A Brief Summary of Inspiration and Interpretation
The Dean Burgon Society's 1999 Annual Meeting
Dean John William Burgon
|III..||Preliminary Remarks on Essays and Reviews|
|IV..||SERMON I. The Study of the Bible Recommended; and a Method of Studying it Described|
|V..||SERMON II. Natural Science and Theological ScienceSERMON II. Natural Science and Theological Science|
|VI..||SERMON III. Inspiration of Scripture--Gospel Difficulties--The Word of God InfallibleSERMON III. Inspiration of Scripture--Gospel Difficulties--The Word of God Infallible|
|VII..||SERMON IV. The Inspiration of Every Part of the Bible Vindicated and Explained|
|VIII..||SERMON V. Interpretation of Holy Scripture--God, (not man,) the Real Author of the Bible|
|IX..||SERMON VI. The Doctrine of Arbitrary Scriptural Accommodation ConsideredSERMON VI. The Doctrine of Arbitrary Scriptural Accommodation Considered|
|X..||SERMON VII. The Marvels of Holy Scripture--Moral and Physical--Miracles VindicatedSERMON VII. The Marvels of Holy Scripture--Moral and Physical--Miracles Vindicated|
|A Most Remarkable Stand on Inerrancyy|
As the title indicates, it is the purpose and intention of this booklet to summarize some of the teachings and important arguments contained in Dean Burgon's excellent book, Inspiration and Interpretation. It is planned that the substance of this material will be given to the Dean Burgon Society's 21st Annual Conference, meeting at the Heritage Baptist University in Greenwood, Indiana, July, 1999. It is hoped that the reader will purchase and read Inspiration and Interpretation in its entirety. It is available as B.F.T. #1220 for a GIFT of $25.00 + $5.00 for shipping and handling. It is the new hardback edition published by the Dean Burgon Society.
There has been no attempt to give all of the arguments and excellent material contained in Inspiration and Interpretation. This "SUMMARY" has sought to set forth some of the more important themes and statements found in this well-written textbook on the subjects of the inspiration and the interpretation of the Scriptures. The reader of the entire book will find it to be a worthwhile document. It is hoped that some of the following quotations will whet the reader's appetite for more of the truths so skillfully propounded by Dean Burgon.
Though there will be some quotations from the Preface of Inspiration and Interpretation, there will be no references to what Dean Burgon calls: "PRELIMINARY REMARKS on a Volume Entitled 'ESSAYS AND REVIEWS:' Addressed to the Undergraduate Members of Oriel College." This section is numbered with a second set of roman numeral pages (i-ccxxviii). In that section, Dean Burgon has devoted 228 pages to answer the apostasy contained in Essays and Reviews. Even though I have not quoted from it in this summary, it should be read by all in its entirety. This apologetical refutation of Biblical error shows the following important things about Dean Burgon: (1) He was not ashamed to refute apostate theology even though it was within his own church denomination. (2) He showed himself to be the champion of Biblical orthodoxy without apology. (3) He was not concerned about how many ministers of the Church of England he may have offended because of his careful and rational defense of the teachings of the Word of God.
The Preface of this book introduces Dean Burgon's refutation of the Essays and Reviews. Before giving his undergraduate students at Oriel College, Oxford University, instruction on the inspiration and interpretation of the Bible, he warned them about a current 433-page book. This book was loaded with apostasy, heresy, and unbelief of all kinds.
The thing which was uppermost in the mind of Dean Burgon was his belief in the centrality of Bible study. He wrote that there was, in his day, a "prevalent neglect of the noblest study of all,--the study of God's Word." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. viii)
1. A System of Unbelief Must Be Answered
Dean Burgon did not believe in remaining silent when Bible doctrine was being attacked. He wrote: "I determined at all events not to be a party to a craven silence; and denounced from the University pulpit with hearty indignation that whole system of unbelief, (if system it can be called,) which has been growing up for years among us; and which, I was and am convinced, must be openly met,--not silently ignored until the mischief becomes unmanageable: met, too, by building up men in THE TRUTH: above all, by giving Theological instruction to those who are destined to become Professors of Theological Science, and are about to undertake the cure of souls. . . . In this spirit, I asserted the opposite fundamental verities; and so, would have been content to dismiss the 'Essays and Reviews' from my thoughts for ever." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. ix-x)
2. A Conspiracy Against the Faith
The Essays and Reviews was a conspiracy against the faith of Scripture. Dean Burgon wrote: "Here was a conspiracy against the Faith. Seven Critics had avowedly combined. . ." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. x) There were seven separate writers in these Essays and Reviews.
There are several details concerning the Essays and Reviews that are mentioned in this Preface.
1. Six Anglican Clergymen Made Light of their Profession.
Dean Burgon especially was upset that six out of the seven men writing in the Essays and Reviews were members of the Church of England Clergy. He felt they had betrayed the Bible and their church. He outlined some of the doctrines these men questioned. He wrote: "Secondly,--'Essays and Reviews' attracted notice because six of its authors were Ministers of the Church of England. Here were six Clergymen openly making light of their sacred profession, and apparently worse than regardless of their Ordination vows. . . . [A reviewer stated]: 'there has been discarded the Word of God, the Creation, the Fall, the Redemption, Justification, Regeneration, and Salvation, Miracles, Inspiration, Prophecy, Heaven and Hell, Eternal punishment and a Day of Judgment, Creeds, Liturgies, and Articles, the truth of Jewish History and of Gospel narrative; a sense of doubt thrown over even the Incarnation, the Resurrection, and Ascension, the Divinity of the Second Person, and the personality of the Third.'" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. xi)
2. Essays and Reviews Had a Mix of Writers.
Dean Burgon pointed out that the writers of the Essays and Reviews were from a variety of backgrounds. He wrote: "But here is a combination of Doctors of Divinity; Professors; Fellows, nay Heads of Colleges; Instructors of England's Youth; Teachers of Religion; Chaplains to Royal and noble personages!" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. xii-xiii)
3. Essays and Reviews Was 433 Pages Long
It was no easy task to reply to a book that had 433 pages in it and do it justice. This book was filled with fallacies and falsities. Dean Burgon's reply was 228 pages in length. He wrote: "To reply to a volume of 433 pages, each of which contains a fallacy or a falsity,--while some pages are packed full of both,--is a serious undertaking . . ." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. xv)
Dean Burgon described his assessment of Essays and Reviews in a number of different ways.
