INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE

I know it is fashionable for people to declare that Scripture is man made, full of error and not at all what it claims to be.  Quite often such charges reveal much more about the person making them than about anything relating to Scripture.  There are two statements in Scripture that seem to me to be tremendously helpful on the whole topic.  The first is in Hebrews 1:1-4 “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.  After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”

The Book of Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians who had grown up under the Old Testament Law but learned of Jesus and turned to him.  Now time had passed and many were questioning their choice and wondering if they had made the wrong move.  This book is given to demonstrating how much better the New Covenant is than the Old and how much superior the way of Jesus Christ is over that of the Law and the prophets.  If one reads the whole book it is amazing how many times he will use the word “better” to say that Christ is a better Savior, better law giver, better high priest, better offering for sins and gives us a better reward for following him.  Notice in introducing the whole book he declared that God was the one speaking through the prophets in the Old Covenant as he is the one speaking through Christ now.  During the Old Covenant he spoke in numerous methods and with many people but it was God that was the spokesman then and now.  He delivered that law through the mediation of angels but it didn’t change the reality that it was from God.

It is important to notice his identification of Jesus Christ as creator of the world and the radiance of the glory of God, the exact imprint of his nature.  Jesus is the one who not only created all but the one who upholds the universe by the word of his power.

The other passage that is extremely significant on this topic is 2 Peter 1:19-21  “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.  For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”  Earlier in the chapter Peter points out that many times as the prophets discussed what God was revealing to them they would go back and study, searching to find out what God was revealing in the message he had them deliver to the people.  God wanted us to know that while he spoke through people, it wasn’t just their ideas and dreams.  They were being moved along by the Spirit of God as to what they should write.  In I Corinthians 2 Paul said that no one can know the mind of a person except their spirit within them and no one can know the mind of God except the Spirit of God who then reveals that mind to inspired people to put down for him.

God’s inspiration of Scripture was not dictation so that the personality of the writer didn’t get into the message at all.  Inspiration means God was moving through the thoughts, ideas and vocabulary of the person who was writing.  If one dictates a letter to a secretary who then writes it out and sends it to others, the secretary’s personality shouldn’t shine through but the personality of the one who dictated it.  But if he said to the secretary I want you to write a letter to this person telling them what we have decided to do about their project and the secretary wrote it out in their own words their personality would come through.  Inspiration is far more like telling the person to write out what God wanted on some subject in their words and thoughts.  Sometimes what is inspired is a matter of revelation.  In Ephesians 3:1-5 Paul explained that by revelation God had made known to him the mystery that had been hidden through the years that God would save all kinds of people in the church.  It wasn’t just inspiration but also revelation and Paul said when we read we can understand his knowledge of the mystery in Christ.

God’s inspiration isn’t just something that gives one a desire or talent in an area.  I’ve heard people say that inspiration was the same as when an artist is inspired by a scene they observe to paint a picture of it.  That isn’t the same thing as what the Bible describes as inspiration. Literally, inspiration means “God breathed” and indicates that God is guiding in what is said on a particular matter.  The result of the Bible being inspired is that the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword that separates joint from marrow and can divide soul from spirit (Hebrews 4:12).

It is easy to set ourselves up as the judge and jury of the Bible and go through declaring that this can be believed but another teaching can’t be trusted.  While I know there have been some mistranslations at times and we don’t have the original manuscripts of Scripture it is the height of arrogance to think we can decide to believe what we want and throw the rest aside.  James said it was the wise person who looked intently into the word that is able to save our soul and continues in it, not being a forgetful hearer but a doer of the word.  So, be careful how you handle the word of God that is even said to be the mind of the Lord by Paul.

About leoninlittlerock

Preaching minister for Central church of Christ in Little Rock. Author of over 20 books including: When a Loved one Dies, Spiritual Development, Skid Marks on the Family Drive, Challenges in the church, To Know Christ and A Drink of Living Water.
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