Pieper, Francis. Christian Dogmatics: Volume 1. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1968.
Chapter B6, “On the History of the Doctrine of Inspiration”
Pieper gives a brief history of views on inspiration. Christ and the apostles considered the Scripture to be identical with God’s Word. This was also the uniform view of the Fathers. Luther, along with the symbolic books of the Lutheran Reformation, also equated the Scripture and God’s Word. There were some Lutheran scholars in the 1600s who were not as strong on inspiration, considering it to pertain only to holy things. This view, however, did not become widespread until the blossoming of the Enlightenment. Modern theology, following Schleiermacher, almost uniformly denies inspiration, preferring some form of self-consciousness. One way or another they assume some view of inspiration which is equated with self-consciousness on the part of the author. Many authors view multiple levels of inspiration and hence validity within the Bible.
Pieper then summarizes views of inspiration within different creeds. The Roman Catholic Church has normally held to inspiration but some theologians have departed. Arminians allow errors and base much theology on enthusiasm rather than Scripture. Calvinists tend to confess a high view of Scripture but subject it to reason. Thankfully, says Pieper, most Arminians and Calvinists will accept Scripture rather than the logical requirements of their doctrines, especially in times of trial.
Chapter B7, “Luther and the Inspiration of Holy Scripture”
Modern theology has claimed the imprimatur of Luther as they deny inspiration and consider the Scripture as man’s word. Pieper traces this to a misunderstanding of the force of Luther’s arguments. He then traces Luther’s statement about Scripture as a whole, then some specifics. Luther speaks of all the Bible as inspired by the Holy Spirit, as having authority and reliability. The “human side” of Scripture extends to the fact that people wrote God’s Word in normal human language. He also holds that the Holy Spirit communicates with us about common and even unclean things for the purpose of doctrine, reproof, correction, and training. Luther considers the Scripture as that which is to be assumed as correct. As to chronological and other apparent discrepancies, Luther affirms the Scripture is right but that we may not interpret it rightly. He also allows for copyist errors, but not for fallibility. Modern theologians have pointed to Luther’s view of canonicity and comments about some books being more valuable than others. Yet Luther affirms that all the writings recognized as Scripture bear the authority of God. He would consider different portions useful to different ends, but all as inspired. Finally, Pieper observes that the modernist theologians tend to quote one another rather than forming a coherent opinion of Luther based on his work. This leads to a view of Luther which is unclear at best.