Tuesday, January 07, 2014

How Can the Bible Be Inspired by God but Written by Human Authors?

Taken from Living by the Book by Howard G. Hendricks and William D. Hendricks:

The great theologian B. B. Warfield said, "The Bible is the Word of God in such a way that when the Bible speaks, God speaks."  That's a good description of inspiration.  The reason we call the Bible the Word of God is because it is indeed the very words that God wanted communicated.

Of course, some have a problem with this concept because the Bible was penned by human authors.  If they were "inspired" it was only as great artists are "inspired" to produce great art.

But that's not what the Bible means by inspiration.  Remember 2 Timothy 3:16-17?  "All Scripture is inspired by God."  The word translated "inspired" means "God-breathed."  It conveys the idea of God "breathing out" the Scriptures.  And since the word "breath" can also be translated "spirit," we can easily see the work of the Holy Spirit as He superintended the writing.

So what part did the human authors play?  God supernaturally used them to pen the words, without compromising the perfection, integrity, or purity of the finished product.  It's a case of dual authorship.  As Charles Ryrie puts it, "God superintended the human authors so that, using their own individual personalities, they composed and recorded, without error, His revelation to man in the words of the original manuscripts."

Peter used a brilliant word picture to describe this arrangement when he wrote that "mean moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God" (2 Peter 1:21).  The word moved is the same word used to describe a ship moving along under the power of the blowing wind.  The biblical writers were guided in their writing to go where God wanted them to go and to produce what God wanted them to produce.  Without question, their personalities, writing styles, perspectives... are reflected in their words.  But their accounts are more than the words of men- they are the Word of God.

Courage and Godspeed,

1 comment:

Geoffrey Charles said...

In other words, a miracle is how.

What's the evidence that the author of 2 Timothy (whoever it was) was referring to the New Testament canon? If Paul didn't write 2 Timothy, did God perform a miracle on this pseudo-Paul, as well?