Remember the Bible Series, #1
Inspired by God
All Scripture is inspired by God . . . .
~ 2 Timothy 3:16
There is not much to memorizing this passage. We have chopped it down to the first six words. Even the citation is easy to remember, because the verse of the Bible that people are most likely to know is John 3:16, and this is the same chapter and verse number — just remember it’s in 2 Timothy and you’re home free.
We have put this first in our integrated “Remember the Bible” series because it is the most important verse about the Bible in the Bible. Who says the Bible is the Word of God? Well, the Bible does, and here is a verse that says it.
The significance of this verse to the Christian is enormous. The word “inspired” has a very distinct and different meaning from the primary usage. In fact, there is no English word that translates the original Bible term. “Inspired” in this context does not mean “arising from an unusual or powerful creative impulse” or “brilliant” or even “motivated by divine force.” It means, literally, “breathed out.” The Bible was exhaled by God. The Bible is not the words of men who were motivated by God; it is the Word of God Himself. It was made by God using men as His agents to write it down.
Your skeptic will say, of course, that the verse is self-referential and self-authenticating; and he is correct to some degree. But the verse is not for skeptics; it is for believers (or for those struggling to find God). And here is what it means: If a person thinks that the Bible is true and authoritative, that person must accept that it is divine. The Bible will not allow itself to be read in part. It is either entirely divine, and therefore unassailable and not capable of modification (except by God), or else it is just a book of moral maxims.
It is, therefore, impossible to accept only part of the Bible. It is all or none. Many Christian denominations—practically all denominations, in fact—add to the Bible. The greatest additions come from the greatest denominations: Orthodox, Catholic, and Mormon. And while there are passages that appear to forbid additions to Scripture, they are fairly arguable. There is not any remotely valid argument, however, that one can subtract from the Bible (or add something that contradicts it on an important point). And as far as I can tell, none of the three specified denominations do so.
Perhaps the best statement of the effect this passage has on Biblical scholarship comes from the 19th century preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who put it this way: “The mind of God is greater than all the minds of men, so let all men leave the gospel just as God has delivered it unto us.” Human reason and logic cannot explain away parts of the Bible. To reject a part of the Bible is, by the terms of the Bible itself, to reject God’s Word.
Lord, let me always remember that your Word is sacred and infallible. Amen.
~ Mason Barge
Editor, Daily Prayer