1. The Reviewers Have Disbelief in the Word of God
The root problem with the Essays and Reviews was one of disbelief in the Word of God. He wrote: "At the root of the whole mischief of these last days lies disbelief in the Bible as the Word of God. This is the fundamental error." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. xvii)
2. The Reviewers Have No Bible at All
In point of fact, the Essay and Reviewers have no Bible at all because they have denied its inspiration. The Dean wrote: "Common Sense is able to see that an uninspired Bible is no Bible at all." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. xix)
3. The Reviewers Wrote Blasphemy
Dean Burgon considered the Essays and Reviews to have contained "blasphemy," "irreligion," and "infidelity." He had a strong reaction against such. He wrote: "Some respectable persons, I doubt not, will think my treatment of them harsh and uncharitable. I invite them to consider that we do not expect blasphemy from Ministers of the Gospel,--irreligion from the teachers of youth,--infidelity from the Professor's chair; nor are we called upon to tolerate it either. . . . Let those who feel little jealousy for God's honour measure out in grains their censure of a volume, the confessed tendency of which is to sap the foundation of Faith, and to introduce a flood-tide. Such shall not, at all events, be my method. . . . their Reviewer [meaning Dean Burgon] avails himself of that Christian liberty to which they themselves so systematically lay claim, mercilessly to uncover their baseness, and uncompromisingly to denounce it. If I may declare my mind freely, punctilious courtesy in dealing with such opinions, becomes a species of treason against Him after whose Name we are called, and whom we profess to serve." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. xxiv)
4. The Reviewers "Free-Handled" Divine Truth
Since the Reviewers had "free-handled" God's Divine Truth, Dean Burgon felt obliged to "handle" them in like manner. He wrote: "When Critics are clamorous for the 'free handling' of Divine Truth, they must not be surprised to find themselves freely handled too. . . . Accordingly, I have handled them just as freely as they have handled the Prophets, Apostles, and Evangelists of Christ. . . . This is no literary misunderstanding, or I could have been amicable enough: no private or personal matter, or I could have flung it from me with unconcern. No other than an attempt to destroy Man's dearest hopes, is this infamous book: no other than an insult, the grossest imaginable, offered to the Majesty of Heaven; an attack, the more foul because it is so insidious, against the Everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. xxvi)
As I said above in The Preface, I have not attempted to comment on the first 228 pages of Dean Burgon's Inspiration and Interpretation. Suffice it to say that Dean Burgon answered every heretical and false comment in the Essays and Reviews book of 433 pages in all. Of the seven writers in this unscriptural and heretical book, six of them were clergymen of the Church of England, Dean Burgon's own denomination. This section of the book shows that Dean Burgon was a defender of The Faith of the Bible, regardless of whether or not denial of that Faith arose within his own denomination. It shows his solid devotion to the Words of God, defending those Words with all the talent he possessed in putting words on the printed page.
Though this Summary will lack comments on each of the sections of the Essays and Reviews, I think it is at least appropriate to list the names of the writers, giving the pages where Dean Burgon answered their false arguments. The following is a list of the men who wrote in the Essays and Reviews:
1. Dr. F. Temple, D.D. (pages ii-xxx)
2. Rev. Rowland Williams, D.D. (pages xxx-xlvi)
3. Rev. Professor Baden Powell, M.A. (pages xlvi-lxiv)
4. Rev. H. B. Wilson, M.A. (pages lxiv-lxxxvi)
5. C. W. Goodwin, M.A. (pages lxxxvi-cxii)
6. Rev. Mark Pattison, B.D. (pages cxii-cxxxix)
7. Rev. Professor Jowett, M.A. (pages cxxxix-ccxxvii) (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. ii-ccxxvii)
The reader is urged to read all 228 pages of Dean Burgon's masterful answer to the Essays and Reviews. As in his other books that the Dean Burgon Society has reprinted and published, Dean Burgon reveals his superb talent in refutation of false teaching. His other books are: The Last Twelve Verses of Mark, The Revision Revised, The Traditional Text, and The Causes of Corruption of the Traditional Text. He refused to put up with heresy and apostasy when it came to the clear and fundamental teachings and doctrines of the Word of God. His Preface is a good summary of this and should be studied carefully.
Finally, after 228 pages of refutation of the Essays and Reviews, Dean Burgon begins his positive 279-page advice and counsel to the young men in his Oriel College at Oxford University concerning their preparation for the ministry. Sermon #1 is the first of seven that Dean Burgon presented in this formal series. It dealt with the most important topic for anyone--the study of the Bible. All seven of these sermons are soundly grounded on the inerrant, infallible Bible.
Dean Burgon opened sermon #1 by suggesting seven rules to his ministerial students for the personal study of their Bibles. He wrote:
"The thing I would so strenuously urge upon you, is,--that, during your undergraduate period, you should read the whole Bible consecutively through, from one end to the other, by yourself and for yourself, with consummate method, care, and attention. The fundamental conditions of such a study of the Bible, in order to make it of any real use, are these:-- (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 9)
1. Take a Half Hour Early Each Day For Bible Study.
"1. First, that you should deliberately apportion to this solemn duty the best and freshest and quietest half-hour in the whole day; and then, that you should determine, let what will go undone, never to abridge that half-hour. You may sometimes be enabled to afford a little more time to the chapter: but you will find it quite fatal ever to devote a shorter period to it." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 9)
