All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,”2Timothy 3:16 NKJV
The Scriptures are ‘God-breathed’. God revealed Himself to mankind in many ways and at various times (Hebrews 1:1). These revelations were then recorded, and have become collectively what we know today as the Bible.
The recording of these revelations was under the unction of the Holy Spirit. Inspiration is the power which enabled these men to write the divine revelation without error or defect.
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, NKJV
Revelation Greek: “Apokalupsis”
REVELATION means “an uncovering, to uncover or unveil, to make known something hidden or secret”. In theology ‘revelation’ refers to God unveiling Himself to mankind, and communicating truth to man that he could not otherwise discover.
Inspiration Greek: “theopneustos”
The word translated “INSPIRATION” in the Bible literally means “inbreathed of God.” Theologically it refers to the influence of the Holy Spirit upon the Biblical writers, causing them to record without error the very Words of God. Essentially, the doctrine of Inspiration ascribes the authorship of the scriptures to the Holy Spirit Himself, as the controlling influence upon His servants as they recorded revelation.
Illumination Greek: Peretz
Illumination describes the process of the Holy Spirit enlightening man’s understanding to be able to receive God’s revelation. Just as God breathed upon Adam and upon the dry bones in Ezekiel’ vision (Genesis 2:7, Ezekiel 37) and life was imparted to them, He breathes upon His Word and it becomes alive to our understanding. (See Job 32:8, Psalm 119:130; 1 Corinthians 2:11-14)
Concerning our need for revelation, and God’s grace in providing the scriptures to meet our great need, the great Pentecostal Teacher, E W Kenyon, states in his book, “The Bible in the Light of our Redemption”
Man, limited by his sense knowledge, is unable to know the inner thoughts of a man. There is a veil of flesh that he cannot penetrate with his sense of sight, hearing or touch. However, a man, by the medium of words, may convey his inner thoughts to another. So God, in his desire for man to know Him, has formulated His inner thoughts and purposes into words, which man can see with his sense of sight, and hear read or expounded, with his sense of hearing. The Bible is God’s revelation to man, and because we have no other channel through which we can know God or contact Him, we turn to that revelation to find out what He has told us of His reason for creating man.”
Kevin J Connor also stresses our need for the Bible in his workbook, “The Foundations of Christian Doctrine” when he says:
The Bible is not man’s thoughts about God, but primarily God revealing Himself and His purposes to man. Divine knowledge was communicated by the Spirit of God to holy men who recorded it. All that may be known of God in this present life is founded in and upon the Scriptures. In this written revelation of God, God has revealed His nature, character and being. He has revealed the purpose of man’s existence and His redemptive plan for mankind. These things could not be found out by the reasonings or intellectual pursuits of men, only by Divine revelation.”
THEORIES OF INSPIRATION
1. The Natural Theory of Inspiration
Holds that the Bible was written by human genius alone, denying the supernatural element in the writing of the scriptures.
2. Illumination Theory of Inspiration
Holds that the Bible was the result of illumination, or a heightening of the man’s religious perception. In reality, the Bible is more than mere human enlightenment.
3. The Mechanical (Dictation) Theory of Inspiration
Holds that God dictated the scriptures to its writers like an executive to his secretary. This makes the writers mere machines, much like Spiritist mediums who write under control of evil spirits. While inspiration does include the fact that the very words are inspired by the Spirit of God, the mechanical theory destroys the evident personality of the various writers.
4. The Trance Theory of Inspiration
Holds that the writers were caught up in a vision or trance-like state and wrote word for word or picture for picture what they saw in the spirit. Some visions were given this way, but the theory is incomplete and rules out man’s conscious involvement.
5. The Partial Theory of Inspiration
Holds that only parts of the Bible are inspired. It teaches that the Bible contains the Word of God, but that it is not the Word of God in total. This theory leaves us with the question, “Which parts are inspired?” and undermines all authority that the Word may have had.
NB: Certain utterances of men and of devils were not inspired by God, but God did inspire men to record these utterances in scripture.
6. The Thought Theory of Inspiration
Holds that God gave the thoughts or concepts to the writers, but that they then recorded them in their own words. This theory is unacceptable because we could never be assured that the men and women responsible recorded what they received accurately.
