The Inspiration of the Scriptures
1. In hundreds of places, the Bible claims to be the divinely revealed and inspired Word of God. However, many people have asked the question down through the ages, "How can we know the Bible is inspired by God?"
2. The question of Biblical inspiration is important for a number of reasons:
A. If the Bible is not inspired, then it is of no real use to humanity. It is one of the most clever, ingenious, and cruel hoaxes ever played on humanity.
B. Furthermore, the issue of Bible inspiration is important because a person's attitude toward Bible inspiration will dictate his or her attitude toward the things taught therein.
C. For those who already believe, a knowledge of the evidences for Bible inspiration is important so we will be ready to give a defense for our hope, like Peter commanded in 1 Peter 3:15.
1. So, I think you can see that this is a very important topic. I hope this lesson will confirm the faith of the weak and refresh the knowledge of the strong.
2. I will try to define the correct view of Bible inspiration first, then I will go back and undergird our definition with evidences for Bible Inspiration. There may be a few difficult words and concepts to grasp, but I will try to make the meaning of all such things clear in each instance.
1. What Bible Inspiration Is Not:
A. Natural Inspiration:
1. Bible writers were inspired in much the same way that men are inspired today.
1. An inventor has a good idea, then makes a grand invention.
2. An author, in a creative moment, writes a dramatic piece of literature.
3. A composer arranges a beautiful piece of music.
4. An artist see a beautiful sunset and paints a picture which captures the beauty beheld by her eyes.
5. Natural inspiration is weak because it puts the Bible on the level of fallible man rather than the infallible word of God as it claims to be.
A. Partial Inspiration:
1. This means just what it says: only parts of the Bible are inspired.
a. Perhaps some of the moral teachings and religious observances are inspired.
b. But the historical and scientific claims of the Bible were added by men. Also, the parts of the Bible that may disagree with modern science (such as creation) are not inspired.
c. Theistic evolutionists are notorious in their clinging to partial inspiration.
1. If this were the case, I would simply ask how we know which parts of the Bible are inspired and which are not? Wouldn't we need an inspired interpreter to distinguish what is relevant and what is not?
2. This would show a lack of concern on the part of God. Would the Almighty hide His truth amidst a cloud of human reasoning?
3. Bible inspiration can not be partial inspiration because such a concept would render the Bible effectively useless. Which parts can we trust and which can't we?
A. Mechanical Dictation
1. The inspired writers were nothing more than mere stenographers who did nothing except write down the exact words that were dictated by God.
2. This view is weak because it reduces the role of the Bible writers played in recording God's word. Furthermore, it ignores obviously different writing styles of the different Bible writers (Paul vs John).
3. This seems to be an extremist approach to Bible inspiration, and may be equally as dangerous as those we have already mentioned.
A. Thought Inspiration:
1. The Holy Spirit gave men the right ideas and basic thoughts ans let them express them in their own words without any divine guidance whatsoever. This would explain the different writing styles.
2. Some problems with this view:
a. Ge 22:18; Gal 3:16 : Many scriptures depend on a single word for their meaning.
b. 1 Pe 1:10-11 Often Bible writers were inspired to write about things they did not understand. Do you want to follow the teachings of one who just wrote anything down because he didn't understand the idea God gave him?
A. All of these views fail to measure up to the true and scriptural definition of Bible inspiration. They do not allow for the total inerrancy of the scriptures, nor do they allow for the varied writing styles of the Bible writers.
2. What is Bible Inspiration?
A. The Bible is inspired by verbal, plenary inspiration.
1. Verbal: Every word is there because it is the will of God.
2. Plenary: "FULL" All parts of the Bible are equally and fully inspired.
A. To put these thoughts together, when the Bible writers spoke or wrote, they did so by inspiration. God gave them the idea and then selected and chose from their vocabulary the words to be used in making the idea known. Both the thought and the words by which the thought was made known were equally inspired.
B. What does the Bible say about itself?
1. 1 Tim 3:16,17 Everything written is breathed out of the mouth of God in order to make man complete.