2. Read a Chapter a Day in the Bible.
"2. Next, (except on Sundays and in Vacation, when you may safely double your daily task and your daily time,) be persuaded to read each day exactly one chapter. . . ." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 9)
3. Go Over the Words as if They Were New to You.
"3. Then, while you read,--safe from the risk of interruption, (as I began by supposing,) and with every faculty intent on your task,--try, as much as possible, to go over the words as if they were new to you; . . . Nothing can be unimportant when it is the Holy Ghost who speaketh. It is an excellent practice to mark the expressions which strike you; for it is a method of preserving the memory of what is sure else soon to pass away." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 10)
4. Avoid Commentaries, Maps, or Helps.
"4. And next, be persuaded to read without extraneous helps of any kind; except, of course, such help as a map, or the margin of your Bible, supplies. Pray avoid Commentaries and notes. First, you cannot afford time for them; and secondly, if you could, they would be as likely to mislead you as not. . . . they will do more to nullify your reading, than anything which could be imagined. Your object is to obtain an insight into Holy Scripture, . . . not to be saved trouble, and to be shown what other persons have thought about it." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. 10-11)
5. Make Brief Memoranda of Your Own.
"5. make brief memoranda of your own: and the briefer the better. Construct your own table of the Patriarchs, . . ." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 11)
6. Read the Bible Consecutively from
Genesis to Revelation.
"6. Above all, is it indispensable that your reading of the Bible should be strictly consecutive; and on no account may any one pretend to begin such a study of that book as I am here recommending, except at the first Chapter of Genesis. . . ." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 11)
7. Read Every Book Without Skipping a Chapter.
"7. It will follow from what has been offered, that you are invited to read every book in the Bible in the order in which it actually stands,--never, of course, skipping a chapter; much less a Book. . . ." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 12)
Dean Burgon suggested some things when beginning daily Bible reading from Genesis to Revelation that pertain to a proper attitude. Here are a few helpful things concerning attitude that he mentioned.
1. Look for Things Not Known Before.
"How soon will any one who takes the trouble to read the Bible after this fashion, be struck with a hundred things which he never knew before,--indeed, which are not commonly known!" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. 12-13)
2. Begin With Prayer.
"The book should ever be approached with prayer:--'Lord, open Thou mine eyes that I may see the wondrous things of Thy Law!'" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 13)
3. Find Honey in the Bible.
"Read it therefore, if you are wise, with unaffected curiosity: settling down upon every flower, in order to find out, if you can, where the honey is: clinging to it rather, until you have found the honey." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 15)
4. Have a Mind Like Samuel.
"The attitude of mind which I so strongly recommend you to assume, (and it depends on an act of the Will, whether you assume it or not,) is very exactly represented by this cry of the child Samuel,--'Speak Lord, for Thy servant heareth!'" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 16)
Dean Burgon offered a series of suggestions and goals for Pastors which should result from their daily Bible reading program.
1. Bible Reading Will Cut Down on Boredom in the Congregation.
"It becomes your turn at last to instruct others, . . . we should hear less about dull sermons, and inattentive congregations, and badly filled churches,--as well as about the astounding ignorance of many among the upper classes, in Divine things,--if our younger Clergy know the Bible a great deal better than they do.--Aye, and we should not have so many unsound remarks about Holy Scripture either,--so many mistaken views of doctrine,--so many crude remarks about Inspiration,--made by persons who ought to know better." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 18)
2. Never Neglect Bible Reading even for a Day.
"I do entreat you, one and all, to follow the advice I have been giving you; and to set about such a careful study of the Bible, at once. Do not put it off for a single day. Begin it tomorrow morning." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. 18-19)
3. Partake of the Tree of Life by Bible Reading.
"But even supposing you do, now and then, find the inexorable daily half-hour stand in the way of something else,-- . . . daily at that fixed time, make you full amends? Shall you resolve to pluck so freely of the Tree of Knowledge, and yet begrudge the approach once a day to the Tree of Life, which grows in the midst of the Paradise of God? What? room for everything and everybody; yet still 'no room in the Inn' for Christ!" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 19)
4. Don't Read Commentaries for Three Years at Least.
". . . you will read no work of Divinity just at present. Be counselled, on no account, to read any. . . . Be content, for the next three years, to study no book of Divinity but the Bible." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 20)
5. Keep a Jealously-Guarded Half-Hour Daily.
"What was begun as a task will soon come to be regarded as a privilege. That jealously-guarded half-hour will be found to be the one green spot in the whole day,-- . . . Your secret study of that Book of Books, I say, will render you a very singular service." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 20)
6. Bible Reading Is Vital.
". . . but I would rather, a hundred times, be of use to the younger men present; I would rather, a hundred times, succeed in persuading one of them, to adopt that method of reading the Bible which I have been recommending;--than try to say something which might be thought fine and clever." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 21)
7. Bible Reading Arms Pastors with the Sword of the Spirit.
"It is not merely to inform the understanding, that Holy Scripture is to be read with such consummate attention, and studied with such exceeding care. . . . It is,--in order that his inner life may be made conformable to that outer Law: . . . Its aim, and purpose, and real function, is, that the fiery hour of temptation may find the Christian soldier armed with 'the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God:'--that the dark season of Adversity may find his soul anchored on the Rock of Ages,--which alone can prove his soul's sufficient strength and stay." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. 21-22)
Sermon #2 by Dean Burgon to his ministerial students concerned the battles between "natural science" and "theological science." As there are many doubters of the scientific accuracy of the Bible today, so there were in Dean Burgon's day. He defended the accuracy of the Bible in all areas of science.
The very first thing that must be established when so-called "science" comes up against Bible truth is that the Bible is absolutely and totally true--scientifically and in every other way. Dean Burgon nobly defended God's truth.
