INSPIRATION AND REVELATION (Part 1)
The Scriptures affirm of themselves that they all were “given by inspiration of God” (II Timothy 3:16). “Inspiration” literally means “breathed out of God.” The words of the Bible (Holy Scripture) were “breathed out of God” into the writers so that what they wrote was, in fact, the word of God. The apostle Peter declared that “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (II Peter 1:21).
David, both a prophet (spokesman, mouthpiece) and a king, said, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue” (II Samuel 23:2). In the New Testament, Peter quoted a prophecy from David concerning Judas’ betrayal of Christ and the selection of another to take the place of Judas among the apostles. Peter’s words concerning this matter are as follows: “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas who was guide to those who arrested Jesus” (Acts 1:16). The statements could hardly be clearer as to the true origin of David’s words—the Holy Spirit of God!
Time and again, the Old Testament prophets attributed their message, not to themselves, but to God (see Isaiah 8:1; Jeremiah 1:1-2; Ezekiel 1:1-3; Hosea 1:1; Joel 1:1; Amos 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13; 2:1, 4, 6, etc. [Amos did not want his hearers to miss
the origin of his message!, hf]; Jonah 1:1; 3:1 [The word of the Lord to Jonah the second time was the same as the first time! Those who keep thinking that the word of God might change, are in for a rude awakening!, hf]; Micah 1:1; et al.) The preceding citations are illustrative of all the Old Testament writers.
Jesus promised the same kind of inspiration to the apostles and prophets of the New Testament scriptures. “[F]or it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you” (Matthew 10:20). “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26). It is important to bear in mind that in both of the preceding passages Jesus is addressing His apostles, not all of His followers for all time.
The apostle Paul wrote: “Now we [apostles and prophets of the New Testament era, Ephesians 3:5, hf] have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us [apostles and prophets, hf] by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (I Corinthians 2:12-13). (These verses need to be studied in their larger setting, extending from verses 6 through 16. They are a marvelous affirmation of the verbal inspiration of the Holy Scriptures).
Later, Paul affirmed “that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (I Corinthians 14:37). He also said, “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe” (I Thessalonians 2:13).
The apostle Peter spoke of Paul’s epistles (some of which were then extant) and referred to them as being a part of “the rest of the Scriptures” (II Peter 3:14-16). Paul’s letters, said Peter, were written “according to the wisdom given to him,” another declaration of the divine inspiration by which Paul wrote.
Concerning the gospel, Paul stated: “But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:6-9).
With reference to the grand scheme of redemption (which in Old Testament times was a mystery [something not yet revealed] still hidden in the mind of God), Paul declared: “[H]ow that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I wrote before in a few words, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages (Old Testament times, hf) was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets . . .” (Ephesians 3:3-5). (The entire context of verses 1 through 13 is weighty, informative, and deserving of thoughtful reflection).
(To be continued next week, D. V.)
March 17, 2015