The Bible, Pt. 1: The Origin and Inspiration of the Bible

bible part 1The Bible, Part 1

The Inspiration of the Bible.

The intent of this study is to come to a better understanding of our Bible, so that we first and foremost come to a closer and more intimate relationship with God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. In this study, we will review such topics as: The Origin of the Bible, The Inspiration of the Bible, The Books of the Bible, The Authors of the Books of the Bible, the overall intent of each book, etc. We undertake this study so that we become more familiar with The Word of God and have a greater understanding of it and its message, so that we are better equipped to read, understand, and utilize it for the power that it was designed to be in our lives.

Overall, the Bible was written to give us the two-fold account of God’s work. Everything that God has done, is doing, or will do can be placed under one of two categories: 1) His work in creation, and 2) His work in redemption.

The Origin of Scripture:

All Scripture originates from God. God the Father spoke to men in the Old Testament, God the Son taught on earth, and God the Holy Spirit communicated to human writers who wrote the Bible that we have today. No Scripture originates from human volition, design, or purpose.

2 Peter 1:20-21, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

So, the origin of the written Word, the Bible, is God the Holy Spirit who is a perfect source, which means we have a perfect book.

In 2 Tim 3:16–17, the apostle Paul declares that, “All Scripture is inspired by God (God-breathed) and profitable for teaching (doctrine), for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate (mature), equipped for every good work.”

There are four key terms crucial to a proper exegesis and understanding of this passage, “all, scripture, inspired by God, and profitable.”

The first term “all” is the Greek Adjective PAS, and can be translated, “every or all.” Both terms refer to the entire Canon of the Old Testament (O.T.), which Timothy had known from his youth, cf. vs. 5, because the New Testament (N.T.) had not yet been completed. But by extension, it now includes the N.T., cf. Rom 15:4; 2 Pet 3:15-16.

2 Peter 3:15-16, “And regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

The second term is “Scripture”, the Greek Noun GRAPHE that means, “a writing or written document.” This term tells us that the focus of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration is in the written record, rather than in the ideas, concepts, or even oral expressions of the writer.

The third term is the critical term in the passage, “inspired,” which is the Adjective THEOPNEUSTOS. It comes from THEOS, the word for “God” and PNEO that means, “to blow or breath.” Therefore, THEOPNEUSTOS comes to mean, “God breathed” or “Divinely breathed.” This tells us that God is the author of all Scripture. As Mat 4:4 says, “Every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

The fourth is “profitable,” the Greek Adjective OPHELIMOS that comes from the root word OPHELEO that means, “to help, benefit, or do good.” So, OPHELIMOS comes to mean, “useful or profitable” or even “advantageous.” This tells us the reason why the Bible was given to man, to be useful, profitable, and advantageous to his life.

The Inspiration of Scripture – God Breathed of the Bible:

The true doctrine of inspiration contends that God the Holy Spirit so supernaturally directed the human authors of Scripture that without destroying their individuality, their literary style, their personal interests, their personal feelings, or their vocabulary, God’s complete and coherent message to mankind was recorded with perfect accuracy in the original languages of Scripture, the very words bearing the authority of Divine authorship.

Therefore, God the Holy Spirit so supernaturally directed the human writers of Scripture that without waving their human intelligence, vocabulary, individuality, literary style, personality, personal feelings, or any other human factor, His complete and coherent message to mankind was recorded with perfect accuracy in the original languages of Scripture, the very words bearing the authority of Divine authorship. This is called “Verbal-Plenary Inspiration” of the Scripture.

Verbal means, “by means of words.” That tells us the Bible in its original words, from first to last, is the exact record of the mind and will of God as He intended it to be.

Plenary means, “full or complete in every part.” That tells us the entire text is equally full and complete, but not necessarily equally important or equally indispensable, because the Bible quotes human and Satanic lies, and erroneous views of false prophets.

Inspiration describes the process by which the revelation of God was recorded, “It was inspired by God Himself.” Therefore, inspiration guarantees the accuracy of what is there, but it does not condone or sponsor errors, evils, or falsehood; it merely explains them in detail.

Inspiration was the power which enabled men of God to write the Divine revelation without error or defect. Man is the instrument, but not the author of the Word of God.

2 Peter 1:20-21, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

David said in Psa 138:2, “I myself will worship toward Your holy temple (the temple in heaven), and I will give thanks to Your person because of Your grace and because of Your doctrine; because You have magnified Your word together with Your name (person).”

Scriptural text concerning inspiration, Ex 4:12-16; 17:14; 20:1; 31:18; 34:27; Num 22:38; 23:5; 24:12-13, 15-16; 32:2; Deut 18:18; Isa 8:1; 30:8-9; Jer 1:9; 5:14; 25:13; 30:1-2; Ezek 24:1; Hab 2:2; Mat 4:4; John 15:26; 16:12-15; Acts 4:25; 1 Cor 2:13; 14:37; 2 Cor 13:2-3; 1 Thes 2:13; 2 Tim 3:16-17; Heb 3:7-8; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 3:16.

In addition, the Bible is from the Trinity:

According to Heb 4:12, the Bible is related to God the Father as the author of the plan; “The Word of God is alive and powerful . . .”

The Bible is related to God the Son as the central subject of scripture; 1 Cor 2:16 says, the Bible is the thinking or “mind of Christ.”

