How is the Bible inspired? What does it mean for the Bible to be inspired?
The biblical view of inspiration is found in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that reads, "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." The phrase "breathed out by God" is from the Greek word theopneustos, which literally means "God breathed." To say the Bible is inspired by God means that its words are an extension of God Himself, revealing His teachings for our lives today.
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Because the Bible is inspired, it serves as the source of help for many areas of the Christian life. Second Timothy 3:16 notes four areas. First, inspired Scripture is important for teaching. As a young minister, Timothy was being reminded of the importance of using Scripture, rather than personal opinions, as the basis for teaching. Second, inspired Scripture is useful for reproof or pointing out wrong. Since Scripture is living and active (Hebrews 4:12), it shows both the positive and the negative in our lives. Third, it is useful for correction. Inspired Scripture not only points out our wrongs, but also shows how to correct our course and do what is right. Fourth, Scripture is important for training in righteousness. Just as an athlete must regularly prepare and train to succeed in a sport, a believer must regularly train by studying God's Word in order to grow in understanding and succeed in living for Christ.
Second Peter 1:21 also supports the inspiration of the Bible: "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." Here we find evidence that the Scripture was not something created by human writers, but something from God. Yes, God did utilize the abilities and personalities of the human writers, but directly communicated His message through them for our benefit.
In fact, Jesus taught, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished" (Matthew 5:17-18 NIV). The least stroke of a pen in Hebrew at that time was the letter yod that looks like a single quotation mark in English ('). Jesus made clear that God's inspiration extends to every dot and letter of every written word He has revealed. As a result, we should care about what God is communicating in every aspect of Scripture. Time spent in God's Word is time spent listening to what God has spoken.
There are many important teachings that result from the inspiration of God's Word. Since God's Word is inspired, and God is perfect, His words must be perfect. Theologians often refer to this as the inerrancy of Scripture. Because God holds all authority and the Bible is from God, then the Bible is authoritative for our lives.
God's Word is breathed by God and is inspired. As a result, we are to submit our lives to its teachings as it reveals God's will for our lives today.
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