September 22 – Inspiration

September 22 – Inspiration

2 Peter 1:19-21

So we have seen and proved that what the prophets said came true. You will do well to pay close attention to everything they have written, for, like lights shining into dark corners, their words help us to understand many things that otherwise would be dark and difficult. But when you consider the wonderful truth of the prophets’ words, then the light will dawn in your souls and Christ the Morning Star will shine in your hearts. For no prophecy recorded in Scripture was ever thought up by the prophet himself. It was the Holy Spirit within these godly men who gave them true messages from God.” (1 Peter 1:19-21)

The Bible claims to be inspired by God, and that makes us curious. Exactly what did the Holy Spirit do to the human Bible authors? How did he make sure they wrote what he wanted to say? Since he doesn’t tell us, we try to figure it out. Some concluded the Spirit must have dictated the Bible to the authors like executives used to dictate to their secretaries. He obviously did dictate parts of the Bible, as when he gave the 10 Commandments to Moses. Not much of Scripture, however, was dictated. Some, in fact, was written from historical research, like Luke and Acts (Luke 1:1-4).

On the human side, then, the experiences and writing style of each author are evident throughout Scripture. But in some mysterious way those authors were influenced by the Holy Spirit, so that what they wrote was consistently called “the Word of God.” The authors were “carried along” by the Spirit (1 Peter 1:2-21) so that “all Scripture is God breathed.” (1 Timothy 3:16) We translate Paul’s term for the Spirit’s activity in that passage: “inspiration” meaning “breathed-in.” Our focus is what he did to the authors, but Paul’s emphasis was on the source — God Himself is the origin, it’s God-breathed-out. Though we may not know how the Spirit carried out this activity, we know from Scripture itself that he so guided the writing process that the human authors wrote what the divine author wanted communicated. This cannot be said of any other book, no matter how helpful it is. Other books may be called “inspired,” in the sense that they inspire the reader, but none can be said to be God-breathed as this Scripture. The Bible alone carries that guarantee. If you do what Jesus Christ never did, that is affirm error in Scripture, then you have put yourself over Scripture. By deciding what to accept and what not to accept as trustworthy, you sit in judgment on the book: your authority becomes superior to its authority. In that way, you would reduce the authority of Scripture to the size of your intellect. And that’s not a very impressive “revelation!” Paul assures us, “All Scripture is inspired.” So, we take the step of faith and embrace Jesus’s view of the Bible. We are not smarter than he!

If God had not taken the initiative in revealing things we cannot discover through scientific investigation, how little we would have known about him, about our lost condition, about his will for us! Without his gracious revelation, how could we have experienced salvation, or the abundant life God promises? The trustworthiness of the Bible depends on who said it. If God said it, you’d better believe it. More than that, you had better move out and do what it says! We call this book — and only this book — The Word of God. That is why it has supreme authority for our lives. We believe it; we obey it.

The power of the human intellect is awesome. It ought to be — it is designed on God’s model, but has been so disabled by sin, that unaided, people cannot understand the Bible. It doesn’t even make good sense to them. (1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 3:14-15) Even if there were no crazy mirrors of sin to distort reality, our capacities are limited. We were never designed in likeness to God’s infinite capacities. We are finite. So, we grope after meaning, the meaning of our own lives, if not the grander meaning of the universe. We probe with our ten-watt brains, short circuited by sin even before the search begins. On this pitiful scene breaks a great light, a mega-burst of eternal truth, truth about God and truth about his plan for our salvation, truth about the meaning of our lives. In the Bible, the Holy Spirit has turned up the lights and revealed God and his will for us. That’s why we call the Bible “revelation.” God said it, so we believe it. God said it, so we must obey it.

What a magnificent gift the Holy Spirit has given us! In the Bible, he has unveiled the hidden God. And you can know God! And knowing him, you will surely love him. It would be really a mismatched friendship, though, if you did not become increasingly like him. So, to make that possible, the Holy Spirit gave you a fully reliable revelation of God’s will for you. Now you look more closely at Scripture as God’s revealed will for what you are to think and how to behave. He could have left you to stumble around in the twilight until night closed in, but he broke through with a brilliant light, liberating you with his own truth. That’s what truth does — it sets us free (John 8:32). What Love! Hallelujah!

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