The Bible is formed through the ministry of God the Holy SpiritHeb 3:7 calls it the “voice of the Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit’s involvement in inspiration is very important, as taught in Acts 28:25, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying, …”

The Holy Spirit communicated, to the human authors of Scripture, God’s complete and coherent message for both the immediate generation and all generations to follow. Inspiration guarantees that the Canon is accurate, especially when understood dispensationally, (e.g., the ritual plan for Israel compared to the grace plan of the Mystery Doctrine for the Church). Inspiration guarantees that all believers in all dispensations will always have a clear revelation of the Plan of God for their lives. While the writers of Scripture had other messages for their own generation, which are not recorded in the Scripture, only what was pertinent to all generations of history was actually recorded in the Canon.

Verbal-Plenary Inspiration applies only to the original languages of Scripture written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, by the original writers of Scripture, under the power of the Holy Spirit. As a result, God’s complete, accurate, and coherent message to mankind is recorded in the Canon of Scripture with perfect accuracy in the original languages, also called “inerrancy,” the very words bearing the authority of Divine authorship.

The Implications of Verbal-Plenary Inspiration:

Verbal-Plenary Inspiration does not teach that all parts of the Bible are equally important, but only that they are equally inspired.

Verbal-Plenary Inspiration does not guarantee the inspiration of any modern or ancient translation of the Bible, but deals only with the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek languages.

Verbal-Plenary Inspiration does not allow for any false teaching, but it does on occasion record the lie or false teaching of someone, cf. Gen 3:4.

Verbal-Plenary Inspiration does not permit any historical, scientific, or prophetical error whatsoever. While it is admitted that the Bible is not a textbook on science, it is nevertheless held that every scientific statement in the Scriptures is absolutely true.

Verbal-Plenary Inspiration does not deny the use of extra-biblical sources. Several examples: On at least two occasions, Paul quotes from heathen authors, Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12. Jude quotes from an ancient Hebrew book, one not included in the Bible, Jude 14-15. But be careful as to your treatment of those sources as dogmatic and inspired in totality, for they are not.

Verbal-Plenary Inspiration does not overwhelm the personality of the human author. The Bible writers experienced no coma-like trances as do some mediums during a séance, but on the contrary, always retained their physical, mental, and emotional powers. See Isa 6:1-11; Dan 12.

Verbal-Plenary Inspiration does not exclude the usage of pictorial and symbolic language. This is to say the Holy Spirit does not demand we accept every word in the Bible in a rigid and legalistic way. For example, a case could not be made that God has feathers like a bird by referring to Psa 91:4. Here the thought is simply that the persecuted believer can flee to his heavenly Father for refuge, protection, and warmth.

Verbal-Plenary Inspiration does not mean uniformity in all details given in describing the same event. For example: There are four different accounts concerning the superscription on the Cross at Calvary.

Matthew says, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews”, Mat 27:37.

Mark says, “The King of the Jews”, Mark 15:26.

Luke says, “This is the King of the Jews”, Luke 23:38.

John says, “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews”, John 19:19.

The entire title probably read, “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

Verbal-Plenary Inspiration assures us God included all the necessary things He wanted us to know, and excluded everything else, 2 Tim 3:15-17.

The Completion of Inspiration:

Is inspiration still going on today? Has God inspired, (or will He someday), the writing of a sixty-seventh book of the Bible? The answer is, NO!

For nearly 20 centuries, Christians everywhere have held to the belief that when John the Apostle wrote Rev 22:21 and wiped his pen, inspiration stopped. Furthermore, it is generally believed his warning to not add to or subtract from His book, including not only the book of Revelation, but the entire Bible, Rev 22:18-19. It is of the utmost importance that this is clearly understood, or else the following tragic conclusions can take place. If inspiration is still going on today, then one is forced to admit that:

God could have inspired the weird and wicked writings of a Joseph Smith, or a Mary Baker Eddy, or a Charles Russell, or a Herbert W. Armstrong, etc.

Perhaps, we still do not possess all the details concerning the plan of salvation, details vital to escape hell and enter heaven, e.g., purgatory and the like.

God has allowed millions of devoted and faithful Christians to believe a horrible lie for some 2,000 years.

False prophets and antichrists would abound, claiming new authority and inspiration leading to many false doctrines and deceptions.

The Inerrancy of Scripture:

The inerrancy of the Canon of Scripture states that the Bible is absolutely true in all its doctrines, and that the statement of all kinds of words, idioms, and concepts related to the time in which it was written are accurate. Scriptural text concerning inerrancy includes, Psa 12:6; 18:30; 19:7, 9; 119:89, 151, 160, 172; Prov 30:5-6; Mat 4:4; Luke 24:25; John 10:35; 17:17; Acts 24:14.

Prov 30:5-6, “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. 6Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.”

Bible Statistics (According to Unger’s Bible Handbook, p. 895):

Old Testament Statistics:

There are:

  • Thirty-nine books
  • Seventeen historical books
  • Five poetical books
  • Seventeen prophetical books
  • Nine hundred twenty-nine chapters
  • 23,214 verses
  • 593,493 words
  • The longest book is Psalms
  • The shortest book is Obadiah

New Testament Statistics:

There are:

  • Twenty-seven books
  • Four Gospels
  • One historical
  • Twenty-one epistles
  • One Prophetical
  • Two hundred sixty chapters
  • 7,959 verses
  • 181,253 words
  • The longest book is Acts
  • The shortest book is 2 John

“It was not until 1250 A.D. that the Bible was divided into chapters. At that time, Cardinal Hugo incorporated chapter divisions into the Latin Bible. His divisions, although for convenience, were not always accurate; however, essentially those same chapter divisions have persisted to this day. In 1551 Robert Stephens introduced a Greek New Testament with the inclusion of verse divisions. He did not fix verses for the Old Testament. The first entire English Bible to have verse divisions was the Geneva Bible (1560).” (Willmington’s Guide to the Bible.)

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