Are the titles of books in the Bible inspired?

83r17h

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't know that I have seen this question asked or addressed anywhere. Are the titles of the books of the Bible part of the text of those books, and therefore inspired? Or are they not part of the text, and put there by editors?

For example, the NA28 gives "Acts of the Apostles" as the actual title of Acts. Is this whole title inspired as part of the text of Scripture, or did someone put it there for our convenience?
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't know that I have seen this question asked or addressed anywhere. Are the titles of the books of the Bible part of the text of those books, and therefore inspired? Or are they not part of the text, and put there by editors?

For example, the NA28 gives "Acts of the Apostles" as the actual title of Acts. Is this whole title inspired as part of the text of Scripture, or did someone put it there for our convenience?

No they are not inspired. The Hebrew titles of OT books are different for quite a number of them.
 

D.L. Arter

Puritan Board Freshman
The titles of the books aren't inspired, as Mason mentioned, the Hebrew titles differ for many of the OT books. When you consider that many NT books are actually letters, it wouldn't really make sense for the author to title his letter and in the instance of the Corinthian letters, Paul would've titled them differently than how we title them today.

Since 1 Corinthians 5:9 mentions that there was a previous letter, if Paul had titled the Corinthian letters, we'd assume that he would've titled 1 Corinthians as 2 Corinthians. Our 2 Corinthians 2:3-4 mentions another letter that Paul calls one written "out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears." If this refers to another non-canonical letter then our 2 Corinthians would actually be 4 Corinthians; and if Paul had titled all his letters, you'd think that our canonical letters would reflect this as well.
 

aaronsk

Puritan Board Freshman
Ezra and Nehemiah was originally a single book - so nope. I know the question is answered already but just tossing in my :2cents:.
 

83r17h

Puritan Board Freshman
Indeed. Thanks for your help and patience all! Seeing the explanations now, it appears as common sense.
 

Scottish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
Bonus fact (which I'm sure you know) - the chapter and verse divisions aren't inspired, either.
While this is true of the books of the Bible in general, I've sometimes wondered about the numbering of the Psalms in particular, if that was done by inspiration. It's fairly clear that the Psalms were written over a long period (Moses to Ezra probably), and that at some point around the time of Ezra they were collected into a book and numbered. We know that what was included in, versus excluded from, the Book of Psalms is by inspiration, so are the Psalm numbers by inspiration too?
 

D.L. Arter

Puritan Board Freshman
While this is true of the books of the Bible in general, I've sometimes wondered about the numbering of the Psalms in particular, if that was done by inspiration. It's fairly clear that the Psalms were written over a long period (Moses to Ezra probably), and that at some point around the time of Ezra they were collected into a book and numbered. We know that what was included in, versus excluded from, the Book of Psalms is by inspiration, so are the Psalm numbers by inspiration too?
That's an interesting concept especially considering they're a compilation of stand-alone poems. The question (in my opinion), would be whether the numbering itself being inspired makes a difference. It would seem to me that there is no hermeneutical necessity for the numbers to be inspired or in other words, the meaning of the text itself wouldn't change based on the inspiration of the numbering system. We'd also have to wrestle with the fact that there are numerical differences between Masoretic text and the Septuagint.

Ultimately, I think it's important to remember the purpose of the book of psalms as a compilation of songs/poems meant to facilitate musical worship. Despite the fact that most believers today don't sing the psalms (unfortunately) and that we've lost the original tunes for the songs, the real purpose of the book of Psalms is to provide a means of musical worship (similar to a modern-day hymnal). In that light, the numbering system is of little to no consequence regardless of its inspiration or lack thereof.
 

Scottish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
That's an interesting concept especially considering they're a compilation of stand-alone poems. The question (in my opinion), would be whether the numbering itself being inspired makes a difference. It would seem to me that there is no hermeneutical necessity for the numbers to be inspired or in other words, the meaning of the text itself wouldn't change based on the inspiration of the numbering system. We'd also have to wrestle with the fact that there are numerical differences between Masoretic text and the Septuagint.

Ultimately, I think it's important to remember the purpose of the book of psalms as a compilation of songs/poems meant to facilitate musical worship. Despite the fact that most believers today don't sing the psalms (unfortunately) and that we've lost the original tunes for the songs, the real purpose of the book of Psalms is to provide a means of musical worship (similar to a modern-day hymnal). In that light, the numbering system is of little to no consequence regardless of its inspiration or lack thereof.
Yes you're probably right that the numbering / ordering is immaterial and therefore uninspired, but I suppose the reason for asking whether it is inspired is that, if so then there is a significance to it (even if we don't know what that is).

I don't think the difference between the Masoretic and Septuagint carries that much weight in the question, since the Hebrew of the Psalms is inspired and the Greek is a translation. I suppose it may indicate that the translators of the LXX did not regard the numbering as inspired, perhaps, but of course they could have been wrong too.

