sentence? This is where people can make hay where they want to make it.  However, one shouldn't overthrow the teaching about prayer that we know by something that is less informative, like this conditional sentence.  Don't make too much about the condition.  This is my point.

Do we have to prove that Paul was 100% certain to "prove" that we pray for what is certain?  I'm not going to base my belief and teaching on prayer on the certainty of the conditional sentence of one verse or even the potential speculations (reaches) of other verses.  Instead we should take the one verse, an example, and conform it to what we read as the teaching on prayer.  This is what I've been contending.  But instead, it seems, that men wish to find a verse of uncertainty to bank on uncertainty in the prayer.  By "will" then, it is only a wish -- they pray in the wish of God.  God wishes people to be saved, so one can then pray for an individual to be saved, even though he is uncertain God will save him.  The argument for this comes from Romans 1:10, even if that contradicts Mark 11:24.  This is faith in what God can do and not in what He will do.  I still propose, however, that we pray for what we know we will receive, what we know God will do.


Later addition, due to some curiosity.  Did Paul know he for sure would make it to Rome as a basis of Romans 1:9-10?  I had read a commentary that said about this request in Romans 1:10, "probably indicates a Divine purpose revealed," and produced Acts 19:21, which says, "After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome."  Concerning "I must see Rome," Joseph A. Alexander (1867) writes in The Acts of the Apostles Explained (p. 202), "Not to gratify a private wish and lawful curiosity, but as a part of the divine plan which he was engaged in executing." Henry Alford writes on p. 783 of his NT commentary:  "Perhaps he speaks under some divine intimation that ultimately he should be brought to Rome."  Charles Ellicott in his New Testament commentary on Acts, concerning this, wrote (p. 318):  "The Greek word, however, implies a reference to something more than human volition.  The spirit which formed the purpose was in communion with the Divine Spirit."  David Thomas in his commentary, The Acts of the Apostles (1889), writes on "I must also see Roman" (p. 333):  "Why must?  It was part of the divine plan he was engaged in executing."  John Gill in his commentary on Acts 19:21 writes:  "[I]t was the will of God that he should go there; and this he spake by a prophetic spirit, and as being under the impulse of the Spirit of God." These men in part take this from the part of the verse that says, "Paul purposed in the spirit."  He was an apostle.

More to Come.

Friday, July 25, 2014

More on John Wesley, baptismal regeneration and Arminianism

A few months ago I wrote a post entitled "John Wesley--heretic or hero?" which I also posted on my website. In that post, which got a lot of attention, I pointed out that Wesley believed in baptismal regeneration.  I also asserted that since John and Charles rejected the believer's eternal security because of their Arminianism, they could call adults who had allegedly been regenerated through infant "baptism" in Anglicanism in infancy to conversion because, if these "baptized" people lived wickedly, they had evidently lost their salvation.  I did not provide a specific quote from Wesley, at the time in that previous post, to back up this assertion.  However, it was indeed his teaching.  Here is some evidence:

[That the] privileges . . . [of] being born again . . . being the son or a child of God, [and] having the Spirit of adoption . . . are ordinarily annexed to baptism (which is thence termed by our Lord [as] . . . being “born of water and of the Spirit”) we know[.] . . . The question is not, what you was [sic; also in the following] made in baptism, but, What are you now? . . . I ask not, whether you was born of water and of the Spirit; but are you now the temple of the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in you? I allow you was “circumcised with the circumcision of Christ;” (As St. Paul emphatically terms baptism;) but does the Spirit of Christ and of glory now rest upon you? Else “your circumcision is become uncircumcision.” . . . Say not then in your heart, “I was once baptized, therefore I am now a child of God.” Alas, that consequence will by no means hold. How many are the baptized gluttons and drunkards, the baptized liars and common swearers, the baptized railers and evil-speakers, the baptized whoremongers, thieves, extortioners? What think you? Are these now the children of God? Verily, I say unto you, unto whom any of the preceding characters belongs, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the works of your father ye do.” . . . Unto you I call, in the name of Him whom you crucify afresh[.] . . .  Lean no more on the staff of that broken reed, that ye were born again in baptism. Who denies that ye were then made children of God, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven? But notwithstanding this, ye are now children of the devil. Therefore ye must be born again. . . . To say, then, that ye cannot be born again, that there is no new birth but in baptism, is to seal you all under damnation, to consign you to hell, without help, without hope. . . . You will say, “But we are washed;” we were born again “of water and of the Spirit.” So were . . . these common harlots, adulterers, murderers. . . . This, therefore, hinders not at all, but that ye may now be even as they. . . . And if ye have been baptized, your only hope is this,—that those who were made the children of God by baptism, but are now the children of the devil, may yet again receive “power to become the sons of God;” that they may receive again what they have lost[.] (Sermon 18, “Marks of the New Birth,” John Wesley, Elec. Acc. Wesley Center Online, http://wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley-the-sermons-of-john-wesley-1872-edition/sermon-18-the-marks-of-the-new-birth/)

