The Inspiration of Scripture
Biblical Sermon Outline
By Pastor Ron Jones, www.titusinstitute.com
The Biblical writers claim that they have written far more than ethical and religious teachings - they claim that they have written divine revelation under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Do the Biblical writers actually claim to speak from God and write divine revelation under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? And if so, where? If they do, then people must accept or reject their claims exactly as they are made.
We'll begin by looking at the definition of inspiration.
I. The definition of inspiration
2 Timothy 3:16
"Inspired by God" is literally “God-breathed.”
The author of the Scriptures is declared by Paul to be God Himself and He "breathed" the words through the mouths and pens of the prophets and writers of the Scriptures by the power of the Holy Spirit. All Scripture owes its origin and contents to God.
"Scripture" means "writing" and refers to the revelation of God in written form. It refers to the Old Testament which had been written and completed long before Timothy was born.
Does it also refer to the N.T. - the writings of the apostles and their associates as they were in the process of being written and completed at that time? The answer is yes.
1 Timothy 5:18
"You shall not muzzle an ox... is a quote from Deut.25:4 of the Old Testament
"The laborer is worthy of his wages" is an exact word for word quote (in the Greek) of Jesus himself in Luke 10:7.
Both are called by Paul Scripture, which shows that already as the N.T. was being formed it was being considered Scripture inspired by God.
Also, the usefulness of Scripture for the man of God in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 must include the N.T. Otherwise, a Christian could not be adequately equipped by the O.T. alone
"All" means every word of the Scriptures is inspired. Not just the spiritual truths, but the historical and geographical parts as well.
"No prophecy of Scripture" here refers specifically to the words of the prophets in the Old Testament.
"Of one's own interpretation" shows that the Scriptures are not dependent on the personal understanding of any human being to figure out what it means.
"Never came by the will of man" shares that the prophets did not decide they were going to have a prophecy from God.
"But holy men of God spoke" means that men were set apart by God for this purpose to speak for God.
"Moved" (“as they were moved by the Holy Spirit”) means "carried along." The word is used with reference a ships that are carried along on a certain course by the wind (See Acts 27:15,17)
The Holy Spirit moved in the minds and hearts of these men to give the revelation of God first in the words of their mouths then in the words they wrote. The prophecies in this context are the written prophecies handed down in the O.T.
So "All Scripture is inspired by God" means that God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, guided the human authors so that what they wrote down was the very Word of God.
Revelation is what God reveals to man. Inspiration is the process where the Holy Spirit guides the writers to write down the revelation so that it is exactly what God wants. Because the Bible is inspired by God; all of it is the revelation of God.
It is not dictation. Although some parts are quotes of God's actual words. The Holy Spirit worked within the individual personalities of the writers to write what he wanted. That is why there are differences in style in the Scriptures - God never use human beings as robots always as human beings.
So this is a basic definition of inspiration. And this is exactly what the Bible writers claim about themselves.
Not only do they claim it about what they themselves were writing, but also about what other Scripture writers wrote.
II. The Claims of Inspiration
A. The Old Testament prophets' and writers' claims to speak from God
1. 3,808 times claims such as "Thus says the Lord" or the Word of the Lord came" occur.
Jeremiah tells his readers that God spoke to me and has commanded me to speak those words to you.
2 Samuel 23:2
Isaiah 1:1, 10-11
There is no defense of their claims – they expected to be believed. The Holy Spirit opens people’s hearts to believe their claims.
NOTE: These people lived at different times and different locations and yet they each claim to speak direct revelation from God
2. The Old Testament writers were commanded by God to write down their words
Moses was commanded by the Lord to write down the words of the Lord.
Jeremiah was commanded by the Lord to write down the words of the Lord.
God had always intended for his revelation to be written down and preserved for the following generations. And that all those writings would form the revelation of God.
3. The Old Testament Writers recognized previous Old Testament writers as speaking and writing from God.
"by the books ... by the Word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet”
Daniel recognized that Jeremiah’s “books” or “writings” were the Word of the Lord.
The people of Israel including the prophets themselves believed that the earlier prophets spoke and wrote divine revelation from God.
What about the New Testament writers? What did they feel about the Old Testament?
B. The New Testament writers' claims about the Old Testament writers
2 Peter 1:20-21
Peter says that prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
This is the process of divine revelation ("The Holy Spirit spoke through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers") and inspiration (Paul quotes the written word in the Old Testament).
C. The New Testament writers' claims to speak from God
Paul received the gospel by revelation from Jesus Christ.
Revelation 1: 1-2
John the apostle wrote down the revelation he received.
D. The New Testament writers' claims about other N.T. writers
Ephesians 2:19-20 and 3:1-6
There is a recognition on the part of Paul the apostle of the authority of the apostles to give revelation from God,
2 Peter 3:14-16
Peter recognizes Paul’s letters as part of the sacred Scriptures.
E. The claims of Jesus Christ 1. His claims about the O.T. writers
Jesus said that the Scriptures cannot be "broken" which means that cannot be set aside. It cannot be violated. It cannot be turned away. It cannot be emptied of its power by being shown to be false. It cannot be made null and void. It stands as the truth forever.
Jesus said that the smallest letter in Hebrew, a "jot" (equal in size to an apostrophe in English) and the smallest distinguishing part of a letter, a "tittle" (equivalent to crossing a "t" in English), that is, not the smallest part of the O.T. will fall away or be lost before everything it says is fulfilled
Jesus says that David spoke in the Spirit and then quotes from the written word
2. His claims about the N.T. writers
Jesus promised the apostles that they would receive divine supernatural help in revealing His Word.
The Holy Spirit would be given to them to teach them all things and bring to their remembrance everything he has said.
The Bible that you hold in your hands, is the revelation of God Himself to the world He created. When we as believers share its message to the world we are sharing the revelation of God.
That is what the Bible claims about itself. Men and women of this world must accept or reject that claim.
There is also another application of this truth
Do you treat the Bible as the revelation of God? Many Christians say to themselves, “If only God would speak to me. If only I could hear Him, then I would know what to do.”
God has spoken. You can hear Him. The question is not will God speak to us. The question we have to ask ourselves is, “Will we take the time to read the Word and listen to what God has to say?”