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.
The emphatic declaration of 2 Tim.3:16 is: "ALL SCRIPTURE is given by INSPIRATION OF GOD…" The word, "inspiration", means "God-breathed". God the Holy Spirit influenced certain men, at various times, to write down his very words, and ONLY his words. In some mysterious way, the Holy Spirit moved men to write down the very WORD of the living God. Another important passage of Scripture in this regard is 2 Pet.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." The Holy Scriptures did not originate with men, but with the Holy Spirit. And he "moved" men to speak (and write) his Word. They wrote under his influence.
Now, it is very important to understand that these men were not writing as if they were mindless robots, or in a trance-like state. No; any reading of the Bible soon reveals that each human instrument used had his own style, etc. The Lord made use of each one's particular talents, abilities, etc. And yet, the Holy Spirit so controlled those men, that EVERY SINGLE WORD they spoke or wrote, while being "moved" by the Holy Spirit, was what God wanted them to write! Though the Lord used them as his instruments, HE was the Author of all Scripture. Their faculties were employed, but the words were the Lord's.
And this the Scriptures themselves declare to be the case. "The words of the LORD [note that – not the words of man, but of the Lord] are pure words" (Psa.12:6). Which words? "EVERY WORD of God is pure" (Prov.30:5). "ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God"!
How highly the Lord magnifies his Word is seen in Psa.138:2: "thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name"! That being so, it is perfect and infallible; each word is from God – not one originated with man. In fact, so marvellous is this divine Book, that inspiration extended, not only to every word, but even to every "jot" and "tittle" (Matt.5:18)!
Many other passages could be given which throw light on this blessed subject. Here are just a few of them.
Exod.24:4 says, "And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD." Here we find that, although Moses was the man the Lord used to actually put the words down in writing, they were not Moses' words, but "the words of the LORD"! And the people understood this clearly, for they said, "All that the LORD hath said [not Moses, but the Lord] will we do, and be obedient" (vs.7).
In 2 Sam.23:1,2, we have the express words of David, who declared that: "The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue." Here is a plain testimony to divine inspiration! Yes, David's mouth was used; his tongue was employed; but the word he spoke was the LORD'S Word, not his!
The prophet Jeremiah, also, testified plainly to divine inspiration. He wrote, "Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth" (Jer.1:9). Jeremiah's mouth – but God's words!
And then, the words these prophets spoke, were later written down. Here is an example of how it was done: "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" (Jer.36:1,2). The words spoken by divine inspiration were later written down by divine inspiration.
The Bible is full of testimonies such as these. We have the infallible testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ himself. He declared, for example, that David spoke "by the Holy Ghost" in the Psalms (Mk.12:36). The Son of God cannot lie. As for his own words, he stated that they were from the Father (Jn.17:8).
Paul, that blessed apostle, said that the Holy Spirit spoke by Isaiah, for example.
As for the writings of the New Testament: we are told that the word which the apostles preached was "not the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God" (1 Thess.2:13); that "the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord" (1 Cor.14:37); etc. Both the Old AND the New Testaments were "given by inspiration of God"! Holy men were instruments in the hands of a sovereign God, who moved them to give out his very Word.
Miraculously, supernaturally, the Bible was written. Every word that God wanted men to have is in the pages of the Bible. It is complete, and perfect. It is described as "that which is perfect" in 1 Cor.13:10, which Paul prophesied would come; and it was completed with the completion of the book of Revelation (Rev.22:18,19). We have every word of God in the Bible! Each one given by divine inspiration. This Book is, truly, like no other. From Genesis to Revelation, it is "Thus saith the LORD." With complete confidence it can be said that the Holy Scriptures "are able to make" a soul "wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus"; and that, once a person is saved, the Scripture "is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim.3:15-17).
Shaun Willcock is a minister of the Gospel. He lives in South Africa and runs Bible Based Ministries. For other pamphlets (which may be downloaded and printed), as well as details about his books, audio messages news articles, etc., please visit the Bible Based Ministries website, or write to the address below. If you would like to be on Bible Based Ministries’ electronic mailing list, please send your details.
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