In addition to the evidence I provided in my previous post, it should be evident from this sermon--which is found among the authoritative sermons by Wesley that were powerful, formative influences in Methodism--both that John Wesley believed in baptismal regeneration and that he called adults who did not live holy lives to conversion because they had lost the salvation they allegedly received in infant "baptism."


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

More About Prayer III

Hey, I'm done with this, and it goes together with the last one, so, hey, let's have it all here.  Go at it.  I won't be writing any more this week, but I'm guessing there might be some new comments in the comment section.


Thomas Ross's post is coming on the heels of this late edition, but someone has written along the same way of thinking here (good article on prayer).  I think you should consider it.  I don't know that he would agree with these articles that I have written, but I agree with his.


Some I've heard equate not praying for an unsaved person's salvation to not caring for the lost.  They treat that equation like it's an argument.  I consider this a form of sentimentalism.  Obeying the Bible pins the needle on love.  You can't love more than the love of obedience to Scripture.  But that's the "Christian world" we live in, one where you have to convince people that God is more loving than they are.  Will more people be saved if we pray an unscriptural prayer?  Does more of anything unscriptural or even non-scriptural help more in any way?

I'm continuing this series on prayer, and you'll find links above the last post.  I began dealing with the following points:  the prayer for healing, the prayer for an unsaved person to be saved, faith and the will of God and prayer, again, and then last explore a little history.  We're to the second of these.

Can God heal people?  Yes.  Can God save people?  Yes.  Will He heal everyone and save everyone? We know He won't.  Who will He?  We don't know.  Do we need to know in order to pray that prayer?

I'm going to get to more about this in weeks to come, but I remind you that Jesus said this in Mark 11:24:

What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

We have the model prayer.  We have that verse.  As it relates to interpretation of the Bible, I apply the following statement:  When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.   We should look at what Jesus said to do.  We shouldn't be going out of our way to discover a nuance from a statement that will change what Jesus said to do.

The Prayer for an Unsaved Person to Be Saved

Four arguments come to mind that I've read defending the praying for someone to be saved.   These have made their way into the comment section:  (1)  Moses' prayer for Israel in Exodus 32:11-14, (2) the "Father, forgive them" of Jesus and Stephen, (3)  Paul's instruction in 1 Timothy 2:1-4, and (4) the Apostle Paul in Romans 10:1.

Again, if we were supposed to be doing this, it would seem that this teaching would be more plain than what people use for this practice that often makes up pages of church prayer lists.  What justifies that? When churches and believers don't actually follow the model of Jesus, but do vocalize name after name in these various categories, something has gone awry, could we not admit?  But let's look at the arguments that open the door for this practice, that make it permissible with really no criticism.  I think most men are just happy someone is on his knees and his mouth is moving, pronouncing prayer cliche after prayer cliche.

(1)  I'm arguing this, because it is used as an argument.   I fully understand someone not wanting this used as one of the arguments though.  It looks very much like our dealing with Old Testament examples in the prayer for healing.  Moses prays a scriptural prayer.  He relies on and even quotes the Abrahamic covenant as a basis of his intercession.  On top of this, we're talking here about physical preservation of a people, not spiritual salvation.  There is a physical component to everyone's salvation, because saved people inherit a real, physical millennial kingdom, saved through real bodily resurrection.  But Moses' prayer was based on a promise to Israel that we don't have.  We should move on.

(2)  Jesus said, "Father, forgive them," from the cross in Luke 23:34.  Stephen cried, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge," while being stoned to death in Acts 7:60.  Some have argued those are prayers for salvation, perhaps because to them they don't make sense any other way.  How can someone be forgiven without repenting?  And there is no forgiveness without conversion.  That represents the way of thinking, I believe.  Since every prayer of Jesus is answered, then His prayer for their conversion is answered.  Therefore, this argues for praying for individual conversions.

