Inspiration of the Bible
A belief in a wholly-inspired Bible is the very foundation
principle of the Christadelphian faith. The verbal inspiration of Scripture is a
doctrine of fundamental importance; for if the writing of the Bible was not
Divinely (and therefore infallibly) guided, then the source of what we know of
God and His dealings with men would be unreliable. If we could not, with
absolute confidence as to its Divine origin and production, turn to the Bible as
the authoritative Word of God in all its parts, then we would be quite unable to
make any certain progress towards true enlightenment in spiritual things and in
matters related to salvation. This is why the Birmingham Amended Statement of
Faith begins with the Foundation Clause: "That the book currently known as the
Bible, consisting of the Scriptures of Moses, the prophets, and the apostles, is
the only source of knowledge concerning God and His purposes at present extant
or available in the earth, and that the same were wholly given by inspiration of
God in the writers, and are consequently without error in all parts of them,
except such as may be due to errors of transcription or translation (2Ti 3:16;
1Co 2:13; Heb 1:1; 2Pe 1:21; 1Co 14:37; Neh 9:30; John 10:35)".
The key aspects of Biblical inspiration are as
1. The Bible was produced by the 'outbreathing' of God through
His Spirit: 2Ti 3:16 -- "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" (where
the italicized words are a single Greek word, "theopneustos", meaning,
literally, 'God-breathed [out]'). (There are no really sound linguistic grounds
for weakening the sense of Paul's words, as the NEB and the RV do, by
translating it as "Every Scripture inspired of God is also..."; the RV margin,
the NIV, the Jerusalem Bible and many other modern translations give the proper
sense required by the Greek sentence construction.)
2. The Spirit of God 'carried men along' to write His Word:
2Pe 1:20,21 -- "...no prophecy of the scripture is of any private
interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but
holy men of God spake as they were moved [Gr "phero", 'to be carried (along)']
by the Holy Spirit".
3. The inspired writers of the Bible wrote with the Divine
authority of God Himself, and their words are binding on God's people: 1Co
2:12,13 -- "Now we have received... the spirit which is of God; that we might
know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak,
not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit
teacheth". 1Co 14:37 -- "...the things that I [the Apostle Paul] write unto you
are the commandments of the Lord". John 10:35 -- According to Jesus, "the
scripture cannot be broken".
4. The inspiration of the Bible involved the Divine control or
superintendence of the very words used: Num 22:38; 23:3,5 -- "And Balaam said...
the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak... and whatsoever He
sheweth me I will tell... And the Lord put a word in Balaam's mouth". 2Sa 23:1-3
-- "Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said... The
Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and His word was in my tongue. The God of Israel
said...". Jer 1:7,9 -- "But the Lord said unto me [Jeremiah]... whatsoever I
command thee thou shalt speak... Behold, I have put My words in thy mouth". John
14:10,24 -- "...the words that I [Jesus] speak unto you I speak not of myself...
the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's Which sent me".
5. Because the words themselves were Divinely inspired (as
well as the writers), the possibility of the original Scriptures containing
errors is excluded: Psa 12:6 -- "The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver
tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times".
"We do not insist on any particular theory as to the modus
operandi of inspiration. What we contend for is that by whatever process the
result is, the Scriptures are the product of inspiration, and that inspiration
does not err" (Robert Roberts, The Christadelphian, Feb 1887).
6. The power of God's Spirit to enlighten, to convert, and to
save is in the Scriptures themselves, and the benefit of their Divine origin is
conveyed to us in their words, which do not require the additional operation of
the Holy Spirit to make them intelligible: 2Ti 3:15 -- "...the holy
scriptures... are able [Gr "dunamai", 'have power'] to make thee wise unto
salvation". John 6:63 -- "...the words that I [Jesus] speak unto you, they are
spirit, and they are life". Acts 20:32 -- "I [Paul] commend you to God, and to
the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an
inheritance among all them which are sanctified". Rom 10:17 -- "So then faith
cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God". Isa 55:11 -- "My word...
that goeth forth out of My [God's] mouth... shall not return unto Me void, but
it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing
whereto I sent it".
"The Bible is our light and life as much today as when fresh
from the hands of its Author... As we value our life, let us stand with
indomitable resolution against all doctrines that would... detract from the
authority or importance of the Scriptures" (Robert Roberts).