What Do Christians Mean by the Inspiration of Scripture?

What Do Christians Mean by the Inspiration of Scripture?
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

This topic is very intensive, however today we are going to briefly explain this and what it means.

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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
– 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
-2 Peter 3:14-16 (NKJV)

When we say that scripture is inspired what we mean is that it is “God Breathed.” The Greek word used here for inspiration literally means “God Breathed”. Most Christians will tell you that this means that God breathed into the men who wrote scripture in order to make sure that the Scriptures are inerrant (without error).

Most people get it in their mind that it is like these men were secretaries and wrote down exactly what God said. This is a wrong concept. God used man’s understanding, intellect and personalities to write the Scriptures. They injected a lot of themselves into these writings, but God made sure that what they wrote was applicable to their time in history and ours as well. God also made sure that no errors were written down.

The process of inspiration is sometimes thought that these individuals just wrote automatically through some kind of trance, like the occult does. This is wrong. These men were free to write how they wanted (speaking of their intellect and personalities). They were protected by God from error.

It is also sometimes thought that the church gave us the Scriptures. Though the church did agree upon a Canon (selection of books) of Scriptures they didn’t write them. All the church has done is recognizing the Scriptures as being from God. Christians believe that when the Canon of Scripture was being formed that God the Holy Spirit, who indwells believers, guided the process and helped the church to recognize the Canon of Scripture. This Canon is what we refer to as the Holy Bible.

For example, the Apostle Peter recognized Paul’s writings to be equal with the Old Testament Scriptures, which is why Paul’s writing take up 2/3 of the New Testament. Seeing as how Peter was one of the original twelve Apostles, the church chose to go with Peter’s recognition of Paul’s writings as Scripture.

I hope this quick answer, answers this question pretty simply for those that have been wondering. There is a lot more that goes into understanding the details of how we got the canon of Scripture. I hope you do your own study as you seek to understand God’s ways and His words.

Books for Further Study

Inerancy and Worldview: Answering Modern Challenges to the Bible

Understanding Scripture: An Overview of the Bible’s Origin, Reliability, and Meaning