7. Plenary-Verbal Inspiration
The Bible is God’s Word written by man. It is God’s Word clothed with humanity, a revelation of Jesus! It is clear from proofs of inspiration such as the unity of the Bible that it could never have been written by man alone, and that ultimately it has One Author. God miraculously used men, with their unique frames of reference, cultural backgrounds, personalities and emotions to record without error His perfect Word.
B B Warfield in “The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible’ describes it this way:
“The doctrine of plenary inspiration holds that the original documents of the Bible were written by men, who, though permitted to exercise their own personalities and literary talents, yet wrote under the control and guidance of the Spirit of God, the result being in every word of the original documents a perfect and errorless recording of the exact message which God desired to give to man.”
Proofs That The Bible Is Inspired
1. The Amazing Unity of the Bible and Harmony of Themes is a Proof That The Bible Is Inspired
- Is composed of 66 books.
- Was written over a period of 1600 years.
- Was written by approximately 40 different authors living in different cultures and countries. There were kings, peasants, statesmen, fishermen, priests and prisoners.
Biblical authors include:
- Moses, a political leader, trained in the universities of Egypt, in the wilderness
- Amos, a herdsman
- Matthew, a tax-collector, and personal friend of Jesus
- Solomon, a King, from a palace during peacetime
- Joshua, a general, in the rigors of military campaign
- Nehemiah, a cupbearer, from Jerusalem
- Luke, a doctor, while travelling with Paul
- John, a fisherman, on the isle of Patmos
The Scriptures were written in three different languages.
Hebrew: The language of the Old Testament
Aramaic: The ‘common language’ of the Near East, until the time of Alexander the Great (Ezra 4:8-6:18; 7:12-26; Jeremiah 10:11; Daniel 2:4-7:28)
Greek: The New Testament language (the international language at the time of Christ)
- Includes almost every kind of literature, including poetry, prose, prophecy, biography, songs, letters, parables and proverbs.
- Harmonizes throughout with each author contributing needed portions that never contradict the whole.
- Has a harmony of truth flowing in unified themes from Genesis through to Revelation.
- Is composed of two major divisions, both of which perfectly compliment the other. “The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed.”
Concerning the supernatural unity of the Scriptures, Bible apologist and Teacher, Josh McDowell relates the following anecdote in his book A Ready Defense:“
A representative of the Great Books of the Western World came to my house recruiting salesman for their series. He spread out their chart and spent five minutes talking about the series. Then we spent an hour and a half talking to him about the Greatest Book.
I challenged him to pick just ten of the authors, all from one walk of life, one generation, one place, one time, one mood, one continent, one language and just one controversial subject. I asked him: “Would those ten authors agree?”
He paused and then replied, “No!”
“What would you have?”
Immediately he said, “A conglomeration.”
Two days later he committed his life to Christ.
Why all this? Very Simple! Any person sincerely seeking truth would at least consider a book with the above unique qualifications.”
2. Biblical Prophecies and Fulfillment is a Proof of Bible Inspiration
A number of these startling prophecies and historical fulfilments will be discussed in detail throughout the course. These will include prophecies concerning nations, and Biblical prophecy being fulfilled in our generation! The greatest example of prophecy and fulfilment are those concerning Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Explicit details given beforehand of His birth, life, death and resurrection, were foretold by thirty different authors, over a period of 4000 years, before Jesus was even born. There were over 330 Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the first advent.
Predictive Prophecy must measure up to 4 tests to be approved as valid.
- The prophecy must be uttered before the events come to pass.
- The prophecy must be specific in its predictions, so that there could be no possibility of accidental or coincidental fulfilment.
- Those who utter the prophecies should have no part in their fulfilment.
- The events of fulfilment should correspond exactly with the details of the prophecy in all points.
Bible prophecy meets all the above qualifications and thus proves the involvement of a Being who knows the end from the beginning.
Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.’”Isaiah 46:9,10, NKJV
Examples of Fulfilled Prophecy
THE PROPHECY (Written 700BC)
“Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself…That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.”Isaiah 44:24,28 KJV
The prophet Isaiah, writing about 700BC, here names Cyrus as the king who will say that Jerusalem shall be rebuilt and that the foundation of the temple shall be laid.
At the time of writing, the city of Jerusalem was fully built and the temple was standing in its entirety.
