“All Scripture is God-breathed and is valuable for teaching the truth, convicting of sin, correcting faults and training in right living” (2 Timothy 3:16 CJB).
The New Testament book of 2 Peter provides us with some additional insight into the “God-breathed” nature of the Bible. In the passage quoted below, the apostle Peter helps us understand how the process of Biblical inspiration took place…
“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21 NIV).
In the original language of this passage, Peter used a seafaring word that meant “to move or be conveyed” to describe this process. (1) We can illustrate this idea with the image of a sailboat on a lake. Just as a sailboat is moved by the wind that fills its sails, the Biblical writers were also carried along by the Holy Spirit so they went exactly where the Spirit wanted them to go in their Biblical works.
Nevertheless, it’s also important to remember something else: just as there is human activity aboard a sailing vessel, these human authors were also active in communicating the words of the Scriptures as God’s Spirit carried them along. This brings us to the following definition of Biblical inspiration…
“With these two acts of God—breathing out His Word and carrying the writers along by the Spirit—we can come to a definition of inspiration: The Holy Spirit moved men to write. He allowed them to use their own styles, cultures, gifts, and character. He allowed them to use the results of their own study and research, write of their own experiences, and express what was in their minds.
At the same time, the Holy Spirit did not allow error to influence their writings. He overruled in the expression of thought and in the choice of words. Thus, they recorded accurately all God wanted them to say and exactly how He wanted them to say it in their own character, styles, and languages.” (2)
This explains why the Bible claims to be authoritative (Exodus 4:30, 1 Thessalonians 2:13), eternal (Psalm 119:89, Matthew 24:35), and true (Psalm 119:142, John 17:17). Despite these things, it often remains difficult to grasp how the Bible can simultaneously reflect the Word of God and the words of human beings as well. One Pastoral commentator offers a useful answer to that question and we’ll examine that explanation next.
(1) See G5342 phero Thayer’s Greek Lexicon https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g5342/kjv/tr/0-1/
(2) Brian H. Edwards Why Should We Believe in the Inerrancy of Scripture? Answers in Genesis https://answersingenesis.org/is-the-bible-true/why-should-we-believe-in-the-inerrancy-of-scripture/ Retrieved 21 August 2021