It is often said that the Bible is the “inspired word of God.” But, why is the Bible called “inspired?”
Were the biblical writers inspired to write it? Did they give an inspirational performance when writing it? Were they inspired by other spectacular writings therefore created their own writings? None of these are true. Let me lay out for you two reasons the Bible is “inspired.”
1. The Bible is inspired because it is the ultimate way God reveals himself to His creation.[ref]Benjamin B. Warfield, “Inspiration, 8-18 (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia),” Bible Tools, http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Def.show/RTD/isbe/ID/4618/Inspiration-8-18.htm, (accessed July 22, 2013).[/ref]
Carl F.H Henry writes that “God is the source of Holy Scripture; Christ Jesus is the central message; and the Holy Spirit, who inspired it and illumines its message to the reader.”[ref]Carl F.H. Henry, “The Authority and Inspiration of the Bible,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank Gaebelein, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1979), 35.[/ref]
2. The Bible is inspired because it was the “breathing out” of God’s divine revelation in words.[ref]Benjamin B. Warfield, “Inspiration, 8-18 (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia),” Bible Tools, http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Def.show/RTD/isbe/ID/4618/Inspiration-8-18.htm, (accessed July 22, 2013).[/ref]
Henry writes that inspiration is a “breathing forth, exhaling, and emitting.” Warfield provides a slightly different explanation that the “relation of the Divine Spirit to the human authors in the production of Scripture is better expressed by the figure of ‘bearing’ than by the figure of ‘inbreathing’; and when our Biblical writers speak of the action of the Spirit of God in this relation as a breathing, they represent it as a ‘breathing out’ of the Scriptures by the Spirit, and not a ‘breathing into’ the Scriptures by Him” (p. 4).
So what? Why is the fact that the Bible is inspired important? Here’s three implications from the inspiration of the Bible:
1. The Bible is inspired, therefore all Scripture is authoritative.
Warfield writes further, “The designation of Scripture as ‘scripture’ and its citation by the formula, ‘it is written’ attest primarily its indefectible authority; the designation of it as ‘oracles’ and the adduction of it by the formula, ‘It says,’ attest primarily its immediate divinity. Its authority rests on its divinity and its divinity expresses itself in its trustworthiness; and the New Testament writers in all their use of it treat it as what they clear it to be—a God-breathed document, which, because God-breathed, is through and through trustworthy in all its assertions, authoritative in all its declarations, and down to tis last particular, the very word of God, His ‘oracles’” (p. 2). Warfield also provides more about the authority of Scripture saying, “The value of ‘inspiration’ emerges, thus, as . . . a quality which is truly superhuman; a trustworthiness, an authority, a searchingness [sic], a profundity, a profitableness which is altogether Divine” (p. 6).
2. The Bible is inspired, therefore one must believe in inspiration in order to be a Christian.[ref]Glenn Kreider, “Biblical View of Inspiration,” 1.[/ref]
Henry writes that Scripture “is part of the essence of Christianity. To confess it is part of being a Christian. . . . Scripture proclaims its own inspiration as part of what it says about God the Holy Spirit” (p. 48).
3. The Bible is inspired, therefore the belief in inspiration is also a belief in all Scripture.[ref]Kreider, “Biblical View of Inspiration,” 3.[/ref]
This means Scripture, as a whole, including the canon of sacred writings. Dr. Glenn Kreider, Professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary explains that “every part of Scripture is part of the word of God, therefore all of it has authority.”
Question: Why do you believe the Bible is the inspired word of God and why is that important?