The Inspiration of Scripture

This is our first Friday of the month look at one of the booklets that are provided by The Committee on Christian Education (CCE) of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Today’s booklet is, The Inspiration of Scripture.  There are a few copies of this booklet in the bookcase at the church building in the foyer if you would like a hard copy.  This booklet is not available to read online at this time.

Today’s booklet ties into last weeks sermon on The Blessing of God’s Word, http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?sermonID=101171434250.   The booklet is divided into four sections: What is Scripture?  What is Inspiration?  The Implications of Inspiration and The Challenge of Faith.

What is Scripture?

The author, James W. Scott writes, “Scripture, then, consists of the writings (usually called “books”) that are contained in the Bible, both the Old Testament (originally written in Hebrew, during the time of the old covenant) and the New Testament (originally written in Greek, during the time of the new covenant).”  Protestants recognize 27 books in the New Testament and 39 books in the Old Testament for a total of 66 books in the Bible.  Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox include additional books, called Apocrypha, in their Old Testament canon.  The author speaks of how we recognize these 66 books as Scripture.

The author also speaks of the original text of Scripture and discusses translation and copying issues that have taken place over the centuries.  Copyists are not always perfect in their copying, but we can trust in the providence of God to preserve His Word for His people.  Scripture is “God-Breathed,” 1 Timothy 3:16.  “Scripture, then, is the written word of God, consisting of the written oracles of God, which have been given to us by divine inspiration.”

What is Inspiration?

“One of the most important texts on inspiration, 2 Peter 1:20-21, clearly states that “men spoke” when Scripture was being written.”  God used human writers to convey His words to men.  In inspiration, the Holy Spirit works in various ways upon the mind of the inspired person.  The Holy Spirit can simply cause the recollection of information, or the Spirit may simply select, organize and formulate things already known to the writer.  “This divine acting upon the mind of the writer of Scripture is described by Peter as being “carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21).”  The author also points out that the inspired writers of Scripture were not random people, but they were people God had prepared and called to receive inspiration and to be conveyors of God’s Word.

The Implications of Inspiration

Because God knows everything and always speaks the truth and does not change, His written word is free from all inconsistencies and contradictions.  God’s message unfolded over the centuries as redemptive history unfolded.  “Because the author of Scripture is all-knowing, truthful, and unchangeable, it follows that Scripture cannot contain any error; that is, it is infallible.  And because it cannot contain any error, it does not contain any error; that is, it is inerrant.”  To have a Bible with error would be inconsistent with the very nature of God.

The Challenge of Faith

The unbeliever finds the words of Scripture foolish.  The believer finds redemptive words of life.  How we view Scripture says a lot about how we view God.  Reason alone will never convince a person that the Bible is the very Word of God.  Only the Holy Spirit can do that.

The author ends this booklet by speaking of “apparent” problem passages in Scripture and states that God has placed them there to: 1) Test the faith of readers (believers from unbelievers), and  2) To deepen the faith of believers.  May we ask God, the giver of wisdom, for the wisdom to read and understand His Word better.  I encourage you to take a few minutes and read this booklet on, The Inspiration of Scripture.