|SPEAK AS THE ORACLES RADIO Program #136
THE INSPIRATION OF
Qualifications & Evidence
Remarks on Righteousness
Lessons & Quizzes
Fundamentals of Faith
Salvation in Christ
The church of Christ
|2 Timothy 3:16-17 (16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
St. Thomas Aquinas developed an interesting theory that the council fathers had used. In order to explain the nature of biblical inspiration,
St. Thomas Aquinas spoke of God as principal author (causa principalis) and human authors (causa instrumentalis). God, as the main
author of the Bible, has inspired human authors, but doing so he respected their freedom and talents. Therefore in each of the books of the
Bible we can detect the characteristics of the human author – for example his style of writing, the use of language, his culture or social
status. God has used the human authors as real, living people with all their limitations as well as gifts. This means that there are parts of
the Bible that are written in a beautiful and stylish language, but at the same time there are some books or fragments of books, whose
language is quite plain and ordinary. [Thoughts on Divine Inspiration of the Bible by Murisz]
Although the Bible was given by the inspiration of God, word-for-word, there are some important points that need to be remembered concerning
The fact of inspiration did not change the peculiar styles of the individual writers. Thus, there are differences in style between Moses, David,
Jeremiah, Matthew and John, as there are between all the writers of the Bible. Even when discussing similar, or the same topics or events, the
grammatical and literary styles of the prophets and apostles vary.
Too often people think of inspiration as dictation rather than guidance. It is true that certain portions of the scriptures are the result of dictation;
but, it is also true that vast portions of the Bible are not. The Holy Spirit guided these men in the selection of the proper words, assuring the
accurancy in doctrine and fact of that which they wrote, while still leaving them free to utilize their own peculiar style.
J.W. McGarvey used the illustration of a well trained horse to emphasize this point. A well-trained horse will travel down the road in the direction it
is pointed; but, it must be directed down the road. The old milk wagon that used to travel from house to house was pulled by a horse that many
times need¬ed little direction. Yet, the reigns were there for the driver to use if necessary. An unexpected backfire of a new-fangled horseless
carriage, the barking of a dog, the bolting of a cat, or any number of distractions could occur to cause the horse to veer from its original course.
The well-trained horse would need little direction except in busy and treacherous territory.
In much the same way, the prophet or apostle would be free to utilize his own style and vocabulary to describe the message of God; yet, the
reigns would be in place to guide the writer to the proper word. At times a tighter reign would be necessary because of the knowledge or
circumstances of the writer, even to the point that dictation would in essence take place. Yet, even at the times when the reigns were looser, the
selection of each word is checked to make sure that no inaccuracies would intrude upon the message of God. But, the personal style of each
writer would be imprinted upon his work; as God utilized his vocabulary and style to present his message.
PERSONAL FEELINGS ALLOWED EXPRESSION.
The Holy Spirit did not stifle the emotions of the writer; but, he allowed them to be expressed, even utilizing these feelings to deepen the
expression of divine truth. One cannot read the Psalms of David, the Lamentations of Jeremiah, or the Epistles of Paul without recognition of the
expression and utilization of personal feelings and emotions.
IMPERFECT CHARACTERS OF INSPIRED MEN.
From Moses to Peter the Bible is full of examples of the imperfection (sin) of inspired men. The promise and the reality of inspiration was not the
guidance of the character, but the guidance of the doctrine or teaching. Thus, the inspiration these men received did not cause them to be
sinless in their lives; inspirationcaused them to be infallible in their doctrine.
Moses failed to enter the Promised Land because of his sin at Meribah in bringing water out of the rock for the nation of Israel.
Peter denied Jesus at His trial before the crucifixion. He also was carried away with the prejudices of the Jews against the Gentiles. Epistle of
Paul to the Galatians chapter 2)
As inspiration did not squelch the expression of personal feelings, neither did it eliminate the inclusion of personal remarks. Especially in the
epistles of Paul some personal remarks are included. Inspiration assures the truthfulness of what is said, but these remarks are still of a
personal nature between Paul and singular individuals.
