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Don Stewart :: How Did God Speak through the Biblical Authors?

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Don Stewart
How did God get his Word to humanity through the writers of the Scripture? While Scripture does not tell us exactly how the process worked, it does, however, tell certain things about the communication of God's truth to humanity Divine Inspiration Originates With God

The origin of the written Word of God is in the mind and will of God. The authority of Scripture to write Scripture was given under the direct control of God. Paul wrote.

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory (1 Corinthians 2:7).

It Was The Writings Not The Writers Were Divinely Inspired

According to Scripture it is the writings, the finished product, that is authoritative, not the writers themselves. The Bible says the writers were sometimes unaware of the meanings of what they wrote. Peter stated.

Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when he testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow (1 Peter 1:10,11).

Daniel did not understand some of the prophecies he recorded

Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, "My lord, what shall be the end of these things?" And he said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end" (Daniel 12:8,9).

How The Process Came About

The Bible indicates how God spoke through the prophets. Peter wrote.

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 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 (2 Peter 1:20-21).

From this statement we discover that whatever the Scripture says was not the product of any human opinion, ingenuity, interpretation, or explanation. It was, rather, the very Word of God. Furthermore, Scripture had its origin in God, not with human beings.

Two Things Learned From This Passage

This verse, therefore, teaches us two things with respect as to how the Bible was divinely inspired.

  1. It was not the will of the human authors that guided what was written in Scripture.
  2. The ultimate source of writing was God the Holy Spirit.
The People Were Carried Along

The Greek word translated "moved" in 2 Peter 1:21 has the idea of "to be carried, to be borne along." This word was used of a ship being carried along by the wind in its sail. The Book of Acts gives an illustration of the process.

Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the "northeaster," swept down from the island. The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along (Acts 27:14).

The word translated "driven along" is the same one as found in 2 Peter 1:21 and translated, "carried along."

This indicates that the Holy Spirit carried the human authors when they wrote the Scripture. It was God who moved them. The Holy Spirit was the active agent. The writers were passive in the message, but active in the writing. Ultimately they were writing what the Holy Spirit prompted them to write.

Illustrations Of God's Spirit Comes Upon People

Although the Bible does not give an explanation as to how this process worked, it does provide examples of God's Spirit coming upon people.

The Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded (2 Chronicles 15:1).

Jesus spoke of David speaking by the Holy Spirit.

He [Jesus] said to them, "How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying" (Matthew 22:43).

In these two passages, we find Scripture informing us that God's Spirit actually came upon individuals to perform certain tasks.

Summary While the Bible does not give us exact details of how God spoke authoritatively through the human authors of Scripture, it does tell us that the words of Scripture originated with God and were communicated to humankind in order to produce the resultant Word of God. First, God originated the message. He then communicated it to those whom He wanted it proclaimed. All of this was eventually committed to writing. However it is the writings, not the writers, which the Bible puts the emphasis upon. Exactly how all this occurred is not stated. Scripture says that the ultimate source was God the Holy Spirit who moved the writers in such a way to say what was needed to be said. Although the writers were in control of their senses, God spoke His Word through them in such a way as to bring about His authoritative word. In a number of places Scripture records the Spirit of God has come upon people. This demonstrates that God's Spirit has come upon people in the past to accomplish His purpose.

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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