If you grew up in a Christian household, chances are you have fond memories of Sunday School – seeing illustrations of Bible stories, doing arts and crafts, and singing along about the “B-I-B-L-E” and about how “Jesus loves me! This I know, For the Bible tells me so.”
To many, these memories bring great comfort, and into adulthood reading the scriptures becomes an even greater source of strength and encouragement as we learn God’s heart and His faithfulness through hardship. Other great writings have stood the test of time and influenced cultures – The Epic of Gilgamesh as well as the Greek Iliad and Odyssey are human literary achievements, but these are stories with a skewed sense of reality. We can learn many things through the academic study of human literature, but only the Bible is a living book that speaks to our hearts. We can read other books, but only God’s word reads us:
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
- Hebrews 4:12
The term “inspiration” refers to the fact that God still speaks through the Bible. It means literally that He breathed into it. In secular usage, the word inspiration can refer to a flash of genius or a strike of motivation to act or change. You can be “inspired” by a clever speech or by a touching film, but this is a different connotation than what Paul refers to. As 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” Scripture comes from within God as our breath comes from within us.
Many scholars would use a less literal understanding of the inspiration of Scripture to justify a cynical interpretation. Often, those in higher academia (even in Christian institutions) say that the Bible contains doctrinal truth but historical error, which dismisses the divinely-inspired nature of God’s Word.
We at ISOW believe in the transformative power of Scripture and the truth that God Himself is speaking. With every “Thus saith the LORD” and “Jesus said to them,” our hearts are being transformed. One of the amazing things about Christianity is that its fundamental beliefs are not just distant, idealistic philosophies. We trust that the Messiah will physically return to the earth and rule in a real kingdom, bringing eternal justice and an end to suffering. These truths are where objective reality and hopeful, optimistic idealism meet.
What does this have to do with inspiration of the Bible? The Bible is the “God-breathed” truths of heaven. The Bible is not to be worshipped, however, for God alone deserves our worship. Yet God has placed holy texts into the hands of the church so that we will be prepared to live righteously and follow His guidance (2 Timothy 3:17). Scripture’s influence in the world and its transformative power are proof of the legitimacy of its divine origin. The divine message is a breath of fresh air for us, bringing us to life from the dead!