See, for example. The Second Epistle of Paul to Timothy, chapter 4, verses 19 through 21: "Salute Prisca and Aquila, and he household of
Onesiphorus. Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick. Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee,
and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and ail the brethren."
QUOTATIONS FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT ARE FROM THE SEPTUAGINT (LXX) AND FREE.
Quotations from the Old Testament in the new Testament sometimes differ from the Hebrew text of the Old Testament passage. This is true
because the quotation is either taken from the common translation of the Old Testament into the Greek, called the Septuagint (LXX), or are free
or indirect quotations.
Inspiration assures the accuracy of the reference and application of the passage; however, inspiration does not demand that the passage be
quoted word-for-word, either from the Hebrew or the Greek. It is universally recognized that accuracy and truthfulness in reference to the
statements of others need not depend upon exact quotation. The Holy Spirit, as any other author, is free to exercise that right concerning his own
compositions, the words of scripture.
QUOTATIONS FROM JESUS ARE INDIRECT AND FREE.
Expecially in the Gospels as the words of Jesus are considered, it is important to recognize that in the original language (the Greek) there is no
indication that direct, word-for-word, quotations are being given: there are no quotation marks. The Holy Spirit assures the accuracy of what was
said, not neces¬sarily the exact words Jesus used. Thus, as the statements of Jesus are compared, especially between Matthew and Mark and
Luke, there exist some differences, but no contradictions. Every difference is able to be reconciled. The use of indirect and free quotation under
the guidance of the Holy Spirit, explains all difficulties.
IGNORANCE ON CERTAIN POINTS.
The Holy Spirit brought to mind for the writers of the scripture all things that were necessary to sustain the doctrine presented; however,
inspiration did not grant them a perfect memory concerning all things.
Let us read again from
John 14:26 (26) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring
all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
John 15:26-27 (26) But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth
from the Father, he shall testify of me: (27) And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
John 16:13 (13) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but
whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
An example is Paul's failure to remember how many he had baptized at Corinth (The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 1, verse x).
This fact is unimportant and unnecessary to the point of doctrine being made. In fact, in this case, memory of this point would have weakened his
position. Therefore, in discussions of inspiration, ignorance on certain points must be allowed for. However, it must also be recognized that
ignorance is not error or misrepresentation.
That the Bible, thus standing in the world, being of such sort, and having had such a history, has yet to be accounted for on the hypothesis
that it had only a human origin. Here it stands, just such a fact in the universe, a substantive thing, tangible and that can be examined. The
ingenuity of men has been feverishly busy with it these hundreds of years. Yet the world still awaits a theory which will render an
adequate account of it on any other hypothesis than that it came from God. Theories have been attempted, but one after another they have
broken down of their own weight or have had justice executed upon them by fellow-unbelieving hands amid the plaudits of all men of all
parties. Thus it happens that up to to-day no hypothesis except that of superhuman interference has been able to stand a half century as
an account of the origin of this book. What is this but the confession that without the assumption of superhuman interference this book
cannot be accounted for? that these miraculous claims and these miraculous assertions cannot be rationally or satisfactorily explained
… That, nevertheless, the facts and arguments which have been adduced in a general way to prove the general divine origin of the Bible
not only prepare the way, but even, narrowly questioned, will raise a strong presumption, for the further conclusions that this book has
been not only in a general way given by God, but also specifically inspired in the giving, that thus its every word is from him, and that it is
worthy of our reverent and loving credence in its every particular. [The Divine Origin of the Bible, B.B. Warfield; p. 43-47]
There are various ways in which the inspiration of the Bible can be verified. Some of these evidences, by themselves, may not be completely
convincing; but, when all the evidence is compiled together, no honest person can deny the conclusion that the Bible is inspired of God in its
1. Unsurpassed Accuracy.
A more accurate record of ancient events and places cannot be found. In fact, there is not one single inaccuracy that can be found in all of the
Bible. Whether it is a record of the miraculous, a record of historical fact, a record of geography, a record of typography, a record of sociology, or a
record of scientific fact, the Bible is correctin its record.There are no errors. From the grain bins of Egypt in the days of Joseph, to the title for
magistrates in Greecian cities during Paul's journies, the supposed errors of the Bible have proven to be the errors of the doubters. Upon every
occasion the spade of archaeology has been able to shed light upon Biblical accounts, the Bible has proven to be 100% accurate.
