The inspiration of the Bible




All the books of the Bible are inspired by God (when I say that the books of the Bible are inspired, I don’t refer to the translations or copies but to the original books), as it is written: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16. Literally ‘is God-breathed’ or ‘is divinely breathed’ because this is the meaning of the Greek word theopneustos used by Paul), and also: “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: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 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” (2 Peter 1:19-21).

Someone may say: ‘But these words of Paul and Peter refer to the Scriptures of the Old Testament!’ Yes, that’s true, for Paul, before saying to Timothy those words, said to him: “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15). However, that does not mean that the Writings of Paul are not inspired by God and thus they should not be called or considered Holy Scriptures. For the apostle Peter, at the end of his second epistle, in speaking about the epistles of Paul, which contain some things which are hard to understand, says that ignorant and unstable people twist them “as they do the other Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:16 - NIV), that is, the Scriptures of the Old Testament that they had. As you can see, Peter calls the Writings of Paul “Scriptures”, and Paul was a contemporary of Peter. Anyway, even inside the epistles of Paul there are some expressions which attest to the divine origin of his words. For instance, Paul says to the Thessalonians that they had received the message preached by him, Silvanus and Timothy, not as the word of men, but “as it is in truth, the word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13), and he says to them also: “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:15). Furthermore, Paul says to the Corinthians: “The things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37), and also: “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:17). As for those words of Peter (those referring to the inspiration of the Scripture, which I mentioned before), it must be said that they also refer to the Writings of the Old Testament, but even in his case it must be said that his Writings are inspired by God and thus are Word of God, for at the end of his first epistle he said that what He wrote to them was “the true grace of God” (1 Peter 5:12) and urged the saints to stand fast in it. Therefore the Writings of Paul and Peter, as well as those of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, James, and Jude, and the epistle to the Hebrews, are the Word of God. The inspiration of all these Writings (that is, those which belong to the Old and New Testaments) is attested to us by the Holy Spirit, whom God has sent into our hearts. For when we read or hear them or meditate on them we feel inside us the approval of the Holy Spirit, who makes us feel peace and joy. Why do we feel peace and joy when we read or hear or meditate on these Writings? Because the Words of God comfort, edify and make glad our inward man. Also when we keep them we feel comforted and happy; we feel indeed a great joy and a great peace when we keep the commandments of God. Therefore there is no other book like the Bible, for it is composed of writings inspired by God.

The Bible was written over a period of time of approximately 1500 years, because the law (which consists of the first five books of the Bible) was written by Moses around 1400 before Christ and the book of Revelation was written by John around the end of the first century after Christ. Notwithstanding this, the Bible is an extremely cohesive and unified book, and there are no contradictions in it (however, there are some seeming contradictions in it), which facts confirm its inspiration.

The authors of the books of the Bible did hold different social status, for instance Solomon was a king, Amos was a shepherd, Luke was a physician, and so on, yet all of them were moved by the Holy Spirit to write. In other words, they wrote not by their own will but by the will of God. We can affirm that all those who wrote the books of the Bible were specially chosen by God, and perfectly guided by the Spirit to put on paper the very words of God, and to do so without any error. The apostle Peter attests this when he says in his second epistle: “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: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 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” (2 Peter 1:19-21). As I said before, even though these words of Peter refer to the Writings of the Old Testament, they can apply also to the Writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Jude and Peter himself, for their writings also were inspired by God.

What do I mean when I say that all the sixty six books of the Bible are inspired? I will answer this question through the Holy Scriptures. My speech will begin from the assumption that when the writer of one of the inspired books wrote he was moved by the Holy Spirit, that is to say, he was moved just as the prophets and the apostles were moved by the Holy Spirit when they spoke from God. See to it that you do not misunderstand me; I am not saying that the prophets or the apostles were perfect and infallible, for the Scriptures themselves do not allow us to say or to think such a thing, for they also committed some mistakes, they also had to beg God’s forgiveness for their sins, they also needed God to work in them what was well pleasing in His sight. Moses, the writer of the law, disobeyed God at the waters of Meribah and because of his rebellion God did not allow him (as well as his brother Aaron) to enter into the promised land; David, the author of many Psalms, once was guilty of murder and adultery and for those sins he was punished by God; Solomon, who wrote many proverbs and the Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs, turned from God in his old age and went after other gods; the apostle Peter at Antioch forced Gentiles to follow Jewish customs and because of this he was severely rebuked by the apostle Paul in the presence of all; Paul once, while he was before the Sanhedrin, insulted the High Priest Ananias without knowing that he was the High Priest and for that act he was rebuked by those who stood by and he acknowledged that he had made a mistake. Therefore the prophets and the apostles were not infallible in their acts and in their words; had they been infallible, they would not have made those mistakes. However this cannot be said about all their acts and words; because those men often acted and spoke by the Holy Spirit, thus those acts done in those peculiar circumstances, as well as those words uttered in those circumstances, did not contain any error of any kind. Let me give you two biblical examples of men who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Spirit: Moses and Paul.

