Summary: The Bible is not just "inspiring", it is breathed from Heaven. That is the claim we make. Do we believe it?
Jesus is the Fullness of the Word of God, God's communication to us. But the written Word, which is all about Jesus, is also living and authoritative. We often use the Bible to settle theological disputes. It is important to remember that the Bible speaks not only of theology, but of Itself. The Scriptures prove the Scriptures. Let us examine the passages which do this.
The most famous of these passages is 2 Timothy 3:16. I quote it in its context here, from the NKJV: 15. ...from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Though the verse in question will stand as translated by the NKJV, Boice brings out that this translation , "given by inspiration of God," is not the best, though it is better than the standard, "is inspired by God." This latter idea could lead one to believe that God started the process of inspiration, but man picked it up from there and went his own way with it. I might be inspired by an athlete, say a soccer player, and use the principles he uses in my game of basketball. This is clearly not the idea given us by the Greek theopneustos.
That word means "God-breathed." The entire content of all Scripture is the very breath of God, according to an apostle in whom that breath worked mightily. This was the belief of the Jews who received that word, as well as those who read it. The Book is Holy. It is the very voice of the very God.
Note that there is no verb in the first part of that verse. The text simply reads, "All Scripture, God-breathed, is profitable " etc.
The notion of every word of Scripture being breathed of God matches the words of Jesus who reminded us that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
Clear enough. But the concept of a God-breathed word has been fought from the beginning.
Genesis 2:16, 17 ; 3:1
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." [before creation of Eve]
1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?"
The command was easy enough to understand. Note that it was given to Adam before Eve came along. We are led to believe that it was Adam that communicated the message to his new wife. Did she not trust her husband? Was there not enough respect for a word that came out of another human being? Is this why Satan went right to her, knowing that Adam’s revelation was from Heaven, and valued more?
There are parallels today. God has not spoken with His own Voice to mankind. We are dependent on human beings who have received revelations from Him. Through the Holy Spirit we are led to believe the apostolic words and to refuse all others. For those not tuned in to the Spirit of God, most any man’s words will ring true. Herein is the entrance of false teachings. We must beware and walk closely and humbly with our God.
What inspiration is not.
The word we used to describe the breath of God’s Spirit infusing the heart and mind of a messenger, is used in a number of ways which have no connection to the real meaning.
• Inspiration is not genius, the property of “smart” men. Smart men would not condemn themselves, as the Bible most surely condemns the human race. They would not come up with a salvation that is outside of themselves. They would not come up with such a judgmental God who demands that sin be atoned or all sent to perish in Hell.
• Inspiration is not simply the thoughts of the writers, good men who imagined good things. Almost 4,000 times the Bible says, “Thus says the Lord.” One cannot have a thought without words. The words that came forth through the messengers of God were God’s very words.
• Inspiration is not always inspiring, that is, it does not always “zap” the reader. Chronologies recorded in Genesis and Chronicles and Luke are inspired of God. They are not the easiest and most refreshing of readings.