When I have heard the prayer of Jesus on the cross used as an argument for praying for conversion, the argument is that we know in fact people who were there do get saved.  You've got the centurion at the cross (Matthew 27:54).  In Acts 6:7, we read that a great number of priests were converted.  Of course, there were all those people saved on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.  When Jesus says "them," according to this argument, He is talking about the selective individuals who do get saved and not the ones who don't.  Only the saved ones are forgiven.  Does it read like that?

Could everyone admit that these two texts don't read as a prayer for conversion?  Could everyone at least admit that almost no one (I've never heard it) uses this type of language when they are praying for the conversion of someone?  But I'm still going to argue it.

Luke 22:34 reads in the following way, as I read it.  You've got lost soldiers crucifying Jesus. Omniscient Jesus says they know not what they do.  The prayer is connected to "they know not what they do."  You can't remove "Father, forgive them" from "they know not what they do."  They are following orders.  They are not adequately enlightened spiritually and theologically, no Old Testament scholars or students of the teachings of Jesus.  They were crucifying Jesus out of ignorance.  In His righteous forbearance, Jesus intercedes for the soldiers similarly to Moses' intercession for Israel. This is a very specific forgiveness to allay the wrath of God the Father against these men.  Jesus wanted them spared at this time, not for all of eternity.  Ignorance does diminish guilt, not completely but enough that God in compassion could overlook it or wink at it in the short term for this specific act (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:8).  That makes far more sense.  The prayer reveals the forbearance of the Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of utmost pain. We shouldn't be reading further into it than that.

Stephen's prayer was like Jesus'.  I believe he was being similarly forbearing and the same explanation is the best explanation.  In a sense, ditto the last paragraph for Stephen.  He followed the example of Jesus in his own death.

(3)  1 Timothy 2:1-4 reads:

1  I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;  2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Here is a passage that says to pray for lost people.  I haven't argued against praying for the lost.  The lost fit under the category of "all men" in v. 1.  The general "all men" transitions to the specific, "for kings, and for all that are in authority," in v. 2.  For what purpose do we pray for our governmental rulers?  A hina clause shows the purpose, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life."  Proverbs 21:1 reads, "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD."  We have examples of that all through the Old Testament.  One that comes to mind is Esther 6:1ff, where the king reads the books of the chronicles and finds out that Mordecai had saved his life.  God uses this to save Israel.

Our prayers for governmental authorities, including unsaved ones, is so that we will have the freedom to live our Christian lives in a peaceful way.   In this country, the Supreme Court can make a ruling that will allow Christians to live according to their convictions.  Praying has an impact on that.  We can know that it is affecting the ones for whom we pray.  I don't believe it means that we'll have the government we want, but it does help.

Some have connected vv. 1 and 2a with v. 4 to say that the praying for all men and for kings and for those in authority is for those latter people's salvation.   They say these verses teach that we pray for men to be saved.  If these verses were to say that, it would have been easy for them to say that.  There is a way to say that, which makes it easy to understand that's what these verses are saying, but they don't say that. Our being able to live godly and honest lives in a peaceable way is not salvation.

I believe there is an evangelistic purpose communicated here.  When Christians are more free to evangelize, because they are not hindered from doing so by government, this being part of living godly and sincere, then more people might get saved.  We want to keep preaching the gospel and not be stopped by the government from doing that, so let's pray for the government to preserve that freedom as much as possible.  You can't disconnect evangelism from the godly living of a Christian.  That's why we have v. 4 like we read it.

Verse 4 is not a prayer for people to be saved.  It is connecting evangelism to the godly living that is enabled by the government refraining from interfering with evangelism so much.  Prayer can turn the heart of the king and rulers toward allowing evangelism.  There are prayers like this that we can pray for lost people.  God won't make them get saved, but He will intervene in their decision making in favor of Christians in answer to their prayers.

When v. 3 says "for" (gar), some, such as Albert Barnes, say, "That is, it is good and acceptable to God that we should pray for all men."  So Barnes skips what is closest in proximity -- the kings, the authority, the ability to live godly and sincere Christian lives in peace -- to get to "pray for all men."  If these verses were to tell us to pray for all men to be saved, they could have said, "pray for all men to be saved," but they don't.  They say, 'pray for all men, and in particular, pray for governmental powers, so that we church members, believers, can live out our Christian lives as freely as possible.'

