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Given by Inspiration

Inspiration - Full Inspiration - The Accuracy of the Bible


The Apostle Paul says that "all scripture is given by inspiration of God." An explanation is needed of what he means by this. The words that he wrote could be translated more literally: "all scripture is breathed out by God." The Bible is his word. Although written by men it is God the Holy Spirit who speaks in the Scripture. It is for this reason that Paul in his preaching could say: "Well spoke the Holy Spirit by Isaiah the prophet to our fathers." This does not mean that the human authors were not authors in any sense. In fact the Holy Spirit prepared each human author to write just as he wrote. "By causing him to be born at a certain time and place, bestowing upon him specific endowments, equipping him with a definite kind of education, causing him to undergo predetermined experiences, and bringing back to his mind certain facts and their implications, the Spirit prepared his human consciousness. Next, that same Spirit moved him to write. Finally during the process of writing, that same Primary Author suggested to the mind of the human author that language (the very words) and that style, which would be the most appropriate vehicle for the interpretation of the divine ideas for the people of every rank and position, age and race. Hence, though every word is truly the word of the human author, it is even more truly the Word of God."

Full Inspiration

The inspiration spoken of extends to "all" scripture. Every part is inspired. It is not merely that some parts are inspired or that the doctrinal teaching only is inspired; all of the books are inspired and all of the contents of each book. Inspiration also extends to every word. The idea that only the thoughts were inspired and that each writer chose his own words to explain them overlooks the fact that the thoughts are in the words. In saying this we are not claiming that any English translation is inspired or that any copy of the original Hebrew or Greek text that we have today was inspired by God. What is claimed by Bible-believing Christians is that God immediately inspired the original manuscripts written by the original authors.

The Accuracy of the Bible

In the giving of the Word of God such inspiration was of prime importance. It is because of this influence of the Holy Spirit that we can be confident about the total accuracy of the Bible. If it had been a mixture of God's thoughts and men's correct or incorrect thoughts the Bible could not be a reliable guide to anything. It is also as a result of its inspiration by the Holy Spirit that the Bible is of supreme authority. Nothing can be rightly placed above scripture or even alongside of scripture because all other writings are under it. The Church of Jesus Christ merely states the laws of the King. "The Supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other than the Holy Spirit speaking in the scripture."

To Remember

"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." (2 Peter 1.21)

Words to Learn

Apostle, inspiration, endowments, equipping, predetermined, implications, consciousness, appropriate, translation, manuscripts, prime, supreme, controversies.

Questions to Answer

1. What is an alternative translation of "inspiration"?

2. Who is it that speaks in scripture?

3. In what ways did the Holy Spirit prepare the writers of the Bible?

4. How did the Spirit influence the authors of the Bible books at the time of writing?

5. Answer true or false to each of the following statements:

a) Only some parts of the Bible are inspired.

b) All of the books of the Bible are inspired.

c) Only the doctrinal teaching is inspired.

d) Every word of the Bible is inspired.

e) English translations are inspired.

f) Only the original manuscripts of the Bible were inspired.

g) Only the thoughts of the Bible are inspired.

6. Why can we be confident of the total accuracy of the scriptures?

7. What is the supreme judge of all controversies of religion?

Things to do

Use a Bible Concordance to identify all of the passages that use the word "scripture" or "scriptures". Choose FIVE of these and state who uses the word and what he says about the scriptures.

Finding out for Yourself

Read about the following famous translators of the Bible: Wycliffe, Tyndale, Luther, Coverdale

Essay Titles

Mary Jones and how she obtained her Bible.

My best known Bible verses and what I think about them.

A Psalm to Sing

Thy word for ever is, O Lord,

    in heaven settled fast;

Unto all generations

    thy faithfulness doth last:

The earth thou hast established,

    and it abides by thee.

This day they stand as thou ordain'dst;

    for all thy servants be.

Unless in thy most perfect law

    my soul delights had found,

I should have perished, when as

    my troubles did abound.

Thy precepts I will ne'er forget;

    they quick'ning to me brought.

Lord, I am thine; O save thou me:

    thy precepts I have sought.

        (Psalm 119.89-94)