Brother Paul Burbidge

 

Inspiration

The Doctrine of Inspiration

Confluent

            Verbal

            Plenary

            Inerrant

            Infallible

 The Proofs of Inspiration

 The Essentiality of Inspiration

 

 

God Wrote the Book!

 

"And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day:" (Genesis 3:8) What an amazing thought my friends. Hearing God's voice in the Garden of Eden. When you read chapter two of Genesis you see that Adam and God talked with each other. How sweet life must have been before sin. Have you ever thought how wonderful it would be to hear God's voice and speak with Him face to face?

 

There is a problem though. These thoughts may be romantic but they fail in the light of reality! The Apostle Peter had the privilege of seeing the Lord Jesus in His glory, and hearing the very voice of God the Father from heaven. You might think Peter would hold this up as a pinnacle event in his life. Surely it would supercede all other revelation for it was the very voice of God. No, friends, that was not Peter's attitude. Peter puts this all into perspective for us in 2nd Peter 1:16-21. We read…

 

"For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (17) For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (18) And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. (19) We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

 

Friend! We have a "more sure word of prophecy" than even the voice of God from heaven. Wow! Verses 20 and 21 confirm that Peter is speaking of the written Word of God when he says that we have this more sure word. How is it "more sure," you might ask? How can that be? It is "more sure" by the very fact that it is written! That is only common sense. Something written cannot be changed. We are all aware how stories, passed by word of mouth, get drastically changed. Therefore, the written Word of God is "more sure" than the spoken word of God. Not because God writes perfectly and speaks with error, but for the simple reason that the WRITTEN WORDS OF GOD can be preserved. Man has a permanent copy! People can read it for themselves.

 

My friend how you view the Scriptures will affect every part of your life. Inspiration of the Scriptures: We need to know two things in regards to the inspiration of the Scriptures. First, how the Scriptures were inspired? Two, what is the nature of the Scriptures. There are five aspects to the inspiration of the Scriptures. They are as follows; Confluent Inspiration (a.k.a. Human Authors), Verbal Inspiration, Plenary Inspiration, Inerrant Inspiration, and Infallible Inspiration. The first of the questions two preceding questions is answered as confluent inspiration is discussed. The Second question is answered thereafter.

 

Confluent Inspiration, or Human Authors, comes first in our study. The word "confluent" means to flow together. Confluent Inspiration is taught in 2 Peter 1:21, which states, "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." Here, we see that the Holy Ghost "moved" the holy men of God in the writing of the Scriptures. The holy men of God were born along, if you will, by the Holy Spirit so as to record the perfect Words of God. There are some that feel that God used these men like pens. That God took over to such an extent that these men simply took dictation. This is commonly called Mechanical Dictation. The major problem with this is that it does not account for the different styles found in the books of the Bible. For example, the writings of the Apostle Paul exhibit a very fine writing style and exhibit Paul's character. Peter's character was shaped by God in a different way than Paul's. This is evident when you read Peter's Epistles. It is clear that when the Holy Ghost moved the holy men of old He did so in a way that allowed the Words of God to be recorded perfectly and at the same time used the styles and characters of the human authors.

 

We see than that Confluent Inspiration is the co-operating of God and His chosen men so as to record the perfect and holy Words of God. The prophet and king of Israel, David, said, “The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.” (2nd Sam. 23:2)

 

Verbal Inspiration comes next in our study. The word "verbal" refers to the individual words of the Scriptures. Verbal Inspiration simply describes the fact that God inspired each and every single word in the Bible. Watch the following verses to see how important the "words" of God are.

 

Exodus 20:1 "And God spake all these words, saying,"

Exodus 24:3 "And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do."

Psalms 12:6 "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times."

Jeremiah 1:9 "Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth."

Matthew 24:35 "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."

1 Corinthians 2:13 "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."

2 Peter 3:2 "That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:"

Revelation 17:17 "For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled."

Revelation 21:5 "And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful."