Evangelism is a motivation to pray for men.  I don't want a law passed by state or local government that says I can't go door-to-door preaching the gospel.  I don't want the police arresting Christians for telling someone he's a sinner.  I don't want confrontation of a homosexual for his eternal soul to be judged by our state authorities to be criminal hate speech.  This is how the prayer of vv. 1-2 relates to the salvation of v. 4.  It isn't teaching us to pray for an individual to be saved.

(4)  Romans 10:1 says,

Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

In Romans 10, Paul is answering the argument that he doesn't care about Israel and doesn't care about Israel's salvation.  Paul himself gives several arguments for why that isn't true.  He says that the real reasons why are because these people of Israel are ignorant and rebellious.  He says that it isn't because the plan of salvation isn't accessible or easy.  It is both.  It is nigh unto them.  It's easy to understand.  You confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and so forth.  But before he gives those arguments, he makes one simple argument.  You can't say Paul doesn't care if Israel is saved, because it is his "desire and prayer to God for Israel...that they might be saved."

First, this doesn't read like a prayer for someone to be saved.  His prayer isn't that Jethro or Saul or Benjamin or Rachel might be saved, but that Israel would be saved, they might be saved.  A literal translation of this verse could be:

Brethren, in contrast to what you are saying the good pleasure of my heart and the prayer which (is) to God concerning Israel is unto salvation.

Paul's desires and prayers were in the direction toward salvation concerning Israel.

Will Israel be saved?  Yes.  There are many promises in the Old Testament that Israel will be saved.

Isaiah 10:22 For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
Isaiah 45:17 But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.
Isaiah 59:20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.
Jeremiah 33:16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness. 

In the next chapter, Paul writes (11:26),

And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

Paul could pray for Israel to be saved, because God promised that Israel would be saved.  The disciples could pray for the Holy Spirit to come (Luke 11:13), because Jesus had promised the Holy Spirit would come.  We can pray for the kingdom to come, because the kingdom is promised to come.

Someone has said that Paul isn't praying for the future salvation of Israel, but for the present salvation of Israel.  10:1 says literally "unto salvation" (eis soterian).  We shouldn't be reading the present salvation of individual Israelites from Paul's prayer.  His prayers are in tune with what God is going to do in the end, save Israel.  Israel shouldn't think otherwise.  This is not a 'pray for individuals to be saved' verse in its context.

So What Are Evangelistic Prayers in the New Testament?

First, Luke 10:2:  "pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest."  The tares are going to be separated from the wheat, judgment is coming, so we should pray that God would send laborers into that harvest, the implication being evangelism.  That's a good prayer. Are you praying that?

Second, pray like Paul asked for prayer in Ephesians 6:19-20:

19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Pray for utterance.  Pray that I might open my mouth boldly (this fits Acts 4:31, praying and then speaking the Word of God boldly, characteristic of Christians who are filled with the Spirit).  Pray that I make known the gospel.  Pray that I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.  Are you praying that?

Third, pray like Paul asked for prayer in Colossians 4:3-6:

3  Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: 4  That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Pray for a door of utterance to be opened.  Pray that I may make it manifest as I ought to.  Pray that I use my time wisely in evangelizing.  Pray for my speech in evangelism.  Pray that I would know how to answer every man.  Are you praying that?

In addition to these, I pray for wisdom.  I pray for Holy Spirit conviction, because I know He will convict -- Jesus said He would.

We won't see more people saved praying prayers not in scripture.  We won't see less people saved by praying prayers we do see in scripture.  It is my opinion that people don't want to pray scriptural prayers, because they don't like them.  They would rather pray for someone to be saved, sort of like Paul would rather pray for God to take away the thorn in the flesh.

God is not going to save everyone.  Few there be that find the narrow way that leads to life eternal. Few there be that be saved.  Jesus dusted His feet of an entire Samaritan town, and surely there were others like them.  But the way He does save is through the preaching of the gospel.  When we pray for boldness and doors to be open, then we can preach the gospel and that is in fact the power of God unto salvation.  Are you praying for boldness, or do you not like boldness?  Maybe you like to be tentative and instead pray that people will be saved, perhaps through some other means than boldness?

Praying for Your Own Children

I added this section because someone asked about it.  Should we pray for our own children to be saved?  I didn't pray for my children to be saved.  I prayed for the wisdom to be clear.  I prayed for understanding -- that's a biblical prayer (Colossians 1:9).  What is sufficient for children to be saved? 2 Timothy 3:15:

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

If you want your children to be saved, teach them until they know the holy scriptures.  The Bible is sufficient for this.  Many parents depend on someone else for this and put little time into it.  The word "knowledge" is deep knowledge.  Israelite children were taught Leviticus and Numbers.  Ours get pictures and little diddies.