THE FULFILLMENT (586BC-539BC, 160 years after the prophecy)
More than one hundred after Isaiah’s record of this future event, in 586BC, the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, destroyed the city of Jerusalem and its temple.
The Babylonians were then conquered by the Persians in about 539BC. Soon after this, a Persian King named Cyrus gave a decree to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.
This is just one example of hundreds which predict future events.
3. The Numerical Structure and Vocabulary of the Bible Offers Startling Proof That The Bible Is Inspired
The Number 7
In the Bible the number 7 reoccurs as the number of perfection, or the number of God. Various scholars have through the years unearthed amazing sequences and chains of sevens hidden in the original Greek and Hebrew texts. One example is found in Matthew Chapter one. Here we find a list of names, a family tree if you like. Look at these facts concerning this genealogy in the original Greek:
- The number of words is divisible by seven.
- The number of vowels is divisible by seven.
- The number of consonants is divisible by seven.
- The number of words beginning with a vowel is divisible by 7.
- The number of words beginning with a consonant is divisible by seven.
- The number of words that occur more than once is divisible by 7.
- The number of names is divisible by seven.
- The number of male names is divisible by seven.
- The number of generations is divisible by seven.
All those names with their associated characteristics could not have been arranged by a man’s genius. To just list one or two generations and interweave such a pattern would be hard enough, but to do so with an entire family tree could only be divine!
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”Proverbs 25:2 NKJV
Many scholars are convinced beyond doubt that hidden within the original text of the scriptures are messages which authenticate the divine supernatural origin of the Bible, and the plenary inspiration of its message.
These encoded messages range from ‘types and shadows’ which clearly picture future events and persons, to actual words and messages woven into the original text of the scriptures (this often takes the form of equidistant letter sequences).
One example, again taking a portion of scripture which many may skim over seeing only a list of ancient names, is the family tree is found in Genesis Chapter five.
Here we find the list of generations from Adam to Noah. On the surface this seems to be a mere list of names, but when we look at the root meanings behind the names a vast prophetic declaration of the Christian gospel is revealed:
The Gospel in the Genealogy of Noah Genesis 5
Adam: adomah, means “man.”
Seth: seth, which means “appointed.”
Enosh: which means “mortal,” “frail,” or “miserable.” It is from the root anash, to be incurable; used of a wound, grief, woe, sickness, or wickedness.
Kenan: which can mean “sorrow,” “dirge,” or “elegy.” (The precise denotation is somewhat elusive; some study aids unfortunately presume that Kenan is synonymous with “Cainan.”) Balaam, looking down from the heights of Moab, uses a pun upon the name of the Kenites when he prophesies their destruction. (Num 24:21, 23).
Mahalalel: which means “blessed” or “praise”; with ‘El”, the name for God = “The Blessed God”
Jared (Yared): from the verb yaradh, meaning “shall come down.”
Enoch: which means “commencement,” or “teaching.”
Enoch was a prophet, who amazingly prophesied the second coming of Christ. Part of this prophecy is recorded in the book of Jude, verse 14-15. He also gave his son, Methuselah, a prophetic name which meant “His death shall bring” or “when he dies, it shall come”. It was directly after the death of Methuselah (notably the oldest recorded man in the Bible at 969 years, speaking of the long-suffering of God (2 Peter 3:9).
Methuselah: muth, a root that means “death”; shalach, which means “to bring,” or “to send forth.” = “His death shall bring
Lamech: a root still evident today in our own English word, “lament” or “lamentation” = “Despairing.”
Noah: which is derived from nacham, “to bring relief” or “comfort,” = “Comfort, or Rest.”
The New Testament Message Revealed In Noah’s Geneology
Mahalalel “The Blessed God”
Jared “Shall come down”
Methuselah “His death shall bring”
Lamech “the despairing”
Noah “comfort and rest”
For more information regarding encoded messages Chuck Missler’s fascinating study, “Cosmic Codes” published by Koinonia House provides interesting reading.
4. The Miraculous Preservation and Influence of the Bible
The story is told of the noted French infidel, Voltaire, who died in 1778. He was recorded as saying that one hundred years from his time Christianity would be swept from existence and passed into history. Ironically, fifty years after Voltaire’s death, the Geneva Bible Society used his press and his house to produce stacks of Bibles!
