Inspiration of Scripture
Inspiration of Scripture – What does it mean that the Bible is inspired by God?
The inspiration of Scripture is an essential doctrine to understand. Inspiration, in short, is the motivation of a person’s heart and desires and is usually the catalyst for or the fuel behind the accomplishment of a goal, task, or other endeavor. In the case of the Bible, though written by human authors over multiple generations, the inspiration came from God. God had a goal, and thus a motivation to speak to and through some of His devoted believers so that the rest of His creation throughout time could hear, read, and study His way, truth and life.
The Bible is God’s Word. It is His voice recorded on paper and manifested in our lives through our understanding of and obedience to it. The primary reason God inspired the writing of Scripture was to provide direction to the human race. Thus, the Bible is a passageway into the love and saving grace of God. This passageway shares the truth of the human story; walking us through our history, our fall from our Creator and His amazing way of redeeming us back to Himself through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. In fact, Scripture describes Jesus as the Word of God. John 1:1-2 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”
Some would like to argue that the Bible is simply a story; a fictitious idea conjured up centuries ago and then passed down through the ages while somehow picking up religious authority along the way. They would believe it to be only a book much like any other. However, this book is very much unlike any other. As Scripture teaches, the Word must be received with faith and then its saving and life changing power, through the Holy Spirit, is revealed in an individual’s life. A.W. Tozer teaches this:
“The truth received in power shifts the bases of life from Adam to Christ and a new set of motives goes to work within the soul. A new and different Spirit enters the personality and makes the believing man new in every department of his being. His interests shift from things external to things internal, from things on earth to things in heaven. He loses faith in the soundness of external values, he sees clearly the deceptiveness of outward appearances and his love for and confidence in the unseen and eternal world become stronger as his experience widens.”1
Inspiration of Scripture – What is the Support?
We can know the Bible is the inspired Word of God because of fulfilled prophecy. There are also the messianic prophecies the foretold Jesus Christ hundreds of years prior, telling of His virgin birth and how He would be rejected.
Archaeology supports the accuracy of the Bible from ancient ruins to cities mentioned in Scripture.
The Bible claims to be inspired. Typically, it would be difficult for someone or something under trial to defend itself or prove its own worth without some sort of outside support. However, Scripture is different. First, as the Word of God, it claims to be absolute truth (John 17:17) and thus, if true, it stands alone with no defense necessary. Second, Scripture teaches that it must be received by faith (Romans 1:17) and thus it proves itself through the obedience of its followers as what it says comes to life through their actions. Therefore, it is through its self-sustaining power and the faith of believers, both individually and corporately, that Scripture reveals its inspiration, its authenticity, its authority, and its power.
2 Timothy 3:14-17 says, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 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.”
The book of Hebrews is one of the best places for a believer to study and understand the inspiration and truth of Scripture. In Chapter 11, one can study the importance faith has in this understanding. However, as one studies through this book, it first teaches and lays the foundation of Scriptures own self-sustaining power and authority; that it is what it says it is and came from who it says it came from. Hebrews 1:1-3 says, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
Then again in Hebrews 4:12-13 it says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
The Message, a modern English interpretation of the Bible, recounts Hebrews 4:12-13 in this way: “God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.”
Inspiration of Scripture – Why is this important today?
John 20:24-29 says, “Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.’ A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”
Present history is a time of doubts and skepticisms. It is a time of self-belief, a postmodern system that calls true anything but actual truth. Therefore, understanding the authority and inspiration of Scripture is of utmost importance for a people who must operate in faith as they pursue an invisible God.
Jesus said that, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe”. With the acceptation of maybe love (1 Corinthians 13:2), faith plays a role that is far and above the most important element within Christianity. Without faith, there is nothing, for God does not force Himself upon a people who will not trust Him at His Word. And since God operates in accordance with His timing, His people are left to wait upon Him to fulfill what he says He will fulfill.
God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). The limits of the human mind cannot grasp the depth of God’s character and personality. Yet, He is good (Psalm 34:8). Therefore, those who hope in Him and place their faith in the power, authority, and inspiration of His Word will renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31). For God says in Isaiah 55:10-11, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
The inspiration of Scripture is simply the motivation of a loving creator to converse with His creation and lead them to His heart for salvation. This salvation comes through a faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, who is called the Word of God and who died upon the cross as an act of forgiveness and as a way to bridge the gap between sinful man and a Holy God. The Word of God stands upon its own authority and reveals its truth to a doubtful and skeptical world through the faithful obedience of those who have surrendered their life to the God who gave it to them.
1 A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of Man.
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