It is written:
“knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 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 1:20-21)
Many people in our day and age argue that the Bible cannot be the Word of God, since it was written by human beings (and we all know that humans mess things up).
How shall we respond to this?
The answer is found in the beauty of the word “inspiration.”
Now, in our day and age, we often use the word “inspired” to express a kind of emotional exuberance or feeling. A person may feel “inspired” when they see a beautiful scene, or read a wonderful poem, etc. Some have told me that they have been “inspired” by witnessing the birth of a baby. Others have told me that they experience “inspiration” when they are abusing certain kinds of drugs which puts them into contact with various spirits (and there is no doubt truth to the claim that drugs may connect a person to the spirit world).
While these concepts help to illustrate the modern usage of the word “inspire,” they do not really capture the wonder of “inspiration” as used in the Word of God.
Basically, the Bible idea of inspiration has reference to the supernatural influence that God’s Spirit exerted upon His Prophets and Apostles to ensure that the words which they communicated to the people were indeed His Word, and not the words of fallible man. The wording of the Apostle Peter in the above cited passage helps us to understand this more precisely.
“Second Peter 1: 21 provides a key insight regarding the human-divine interchange in the process of inspiration. This verse informs us that “prophecy [or Scripture] never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” The phrase “carried along” in this verse literally means “forcefully borne along.” The human wills of the authors were not the originators of God’s message. God did not permit the will of sinful human beings to misdirect or erroneously record His message. Rather, “God moved and the prophet mouthed these truths; God revealed and man recorded His word.” 5 Interestingly, the Greek word for “carried along” in 2 Peter 1: 21 is the same as that found in Acts 27: 15-17. In this passage the experienced sailors could not navigate the ship because the wind was so strong. The ship was being driven, directed, and carried along by the wind. This is similar to the Spirit’s driving, directing, and carrying the human authors of the Bible as He wished. The word is a strong one, indicating the Spirit’s complete superintendence of the human authors. Yet, just as the sailors were active on the ship (though the wind, not the sailors, ultimately controlled the ship’s movement), so the human authors were active in writing as the Spirit directed. This is in keeping with the fact that many Old Testament passages quoted in the New Testament are said to have the Holy Spirit as their author, even though a human prophet actually spoke the words (see Mark 12: 36; Acts 1: 16; 28: 25; Hebrews 3: 7; 10: 15,16).” (Ron Rhodes, The 10 Most Important Things You Can Say to a Mormon, 36 (Kindle Edition); Eugene, Oregon; Harvest House Publishers)
The inspiration of the Bible is such that the very words of the Prophets and Apostles were the Word of God. Several Scriptures bear this out:
2 Samuel 23:2-The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue.
Jeremiah 1:9-Then the LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me: “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
Matthew 10:19-20-But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
1 Corinthians 2:13-These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
2 Timothy 3:16-17-All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Revelation 1:10-11-I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
This inspiration applied only to the original Prophets and Apostles of God’s word. God did not promise to grant inspiration to the various scribes who made copies of the Word of God, which is why there are many basic errors between the thousands of copies of the Word of God. Yet this need not concern us!
“The overwhelming majority of these four hundred thousand supposed variations stem from differences in spelling, word order, or the relationships between nouns and definite articles. In other words, a copyist simply switched a couple of letters, misheard a word, or skipped a line of text. Such variants are readily recognizable and, in most cases, utterly unnoticeable in translations!…In the end, more than 99 percent of the four hundred thousand or so differences fall into this category of variants that can’t even be seen in translations!12” (Timothy Paul Jones, Conspiracies And The Cross: How To Intelligently Counter The Ten Most Popular Theories That Attack The Gospel Of Jesus, 1527-1537 (Kindle Edition); Lake Mary, Florida; FrontLine).
Furthermore, God has provided numerous evidences for even the most hardened skeptic which confirm that the Bible is truly His Word. Dugan has well said:
“In answer to this, we say that we do not start out as exegetes of this kind till the primary question of authorship has been fixed. That should, indeed, be the first purpose of investigation—is this the book which God has given? But if that question be answered in the affirmative, after a fair examination, then our rule applies. We might turn aside, however, long enough to say that the unbeliever is the last man that ought to complain, for all his examinations are for the purpose of finding, or creating, some flaw in this divine communication. He starts, too, generally, without any previous consideration of its contents. We say then, ‘Examine first the claims of the Bible in respect to authorship. When the mind is at rest on that question, then proceed with the rules we have arranged, as they are adopted for consideration of the contents of all other books.’” (D.R. Duncan, Hermeneutics: Understanding Biblical Interpretation, 158 (Kindle Edition); Charleston, AR; Cobb Publishing)
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.