[CF Devotionals] 2009-09-20 - Inspiration

Study on the Bible, Part 12

Having considered how God presents his Word through revelation, and some of the methods He used, now let’s consider the issue of inspiration. The most well-known verse on the subject is 2 Timothy 3:16. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Let’s go to the dictionary again for a definition:

“The word inspiration is used twice in the KJV (Job 32:8, NIV “breath”; 2 Tim 3:16). The written documents, called Holy Scripture, are a divine product.

In both 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:19-21 the fact of the divine productivity (spiration rather than inspiration) of the “Holy Writings” is explicitly asserted. The authors of Scripture wrote in or by the Spirit (Mark 12:36). What the Scripture states is really what God has said (Acts 4:25; Heb 3:7; see 1:5ff.). This is true whether or not in the particular passage cited the words are ascribed to God or are the statements of the human author. Jesus attributed directly to God the authorship of Scripture (Matt 19:4-5).

Because of the character of the God of Truth who “inspired” (or produced) the Holy Scriptures, the result of “inspiration” is to constitute the Bible as fully trustworthy and authoritative (Pss 19:7-14; 119:89, 97, 113, 160; Zech 7:12; Matt 5:17-19; Luke 16:17; John 10:34-35; 1 Thess 2:13). Besides those passages directly teaching the authority of Scripture, such phrases as “It is written” (Matt 21:13; Luke 4:4, 8, 10), “it [or he] says” (Rom 9:15; Gal 3:16), and “Scripture says” (Rom 9:17; Gal 3:8) all clearly imply an absolute authority for the Old Testament Scriptures. Since the authority and trustworthiness of Scripture are complete, inspiration itself also extends to all of Scripture (Matt 5:17-19; Luke 16:17; 24:25; John 10:34-35).

Inerrancy and infallibility as applied to the inspiration of Scripture, though not exactly synonymous terms, are nevertheless both correctly applied to Scripture in order to indicate that inspiration and authority are complete. The word inerrant suggests that the Scriptures do not wander from the truth. Infallible is stronger, suggesting an incapability of wandering from the truth. By God’s sovereign preparation and control, men could and freely did write just what God desired—his divinely authoritative message to his people. Biblical inspiration may be defined as the work of the Holy Spirit by which, through the instrumentality of the personality and literary talents of its human authors, he constituted the words of the Bible in all of its several parts as his written word to the human race and, therefore, of divine authority and without error.” 1

  1. Douglas, J. D. and Merrill C. Tenney, editors, NIV Bible Dictionary, Zondervan Interactive Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1989, Electronic text hypertexted and prepared by OakTree Software, Inc.

Series to be continued.

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Additional studies by Geoff
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