THE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE
2 Timothy 3::14-17
This passage is a beautiful commentary on the sacred writings in the Bible. In this message we shall give our attention to the statement in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The term scripture here means both the Old and New Testaments. As to their source we are told they were given by inspiration of God. All other books are profane, but the 66 books of the Bible are sacred because they are inspired by God. Never compare the Bible, in terms of human comparisons, with other books. Comparison is dangerous because all other books are of the earth, but the Bible is from heaven. We are to regard it, not just as the word of man, but as it is in truth the word of God. The inspiration of the Bible is not a deduction of reason but a revelation of the Holy Spirit.
The first matter of study is the meaning of the word “inspiration.” The phrase, “given by inspiration of God” is from a single Greek word translated by Greek scholars to mean, “inspired by God, God-inspired, inbreathed by God, or God-breathed.” This word simply means that God breathed on, influenced, and controlled the minds of the writers of the Bible to write what He wished to be in the Bible. The words, “inspired by God, ” point to God's part in producing the Bible, and it is God's part that makes the Bible different from every other book. God the Father used the Holy Spirit to inspire all Bible writers. Thus every Bible writer became the agent of God in what he wrote, so that his words were the words of God. Inspiration was the method used by God to communicate His will to the human race. Thus Paul said in this passage, “Every scripture is inspired of God,” and this inspiration extends to the words of the Bible as as well as thoughts and ideas. .
However, let it be understood that scripture says nothing concerning the mode of inspiration. The process was supernatural and cannot be explained. All kinds of opinions, explanations and theories have been propounded to explain how inspiration affected the Bible writers, but they are human opinions and nothing more. The secret things belong to God, but only the revealed things belong to us. How God moved these writers to use only His thoughts and words in the Bible cannot be explained. Inspiration was a supernatural influence exerted on the
sacred writers by the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead. . This means the Bible contains the very words of God in its entirety, in its words as well as in its ideas.
The evidences that support the belief that the Bible is the inspired word of God are chiefly three in number, and they are overwhelming indeed. The first one is that God Himself says the Bible is inspired., and that settles the matter for all who believe the Bible. The Bible itself claims to be the inspired word of God, and that is one of the strongest evidences that the Bible is the word of God. Our text states, “Every scripture is inspired of God.” To doubt the Bible is a curse to the human race. In addition, the apostle Peter said, “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit
(2 Peter 1:21). Isaiah refers to his writing as the words of the Lord some 20 times, Jeremiah 100 times and Ezekiel 60 times. The universal claims of Bible writers to Divine inspiration is convincing in itself, when we consider the true religion these men have given the world and the wholesome influence they have exerted on people's lives. It is disgraceful and blasphemous the way unbelieving Bible critics reject the verbal inspiration of the Bible. They justify their blasphemous statements by claiming there are many myths in the Bible that intelligent people cannot accept. This is to accuse the Bible writers, who were just and holy men, of deliberately falsefying their writings to support mythical tales and traditional beliefs of their forefathers.. Others claim there are supposed contradictions in the Bible. Jesus said that all will be judged by His word in the last day, and that statement verifies the truth of the Bible. One of His significant teachings was, “The scripture cannot be broken.” In spite of the opposition to the Bible by the so-called higher critics, it is written in the Bible, “Every scripture is inspired of God.”.
The second evidence for inspiration is the wonder of supernatural prophesy. It predicts historical events to take place hundreds of years in the future. The Messianic prophecies of Christ in the law of Moses, the Psalms and the prophets will condemn all who deny the inspiration. of the Bible. The prophecy in the second chapter of Daniel that foretells the rise of all future world-kingdoms on earth between 500 B.C. and 476
A.D is one of the greatest wonders of supernatural prophecy in the Bible. Prophesy shows things to come and declares things not yet done before they happened. Still another indisputable evidence of Bible inspiration is the wonder of the numerous miracles related in the Bible. The answer of the Bible to all who reject the wonder of miracles in the Bible is the answer of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary who was to give birth to
Jesus when she had never been with a man. Gabriel said, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” The inspiration of Bible writers is not as great a wonder as the incarnation of the Divine Son of God.
Furthermore, it is most interesting that God used inspiration to deliver to mankind the New Covenant in two different ways. For the first 60 years of church history, God delivered the New Covenant to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles by word of mouth, through supernaturally gudied apostles and teachers. God, by inspiration, brought to the memory of the apostles all the teachings they heard from Jesus while on earth. God gave the apostles a supernatural memorv. In addition, God revealed to the minds of the apostles all additional provisions of the New Covenant that Jesus did not reveal to them when on the earth. . The entire New Testament revelation existed first in the minds of the apostles by direct inspiration before the 27 books of the New Testament had ever been written. The gospel of our salvation was first delivered to all people by word of mouth from the apostles and from other men whom the apostles made inspired teachers. Inspiration was a gift that the apostles could impart to men by the laying on of their hands. The laying on of the apostles hands to impart miraculous gifts was one of the foundational doctrines of the Christian religion during the first century(Hebrews 6:1,2}. This was necessary for some 60 years before the New Covenant was committed to writing. Apostles could make Christians gifted teachers by the laying on of their hands. This was an elementary truth understood by all Christians throughout the world. Furthermore, it was well understood that only the apostles could impart these miraculous gifts to Christians. All divine truth came to mankind from the Apostles, and from the apostles to all other inspired teachers and helpers. It began with a revelation of truth revealed to the minds of the apostles by the Holy Spirit. During the first 60 years of church history, the 27 books of the New Testament were slowly being written, but they were not collected into one book till many years later. But with preachers and teachers receiving knowledge directly from God by inspiration, the church did very well without the 27 books of the New testament during the miraculous period of church history. .
