Inspiration of Scriptures?


The Definition of Inspiration

A. Related Terms

1.  Revelation has to do with the communication of truth that cannot be otherwise discovered;

a. Inspiration has to do with the recording of revealed truth.

b. We can have revelation without inspiration

Lectures in Systematic Theology 1. Revelation

We can have revelation without inspiration, as has been the case with many of the godly people in the past. This is clear from the fact that John heard the seven thunders utter their voices, but was not permitted to write what they said (Rev. 10:3f.)

c. We may also have inspiration without direct revelation

Lectures in Systematic Theology 1. Revelation

We may also have inspiration without direct revelation, as when the writers set down what they had seen with their own eyes or discovered by research (Luke 1:1–4; 1 John 1:1–4)

Lectures in Systematic Theology 1. Revelation

John, on the other hand, received much of the Revelation by direct revelation from God. Both men were inspired in the penning of their material, but the material was received in different manners.

2 Peter 1:21 KJV 1900

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

2 Timothy 3:16 KJV 1900

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

2.  Inspiration. Inspiration has to do with the recording of the truth

Acts 1:16 KJV 1900

Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

3. Authority. The Bible carries with it the divine authority of God. It is binding upon man—on his mind, conscience, will, and heart.

4. Inerrancy – It is without error in the original manuscripts.

a. It is inerrant in all that it affirms, whether in historical, scientific, moral, or doctrinal matters.

b. Inerrancy extends to all of Scripture and is not limited to certain teachings of Scripture.

5. Illumination – The one who inspired men in the writing of Scripture, illumines the minds of those who read it.

Romans 1:21 KJV 1900

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Ephesians 4:18 KJV 1900

Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

Ephesians 1:18 KJV 1900

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

B. Inadequate Theories of Inspiration

1. Natural inspiration or the intuition theory. –

a. Inspiration is merely a superior insight on the part of natural man.

b. It is merely the intensifying and elevating of the religious perceptions of the writer.

2. The dynamic or partial-inspiration theory.

a. God supplied the ability needed for the trustworthy transmission of the truth which the writers of Scripture were commissioned to deliver.

b.  This made authors infallible in matters of faith and practice, but not in things which are not of an immediately religious character.

2 Timothy 3:16 KJV 1900

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

3. The theory that the thoughts, not the words, are inspired. – God suggested the thoughts of the revelation, but left it up to man to put the revelation into words

1 Corinthians 2:13 KJV 1900

Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

4. The theory that the Bible contains the Word of God.

a. The Bible is a human book which God can make his Word at the moment of personal encounter.

b. The writers of Scripture wrote of their encounters with God in thought patterns of their day.

c. These authors incorporated into their writings various supernatural myths and miraculous tales to convey spiritual truths.

d. The interpreter’s job is to strip away all the mythical embellishments and seek to arrive at the spiritual truth God has for us

5. The dictation theory.

a.  Holds that the authors of Scripture were mere pens, amanuenses, not beings whose individualities were preserved and somehow pressed into service in the act of inspiration.

b. On this view the style is that of the Holy Spirit.

c. This theory ignores the manifest differences in the style of Moses, David, Peter, James, John, and Paul, for example

C. The Biblical Doctrine of Inspiration

1. Inspiration is inexplicable

2. Inspiration, in this restricted sense, is limited to the authors of Scripture. Other books are not inspired in the same sense

3. Inspiration is essentially guidance. The Holy Spirit supervised the selection of the materials to be used and the words to be employed in writing.

4. The Holy Spirit preserved the authors from all error and from all omission.

5. Inspiration extends to the words, not merely to the thoughts and concepts

6. Inspiration is extended only to the original autographs

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