More to Come

Monday, July 21, 2014

More About Prayer II

Related Links to this Post So Far -- Here, Here, Here, Here,and Here.

For what I believe about prayer, Jesus' model prayer in Matthew 6 and Luke 11 holds a tremendous amount of weight for me.   When we go to examples in the New Testament, we shouldn't expect a contradiction.  These point-blank tell us what Jesus wanted us to pray.  We have a strong position to harmonize examples elsewhere with what we read there. The absence of praying for healing and praying for the lost there in Jesus' model prayer should be tell-tale to us.  I say that in part because I'm quite confident that if you examined the prayer lists of churches across the country, they are filled with a long list of names of selective sick or dying to be healed and then as long a list of unsaved people to be prayed by name to be saved.  Neither of those two, however, are in the model prayer.

I remember myself laying the prayer list before me, many years, and praying for name after name after name for hours and days and weeks without thinking whether that was a biblical prayer or not.  I assumed it was because I thought I saw others doing it and heard others encourage it.  Since I have been a pastor, I have been invited many times to pray for a very sick or dying person. There is no more difficult prayer, because I have zero model in the Bible as a basis for praying it.  It is like wandering through a jungle in pitch darkness.  I have no scriptural guidance for that prayer.  I have compared it to a full court heave.  I have seen people leave the hospital and I have seen them die. Both.

As a person analyzes the above prayer, they would pray the prayer, because they would say it is God's will to heal.  Then when the person dies, they would say that God didn't heal because it wasn't in His will to heal.  So which is it?  Is it His will or is it not His will?  One might say that thankfully at that time, few to none ask that question later, give it too much analysis, perhaps taking as God's will the verse, "it is appointed unto men once to die."  They are not thinking about God's will.  They just want someone healed.

Prayer in these situations is a "try."  It is worth a "try."  People praying are "trying to see if God will heal someone."  Now if He doesn't, they say it was a "no answer."  Should the people whose relative died perhaps breathe a sigh of relief over getting an answer from God, the "no answer"?  That's actually how they found out God's will, was in the death.  But aren't we supposed to know before the death, when people are still praying?  Or do we always find out God's will afterwards?  Scripture says "pray according to God's will," but you can't know it, so you just pray the prayer anyways, and then find out later if it was God's will.  He lived, "God's will"; he died, "not God's will."  This is not how the passages read, which is why I don't believe we see this prayer in the model prayer or in any prayer that the Apostle Paul prayed in the New Testament.  Neither did Paul say to pray for people to be healed in all of his teaching.

I mentioned that faith is based on knowledge, so faith is certainty or assurance.  I talked about notitia. Again, I'm preaching through John right now, and word after word, line after line, paragraph after paragraph, page after page, is providing evidence to believe.  As I write this, tomorrow I start to preach three short vignettes in the second half of John 2 that point to the power and omniscience of Jesus in actual, concrete examples to evince His deity.  The religious leaders reject the evidence and require more from him, something astronomical, even as they are evil and adulterous.  Someone reported in a comment that notitia is all about saving faith.  Other faith does not require that knowledge.  Someone else said it was just faith in what God could do.  You don't know that He will, just that He could.  The knowledge for faith comes from scripture and we base what we pray for on scripture.

This brings me back to the model prayer.  The model prayer, again, is about what God wills.  It centers on God.  It aligns us with God.  How do we know what He will do?  Notitia.  We have knowledge of that.  Prayer has become for awhile more about our feelings than about God's will.

I want to start with the prayer for healing, move to the prayer for an unsaved person to be saved, from there go to faith and the will of God and prayer, again, and last explore a little history.

The Prayer for Healing

The prayer for healing centers on five arguments that I can see.  If you google prayer for healing, you will hardly stop getting Charismatic sites telling you all about it.  The five arguments I saw from those who would profess not to be Charismatic are (1) the command to pray in everything, (2) Old Testament prayers, (3) Zacharias, (4) Paul's thorn in the flesh, and (5) James 5.

(1)  We should pray "in" everything.  When someone is "in" sickness, he should pray.  When "in" the midst of others who are sick, we should pray for those people.  That doesn't require praying for someone to be healed.  This is very weak.

