Inspiration of Scripture

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Is the Bible Divinely Inspired?

      Inspiration can be defined as the mysterious process by which God worked through human writers, employing their individual personalities and styles to produce divinely authoritative and inerrant writings. (Norman Geisler, A General Introduction to the Bible)

      Inspiration inevitably leads to inerrancy. Inerrancy means that when all the facts are known, the Scriptures in their original autographs, properly interpreted, will be shown to be wholly true in everything they affirm, whether this has to do with doctrine or morality or with the social, physical, or life sciences. The Bible claims to be inspired by God, and is thus inerrant in its original writing

"The bottom line is that the Bible has been breathed by God. He used men to write out exactly what he wanted them to write. He kept them free from error but at the same time used their unique personalities and styles to convey exactly what he wanted."

Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Answers

The Claims of Scripture

      Scripture itself claims to be inspired by God. Other sacred writings also claim inspiration, but history and prophesy bear out the truth of the Bible's claim.

      Many verses make this claim, including countless uses of the phrases "Thus says the Lord," "This is what the Lord says," and others. A few verses follow:

"But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.

Zechariah 7:12

(Prophets continually referred to other writings as having divine authority. This is only one example.)

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

2 Timothy 3:16-17

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

Hebrews 4:12

"He (Jesus) said to them, 'This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.'"

Luke 24:44

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws."

Psalm 119:105

"And we have the world of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

2 Peter 1:19-21

"When Moses went and told the people all the Lord's words and laws, they responded with one voice, 'Everything the Lord has said we will do.' Moses then wrote down everything the Lord and said."

Exodus 24:3-4

      Many times, as in the following verse, God commanded his prophets to write his words. (See also Jeremiah 36:28; Isaiah 8:1; Habakkuk 2:2; among others.)

"Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness."

Isaiah 30:8

      In John 10:35, Jesus refers to the writers of Scripture, "to whom the word of God came--and the Scripture cannot be broken."

      These are only a few verses that show the Scriptures themselves claim to be Scripture--inspired by God and written at his request. This holds for the original writings, not the inspiration of copyists, though we covered the amazing accuracy with which the Scriptures have been transcribed through the centuries in the Bible, Old Testament and New Testament.

"Although only the autographs (original writings) are inspired, it may be said nevertheless that all good copies or translations are adequate."

Josh McDowell, The New Evidence the Demands a Verdict

"The Bibles we have today are accurate transmissions of what existed two thousand years ago. We simply have a translation in our current language of the God-breathed Scriptures that were originally written in Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek.

Josh McDowell, The New Evidence the Demands a Verdict

      What we have is, for all practical purposes, the inspired word of God.

      Other than the Bible's own claims, there are supports that it is God's word.

Unity

      The unity of the Bible bears witness to its divine inspiration. Despite the fact that it was written over a period of about 1,500 years by more than 40 authors, there is one unfolding story of Godís plan of salvation for mankind. It is one astoundingly continuous work.

Testimony of Early Christians

      We also have the testimony of early church. We know from Scripture and from other sources that these words were considered the Word of God from the time they were first set down. In the case of the New Testament writings, we have other writings of the day referring to the letters of Paul and Peter, as well as the Gospels, as Scripture.

The Jewish People

      One of the strongest arguments for the existence of God and proof of his Word is the existence of the Jewish people.

      About 4,000 years ago, God promised Abram, "I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great; so you shall be a blessing: And I will bless those that bless you and the one who curses you I will curse: and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." (Gen. 12: 2, 3)

      "And the Lord said to Abram, Now lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever." (Gen. 12: 14, 15)

      In other words, God promised to Abram:

●         1. A great nation

●            2. A great name

●            3. Being a blessing to all nations

●            4. A land which shall forever belong to his descendants

      Several hundred years later, the nation numbered in the millions. They were about to enter the land of promise when God gave them some promises and warnings. He warned (Deuteronomy) against disobedience. He promised he would use other nations to remove them from that land if they were unfaithful to him. He predicted that they would be scattered across the whole earth as strangers in unfamiliar lands and that they would find no rest from their wanderings. God also promised he would bring them back into their own land.

      What has been the verdict of history? The children of Israel fell into idolatry and were removed from their homeland. In 606 BC King Nebuchadnezzar took the people captive to Babylon and returned in 588-586 BC to burn the city and temple.

      God allowed his people to return to their land in 537-536 BC, or after 70 years (Ezra 1). The removal from their homeland occurred a second time in AD 70 when Titus the Roman destroyed the city of Jerusalem and scattered the people.

      For almost 1900 years, the Jews wandered about the earth as strangers who were persecuted from every side, until World War II, when six million Jews were put to death in concentration camps. In 1948, Israel was re-established as a nation, and Jews began returning to their homeland from all ends of the earth. Since then, they have survived the 1967 Six-Day War and the 1973 Holy Day War.

