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The Bible

The Inspiration of Scripture

2 Peter 1:21
For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

How did God produce the Bible?

A definition of inspiration might be something along the lines of "God's superintending of human authors so that, using their own individual personalities, they composed and recorded without error in the words of the original autographs His revelation to man" (Ryrie).

Enns offers us a slightly different version: "There are several important elements that belong in a proper definition of inspiration: (1) the divine element--God the Holy Spirit superintended the writers, ensuring the accuracy of the writing; (2) the human element--human authors wrote according to their individual styles and personalities; (3) the result of the divine-human authorship is the recording of God's truth without error; (4) inspiration extends to the selection of words by the writers; (5) inspiration relates to the original manuscripts." (1)

In other words, God through the Holy Spirit caused the writers of Scripture to record exactly what God wanted recorded. He did not do this by dictation, but through the movement of thoughts and actions, to produce manuscripts written in the personality and language of the authors.

There are, of course, several theories presented as to how inspiration occurred.

The theory of "natural inspiration" says there is no supernatural element. The Bible was written by great men, who often erred.

Some believe in a theory of "partial inspiration." Here, the Bible contains God's words but man must sort through the verses, "demythologize them," to find those that have been inspired by God. The rest are man's creation and may be in error

Some find the thoughts of Scripture to be inspired but do not find the actual words used are to be inspired. This is called "conceptual inspiration." The concepts are from God but there are factual and scientific errors in the bible.

Some believe in a theory of "dictation." The writers passively recorded God's words without any participation of their own styles or personalities. If so, God must be a Person of many personalities, for a simple reading of the Bible will demonstrate a wide range of styles and personalities.

The theory of verbal, plenary inspiration means that all of the actual words of the Bible are inspired and without error. This fits the Bible's own description.

What views or evidence may we put forth for the concept of verbal, plenary inspiration?

Well, first, the Bible claims it for itself.

Second, this is the method described in/by the Bible.

Third, Scripture shows the interaction of "God-Spirit-Man" in the preparation of Scripture. For example

It is true that God used several methods in the inspiration of Scripture. These include direct dictation (Deut 9:10), human research (Ecclesiastes; Luke 1:1-4), and spoken revelation (Gal 1:12). These methods show that God was in control of the recording of His Word. Scripture also teaches that not only was He in control, but that the actual inspiration of Scripture is "verbal."

The Bible comes from God. It is God's instruction book to us on how we re-create our relationship with God. Only God could provide this revelation to us.

1. Keathley, Page 21 quoting Enns.




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