DOCTRINE OF INSPIRATION


All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness that the man of Godmay be complete, equipped for every good work.- 2 Timothy 3:16-17
 
For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. - 2 Peter 1:21


What INSPIRATION is not...

  • Inspiration does NOT mean that the Bible is merely inspirational, merely containing inspirational truth. Even though it is inspirational, it is also much more.

  • Inspiration is NOT Automation, where men wrote while n a mystical, unconscious trance

  • Inspiration does NOT Dictation, where men were wholly uninvolved in Scriptures.


Scripture is (literally) breathed out (spoken) by God. A better translation for “inspired…” (theo-pnuestos) in 2 Tim. 3:16 is actually “expiated of God.” 

The Bible is, at the same time, an extremely human book and an undeniablydivine book.There is a sort of “Dual Authorship.” The author’s personalities and even writing styles are preserved. All but a couple biblical authors/writers were known to be common men with no rabbinic training. But the Bible is ultimately a divine book. Despite merely human authorship, they spoke and wrote for God while never being self-conscious about it, making around 4,000 claims to be writing and speaking the very words of God.

  • 1 Cor. 14:37 – …the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.

  • 2 Peter 1:20-21 – 20But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation,21for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, butmen moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

  • 1 Thessalonians 2:13 – And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.


There are a few logical conclusions we are led to understand about God's Word...

1. For God to breath is for God to speak…

  • Psalm 33:6 –By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

  • Genesis 1:1-3 –1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

2. When Scripture speaks, God speaks. 

  • Galatians 3:8 – And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

  • Malachi 3:12 – Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts.

  • Genesis 22:18 – and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my (The LORD) voice.”

  • Acts 13:35 - Therefore, he (God – θεος from v.33, not David) says also in another psalm, “‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’

  • Romans 9:17 - For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up…

  • Exodus 9:16 – But for this purpose I (the LORD God v.13) have raised you up…

3. Man’s words clearly do not have the power, the wisdom, or insight of God’s Word. 

  • Hebrews 4:12 – the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

  • Isaiah 55:8-9 – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

  • Ephesians 4:12 – And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

  • Isaiah 49:2 – He made my mouth like a sharp sword…


But, just saying that Scripture is "inspired" often isn't enough. This is when the phrase "VERBAL-PLENARY Inspiration" comes in handy. God through the Holy Spirit directly guided the exact words recorded by the Biblical writers as they wrote the Scriptures. And all of the Bible is inspired by God, not just certain portions. Plenary means “fully.” There is no portion (or genre) of our Bible more authoritative than another. Both the Old and New Testaments are equally as inspired and equally worth our attention.

  • Matthew 5:17-18 – “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have notcome to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

  • Mark 13:31 – Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away.

  • John 6:66-68 – As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.

  • 2 Peter 1:20-21 – knowing this first of all, that no prophesyof Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 –All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of Godmay be complete, equipped for every good work.


Not only is every portion inspired by God, but every word (verbal) is given to us by God. God has carefully given His people words and not merely concepts. After all, you cannot communicate concepts/truths/doctrines without words. 

  • God gave Moses words, not ideas. (Exodus 4:12 – Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”) It does not say, for example, “…with your mind and teach you what to think…” Also - Exodus 4:15-16 – "You are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do. Moreover, he shall speak for you to the people; and he will be as a mouth for youand you will be as God to him." And... Exodus 24:3 – "When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws…"

  • God told Isaiah what words to say. (Isaiah 38:4-5 – Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: “Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the LORD…)

  • God told Jeremiah what words to say.(Jeremiah 1:4,9 – Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying...Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.

  • God told Ezekiel what words to say. (Ezekiel 2:7 – and you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house.)

  • God told Amos what words to say. (Amos 7:16 – now therefore hear the word of the LORD. “You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel, and do not preach against the house of Isaac.’)

  • God told Paul what words to say.(Acts 22:14 – And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth…)

  • And God told the Apostles what words to say/write. (1 Corinthians 2:13 – And we impart this in wordsnot taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

  • Even Jesus said and did only what the words God told Him to say/do.(Luke 24:45 – Jesus said to them, “These are the words I spoke to you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.”) Also see John 12:49-50 – For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment— what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

  • After His resurrection, Jesus told John what words to say. (Revelation 3:14 – “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The wordsof the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.)

Similarly, God has given every preacher and teacher the words to say

  • 1 Peter 4:10-11 – As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God…

  • 2 Corinthians 2:17 – For we are not like so many others, who peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as men sent from God.

  • 1 Thessalonians 2:4 – Instead, we speak as those approved by Godto be entrusted with the gospel, not in order to please men but God, who examines our hearts.

  • 2 Timothy 4:2 – preach the word…

  • Titus 2:1 – But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.

Jesus believed He spoke Scripture and that, like the rest of Scripture, the words He spoke were the very words of God (Himself)

  • Matthew 24:35 – Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

  • Mark 13:31 – Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.

  • Luke 21:33 – Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.


The writers of the Old Testament knew they were taking part in divine revelation. They understood the words and the concepts enough to “search and inquire carefully” (study) their meaning.

  • 1 Peter 1:10-11 – Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.

The New Testament writers claimed to write Scripture.

  • Galatians 1:11-12 – 11For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. 12For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

  • 2 peter 3:1-3, 15-16 –1This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.... 15And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paulalso wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures

  • Jude 17-18 – 17But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”