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New Testament

What role did the Holy Spirit play in the writing of the Bible?

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November 03, 2011 1:06AM

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It was once thought that although the Bible was written by men, they wrote down the words of God, relayed to them by the Holy Spirit. A medieval artwork even shows a dove, representing the Holy Spirit, whispering into the ear of an apostle as he wrote.

Guidance from the Holy Spirit is a position that only the most conservative Christians would sustain today. Inspiration by the Holy Spirit is simply incompatible with the contradictions and errors evident in the scriptures. Writing on one example of biblical contradiction, Raymond E. Brown (An Introduction to the New Testament) acknowledges that position, while excluding it as a realistic possibility: "Inspiration does not guarantee historicity or reconcilability; otherwise God should have inspired the two evangelists to give us the same record."