1. Suspicion of Genesis
"There exists however a vague suspicion after all that the beginning of Genesis is a vision, or an allegory, or a parable,--or anything you please, except true History. It is hard to imagine why. If there be a book in the whole Bible which purports to be a plain historical narrative of actual events, that book is the book of Genesis. . . . Why the first page of it is to be torn out, treated as a myth or an allegory, and in short explained away,--I am utterly at a loss to discover." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 33)
2. Creation Days of 1,000 Years Will Not Do.
"I take leave to add that even the respectful attempt to make Genesis accommodate itself to the supposed requirements of Geology, by boldly assuming that the days of Creation were such a thousand years long,--seems inadmissable." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 37)
3. Creation Days Must Be Literal and Solar.
"Days are spoken of,--each made up of an evening and a morning. . . 'for in six days' (it is declared,) 'the Lord made Heaven and Earth.' You may not play tricks with language plain as this, and elongate a week until it shall more than embrace the span of all recorded Time. Neither am I able to see what would be gained by proposing to prolong the Days of Creation indefinitely, so as to consider them as representing vast and unequal periods;" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 38)
4. Man's Creation No More Than some 6,000 years ago
". . . the Creation of Man is not to be referred to a remoter period than some six thousand years ago. . . . fixed by the Chronology of the Bible." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 40)
5. The Bible Contains Accurate Science.
"But when gentlemen tell us that the Bible was never meant to teach Science; and that wherever its statements are opposed to the clear inductions of reason, they must give way; and so forth: we take the liberty of retaliating their charge." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 39)
1. The Bible Should not Be Allegorized.
"But there is a scornful spirit abroad which is not content to allegorize the earlier pages of the Bible,--to scoff at the story of the Flood, to reject the outlines of Scripture Chronology;--but which would dispute the most emphatic details of Revelation itself." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. 45-46)
2. Miracles Must Be Accepted, Not Reinterpreted.
"Will you then reject one miracle and retain another? Impossible! You can make no reservation, even in favour of the Incarnation of our Lord,--the most adorable of all miracles, as it is the very keystone of our Christian hope. Either, with the best and wisest of all ages, you must believe the whole of Holy Scripture; or, with the narrow-minded infidel, you must disbelieve the whole. There is no middle course open to you." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 46)
3. Proper Interpretation of Genesis Is Especially Important.
"To speak without a figure,--He who surrenders the first page of his Bible, surrenders all. He knows not where to stop. Nay, you and I cannot in any way afford to surrender the beginning of Genesis; simply because upon the truth of what is there recorded depends the whole scheme of Man's salvation,--the need of that 'second Man' which is 'the Lord from Heaven.' It is not too much to say that the beginning of Genesis is the foundation on which all the rest of the Bible is built." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. 50-51)
Sermon #3 by Dean Burgon to his ministerial students argued for the inspiration of the Bible in every part. He explained the nature of the Bible's plenary, verbal inspiration the its extent. Dean Burgon believed that all the Bible, all the books, all the chapters, all the verses, all the sentences, all the words, all the syllables, and all the letters were inspired by God.
1. The Inspiration of Scripture Rightly Understood
"2 Tim. iii.16. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God." "But that is not exactly what St. Paul says. The Greek for that, would be JH gra'fhv--not pa'sa grafhv--qeovpneusto". St. Paul does not say that the whole of Scripture, collectively, is inspired. More than that: what he says is, that every writing,--every several book of these iJeraV gravmmata, or Holy Scriptures, in which Timothy had been instructed from his childhood,--is inspired by God. It comes to very nearly the same thing; but it is not quite the same thing. St. Paul is careful to remind us that every Book in the Bible is an inspired Book." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 53)
2. Verbal Inspiration
"Do you mean to say then, (I shall be asked,) that you maintain the theory of Verbal Inspiration?--I answer, I refuse to accept any theory whatsoever. But I believe that the Bible is the Word of God--and I believe that God's Word must be absolutely infallible. I shall therefore believe the Bible to be absolutely infallible,--until I am convinced of the contrary. 'Theories of Inspiration,' (as they are called,) are the growth of an unbelieving age; . . ." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 74)
3. Inspired Words
"But if, instead of the 'Theory of Verbal Inspiration,' I am asked whether I believe the words of the Bible to be inspired,--I answer, To be sure I do,--every one of them: and every syllable likewise. Do not you?--Where,--(if it be a fair question,)--Where do you, in your wisdom, stop? The book, you allow is inspired. How about the chapters? How about the verses? Do you stop at the verses, and not go on to the words?" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 75)
4. The Bible Is Inspired Entirely.
"The Bible (be persuaded) is the very utterance of the Eternal;--as much God's Word, as if high Heaven were open, and we heard God speaking to us with human voice. Every book of it, is inspired alike; and is inspired entirely. Inspiration is not a difference of degree, but of kind. The Apocryphal books are not one atom more inspired than Bacon's Essays. But the Bible, from the Alpha to the Omega of it, is filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit of God: the Books of it, and the sentences of it, and the words of it, and the syllables of it,--aye, and the very letters of it." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 76)
Though the teachings of Biblical inspiration are clear to those who believe the Bible, they must be defended even today with as much conviction and skill as used by Dean Burgon in 1861.
1. It's Time to Speak Out for God's Truth.
". . . then it is high time, even for the humblest and least among you,--if no man of mark will speak up, and speak out, for God's Truth,--to deliver a plain message with that freedom which Englishmen hold to be a part of their birthright." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 81)
2. The Safety of the Ark of God
"Look well to it, Sirs, if you care for the safety of the Ark of God. For my part,--like one of old time whose words I am not worthy to take upon my lips,--'I cannot hold my peace: because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war!'" [Jeremiah 4:19] (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 82)
3. The Inerrancy of Every Letter of the Bible Must Be Defended.
"--this Day's Sermon has had for its object to remind you, that THE BIBLE is none other than the voice of Him that sitteth upon the Throne! Every Book of it,--every Chapter of it,--every Verse of it,--every word of it,--every syllable of it,--(where are we to stop?)--every letter of it--is the direct utterance of the Most High!--Pa'sa grafhv qeovpneusto". 'Well spake the HOLY GHOST, by the mouth of' the many blessed Men who wrote it.--The Bible is none other than the Word of God: not some part of it, more, some part of it, less; but all alike, the utterance of Him who sitteth upon the Throne;--absolute,--faultless,--unerring,--supreme!" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 89)
Sermon #4 by Dean Burgon to his ministerial students outlined his belief that the Bible was given by God and is verbally inspired from beginning to end. It is as if God Himself was speaking to us from His throne in heaven. There was no doubt in Dean Burgon's mind as to this important doctrine in the Bible.