Let’s begin with Moses. After he was on Mount Sinai and God spoke to him, Moses went back to the camp with his face that was radiant (however, he was not aware that his face was radiant) and the Israelites were afraid to come near him. “And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them. And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai” (Exodus 34:31-32). Of course, it was by the help of the Holy Spirit that Moses told the Israelites all the words that God had said to him on Mount Sinai, thus it was the Holy Spirit who reminded him of all the words God had told him and it was the Holy Spirit who spoke through Moses. Therefore those words of Moses could not contain any error of any kind. Many times Moses spoke from God to the people or to Aaron; thus we have to say that Moses in all those circumstances did not make mistakes because he spoke from God. I say it again, the reason was because he spoke as He was moved and helped by the Holy Spirit. Let’s look now at his writings. How did Moses write? He wrote as he was moved by the Holy Spirit thus when he wrote he did not make any mistakes, for while he was writing the Holy Spirit helped him and guided him preventing him from making mistakes. That is what happened when he had to write down facts which he had eyewitnessed or words he had heard with his own ears (such as the division of the Red sea and the other wonders God wrought in the desert, the words God spoke to him on various occasions, the song the Israelites sang after God hurled the Egyptians into the sea, and the murmurings of the Israelites in the desert), and that is what happened also when he had to write down events which he had not eyewitnessed or words which he had not heard with his own ears (such as the creation of the heavens and of the earth and all the things in them, and the words God spoke to create the light, the sun and the moon, and man). We can’t fully explain this way of writing, for it is a work accomplished by God through a human being and it transcends our understanding. However, since on the earth a supernatural writing phenomenon occurs among the ministers of the devil, who – as you know - tries always to imitate the ways of God, which is called automatic writing and by which some mediums write lies either from dictation of an evil spirit or as they are moved by an evil spirit that takes possession of them (thus they become a sort of passive instruments in the hands of evil spirits), we can say that the Holy Spirit of the Lord, who was upon Moses, took possession of him (this expression must not surprise you because in one place in the Bible it is written that “the Spirit of the LORD took possession of Gideon; and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiez'rites were called out to follow him” Judges 6:34 - Darby Bible. The IBRV reads: “Ma lo spirito dell’Eterno s’impossessò di Gedeone, il quale sonò la tromba, e gli Abiezeriti furono convocati per seguirlo” which has the same meaning) and guided him to write, so the Holy Spirit used Moses as an instrument to write all the things He wanted and He prevented him from making linguistic mistakes and mistakes of memory. – Please note that I have mentioned the diabolical phenomenon called ‘automatic writing’ which occurs in the occult just to explain the mechanism by which divine inspiration took place, for I firmly believe that automatic writing is an imitation of the God-inspired process of the writing of the Holy Writings, and thus by observing what happens to the mediums when they practice automatic writing we may infer what happened to Moses when he wrote by (or under the direct) inspiration of God - Were all his writings perfect then? Yes, they were perfect. And this is confirmed by the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, who came down from heaven, quoted the law written by Moses when He had to answer the tempter in the desert: three times He quoted to Satan some words written in the law of Moses (thus some words which had been manually written by Moses). Jesus quoted the Law of Moses also when He spoke to the Jews. Jesus made it clear that to Him the law was free of error of any kind, for one day He said: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18). – The ‘jot’ or ‘iota’ is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew yod, which is the smallest letter of the alphabet, while the ‘tittle’ is the projection of a stroke of the pen that distinguishes one letter from another. - Do you think that Jesus would have said such words about a book (or rather a scroll) written by human hands if He had not considered it free from error? I don’t think so. How would He have been able to declare such words if He did not believe the writings of Moses were without error? Therefore, the above mentioned words of Jesus confirm that all the things Moses wrote are completely free of error of any kind, they are the Word of God, they are very pure. Also on some other occasions, Jesus made it clear that to Him the writings of Moses were the Word of God and thus free from imperfections. For instance, one day a teacher of the law tested Jesus, saying: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ and Jesus said unto him “What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live” (Luke 10:26-28). Please note that Jesus asked that man what was written in the law and that after the answer of that lawyer Jesus told him to do what he had just said. This also proves that Jesus considered the law of Moses the word of God and not the word of a man. Christ showed that He accepted the infallibility of the law of Moses by mentioning also various events from the law, such as the murder of Abel (Matthew 23:35), the flood at the time of Noah (Matthew 24:38-39), the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 17:28-29), the conversation of Moses with God at the burning bush (Matthew 22:31-32), and the feeding of the Israelites by manna from heaven (John 6:49). Jesus quoted also the words of the Psalms and of the Prophets, for to Him these writings also were the Word of God. Therefore, in conclusion, if Jesus, the One who knew no sin, quoted the law written by Moses (a man who, unlike Jesus, committed some sins) as authoritative, that means that He considered the law a book inspired by God and thus free from errors. To us also the law is holy and thus it is free from errors, and we can or rather we must use it in order to refute the heresies. Till the end of our life we will say like Jesus: “It is written…” and also: “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” because the words of Moses are the Word of God. The fact that the law was written by a man like us, who had his own defects before God, does not lead us to have doubts about its inspiration (or divine origin) because the words of Moses are the Word of God. Jesus had no doubts about its inspiration, Paul had no doubts about it, the other apostles had no doubts about it. So all arguments whose purpose is to cast a shadow on the divine origin of the law of Moses, as well as on the divine origin of the other writings inspired by God, are not from God. We reject them and we urge the saints to do the same.

