Inspiration Of The Bible
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
II Timothy 3:16-17
APPRECIATION OF INSPIRATION
- God’s ministers may be perfect and furnished for all matters by His inspired scripture.
- If a minister does not love this subject, he has a problem, for the scriptures are mainly his to study and teach (I Tim 4:13-15; II Tim 2:15; 4:2; Neh 8:8; Mal 2:7).
- Every minister, or every man, should aspire to be like inspired Elihu (Job 32:1-10); though he was inspired directly, you have indirect inspiration in the scriptures.
- God wrote His words in stone by His finger for Moses (Ex 31:18; 32:15-16; De 9:10).
- No wonder we have the expression, “written in stone,” for finality and certainty!
- But no one could see the stones or writing, yet you have them twice (Ex 20; De 5)!
- How do you read your Bible? It is not the words of men, but of God (I Thess 2:13).
- Do you read it as if every single word were chosen by God primarily for you?
- Does it light you up to know the mind and heart of the infinite Creator Jehovah?
DEFINITION OF INSPIRATION
- The Bible declares its inspiration, as the opening text above states (II Tim 3:16-17).
- The English word “inspire” comes from two Latin words in (in) and spirare (breathe).
- Thus the basic, literal sense of the word inspiration means to breathe into a person.
- Figuratively it means to infuse some thought or feeling into someone or thing as if by breathing; or to animate or actuate by some mental or spiritual influence.
- We understand inspiration to be God’s use of men to write His words in the Bible.
- The best description of inspiration is by Peter about God moving men (II Pet 1:21).
- The action of inspiring is ascribed to God (II Timothy 3:16; Job 32:8; II Peter 1:21).
NECESSITY OF INSPIRATION
- If the Bible’s words came by the will of man, then it is not scripture (II Peter 1:20-21).
- The word of God and the word of men are not the same (I Thess 2:13; Rom 3:4).
- The opinions of any man, any group of men, or all men is only folly and vanity.
- Satan and men have corrupted the words of God, so we need inspiration for protection from their crafty deceit and flagrant perversions (Gen 3:1-5; II Cor 2:17; 4:2).
DEPENDENCY OF INSPIRATION
- Inspiration depends on preservation, or inspiration is a moot theological distraction.
- Men prove inspiration by quoting scripture texts like II Tim 3:16-17 and II Pet 1:21, which must be preserved accurately to prove anything, thus preservation is assumed.
- Without preservation, the profit of inspiration would be limited or gone (II Pet 1:19), and God and inspiration would be reduced to a big tease misleading God’s elect.
- Preservation of scripture is an entirely different study outside the scope of this study.
EXTENT OF INSPIRATION
- Natural inspiration is a theory that scripture was written by faithful and good men who were inspired only in the sense any writer of genius or moral ability is inspired.
- Conceptual inspiration is a theory that scripture was written when God gave thoughts or ideas to men and they wrote them down in their own words.
- Plenary, verbal inspiration is a theory that all (plenary) words (verbal) were inspired by a direct act of God, but it is too vague as to how inspiration actually occurred.
- True inspiration is understood by the doctrine and example of scripture concerning it.
- Scripture is considered God’s voice (II Sam 23:2; Heb 3:7; 4:7; Acts 1:16; 28:25).
- The words of scripture are called God’s words (Deut 8:3; Ps 12:6; Luk 4:4; 21:33).
- The words of scripture were given by God (Jer 30:1-2; 36:1-2,18,32; Ex 34:1,28).
- Every jot (letter) or tittle (accent mark for distinction) is important (Matthew 5:18).
METHOD OF INSPIRATION
- God moved men to speak (write) the scriptures (II Peter 1:21; Ecclesiastes 12:10-11).
- The cause was God. It was not by the intelligence, will, effort, or plan of men.
- The instrument was men. About 40 men were moved by the Spirit (Mark 12:36).
- The message was God’s; at times they did not fully understand it (I Pet 1:10-12).
- God inspired a dumb ass, a false prophet (Balaam), and a king (Nebuchadnezzar)!
- God dictated the words internally to the men who wrote them down as scripture.
- David wrote words his heart dictated (Ps 45:1; I Chr 28:11-13,19; Job 32:18-20).
- Paul wrote words given by the Holy Ghost (John 14:17,26 compare to I Cor 2:13).
- Compare inspiration to the gift of tongues or prophecy (Acts 2:4; I Cor 14:2,4,18); though God took control of the vocal cords like Balaam’s ass, they could refrain.
- C. God dictated the words audibly to the men who in turn wrote them down as scripture.
- Moses (the Law) wrote the words that God dictated (Ex 24:4; 34:27-28; Deu 31:9).
- Jeremiah (the Prophets) wrote the words that God dictated (Jer 30:2; 36:1-2,18,32).