The worldwide influence of the Bible is untouched by any other book. It has been translated into more languages than any other book. It has been reproduced in larger quantities than any other book. No other book has had such far-reaching impact on the culture and arts of the nations of the world. Millions of lives have been dramatically changed by its message. Truly, the Bible is unique among all other works of literature. It is the work of God’s heart and mind, revealing Himself to mankind in love and grace!
5. Jesus Authenticated the Scriptures as the Inspired Words of God
To reject the scriptures as the inspired Word of God, is to reject the testimony of Christ and make Him a liar.
Jesus Himself quotes from four out of the five books of Moses, and from the Psalms, Isaiah, Malachi, and Zechariah, with the formula, “it is written’: see Matthew 4:4,6,7; 11:10; Mark 14:27. This formula among the Jews indicated that the quotation was from a sacred book and was divinely inspired. He declared that “one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law” (Matthew 5:18) indicating that He considered the scriptures inspired to tiniest mark of the pen. He asserted that “the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35) and that He Himself was the fulfilment of all that was written therein.
The Apostles also quote extensively from the Old Testament scriptures. Paul even goes so far as to rest an entire argument upon the form of even a single word, as in Galatians 3:16.
The Results of Inspiration
|Genuineness Is really what it claims to be. Written by the person whose name it bears and at the time it claims to have been written.|
|Credibility Is entirely truthful on the matters it treats. Jesus Himself confirmed the writings of the Old Testament, believing the Bible without question. He declares His trust in scripture in His sermon on the mount; Matthew 5:18 Of His own words, recorded in the New Testament, He gives similar testimony; Matthew 24:35 The Apostles believed the scriptures. The writers of the New Testament were credible eyewitnesses. Historical records and archeological findings confirm the credibility of scripture.|
|Canonicity “Canon” means “measuring Rod” It is suggested that Ezra the scribe gathered the Old Testament books which had been written to that time into the accepted canon. The New Testament canon was accepted as the 27 books by the close of the 4th Century. They were tested for: Apostolic authorship (or someone in close relation to an apostle) The contents were of such spiritual character as to warrant a place. The book was universally accepted by the Church at the time. Did the book have internal evidence of inspiration?|
|Infallibility “Incapable of error” Mankind has looked to many things for infallible revelation which have proved unreliable. These include: 1. Reason 2. Intuition 3. The Church – The Roman Catholic church in particular asserts the church and the Pope as infallible interpreters of the infallible scriptures. History has clearly proved such theories wrong. The Word alone is infallible, and we are subject to the Scriptures, not the other way round.|
|Authority Authority arises out of infallibility. Because the scriptures are inspired and infallible they are our supreme authority in all matters of faith and morals. They are the final court of appeal in life and conscience for all believers.|
We conclude this session with a quote from H L Willmington’s Guide to the Bible:
“The Bible is a beautiful palace built of sixty-six blocks of solid marble—the sixty-six books. In the first chapter of Genesis we enter the vestibule, filled with the mighty acts of creation.
The vestibule gives access to the law courts—the five books of Moses—passing through which we come to the picture gallery of the historical books. Here we find hung upon the walls scenes of battlefields, representations of heroic deeds, and portraits of eminent men belonging to the early days of the world’s history.
Beyond the picture gallery we find the philosopher’s chamber—the book of Job—passing through which we enter the music room—the book of Psalms—where we listen to the grandest strains that ever fell on human ears.
Then we come to the business office—the book of Proverbs—where right in the center of the room, stands facing us the motto, “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
From the business office we pass into the chapel—Ecclesiastes, or the Song of Solomon with the rose of sharon and the lily of the valley, and all manner of fine perfume and fruit and flowers and singing birds.
Finally we reach the observatory—the prophets, with their telescopes fixed on near and distant stars, and all directed toward “the Bright and Morning Star,” that was soon to arise.
Crossing the court we come to the audience chamber of the King—the Gospels—where we find four vivid lifelike portraits of the King himself. Next we enter the workroom of the Holy Spirit—the Acts of the Apostles—and beyond that the correspondence room—the epistles—where we see Paul and Peter and James and John and Jude busy at their desks.
Before leaving we stand a moment in the outside gallery – the Revelation—where we look upon some striking pictures of the judgments to come, and the glories to be revealed, concluding with an awe-inspiring picture of the throne room of the King.”