The Inspiration of the Bible

Richard Thetford

Do you really believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God? Your answer to that question should affect how you use the Bible and its teachings in your personal life. We must understand that the Bible is not the product of man. The inspired apostle Peter writes: “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). B.B. Warfield, ISBE, III: page 1473 states: “inspiration is, therefore, usually defined as a supernatural influence exerted on the sacred writers by the Spirit of God, by virtue of what their writings are given Divine trustworthiness.” How we view the inspiration of the Bible will have practical effects upon our faith, life, and eternity (Romans 10:17; Matthew 4:4).

Various passages of scripture claim the inspiration of the word. Please take a few minutes and read the following passages: John 14:26, John 16:13, Galatians 1:12, and 1 Thessalonians 2:13. We also learn that the Bible writers claimed to be speaking the very word of God. “Thus saith the Lord” or something equivalent occurs over 2,000 times in the Old Testament. Three prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel said the following: “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken…” (Isaiah 1:2). “Hear the word which the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the LORD…” (Jeremiah 10:1-2). “The word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest…” (Ezekiel 1:3).

We further learn that the Bible is verbally inspired. God directed men to speak His will using words. He revealed to them the very words that He wanted them to speak. God did not inspire men with “concepts” or “ideas” and then leave them to their own creative abilities to speak for God. Again, please take a few minutes and read the following scriptures that pertain to this point: 1 Corinthians 2:10-13, 2 Samuel 23:2, Jeremiah 1:9, 36:4. This process of inspiration is summed up in Zechariah 7:12: “Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the LORD of hosts.” From this process we should be able to see that:

God sent His word > By His Spirit > By His prophets > To His people

God’s inspired Scriptures are incorruptible, in that His word will continue forever. Peter writes: Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because "All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the Lord endures forever." Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:22-25). Scripture is the Authoritative word of God. “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37).

The inspiration of the Bible is supported by its unity and fulfilled prophecy (Deuteronomy 18:20-22), and it completely equips a person to do God’s will (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Divine inspiration secures the Bible’s authenticity, credibility and reliability. We must build and maintain our trust in the verbally-inspired word of God because it alone has 1) The power to save (Romans 1:16), 2) The power to defeat error (Jude 3; Acts 6:10), and 3) The power to give life (John 12:48-50).

May we strive to resist every infringement on the inspiration of the Bible, the word of God — truly, the Bible is the inspired word of God!