There’s that random phone call or text from a number you don’t have in your contacts and don’t recognize. You wonder who it might be. Is it important? Is it spam? Is it a friend with a new phone? Is a scam or fraud? We all know the feeling. So, do we sometimes have the same feelings about the Scriptures? Do we wonder who these messages are from? Could it be from God or is it all a scam or fraud?
Although when we talk about Scripture we often say, “As Jeremiah said…” or “Paul answered…”, the writers of Scripture consistently claim that the message didn’t originate from their minds or learning. “…no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pe 1:21 ESV). In fact, the word “prophet” carries with it the idea of being a “mouth” for God. In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul explains that they were not speaking (and writing) the wisdom of men, but what was revealed to them through God’s Spirit Who alone knows the things of God. “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual thing with spiritual” (1 Co 2:13).
Words spoken or written from God are described this way in 2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…” The word inspiration is connected to the idea of God “breathing out” the words Himself. So, although we often may say things like, “As Jeremiah said…” or “Paul answered…”, actually men are only mouths or penmen and it is God who “said” or “answered” the message. God used men’s feet to take His message around the world (Ro 10:15) and men’s mouths to proclaim His words (2 Pe 1:21).
All the mechanics of how inspiration worked are not revealed in Scripture. We know that the messages were not from the prophets’ study, preparation, or ideas. In fact, Jesus told His apostles that they need not worry about what to says, “For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you” (Mt 10:19-20). The Spirit of God was telling them what to say and what to write. That is what inspiration of Scripture is. This is the claim – that it truly IS God’s Word!
“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.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13
It’s God’s actual message to us! That changes our motivation to read and study it. That changes our desire to understand and obey it. That changes EVERYTHING! dd