Verbal inspiration means that God inspired the authors of the books of the Bible to record not just the thoughts but also the very words God wanted recorded. First Corinthians 2:13 says, “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.” These are God’s inerrant words!
However, many critics challenge the inerrancy of Scripture.
Read 2 Peter 1:21 and 2 Timothy 3:15-17.
Answer the following challenges, in light of these passages:
Challenge 1: The writers are human and since “to err is human” is a correct assessment of our imperfection, then we cannot claim their writings are inerrant.
Challenge 2: The Bible is inerrant only in the sense that it accomplishes its purpose, not that it is actually without error.
Challenge 3: The Bible is infallible only in the sense that the writers were trying to be truthful.
God’s methods of inspiration
Have you ever wondered how God inspired the authors? Did they actually hear God’s voice or was it evident that God was guiding them as they wrote?
We have glimpses in some cases. Moses spoke face-to-face with God as a man speaks with his friend (Exodus 33:11). The apostle John was given a vision in the book of Revelation (Revelation 1:1). No matter what method God chose to give the information to the authors, we need to remember that “prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).
What are the ways God gave information to the following people?
- John at the crucifixion (John 19:26,27).
- Luke’s gospel account (Luke 1:1-4).
Think about it! God used dozens of authors over 1,500 years to give us his Word. What truths does this teach us about God?
God’s words of inspiration
Jesus said, “Not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matthew 5:18). Not only the thoughts but also the very words and even the very letters of the words of Scripture are inspired.
Read Matthew 22:41-45.
Jesus claims that the Messiah is more than the son of David. Who does he claim he is, and what one word proves his point?
Read Galatians 3:15-18.
The apostle Paul claims the promise of God has always meant one person. How does he prove his point?
Author: David Scharf
Volume 108, Number 2
Issue: February 2021
- Q&A: Are there different interpretations of the Bible? - 2021/07/27
- Bible study: Interpretation practice - 2021/07/27
- Q&A: How can we be sure the Bible includes what God originally gave us? - 2021/06/29