Who wrote the Bible? I was reading Wolfhart Pannenberg’s Systematic Theologyas part of my New Year’s resolution. He referenced Quenstedt which sent me down a rabbit hole. Johannes Andreas Quenstedt was a seventeenth-century German Lutheran theologian. Pannenberg summarizes Quenstedt, “Once one concedes that anything in scripture is of human origin, its divine authority is lost.”
Really? Many people over many years wrote the Bible. Richard Elliott Friedman explores this question in depth. Here, we can accept than numerous human hands touched scripture before the Synod of Hippo in 393. This gathering was the first time a group of people agreed on what would come to be known as the Bible.
What is Quenstedt arguing? Inspiration? Does this mean that the Holy Spirit moved people to put pen to paper and write what God said? If so, why did God not arrange more consistency in the Bible? In John 4 the Samaritan woman’s testimony leads many people to faith in God through Jesus. Then, in 1 Timothy 2.11, it says, “Let the women learn in silence with full submission.” How do the two concepts work together?
The Bible came to be over many years. In each instance, God is at work. Scripture points to God, but it is not God. Scripture reveals aspects of God, but it is not itself God’s revelation. It is a shadow of revelation (Barth). Pannenberg follows the trajectory of biblical hermeneutics and claims that we can simultaneously trust the divine authority of scripture and interpret it.
To me, it matters less who wrote the Bible than the idea that the Bible points to God.