Loyal Christians down through the years have accepted the Bible as a book verbally inspired of God (2 Timothy 3:16). The word “inspired” means literally “God-breathed.” Inspiration is the strong, conscious in-breathing of God into the minds of human writers, thus qualifying them to put into circulation the Truth. Inspiration is God speaking through men, and the Bible is therefore just as much the Word of God as if He spoke every single word of it with His own lips. 2 Peter 1:21 says that holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
I believe in the full, verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible. Every part of the Scriptures (in the original documents) is verbally (word for word) inspired by God. Every sentence, every line, every word, every mark, every point, every penstroke, every dotting of the i, and every crossing of the t, was placed there by God Himself. All Scripture is inspired of God, and if all of it is inspired of God, then none of it is uninspired! We will note seven observations that support verbal inspiration.
1. The Bible’s Amazing Composition
The Bible was written through the instrumentality of men. God is the author, but there were more than 40 human writers. They wrote 66 individual books during a period of sixteen hundred years. The first part of the Bible was written fifteen hundred years before the writer of the last book was even born. These 40 men grew up in thirteen different countries. They lived on three different continents and spoke three different languages. Some of the writers were kings; others were fishermen. Some were statesmen, herdsmen, shepherds, doctors, men of learning, men without learning, men from every condition of life. What would you naturally expect from a book written in such remote periods of time, under such varying circumstances, by so many different persons—but absolute contradiction and discord, and a total lack of unity? But the marvel of it all is that out from these many differing circumstances has come the Bible, which is one whole complete unit from Genesis to the Revelation. The writers lived far apart in time and space, yet every part of the Bible fits perfectly in place. The Bible has only one theme. It deals everywhere with man’s complete ruin in sin and God’s perfect remedy in Jesus Christ. There is one central message, one code of ethics, and one plan of salvation. Surely God was the Author who spoke through many human writers.
2. The Bible’s Claim To Inspiration
The Bible claims to be the Word of God. Expressions such as “The Lord commanded,” or “The Lord spoke saying,” are used more than two thousand times in the Old Testament alone. If you open your Bible to the Book of Leviticus (at random anywhere in the Book), and read the very first verse of the chapter before you, it likely says, “And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying.” It does not say, “Moses spoke, saying.”
The Bible claims to be divinely inspired (2 Timothy 3:16), and the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:37, “The things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” If I did not believe that God had written the Bible, I wouldn’t want it around our home. More than 2,700 times there is in the Bible a claim to inspiration—and if the Bible is not the Word of God, then there are 2,700 lies within its pages. I wouldn’t want a book fostering so much falsehood around our home for our children to read. We must either accept the Bible for what it claims to be, or set it aside as unworthy of our confidence.
3. The Bible’s Unending Appeal
Books that are two thousand years old are scarcely read by the general public today. Only one out of two hundred books published this year will still be published seven years from now. But the Bible’s popularity has steadily grown throughout its history of more than three thousand years. Century after century it continues to renew its youth. The Bible’s appeal is an exception to the law of best sellers. It defies all competition. More than forty million copies in 1,700 languages are published every year. The Bible is read from the last tiny island in the South Pacific to the cold snow-hut of the Eskimo in Alaska. The Bible speaks of all nations; it is valued by all races; it is loved by many groups of people. Such a book is without parallel in human literature and is nothing less than a miracle.
4. The Bible’s Scientific Accuracy
The Bible was written in a non-scientific age. Its writers were not scientists. The Bible is not a textbook on science, but when it touches on a scientific subject it is always accurate.
Job lived in a day when all the wise men believed and taught that the earth was supported on a platform, resting on the backs of elephants which were standing on the shell of a mighty turtle that was standing on the coil of a great snake. They believed that the earth quaked when the elephants shook themselves. That’s what the learned men of Job’s day believed. How did Job know to utter a strictly scientific truth when he said, “God hangs the earth upon nothing” (Job 26:7)? Job was writing better than he knew because God was speaking through him.
Isaiah lived in a day when all persons believed the earth was four-cornered and flat. They even told Columbus (a little more than 500 years ago) that he would get to the end of the earth and drop off. How did Isaiah know that the earth was round, and not flat, when he said, “God sits upon the circle of the earth” (Isaiah 40:22)? The fact is that scientists have not yet caught up with the science of the Word of God. Don’t ever let a learned scientist lead you to believe that the Bible is unscientific and out of date. The Bible is always ahead of date.
