2 Timothy 3:16 NASB “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;…”
2 Peter 1:21 NIV “For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
So in literal biblical terminology, inspiration is the process by which Spirit-moved writers recorded God-breathed writings. Hence, when inspiration is viewed as a total process, it includes both the writer and the writings, but when it is seen as a product (as in 2 Timothy 3:16), it relates only to the writings (graphe).
The whole process of inspiration begins with the matter of divine revelation
God’s Causality The prime mover in inspiration is God In other words, God moved and the prophet mouthed these truths; God revealed and man recorded His word. The Bible is God’s word in the sense that it originates with Him and is authorized by Him, even though it is articulated by men.
The Prophetic Agency The prophet played an important role in the overall process of inspiration; he was the means through which God spoke. The Word of God was written by men of God. In inspiration, then, God is the efficient cause, and the prophets are the instrumental causes.
“By it [inspiration], the Spirit of God, flowing confluently with the providentially and graciously determined work of men, spontaneously producing under the Divine directions the writings appointed them, gives the product a Divine quality unattainable by human powers alone” B.B. Warfield, “Inspiration and Authority of the Bible”
Scriptural Authority It is the final product of God’s causality and the Prophetic agency – a divinely authoritative book. The cause of the inspiration is God, the means is the men of God and the end result is the word of God in the language of men.
OUR WORKING DEFINITION Inspiration is that mysterious process by which the divine causality worked through the human prophets without destroying their individual personalities and styles, to produce divinely authoritative writings.
Inspiration as distinguished from Revelation and Illumination
Revelation concerns the origin and giving of truth The Hebrew word for revelation, “galah” which means “to uncover” and the Greek word, “apocalypto”, meaning “to unveil” both refer to a DIVINE DISCLOSURE. It may be a disclosure of the person (Christ) or propositions (Scriptures) but in the ultimate sense, only God can give a revelation or disclosure of truth.
Inspiration relates to the reception and recording of truth Inspiration is the means God used to achieve His revelation in the Bible. It involves man in an active sense, whereas revelation is solely the activity of God. Inspiration then includes both the person of the prophet and the product of his pen.
Illumination focuses on the apprehension and understanding of truth Whereas revelation is an objective disclosure and inspiration is a subjective discovery of the truth God is communicating, illumination emphasizes the apprehension and understanding of truth. In revelation God unveils, in illumination man understands it, but both are acts of God.
The Three necessary links in the chain “from God to us” Revelation is the act of divine communication Inspiration is the means of divine communication Illumination is the gift of understanding that divine communication.
What is inspired, the writer or his writings? It must be held that the person as well as his pen is under the direction of the Holy Spirit in the total process of inspiration. Nevertheless, the New Testament reserves the word “inspiration” only for the product of that process, that is the writings or ‘ graphe’ (2 Tim. 3:16).
What is inspired, the Autographs or the copies? TWO EXTREMES TO AVOID Every translation is inspired in the same sense as the original. Only the autographs are inspired, not the translations.
Textual Criticism – also called “lower criticism”. It is the attempt to ascertain the original wording of the text.
1. Unintentional errors • A. Errors of the eye (Romans 6:5) • B. Errors of the ear (Revelations 1:5) • Intentional errors • A. Harmonization (Luke 23:38) • B. Doctrinal consideration (Mk. 9:29) Two kinds of errors in copying
Alexandrian Family Western Family • Egypt • Codex SemiticusVaticanus • NIV, NASB • Very reliable • Too little intentional errors • North Africa /Western Europe • Omission, insertion • For personal agenda • Intentional errors Caesarian Family Syrian/ Byzantine Family • Philippi • Lacks changes found in Western texts • Reliable also • Antioch Syria • Harmonization and other • intentional errors • Used by KJV
While the autographs were actually inspired, good copies are virtually inspired It must be asserted that a good copy or translation of the autographs is ‘for all practical purposes’ the inspired word of God. Meaning, good copies captured the full message of God.
How much of the autographs is inspired? Inspiration merely vouches for the truth of the record, no matter how valuable that particular record may be to the individual’s edification or even to the overall picture of redemption. The Bible is a record completely true in the context for which God intended it.