"As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him." - Psalm 18:30

The Inspiration of the Bible

The original Greek word for “inspired” (theopneustos) is found only one time in the Holy Scriptures, namely 2 Timothy 3:16. The literal meaning of the term is God-breathed, or, as found in our English ver­sions, inspired of God or inspired by God.

The Hebrew neshamah is rendered “inspiration” in Job 32:8, in the King James Version; but other major versions, including the American Standard, New King James Version, English Standard Version, use the term “breath”, which is the primary meaning of the word (cf. Genesis 2:7).

Although the actual word “inspired” occurs only one time in the en­tire Bible, there is not a book in the Sacred Collection which does not, in one way or another, lay claim to being Divinely inspired. The various books of the Bible are so interrelated as to make it im­possible to claim inspiration for one part of the Holy Scriptures, while denying it to another (cf. Luke 24:44; Ezra 3:2; Malachi 4:4; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22, 23; Luke 11:29.32; Romans 11:1.3; Hosea 13:14; 1 Corinthians 15:54; 2 Peter 3:15, 16).

No one can read the different books of the Bible, without being im­pressed with the fact that they claim to have come from God (Read Jeremiah 1:4.10; Ezekiel 1:1.3; 2:1.7; Jonah 1:1,2; 3:1,2; Galatians 1:11, 12; Revelation 1:1,2).

The Bible not only claims to be an inspired revelation from God; it also claims to be verbally inspired (1 Corinthians 2:13). This passage reads as follows: "Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Spirit teaches; combining spiritual things with spiritual words."

The passage just quoted has reference to the original words of the Bible, which were spoken or written by the inspired authors themselves, and not to the words of any translation of our present-day Bible. This is true because no such translator was himself inspired, either in the comprehension of the Divine thought or the selection of the words which he used in his translation.

The Meaning of Inspiration

The expression “inspired of God” has reference to the influence which the Spirit of God exerted upon the writers of the Bible, by which they were empowered to teach such spiritual truths, and in such measure, as was necessary for the religious welfare of the people to whom and for whom their message was intended (John 14:26; 16:13; Acts 2:4; 1 Peter 1:10-12). The fact of inspiration, rather than the particular manner in which the Spirit exerted His influence upon the speakers and writers of the Bible, is the lesson of first importance which we should learn.

Inspiration does not imply that the writers of the Bible were lifted altogether above the level of their contemporaries in matters of purely secular import; or, to express the same thing in another way, inspiration does not imply supernatural infusion of knowledge on subjects within their own reach, concerning which they could gain information by study, research, and observation (Luke 1:14; Jude 3).

But when it comes to making known the will of God regarding the scheme of human redemption, plenary inspiration was absolutely essen­tial (1 Corinthians 2:6-10). But the writers of the Bible, even in matters which belong to the realm of the senses, evidently wrote under the supervision of the Spirit, thereby avoiding any error; for in no other way could it be said that their compositions came from God.

There are two elements in inspiration—the Divine and the human. The Divine part includes the great purposes of God, and the teaching and influence necessary to the accomplishment of those purposes. But these divine truths were presented through human instrumentality, and were to a certain extent colored by the individuality of the inspired agents. This is to say that the human traits of the respective writers were not suppressed or superseded, but were used as instruments to “declare in different degrees, and in accordance with the needs and cir­cumstances of particular ages or particular occasions, the mind and pur­poses of God.” (Cf. Moses, David, Isaiah, Peter, Paul, Luke.)