1. Scripture Inspired from the Alpha to the Omega of it
". . . Holy Scripture is inspired from the Alpha to the Omega of it;--not some parts more, some parts less, but all equally, and all to overflowing;--that we hold it to be, not generally inspired, but particularly; that we see not how with logical consistency we can avoid believing the words as well as the sentences of it; the syllables as well as the words; the letters as well as the syllables; every 'jot' and every 'tittle' of it, (to use our Lord's expression,) to be divinely inspired:--and further, that until the contrary has been proved, we shall maintain that no misapprehension or misstatement, no error or blot of any kind, can possibly exist within its pages:--that we hold the Bible to be as much the Word of God, as if God spoke to us therein with human lips;--and that, as the very utterance of the HOLY GHOST, we cannot but think that it must be absolute, faultless, unerring, supreme." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. 93-94)
2. No Middle Ground Between Inspiration and Non-Inspiration
"For I request you to observe, that there is absolutely no middle state between Inspiration and non-inspiration. If a writing be inspired, it is Divine: if it be not inspired, it is human." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 96)
3. The Bible Is the Very Utterance of the Holy Spirit
"You are requested to remember that when we call the Bible an inspired book, we mean nothing more than that the words of it are the very utterance of the HOLY SPIRIT:--that the Book is as much the Word of God as if high Heaven were open, and we heard God speaking to us with human voice." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 102)
1. The Bible Like the Speech of a Sovereign
"1. When the Sovereign reads a speech from the Throne, does she speak the words of it in any different sense from the words of a speech which she has herself composed?--Nay, . . ." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 102)
2. The Bible Like a Servant Delivering a Message
"4. If I commission a Servant to deliver a message,--is not the message which he delivers mine? If I give him words to deliver,--are not the words which he delivers mine? (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 104)
1. The Dukes of Edom Are as Inspired as much as any other Portion
"I entreat you therefore to disabuse your minds of the very weak,--aye and very fatal,--notion that the catalogue of the Dukes of Edom is less, or in any different sense, inspired, from the rest of the narrative in which it stands." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 109)
2. Inspiration Does not Come and Go
"Consider also, I entreat you, whether it is credible that Inspiration should be a thing of such a nature, that it comes and goes,--is there and is gone,--once and again in the course of a single page. What? does it vanish, like lightning, when the Evangelist's pen has to record the title on the Cross,--to re-appear the instant afterwards?" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 109)
3. The Bible Must Stand or Fall as a Whole
"The Bible, it cannot be too much repeated, too clearly borne in mind,--the Bible must stand or fall,--or rather, he received or rejected,--as a whole. . . . All the Books of the Bible must stand or fall together." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. 111-12)
1. Our Own Amazing Ignorance
"Our own amazing ignorance--our many infirmities,--our faculties limited on every side,--might well keep us humble in the presence of Him whose knowledge is infinite,--whose attributes are all perfections:--whose very Name is Almighty!--Shall we, on the contrary, presume to sit in judgment upon His Word, which claims to be none other than the authentic record of His Providence,--the Revelation of His very mind and will?" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. 113-14)
2. The Safest Eloquence of Silence
"And our safest eloquence concerning Him is our silence, when we confess without confession that His glory is inexplicable; His greatness above our capacity and reach. He is above, and we upon earth: therefore it behoveth our words to be wary and few." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 114)
3. Believe You Are Reading an Inspired Book
"I say, that they would now be assiduous, and earnest, and regular, and peaceful, and devout, in their daily study of one chapter of the Bible.--And while you read the Bible, read it believing that you are reading an inspired Book:--not a Book inspired in parts only, but a Book inspired in every part:--not a Book unequally inspired, but all inspired equally;--not a Book generally inspired,--the substance indeed given by the Spirit, but the words left to the option of the writer; but the words of it, as well as the matter of it, all--all given by God. As it is written--'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. 114-15)
4. The Method of Inspiration Cannot Be Fully Understood
"The method of Inspiration is but another of the many thousand marvels which on every side surround me; one of the many things I cannot fully understand, much less pretend to explain. But I may at least believe it in silence, and adore. And,--(forgive me for keeping you so long; but I cannot let you go until I have emptied my heart a little more on this great, and most concerning subject;)--. . ." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 117)
1. How Can You Expound an Uninspired Text?
"How can you pretend to expound a text, unless you hold the words of that text to be inspired? What inferences can you venture to draw from words, the Divinity of which you dare not affirm? O, to what endless, hopeless skepticism are you pointing the way! What a variety of most unanswerable questionings will you provoke! How can you hope ever to convince or convict, if you begin by acquainting your adversary that it is only for the substantial verity of Scripture that you claim Inspiration; the verbal details being quite a different matter!" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. 117-18)
2. The Bible Is the Best Ascertained Text of any Ancient Writing.
"Now I will not stop to expose the falsity of this charge against the text of Scripture; (which is implied to be a very corrupt text, whereas, on the contrary, it is the best ascertained text of any ancient writing in the world.) . . . See you not that the state of the text of the Bible has no more to do with the Inspiration of the Bible, than the stains on yonder windows have to do with the light of God's Sun?" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 119)
3. Thought Inspiration Versus Word Inspiration
"As for thoughts being inspired, apart from words which give them expression--you might as well talk of a tune without notes, or a sum without figures." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 120)