Let’s see now the apostle Paul, who is the apostle who wrote more epistles than the other apostles. First of all I want to say that when Paul spoke as he was moved by the Holy Spirit, it was not him who spoke but the Spirit of God, thus his words were free from errors; this happened when he preached to the unbelievers (as he did in the Areopagus at Athens), as well as when he delivered to the saints a teaching taken from the Scriptures, and when he exhorted the saints to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the Lord. Also when he reminded his listeners of some facts which had happened to him, as in the case of his speech delivered to the elders of the Church of Ephesus or in the case of the testimony of his conversion he gave before the Jews at Jerusalem (after he was arrested) or at Caesarea before king Agrippa, it was not him who spoke but the Holy Spirit who spoke in him, so his words were free from errors on those occasions. Therefore we can affirm that when the Holy Spirit spoke through him, his words were free of error of any kind, as in the case of Moses. Let’s now talk about the inspiration of his epistles. Can we put the inspiration of his epistles and the inspiration of the law of Moses on the same level? Of course, we can, for the Spirit who moved Moses to write the law was the same Spirit who moved Paul to write his epistles. As we saw before, Peter in his second epistle calls the epistles of Paul ‘Scriptures’ as it is written: “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:15-16). Therefore, there are no errors in his epistles. What then shall we say about the affirmations of some people, according to which Paul in his writings changed his beliefs regarding the return of the Lord? They are false. Let’s see the reason. The apostle Paul in his second epistle to the Thessalonians says: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4). According to the quarrellers, these words of Paul correct these other words of Paul written to the Thessalonians in his previous epistle: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). For in his first epistle he taught that the return of the Lord was imminent, while in his second epistle he denied the imminence of the return of the Lord. But that’s untrue, because Paul, just before saying these words I have just quoted, says to the saints of Thessalonica: “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord…” (1 Thessalonians 4:15). Therefore if Paul in his second epistle had changed his previous position on the return of the Lord, that would mean that eventually the Word of the Lord had changed! Listen, the words of Paul concerning the return of Christ were not a personal opinion he had on the return of Christ, just like any personal opinion which a Christian can have about a food or a day, but the Word of God. Therefore when in his first epistle to the Thessalonians he says: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds” he did not mean that the day of the Lord was imminent, because he wrote those words at God’s command. Paul, even when he wrote those words (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), knew very well that the day of the Lord will not come until the falling away occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, for when afterward he warned the Thessalonians not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled as though the day of the Lord was imminent and he tells them what will happen before that day, he says to them: “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” (2 Thessalonians 2:5). Please note that Paul had already told those things to the Thessalonians when he had been with them. Therefore, the apostle Paul never thought that the day of the Lord was imminent, for he always taught the believers that the day of the Lord will come after the falling away occurs and the man of sin is revealed. (A similar thing must be said also about the apostle John, for he also never thought that the day of the Lord was imminent, even though in his first epistle he wrote that it was the last hour).

Therefore, we believe in the plenary and verbal inspiration of the Scriptures in the original languages, and in their consequent inerrancy and infallibility. When we speak about plenary inspiration we mean that the Bible as a whole is inspired (in other words, all of Scripture is inspired – not merely some parts), while when we speak about verbal inspiration we mean that every word of the Bible is inspired. So inspiration extends to the words of the Bible, not only to the ideas. God, by His Spirit, has guaranteed the authenticity and reliability of the very words that were written. However, it must be said that He did not deprive the writers of their individuality, for their full personalities entered into their writing (for instance, their individual writing styles are evident).