- John (New Testament) wrote God’s words (Rev 1:11 compare 2:1,8; 14:13; 19:9).
- D. This method of inspiration is ridiculed as “mechanical dictation,” because it does not give much glory or role to men, but we are not ashamed of the clear examples above.
- God may have involved the writer’s feelings or opinions (Gal 1:6; Phil 1:3), but we emphasize the method clearly stated in scripture, knowing it could include such.
- Read Jeremiah 36:18. Which of the four theories of inspiration sounds the closest?
- God used men that He prepared (holy men) to write down scripture (II Peter 1:21).
- God prepared Moses, David, and Jeremiah (Ex 4:10-12; II Sam 23:1-2; Jer 1:4-10).
- God used the differences in experience, knowledge, and style of the men He chose, but the words are still His (Eccl 2:1; Luke 1:1-4; II Thess 3:17; II Peter 3:16; etc.).
RESULT OF INSPIRATION
- It is harmonious throughout because it is one message from one Author (II Pet 1:21).
- It is without internal contradiction for the very same reason (John 10:35; Prov 8:8-9).
- It is dependable for detail to an incredible degree, as 17 one-word arguments show.
- An argument may be based on a single three-word phrase (Hebrews 12:26-27).
- An argument may be based on a single word – the word “new” (Hebrews 8:13).
- The passive voice of a verb rather than the active is to be considered (Gal 4:9).
- The present tense rather than the past tense is clearly to be considered (John 8:57).
- The inability to alter or violate a single word is used as an argument (John 10:35).
- An important argument may be based on the number of a noun (Galatians 3:16).
- An interpolated word in translation may be used for debate (Mat 22:31-32; Ex 3:6).
CONSIDERATIONS OF INSPIRATION
- Scripture is magnified above God’s own name (Neh 9:5 cp Ps 138:2; Exodus 20:7).
- Scripture is personified as God Himself (Gal 3:8; Romans 9:17; Hebrews 3:7; 4:7).
- Scripture is forever settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89,152,160; Matt 5:18; I Pet 1:25).
- Scripture is more sure than the voice of God (II Peter 1:16-21 cp Matthew 17:1-9).
- Scripture has nothing froward (unreasonable) or perverse (evil) in it (Proverbs 8:7-8).
- Scripture cannot be broken (contradicted or refuted) even in a single word (Jn 10:35).
- Scripture is the judge of truth and error (Acts 17:11; I John 4:6; 2:21; Ps 119:128).
- Scripture works effectually if believed (I Thess 2:13; Rom 10:17; Col 1:6; I Pet 2:2).
- Scripture is necessary for man to live spiritually (Deut 8:3; Luke 4:4; Proverbs 30:5).
- Scripture is scientifically, historically, prophetically accurate to an amazing degree.
IMPLICATIONS OF INSPIRATION
- Paraphrases are not scripture; they deny God’s words; they are novels about the Bible.
- We do not want men’s words, even if those words of men are about Bible words.
- We cannot climb higher toward the will of God than the original source document.
- Kenneth Taylor’s, The Living Bible, published in 1971 was his take on the ASV.
- Eugene Peterson’s, The Message, published in 2002 was his idiomatic translation, of which he said, “When I’m in a congregation where somebody uses [The Message] in the Scripture reading, it makes me a little uneasy. I would never recommend it be used as saying, ‘Hear the Word of God from The Message.’ But it surprises me how many do.” [Reported in Christianity Today, October 7, 2002.]
- Dynamic equivalent translations are not technically paraphrases but take such liberty.
- The New International Version is one such translation modifying original words.
- The Holman Christian Standard Bible claims to be based on optimal equivalence!
- For a list of types of translations.
- When first hearing someone complain about the thee’s and thou’s, you might agree.
- Why dumb down the KJV to modern English in the second person pronouns, even though it is lovers of Hebrew and Greek that often make this deceitful argument!
- For more about thee’s and thou’s.
- Once you eliminate thee’s and thou’s, how long until it is a gender-neutral Bible?
- If you alter one or both of these, reverence and godly fear are hurt (Heb 12:28-29).
- Never let anyone compromise the Bible’s words in any way to reduce word integrity.
CONCLUSION OF INSPIRATION
- We have the words of God expressing His mind and will for our lives (Deut 29:29).
- We may take rules of study like I Corinthians 2:13 to find Holy Spirit use of words.
- We may preach based on Nehemiah 8:8 and II Timothy 2:15 with God’s exact words.
- We may argue from individual words as the Bible illustrates in at least 17 examples.
- But what good is inspiration, unless you read the Bible as God’s very words to you?
- And what good is reading, unless it leads to doing what you read (James 1:21-25)?