What does it mean when someone says, “The Bible is inspired?”
The inspiration of the Bible refers to the Holy Spirit’s supernatural influence on those who wrote the books of the Bible as they received special revelation from God. Because of this divine control, the Bible communicates the truths that God desires His people to know and share with the world.
Paul ‘s word to his young protégé Timothy uses the term “inspiration” to describe the Scriptures. He said, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
The idea of “inspiration” (God-breathed) means that the biblical authors were guided supernaturally to write exactly what God intended as a revelation of his mind and will. The process of inspiration involves God’s power to use the personality and literary skills of the writers and to go beyond any human ignorance or deficiency to insure that what is recorded are his words, ideas, thoughts, etc.
The apostle Peter refers to this in 2 Peter 1:20-21 when he said: “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 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.” The final outcome of this divine influence on human beings is the Word of God recorded in the words of men. In this sense, we could say that the Bible is the product of a divine-human cooperative.
Peter also attributed “inspiration” to the writings of Paul, whose letters he recognized as authoritative scripture.
2 Peter 3:15-16 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Jesus himself told his followers about the coming of the Holy Spirit after his resurrection and ascension. The Holy Spirit would indwell the disciples and help them recall all that Jesus had shared with them while he was with them on earth. Jesus said in John 14:26, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
The inspiration of the Bible simply means that the Bible is true in all that it teaches. It means that the Bible is the Word of God, the revelation of the Creator. It means that the Bible has authority, the final source for truth to decide issues of life and doctrine. (I Timothy 4:16).