It is interesting to note that in Acts, Psalm 2 is specifically quoted as the second Psalm, and of course that statement is inspired - does that shed any light on the question?
 

smalltown_puritan

Puritan Board Freshman
That's an interesting concept especially considering they're a compilation of stand-alone poems. The question (in my opinion), would be whether the numbering itself being inspired makes a difference. It would seem to me that there is no hermeneutical necessity for the numbers to be inspired or in other words, the meaning of the text itself wouldn't change based on the inspiration of the numbering system.
Not seeking to derail the thread, I would briefly submit that the order of the Psalms is hermeneutically significant. The Psalms are 'the word of Christ' (Col 3:16), and as such speak in great detail to his humiliation and exaltation. So for instance, Psa 39:12-13 concludes, 'Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.' And then Psa 40:1-2 begins, 'I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.' The former concludes with His death, the latter begins with the declaration of His resurrection. So in this light, the ordering of the Psalter would be significant.
 

D.L. Arter

Puritan Board Freshman
Yes you're probably right that the numbering / ordering is immaterial and therefore uninspired, but I suppose the reason for asking whether it is inspired is that, if so then there is a significance to it (even if we don't know what that is).
I absolutely agree, that if they are inspired there is probably significance in it, even if we don't know what it is. I do wonder if an emphasis on the numbering itself might cause those with a lack of discernment to "go off the rails" concerning numerology (if that makes sense).
I don't think the difference between the Masoretic and Septuagint carries that much weight in the question, since the Hebrew of the Psalms is inspired and the Greek is a translation. I suppose it may indicate that the translators of the LXX did not regard the numbering as inspired, perhaps, but of course they could have been wrong too.
That's a fair assessment with the Septuagint being only a translation (though it is a translation that's quoted in the NT frequently).
It is interesting to note that in Acts, Psalm 2 is specifically quoted as the second Psalm, and of course that statement is inspired - does that shed any light on the question?
I see what you mean, but I'm still not entirely sure that Psalm 2 being labeled the second psalm plays any significance beyond just being a marker of sorts. Perhaps the only significance of Psalm 2 being referred to as the second psalm in Acts 13 is to clarify where the quotation is from.
Not seeking to derail the thread, I would briefly submit that the order of the Psalms is hermeneutically significant. The Psalms are 'the word of Christ' (Col 3:16), and as such speak in great detail to his humiliation and exaltation. So for instance, Psa 39:12-13 concludes, 'Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.' And then Psa 40:1-2 begins, 'I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.' The former concludes with His death, the latter begins with the declaration of His resurrection. So in this light, the ordering of the Psalter would be significant.
I agree that the order of the psalms is hermeneutically significant. Your example of Pss. 39-40 is an excellent example; I'd argue that Pss. 1-2 are also connected in a similar manner (there is significance in their placement). I'm arguing that the fact that they're labeled Psalm 1 or Psalm 2 in and of itself probably isn't significant. We could very well just call them Psalm A and Psalm B and not lose anything significant (if that makes sense). I definitely agree that certain psalms are intended to be placed together and that there is hermeneutical significance behind it, but I'm not convinced that the numbering system itself is necessary beyond just being markers of where to find the texts (which are definitely inspired and definitely placed relevantly).
 

83r17h

Puritan Board Freshman
O. Palmer Robertson makes a case for the significance and intentional ordering of Psalms in The Flow of the Psalms. Not that this makes the numbering inspired per se, but is the ordering/placement itself be considered inspired?

What about the "books" within the Psalms? Is the 5-book division of the Psalms relevant here?

Not seeking to derail the thread

Not derailing - it's related to the original topic, which pertains to what features of the Bibles we have are inspired. It is actually a lot more interesting than my initial question. The order of the NT books would seem to be difficult to argue inspiration for, but the internal organization of the Psalms is definitely a relevant and interesting question.
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Sophomore
O. Palmer Robertson makes a case for the significance and intentional ordering of Psalms in The Flow of the Psalms. Not that this makes the numbering inspired per se, but is the ordering/placement itself be considered inspired?

What about the "books" within the Psalms? Is the 5-book division of the Psalms relevant here?



Not derailing - it's related to the original topic, which pertains to what features of the Bibles we have are inspired. It is actually a lot more interesting than my initial question. The order of the NT books would seem to be difficult to argue inspiration for, but the internal organization of the Psalms is definitely a relevant and interesting question.
The general consensus in the scholarly world, after the last forty years of intensive study on this topic, is that there is indeed significance in the ordering of the psalter (and the division into books). At the very least, Psalms 1-2 clearly form an introduction, focusing on torah and messiah (a pairing that occurs elsewhere as well), and Psalms 145-150 form a doxological conclusion. Roberston's work delves into considerably more depth and is overall (to me at least) quite compelling. I would expect that even if we weren't able to discern the rationale, we should at least be anticipating that there was one, given our doctrine of Scripture. I commend reading Robertson for those who want to learn more. Bruce Waltke's commentary on Proverbs explores groupings in the apparently random sentence sayings and is also recommended.
 
Top