Can such accuracy from forty different authors over 1600 years be a mere coincidence? Or, is it the unmistakable mark of the inspiration of God
2. Dramatic Form.
The Bible allows the actions of its characters to speak for itself. A minimum of commentary is found upon its pages. Compare this with the
history books written by men, either ancient or modern, and the Bible becomes a wonder. This dramatic form, especially in consideration of the
importance of the subject treated in the eyes of the human authors, makes the Bible even more remarkable.
Is this the result of the combined human genius of forty men over a period of 1600 years? Or, is this an unmistakable mark of the inspiration of
If God is no respecter of persons, then one would rightfully expect his word to exhibit this characteristic; and, the Bible does. Both the strengths
and weaknesses of its characters are portrayed: both their righteousness and their wickedness.
Abraham is shown as the great patriarch of faith, but also as a liar. David is portrayed as “a man after God's own heart,” but also as an adulterer
and murderer. Peter is recorded as an apostle of Jesus Christ and a proclaimer of the gospel, but also as a coward who denies Jesus and
becomes a respecter of persons.
Such frankness and impartiality about major religious personages is not a human characteristic, especially upon the part of those who are
supportive of their positions. Look in the library at the biographies of the world's religious leaders written by their followers and supporters, and
the Bible stands in dramatic contrast.
Is such impartiality in recording the actions of these men the result of human wisdom? Or, is it the mark of the inspiration of God?
4. Dispassionate Manner.
In addition to the dramatic form and impartiality, the dispassionate manner of the narrative of the Bible is a mark of its inspiration of God.
Especially in dealing with a subject that is perceived to be a matter of graver concern than life and death - a matter of heaven and hell - it is
common for men to be overcome with their emotions - their passions being fired by the importance of their subject. Yet, the Bible reads as the
words of an uninvolved observer.
The emotions that must have swelled within the hearts of Moses, Joshua and the other historical writers of the Old Testament are repressed.
The passions of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John that must have burned within their very souls are not apparent in their historical accounts.
Is this dispassionate manner another example of combined human genius? Or, is it the hallmark of the Bible being composed by the inspiration
5. Unaccountable Brevity.
The Bible covers over 4000 years of human history. The book of Genesis covers over 2500 years of history by itself. Yet, how brief are its records!
The biographical accounts of the lives of Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses and the other great heroes of the Old Testament are in
essence but sketches of their characters, leaving many questions unanswered to the inquiring mind; yet, containing all the material necessary to
give us the knowledge of their lives.
The same is true of the lives of the memorable characters of the New Testament, such as Peter and Paul, including Jesus of Nazareth.
How much could have been recorded concerning the lives and deeds of the most memorable and important personages to ever walk the face of
the earth? Yet, through the brief sketches given in the Bible, millions and even billions have come to intimately know these great men of faith.
When you stop to consider the biographies written by mere men, the brevity of the Bible is no less than miraculous.
Is this brevity to be considered the result of mere man? Or, is it the stamp of the inspiration of God upon the Bible?
6. Remarkable “Omissions.”
Hand in hand with the unaccountable brevity of the Bible are its remarkable omissions. How many volumes have been written of what lies
“between the lines” of the Biblical account?
Facts and stories men usually include, and deem absolutely necessary, have been omitted from the Biblical record without harming its credibility
or affecting its purpose and power.
What of the life of Abraham before he left Ur of the Chaldees? What of the first twelve years of Jesus' life, or the next fifteen years? How many are
the places men might wish to add facts or explanations? Yet, the Bible has without these additions been read and studied by more people than
any other book in the history of the world.
With these “omissions” the power of its message has changed individual hearts and lives, changing the entire course of history and the way in
which man perceives himself.
Can these “omissions” be the result of human genius? Or, are they the design of divine inspiration unquestionably drawn upon the pages of the
Angels are the messengers of God. Whether cherabim, sheraphim, or other, the angels of the Bible stand in complete contrast to the
messengers of the gods of mythology. Read the mythological accounts of demigods, fairies, geniis, etc. But angels stand alone. “Unlike men,
they are always like themselves.” The holiness, might, humility and compassion of the angels of the Bible commend themselves to the human
mind in contrast to the ridiculous of the products of the human imagination.