 

When I read these verses I get excited! God really cares about each word He has spoken. Every individual word is important. God told Jeremiah that He had put His "words" in his mouth. Paul describes the "words" which he speaks as not being the "words" of man's wisdom, but rather, the "words" that the Holy Ghost teacheth. Now look (and read) again, at the two verses from Revelation above. These are powerful statements! In Rev. 17:17 God proclaims that He will work His will "until the words of God shall be fulfilled." Each and every word MUST be fulfilled. That is what Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:35 when He said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." Finally, in Revelation 21:5, God commands John to "Write: for these words are true and faithful." WOW! WRITE the WORDS of GOD for they are TRUE and FAITHFUL!

 

The majority of professing Christians, today, are rejecting the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures. All those who use the modern versions (perversions) of the Bible certainly do. Some, out of ignorance, not knowing the truth; others out of willful hatred for God and His WORDS!

 

The partner, if you will, to verbal inspiration is commonly called plenary inspiration. Now, don't let that word "plenary" scare you. It simply means the whole, or the sum of the parts. I say it is the partner to verbal preservation because it only stands to reason that if each word of the Bible is inspired than the entire Bible is inspired! If all the parts are fully inspired than the whole is also. The one is synonymous with the other.

 

Paul tells us in 2nd Timothy 3:16 that, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness". There is no way around it -- A-L-L SCRIPTURE is inspired of God. The fact that the entire BIBLE is inspired by God; that all of the Bible's parts are inspired fully and equally are the reasons that the Apostle Paul could testify to the Pastors from Ephesus that he did not shun "to declare unto [them] all the counsel of God." Acts 20:27. The fact that the entire Bible is inspired entirely and equally in its parts, hence, the whole, gives weight and purpose to God's solemn warning in Revelation 22:18 & 19: Stating, "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."

 

God also inspired His word with absolutely NO errors. This is commonly referred to as inerrant inspiration. The fact that God's word is without error is only logical, seeing that the Bible is God's Book. God is perfect, therefore, what God creates/produces will be perfect. There are many verses, which teach the inerrancy of God's word. Some of these are…

 

Psalms 18:30 "As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him."

Psalms 19:7 "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple."

Psalms 19:8 "The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes."

1 Corinthians 13:10 "But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."

Psalms 12:6 "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times."

Psalms 119:140 "Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it."

1 Peter 1:23 "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."

 

Inerrancy refers specifically to the Bible being free from any errors in the facts which it records. Many doctrinal statements from Pastors, Churches, Ministries, and Bible Schools record their author's belief in inerrant inspiration in the original autographs. Brethren, BE CAREFUL! This phrase "in the original autographs" is a statement of UN-BELIEF, not belief. It is a statement of UN-BELIEF in the inerrant Word of God existing today, for we do not have any of the original autographs. Today, we have copies - of copies - of copies - of copies - etc. Having said this, we enter into the area of Biblical Preservation. The next installment of this series of articles will deal with preservation. The question that we need to ask people today is; do you believe that we have the inerrant Word of God TODAY?

 

The partner to inerrancy is infallibility. Inerrancy refers to perfection in the facts of the Bible. (i.e. "Moses my servant is dead" - Joshua 1:2) The infallibility of the Scriptures refers to the 100% correctness and authoritative-ness in the Bible's teaching. People often use inerrancy and infallibility interchangeably. As you can see they are very close in their definitions. The Bible teaches that it is perfect in its instruction. It is infallible! This fact is seen in the following verses.

 

Exodus 18:20 "And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do."

Deuteronomy 4:1 "Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you."

Psalms 86:11 "Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name."

2 Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"

 

If you are not convinced of the doctrine of Inspiration after seeing it from the Bible, than you need to pray for the mind of Christ on the matter. You need a heart change effected by the Spirit of God. Friend, do not plan to succeed in a life of faith when you don't believe that the Bible is without error and perfectly authoritative.

 

There are both internal and external evidences for the Bible's inspiration. The internal evidences are as follows.

 

1.             Details of events beyond human knowledge. The Bible authoritatively (They are not presented as guesses or assumptions.) gives details which could not be known by human beings. The creation, the words of Satan, the thoughts of people's minds, and the conditions of their hearts are just a few examples of these details.

