Monday, August 15, 2011

One Author, Many Books

The other day I got into a discussion about the Book of Isaiah. The question came up about who actually wrote the book, and whether there was one author, two authors, or several. I did not have an immediate answer, although I had heard of the "two authors" theory before.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that is not the real issue. If two people wrote the Book of Isaiah, does it change the message? Does it alter the accuracy of the information? We read encyclopedias, which we trust are filled with facts, yet they are compiled by several authors.

In the case of Scripture, however, this verse out of II Timothy 3:16 (NKJV) is pretty instructive:
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness..."
Likewise, in Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV) it says this:
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Then, there is John 1:1 (NKJV) which says "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

Now I will concede, for example, that there are parts of Deuteronomy that could not have been written by Moses. Case in point...Deuteronomy 34:5-6 (NKJV):
"So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day."
Moses could not have written that as he would have been dead. Again I ask: does that change the validity of the information? Does that change the accuracy of the account?

Okay, but let's say the multiple author issues really bothers you. Fine, disregard the book (perhaops at your own peril). Here's the unusual part, though. As I've mentioned before, if a particular book of the Bible is thrown out, the message still comes through. If you throw out Isaiah, the passages about the Millennial Kingdom can still be found elsewhere (Ezekiel, Zechariah, Revelation, etc.). Passages about Christ's first coming can still be found all over the other Old Testament books. The list goes on and on.

Yet, oddly enough, in one of my Bibles, it even goes so far as to suggest the Book of Isaiah is like a "mini-Bible" in that the first 39 books deal with Old Testament style judgments, and the last 27 books describe a message of hope like the New Testament.

What do you think? Does it matter how many people wrote the Books of Isaiah, Deuteronomy or other books of the Bible?

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