Can humanity account for the angelology of the Bible? Or, is it the result of the direct revelation and inspiration of God?
8. Assumption of Infallibility.
No experience is more common to all of the human family than the realization of each individual's fallibility. Especially is that true of those who
present their views or facts to the public, either orally or in writing. A public presentation presents the invitation for public scrutiny. Thus, a claim
for infallibility is either bold, or the height of stupidity. If error is to be found, it is stupidity!
The writers of the Bible from Moses to John on Patmos make the claim of infallibility for what they have written in making the claim that it was
given by the inspiration of God. For generations and centuries and millenium, men have inspected and dissected the writings of the Bible to
expose the stupidity of the claim it makes to infallibility; and, many of those inspectors have been convinced of the truthfulness of that claim which
they thought to be false.
Could, and would such men as were the penmen of the Bible, make the claim to infallibility if it were not true? and, could their claim to infallibility
have been made and sustained had they not been inspired of God?
9. Power of the Writings.
Since, and even before the invention of the printing press, the Bible has been the most widely published, the most widely read, and the most
widely studied book in the world. Its contents have reached almost, if not every nation upon the face of the earth.
Every culture, from the most highly technically advanced to the most primitive in respect to technology and modern education, has been
profoundly changed as the hearts, minds and the very souls of men have been transformed by the power of its words.
The advances in social equity and benevolence, which have transpired where the Bible has held sway speak dramatically of the difference
between the power of the Bible and the writings of men. That is not to say, however, that there have not been occasions when men have
attempted to twist and pervert the Bible to suit their own ends, for they have. However, in spite of the hypocrisy and wickedness of certain men,
the general effect of the Bible upon society and its specific effect upon the lives of individuals has been positive and good.
Its message has transformed lives of wickedness, ungodliness and unrighteousness into lives characterized by good deeds, godliness and
righteousness. Its words and messagehave forever changed the course of history.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,
and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12).
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also
to the Greek” (Romans I:16).
Is this power and influence upon the minds, hearts and souls of multiplied millions throughout the centuries the result of the human mind in
originating its words and message? Or, does the unparalleled power and influence reveal the divine power and influence which brought about
the Bible by the inspiration of God?
Of all the evidences of the inspiration of the Bible, none is more compelling and convincing than its prophecy of things to come.
From Moses' records to the closing words of Malachi, prophecies concerning Israel, the nations surrounding Israel, and the coming Messiah,
the Old Testament perfectly portrays the future. From the prophecies concerning Israel, Judah, Babylon, Egypt, Media, Persia, Greece, Rome and
other cities and nations which were fulfilled in minute detail; it is evident that the writers of the Bible had more than mere human knowledge of
the events of the future.
Within the Gospels, as well as within the preaching and teaching of the apostles and evangelists, an understanding and perfect portrayal of
future events is clear.
The minute details prophecied hundreds of years before the facts concerning the coming Messiah (his birth place, his birth, his flight into Egypt,
his preaching, his residences, his parables, his miracles, his betrayal, his death, his resurrection, his ascension, his purpose, and his
influence) are a convincing testimony of the divine origin of the scriptures.
Yet, when the prophecies of the Old Testament are combined with the prophecies of the Mew Testament; the evidence of inspiration is
undeniable. For one prophecy might be attributed to mere chance; two or three prophecies might even be a coincidence; but, when hundreds of
prophecies are fulfilled to the smallest detail with not one single failure, only the dishonest could attribute the origin of the prophecies to anything
other than the inspiration of God.
“But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the
name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart. How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not
spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath
not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:2O-22)
When you stop to consider the men who wrote the Bible, and the circumstances under which the Bible was written; when you stop and consider
the character and content of the Bible; when you stop and consider all the evidence of the inspiration of the Bible; reason and logic allow for only
THE BIBLE IS GIVEN BY THE INSPIRATION OF GOD,
WORD-FOR-WORD, EVERY WORD OF IT.