(2)  People have given examples of Hezekiah and Hannah.   Hezekiah could be a whole paper.  He was dying "young," and he got a longer life, i.e., he was healed.  I see this OT example as related to quite a few Old Testament promises that make it a unique situation that doesn't apply to us.  It is unique in the Old Testament, and as a king in his position, he based that prayer, I believe on passages like Deuteronomy 4:39-40 and Psalms 26 and 34.  At that moment, Hezekiah had no one to set on the throne of David.  There was something unique to the era, the nation, and the king.  I don't believe it is normative.  We can't use the same reasoning for a prayer to add 15 years to our own life.

For Hannah, the list is longer:  Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, Manoah’s wife, and Hannah.  I would add a ditto to some of what I said about Hezekiah, and in addition, Numbers 5:28, Deuteronomy 7:14-15, Psalm 113:9, etc., with the nature of barrenness in the nation Israel.   The repeated fulfillment of these prayers for and from barren women point to the ultimate restoration and bounty of the nation and land of Israel (cf.  Isaiah 49:21; 54:1).  Again, I don't see the prayer for a child to be normative for the age in which we live.

God made promises to the nation Israel.  He would bless them, make them a great nation.  Bearing children was related to the covenant.  They weren't becoming a great nation without multiplication. We see this with Eve when she said that she got a man from the Lord.   A corollary to the Abrahamic covenant is the Mosaic covenant, which promised physical blessing to obedience.  Women bearing miracle children becomes a part of the Old Testament story.

This long list of barren women having children stems out of the very first, Sarah.  Her child birth was an obvious fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant.  This was not normative.  These were all special situations with children that play a unique place in the nation Israel.  You can add John the Baptist. These were part of the story of God's sovereign and providential hand with His nation, His people, fulfilling His covenant.  These are unique situations.  These are not some kind of guarantee or promise to someone in the era in which we live that we have a similar interest or promise.  We are not building up the nation Israel to make it like the sands of the seashore.

Does God promise these child births to the church?  No.  Does He promise these child births to America?  No.  Could an infertile woman or couple have a child?  I'm sure God could, has the power, to do that.  He did it in scripture again and again.  The question here is if we should pray that prayer without the same promises that God gave Israel?  I don't see that taught in the New Testament.  That doesn't mean that God doesn't care for today's woman, who wants to have a child.  The couple should do everything they can do and leave it in the hands of the Lord.  God does care for them, but there is no biblical basis to expect a child will be born.  Some might think that sounds cold. God is a good God and His providential hand can and will move for child birth and sometimes against it.  We are content with what He does.

(3)  I would argue Zacharias very much like (2) above and the barrenness of Old Testament women related to the nation Israel.  I'm not saying they didn't pray, but the Old Testament promises differed.  For (2) and (3), I could still preach on scriptural prayer, but that the same prayer is no longer scriptural for us.  Daniel would not defile himself with the king's meat (Daniel 1).  The same meat would not necessarily defile us today.  However, the application stands.

The temple is a house of prayer.  I consider 2 Chronicles 6:14ff and Solomon's prayer in the temple for God to hear the people of Israel there in prayer during times of physical need.  Solomon's prayer was for prayers to be heard in these physical situations that do relate to the nation Israel.  The language of "thy prayer is heard" (Luke 1:13) hearkens to Solomon's prayer.  As a true believer and repentant, God heard the prayer of Zacharias at the temple.  Obviously this was also a fulfillment of prophecy with John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus, as well, entering an era of miracles from the birth of John to Jesus through the Apostles.

(4)  I believe Paul's "thorn" (in 2 Corinthians 12) was a stake in his unredeemed fallenness ("the flesh") to keep him humble from the pride over trips to heaven and such.  This tool of humility, as is often the case, was a messenger from Satan, a false teacher that was allowed in the church of Corinth. One can creep in unawares (Jude 1:4).  Rather than God just removing this person, God gave Paul the grace to do that himself. He outlines how he will do that later:  call on the person to repent and if not visit and then practice church discipline.  We aren't taught to pray for healing in 2 Corinthians 12.  Even if the "thorn in the flesh" was sickness, God said that His grace was sufficient.