2. OT Passages: Deut 18:18,19; Jer 1:9 3. How Christ viewed inspiration: Mt 10:19,20
A. How do we know this is the case?
3. Evidences for Bible Inspiration.
A. Archaeology and History:
1. Many anthropologist and archaeologists have set out to discredit the Bible through archaeology. However, each time the credibility of the inspiration of the Bible has been strengthened.
a. Walls Of Jericho: Garstang Expedition of 1929-1936.
b. Discovery of Hittite nation in 1906 in what is now Turkey.
c. Bricks without straw (Ex 5): Kyle expedition of 1908 found at Pithod lower levels of a structure filled with good straw, the middle series filled with only stubble, and the upper series of bricks with no straw at all.
d. In 1961, a stone with the name of Pontius Pilate was found in Caesaria.
e. More recently, in June 1990 the tomb of Caiphas, the high priest at the time of Jesus' crucifixion was discovered.
1. There are numerous other examples we could cite because the Bible is overwhelmingly accurate in its historical claims. This is an evidence of the fact that it is the word of God.
A. Manuscript Evidence:
1. There are over 4,000 complete early Greek manuscripts of the New Testament alone. Further, there are over 13,000 portions of manuscripts.
2. These vary very little from one another. Less that 1/2 of one percent of the text of the Bible is in question today as to whether it is genuine. Further, no major doctrine is impacted by this.
Caesar's Gallic Wars - 10 manuscripts
Annals of Tacitus - 2 manuscripts
Many other examples could be given.
4. The earliest fragments we have are only 50 years removed from the time of the actual writing.
"Histories of Thucydides" - earliest copy is 1300 years removed from the original
"Histories of Herodotus" - earliest copy is 1350 years removed from the original
Caesar's "Gallic War" - 950 years
Roman History of Livy - 350 years (and the earliest copy is only a fragment)
"Histories" of Tacitus - 750 years
"Annals" of Tacitus - 950 years (and there are only two manuscripts)
4. Manuscript evidence clearly attests to the reliability and inspiration of the scripture.
A. Bible Unity:
1. The Bible is not one book, but a library of 66 short books.
a. These books were written by more than 40 men over a period of about 1500 years.
b. These were men from different nations, backgrounds, occupations...
c. These books were written in different languages: hebrew, aramaic, greek.
1. Despite all this, the Bible is characterized by astonishing unity. A single thread runs from the beginning to the end of the Bible, pointing it toward the mind of God.
2. The first book of the Bible shows man's sin, his loss of fellowship with God, and his loss of access to the tree of life. The last book of the Bible ends with a triumphant vision of man regaining access to the tree of life and to live forever in fellowship with God.
2. This marvelous unity proves that the Bible had to originate with a source much greater than humanity.
A. Fulfilled Prophecy:
1. The prophecies of the OT are written hundreds of years before their fulfillment. They contain details beyond the wildest human speculations. Yet everyone of those prophecies has been fulfilled down to the minutest detail.
2. There are over 300 hundred prophecies about Jesus Christ alone. And we know that Jesus Christ actually lived through recorded secular history. What are the chances that just 8 of those 300 prophecies would be accidentally fulfilled by one man?
a. 1:100,000,000,000,000,000 An astronomical figure
b. This was only 8. Imagine the likelihood of all 300 or so being fulfilled by one man.
1. Fulfilled prophecy is a proof that the Bible is inspired of God.
A. The Endurance of the Bible
1. A handful of uneducated Jews, in a captive Roman province, put together writings that last through intense persecutions and determined efforts to stamp them out for almost 2000 years.
2. These same uneducated Jews are willing to die for the lies they wrote in the work of fiction they called the "New Testament."
3. In 2000, the Bible is the best known, most widely read, most loved, and most influential writing ever known to humanity.
4. To say that this book comes from men would be nothing short of a miracle; to say it comes from God would be nothing short of divine.
1. We could cite many more examples and go very deep into the facts that secular history has proven to be true by the Bible. However, the conclusion of this lesson must be obvious to any honest seeker of truth. The Bible is what it claims to be and was issued by the full, verbal inspiration of the Almighty God.
by Michael W. Rhodes Venice, Florida
"But God demonstrates His own love to us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
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