The next subject we’re going to look at in our brief look at the Bible is Inspiration.
Just who wrote the Bible? Why do we call it God’s word when we know it was written by men?
What does it mean that the Bible was inspired by God?
Inspiration is defined as, “the supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit upon the Scripture writers which rendered their writings an accurate record of the revelation or which resulted in what they wrote actually being the Word of God”
The phrase “inspired by God” is a translation of one Greek word meaning “God-breathed” (theopneustos).
The English word “inspired” is a transliteration of the Latin which translates this Greek word with “inspirata”
meaning “to breathe into”.
The idea however, is not that God breathed into Scripture his breath, but that he breathed out his Word (through men). This helps us to understand one of the primary verses used to defend the concept of inspiration which is
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…”
2 Timothy 3:16,
There are many theories regarding the process God used to influence the human authors to write the Scriptures, because there really are many factors to consider. These factors include, the literary genre of the different portions, how inspiration relates to the use of sources, and whether inspiration is a quality attached to the writer or to the individual writings.
One theory is known as the intuition theory. The intuition theory views inspiration as equivalent to a high degree of insight, much like an artist’s gift for painting. This theory views the authors of Scripture as religious geniuses who retained their ability to write Scripture permanently.
One the other side of the spectrum is the dictation theory, holding that God actually dictated the Bible to the writers and the authors were just passive implements in the hand of God.
The dynamic theory emphasizes the combination of divine and human elements in the process of inspiration and in the writing of the Bible. Thus the person writing will give expression to the divinely directed thoughts in a way that is uniquely characteristic of him. This theory makes allowances for a writer’s own personality to come into play in word choice and writing style.
In addition to 2 Timothy 3:16 (as mentioned above), 2 Peter 1:21 is also a key verse considered in formulating a theory of inspiration:
“For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along (“moved”) by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21
The word “moved” literally means “to carry”.
The same word is translated “driven along” in Acts 27:15. 2 Peter 1:21 may be the only reference explaining how God inspired the prophets. It should be noted that 2 Peter 1:21 relates to the Old Testament. However, the writings of the New Testament are also referred to as Scripture (2 Peter 3:16), having been inspired by the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:5) and carry the same weight of authority as the Old Testament Scriptures (Revelations 22:18-19, Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32).
So the Bible then, contains the writings of human authors under the direction and empowerment of the Holy Spirit, but not as passive instruments like “pens in the hand of God” or “blank tape in a tape recorder”. Those who read the Scriptures should conclude that the Spirit used the personalities and unique backgrounds of the authors to present the word of God through their unique styles, and through their literary voice.
It’s an incredible thing to think that God would choose to use human beings with all of their bias’ and imperfections as tools to record His heart and His mind for those of us who would seek to know it.
Have you ever felt like God was leading you to say or do something?