Thursday, February 27, 2014

What does “inspiration” mean?

The word “inspired” is used only once in the Bible. 
All Scripture is inspired by God and 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. (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The New Testament was originally written in the Greek language and the Greek word translated “inspired” is theopneustos. Theopneustos is a compound word containing the word theos (meaning "God") and pneuma (meaning "breath"). The term could be literally translated “God-Breathed” (as found in the NIV and ESV).

In a more technical sense, the term deals with the process of getting the thoughts of God, to mankind, in an understandable way. Man alone could not articulate the thoughts of God, thus inspiration is needed. Peter Wegner in his book From Text to Translation describes the “God-Breathing” facet of “inspiration” in this way.
The process should not be viewed as one in which God breathed life into the words of an author after he had written them; if this were the case, they would be primarily man’s words. The recording of Scripture was an innately complex process. God appears to have be so intimately involved in the lives of its writers that he knew what they would say and how they would say it. Their individual personalities were thus combined with the indwelling, guiding work of the Holy Spirit to create Scripture. (Wegner 29).
Geisler and Nix offer a similar definition to the term “inspiration”.
Inspiration is that mysterious process by which the divine causality worked through the human prophets without destroying their individual personalities and styles to produce divinely authoritative and inerrant writings. (Geisler 39).
Ultimately “inspiration” is the link between God and man. This is what makes Scripture so amazing. When we read from its sacred page we are reading the Word of God! This thought is well expressed in (2 Peter 1:20-21).
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
Praise God for giving us His inerrant and inspired Word!

By Cliff Sabroe
Works Cited
Scripture quotes from NASB95. 
Geisler, Norman and William E. Nix  A General Introduction to the Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 1986.
Wegner, Paul D. The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Origen and Development of the Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1999.  
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