The Inspiration of Scripture

by | Jun 24, 2017

That the Scriptures are throughout a Divine book, created by the Divine energy and speaking in their every part with Divine authority directly to the heart of the readers, is the fundamental fact concerning them which is witnessed by Christ and the sacred writers to whom we owe the New Testament. 

B.B. Warfield, Revelation and Inspiration

The question here is very straightforward, what does the Bible claim about its origin and nature? When we speak of the Bible, or the Scriptures, what is it we are speaking about? Perhaps the clearest statement on the inspiration of Scripture is found in 2 Tim. 3:16-17.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

This text gives us a clear explanation of what Scripture is according to the apostle Paul. All Scripture, is breathed out by God and since that breath involves words, it essentially means that all Scripture is “God speaking.” What does the Scripture claim about itself? Before we can answer the question, what is Scripture, we must first ask, what does Scripture claim to be? In this text the claim is abundantly clear: all Scripture, every Scripture, each individual Scripture is breathed out by God, or, in other words, God speaking. Because Scripture is God speaking, it is profitable. The Greek word is ōphelimos, meaning useful, advantageous, or beneficial. But useful for what? Paul is specific: Scripture is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. Why would we want to teach, reprove, correct, and train? So that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. To be complete, equipped for every good work means that the reason God speaks to us through Scripture is so that Christians may be “well-fitted” for their function, proficient in performing every good work we are called to perform! The Scriptures are God speaking to us with the result that we are being taught, reproved, corrected, and trained so that we would be “well-fitted” or adept to function as we should in our culture. Reading and studying Scripture individually and in community with one another is essential to the Christian life. 

Peter also spoke about the nature of Scripture in his letter when he wrote in 2 Peter 1:21:

For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Contrary to modern scholars, Christian Scripture is not the product of man, like any other book written by men. No prophecy was ever produced by the will of man. The construction of the Greek is very interesting. The negative ou with the indefinite adverb pote means ever, or never. Not at any time literally speaking. At no time was prophecy the result of the will of man. Instead, men were moved by the Holy Spirit to speak from God. Peter, in this section of his book elevates Scripture human human experience as a superior witness to divine truth.

But there is more here than a simple assertion of the Divine origin of Scripture. We are advanced somewhat in our understanding of how God has produced the Scriptures. It was through the instrumentality of men who “spoke from him.”

B.B. Warfield, Revelation and Inspiration

Jesus, as a Jewish rabbi believed that Scripture was inspired of God in the same way Paul and Peter did. He tells us in John 10:35 that Scripture cannot be broken. If Scripture is less than the perfect Word of God, then surely it can be broken. Surely it is fallible. But according to Jesus, Scripture cannot be broken. This reveals that Jesus had the highest view of Scripture.

For they mock the Holy Spirit when they ask: Who can convince us that these writings came from God?

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion

The Bible then is the revealed interpretation of God’s acts of revelation across redemptive history. God revealed Himself in Christ and the Scripture is the revealed interpretation of that event. Scripture is itself then, not only the record of divine revelation, it is divine revelation. This, orthodox Christianity has affirmed since its inception.

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