Is the Bible from God? In other words, is the Bible from inspiration. As Christians, what we do and who we are depends on how we view the Bible. According to a 2011 Gallup Poll, 49% of Americans consider the Bible the Inspired word of God, but are not sure we should take it literally. This is a disturbingly low percentage! Is the Bible from God or not? If it is, then we must follow what God teaches us. If it is not, then why does Christianity exist?
Over the next few weeks, we will take a look at the Bible and Inspiration. The goal is to give evidence to strengthen the foundation for our faith. Pray for these articles that they may be of value.
Inspiration, literally that is “breathed out.” Did God breathe the Bible into existence? There are three common understandings of inspiration as it applies to the Bible:
- Universal Inspiration. That is that men of Genius wrote the Bible. They were inspired like artist are to paint, lyricist are to write poetry and songs, or composers are to write music. It has nothing to do with God, just that these writers were above the intelligence and ability of average men. This view of inspiration equates the Bible with any self-help book you can find on the shelf.
- Partial Inspiration. This idea suggests that God inspired the principles or truths. Then these men of genius, wrote fables and historical fiction around these principles as a method of teaching these truths to future generations. While this idea of inspiration does give some credence to God’s involvement, it limits the reliability of the Bible as authentic.
- Plenary or Full Inspiration. This view of inspiration believes that God directed men, using their personalities and experiences, to write exactly as He directed. This is literal inspiration and presents the Bible as the Word of God and not the ideas of man.
Consider the following passages from the Bible:
- 2 Samuel 23:2, “The Spirit of the LORD speaks by me; his word is on my tongue.” These are the words of David as he explains why he is saying what he is about to say. He is claiming Plenary Inspiration.
- 2 Peter 1:19-21, “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Peter is telling his readers that what the prophets wrote were not heir own ideas (Universal Inspiration), stories or elaborations based on godly principles (Partial Inspiration), but exactly what God wanted said (Plenary Inspiration).
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Paul is claiming that the Bible is by the inspiration of God. God breathed out what He wanted men to write. This is Plenary Inspiration.
Admittedly, a book or author may claim inspiration without God having any involvement in the work. So these internal claims are just that – internal claims. The next idea we will have to deal with is if the Bible matches up to these claims. Next week we will look at more evidence asking, “What is there about the Bible that points to or away from inspiration?”