Jerry C. Brewer
A profitable study of the Bible cannot be undertaken without a proper understanding of its inspiration. Paul wrote, “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. 3:16-17). The word “inspiration” is translated from the Greek, theopneustos, which means, “God-breathed.” The scriptures, including what Paul wrote in the above passage, were literally “breathed out” from God. He is the source of every word found in the Bible. Someone may ask, “You mean Satan was inspired when he lied to Eve about the forbidden fruit? That’s in the Bible.” The answer is, “no,” Satan was not inspired when he lied, but the account of his lie that Moses wrote in Genesis is an inspired account of it.
The Bible was written over a period of about 1,600 years by about 40 different men. They were a diverse lot and included shepherds, kings, fishermen, a physician and a tax collector, among others, and when their writings were gathered into that single volume we call the Bible, there was not— and is not—a single contradiction between any of them. The only way to account for that is to understand that while they wrote in their own styles, God gave them the very words He wanted to convey to men. That is what we call, “verbal inspiration”—inspiration that extends to the very words of the Bible, not just the thought. Paul put it this way: “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Cor. 2:13).
God did not give the writers of the Bible an idea to express in their words, but expressed His own will in words of His choosing. There is a void between spirits, and the only way that void can be bridged is for one to express himself in words to another. That’s what Paul meant, saying, “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:11). As you cannot know what is in my mind until, and unless, I tell you—reveal it to you—so no man could have known the will of God without Him revealing it, in His own words in the Bible through inspired men.