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New Horizons

October, 2007: Edward J. Young: His Contributions to the OPC

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Introduction: Young on Scripture

This past summer the Committee for the Historian of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church republished a series of popular lectures delivered by Dr. Edward J. Young (1907–1968), professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia from 1936 until his death. Dr. Young delivered these talks, entitled "The God-Breathed Scripture," at Grace Theological Seminary in 1966.

A decade earlier, Young published his pioneering study on biblical infallibility, Thy Word Is Truth (Eerdmans, 1957). Fifty years later, this book remains in print, and it continues to stand, in the judgment of theologian John Frame, as the "best resource for showing the rationale for inerrancy." Young was a remarkably calm and humble voice in the din of debate that developed over the inerrancy of Scripture. On the one hand, he was fully conversant with contemporary biblical scholarship, and he responded to the attacks of higher critics with the greatest of scholarly integrity. On the other hand, he resisted the temptation (to which many of the Bible's defenders yielded) to advance artificial harmonizations of problem passages. "When we meet difficulties in Scripture," he wrote, "it is well to be cautious about asserting the presence of error. We as Bible believers are not called upon to offer an answer to all the problems in the Bible any more than we are called upon to offer an explanation of the doctrine of the Trinity." Read more

Scripture: God-Breathed and Profitable

Paul is not asserting [in 2 Timothy 3:16] that Scripture is inspiring, true as that may be, nor is he declaring that something has been breathed into Scripture. What he is saying is something quite different; what Paul is maintaining is that the Scripture itself is God-breathed. That which God breathed forth from His mouth is Scripture. To put the matter in slightly different terms, Scripture is the Word, which God has spoken, the product of the divine breath.

What Paul is declaring is the divine origin of Scripture. Some apparently think that there is no need to make such an assertion at this point, but it is precisely this truth which undergirds the following truth, namely, that all Scripture is profitable. If the Bible is not divine, then we cannot be sure that all of it is profitable. Read more

My Memories of Edward J. Young

Dr. Edward J. Young was one of the greatest Christian scholars I ever met, and one of the godliest Christians I ever met. I came to Westminster Theological Seminary in 1964 for postgraduate work. I had just completed a master's degree at Princeton and was tired of the liberalism that seemed to permeate all the lectures and grading.

I had decided to come to Westminster, although I was not a Presbyterian at that time, because I knew of its reputation for orthodoxy. I was tired of the liberalism and yearned to spend my time learning what to believe, rather than learning what I could not believe. My first acquaintance with Westminster came from a professorial advisor at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, who told me that the school was scholarly and academically excellent. The two years I spent studying at Westminster did not disappoint me, and, indeed, satisfied my yearning for truly Christian scholarship. Read more

How to Build a Doctrine of Scripture

The Committee for the Historian of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church has commemorated the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Edward J. Young (1907–1968) by reprinting a series of lectures given just two years before his death on the doctrine of Scripture, entitled The God-Breathed Scripture. The lectures, presented in an engaging and lucid style, offer great insight on a number of topics pertaining to the doctrine of Scripture and showcase the theological competency of a top-tier Reformed Old Testament scholar.

The book consists of four chapters dealing with various facets of the biblical doctrine of inspiration. It also includes an insightful foreword by Richard B. Gaffin, Jr. (Young's son-in-law) and a select bibliography of Young's publications. Read more

Helps for Worship #22: Scripture Readings

"Give attention to reading ..." (1 Tim. 4:13)

We all too easily take for granted the privilege of having the very words of God given to us in the Bible. "Thus says the Lord" or its equivalents are used hundreds of times in the Old Testament to remind us that, in Holy Scripture, we are not reading the words of mere men, but the word of God. In the New Testament, the written words of the apostles are equated with Scripture (see 2 Peter 3:15–16), thus confirming their uniqueness as inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16–17). God's people are never to forget that one of their greatest benefits is to have the word of God (Deut. 4:8; Rom. 3:1–2). Read more

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