All gospel knowledge came from the apostles alone and those men on whom they laid their hands. . In this way they gave others the gift of teaching and prophecy and inspiration. There were 14 apostles in all, but one died a martyr before the Christian religion had its beginning on earth. Another was selected to bring the number back to
twelve. The selection of Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles brought the number of apostles to 13. The inspiration of these 13 Apostles (the original 12 plus one more, Paul} makes them the most distinguished men who have ever lived on the earth, except Christ. None of the Old Testament prophets had such power as the apostles of Christ had. God placed the destiny of all mankind till the end of time in the hands of these 13 men. What an honor God bestowed on them! Even more remarkable is the fact that the destiny of all mankind is still in their hands to this very day, and all mankind should highly honor and obey these men. Learn all you can from these men, and if you are in a church that does not believe this truth, you would do well to leave that church at once. There are no apostles in the Christian religion today, except the original 13. You are to recognize no other apostles. They are still the world greatest teachers. Churches that claim to have apostles today dishonor the original 13 and dishonor Christ. There have been no inspired apostles since the first century, and there never will be any more.
However, all these wonderful men died during the first century, and they can no longer give God's divine revelation by word of mouth.
In the first century God's revelation came to mankind in no other way. When John the last apostle died, inspiration ceased and miracles ceased forever, being no longer needed. Present-day preachers who deny this truth have caused much confusion and division in the Christian religion and have wrongly taught many people. Preachers who supposedly practice miraculous healing like the apostles did are workmen who need to be ashamed, not rightly applying the word of God. When the laying on of the apostle's hands ceased, all inspiration ceased and all miracles ceased(Acts 8:18). That is the reason no miracles have existed since the first century ended. No one since the first century has had the power of “Laying on of hands.” Any man or woman today who professes to have received a special revelation from God is a false prophet or false prophetess. God speaks to no one today except by and through the words of the 13 inspired apostles. of the Christian religion.
The apostles Christ chose were the only divine revelators, and God
has had no more. Because they have passed away and are not present to lay their hands on men and make them inspired teachers, it was necessary to put the New Covenant in written form, so that men could learn the New Covenant by natural study. Personal letters and messages were sent by the apostles to troubled churches during the first century, but were
not in universal circulation. Under their supervision, all 27 books of the New Testament were written in the first century. All truth they taught by word of mouth, through direct revelation from God, is now in a written form in the 27 books of the New Testament. We know all that they taught in the days of miracles and inspiration. Men no longer need to be inspired like preachers and teachers of the first century. All provisions, requirements and doctrines of the Christian religion are now in written form in the New Testament. All Christians can now study for themselves the teachings of the Christian religion and learn all that God requires of people to be saved.
I am sure copies of the letters sent by the apostles to the churches in the first century began to be copied right away by all the churches. Written copies of those precious writings began to be made from the very first for other churches.. In all probability the apostles authorized Matthew, Mark, . Luke, and John to write the four gospels and Luke to write the book of Acts. Paul himself wrote the next 13 or 14 books, and . James wrote one book. . Peter wrote two books, and .Jude wrote one of the last five books. The apostle John wrote four of the last five books, making a total of 27 books. We can rest assured that all truth the apostles taught and all words that God wanted written are in those 27 books. No one need worry about which books should be in the New Testament. The apostles took care of that matter, and before they died they confirmed as inspired books the 27 books now in our Bibles.
None of the original manuscripts of those 27 books are still in existence. The writing material in common use was papyrus, made of slices of the water plant that grew in Egypt. Two slices, one verticle, the other horizontal, were pressed together and polished. Ink was made of charcoal, gum and water. Single sheets were used for short compositions. For longer, sheets were fastened side by side to form rolls A roll was usually about 30 ft. long and 10 inches high. Experts on the early history of the church tell us that in the 2nd century A.D. the New Testament
books began to be made up in “Codex” form, that is, modern book form, in which any number of leaves could be put into one volume, with
numbered pages. Just when all 27 books of the New Testament were made in Codex form and widely circulated we cannot determine with
certainty. Nor can we know just when the early Christians decided to put the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament into one book, and give it the name, “The Bible,” which literally means, “The Books.”
Let me close by saying that today the one and only way we can
know the true teachings of the apostles, who alone had the keys to open the door of church on earth, and the keys to open the door of heaven, is to study, believe and obey the 27 books of the New Testament. Those 27 books are the most valuable possession on earth today. No books in the great libraries of the world can even begin to compare with them. They are beyond compare. Those 27 books are the most priceless pieces of literature in the possession of mankind. The purpose of these books is to reveal to all mankind the Divine revelation the apostles received directly from God in the first century. Those 27 books now take the place of the apostles on earth today. In all of your reading be sure to read those 27 books; they represent your ticket to heaven. I welcome with the welcome of my whole heart and soul anything that stablishes, strengthens, and settles faith in the Bible as God's word written. The need of the hour for 21st century Christians, for all unreligious people, for all religions that reject Christ, and for the entire world at large is to come out of the mists and shadows of uncertainty and unbelief, into a faith in the Bible which is an absolutely dominating conviction of its authority and truth as the living Word of the living God.” Amen.