WORD OF GOD… OR WORDS OF MEN?
The Bible claims to be a unique book unlike any other. The Bible declares itself to be the revelation of God and His Word given to men. It claims to be more than just a book penned by human authors.
Some people find it difficult to believe that the Bible is actually God’s Word. They wonder if it is accurate and reliable. They may question how much of it is actually from God.
When the term “the Word of God” is used, it does NOT mean that every word contained in the Bible is a word spoken by God. Sometimes the Scriptures are quoting the words of men, or angels, or even Satan. For instance, the Bible contains records of many sinful acts, but it does not commend any of these; it rather condemns them.
Scripture even records some of the lies of Satan (i.e., Gen. 3:4). But by including them in Scripture, it is not teaching us that these lies are true; rather, it guarantees that The Bible is a true and accurate record of what occurred and what was said. It does not mean that every word contained in the Bible was a word that God said with His mouth.
However, the Bible is the Word of God in the following way: God, through the Holy Spirit, divinely inspired the writing of it. He was the supernatural Overseer Who directed the Bible’s design and the recording of its contents.
- But is it really the “Word of God”?
- Or is it the words of men with special religious insights?
- Are only parts of the Bible the Word of God – or is all of it God’s holy Word?
- Can we really trust the Bible to be accurate and error free?
THREE FOUNDATION STONES
These questions and their answers are extremely important to any Christian leader. For either the Bible is the authoritative source for guiding our life and conduct, or it is merely a book of good suggestions which we can believe or not. Leaders must be convinced in their hearts of the authenticity and power of the Living Word of God.
In this section of the article, “The Bible – God’s Holy Word,” we will examine three important “foundation stones” of what the Bible teaches us about itself. Having a correct understanding and a firm stance of correct belief regarding these three issues will determine much about your personal walk with Christ and your fruitfulness in ministry.
These three foundation stones are:
Doctrine of Inspiration;
Doctrine of Inerrancy;
Law of Interpretation.
Let’s look at the Doctrine of Inspiration first.
A. THE BIBLE: WHERE DOES IT COME FROM? THE DOCTRINE OF INSPIRATION
KEY WORD: THEOPNEUSTOS
The term “inspiration” as it is applied to Scripture comes from the Apostle Paul’s statement:
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God…” (II Tim. 3:16). Unfortunately, the English word “inspiration” used in this passage does not accurately reveal the meaning of the Greek word it translates. In fact it is somewhat misleading. The word “inspire” comes from the Latin word inspiro which means to “breathe in.” Without a proper understanding of this word, might incorrectly conclude that God breathed into the writings of men, giving them a certain power. This is not what the Scriptures teach, nor what the Holy Spirit wants us to understand.