The Bible – Is It Divinely Inspired?

The evidence of Its Inerrancy

Part 8


Dr. John Hoole



Near the beginning of this series on the reliability of the Bible, we looked at 2 Timothy 3:16Let’s read it once more.


2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV


16     All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,


In that earlier lesson, I pointed out that the word “inspiration” literally means “God breathed.”  That is how it is translated in both the NIV, the Complete Jewish Bible and Young’s Literal Translation.


I like that translation, because when we use the word inspired, we are usually referring to a person who’s been creatively moved to do something.  We might say that George Frideric Handel was inspired when he composed his famous oratorio, Messiah.  Here is a guy who wrote 260 pages of music for a full sized orchestra in just 24 days.  He didn’t leave his room the entire time, and barely touched his food.  And when Messiah was first performed in 1742, it was so majestic, that the King of England rose to his feet when the choir began to sing the Hallelujah Chorus.  YES, Handel was inspired – being creatively moved.  But, that’s not what the apostle Paul meant to say about Scripture in 2 Timothy 3:16.


What exactly is it about the Bible that is inspired or “God Breathed?”  There are two mistaken notions with regard to inspiration.


1.  Some people assume that this must be a reference to the Bible’s writers.


Men like Moses and King David, and the apostle Paul, who penned various books of the Bible, were inspired.  Didn’t God breathe into them some general ideas, after which they sat down and wrote out, as best they could, their particular portions of the Bible?  No!  That would be the first wrong notion.


The trouble with this view of inspiration is that it leaves open the possibility that these human writers might not have gotten things right.        What if they misunderstood what God breathed into them to say?  Or what if they didn’t choose the best words to communicate these general God-given impressions to us?  No, it is not enough that the writers” themselves were inspired.


2.  The second mistaken notion assumes that inspiration refers to the bible reader.


When you pick up the Bible and read it, God speaks to you.  You, as it were, become inspired.  Some people who hold this view have gone so far as to say, The Bible is the Word of God when it becomes the Word of God to you.  Is that right?  What if that does not happen?  What if you read the Bible and it doesn’t feel like God is speaking to you?  Is the Bible only inspired when it connects with you?  Is it only inspired when you, as the reader, are inspired?


No, inspiration is not about the Bible’s writers and it is not about the Bible’s readers.  Rather, it’s about the Bible’s WORDS.  Go back and read Paul’s writing to Timothy once again.  He says, “All Scripture is God breathed.”  What is “God-breathed?”  Scripture is.


The Greek word for Scripture is GRAPHE, and it means, literally, writing.  So, the writing itself, the very words that appear in print, is what God inspired.  That is why theologians, when they speak of inspiration today, will often add the adjective VERBAL in front of it.  ΅Verbal inspiration clarifies the fact that God breathed out the actual words of the Bible.


Why is this so important to note?  Because it assures us that What God wanted to say, got said, exactly as God wanted it said.  Does this mean that the human writers (like Moses, David, Paul, and so one) were simply secretaries, stenographers to whom God dictated His Word?  Absolutely not.  If you read the Bible, which is a compilation of sixty-six books, you will quickly discover that each book reflects the vocabulary, the culture, the historical setting, and the personality of its human author.


For instance, compare Moses’ laws with David’s psalms, or with Paul’s letter, or with Solomon’s proverbs, or with Zechariah’s prophecy, or with Matthew’s biography of Jesus, or with Luke’s history of the early church.


There’s a lot of variety among the books by those seven writers.  That variety reflects the differences among the human authors.  God didn’t dictate His Word to them in some uniform fashion.  However, God did ensure that what He wanted to say got said, exactly as He wanted it said.  “All Scripture” – the writing itself, the very words that appear in print, is “God-Breathed.”


That makes the Bible a unique book.  It is unlike any other book you can pick up at Barnes & Noble, or, or a public library.




Inerrancy simply means that the Bible contains truthful information revealed through normal methods of communications, and that what it relates is completely without any kind of error.  This applies not only to spiritual truths, such as salvation through Jesus Christ, but to historical, geological, scientific and geographical matters.


Over the past 100 years, scores of so-called problem passages have been resolved in favor of the Bible as supporting evidence came to light.  Passages that a hundred years ago many scholars thought contained historical and scientific errors, are now proven to be true.