4. Resent Any Dishonour to the Lord.
". . . but do not be ashamed to be very jealous for the honour of the Lord of Hosts; and to resent any dishonour offered to Him, with a fiery indignation utterly unlike anything you could possibly feel for a personal wrong." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 121)
5. A Childlike Study of the Bible Is an Antidote to Impiety
"The true antidote to all such forms of impiety, believe me, is not controversy of any sort; but the childlike study of the Bible, each one for himself,--not without prayer.--Humble must we be, as well as assiduous; for the powers of the mind as well as the affections of the heart should be prostrated before the Bible . . ." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 122)
6. Unlock the Bible Treasure with the Key of Faith
"Waste not thy precious time in cavil about the structure of the casket which contains thy treasure; but unlock it once with the Key of Faith, and make thyself rich indeed.--Already,--(as we were last week reminded),--already the Judge standeth at the door; and assuredly, thou and I (to whom God hath entrusted so much!) shall have to render a very strict account of the use we have made of the Bible,--when we shall stand face to face with its undoubted Author." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. 124-25)
7. The Bible Is the Sole Depository of History and Chronology
". . . historical details constitute so large a part of the contents of the Bible; and that the sacred volume is the sole depository of the History of the History and Chronology of the World for by far the largest portion of the interval since that World's Creation." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 133)
8. An Uninspired Writing Has No Absolute Authority
"If a writing be not inspired, it is of no absolute authority. If a part of a writing be not inspired, that part is of no absolute authority. If a single word in the text of Holy Scripture be even uncertain,--(as for example, whether we are to read OS or QEOS in 1 Tim. iii.16,)--that word becomes without absolute authority. We cannot venture to adduce it is proof of anything." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 134)
9. The Lord Jesus Christ Verified Many Old Testament Details
"However unworthy of scientific attention the Mosaic account of the descent of Mankind from a single pair may be deemed,--the universality of the Noachian Deluge,--the destruction of the Cities of the plain,--the fate of Lot's wife,--Jonah in the fish's belly,--and so forth,--to all these (supposed) unscientific statements our Blessed Lord commits Himself unequivocally." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 135)
Sermon #5 begins Dean Burgon's discussion of proper interpretation of the Bible. It is not sufficient to have a Bible that has been verbally and plenarily inspired if the interpretation of it is improper. Dean Burgon offered helpful suggestions on Biblical interpretation in this sermon.
1. It Is Unlike Any Other Volume in the World
". . . but beware how you apply your purely human notions to the utterance of the Ancient of Days; for that utterance, enshrined in one particular volume, clearly makes that one volume essentially unlike any other volume in the world." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 147)
2. Bible Writers Interpret it as No Other Book
". . . the two chief propositions concerning Holy Scripture . . . And first, I assert that it may be regarded as a fundamental rule, that the Bible is not to be interpreted like any other book. This I gather infallibly from the plain fact, that the inspired Writers themselves habitually interpret it as no other book either is, or can be interpreted. Next, I assert without fear of contradiction that inspired Interpretation, whatever varieties of method it may exhibit, is yet uniform and unequivocal in this one result; namely, that it proves Holy Scripture to be of far deeper significancy than at first sight appears." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 160)
1. Don't Deny the Literal Sense of Scripture
"I am not denying (God forbid!) the literal sense of Scripture. Rather am I, above all, contending for it. We may never play tricks with the letter. Those Six Days of Creation, depend upon it, were six days: and the Tree of Life, and the Tree of Knowledge, and the Serpent, were the very things they are called,--and no other things. So of every other part of the Bible." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. 160-61)
2. Nothing is Ever Allegory or May Be Explained Away
"The literal sense of what has been revealed, is, for all that, to be depended on. All is sincere History: nothing is ever allegory,--nothing may ever be evacuated or explained away! We have our Lord's own word for it." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 161)
3. There Are Often Deeper Meanings of Scripture
"But I am proving that Scripture itself, literally understood, compels us to believe that under the letter of Scripture, (which of course is to be interpreted literally,) there lies a deeper and sometimes a far less obvious meaning; . . ." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 161)
1. The Holy Spirit Is the True Author of Old and New Testaments
". . . it is the Holy Ghost who, in the New Testament, interprets what the same Holy Ghost had delivered in the Old. This, believe me, is the true key, the only intelligible solution, to all those difficulties respecting places of the Old Testament, whether interpreted, or only quoted, in the New, which have so exercised the ingenuity of learned men. We are always to remember, in a word, that the true Author of either Testament,--the real Author of every part of the Bible, is (not Man, but) God!" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 173)
2. The Whole Bible Is Inspired by the Holy Spirit
". . . the whole of the Bible is inspired by one and the self-same Spirit; so that one part may always be safely compared with any other part of it, you please. Nay, by no other method can you hope to understand the Bible, than by such a laborious comparison of its several parts." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. 174-75)
3. The True Method of Interpretation
"And the true method,--the only true method--must be that which was adopted by our Saviour, by His Evangelists, and by His Apostles: a method which they taught to their first disciples, . . ." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 180)
4. Grasp the Torch of Truth and Run With It
"O let it be our great concern,--yours and mine,--to preserve with undiminished lustre the whole deposit of Heaven-descended teaching which is the Church's treasure! . . . Like runners in a certain ancient race of which we all have read, let it be our pride and joy,--yours and mine,--to grasp the torch of Truth with a strong unwavering hand; to run joyously with it as long as the days of this earthly race shall last; and dying, to hand it on to another, who, with strength renewed like the eagle's, may again,--swiftly, steadily, exultingly,--run with it, till he fails! . . . So when the Judge of quick and dead appeareth,--so let Him find you occupied,--O young men, (many of you, my friends,) who are already the hope of half the English Church!" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. 180-81)
In this sermon #6, Dean Burgon refuted the fallacy of "Scriptural Accommodation." This error has been promulgated even today by most apostates, some neo-evangelicals, and even some who call themselves fundamentalists.
