Before we can discuss the inspiration of the scriptures, we must begin by defining inspiration. In todays language, inspiration refers to anything that lifts the spirit. Therefore, we speak of paintings that are inspirational. We talk about football players inspiring their team to victory. When speaking in these terms, many people admit the Bible to be “inspirational.” However, this is not what the Bible means when it speaks of inspiration. The word “inspiration” literally means “the breath of God.” Therefore, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” To say the Bible is inspired is to declare the Bible to be the very words of God.
Therefore the Bible does not contain the word of God, the Bible is the very words of God. The Holy Spirit inspired (gave the very words of God) to chosen men to write the Bible. This is exactly what the scriptures describe as the method of inspiration. Acts 1:16 says, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning JudasÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.”
Sometimes people find this method of revelation troubling. I suppose they would have felt better if God had written the words down himself. But we know that would not change anything since the Ten Commandments were written by the finger of God (Exodus 31:18). But allow me to make an illustration to show that using a messenger does not detract for the validity of the message.
Now, I did not have brothers or sisters growing up. But those of you who did can apply this illustration even more readily. When I was younger, I was upstairs playing with my toys with a friend. My friend decided to go downstairs to get something to drink while I continued to play. Moments later, my friend returned with a message for me: “your mom says to stop what you are doing, come downstairs, and eat.” Of course, I was in middle of something that I did not want to stop. So what is my response? “I will be there in a minute.” That, of course, is not the answer any mother was looking for from me. Further, for remaining upstairs until I was finished, punishment was given for my disobedience. Now, could I have given a defense that my mother had not told me to stop, come downstairs, and eat? Of course not. We know that my friend delivered the clear message of my mother, word for word. Even though the words came through someone else, the words were my mothers and I was accountable to obey.
Just as much as we understand this scenario, we also should understand that God has spoken to us in the same way. God did not have to speak directly to you or to me for us to know his words. God sent messengers who had the very words of God and we are just as accountable, as if God had spoken the words directly to us.
The Old and the New Testaments claim inspiration nearly 4000 times. Claims do not prove a fact, but the claims tell us something about those who have made the claim. For example, if I told you I could benchpress 1000 pounds, you immediately learn something about me. You would learn that I am either the strongest man in the world, I am a liar, or I am a lunatic. The same thing can be said concerning the writers of the Bible. Either the writers of the Bible told the truth when they claimed to write down the very words of God, they were liars, or they were lunatics. It is not possible for us to say that good men wrote the Bible and the Bible is a good book, but is not inspired. This is not a good book if the writers lied nearly 4000 times. The Bible is certainly not a good book if it is not inspired when we consider that we are told that if we do not obey its commands we will spend eternity in hell. Therefore, we are left with three options: (1) the Bible is the word of God, (2) the Bible was written by a bunch of liars, or (3) the Bible was written by people who were completely deluded and were lunatics. If either of the last two options is true, then we cannot ever say that the Bible has the greatest words ever spoken or that it has the greatest standard of morality.
How can we prove the Bible to be the very words of God? How can we know that these words are Gods words and not mans words? In the next article, we will prove the Bible’s claims of inspiration.