      Through all that time, the nation neither perished nor lost its national identity. History has demonstrated that any people who leave their homeland will, after about five generations, lose their national identity by being absorbed into the new culture, but the Jews remained a distinct entity. They have survived, while the nations that persecuted them (Moab, Ammon, Edon, Philistia, and many others) have either been completely destroyed or completely lost their identity.

"Have you ever heard of a Swedish Moabite? A Russian Philistine? A German Edomite? An American Ammonite? No! These people have been totally absorbed into other cultures and races. However, have you ever heard of a Swedish Jew? A Russian Jew? A German Jew? An American Jew? Yes! As prophesied, they have not lost their identity."

Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Answers

Prophecy Confirms Divine Inspiration

      Fulfilled prophecy serves as some of the most convincing proof that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.

"The purpose of prophecy is to let us know that God exists and that he has a plan for this world. But the foretelling of people, places, and events hundreds of years before their occurrence, the Bible demonstrates a knowledge of the future that is too specific to be labeled a good guess. By giving examples of fulfilled prophecy, the Scriptures give a strong testimony to their own inspiration."

Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Answers

"I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. For I knew how stubborn you were; the sinews of your neck were iron, your forehead was bronze. Therefore I told you these things long ago; before they happened I announced them to you so that you could not say, 'My idols did them; my wooden image and metal god ordained them.' You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not admit them ?

"From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you. They are created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today. So you cannot say, 'Yes, I knew of them.' You have neither heard not understood; from of old your ear has not been open."

Isaiah 48:3, 5

"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God--the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son ...'

Romans 1:1-4

Fulfilled prophecy as proof of the Bible's inspiration/accuracy

"And we have the world of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

2 Peter 1:19-21

"According to Deut. 18, a prophet was false if he made predictions that were never fulfilled. No unconditional prophecy of the Bible about events to the present day has gone unfilled. Hundreds of predictions, some of them given hundreds of years in advance, have been literally fulfilled. The time (Dan. 9), city (Mic. 5:2) and nature (Is. 7:14) of Christ's birth were foretold in the Old Testament, as were dozens of other things about his life, death, and resurrection (see Is. 53). Numerous other prophecies have been fulfilled, including the destruction of Edom (Obadiah 1), the curse on Babylon (Isaiah 13), the destruction of Tyre (Ezekiel 26) and Nineveh (Nahum 1-3), and the return of Israel to the land (Isaiah 11:11). Other books claim divine inspiration, such as the Koran, the Book of Mormon, and parts of the [Hindu] Veda. But none of those books contains predictive prophesy. As a result, fulfilled prophecy is a strong indication of the unique, divine authority of the Bible."

Norman Geisler, William Nix,

A General Introduction to the Bible

      Micah predicted that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. Zechariah predicted that the Messiah would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, that he would be betrayed by a friend for thirty pieces of silver, that his hands and feet would be pierced, that his bones would not be broken. Specific details, not vague generalizations that could be interpreted to fit many situations. And they all came true with 100 percent accuracy.

"Even a casual awareness of the prophecies concerning the Messiah must convince all but the most biased reader of the truth of the Bible."

Josh McDowell, Don't Check Your Brains at the Door

      The chances of that happening by coincidence, according to Peter Stoner in Science Speaks, are 1 in 10 to the power of 157, or the number 10 followed by 157 zeros. You can't imagine a number that big or a probability that small.

"For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

2 Peter 1:21

Prophecy   Where prophesied Fulfillment
Jesus would be born of a virgin Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:28-25
Of the tribe of Judah Genesis 49:10 Luke 3:23, 33
Descended from Jesse Isaiah 11:1 Luke 3:32
Of the house of David Jeremiah 23:5 Luke 3:31
Born in Bethlehem Micah 5:2 Matthew 2:1
Preceded by a messenger Isaiah 40:3 Matthew 3:1-2
Enter Jerusalem on a donkey Zechariah 9:9 Luke 19:35-37
Betrayed by a friend Psalm 41:9 Matthew 26:48-50
Betrayed for thirty pieces of silver Zechariah 11:12 Matthew 26:15
Silent before his accusers Isaiah 53:7 Matthew 27:12
Hands and feet pierced Psalm 22:16 Luke 23:33;John 20:25
Crucified with thieves Isaiah 53:12 Matthew 27:38
Interceded for his persecutors Isaiah 53:12 Luke 23:34
Garments parted Psalm 22:18 John 19:23
Lots cast for garments Psalm 22:18 John 19:24
Gall and vinegar offered to him Psalm 69:21 Matthew 27:34
His bones not broken Psalm 34:20 John 19:33
His side pierced Zechariah 12:10 John 19:34
He was buried with the rich Isaiah 53:9 Matthew 27:57-60
His resurrection Psalm 16:10 Acts 2:31

 

 

 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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