For example, archaeology has validated many historical claims in Scripture.  Civilizations, nations, kings, wars, customs, geological facts, and fulfilled prophecy, which at one time were thought to be false or even mythical due to there being no record of them other than the Bible, have now been shown to be factual precisely as the Bible stated.


Why is it necessary to believe that the Bible is inerrant?  Here ae three reasons:


                   1.  The testimony of the character of God.

                   2.  The testimony of Jesus Christ

                   3.  The testimony of logic


         Let me talk briefly about each of these testimonies.


1.      The testimony of the character of God


The Bible repeatedly refers to God as “the God of truth.”


         Psalm 31:5 states that God is “Lord God of Truth.”


         Isaiah 65:16, likewise, states twice that He is “The God of Truth .”


The apostle Paul tells Christ followers that God has promised us eternal life, and then adds, “God … does not lie” (Titus 1:2)   The writer of the book of Hebrews makes this same claim even more starkly: “It is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18).


God is truthful through and through.  So, when God speaks, it is reasonable to conclude that His words are true.  They are inerrant – free from any kind of error.


As most of you already know, Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible.  And this Psalm is about the Word of God.  One of the things that it repeatedly affirms about God’s Word is that it is true.  “Your law is true … All your commands are true … All your words are true …” (Psalm 119:142, 151, 160)I think you get the idea.


Because God is the God of truth, because God’s character is 100 percent true, God’s Word, the Bible must be true.


2,      The testimony of Jesus Christ


Jesus obviously believed that Scripture is trustworthy and true.  He affirmed this in one of His prayers.


John 17:17 NKJV


17     Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.


He also constantly quoted from the Old Testament to back up his teaching.  He repeatedly used the phrase, ”It is written.”  In quoting the Old Testament, He show He takes what it says at face value.  Stories about Noah and the flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, God’s miraculous provisions of manna in the wilderness, Jonah 3 days in the belly of a large fish, Jesus seemed to accept all these accounts as being historically accurate.


Jesus did not merely believe that the Bible is true in a broad brushstroke sort of way.  His position was not: Scripture is true, generally speaking, even if some of the details are in error.’  No!  Jesus said that not even “the smallest letter or the least stroke of a pen” in God’s Word would disappear until it had all been fulfilled (Matthew 5:18).


3.      The testimony of logic


This would probably be a good time to acknowledge that there are some Christian Bible scholars who don’t care for the word inerrant.  There are some who want us to believe that the Bible is basically trustworthy, even though it is not without error.  “But that is OK,” the say, “because God is still able to get His message across, in spite of the errors that are sprinkled through Scripture.”  I really struggle with the illogic of that perspective.


Does it make sense that God would speak His truth through statements that are occasionally false?  And if you point out that God speaks His truth through faulty pastors every Sunday, I would ask you how you know that these pastors are occasionally faulty?       Isn’t it by comparing what they say with God’s faultless Word?  To know something is faulty, one must compare it against that which they accept to be true.


Furthermore, if some of what we read in the Bible is in error, who decides which statements those are?  It seems to me that this position would allow us to reject portions of the Bible we don’t like with a dismissive, “Oh, that is one of those errors.”


I believe that the Bible is inerrant because the God of truth breathed it out.  I also believe it because Jesus believed it totally trustworthy.  And I believe it makes logical sense that God would not leave us guessing about which parts are true and which are not.


Proverbs 30:5 NIV


         5       Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.


The Bible is not a scientific textbook, but when it makes a statement touching on scientific issues, they are absolutely accurate.  They are infallible because their author, God, is infallible.  Only God is error-free in everything He says and does.  If the Bible were written by mere men, covering such subjects as it does, it would be full of errors and discrepancies and contradictions.  The Bible has been proven to be truthful in all areas in which it can be investigated.  The New Testament agrees with the Old in calling God a God of truth.  Examples of such statements include:


                   John 3:33                “God is truthful.”


                   John 17:3                “That they may know you the only true God.”


                   1 John 5:20             “He is the true God.”


To make sure that we don’t overlook the importance of God’s truthfulness, as we have already read three times the Scripture stresses that God cannot lie (Num. 23:19;  Titus 1:2;  Heb. 6:18).