Napoleon said: “The Bible is no mere book, but a living creature, with a power that conquers all that oppose it.” The subjects we have been studying so far about the historicity of the Bible are very encouraging, but we can’t stop there. If we did, we would have just an honest ancient work on religious matters. Is there anything more we can affirm from the Scriptures? Is the Bible really the truth? Is it really God’s spoken Word, totally and in every part? Are we to consider the Scriptures as the absolute authority on this planet? I would say, definitely yes, and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind about it. But my testimony doesn’t amount to much. So let’s look at a few reasons why I have come to that conclusion, and find out what the Bible says about itself.
(1) Related Terms
In order to define Inspiration we’ll need to distinguish it from other related terms. We will be briefly defining: Revelation , Infallibility , Inerrancy , and Illumination .
a. Revelation. God has revealed Himself. This is undeniably true, especially when we look around us. Things like mountains, clouds, animals, colour, taste, stars, snowflakes, roses, etc; all reveal the touch of a master’s hand.
Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.
Even within our own minds, we can detect an all-knowing person who listens and watches, but this is not the type of revelation we are talking about here. The Biblical definition for “Revelation” is the Greek word “apokalupsis” which means an uncovering or unveiling. Revelation is the Spirit of God revealing to man that which is otherwise unknowable. He gives to us the knowledge of God:
1 Corinthians 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
God can only be known if He chooses to reveal Himself. We could never know Him, or who He is just by looking at what He has made. We could only know about Him, or what He can do. When we read the Bible with total trust, it is God talking to us and allowing us to partake of His very Life, who He is.
b. Infallibility. The Bible is the Word of God and, therefore, carries with it divine authority. It is binding upon every man, whether he admits it or not, and it is the ultimate standard for our mind, conscience, will, and heart. The reason for this is because it is truth, and it is God’s Word, and it is right. That is exactly what the Greek word for infallible means, “right”, or “perfect”. God is God, and He Knows everything, and He has spoken, and it is right, and we must submit. That is the essence of the word infallible.
Psalm 19:7-11 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
c. Inerrancy. The word “inerrant” is very closely related to the word “infallible”. The Bible is infallible in total, and inerrant in every part. Inerrancy means that not just all the truth in the Bible is God’s word, but every scripture down to the dotting of the “i” and the crossing of the “t” is the embodied Revelation of Almighty God, and is entirely true and never false in all it affirms, whether it be in doctrine, or ethics, or science, or history, or the future, or whatever the case may be. Jesus said,
Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
John 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;.
d. Illumination. The Bible can be read by anyone, and its contents can be grasped intellectually, but only when the Holy Spirit brings God’s light into a man’s darkened mind and darkened heart can he receive of God’s Revelation. This can only happen through faith and trust in Jesus Christ and being born again. As I said before, Revelation is the very knowledge of God Himself. God is not physical, not of the 5 senses, He is Spirit, as Jesus said:
John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
According to the Bible, man was created in God’s image. That image wasn’t anything physical but spiritual. When Adam sinned all died. This meant that Adam died spiritually, and every child born after him would have a dead spirit, and all of mankind was plunged into spiritual darkness. So God in His wisdom established the sacrificial system, and called a sense ruled people, the Jews, to preserve it until the Lamb of God would come and rebuild a broken relationship between God and man through the shedding of His own blood. After Adam no one was born again until Jesus came. That is why Jesus said:
John 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
So illumination is when the Holy Spirit teaches us everything we need to know about God and makes the Word “come alive” as we read it. A person who has not accepted Jesus cannot comprehend spiritual things for the Bible says:
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
But we have the promise of God that His Holy Spirit lives in us and will illumine us and teach us all we need to know for Jesus said:
John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
John 14:26 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.
What does the word “inspiration” mean? According to Webster’s dictionary it means to “inhale”. The Biblical definition is found in 2 Timothy 3:
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
The word “inspiration” here is the Greek word “theopneustos” which literally means “God-breathed.” The Scriptures teach that when God created all things that He “breathed” the universe into existence (Psalm 33:6), and when He created man He “breathed” into Adam the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). So now we see that the Bible also was created by the very breath of God. How much of the Bible did God breathe out? “All Scripture”. The Greek word “all” is “pasa” which means “all” or “every” and the Greek word “scripture” is “graphe” which means “holy writing” or “scripture.” Therefore “pasa graphe theopneustos” means “every scripture is God-breathed.”
b. The Writers
God breathed out His Words through divinely chosen men so that the writings of these men were actually the Word of God. Lets look at a verse:
2 Peter 1:20-21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
It is not of “private interpretation” (not the writer’s own thoughts), also it did not come into being by “the will of man” (man did not intend to write it, or get together to arrange it), but “holy men” (divinely selected) “spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (the Spirit spoke through them and moved them as wind pushes a sail).