1. God Was Speaking With Human Lips
"The view of Inspiration which Scripture itself gives us,--namely, that God is therein speaking by human lips; so that 'holy men of God' delivered themselves as they were 'impelled,' 'borne along,' or 'lifted up' (ferovmenoi) by the Holy Ghost';--this plain account of the matter, I say, which converts 'all Scripture' into something 'breathed into by God,' (qeovpneusto",)--men are singularly slow to acknowledge." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. 183-84)
2. The Holy Spirit's Meaning Must Be Accepted
"But the most subtle enemy of all remains yet to be noticed. It is he, who,--finding the plain Word of God against him: finding himself refuted in his endeavour to fix one intention only on the words of the Holy Ghost, and that intention, the most obvious and literal one; finding himself refuted even by the express revelation of the same Holy Ghost, elsewhere delivered;--bends himself straightway to resist, and explain away, that later revelation of what was the earlier meaning." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 185)
3. Arbitrary "Accommodation" of the Holy Spirit's Words Is Rejected.
"Now I altogether reject this principle of arbitrary 'Accommodation.' I hold it to be a mere dream and delusion. And I reject it on the following grounds:--1. It is evidently a mere excuse for Human ignorance,--a transparent deceit. . . . 2. The 'theory of Accommodation,' (as it is called,) is attended with this fatal inconvenience,--. . . it altogether fails of its object." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 189)
4. The Same God Gave Old and New Testaments
"The same God who gave us the Scriptures of the Old Testament, gave us the New Testament also. The Bible is one." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 195)
1. Humbly Address Yourself to the Bible
"We say,--The Bible is the word of God. Fill your heart with this conviction, and then humbly address yourself to the study of its pages." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 197)
2. Remember that Divine Language Never Needs To Be "Accommodated"
"Human language will sometimes require to be 'accommodated.' Divine language, never! May not the Holy Spirit lay His finger on whatever parts of His ancient utterance He sees fit? may He not invert clauses, and (in order to bring out His meaning better) even alter words?" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 213)
3. The Lord Jesus Christ Did Not Accommodate" Psalm 9:2
"Our Lord, being indignantly asked by the Jews if He heard what the children, crying in the Temple, said of Him,--made answer by quoting the 2nd verse of the ninth Psalm: 'Yea, have ye never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise'?"--Pray was this 'accommodation,' or what was it? It was deemed a sufficient answer, at all events, by the Anointed Jehovah; whatoever men may think!" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 214)
4. The Lord Jesus Christ Was Spoke to Moses in the Bush.
"How, by the popular method,--how, by any of the new lights which have lately been let in on Holy Scripture,--was the Resurrection of the dead to have been proved by the words which the Second Person in the Trinity spake to Moses 'in the Bush?' And yet we behold that same Divine Personage in the days of His humiliation, proposing from those words, uttered by Himself 1500 years before, to establish the doctrine in dispute!" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 215)
5. There Is No Arbitrary Accommodation of Old Testament in the New.
"--no such thing as arbitrary Accommodation of the Old Testament Scriptures, in the New:" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 218)
6. Unbelief Must Not Blur our Bible Interpretation.
"Those who watch 'the signs of the times' attentively, will hear me witness that unbelief is one fearful note of the coming age. . . . Unbelief is no less the cause why so many have forsaken the Church of their Fathers, to run after the blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits of the Church of Rome, . . . At intervals, hoarse sounds, from a distance, are known to smite upon the listening ear; signals of the coming danger,--sure harbingers of the approaching storm.--Holy Scripture is the stronghold against which the Enemy will make his assault, assuredly: nor can we employ ourselves better than by building one another up in reverence for its Inspired Oracles: opposing to the crafts of the Evil One the simplicity of a child-like faith; and resolutely refusing to see less than God, in God's Word!" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 219)
Dean Burgon's final sermon, #7, supported all of the Biblical miracles. There is no reason for a Bible believing Christian to deny any of the miracles of Scripture.
1. Accept the Bible as a Whole Or Reject It as a Whole
" . . . either accept the Bible as a whole, or else reject it as a whole; for that there is no middle course open to them. The New Testament stands committed irrevocably to the Old. Every Book of the Bible stands committed to all the other Books. Not only does our Lord quote the Canon in its collected form, and call it 'the Law and the prophets,'-- or simply Jh grafhv, 'the Scripture.'--and so set His soul upon it, as one undivided and indivisible roll of Inspiration; but He and His Apostles single out the very narratives which the imbecility of Man was most likely to stumble at, and employ them for such purposes, and in such a manner, that escape from them shall henceforth be altogether hopeless." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 233)
2. There Are 30 New Testament References to the First Two Chapters of Genesis.
"It is a favourite device of these last days to hint at the allegorical character of the beginning of Genesis. But I find upwards of thirty references in the New Testament to the first two Chapters of Genesis." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 235)
3. All Parts of the Bible Stand or Fall Together.
"What I am insisting upon is, that the sacred Writers plainly say,--We stand or we fall together. They reach forth their hands, and they hold one another fast. . . . They recognize one another's voices, and they interpret one another's thoughts, and they adopt one another's sayings. Verily the Bible is not 'like any other Book!' The prophets and Apostles and Evangelists of either covenant reach out one to another; and lo, among them is seen the form of One like the Son of God." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 236)
1. Miracles Should not Be Explained Away or Pared Down.
"3. Another favourite recipe there is for escaping from the bondage of Miracles, . . . These men, in a word, try to explain them away where they can: where they cannot, they pare them down as much as they are able, or rather as much as they dare. Demoniacle possession? Symptoms like those described are known to accompany epilepsy. Manna? Something like it falls in the wilderness of Sinai to this hour. The Red Sea parted? Well, but a strong East wind blew all night. Stilling the storm, and healing Peter's wife's mother? Every storm is stilled if let alone; and a fever will burn out, often without occasioning death." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 242)
2. Miracles' Historical Reality Must not Be Denied by Ideology.
"4. There remains to notice one subtle and most treacherous method of dealing with the marvels of Scripture,--(moral and physical alike,) . . . which I would brand with burning words if I had them at command. I allude to what is called 'Idiology,'--the plain English for which term is, a denial of the historical reality of Scripture." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 243)