5. The Bible’s Miraculous Preservation
The Scriptures say, “Forever O Lord thy word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). You may as well try and keep the sun from shining as to stop the forward march of the Bible. And yet when we consider the persecution and hatred toward the Bible down through the centuries, we marvel that it exists at all. The Bible is not only the most loved Book in the world, it is also the most hated Book. The Bible teaches things that are distasteful to human beings, and as a result, they have either rejected it or attempted to explain away its meaning. Thomas Paine wrote in his book The Age of Reason, “Fifty years hence the Bible will be obsolete and forgotten.” But the very press on which that book was printed was afterward used to print thousands of Bibles. Lenin, the founder of modern Communism, said one time, “I expect to live long enough to attend the funeral of all religion.” But Paine and Lenin have passed on to the eternal world. The Bible is still here!
Before the invention of the printing press, Bibles had to be copied by hand. They were scarce and expensive. Bibles were chained to tables in the churches, and people paid a sum of money to read them for a short period of time. Besides the scarcity and expense, there was bitter persecution. For centuries, in many countries, it was a criminal offense to be caught reading the Bible. Bibles were burned to light the streets of cities at night. They were torn to shreds and buried at sea. But empires have risen and fallen; kings have been crowned and uncrowned; civilization has changed—yet the Bible has never been destroyed. Men may spurn the Bible, they may burn it, they may abuse it, they may misuse it—but while their bodies are crumbling back to the dust of the earth—the Bible will continue on its forward march. These words of God will never pass away.
6. The Bible’s Fulfilled Prophecy
Human beings simply do not know what is going to happen next. The most striking characteristic about the Bible is the fact that it predicts in plain language events that will take place in the future history of mankind. And then God confirms what He says by bringing them to pass. The Koran of the Muslims and the sacred books of other pagan religions contain no prophecies whatsoever, but every last prophecy of the Bible that was to have taken place to the present time, has been literally fulfilled. Many examples could be given, but we take time for just one. Jesus and the two malefactors were hanging on the Cross. The Sabbath was approaching and the soldiers were ordered to break their legs. They went to Calvary and they broke the legs of the two malefactors, but when they came to Jesus, they stopped! They didn’t break His legs. Why? You say, “Because He was dead already.” Why didn’t they say, “We’ll be sure this blasphemer is dead, we’ll break them anyhow”? Why? Because more than 4,000 years ago, God said of Jesus Christ, “Not a bone of him shall be broken” (Exodus 12:46). The Roman soldiers could not have broken the bones of Jesus any more than they could stop a planet from its flight in the heavens. When God speaks, it will be carried out.
7. The Bible’s Transforming Power
Many thrilling stories could be told about the transforming power of the Word of God. The Bible changes the lives of human beings. Drunkards have been made sober; harlots have become pure and decent; thieves have been made honest and upright. The Bible has lifted ignorant, superstitious savages from the depths of satanic bondage and transformed them into men of God. The cannibal tribes of the South Sea Islands have been transformed into gentle peace-loving people. Every page of the Bible speaks of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Christ is the center, the end, the core, and the circumference of all the Scriptures. Anyone who studies the Bible, and believes its contents and sincerely accepts the Christ whom it reveals—will experience a complete change of life. The Bible is the only Book in all the world whose teachings have the marvelous power to make bad people good, completely changing their characters.
The Bible changes the lives of people. It was the Bible’s transforming power that enabled an early Christian named Ignatius to say (while on his way to be devoured of beasts), “The closer I get to the lions, the nearer I get to God.” When Polycarp was given a chance to renounce his Saviour, he said, “Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me wrong. How can I renounce my King and my Saviour?” He didn’t get that testimony from a $4.95 novel. The Bible had transformed his life! That testimony was the outgrowth of an experience with the Christ who is revealed within the pages of the Bible. Certainly a Book that lifts men and women up to God like the Bible does, must have come down from God!
Each of us had better become serious about the message of the Bible. Soon this life will be over and we will stand before God. The Bible will be the textbook of Heaven. We can spurn the Bible here, but we are going to meet it over there. Jesus says in John 12:48, “The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him on the last day.”