The Bible declares itself to be THE WORD OF GOD. And yet we know that men took writing materials in hand, and wrote the words down. If men penned the words, how can it be the Word of God? This is an important question, needing a scriptural answer.
The Almighty God has revealed himself to men. He has revealed himself in his creation: "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead" (Rom.1:20); "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handywork" (Psa.19:1). But this revelation of himself in his creation, while it plainly shows that there is a God, is limited as to how much it makes known of him. He has revealed himself in the glorious person of his Son, Jesus Christ: he is "the image of the invisible God" (Col.1:15); "the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person" (Heb.1:3); "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him" (Jn.1:18). And he has revealed himself in a written record – his own Holy Word. How?
First, he spoke through the prophets of the Old Testament. Heb.1:1 says, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets". The words of these men were written down, by his command, and in this way were preserved. Moses, David, Isaiah and others were those prophets of old.
Then, God spoke through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. "God…hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son" (Heb.1:1,2). The Lord Jesus said, "When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things" (Jn.8:28); "I speak that which I have seen with my Father" (vs.38); "For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak" (Jn.12:49). By both word and deed, the Lord Jesus Christ made the invisible God known to men.
But Jesus was not to be on earth forever! He was to ascend back to heaven – and he did. How, then, would his words and deeds be known to future generations?
Again, the Lord made use of prophets. Jesus told his disciples: "These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 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" (Jn.14:25,26). The Lord promised that his words would be brought to the remembrance of the men who heard him, and of course they recorded them for the ages to come. And not only the words which Jesus spoke while on earth, and the things he did; but also, all that the Lord still wanted to make known to men – including prophetic revelations of the future: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you" (Jn.16:13,14).
The Lord thus continued to speak through the apostles and prophets of the New Testament – who wrote down his words. As Paul wrote: "the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord" (1 Cor.14:37); and, "the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal.1:11,12). Paul, Peter, John and others were the prophets of the New Testament (Eph.2:20).
But now we must come to a consideration of the way in which God gave his Word to men. Again we must pose the question: if men penned the words, how can they be the words of God?
The answer is – INSPIRATION.