DOCTRINES OF THE BIBLE
THE INSPIRATION OF THE SCRIPTURES
By Pastor Jared Decker
The Bible – God’s Holy Word, the Weapon of our warfare – is the ground upon which our belief in God and everything about Him stands. For centuries, its contents have been degraded, demoralized, and explained away by those who are “willingly ignorant”. These are they that deny the inspiration of our God upon His Word. The very word “inspiration” comes from the Greek word theopneustos, which means, “God-breathed”. In 2 Timothy 3:16, the Bible declares, “All Scripture is given by inspiration (theopneustos) of God…” Those who deny the verbal inspiration of the Bible, demoralize it as nothing more than a compilation of stories, fables, and myths. By saying this, they deny the very existence of God or, at least, His ability to communicate His Word. The first tactic used by Satan in the Garden of Eden was to make Eve question whether or not she had truly received the words of God. His question to her, “Yea, hath God said…?”, is the same question that slithers its way into a battle over the inspiration of Scripture. Let us take a moment to consider some thoughts on this matter and refute some error that has been prevalent in our day.
So, how did our most Holy, Might God give us His Word? The Bible explains this in 2 Peter 1:21, “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.” The Spirit of God would come upon a man and dictate to him the exact words that were to be written. Some, who believe in Conceptual Inspiration, would say that God did not inspire the exact words but merely the thoughts, or concepts. This is faulty, in that, it would give man the permissible opportunity to dilute even the thoughts of God. When you change the words, you change the thoughts! We are told by God, in Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” If God understands and explains to us the differences between our thoughts and His, why would He leave His Word in the hands foolish men (1 Corinthians 3:19) who would change it at their own will? Our God omnisciently and lovingly inspired every single word in the Bible. (Psalm 12:6)
The next theory that these scoffers of God’s Word fumble around with is Mechanical Dictation. They teach that God put the writers of the Bible into some sort of hypnotic state. As mindless puppets in the hands of the “Master Ventriloquist”, they wrote, not even knowing what was occurring. Once God was finished with them, they woke out of their slumber to discover the Word of God in front of them. This, however, completely contradicts what is written in Revelation chapter one. In verse ten, the apostle John, on the Isle of Patmos, explains exactly what happened when God started speaking to him. He even specifies for us which day it was, “I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day…” (Revelation 1:10). If he were being mechanically operated, how would he remember what day it was, “the Lord’s day”, or what condition he was in, “in the Spirit”. If God used John through mechanical dictation, he would not have remembered the glorious things he both saw and heard. Dictation does not allow for the personality of the writer to be seen, only the personality of the author. A wonderful characteristic of God’s inspiration is that He allowed the personality of each writer to show in the Scriptures that were given to them. (Paul did not write like Peter. Peter did not write like Matthew. Matthew did not write like Moses.) Through the magnificence of God’s verbal inspiration, He used around forty men to pen His Word, and yet all of them had unique features about their writing.
Some say that the Bible could not be God-inspired, because it contains contradictions. One of the most commonly used passages to support this theory is Proverbs 26:4-5, “v4. Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. v5. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” This assumption of a contradiction is due to an error in interpretation by the reader, not an error in the Book. Interpretation is what man defines a passage to mean. When interpreted in a grammatical and comparative manner, it is clear that these verses do not contradict each other, but explain when to answer a fool. Do not answer him in his way and according to his foolishness, but give him an answer based on wisdom and instruction. Any contradiction in God’s Word would make God a liar. Hebrews 6:18 tells us that it is impossible for God to lie. Thus, these scoffers are those who are spoken of in Romans 1:25, which says, “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
If the Bible is not God’s Word, we cannot look to it for the answers to life’s questions. This would only leave one other place to look…ourselves. The Bible states, however, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God…” (1 Corinthians 3:19). Without the inspired truths of God’s Word, we would have no clear conception of the love of God; we would have no illustration of the grace of God; we would have no sure direction of the way to God. The Doctrine of Inspiration is a pivotal issue in the war against our enemy, the devil. This cannot be compromised on, watered down, or swept under the theological rug! We are called by God, not only to spread the Word, but also to defend the Word. May we always follow the path that God has laid down for us in His verbally and divinely inspired Word.