In my last post I gave three reasons why we need to read Scripture daily, and in this post I would like to show the reasons Christians can believe the Word of God to do what it says. Before I move on to discuss the inspiration of Scripture, I would like to promote two books that have helped me in this understanding. Ancient Word, Changing Worlds is a short book that covers a lot of ground. I read this in seminary, and read it again. A much more academic book that has been suggested to me, and I have not read yet, is Did God Really Say? which is a collection of essays discussing seven topics that are pertinent to our culture of skepticism. This book looks very good and from the endorsements it looks like it is going to stick around for awhile.
Onto our discussion.
A good definition of inspiration reads as follows: “Inspiration, which is that divine influence that secures the accurate transference of truth into human language by a speaker or writer, so as to be communicated to other men” (Ancient Word, Changing Worlds, 49). In other words, God has guided His truth through the mind and hands of the authors of Scripture (don’t forget the Holy Spirit is a co-author!), so that His communication can be transferred from one generation to the next. Scripture says this about itself (please take time to read these references) Galatians 1.11-12, 2 Timothy 3.16, Hebrews 1.1, 2 Peter 1.21. In the Old Testament, the authors speak with the authority of God when they say “Thus says the LORD…” and Jesus speaks with his own authority when he says, “You have heard it said…but I say unto you…” Scripture consistently claims itself to be the word of God.
If we believe, as the Bible claims, that it is inspired by God, then “as such, the Bible lays claim to transcending its age and speaking authoritatively to the modern age, the age of science and reason” (Ancient Word, Changing Worlds, 20). This means that God’s Word is as authoritative for His people today as when the words of Genesis 1 were penned. It is true this authority stands tall, but the implications of it vary. Someone may desire an example at this point. 1 Timothy 2.9-10 says, “…women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” So are women today not allowed to wear pearls or braid their hair? I would argue that they can indeed do such things today, as long as they maintain modesty. In Paul’s day what was considered immodest about clothing and dress differs from ours today. The point is that women should dress modestly, so they are not a distraction for others in worship, or a stumbling block to sin for the wayward eye. The Scriptural command that transcends time and culture is “Women dress modestly” and then Paul shows us culturally how that was to be done.
B.B. Warfield wrote this concerning inspiration:
The Biblical books are called inspired as the Divinely determined products of inspired men; the Biblical writers are called inspired as breathed into by the Holy Spirit, so that the product of their activities transcends human powers and becomes Divinely authoritative. Inspiration is, therefore, usually defined as a supernatural influence exerted on the sacred writings are given Divine trustworthiness. (Quoted in Ancient Word, Changing Worlds, 20).
There are a multiple things we can gather from the doctrine of inspiration; I will discuss three points.
1–The Bible Is Trustworthy
God cannot lie, Hebrews 6.17-20. God Himself is Truth, and if He cannot lie, and He has given us His Word, then it follows that what He has given is true and trustworthy. This means that we can read the Bible with confidence and assurance, because it is the “steadfast anchor of the soul.” The Truth in Scripture is life changing because God is Truth and He is willing to change your life. Read it daily.
2–The Bible Is Authoritative
The inspired Word of God has the final rule and judgment on our lives. Whatever you may wish to be true must be tempered and changed with what Scripture shows to be true. I wish the doctrine of Hell were not true, but in submission to God’s truth, I must accept the veracity of eternal punishment for rebellion. For a Christian, the source of all our truth, for living and belief, comes from the Old and New Testaments. No matter what book I read about the Bible, what creed, or confession, or sermon, or study guide I read, the Bible takes the necessary place of preeminence.
3–The Bible Is Secure…Or Rather, We Are Secure Because Of The Bible
Isaiah 40.8 says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Pause for a moment and let this reality sink in. The eternal word of God that you hold in your hand, will outlast any part of creation. The heavens and the earth will be made new, our bodies will turn to dust and be resurrected, but the Word of God will remain forever…and He has given it to us. Some say that it is a sin for Christians in such a wealthy country to not read the Bible everyday; these people may be right (I own 11 Bibles, plus all the different translations I can find on the internet). You can rest assured that what you read when you wake in the morning is true. You can find security in your difficult day that all things work for the good for those who are called according to his purpose, Romans 8.28 . You can lay your head gently to rest after reading the unshakable Truth of Almighty God in full security knowing that God is truth and what He says will certainly come to pass.
I was searching my normal blogs this morning, and if you are interested in reading a similar post, but by a much wiser and better writer, click here to read what Kevin DeYoung has to say about the Bible. In fact, his first sentence is very similar to what I have been doing in these last three posts (and in the next two). I will continue to add links as he produces more work (and I will pray that my pride will not rear its head as DeYoung steals my thunder!).