Tuesday, January 11, 2011

An Inspired Idea!

On Tuesdays, while my kids are in a home school class, I spend the mornings studying for my NANC Certification, a Biblical Nouthetic Counseling certification process.  I'm currently working through the open-book theology essays.

So what's my inspired idea?  To share these with you on Tuesdays!  You will get to read the first drafts of the essays I've completed so far.  The first one is:


The Bible is spoken of as “inspired.”  What does this mean?

Many people use the word inspired for works of art or literature that are so beautiful or amazing, there is no human way possible they could have accomplished them unassisted.  They are beyond limited human capabilities.  Though most people do not really take this thought to the next step - as to who the inspiration came from - that is the general idea behind the word.  

As believers in Jesus Christ, we believe that the Bible has been inspired as well, meaning it was not accomplished by limited human minds, and the inspiration came from the one true God.  Webster’s dictionary defines inspiration as “a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation.”  God, as the only truly divine influence, delivered sacred revelation to the writers of the Bible.  Therefore, it is not simply another book based on the thoughts of men that fill our library shelves.  Their words were given to them  by God’s perfect will as to what should be penned.   

We know the Bible is inspired based on many Biblical texts.  The most common passage is II Timothy 3:16, which says in the NASB, “All Scripture is inspired by God.”  Jesus also explains that it is a work of the Holy Spirit by what He said in John 14:26, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”  The Apostle Paul teaches, “...what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord.”  (I Cor. 14:37)  In his second letter to the church in Corinth, Paul says that he will give, “proof that Christ is speaking in me.”  (II Corinthians 13:3)

The word “all” in the passage in II Timothy means each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything.  For this reason, we do not believe that just some passages are inspired, but literally all of them.  From Genesis to Revelation, the entire Word of God is inspired by God.  

Understanding this, the way we read the Bible is transformed!  We are no longer allowed to pick and choose which passages we like and which we do not.  We must wrestle with the fact that God is the authority on what is true, and we must align our thoughts with His Word.

For example, some come to Christ believing that the stories of Noah and Jonah are just fictitious fairy tales taught in Sunday School Classes. However, knowing that God inspired all of the Scriptures, combined with the understanding that God does not lie, we must believe these stories to not only be true, but relevant to our lives today.  II Timothy 3:16 goes on to say that all scripture is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”  So those stories of Jonah and Noah are profitable for us as believers today.

Understanding the Bible is inspired also affects our daily life.  God’s word says that a gentle reply best calms down a wrathful person.  (Proverbs 15:1)  When confronted with a heated situation, you might be tempted to think that the only proper response is to yell and make your point heard. However, God says that a gentle answer is the only correct course of action.  If this were just good advice from a friend, then you might be able to rationalize away the instruction.  However, knowing that God is the one giving the advice, there is really no other way to act.

The inspiration of the Bible gives us hope that God did not just leave us alone to figure out life in this world that He created.  He did not abandon His children and leave them directionless.  He used men to write a book - an inspired book - to guide us to Himself through Jesus Christ by the power of the Spirit.    

Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for pas (Strong's 3956)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2010. 21 Sep 2010. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?  Strongs=G3956&t=KJV >

Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, pages 60-61

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