Is the Bible the inspired Word of God?

“About one-third of the American adult population believes the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally word for word.” That was the opening line from an Internet article from the Gallup polling organization in 2007. It’s arguably the world’s most important book, since not our only religion, but also philosophy, ethics, education, government, and many other issues derive their answers from it. Therefore, let’s turn our attention to this burning question: Is the Bible the Word of God?

Christians believe that the Bible is indeed the Word of God and that He inspired writers to compose it. There were approximately 40 writers over 1500 years of time yet all were writing with one goal—to inform us of our creation, fall, and redemption through God’s Savior, Jesus Christ. So while there are some 40 writers, there is truly only one Author—God. When Christians believe in the “inspiration of Scripture” they mean that God wrote the Bible, expressing His truth in words of the writer’s minds, picked by the Holy Spirit. Here are some verses that speak to this process.

In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul states that the Old Testament is from God Himself. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Furthermore, in 2 Peter 1:20-21, Peter explains that “no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Yet the writers were not taking dictation since they display different writing styles. (Simply compare Paul’s letters to David’s psalms as an example!) Nor were they in some trance since they speak of their consciousness in the process as Paul did in 2 Thessalonians 3:17. “I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write.” In a miraculous way, then, the Holy Spirit was able to move the writer to use his vocabulary and knowledge in order to communicate God’s truth. Dr. Edward Koehler of Concordia University Chicago explained it like this:

“The Holy Ghost not only moved these men when to write but He also suggested, inspired, and controlled what they wrote. The thought content of the Bible, the facts recorded, the truth revealed, the doctrines taught, are in all parts and particulars what God wanted them to write. This is true not only of the things which pertain to our salvation, but also of historical events, of happenings in nature, of personal experiences, and the like.”

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