(5)  I've already dealt with James 5 in a separate post.  For most, this is actually their proof text for praying for healing.  Even if it did teach that, which I'm going to help us understand that it doesn't, this is very, very much not an emphasis in the New Testament.  Paul didn't pray for Timothy to be healed when he was sick.  He didn't pray for Trophimus or Epaphroditus, but left them sick.  He didn't ask people to pray for them to be healed, when they were sick.  Curious if this is what we're taught to do in the Bible.  I'm going to try to add a little to the James 5 post I've already linked to, without overlapping too much.  At the outset, however, again, if James 5 is talking about praying for healing, it talks about prayer for healing in a different way than it is even practiced in most churches.  Even in churches where prayers for healing were practiced, what I read in James 5 wasn't, if that is what is happening.  It likely is in some places, but I never saw it once.

At the beginning of James 4, we are not to look at prayer as a way of getting things, fulfilling our own desires.  This also fits with the model prayer.  As the chapter and the next (James 5) move along, we submit to the Lord and wait on God for the results, not presumptuous, saying, if the Lord will, I will live or die -- in essence recover or not recover.  The world lives for now and we live for eternity, waiting our way through this life's difficulties.  The world kills the just, accepting it's reward in this age, but the believer, like a farmer, waits for the next, like the prophets, suffering through affliction. When this affliction comes, like Paul talked about in 2 Corinthians 12, we don't pray for it to disappear, because we know better.  His grace is sufficient.  When it doesn't come, we sing.

You can read the linked article above.  The word "sick" in "the prayer of faith shall save the sick" is kamno, a word used two other times, translated "wearied" in Hebrews 12:3 and "fainted" in Revelation 2:3, both contexts of going through hard times and difficulties for doing work for the Lord, which also fits the context of James 5.

In v. 15, the person is raised up spiritually, delivered to a place where he is whole spiritually, whatever sins were there are now confessed and repented of and forgiven.  The effects of his affliction are over. He has been saved from that.  This man was encouraged and delivered from a bad spiritual condition in part through a means of prayer.  Prayer availed here in this case.  Someone spiritually parched received spiritual sustenance by means of prayer, like the rain came from the means of Elijah's prayer.

I've read over 15 different total interpretations of James 5, like I've read even more of Paul's "thorn in the flesh."  We should not be conforming the rest of the New Testament to these passages, but fitting them into the rest of the New Testament.  We shouldn't be finding something new and unique from them that isn't a regular teaching of the rest of the New Testament.  I'm not saying they can't be understood.  I am saying that we should look at the less easier understood in light of the more easier understood.

We pray for the sick.  But what would that prayer look like?

Dear Father,

We ask that your mercy would be exalted.  You are a merciful, good, and loving God.  We don't deserve another breath. If we received what we deserved, we would be in hell right now.  Every breath we draw is because of your mercy.  Our brother or our sister is in pain.  He or she is suffering.  You are an omniscient God. You know all, the very secrets of our heart, the very hairs of our head.  You know this sickness.  We depend on you.  We ask that you will be glorified and exalted through his or her life in this time of sickness.  If this is the time of his or her departure, you have been good.  We pray that you will be exalted for your love and goodness and graciousness.  We resign ourselves to your will.  We pray for your will to be done.   We trust you -- your wisdom, your love, your strength.

Help our brother.  Help our sister.   Strengthen his or her faith.  Help him or her in this time to testify to your mercy, to be filled with your will, not his or her own.  I pray that his or her love for you would grow through this testing.  We trust your purposes.  You know best.

We pray that the love of our church will grow in its concern for our brother or sister in this time of sickness and suffering.  We ask that you would work on behalf of our brother or sister in the lives of the other church members.  We pray for his or her family, that.....

I'm not saying that's all there is to it, but it is an example of praying for the sick without praying for physical healing.  I believe God will answer the above prayer.  I believe that when I pray it, I will receive that for which I have been praying.  The prayer centers on God and it is according to His will.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Are Accurate Copies and Translations of Scripture-Such as the KJV-Inspired? A Study of 2 Timothy 3:16, part 4

