Summary: Only 26% of the adult population believes that the Bible, the Word of God, is inspired, is infallible and is inerrant. These three aspects are vitally important in understanding the Bible.
The Holy Bible was written over a fifteen-hundred year span, by forty different authors from every walk of life. It was written by kings, servants, fishermen, poets, doctors, herdsmen and even a tax collector. It was written on three different continents, Europe, Asia and Africa in sixteen different countries and in three different languages, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Throughout the books of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation we find unity in the message. Simply stated, God created the heavens and the earth and everything in it. God created man to have relationship with Him. Man broke his relationship with God through sin and God offers reconciliation to man through Jesus Christ.
How can we find a united theme in sixty-six books written over fifteen-hundred years, by forty diverse people? By understanding that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God who inspired each author to record what God wanted us to know through His Scriptures. There can be no other explanation. Without inspiration from God, this would be an impossible accomplishment for man.
Inerrancy: The idea that when all the facts are known, the Bible (in its autographs, that is, the original writings), properly interpreted in light of the culture and the means of communication that had developed by the time of its composition, is completely true in all that it affirms, to the degree of precision intended by the author’s purpose, in all matters relating to God and His creation.
Infallibility: The view that the Bible is incapable of error and cannot deceive or mislead. Some contemporary scholars want to apply the term infallible only to the message of the Bible to avoid the affirmation that the Bible is also truthful in matters relating to history, geography, and related matters. The meaning given to infallible is consistent with the classical meaning of the term, not with the revised meaning of some contemporary scholars.
Inspiration: The superintending influence of the Holy Spirit exerted on the Biblical writers, so that the accent and interpretation of God’s revelation have been recorded as God intended, so that the Bible is actually the Word of God.
Understanding and further defining the term “Inspiration” is vitally important. We read in Genesis 1:1 that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Reading further we know that God created light and divided it from the darkness, God created the land and the water. God created the stars in the heavens and all living things on earth, the greenery, seeds, plants, the animals, creeping things, the birds in the air, the fishes in the sea, and then He created man in His image. Genesis 1:26 “Then God said; Let Us make man in Our own image, according to Our likeness.” (The Trinity defined right from the start!) God gave man dominion over all of His creation because God created it all for us. And when God created man in His image, God also did something that would set us apart from all other living things. Genesis 2:7 “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” God breathed life into us and I believe God’s breath became our very soul.
God also breathed life into something else. He breathed life into His Holy Scriptures. The term inspiration is a translation of the Greek word theopneustos which means “Divinely inspired” or “God breathed.” In the secular sense, we say that inspiration is synonymous with illumination, creativity or human genius. Throughout the Bible, the authors never looked for illumination or creativity to record the Scriptures, and they certainly did not rely on human genius. So their inspiration had to come from somewhere, from one source common to all of the authors. And that source was from God. God breathed life into man, and life into His Scriptures by the power of the Holy Spirit working through each and every author over the course of time. Instead of the word “inspiration” a preferable term might be “spiration” in order to emphasize the divine source and initiative, rather than human genius or creativity.
First, we must look at what the Bible says about itself.
In the Apostle Paul’s second letter written to Timothy 3:16-17 he says; “All scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Therefore inspired God-breathed Scripture is profitable for teaching (what is right) for reproof (what is not right) for correction (how to get right) and for training in righteousness (how to stay right!) Clearly verse sixteen affirms God’s authorship of the Bible. In the first Epistle according to Peter, 2:20-21, Peter says; “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Once again we are told that it is God, through the Holy Spirit, who inspires men to speak God’s Word. Prophecies are surer than cleverly devised myths because they are based on God’s own Spirit, while myths are due to human impulse.