 

2.             The Bible's Flawless Unity. Forty different human agents wrote the Bible over a period of 1,600-years, yet there is perfect doctrinal unity. The Bible has one theme and no conflicts. If someone claims there is a contradiction in the Bible, ask him or her to show you.

 

3.             The Bible contains many supernatural doctrines. For example.

a.       The Doctrine of God. When one looks at the Bible's presentation of the infinite, sovereign, holy God we come face to face with a God who is completely different from the "other gods" presented in other writings and religions. Take, for example, the plethora of Greek gods, goddesses, and demigods. The Greek gods are amazingly human (i.e. sinful).

b.       The Doctrine of Man, Sin, and Salvation. The Bible paints a hopeless picture (outside of Christ) of man. Man, in the Bible, is dead in trespasses and sin. There is hope in the ONE way of salvation, which the holy and loving God has provided. This salvation is free to all that will believe upon the Son of God—God in the flesh. Man has no merit to offer God; therefore, God has supplied all that is necessary for the forgiveness of sin and salvation. All world religions are based upon man working to become acceptable to the given deity. In truth, all world religions deify man at some point or in some way.

 

Surely we realize that if the Bible was authored by man then it would not teach of a God that is not reachable by the merits of man, that man is diseased with sin, and that man can do nothing to redeem himself. Had man authored the Bible then it would be just like the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, or Roman religions. Or maybe it would be like the modern man-made religions, like: Romanism, Mormonism, Islam, etc.

 

4.             The Bible's 100% accuracy rate with fulfilled prophecy. The Bible is over two-thirds prophecy. Just the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies alone is staggering. There are over 300 prophecies of the birth, ministry, passion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, which were all literally and completely (in detail) fulfilled. In fact, in the 24-hour period of the crucifixion there were about 21 different prophecies fulfilled.

 

The external evidences are (listed briefly):

 

1.         The Bible's credibility.

2.         The Bible's transforming results.

3.         The Bible's inexhaustible treasures.

4.         The Bible's honored promises.

5.         The Bible's mystery to unregenerate minds.

6.         The Bible's unique adaptability for translation.

7.         The Bible's standards--Holy, but workable.

 

Having looked at the doctrine and the proofs of the inspiration of the Bible we need to now look at the Essential-ness of Bible Inspiration. Why do we need the verbally, plenary, inerrantly, infallible Word of God? The answer is quite simple, if you have ears to hear.

 

Romans 10:17 "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

 

Salvation!!!! You MUST have the WORD of GOD in order to be saved. It is through grace, and by faith, that souls are saved. Therefore, if you and I do not have the very Words of God then we are on our way to hell, for faith will never come. It is by the Word of God that we are born again. Certainly, if nothing else, this demands that we have the inspired Word of God. Our eternal souls hang upon the inspiration (verbal, plenary, inerrant, infallible) of the Bible.

 

1 Peter 1:23 "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."

 

Not only does our salvation depend upon the God breathed Book, but our Christian growth and service does also. Again, as the Apostle Paul, moved by the Holy Ghost, says…

 

2 Timothy 3:16, 17 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

 

There is only one way in which the Christian can grow to maturity and be a fruitful servant. Through the WORD of GOD! By the Word of God we are made "perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." Without the Word of God we are left high and dry as to our Christian growth and service. We would never be able to grow spiritually nor ever know how to serve God. We would not know if our life and service was according to His will and pleasing to Him.

 

Those who claim that the Bible was inspired in the original autographs are denying that we have the inspired Word of God today.

 

If you are holding to a lesser view of the Scriptures than shown here from the Bible then you are not standing on the Rock of God's Word, but on sinking sand. As a Christian you will be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. Do you view the Bible in truth, as the verbally, plenary, inerrantly, and infallibly inspired Word of God, recorded as holy men of old were moved by the Holy Ghost? Or are you walking on the sands of faithlessness? A word of warning is due if you are. Your house WILL fall! Why not stand on the firm foundation? I challenge you to be like the Bereans--Acts 17:11.

 

By Paul Burbidge, B.Th.

 

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