“for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God,” (2 Pet. 1:21).
The word “inspiration” means “God breathed.”Therefore, when we say that the Bible is inspired, we are saying that it is authored from God, that God moved through the personality and abilities of the biblical writers in such a way that what they wrote was without error and was correct in all that they addressed.”The 'breath' or 'spirit' of God in the OT denotes the active outgoing of divine power.” 1 Therefore, the scriptures are the product of both men and God. The writings are the words of God written by men who were the means by which the scriptures were transmitted. The result is the inspired, inerrant, and authoritative work that conveys God's truth.This is why it says in the Bible,
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work,” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
The process of inspiration was not a mechanical dictation where the apostles heard a voice and wrote down what they heard.Nor does it mean that they went into some sort of a trance and God wrote through them without their knowledge.Instead, the writers were free to write what they wanted as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.In fact, the writings reflect the personality and style of the various writers. Yet, the personality and style of the writers did not degrade the quality or authority of the biblical writing.
The Christian church, through its councils in the first few centuries, did not determine what the inspired scriptures were.They recognized what they were.In other words, God moved through the Christian church to affirm those writings that He had inspired.Of course, the Old Testament documents were never disputed, but there were New Testament documents that were:Hebrews, Revelation, etc.
Because the Bible is inspired, it is also inerrant.This means that the Bible is without error, in the original documents and that everything that it addresses is without error in fact or understanding.The Bible is not a scientific book, but what it says scientifically is accurate:
- The spherical shape of the earth (Isaiah 40:22).
- The earth is suspended in nothing (Job. 26:7).
- The stars are innumerable (Gen. 15:5).
- The existence of valleys in the seas (2 Sam. 22:16).
- The existence of springs and fountains in the sea (Gen. 7:11; 8:2; Prov. 8:28).
- The existence of water paths (ocean currents) in the seas (Psalm 8:8).
- The water cycle (Job. 26:8; 36:27-28; 37:16; 38:25-27; Ps. 135:7; Ecc. 1:6-7).
- The fact that all living things reproduce after their own kind (Gen. 1:21; 6:19).
- The nature of health, sanitation, and sickness (Gen. 17:9-14; Lev. 12-14).
- The concept of entropy, that energy is running down (Psalm 102:26).
- Furthermore, no archaeological discoveries have ever proven anything in the Bible wrong.It is accurate as a historical record.
Evidence of Inspiration
The Bible presents itself as the inspired word of God. It does not justify its claim. Instead, it simply assumes it. But, how can we make a case for the inspiration of scripture?Perhaps the best way is to mention prophecy.The prophecies in the Bible are numerous and the Bible speaks about fulfilled prophecy in a matter-of-fact way.
“But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled,” (Matt. 26:56).
“Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus,” (Acts 1:16).
The Bible speaks naturally of prophetic filament because it assumes that God is involved in the scriptures and in human history. Therefore, making prophecies and fulfilling them is a natural part of the biblical fabric.Please consider some of the prophecies and their fulfillment.
His side pierced
Prophecy:Zech. 12:10, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one mourns for an only son.”
Fulfillment:John 19:34, “Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.”
Crucifixion of Christ
Prophecy:Psalm 22:1, Psalm 22:11-18, “For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?…Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”
Fulfillment:Luke 23:33, “When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left.”And, John 19:33, “But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.” And, John 19:23-24, “When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. Let's not tear it, they said to one another. “Let's decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, “They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” So this is what the soldiers did.”
Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem
Prophecy: Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Fulfillment: Matt. 2:1, “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem.”
There are many more prophecies that have been fulfilled by Jesus.Of course, critics rarely accept the prophecies.Sometimes they say that the Bible was written to make it look like the prophecies were fulfilled.But this would mean that the biblical writers were liars, intent on deceiving people. If that is the case, then what would motivate them to carry out such lies, to risk their own lives, to be cast out of their communities, suffer loss of property and family?The critics need to do more than criticize.They need to provide answers to the questions that their criticism raises.
We recommends that you mark up your Bible so that you can find some of the prophecies made and fulfilled.Perhaps you can write down on a back flap some of the prophecy locations and their fulfillments.It is particularly effective to go to ask a person to interpret for you a portion of scripture.Then go to Psalm 22:11-18 and read aloud, slowly. When you have finished, ask him/her what those verses described.Nine times out of ten they will say it is the crucifixion.Then point out that Psalm 22 was written by David approximately 1000 B.C. and 600 years before crucifixion was invented by the Phoenicians. Then, ask them to explain out that is possible if the Bible is not inspired.
In the Urbana '76 convention's first major address, John W. Alexander, IVCF's U. S. president, laid the foundations for the program which followed. He emphasized his belief that the Bible “is the infallible revelation of the infallible God-which means that it is entirely trustworthy and reliable.” He told the students, “Our attitude toward the Scripture is desperately important.” Alexander declared in his address that he believed in biblical inerrancy while admitting its problems, “but I refuse to set myself up as judge of Scripture and commence deciding which problems are biblical error.”The convention's most prominent speaker, evangelist Billy Graham, faced the issue of Scripture on the second full day of the week. He made himself available to answer questions for an hour in the 17,000-seat Assembly Hall, and nearly half of the delegates showed up there despite dozens of competing meetings. Graham said he fully backed the Alexander statement. He was applauded when he held a Bible aloft and said, “This is the infallible Word of the Living God.”