Articles

The Inspiration of the Bible

The full inspiration of the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16) that they were written by holy men of God who were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).

God-breathed

2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God". The word "inspiration" is the Greek word theopneustos, which may literally be translated "God-breathed". So we see immediately that God Himself "breathed" the Scriptures. This means that the Bible is God's words and thoughts to us. The various books that make up the Bible were written via God's chosen instruments who were moved, or literally "carried", by God's Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). The Bible does not consist of thoughts which are human in origin, even though its teaching is expressed in the language of humans for our understanding.{C}

The Canon

Inspired BibleOver the centuries questions have arisen over the validity of some books of the Bible. We believe that today's Bible of 66 books, sometimes referred to as the "Protestant Bible", is what God intended us to have. The entire New Testament canon has been discussed and reaffirmed many times since the 4th century A.D., when its 27 books were finally accepted as authoritative, true and inspired. It has remained the same ever since, mainly because those who compiled the canon agreed that the New Testament we now have was penned by people who had reliable accounts from eyewitnesses (Luke 1:1-4). Also they saw that it is compatible with the Old Testament, and that it shows consistency with events that took place simultaneously in the secular world. Likewise, the make-up of the Old Testament is frequently endorsed by the New Testament, and especially by the Lord Jesus who quoted and made reference to it regularly. Significantly, He never quoted from the many apocryphal books, such as 1 & 2 Maccabees, Judith, and others. Such apocryphal books may be helpful to us, but they are not God-breathed and should not be considered as part of the Word of God or to hold the same authority as the 66 books of the Bible.

The Words

Further to this, we believe that each word of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is of God's choosing. By this we mean that not only are the concepts and messages inspired, but literally every word is inspired. The importance of the very words themselves is an idea reinforced over and over in the Scriptures. For instance, the Lord indicated that not even the smallest part of a letter or word could be erased from the Law (Matthew 5:18); and we read that the words of the Lord are pure words (Psalm 12:6). In Galatians 3:16 Paul builds an argument around the difference between "seed" and "seeds", and there are warnings about adding to or subtracting from God's words in Revelation 22:18-19 and Jeremiah 26:2. Each word is vital to the whole.

Translations

The reader of OBT publications will notice that the contributing authors often refer to the original languages when examining a certain passage of Scripture. For example, an author might refer to agapao and phileo being two Greek words from which "love" are translated in our English Bibles. This is because we believe that the Bible is inspired and totally without error as written in the original languages - Hebrew and Aramaic for the Old Testament, and Greek for the New Testament. So it should be kept in mind that English translations are exactly that - translations of works first written in other languages. Such translations cannot be "inspired" or "God-breathed". However, even though the Bible was first "God-breathed" in other languages, we cannot and do not say that English translations are of no use. After all, how else would most English speakers be able to read the Bible if it had not been translated into our own tongue? It should also be noted that the Scriptures were originally written in a continuous form, without breaks between each word, and that punctuation, and chapter and verse divisions, were all added many years after the original manuscripts were God-breathed. Again, while these can be helpful to us, they are not strictly part of the inspired Word of God, and can even be misleading at times.

Historical validation

The external evidence of history reinforces the position that the Scriptures are accurate and were inspired by God. No other so-called Holy Book (such as the Book of Mormon or the Koran) comes anywhere near to being validated by so much external evidence. This is important because if we can find inaccuracies in one part of the Bible, then it becomes a mixture of both truth and error, becoming just another ordinary, uninspired book, subject to human error. In reality we find the contrary. The Bible is totally accurate and is validated when the external evidence for the divine inspiration of Scripture is examined. For instance: the findings of archaeologists confirm the Bible is full of real events and real people; the Scriptures contain facts about the universe and other data which man was not able to confirm until centuries later; many prophecies made in the Old Testament are fulfilled in the New Testament long after they were first written, and so on. Sadly, no matter what the evidence shows, if someone does not have an open mind and heart, he will never believe the evidence. If a person chooses not to, he will never accept the truth about the Scriptures. But we, who believe in the God-breathed (inspired) complete Bible, have confidence in both its message and the One of whom it testifies, even the Lord Jesus Christ.