Titus 1:12—Doesn’t Paul pronounce this pagan poet inspired by making him part of Scripture?

Problem: Christians believe that only the Bible is the Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16). Yet the Apostle Paul quotes pagan poets on at least three occasions. But in so doing he seems to give assent to the sources he quotes as inspired, just as when he quotes OT Scripture as the Word of God (cf. Matt. 4:4, 7, 10).

Solution: Paul is not quoting this non-Christian source as inspired, but simply as true. All truth is God’s truth, no matter who said it. Caiaphas the Jewish high priest uttered a truth about Christ (John 11:49). The Bible often uses non-inspired sources (cf. Num. 21:14; Josh. 10:13; 1 Kings 15:31). Three times Paul cites non-Christian thinkers (Acts 17:28; 1 Cor. 15:33; Titus 1:12). Jude alludes to truths found in two non-canonical books (Jude 9, 14). But never does the Bible cite them as divinely authoritative, but simply as containing the truth quoted. The usual phrases, such as, “thus saith the Lord” (cf. Isa. 7:7; Jer. 2:5, kjv) or “it is written” (cf. Matt. 4:4, 7, 10) are never found when these non-inspired sources are cited. Nonetheless, truth is truth wherever it is found. And there is no reason, therefore, that a biblical author, by direction of the Holy Spirit, cannot utilize truth from whatever source he may find it.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.