The Bible has been attacked by many people over the centuries, many have mocked at it, others have questioned it especially because of some stories recorded in it which seem to be unbelievable, yet the Bible has always proved to be true in all the things which it affirms. Nobody has ever been able to demonstrate that the Bible is full of fables and lies. Even many archaeologists and many scientists have acknowledged that the Bible is true. W. F. Albright, who is regarded as one of the greatest archaeologists, has stated: ‘There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of the Old Testament tradition’. Nelson Glueck, famed Jewish archaeologist, has said: ‘It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference’. Of course, we do not prove the inspiration of the Bible by archaeology, but it is gratifying to know that even archaeological discoveries have confirmed many events and stories recorded in the Bible.

Many times people have asked me: ‘How can you be sure about the divine inspiration of the Bible? How can you be sure that the story of Jesus and His message are true? On the other hand, you did not see Him, nor did you hear Him!’ Well, my answer has always been this: ‘Even though I have not seen Jesus with my eyes and heard Him with my ears, I believe that all the things the Bible says about Him are true because by faith in Him I have obtained the remission of sins, salvation from sin, peace and joy in my heart, and eternal life, which I did not have before.’ What do I mean by that? I mean that if the Bible says that whosoever believes in Jesus the Son of God, that is, in His death and in His resurrection, obtains remission of sins, is saved from sin, and receives eternal life, evidently if it tells the truth you will obtain by faith all these things and you will experience them in your life, but if it tells lies you will not be able to receive all these things. Don’t you think so? And since in the very moment I believed in Jesus I experienced the remission of all my sins, the deliverance from the bondage of sin, and I felt I had eternal life, the Bible can be nothing but the truth and the Word of God. Furthermore, the divine origin of the Bible is proved by the fact that the predictions concerning the Messiah, which were made centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ and which were recorded in the books of the Old Testament, were literally fulfilled in the fulness of the time. And not only the predictions concerning the Messiah were fulfilled, but also many other predictions (such as the flood, the birth of Isaac, the deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptian bondage, the division of the Kingdom of Israel, the punishments of God on the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah, the Babylonian captivity, the return of the Exiles from Babylon, and the rise of the Persian Empire), which were made under the Old Testament and written in the books of the Old Testament, were fulfilled at God’s appointed time. Had they been false predictions, they would never have been fulfilled. But since it was God who made those predictions through the mouth of His prophets, at the appointed time He brought them to pass. And we have confidence that also the events predicted by Jesus and the apostles, which are recorded in the New Testament, will be fulfilled at God’s appointed time, for these predictions also are of divine origin, and thus God will bring them to pass. Last but not least, we believe in the divine inspiration of the Bible for we have the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, that is to say, for the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets and the apostles to write bears witness to us that the words we read in the Bible were inspired by Him. So, in conclusion, what the Scripture says about itself is true, the Scripture is indeed inspired by God who cannot lie. Blessed be His Holy Name now and forevermore. Amen.


False views on inspiration


Natural inspiration. According to this view, the Bible is inspired literature in the same way the works of Shakespeare, or of some other famous poet, are ‘inspired’. Therefore, the Bible is like any ordinary book written by man. This view is held by the modernists. This view is wrong because – as I have already proved it – inspiration, in the biblical sense, means that God so superintended the writers of the Bible books that they wrote what He wanted them to write and were kept from error in so doing.

Partial inspiration. According to this other view, the Bible is inspired only when it touches on matters of faith and salvation, but in matters involving science, history or geography, it can make mistakes, therefore it is not totally trustworthy. This view is held by moderate liberals and neo-evangelicals. This view also is wrong, for the Bible itself states that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16 – NKJV), therefore all parts of the Scriptures are trustworthy, not merely some parts. To state that only some parts of the Bible are trustworthy is tantamount to stating that the Almighty God, who created heaven and earth and all things in them, was not able to keep the writers of the Scripture from making mistakes as they wrote His Word!! Furthermore, if the Bible’s references to history or geography are not trustworthy, on what basis can we be sure that those portions dealing with salvation are trustworthy? There is no doubt that this view on the inspiration of the Bible is held by people who have been deceived by the devil, for one of the schemes of the devil against the Church is to induce Christians to doubt the plenary inspiration of the Scripture. Brothers, let no one deceive you with empty words. Jesus Christ as well as His apostles believed in the literal trustworthiness of the Old Testament record, whether those records dealt with doctrinal matters, matters of science, or anything else.


The final and absolute authority


Since we accept the Bible as the Inspired Word of the Almighty God, which does not contain any errors, we accept the Bible as the final and absolute authority in faith, conduct and morals. Therefore all teachings, all revelations, and all prophecies, must be examined carefully in the light of the Holy Scriptures to see if they are sound (in this case they must be accepted) or wrong (in this case they must be rejected), and any earthly authority that expressly commands us to break the Word of God must not be obeyed, for we ought to obey God rather than men.