Bible reading: Hebrews 1:1, 2.
The inspiration of the Bible
To believe something has many implications. To believe the Bible is the revealed Word of God implies to believe that the prophets were the mean provided by God to communicate with humankind, interrupted in the past because of sin. There are different means of revelation, the general, which anyone can reach it, and the specific, through the Bible.
If we believe the Bible is the Word of God, despite it was written by men called “prophets” during 1,500 years, then we must accept that God inspired those men to write what they wrote. To believe the Bible is the Word of God implies the acceptance of the Inspiration of the Scriptures.
The inspiration of the Scriptures
In 2 Timothy 3:16 we read: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (NKJV). The original word for “inspiration” or “inspired” is the greek word theopneustos which literally means “God-breathed” as some versions translate (NIV or AMP). It is God who exhales one idea and the human being inspires or inhales that idea as if it was air. Do not forget the Holy Spirit is also compared to “air” or “breathe”. In some languages it is better understood to say “influenced”. It is like if God takes an idea, exhales the idea through the Holy Spirit and then the prophet appropriates that idea inhaling it and by this, incorporating the idea into his “mind” or “thought”. It is actually the human being who, once has assimilated the idea or thought, develops it and writes it down in his own words. Because, which is the language of the ideas or thoughts? Maybe images?
The process of inspiration
According to 2 Peter 1:21, the godly inspiration was given to the holy men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. That inspiration put in the human mind ideas and concepts of godly origin. The prophets then tried their best to write down in a very limited human language those ideas and concepts. We believe that God inspired the people, not the words. The prophets were not typewriters at God’s hands which reproduced literally what God said, except some quotations ordered by God punctually.
Otherwise, that would have been “automatic writing” and it is related with spiritism. Satan works this way because he annuls the human taking control over his will. Nevertheless, God always counts on the free will. Sometimes God asked the prophets to write some literal words for a specific message, but mostly, God asked them to write down what they saw and heard.
Paul realized the “spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets” (1 Cor. 14:32). This does not lead us to think that the inspiration annuls the individuality. The book of Isaiah, who was a prince, wrote in a different manner than Amos, who was a farmer. Nevertheless, they do not contradict each other at all.
The example of how this works it is clearly seen in the case of Moses and Aaron. God instituted Moses with the role of “God” to Pharaoh, and Aaron was “the prophet”. God told Moses what to do, and Moses explained it to Aaron, who, at his turn, and with his own words transmitted the message to Pharaoh. The biblical writers worked in the same way, they expressed within their own words and expressions at their best the messages received from God.
We can not consider God as the “writer” of the Bible but as the intellectual Author of it, who gave the ideas to the writers. If we should have to express one idea or thought through the narration of several persons, we all would express more or less the same ideas, but with different words.
If God would had used only one writer to communicate with us, we would had lost many different aspects and details from God. His revelation would had been limited with the filter of only one human filtering mind. But since He used many different prophets, each captured different aspects of God and we can have a richer picture of His character and message.
Even the ten commandments written by God himself, were limited because He had to express them in human language. From all this we understand that the Bible is the divine truth expressed in human language. How would we explain to an animal any human concept so it could understand the idea? Would you teach quantum physics to a baby or a toddler? The situation is similar, this is the kind of challenge God faces when communicating with us.
We find a parallel between Jesus and the Bible. Jesus is God made human, God at our level where the divine essence is fused with humanity. The Bible is quite the same, where the divine expression, the plan of redemption, God’s thoughts are fused with the human language and expressions. That’s another reason why the Bible is so unique.
The inspiration and the writers
We believe the Holy Spirit enabled some people to do the task of transmitting what He wanted to communicate. The fact of inspiration for communicate messages from God did not assure the salvation of the prophet. As example we know the story of Balaam, who, being one of God’s prophets, decided to serve those who he shouldn’t. David, even being one of God’s servants, he committed serious sins. These human beings had the same nature as we have, so they needed God’s grace as we do.
Sometimes, the Bible writers received messages they did not understand themselves, for example, Daniel 8:27; 1 Peter 1:10 –12). Not all the prophets reacted the same way before the received message, some were perplexed like Daniel and John in Revelation 5:4. Sometimes they had to proclaim one message from God, and other times they even argued with God, like Habakkuk (Hab. 1:1 – 17), or Jonah (Jonah 1:1 – 3; 4:1 – 11).
All this evidence shows us that the Bible was not brought by human will, but by God’s will. We have a godly book between our hands, a book with an origin out of this world, with a precious content and message. It is worthy to pay attention to this special and unique book.
The fact that the messengers did not understand the messages sometimes, proves that the ideas even expressed in human terms, come from a non human environment. The Bible is a treasure made comprehensible to us which we need and should valuate more and more.