From previous articles we have addressed the topics of the “Reliability of Scripture” (Part 1 O.T. and Part 2 N.T.) and further investigated the development of the New Testament Canon of Scripture.
In this article we will take a look at the “Origin” of Scripture. Is it simply the writings of men, the writings of God, or some synthesis of the writings of both?
The key verses that clarify the “origin” of scripture are found in the following 3 verses. There are others but these are the mainstay.
II Pet 1:20,21; II Tim 3:16,17; Acts 1:16
1) II Pet 1:20, 21 “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
The first of these verses is from II Peter 1:20,21 and this verse indicates that “prophecy” is not an act of the human will but men were moved “carried along (as found in some translations)” by the Holy Spirit and, therefore, the men “spoke from God”. We are tempted to believe from this verse that just the “prophetic parts” of scripture are directly from God. Indeed, we could be confined to this view if this were the only scripture to observe in the bible but we will show (shortly) that the same is true of all of scripture. The text before us at the very least introduces the concept that the origin of prophecy is not from the will of man; it is exclusively and entirely divine in its origin.
2) II Tim 3:16,17 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
II Tim 3:16 compels us further to view “ALL” of scripture as inspired by God.
What this passage does not mean:
This verse is not teaching that people who read the bible become inspired as they read the scriptures nor is this verse teaching that the writers were in-breathed by God and while they were in this condition they wrote down the message (we would not exclude this possibility, however).
What this passage does mean:
What is being communicated is that the scriptures themselves are inspired and therefore authoritative enough for teaching, reproof, correction and training. The Greek “theopneustos” literally means “God-breathed” and interpreted as in-breathed by God from which we obtain the modern term inspire (in spire = in breath). The word is found nowhere earlier in all of Greek literature but for centuries has never been of doubtful interpretation. The leading lexicographers affirm this interpretation that the scriptures are in-breathed by the breath of God.
Paul makes no explanation of the process of how God in-breathed life into the scriptures only that since it is in-breathed it is God’s word and, therefore, we can use it as a standard, as an authority, as the tool by which we reprove, correct, and instruct and teach so as to bring about change in those who hear it and need it.
3) Acts 1:16 “Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.
Acts 1:16 lays out the authoritative nature of the scriptures being irresistible in its outcome….. the “scripture had to be fulfilled”. The writer affirms the divine origin of the scripture. There is POWER in the scripture because it came from the ALL-POWERFUL Divine Being. Our Lord affirms this when speaking to the Sadducees. “You do err not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God”. The scriptures had to be fulfilled because their origin is from this divine being.
The words of Christ are meant to be a warning; “YOU DO ERR” not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God. May we kindly suggest that viewing any part of the scriptures as solely the work of men who are simply teaching good and moral things is to err “not knowing the power of God”. The origin of all scripture is divine and is, therefore, profitable to submit to its teaching.
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