thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing
of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the
Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through
faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of
God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly
furnished unto all good works."
2 Tim. 3:14-17.
So much effort
has been made by unbelieving men, even in the ministry, to make the Revised
Version appear to teach that some Scripture is not inspired, that it is
necessary first of all to show that a literal rendering of the Bible does
not diminish its claims to inspiration. In the Revision we read, "Every
Scripture inspired of God is also profitable, etc. This is even stronger
than the other, for instead of making a positive statement that all
Scripture is inspired, it mentions it as a fact so well known that it needs
no proof, and proceeds to a statement of the result. Without going into
grammatical technicalities, it is only necessary to say that the present
participle "inspired," limiting the term "all Scripture," conveys the simple
idea that since all Scripture is inspired it is also profitable. Add to this
the fact that the revisers placed in the margin the exact reading of the old
version, it is evident that we are fully warranted in quoting
2 Tim. 3:16 as
a positive declaration that all Scripture is inspired of God.
"Scriptures" is a term used to denote the sacred writings commonly known as
the Old and the New Testament. It corresponds to the word "Bible." "Bible"
means "book;" when we say, "the Bible," we really say, "the Book." Now the
number of books in the world is almost beyond computation; yet the Bible is
so prominent, and so much above all other books, that it cannot be classed
among them, but is distinguished as "the Book," or the Bible. Everybody
knows what book we mean when we so speak. It is the same way with the
parallel term, "the Scriptures."
We read of
Christ, when He walked with the two disciples to Emmaus, after His
resurrection, that "beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded
unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself."
Thus we see that the term "the Scriptures" includes the whole of the Old
2 Tim. 3:16 affirms that they are inspired. Indeed,
when Timothy was a child there was nothing but the Old Testament written. It
is especially to the Old Testament that the apostle Paul refers when he says
that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God," and that it is able to
make a man wise unto salvation, and thoroughly furnish him unto all good
But the fact
that the Old Testament is particularly referred to in
2 Tim. 3:16 does not
exclude the New Testament writings from the term "the Scriptures." The
apostle Peter refers to the writings of Paul, and says that they contain
"some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and
unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own
2 Peter 3:16. The popular idea is that the Old Testament is
scarcely inspired, and it is thought a great concession to give it a place
with the New; but this is directly opposite to the Scriptural idea. There we
find that the writings of the New Testament are declared to be worthy of a
place by the side of those of the Old. Both are from the same source; both
were given by inspiration of God, and are of equal authority. He who regards
the Bible as it should be, will make no difference between the Old Testament
and the New.
Now that we have
before us a plain statement of what is included in the declaration that all
Scripture is given by inspiration of God, we may consider the fact of
inspiration itself. Not that we can understand it, or set forth any theory
of inspiration, but that we may form some conception of its greatness. We
consider the works of God in creation, not that we may understand the
mystery of creation, but that we may glorify God, whose greatness it
proclaims. So we consider the inspiration of the Bible, in order that we may
rightly appreciate the infinite power of the Word of God.
means literally, "breathing." A full inspiration is a full breath. This is
so common an expression that the reader does not have to know Latin or Greek
in order to appreciate the statement that the term, "inspired of God," in
Tim. 3:16 means simply "God-breathed." The fact is, then, that all of the
Scripture is the direct breathing of the Almighty. We are not required to
explain how this can be, since it was all written or spoken by men, inasmuch
as it does not rest with us to explain or understand how the omnipotent God
works. No man can by searching find out God, and know the Almighty to
perfection. We may, however, at some later time, note a few parallel cases,
showing the fact that God does work directly through the agency of men, and
even through the unwilling agency of evil men. What we are now concerned
with is to show that the Scriptures declare themselves to be emphatically
God's own word.
Let us read
Peter 1:20: "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but
holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." The Revision
has it: "For no prophecy ever came by the will of man; but men spake from
God, being moved by the Holy Ghost." With this let us read a still stronger
1 Peter 1:11. In order to get the full force of the verse, we
will read the tenth verse also:--
salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied
of the grace that should come unto you; searching what, or what manner of
time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified
beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow."
Take the two
statements from Peter, and put them together, and we find that the Spirit of
Christ--The Holy Spirit--was in the men who wrote the Bible, and that it
used their voices or hands to express its own words and thoughts. How this
could be, and the men still retain their individuality, and write and speak
from the fullness of their own hearts, we shall not attempt to explain.
Illustrations will, however, be given later.
of the statement that the Holy Spirit itself is the real author of the
Scriptures, the men being only its agents, is found in the following texts:
"And in those
days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples and said (the number of
names together were about an hundred and twenty), Men and brethren, this
Scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth
of David spake before concerning Judas."
Acts 1:15, 16.
things which God before had showed by the mouth of all His prophets, that
Christ should suffer He hath so fulfilled."
"And when they
[the disciples] heard that [namely, the report of Peter and John] they
lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, Thou art God,
which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is; who
by the mouth of Thy servant David hast said, Why do the heathen rage, and
the people imagine vain things?"
Acts 4:24, 25.
Speaking of the
interview that Paul had with the Jews in Rome, the evangelist says: "And
when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had
spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our
fathers, saying, Go unto this people and say, Hearing, ye shall hear, and
shall not understand; and seeing, ye shall see, and shall not perceive."
Acts 28:25, 26.
said to the people who gathered to look upon the lame man that was healed:
"And He [God] shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you;
whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things,
which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world
Acts 3:20, 21. See a similar statement in
Luke 1:70. Also
But there are
still plainer evidences that the Scriptures are God's word alone, and not
man's. In the book of Jeremiah (chap. 31:33) we read: "But this shall be the
covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, saith
the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write in their
hearts." In the book of Hebrews this same language is quoted, thus: "Whereof
the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us; for after that He had said before,
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the
Lord, I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write
Heb. 10:15, 16.
words occur in the prophecy of Jeremiah, they are not his words. The Spirit
of Christ was in that holy man testifying, so that when the writer to the
Hebrews quoted the words, he credited them directly to the Holy Ghost,
omitting all reference to Jeremiah. In this no injustice was done Jeremiah;
he himself would have acknowledged that the words were the Lord's, and not
In like manner
we find in the first chapter of
Hebrews several verses quoted from the
Psalms, yet the writer of the Psalms is not once mentioned, but God is
declared to be the speaker. See verses 7-12.
But this is all
that the limits of this article allow. Let the texts herein quoted be
pondered carefully, and in the next paper we shall, God willing, read some
other Scriptures showing further that the Scriptures are wholly inspired by
God, and that by whatever agency they come to us, they proceed from the Holy
Spirit, and are as much the Word of God as though uttered by Him with an