Matthew R. Perry

Why Do Christians Hold to Such an Old Book? (Part I: Godly Inspiration, or Worldly Interpretation)

In Church Life on September 25, 2007 at 11:08 pm

(You may listen to this sermon in its entirety by clicking here. This was preached at the Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY on 23 September 2007.  You may also read the Introduction entry as well.)

Look with me at 2 Timothy 3:16 which says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” Why would the Bible make this claim? Why do these men claim that, even though they physically wrote this book, that it is inspired by God?

When we think of something that ‘inspired’ we usually think of it as a burst of creative energy. Someone plays something musically, writes or paints something wonderful, we talk about how they were ‘inspired’ to do so. Is this what happened? Did God simply have a creative burst?

No, God planned to perfection everything he spoke. The word ‘inspire’ or ‘breathed out’ comes from the Greek word ‘pneuma’ which is where we obtain the root of words such as pneumonia, pneumatic — meaning wind, breath, or spirit. In this case, Paul makes the case to Timothy that the Scriptures are actually from the mouth of God. Consider too 2 Peter 1:19-21:

And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, [20] knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. [21] For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

The men who wrote the Scriptures were not simply recording their own thoughts about an issue, but were speaking “from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” One thing to note: the word “Spirit” in Holy Spirit is the same root as the word ‘inspired’ or ‘breathed out.’ Basically, the Holy Spirit breathes out the Spirit-inspired message found in the Scriptures.

But notice who God used to speak his Word — those men who were obedient vessels to carry along by the Holy Spirit. The Word was not produced by the will of man, but through the will and way of God. The Word of God is not merely subject to specific men’s interpretation! In fact, back in 2 Peter 1:16, we see that they were eyewitnesses to his majesty. Every book in the Bible came into being through the eyewitness account and the revealing work of God.

So what are we saying? The Scriptures have one author — the Holy Spirit of God.

As you can imagine, many in our culture have objections to this — especially those who have convinced themselves that nothing of the supernatural. In fact, many look at the Scriptures and see plenty of contradictions. They look at passages like one of the commandments which says, “honor your father and mother,” then look at Jesus’ words which says , “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). What about how the Bible calls Jesus the Prince of Peace, yet later Jesus tells his disciples in John 14 that he came not to bring peace but a sword (Matthew 10:34)? In fact, you may have people come up to you with many supposed “contradictions” which will supposedly show you that the Bible is not inspired?

While it is crucial to look at the context of why Jesus said and did what he did (he brings peace to the heart of those in rebellion, but that will not always translate into peace with other relationships; plus, we are to honor our Father and Mother, but we are to give the ultimate honor to our Heavenly Father who must dominate our relationships), we do have to understand that many approach the Scriptures missing one important component — the Holy Spirit of God?

Gipsy Smith told of a man who said he had received no inspiration from the Bible although he had “gone through it several times.” “Let it go through you once,” replied Smith, “then you will tell a different story!”

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