"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
What does the Bible claim about itself?
The Bible claims to be from God. The word “inspiration” is found in 2 Timothy 3:16. Here Paul wrote that all Scripture is give by the inspiration of God. The word translated “inspiration” is a Greek word that literally means that it is a “God-exhaled” book. Therefore, it claims to be from God.
Christians believe that the Bible is from God, not because someone told them, but because the Bible claims it. We also believe that because the Bible proves that claim. We recognize that anyone or any group could write a book and claim it was from God. No one should be gullible enough to just take their word for it. In fact, if the Bible did not give convincing evidence to support its claims, it would be foolish to believe it.
Unfortunately, many people believe in the Bible without really knowing why they believe in it. An answer of “Well, it was good enough for Grandma” will not create the faith necessary to actually cause us to become active in that belief. Thus we see many people who claim to believe in the authority of the Bible who do not actually practice the things they know are inside it. Some have called the “practical atheists”. They may as well be atheists for the good the Bible does them.
But you would not be reading this if that were a description of you. You want to learn more or at least find out why in the world people would believe such things as inspiration. Please allow us to give some information and logical arguments. These are not the only things to say, but make powerful arguments that should convince honest seekers.
The word “inspiration” is used in our culture to mean a unique idea or insight that others may not possess. While this can be said about the Bible, the word “inspiration” as used in the Bible is much more than that.
It is not a collection of sayings that contain truth. Anyone can collect a number of wise sayings that contain truths. The Bible is more than that.
The Bible is not ideas from God that are interpreted and explained by a few men. It is written by men, but it is more than simply a collection of vague thoughts given by God and written by men so that we can understand those things.
The Bible is not a word-by-word dictation, but still claims that every word is from God.
The Bible is an expression of the mind of God
The Bible claims that it is an expression of the mind and thoughts of God on various things. No one claims that we could understand everything about God by reading the Bible, but we do believe that whatever God intended to reveal about His mind is revealed in the Bible.
1 Corinthians 2:4-16 teaches us several things in this regard:
God’s wisdom was a mystery to humanity until He revealed it through the writer of the Bible, specifically of the New Testament. No one knew what God was intending to do through Jesus and the New Covenant. The wisdom that is now revealed was hidden throughout the ages and now is revealed.
God’s Spirit revealed His mind to the Apostles.
Paul makes an interesting argument. He stated that no man can know another’s thoughts unless that other man’s spirit reveals it. Today we know this to be true. Even “mind readers” rely on subtle cues from the person being “read” in order to find information about them or others. There are many tricks, but no one can sense the brain waves of another human.
God is the same, but on a much larger scale. If we cannot know what each other is thinking, how could we assume to know the mind of God? Unfortunately people make that assumption constantly by second-guessing His Bible and doing what they want instead of what is written therein.
The Holy Spirit revealed the mind of God to the Apostles.
This they proved through the various miracles they did. For example, see 1 Corinthians 2:4 and the article, Did miracles really happen in Bible times?
So, if the Bible is real (which will be proven), we must say that it is an expression of the mind of God.
As stated in the section above (“What it is not”), the Bible is not just a collection of truths. The Bible is truth. Jesus made this claim in John 17:17.
Many have the impression that men wrote the Bible and tried to explain what they thought God wanted to say to humanity. This leaves an easy out for people who do not want to believe some of the things they deem “distasteful”. For example, Hell becomes a fabrication—a story invented to scare people into obeying the rules of the church.
Many other things are changed on the basis of an appeal to culture. For example, since Paul was merely interpreting God’s mind, he gave certain roles for men and women. Our society is different today; therefore, we should interpret the mind of God differently.
There are severe problems with that line of thinking. First, the Bible claims that it is not subject to interpretation by those who wrote it. It says that they wrote what they were told to write. For instance, 2 Peter 1:20-21 sates, “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” This claims that they did not merely state words they interpreted from some idea God placed in their minds; they wrote as they were moved by the Spirit of God. The passage cited earlier from 1 Corinthians 2 shows us that the Holy Spirit revealed the mind of God by an expression of those thoughts.
Another verse to consider is that inspiration is a revelation of words. David taught this in 2 Samuel 23:2 when he said, “The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue.”
Since the Bible claims to be the mind of God revealed by words given to those who wrote the Bible it might be easy to assume that it was a dictation process. But we know that people researched before they wrote. The prophets read works of other prophets. Others researched to be sure they were writing the truth. Luke is a great example of this. He was a master historian. He researched the things he wrote. (In Luke 1:1-4—the force of his statement that it is an “orderly account” implies that he took the time to arrange the information before presenting it in the book.)
This is easily seen in reading the pages of the different books and letters. It was written by 40 men over the course of 1500 years. The differences in personality are evident that there was not one master personality dictating each word. On the other hand we know that the Bible is from God (every word). So, for the believer, the logical conclusion is that God arranged for inspiration to work in such a way that when a person wrote according to his own personality the end result was every word that God intended for them to write or say.
Another important part of the Bible is that it claims to be all that is needed for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Paul says it is sufficient to provide us with all the information we need to reprove, correct, instruct in righteousness, and is able to teach us all we need to know to do good works.
These are the facts of the Bible—the claims that it makes. If the Bible is truly from God, then we must understand and accept what it says for itself—including its authority over us (which would be implied since it is from God). But if it is not from God then it is too bold to be trusted. So which is it? An honest searcher will consider some evidence.
Hope church of Christ, PO Box 985, Hope, AR 71802