Inspiration

2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21; John 6:68; Acts 15:15; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 1 Chronicles 25:5; Ezra 9:4; Psalm 107:11; John 3:34; John 8:47; Revelation 17:17; Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32; Revelation 22:18-19; John 6:63; 1 Corinthians 7:6,10,12,25
Though this word occurs in the Bible but once in reference to the scriptures, yet the one statement in which it is found is important and full of deep meaning: “Every scripture is divinely inspired [literally, “God-breathed”], and is profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be complete, fully fitted to every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-1716All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16‑17)). This places all scripture on one basis as to inspiration, whether it be historical, doctrinal, or prophetic. We learn by this passage that not simply the persons who wrote were inspired, but the writings themselves are divinely inspired (compare 2 Pet. 1:2121For 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)).
All writings are composed of words, and if these writings are inspired, the words are inspired. This is what is commonly called “verbal inspiration.” Other passages speak of the importance of “words”; Peter said, “To whom shall we go? thou hast the words (ρἠματα) of eternal life” (John 6:6868Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. (John 6:68)): and we find those words in the Gospels. When it was a question of Gentiles being brought into blessing without being circumcised, James in his address appealed to the “words” of the prophets (Acts 15:1515And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, (Acts 15:15)). Paul in writing to the Corinthian saints said, “Which things also we speak, not in the ‘words’ (λόγοι) which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth” (1 Cor. 2:1313Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:13)). The Holy Spirit taught Paul what words to use. The whole of scripture forms the word of God, and both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament we read of “the words of God” (1 Chron. 25:55All these were the sons of Heman the king's seer in the words of God, to lift up the horn. And God gave to Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. (1 Chronicles 25:5); Ezra 9:44Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice. (Ezra 9:4); Psa. 107:1111Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High: (Psalm 107:11); John 3:3434For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. (John 3:34); John 8:4747He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. (John 8:47); Rev. 17:1717For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. (Revelation 17:17)). Neither must His word be added to, or taken from (Deut. 4:22Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:2); Deut. 12:3232What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. (Deuteronomy 12:32); Rev. 22:18-1918For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18‑19)).
The above passages should carry conviction to simple souls that every scripture is God-inspired. As nothing less than this is worthy of God, so nothing less than this would meet the need of man. Amid the many uncertain things around him he needs words upon which his faith can be based, and in the inspired scriptures he has them. The Lord Jesus said, “The words (ρἠματα) that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:6363It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63)). He had the words of eternal life; and, through the grace of God, many a soul has found them to be such, and has no more doubt of the plenary inspiration of scripture than of the existence of God Himself.
It may be noted that scripture records the sayings of wicked men, and of Satan himself. It need scarcely be said that it is not the sayings but the records of them that are inspired. Paul also, when writing on the question of marriage, makes a distinction between what he wrote as his judgment, and what he wrote as commandments of the Lord. “I speak this by permission,” he says; and again, “I give my judgment” (1 Cor. 7:6,10,12,256But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. (1 Corinthians 7:6)
10And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: (1 Corinthians 7:10)
12But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. (1 Corinthians 7:12)
25Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. (1 Corinthians 7:25)
). He was inspired to record his spiritual judgment and to point out that it was not a command.
Some have a difficulty as to what has been called the human element in inspiration. If the words of scripture are inspired, it has been asked, how is it that the style of the writer is so manifest? John’s style, for instance, being clearly distinguishable from that of Paul. The simple answer is that it is as if one used, so to speak, different kinds of pens to write with. God made the mind of man as well as his body, and was surely able to use the mind of each of the writers He employed, and yet cause him to write exactly what He wished. God took possession of the mind of man to declare His own purposes with regard to man.
Further, it has been asserted that the doctrine of verbal inspiration is valueless, because of diversities in the Greek manuscripts, which in some places prevent anyone from determining what are the words God caused to be written. But this does not in any way touch the question of inspiration, which is, that the words written were inspired by God. Whether we have a correct copy is quite another question. The variations in the Greek manuscripts do not affect any one of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, and only in a few places are the words doubtful.
Another objection to the value of verbal inspiration is that most persons read scripture in a translation, the words of which cannot, it is alleged, be said to be inspired. But if the translation conveys exactly the same meaning as in the original, the words can be said to be inspired; for instance, the words “God is love,” may surely be said to be the same as ὁ θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστίν, or Deus caritas est, Dieu est amour, or Dios es amor, to those who can read them. It may be that the translations from which the above are taken cannot in all places be said to be the same as the Greek; but this only shows the great importance of each having a correct translation in his vernacular tongue. And it must not be forgotten that the Lord Himself and those who wrote the New Testament often quoted the Septuagint, which is a translation from the Hebrew; and they quoted it as scripture.
Nothing can exceed the importance of having true thoughts of the inspiration of scripture. As no human author would allow his amanuensis to write what he did not mean, so surely what is called the word of God is God’s own production, though given through the instrumentality of man. Though there were many writers, separated by thousands of years, there is a divine unity in the whole, showing plainly that one and only one could have been its Author. That One can only have been the Almighty—Jehovah—now happily revealed to the Christian as his Father as well as his God.