All Scripture, Inspired by God? What Is the Truth?
Speaking of the Bible, each of us shows great respect to it. For thousands of years, no other book can take its sacred place in the hearts of us Christians. Since I began to believe in the Lord, the pastors and elders have always told us, “The Bible is the only standard for our belief and life, and every word in the Bible is inspired by God, without any error.” Afterward, I saw that 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Thereupon, I even more believed the saying “The Bible is given by God’s inspiration.”
However, the other day, when browsing in the group chat, I found a brother posted, “Is the view The Bible is given by God’s inspiration’ in accordance with facts? Is it based on God’s words? You are welcome to confer with me together.” I was attracted by this post at once, and thought to myself: Is the viewpoint: “The Bible is given by God’s inspiration” not right? How is this possible? I immediately posted a message in the group, seeking this question. Soon, he replied to my post, and his fellowship was as follows:
“Hello! Concerning Is all Scripture given by inspiration of God?’, I have such understanding: Firstly, we have to know what the background is when Paul said, All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness’ (2 Timothy 3:16). According to the historical facts, we can see that when Paul wrote letters to Timothy Church, there only existed the Old Testament. The New Testament hadn’t been compiled into a book, and there were just dozens of letters kept in the churches. So Paul’s word refers to the Old Testament, because the Israelites only regarded the Old Testament as the Scripture. The New Testament came into being after 300 A.D. At that time, the leaders of those churches had a meeting together. They thought that the last days were near, and they should collect the Lord Jesus’ words and the apostles’ letters, compile them into a book, like the Old Testament, and give it out to every church. So they collected the letters written by the Lord Jesus’ disciples and apostles. Finally, through study and confirmation, they selected 27 letters as the canon of the New Testament, and subsequently combined them and the Old Testament to become the entire contents of the Bible. This is how the Old and New Testament came into being.”
After reading the brother’s fellowship, I thought it made sense. I had never taken the background of Paul’s word into consideration and even considered that the whole Bible was inspired by God, as a consequence of which I paid great attention to all the words in the New Testament and regarded them as God’s words. Not until then did I realize that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” said by Paul, referred to the Old Testament. As I was musing, he had sent another passage:
“In addition, even if it is the Old Testament, we can’t say it is all inspired by God. Through searching the Bible, we can see that only what Jehovah instructed the prophets to say, and what the prophets were asked to convey are the words of God. Besides, God never said that the whole Bible was given by inspiration of Him, there was no such word in the Prophets, the Lord never said this, and the apostles never said their letters and testimonies came from God’s inspiration, much less did they dare to say they were God’s words. This is the fact. Yet later, all the believers in God believe that the Old and New Testaments, though written by men, were given by inspiration of God. Then let’s ponder: Is this knowledge factual?”
“It’s indeed not factual, for it doesn’t have the confirmation of God’s words, much less is there factual basis,” I replied quickly. Subsequently, he responded to me:
“‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God’’ and ‘All words in the Bible are all God’s words’ are our human opinions. The Lord, Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have : and they are they which testify of me’ (John 5:39). From the Lord’s words, we can see that the Bible is a testimony to God and a record of God’s work, and such saying is practical. Each step of God’s work is accompanied by the war between God and satanic evil forces, and the records in the Bible are all based on God’s work, so there are not only God’s words in the Bible but also various people’s and Satan’s words, which is a fact that no one can deny. In the Bible, apart from Jehovah God’s and the Lord Jesus’ word and the words God revealed to the prophets, most of the rest can be categorized as historical records and man’s experiences. Therefore, the saying ‘The whole Bible is given by inspiration of God and is all God’s words’ is not factual. If we humans can exalt God and have God-revering hearts, then it will be impossible for us to take man’s words in the Bible as God’s, much less to regard people used by God as God’s equal. Otherwise, isn’t it blasphemous to God?”
Through his fellowship, I understood it more clearly in my heart. Indeed, regardless of the Old Testament or the New Testament, most of the contents are certainly records of God’s work. In them are contained some God’s words, which are only a very small part. In the rest of the words, some are the statements of events, some are man’s words, some are Satan’s, etc. If we treat all these words as God’s words, isn’t this confusing concept or an absurd understanding? We men are part of creation, how could we compare with God? The nature of this problem is so grave…. When musing, I received from him another passage of words, and this allowed me to understand more clearly the gravity of clinging to this notion.
He said, “If we insist that men’s words are God’s, what consequence will come of such an action? Actually, we all can see: The whole religious world considers man’s words as God’s words. As a result, when giving sermons, communicating or testifying, they are quoting the words of man more and more frequently but the words of God less and less. Man’s words conform to our conceptions and imaginations, and so we all prefer accepting and quoting man’s words. As a result, God’s words have all been nullified unwittingly. Isn’t this a way of betraying or resisting God? Isn’t this a way of being in Enmity to God? Don’t we fall for Satan’s evil scheme? The nature of this problem is so grave. The Lord Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). From this we know God’s words are the truth and the life, and what about man’s? To obey God’s words enables us toand gain eternal life. Can we have eternal life by holding on to man’s words? If we give up God’s words, doesn’t it mean that we abandon the chance to enter the kingdom of heaven and to gain eternal life?”
After seeing his reply, I felt surprised: I had never thought it was so grave to hold on to this conception. Reflecting carefully, I found it was indeed a fact. Because we believe that all words in the Bible are given by inspiration of God, we think we should bear every word of the Bible in mind and naturally pay little attention to God’s words when we read the Bible. Moreover, God’s words are more profound, so we must pay a greater price to practice them; while man’s words are easy to understand and practice, and are in line with our notions, so we naturally choose to cling to man’s words. Just as what the Lord Jesus said, “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). While Paul said, “That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation” (Romans 10:9–10). So in accordance with the Lord Jesus’ words, only by following God’s way can we enter the kingdom of heaven and have eternal life, which requires us to pay a great price and suffer a lot. While according to Paul’s words, we are able to enter the kingdom of heaven just relying on the Lord’s grace and don’t need to pay any price. We naturally choose to hold on to Paul’s words, putting aside the Lord Jesus’ words. We don’t focus on seeking God’s will or seeking how to practice the Lord’s requirements in our life. Now think about it: The Lord is the King of the kingdom of heaven, and if we don’t believe in God based on the Lord Jesus’ requirements, can we be approved by God? When it is time for Him to judge humans with His words, to separate man according to kind and to reward the good and punish the wicked, we will find that what we hold on to aren’t God’s words, His requirements of us humans, and then we shall weep and gnash our teeth and beat our chests. It’s so terrible to even think of this.
At that time, I couldn’t help sighing with emotion: The fellowship of the brother is well-founded, and makes me have some discernment about the words “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” I now understood that I should focus on God’s words when I read the Scripture. Only God’s words are the truth, the way, and the life, and are the only standard for us to enter the kingdom of heaven. Even if with the inspiration and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, conforming to the truth and God’s will, man’s words can’t be treated as God’s words and the truth. If we just focus on listening to man’s words but not practicing God’s words, we are prone to walk down our own paths, and even can betray and resist God. It appears that I need to fellowship with those who understand the truth if I encounter problems that I don’t understand….
- Extended Reading:
- Who Can Give Me the Way of Eternal Life? The Bible or God?