The Scriptures and Inspiration Go Hand in Hand. All Scripture Is Given by Inspiration.
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
This verse tells us that “all” scripture “is” given (present tense) by inspiration of God and it “is” profitable (right now). While there is no doubt that God has given (past tense) us his word, is it correct to limit the act of inspiration to a past event (I.E. the original autographs) or is it still being given to us by inspiration every time we read a perfect copy of it?
Inspiration In the Greek: Theopneustos – “God Breathed”.
If we simply rely on the Greek definition of the word “theopneustos” as meaning God breathed, we must also conclude that inspiration happened only once as the originals were penned. In other words, the King James Bible cannot be an inspired book because it is a translation of the originals (actually it is a translation of copies of copies). Furthermore, we must conclude that it is impossible for anyone to have an exact copy of God’s word today since all original manuscripts are no where to be found.
We can more accurately understand the meaning of “inspiration” by examining what the bible says; comparing scripture with scripture.
The Law of First Mention
As Job is the oldest book in the Bible, we marvel that the first writer of scripture “just happens” to record the definitive statement on inspiration. Of course, this conclusion can only be found in a King James Bible!
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth (present tense) them understanding.
In its most basic exegesis, inspiration gives man understanding as it is received and employed by God’s Spirit. This simple truth was provided by the Holy Spirit more than 1,800 years before Paul ever discussed the subject with Timothy.
The Hebrew word for inspiration in this scripture is “neshamah”. It is employed 27 times in the O.T. In 17 of these instances it is translated “breath” in the English. Thus, most modern English bibles translate the word “breath” rather than “inspiration”. The King James Bible, however, correctly translates this passage as “inspiration” which serves to open our understanding of how God has given us the scriptures. And as you will see later, the idea of the “breath” of God is already revealed in the English King James Bible as having a connection with the scriptures, and more specifically, with the understanding of the scriptures, as well as physical and spiritual life.
Food For Thought – It is also worth noting that, as we cannot know for sure what language Elihu would have used during this post Babel era. His autograph was probably translated into Hebrew by Moses. This would make the entire first book in the bible an inspired translation.
The Scriptures – Holy, Inspired Copies
Scripture is what God has said in written form. It is synonymous to the Word of God but is not limited to just the “original” writings or autographs. Every mention of the word “scripture” in the bible is a reference to a copy and not an original autograph. This shows us that copies can be exact (perfectly preserved) and that all exact copies of the bible are indeed scriptures and are given by inspiration of God.
2 Timothy 3:15-16 “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.” vs. 16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (Timothy did not have the original writings of the O.T. He had copies of copies. Yet Paul referred to them as “the scriptures”.)
It is safe to say that Timothy did not possess the “originals”. The reason Timothy had known the holy scriptures from childhood was because they had been passed on to him by his mother and grandmother “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” 2 Tim 1:5. These holy copies were able to make Timothy “wise unto salvation” because “there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding”. Job 32:8
Paul’s “son in the faith” could understand the scriptures because they had been “given to him” through inspiration (just like it is given to us today). This is precisely why the only two verses in scripture that use the word “inspiration” also use the word “give” in the present tense – “giveth them” and “is given”.
Other Bible References to the Scriptures:
Acts 8:32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: (The Ethiopian Eunuch did not have the actual original of Isaiah’s writing – he had a copy.)
John 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Scripture = copies and God promises that the scriptures will not be broken.
The following verse helps us to realize that God moved men to speak his words which in turn were copied down perfectly for us to read.
2 Peter 1:21 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.
In essence, these were the first “copies” of “scripture”.
We conclude, therefore, from the English that “inspiration” gives man two essential things: “all scripture” (i.e. autographs, copies) and “understanding”.
God Is Actively Inspiring His Word Today Through His Spirit
Psalms 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
Proverbs 1:23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. God gives life to his words.
1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. The Words of God give eternal life.
2 Timothy 3:15 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.
Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
The same Spirit of God that can give life to his words and eternal life to our souls is equated with the “breath” of God. No knowledge of the Greek or Hebrew is required when simply comparing scripture.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. This same miracle happens when we are born again.
Job 33:4 The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.
Job 27:3 All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;
2 Corinthians 3:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
So we see that while the Greek word theopneustos may indeed correctly mean “God Breathed” it is definitely a limiting definition of what the scriptures teaches on the matter of inspiration. We are able to get a much more complete idea of inspiration by comparing scripture with scripture in the English.
Further Evidence That God Is Actively Inspiring His Word In All Believers
1 Corinthians 2:10-16 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 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. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 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. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.