Some have alleged that the grammar of 2 Timothy 3:16 requires a restriction of the Theopneustos of 2 Timothy 3:16 to the original manuscripts because of an alleged distinction in 2 Timothy 3:15-16 between the words grammata and graphe.  One word supposedly speaks of the autographs, and the other word of copies. It is difficult to determine how exactly this argument is supposed to work, but, in any case, it is invalid, since both words are used for copies.
For example, grammata is used of copies:
John 5:47 But if ye believe not his writings [grammata], how shall ye believe my words?
They Jews of the first century only had copies of Moses’ writings, obviously.
The word is also used of copies, and with semantic overlap with graphe, in early extra-Biblical patristic works:
Irenaeus, Against Heresies I:20:1 Besides the above [misrepresentations], they adduce an unspeakable number of apocryphal and spurious writings, which they themselves have forged, to bewilder the minds of foolish men, and of such as are ignorant of the Scriptures [grammata] of truth.
Justin, Dialog with Trypho 29: For these words have neither been prepared by me, nor embellished by the are of man; but David sung them, Isaiah preached them, Zechariah proclaimed them, and Moses wrote them Are you acquainted with them, Trypho? They are contained in your Scriptures [grammata], or rather not yours, but ours. For we believe them; but you, though you read them, do not catch the spirit that is in them.
Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 70: Moreover, these Scriptures are equally explicit in saying, that those who are reputed to know the writings of the Scriptures [here both words together, ta grammata twn graphon], and who hear the prophecies, have no understanding.
Theophilus of Antioch, to Autolycus 3:29 These periods, then, and all the above-mentioned facts, being viewed collectively, one can see the antiquity of the prophetical writings [grammata] and the divinity of our doctrine, that the doctrine is not recent, nor our tenets mythical and false, as some think; but very ancient and true.
Graphe is also used of copies of Scripture:
Matthew 21:42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures [graphe], The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
The book that the Lord Jesus’ audience would hold in its hands and read was a graphe.
John 5:39 Search the scriptures [graphe]; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
Early patristic writings also use graphe for copies.  One easy example is:
1 Clement 53:1 For you know, and know well, the sacred scriptures [graphe], dear friends, and you have searched into the oracles of God. We write these things, therefore, merely as a reminder.
Here the copies that Clement’s audience, the Church at Corinth, was examining were the sacred/holy scriptures.  The Greek of 1 Clement 53:1 is tas hieras graphas, almost identical to 2 Tim 3:15’s ta hiera grammata.  If there is some sort of technical distinction between the words so that only either graphe or grammata refers only to the autographs, the distinction was lost already in what is likely the earliest extant Christian document after the composition of the New Testament, 1 Clement, which was written by the man who appears to have been the Baptist pastor of the church at Rome around the turn of the 1st century.[xv]  As noted above, grammata/graphe are also found together as early as Justin Martyr’s Dialog with Trypho 70, c. A. D. 120 or before.  Moreover, these early texts use both grammata and graphe for copies of the Scriptures, rather than restricting the words to the autographs.
Thus, it is difficult to know which word, gramma or graphe, is the one that is supposedly the technical word for the autographs, and why one must believe the one or the other word constitutes such a technical reference in2 Timothy 3:15-16.  The plain teaching of 2 Timothy 3:16 is that accurate copies of the Bible have the breath of God upon them in the same way that the original manuscripts did.
            On a concluding note, when this author made a cursory examination of Baptist confessions and similar material, there appeared to be no hesitation in employing the word inspiration for copies or for accurate translations.  For example:
“And no decrees of popes or councils, or writings of any person whatsoever, are of equal authority with the sacred scriptures. And by the holy scriptures we understand, the canonical books of the Old and New Testament, as they are now translated into our English mother tongue [the KJV, as is evident from both the time of the confession and the references and allusions to verses in the document], of which there hath never been any doubt of their verity and authority in the protestant churches of Christ to this day. . . . all which are given by the inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life. (Article 37, An Orthodox Creed, 1678, quoted in Underhill,Confessions of Faith and Other Public Documents).
The Charleston Association of Baptist Churches in their 1802 circular #9, “On the Duty of Churches to their Ministers” (cited in Furman, A History of the Charleston Association of Baptist Churches) wrote, “We conclude in the language of inspiration—“Live in love and peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”  Note that the “language of inspiration” is the KJV.
            There did not appear to be any confession that either denied that the breath of God was in copies or accurate translations, or that made some sort of distinction between gramma and graphe in 2 Timothy 3:15-16.
            Scripture teaches that inspiration is a quality that pertains to all that is appropriately called Scripture.  Since original language copies are properly considered Scripture, they are properly termed inspired.  Since, in a derived sense, the Bible, when accurately translated, is still properly termed Scripture, the Word accurately translated is, in a derived sense, properly termed inspired.  Therefore, it is proper to call the King James Version inspired, because it is an accurate translation of the Greek and Hebrew autographs dictated once and for all by the Holy Ghost.

[xv]         See the article “Images of the Church in 1 Clement” at http://faithsaves.net; Clement teaches justification by faith alone, church independence and autonomy, and in every way looks like a good Baptist.