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Bible:  How is it that it is inspired?

Gary Googe Apr 05

In what sense is the Bible inspired? What exactly does it mean to say it is inspired? Is this like a composer being inspired to create a fine piece of music? Is this like someone being inspired in the writing of some poetry? Not really! The difference is not only in what is written, but the authority behind what is written as well as the truthfulness of what is written.  This inspiration is to do with the fact that the sixty-six books of the Bible were written like no other document.  It tells us God was directly involved in what the authors of Scripture wrote guaranteeing the accuracy of their writings.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. [Emphasis added]

When the text says it was written “by inspiration of God,” that is just one word in the Greek text from which this was translated—THEOPNEUSTOS.  That’s a compound word coming from THEOS, meaning God and PNEUMA, meaning breathed [or spirit].  So, it is telling us all scripture is God-breathed.  What this means is that in the writings of the Bible we have divine superintendency exerted over the writers that guarantees the accuracy of what they wrote.  This isn’t about just concepts, but each word of the original writings.  This statement about Scripture does not say it is in spirit or that it imparts an emotional or spiritual influence upon its readers [although, of course, it often does], but rather it has reference to the origin of what was written.  This is telling us these writings came into being by the breath of God.  Just as God breathed into the nostrils of Adam’s body to give him life, it was in a similar manner that God breathed into the writers of Scripture and brought into being the infallible Word in writing.  This can’t rightly be said about any translation of Scripture, but only about the original writings in the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic text.  Altogether this makes the Bible the most reliable book you’ll ever read.  This includes not only the doctrine of the Bible but what it says about historical matters, scientific matters, geographical matters, and everything else it states.  It is the world’s only perfect book.

2 Peter 1:20-21

20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. [Emphasis added]

Peter is not stating that individuals cannot discern the meaning of things stated in the Bible.  Peter is simply saying that nothing in Scripture originated in the mind of man, but the writers received what they wrote from God the Holy Spirit. However, the Scriptures do not tell us the mode or way this occurred.

Some people suppose that what is spoken of as the New Testament is more inspired than the Old Testament.  Red Letter editions of Bibles where the words of Christ are in red print are thought to be more authoritative than others.  Neither is true.

1 Corinthians 14:37-38

37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. [Emphasis added]

In these passages the Bible is clearly stating the fact of inspiration.  However, this does not guarantee that a reader will be inspired by the text.

Some people believe only certain parts of the Bible are God-breathed. However, they have no authoritative basis for such a belief.  Every word in the original text of Scripture is to be accepted as authoritative.  It is God’s preserved Word for all mankind.

For more information about this please see these other articles on this website.

Bible:  Is it a trustworthy book?

Bible:  Bible: How should one study the Bible? 

Bible:  Where should a person begin studying?

Bible:  Does the Apocrypha belong as a part of it?

Bible:  What are we to think of the King James Version

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