Ipsissima vox

Ipsissima Vox is a Latin expression meaning "the very voice", and describes the view that the New Testament Gospel-accounts capture the concepts that Jesus expressed, but not exact words. Ipsissima Vox is contrasted with Ispissima Verba, meaning "the very words".

Arguments for Ipsissima Vox

  1. Jesus probably spoke mostly Aramaic, so most of what we have recorded in the gospels is already a translation.
  2. Jesus probably spent hours teaching, yet most of the didactic passages in the gospels take mere minutes to read.
  3. The gospel writers do not agree word-for-word in many parallel passages, but rather thought-for-thought.

Arguments against Ipsissima Vox

  1. It opens the door for doubt in the doctrines of the inerrancy, sufficiency, and clarity of Scripture.
  2. It questions the ability of the Holy Spirit to enable the gospel writers to recall the words of Jesus.
  3. It fails to account for Luke's assertion in Luke 1:4 ("...that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught." ESV) and Jesus' claim in John 14:26 ("But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." ESV)

Proponents of Ipsissima Vox

Critics of Ipsissima Vox

  • Donald E. Green
  • Robert N. Wilkin
  • John W. Montgomery