Answers to "Ask Mike" Questions
30. What do you mean when you talk about the Bible being an inspired book?
We use the term inspiration in many ways. For example: "That was an inspired message." "The music was inspirational." "The author of that book of poetry was truly inspired." None of those uses defines what we mean when we say the Bible is inspired.
A good definition is as follows: "Inspiration is the term used to refer to the special supernatural supervision exercised by God over His messengers to make sure they communicated His message accurately." In other words, when each writer put pen to paper, God supervised them in such a way that they accurately presented exactly what God intended them to say. This means you can trust the Bible when you read it.
Does that mean God dictated every word? Not at all! The Bible includes much information which was common knowledge, accessible through research, available through oral tradition, or was known by personal experience. For example, God had no reason to dictate the description of Christís crucifixion. That was common knowledge Ė Rome crucified thousands. The Gospel writers saw it firsthand. God did, however, prompt their memories so the events would be recorded accurately (see John 14:26).
God did, however, reveal the meaning of Christís death. Without that specially disclosed information, Jesusí death would have meant nothing more than that of the two thieves who died on either side. God revealed to the writers of Scripture that Jesus died a substitutionary death of atonement. God gave that information.
The Bible includes historical, experiential, and observational data and specially revealed information Ė information not available to everyone but to those who were specially chosen (see Acts 10:41).
Godís protection of the writers and the information included in their writings is inspiration. Both the writer and their product (the Scripture) are inspired.
Because of this, you can trust the information included to be accurate and truthful as originally given.
No version of Scripture is inspired. Only the writers and their product were inspired. Still, for all intents and purposes, we possess that product. While some are better than others, all true versions (some of the available Bibles today are not versions but paraphrases or the work of one individual) communicate Godís Word.
Godís Word is true (John 17:17), it is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), and is thus inspired. Disobey it at your peril; obey it and enjoy Godís favor.
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