The Unique, Authentic, and Inspired Word of God
October 2022 ( Reprinted from Nov 2011)
The Bible was written over a time span of fifteen hundred years. It was written over forty generations by more than forty authors from every walk of life including kings, peasants, philosophers, fisherman, poets, statesman, and scholars.
The Bible was written in different places: in the wilderness (Moses), in a dungeon (Jeremiah), in a palace (Daniel), inside prison walls (Paul), while traveling (Luke), and on the Isle of Patmos (John).
The Bible was written at different times—David in times of war and Solomon in times of peace.
The Bible was written during different moods. Some wrote from heights of joy and others from the depths of sorrow and despair.
The Bible’s subject matter includes hundreds of controversial topics. The Bible authors spoke with harmony and continuity from Genesis to Revelation. There is one unfolding story in the Bible— God’s redemption plan for man.
The Word Of The Lord
There are nearly four thousand declarations in the Old Testament by the prophets, which were introduced by statements such as, “Thus says the LORD,” and “The Word of the LORD that came unto me,” as in these two examples:
• “And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel” (Ex. 34:27).
• “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 spoke unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day” (Jer. 36:1-2).
Each writer explained what God had revealed to him, expressing it in the same terms in which he received it from God. However, God did not dictate to the prophets as though they were secretaries. God revealed His truth to them and showed them how they should present it. In so doing, they expressed His Word in terms of their own outlook, interests, literary habits, and peculiarities of style.
Theology professor B.B. Warfield said it this way: “The church, then, has held from the beginning that the Bible is the Word of God in such a sense that its words, though written by men and bearing indelibly impressed upon them the marks of their human origin, were written nevertheless, under such an influence of the Holy Ghost as to be also the words of God, the adequate expression of His mind and will. It has always recognized that this conception of co-authorship implies that the Spirit’s superintendence extends to the choice of words by the human authors (verbal inspiration), [but not mechanical dictation] and preserves its product from everything inconsistent with a divine authorship—thus securing, among other things, that entire truthfulness which is everywhere presupposed in and asserted for Scripture by the Biblical writers (inerrancy).”
The doctrine of plenary inspiration holds that the original documents of the Bible were written by men, though permitted to exercise their own personalities and literary talents. But they wrote under the control and guidance of the Holy Spirit, the result being in every Word of the original documents a perfect and errorless recording of the exact message that God desired to give man.
To better explain plenary, which means “full, complete extending to all parts,” we’ll look at II Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
And in I Thessalonians 2:13 the apostle Paul said, “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.”
Another Scripture that describes inspiration is I Corinthians 2:13: “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
This four-part article series continues in the November issue of The Evangelist.