Recently, my husband asked me to read part of this book and discuss it with him.
It is An Old Testament Theology: A Canonical and Thematic Approach, by Bruce Waltke and Charles Yu. Normally, I never would have picked it up. He has all kinds of theological books, and unless I’m looking for something in particular, I just let him tell me the parts that he thinks are interesting or relevant. BUT, I have REALLY enjoyed reading this book. And, even more, I have relished talking it over with him. My “assigned reading” is just the introduction, but I’ve already read several things that have been helpful to me.
The main thing that Waltke has written about that helped me is the inspiration of the Bible. I have believed that the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit and written down by men for a very long time. I don’t remember ever doubting that. But since Bret came to seminary, and started talking about the (human) author’s intent and meaning, I’ve been confused about how the human and divine authors related. Waltke explains this in the clearest way that I’ve ever read or heard.
Waltke says, “Inspiration here means that God spoke through His prophets and apostles in ways that involved, but were not limited to, their hearts, minds, and emotions. The divine and human agencies complemented, not competed, with one another.” He shows how this works by saying that “liken[ing] the incarnation of Scripture to the … doctrine of the incarnation of Christ: both are truly divine and truly human.” This was SO helpful to me! I understand that Christ Jesus is fully God and fully man all of the time, and that His human and divine characteristics work together, and cannot be separated, so to have the inspiration of Scripture explained in relation to this clarified many things in my head. Waltke extends this explanation by quoting B. B. Warfield: “The whole of Scripture is the product of divine activities which enter it, not by superseding the activities of the human authors, but by working confluently with them, so that the Scriptures are the joint product of the divine and human activities, both of which penetrate them at every point, working harmoniously together to the production of a writing which is not divine here and human there, but at once divine and human in every part, every word, and every particular.” This was so helpful to me because I can now understand that talking about the human intent does not in any way diminish or neglect the Holy Spirit’s work and power in writing the Bible.