3. Miracles Are Historically True.
"All this, I say, you and I,--with the whole Church Catholic for 1800 years, --have been taught to believe as plain historical truths, mere matters of fact; past telling wonderful indeed, but yet as historically true, as that I am standing here and you are sitting yonder,--neither more nor less." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 244)
4. Miracles Are Historically True, Not Merely Ideologically True
"We are assured that every one of these things, or at least that some of them, are only ideologically true: that Historically, they are false. In plain language, we are requested to believe that they never occurred at all." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 244)
5. Denial of Bible Miracles Is Blasphemous Folly.
"Not only will I not treat men with tenderness who put forth such blasphemous folly, . . . but I will hold them up to ridicule, to the very utmost of my power. Nay, I would make them objects of unqualified reprobation to all, if I could, as they deserve to be reprobated, for they are the worst enemies of the Gospel of Christ." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 249)
1. Ministers Have a Battle for Christ to Fight.
"My sympathy shall be reserved for those who have never so offended, but are, on the contrary, full of precious promise;--for the young and as yet inexperienced,--for you, who will have the battle of Christ and His Church to fight, when we shall be mouldering in the grave. Let those who do not know me, deem me uncharitable if they will. I care not. The uncharitable man,--mark me, Brethren!--the truly uncharitable man, is he, who shows no consideration for weak and unstable souls; who does not regard the trials and perils of the young; who beguiles unsteady feet to the edge of the precipice, and there forsakes them; whose destructive method, (for constructiveness is no part of that man's philosophy!)--whose destructive method leaves the young without chart and compass,--aye, without moon or stars to sail by; who labours hard to communicate the taint of his own foul leprosy to those who were before unpolluted; who dims the eye, and deadens the ear, and defiles the thoughts, and darkens the hope of as many as have the misfortune to come in his way, and feels no pity!--Yes, yes! The man who sows his own vile doubts broadcast over two continents,--doing his very best to destroy the faith of those for whom Christ died,--he, he is the uncharitable man!" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. 250-51)
2. Ministers Must Rise Above Perpetual Disputings.
"Friends and brethren,--(I am still addressing the younger men present!)--Divinity is not debate; and Religion is not controversy; and Life is not long enough for perpetual disputings. 'He that cometh unto God must believe that He is.' The heart dries up, and the affections wither away, and the soul faints, amid an atmosphere of cloudy doubts, and captious difficulties, and perverse disputations. You must rise above it, if you would discern the colours on the everlasting hills, and behold the beauty of the promised Land, and see objects as they really are. O put away from yourselves, (if any of you are so unhappy as to have acquired it,) a habit of mind which will effectually unfit you for profiting by what you read in Holy Scripture: and you, who are free from such dreadful bondage, beware lest, by the indulgence of some sin,--whether of the flesh or of the spirit,--you darken that spiritual eye by which alone spirituial things are to be discerned. It is like talking about colours to the blind, or about sounds to the deaf, to discuss with a certain class of persons the Inspiration, or the Interpretation, or the Marvels of Scripture." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 252)
3. Ministers Must Make Use of the Wealth of the Celestial Armoury.
"Begin betimes to acquaint yourselves with the wealth of that celestial armoury which contains a weapon which must prove fatal to every foe; but which it depends on yourselves whether you shall have the skill to wield or not. Suffer not yourselves to be cheated of your birthright, the Bible, either by the novel fictions of unstable men, or by the exploded heresies of a bygone age, revived and recommended by living unbelievers. You, especially who aspire to the Ministerial office, and are destined herafter to undertake the cure of souls, O do you be doubly watchful! Give to the Bible the undivided homage of a childlike heart; and bow down before its revelations with a suppliant understanding also; and let no characteristic of its method by any means escape you. Notice how it is indeed all one long narrative, from end to end; and see therein God's provision that nothing shall be idealized, nothing explained away. . . .The Bible, I repeat, is all severest history, from the Alpha to the Omega of it." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 253)
4. Ministers Must Have a Desire to Understand the Bible.
(speaking of the Bible) "Let it quicken you in your desire to understand that Book out of which you will have hereafter to preach, reprove, rebuke, exhort,--sometimes to bethink yourselves of the flocks which already are expecting you; and among which God already sees your future going out and coming in; your faithful teaching, or (God forbid!) your betrayal of a most sacred trust." (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 254)
5. Ministers Must Accept the Divine Origin and Power of the Bible.
". . . you will be convinced of its Divine origin, when you have become the adoring witnesses of its Divine power. Truly, that must be from God which can so change the life and effect the heart; which can sustain the spirit under bereavement, and become the soul's satisfying portion under every form of adversity!" (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 254)
6. Ministers Must Realize that the Bible Is the Only Thing that Deserves Man's Attention
"The Bible in truth, as one grows older,--(to me at least it seems so,)--becomes almost the only thing in the world really deserving of a man's attention. . . . There is but a step between us and death (1 Samuel 20:2); and assuredly when we wake up after his likeness, we shall be satisfied with it (Psalm 17:16)! . . . Already 'the shadows of the evening are stretched out.' (Jeremiah 6:4) Be patient, O my soul, 'until the day break, and the shadows flee away.!'" (Song of Solomon 2:17; 4:6) (Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 255)
"--this Day's Sermon has had for its object to remind you, that THE BIBLE is
none other than the voice of Him that sitteth upon the Throne! Every Book of
it,--every Chapter of it,--every Verse of it,--every word of it,--every syllable of it,--(where
are we to stop?)--every letter of it--is the direct utterance of the Most High!--Pa'sa
grafhv qeovpneusto". 'Well spake the HOLY GHOST, by the mouth of' the many blessed
Men who wrote it.--The Bible is none other than the Word of God: not some part of it,
more, some part of it, less; but all alike, the utterance of Him who sitteth upon the
Throne;--absolute,--faultless,--unerring,--supreme!" (Dean John William
Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 89)