Tag Archives: inspiration

The Holy Spirit and Inspiration

Scripture declares it is inspired.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17, ESV)

Here, in the English Standard Version (ESV), translators have chosen to interpret the word “inspired,” which is found in older translations, as “breathed out.” This is an appropriate decision as it better reflects the meaning of the word inspired. Today, inspiration is commonly credited for exemplary works of art or for stunning landscapes. Originally however, to be inspired meant to be given divine truth for transmission to mankind. In other words, the Bible writers were to record the words breathed out by God.

We offer the following human definition of Biblical inspiration which might help:

“Biblical inspiration is the transmission of truth from God, to man, through man and for man.”

The words of the Bible are not like the words of any other literature. They are the very thoughts of God as revealed to mankind. Inasmuch as the words of God are truth (John 17:17) we should seek them for the benefit they bring. We should also handle carefully the truth (2 Timothy 2:15) like we would a sharp weapon (Hebrews 4:12, Revelation 1:16, Revelation 2:12).

Inspiration provides for man the only truth needed for his eternal existence. It is complete (Jude 3) and allows a man to become complete before God. The words of the Bible are verified through great signs and wonders performed by God’s approved messengers. Since there are no true miracles occurring today, there is no confirmation of any supposed new or fresh word from God. We now have the truth and it is able to make us complete and to prepare us for every good work.

The Holy Spirit is integral in the work of inspiration. Peter defends the truthfulness of the apostolic message and the inspired word given through the work of the Holy Spirit.

“And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 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.” (2 Peter 1:19-21)

Here, the unique nature of prophecy, which is a part of Scripture, is affirmed as being beyond mortal abilities. Instead the source of that inspiration is the Holy Spirit. This comports well with Jesus own promise to the apostles to send the Spirit who would then “guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13). Make note that the passage speaks of “all the truth,” not some of it or a portion of it, but all the truth.

The Divine Workman has provided us every scintilla of truth needed for our eternal journey. There is nothing more. Let us give glory to the Spirit who has supplied our need so richly.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.

Understandable Truth | 20 Reasons

Have you ever heard someone say, “I just can’t understand the Bible!” Or maybe this one, “Well, that’s just your interpretation. Ask 10 people what a verse means and you will get 10 different answers.” I’m sure you have either heard these comments or maybe even made them yourself. Truthfully, they are bogus. That’s right, nonsense. Don’t you think that sometimes those are just convenient crutches to avoid a teaching or conclusion that people do not like? I think so.

My thesis is that the Bible can be understood. Let me make my case.

Truth Comes from God

To some this is a truism that really doesn’t need repeating. To others it is hogwash. We have previously talked about the inspiration of the Bible and have argued that the inspiration of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16) is so important because it means the words of Scripture are from the very mind of God.

But for our purposes now we understand that any communication from God can be understood. God is not the author of confusion in spiritual matters (1 Corinthians 14:33). He seeks to be understood. Even in the early days of the church the Christians were reminded not to speak in tongues unless someone was present who could interpret (1 Corinthians 14:27, 28). Since the Bible comes from God it can be understood. If God created us then he can communicate with us.

Think about it. If you can read the manual and understand how to program a DVD recorder, you can certainly understand God. God is all-knowing while the DVD people are not. He knows you personally, the DVD people do not. The issue really boils down to a single question. Can God communicate with his creation? The answer must be “yes!”

It is God’s desire that we all speak the same thing and stand in the same mind or agreement (1 Corinthians 1:10). Divisions are opposed by the Lord ( 1 Corinthians 1:10-18). If these things are true – and they are – God would play no role in creating or contributing to religious misunderstanding and division. Truth comes from God. Men are the source of confusion.

Confusion Comes from Men

If we are correct that the Bible can be understood and if God is able to communicate with us, then why all the confusion? That’s a really good question. Hundreds of denominations and sects, each teaching something different makes for an embarrasing religious landscape. It is the not the Bible’s fault.

We struggle with understanding the Bible because of one of four reasons:

  1. We have not yet studied enough to come to an understanding;
  2. We do not like what it says;
  3. We have been taught wrong by someone else who does not like what it says;
  4. We are too lazy to study for ourselves and have entrusted a mortal to teach us what we should learn on our own.

Pretty harsh assessment? You are correct. But argue against it and please leave your comments here so they can be seen by all readers. Keep in mind a few key verses as you comment. (To my facebook friends I invite you to comment here if you like. On FB is fine too.)

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy is of any private interpretation.” (2 peter 1:20)

You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32)

“…so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” (Luke 1:4)

God’s word can be understood. While there may be some questions that are not answered in Scripture God has given us all we need for our salvation. Let us all try to speak the same truth and stand on the same ground so that the unbelieving world can be saved.