Answers to Common Questions

In what sense is Scripture "inspired"?

Biblical inspiration may be defined as God's superintending of the human authors so that, using their own individual personalities (and even their writing styles), they composed and recorded without error His revelation to man in the words of the original manuscripts. Inspiration means that the Holy Spirit of God superintended the human writers in the production of Scripture so that what they wrote was precisely what God wanted written.

When you break the doctrine of inspiration down to its essential elements, there are seven key factors:

(1) Divine origin and causality;

(2) Human agency;

(3) Written verbally (in words);

(4) Plenary (all of Scripture is inspired, not just parts of it);

(5) Strictly speaking, only the "Autographs" (the original documents penned by the biblical authors) are inspired. (Copies of the original documents are VIRTUALLY inspired to the extent that they accurately reflect the original documents--and the evidence indicates that they DO accurately reflect the original documents to a very high degree.)

(6) Because Scripture is inspired, it is inerrant; and

(7) Because Scripture is inspired and inerrant, it alone has final authority.

The word inspiration literally means "God-breathed" in the Greek. And because Scripture is breathed out by God, it is true and inerrant. Consider the following syllogism:

Major Premise: God is true (Romans 3:4).

Minor Premise: God breathed out the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16).

Conclusion: Therefore, the Scriptures are true (John 17:17).

As illustrated above, the inerrancy of Scripture can be inferred by premises that are themselves taught by Scripture. We read in Scripture that truth is an attribute of God (Jeremiah 10:10; John 1:14; 14:6; 17:3), and that God speaks truthfully--that is, He does not lie (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Titus 1:2; Romans 3:3-4). We also are told that Scripture is "breathed out" by God (2 Timothy 3:16). The Word of God, then, is true (John 17:14,17; cf. Psalm 119:142; 151; 160; Revelation 21:5; 22:6). 

The Complete Book of Bible Answers, by Ron Rhodes, answers over 350 common questions. It is available for purchase at a discount price. Click here to order it:

Complete Book of Bible Answers: Answers to the Tough Questions