Now the question is, how did God do it? Did these writers have some superior insight? Or were they inspired the way we are when we write a special song or talk about the Lord to someone? Did God suggest thoughts to them and they put it into their own words? Or did He just dictate to them everything He said verbatim, word for word, as His secretaries, leaving out their own personalities? Is there an answer for this?
It is obvious in the Scripture that we can see a twofold nature. On one hand, it has God’s character. On the other hand, it has a human character. When we read the books of the Bible, we find human personality. God used men. It’s true. He could have dictated everything, but He chose not to. He chose to let men express their own personalities, emotions, style, vocabularies, etc; and under God’s guidance, the words they chose were not only their words but God’s words. God was there forming their personalities, controlling their heredity, environment, and lives, to make them into the men He wanted them to be. Their lives had been so fashioned by God that the words they used out of their own personalities and vocabularies were in reality God’s Words.
The only real explanation is that it was a miracle. Who could ever explain the miraculous nature of inspiration? Its never been seen. But we have its results. We have the Word of God.
It is important to remember that “the writers” weren’t inspired, and everything they spoke and wrote wasn’t inspired, but only the selected “words” at various times that God spoke through them and they recorded. The next question is, what does the Bible say about its own inspiration, and what did Jesus think about it?
c. Biblical Claims
The Bible claims to be the Word of God and if a man or book speaks truthfully on all other matters, we should allow them also to speak for themselves. The Bible makes claims for itself.
1) Old Testament
Over 3800 times the Old Testament uses terms as “thus sayeth the LORD”, “the Word of the Lord came to me”, or “the LORD said”. Lets examine a few verses’ and let the Old Testament speak for itself:
Exodus 24:4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD.
Leviticus 26:46 These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the LORD made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.
2 Samuel 23:1-2 Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.
Isaiah 34:16 Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.
Jeremiah 30:2 Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.
Jeremiah 36:1-2 And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.
Ezekiel 11:25 Then I spake unto them of the captivity all the things that the LORD had showed me.
Zechariah 7:12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.
2) The New Testament
The New Testament makes reference to the inspiration of the Old Testament as well as all of its sections, and almost every one of its books in particular. Also, it affirms the literal historicity of great persons and events, such as Adam, Noah, the Flood, Moses, Elijah, Jonah, etc. It even affirms the inspiration of the words of other New Testament writers, as well as the possibility of a New Testament from God. Here are some good verses:
Romans 3:1-2 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
1 Corinthians 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.
Hebrews 3:7-8 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness …)
1 Peter 1:10-12 Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
2 Peter 3:2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.
2 Peter 3:15-16 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
Jesus and the Scriptures
Jesus Himself confirmed the literal historicity and inspiration of the entire Bible. When He said “it is written,” He meant that it stands written for all eternity. To Him the Bible was the Word of God. He said:
John 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Luke 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
In fact Jesus put His stamp of approval on the entire Old Testament in one statement when He said:
Luke 11:51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.
Abel was the first Old Testament martyr in Genesis (the first book), and Zechariah was the last in 2 Chronicles (the last book).
Jesus made reference to or alluded to every book in the Old Testament. Here are just a few examples of persons, events, and miracles quoted by Him:
Matthew 19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
Luke 17:26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
Luke 17:29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
Matthew 11:21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
John 7:22 Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man.
John 7:19 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?
Matthew 19:8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
Mark 12:26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Matthew 12:42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
Matthew 12:3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him.
Matthew 12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
Luke 4:25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land.
Luke 4:27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.
Matthew 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place.
The Bible is the Word of God breathed out by Him for us. We can trust it; Jesus did. May we search hard for the infinite treasures that are in this book. May we come to God as children and just believe. And may we be daily assured that … “all the promises in Him are yea, and amen!”