5. What is the meaning
of inspiration of the Bible?
a. Biblical claim of inspiration:
b. Characteristics of inspiration:
The Bible is claimed as the "Word of
God" (2Ti 3:16; 2Pe 1:21; Heb 1:1; 1Co 2:13; see God’s warning for
false claims, Dt 18:20) and is described as being inspired (Gr.
meaning God-breathed, or breathed out by God) by the Holy Spirit.
This kind of inspiration is called:
c. Meaning of inspiration:
verbal inspiration (the very
words used were approved by God)
plenary inspiration (covering
the entire text of the Bible)
organic inspiration (the Holy
Spirit used the writers just as they were, with their character and temperament,
their gifts and talents, their education and culture, their vocabulary
d. Wrong views :
God gave full (plenary) expression
to His thoughts in the words of the Bible through human beings. It is the
divine and human elements united in perfect harmony.
On one hand, the Holy Spirit illumined
the writers’ minds, aided their memory, prompted them to write, repressed
the influence of sin on their writings, and guided them in the expression
of their thoughts even to the choice of their words. Therefore the Bible
is a record completely true in the context for which God intended it.
On the other hand, the Holy Spirit
left free scope to the writers’ activity. They could give the results of
their own investigations, write of their own experiences, and put the imprint
of their own style and language on their books.
It is a process by which Spirit-moved
men (2Pe 1:20-21) produce Spirit-breathed writings (2Ti 3:16).
The view is that God literally dictated
the Bible word for word. The writers did not contribute in any way to the
contents or form of their writings.
BUT the books in the Bible reflect
different styles and vocabularies of individual authors, for example, the
styles of Paul, John, and Peter are very different.
e. Different interpretations of
the result of inspiration:
The view is that God inspired the writers
but the inspiration had no direct bearing on their writings. Their mental
and spiritual life was simply strengthened and raised to a higher pitch,
so that they saw things more clearly and had a more profound sense of their
real spiritual value.
BUT this would differ only in degree
from the spiritual illumination of all believers and the Bible would not
deserve its claim as the Word of God.
(1) Conservative, Evangelical view:
the Bible is the Word of God (the correct view)
Footnote: the meaning of evangelicalism
(Gr. evangelion meaning good news or gospel)
(2) Liberal view: the Bible contains
the Word of God
emphasize the gospel and the sacrifice
of Jesus Christ on the cross, believe that the gospel: (a) leads to conversion
and a changed life, and (b) leads to action
accept absolute authority of the Bible
avoid dogmatism and confrontations
with other Christians (e.g. Billy Graham)
(3) Neo-orthodox view: the Bible
the Word of God
believing that the Bible is a mixture
of the Word of God with the words of men
one may find the Word of God from the
Bible by rational and moral reflection through God’s illumination
BUT this is too rationalistic and man-centred;
man who is susceptible to errors is granted the power to decide on what
believing that the Bible only speaks
to man meaningfully when God encounters man personally in an act of revelation
BUT this depends too much on subjective
experience so that the same passage may be regarded as the Word of God
for some persons but not for others
are the internal evidences of inspiration?
a. contains sayings explicitly
from God ("God said", "This is what God the Almighty says")
7. What are
the external proofs of inspiration?
b. agreement of all parts of Scripture
with each other
c. did not hide the sins committed
by great ancestors (such as Abraham) and great kings (such as David), judgment
of historical events from the divine viewpoint
d. use of a variety of expression
in recording the same incidents but no contradiction (Mt 16:16; Mk 8:29;
Lk 9:20 and Mt 3:17; Mk 1:11; Lk 3:22)
e. claim for inspiration in each
book of the OT
f. claim by NT writers (who were
all holy persons) as spirit-directed
a. testimony of the Holy Spirit:
universal consent of the church on the inspiration of the Bible
8. In what
way is the Bible perfect?
b. transforming power of the Bible:
many examples of complete moral conversion for the people who read the
c. unity of the Bible: over 40 writers,
1500 years in time span, different countries, different occupations, but
unity of subject: sin and salvation
d. fulfilment of prophecies of the
Bible: confirmed by history and archaeology, such as regathering of Israel
(Isa 11:11), destruction of Tyre (Eze 26, v.5), sequence of great
world kingdoms (Da 2; 7)
e. moral superiority of the Bible:
sums up and transcends the best morality of all books of all time
f. universality: translated into
over 1000 languages and dialects which represent about 90% of world’s population;
distributing over 30 million copies a year for the last few decades
g. historicity, accuracy of details:
Not even one single error has been definitely proved to exist anywhere
in the Bible; instead, persons, places and events not known elsewhere except
in the Bible have been substantiated by archeological discoveries.
h. indestructibility: The Bible
has withstood countless attacks (Mk 13:31); many prominent atheists
(such as Voltaire) have predicted the obsolescence of the Bible
a. The Bible is divine authority;
it is the sole source and final authority of faith and practice.
b. The Bible is absolutely necessary
for man to know God and His salvation.
c. The Bible is perspicuous
(clearly expressed, easily understood); the plain sense of Scripture, in
particular the knowledge unto salvation, was available to anyone who earnestly
seeks to understand it (Ps 119:130; 19:7-8).
d. The Bible is sufficient
for the moral and spiritual needs of God’s children and the Church.