Things Christians Believe: The Bible is Inspired by God
There are two main reasons that Christians believe the Bible is inspired by God. The first has to do with the Theology of Inspiration. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." The word “inspired” carries the idea of God breathing on the men who wrote the documents that make up the Bible. Inspiration always brings with it both divine and natural aspects.
On the natural side, the authors that wrote the Scriptures had many varying degrees of education. The author of the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, for example, was one of the most educated writers in all of the Bible. His Greek is exceptional. He has a wide vocabulary and it seems likely that Greek was his mother tongue.
By way of contrast, the author of the Gospel of Mark used Greek that was much rougher and was not nearly as polished. This author’s mother tongue was not Greek. Mark’s Gospel, though, is an excellent account of Jesus’ life. Most scholars acknowledge the fact that it was likely the first one written. Both Luke and Matthew make extensive use of Mark’s Gospel, even though the language is not the best or most polished.
What this example, and many others that could be shared, conveys is the fact that a wide range of authors wrote texts that are incorporated into our Bibles. These authors all have different degrees of education and cultural backgrounds. When talking about the “natural” side to inspiration, it is important to remember that these men were inspired by the Holy Spirit as they wrote, yet God did not override their differences or personal limitations. If the Holy Spirit was merely using a man as a writing instrument, then the Scriptures would all have the same writing style, tone, grammar composition, etc.
When referring to the divine side of inspiration, this has to do with the act of the Holy Spirit being involved in the process. As in the verse in 2 Timothy above, the idea is that God’s Spirit breathed on the writer and what they wrote was what God wanted to say. The individual writer’s personality is not removed but as they write, they are conveying the message that God wanted written down.
The writings of the Bible were carefully preserved and compiled. Every early Jewish religious text and every early Christian text were not included in the Bible. In the New Testament, for example, every writer was either one of Christ’s original apostles or had a close link to the apostles. In Paul’s case, even though he was not one of the original Twelve, he had a vision and a special commissioning from Jesus. He also was connected closely to the original apostles.
The second reason that Christians believe that the Bible is inspired by God is the Theology of Experience. The fact is, that somehow, God still speaks to people all over the world through the Scriptures in their own languages. The reader must never forget that the Scriptural Texts were originally written to people that lived long ago. These writings were written for a specific group of people in specific circumstances. Paul, for example, wrote thirteen letters that are included in the New Testament. The letter to the church at Philippi was a thank you note to a church that had contributed financially to his ministry.
At the same time, however, Christians throughout the centuries have heard God speaking in the pages of the Bible. The New Testament writer of the letter to the Hebrews said, “For the word of God is alive and powerful.” (Hebrews 4:12) There is a power that comes when we obey God’s Word. Clearly, if someone does not believe that the Bible is inspired, they will not believe that the Book has any authority. For those who have committed their lives to Christ, however, the Scriptures provide a living foundation that we can build our lives on.
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