OceanSide church of Christ

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Lesson #4

Victor M. Eskew




A.   Inspiration is one of the most important doctrines in Christianity for the sole reason that we hold the Bible to be inspired by God, and as such is our infallible rule for faith and practice. If that rule of faith and practice is not “God-breathed” but is simply the work of the human imagination, then there is no compelling reason to follow its doctrines and moral guidelines (http://www.gotquestions.org/inspiration-theories.html).


B.    When we speak to others about inspiration, we need to define all of our terms.  Individuals have varied beliefs about the meaning of inspiration.


C.   In this lesson, we will touch upon some of the vital components surrounding the Bible doctrine of inspiration.




A.   The Modernist Theory:  The writers of the Bible were stimulated or aroused in their thoughts and feelings to a special or unusual height of creativity.  NOTE:  In this theory, deity is not involved at all.


B.    Neo-orthodox Theory:  The words of the Bible are not God’s words, but He can use them to speak to infallible man.  NOTE:  In the writing of the Biblical text, this theory does not include God.


C.   Thought Inspiration:  God gave the thoughts to men, but each writer was free to choose the words that expressed those thoughts.  NOTE:  This theory is believed because it helps to account for the differences in writing styles in the books of the Bible.


D.   Limited Inspiration:  This theory is similar to thought inspiration, but allows for factual and historical errors to exist.  It is said however, that the Holy Spirit kept the text from having any doctrinal errors.


E.    Dictation Theory:  Sees God as the author of the Scriptures and the individual human agents as secretaries taking dictation.  NOTE:  This theory does not account for the differences that exist with regard to the style of the books.


F.     Plenary, Verbal Inspiration Theory:

1.     Definitions

a.     Plenary:  full, complete

b.    Verbal:  the very words of Scripture

2.     Every single word in the Bible is the very word of God.

a.     God selected and revealed every word.

b.    The background, personality, knowledge, and experience of the writer shine through as if the human writer was the sole author.




A.   Revelation (Gal. 1:12; Eph. 3:3; Rev. 1:1)


How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words.


1.     The Greek word is apokalupsis, apocalypse.

2.     Strong (602):  disclosure

3.     Thayer:  laying bear…a disclosure of truth, instruction, concerning things before unknown


B.    Mystery (Eph. 1:9; 3:3; 6:19)


Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself.


1.     Strong (3466):  a secret

2.     Thayer:  hidden thing, secret, mystery…a hidden purpose or counsel

3.     Two points

a.     This refers to information that was hidden in the past (Rom. 16:25-26; I Cor. 2:7; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16).


Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.



C.   Inspiration (Job 32:8; II Tim. 3:16)


All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.


1.     Strong (2315):  divinely breathed in

2.     Thayer:  inspired by God, the contents of the scriptures




A.   Divine origin and causality


B.    Human agency


C.   Written verbally (in words)


D.   Plenary (all of Scripture is inspired, not just parts of it)


E.    Only the “Autographs,” the original documents penned by the biblical authors, were perfect.


F.     Because Scripture is inspired, it is inerrant.


G.   Because Scripture is inspired and inerrant, it alone has final authority.






A.   The Passover Discourse

1.     John 14:26


But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.


2.     John 15:26


But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.


3.     John 16:13


Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:  for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak:  and he will shew you things to come.


B.    I Corinthians 2:9-13


But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.  But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit:  for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the Spirit of man which is in him?  Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.


C.   Galatians 1:11-12


But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.


D.   Ephesians 3:1-7


For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words; whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ,) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:  whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.


E.    II Timothy 3:16-17


All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, or correction, for instruction in righteousness:  that the man of God may be perfect, thorough-ly furnished unto all good works.




F.     II Peter 1:20-21


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.


G.   Revelation 1:1-2


The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:  who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.




A.   Matthew 10:20; Mark 13:11


For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.


B.    II Samuel 23:1-2


Now these be the last words of David.  David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.


C.   Isaiah 59:21


As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and forever.


D.   Jeremiah 1:9


Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth, And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.






E.    Zechariah 7:12


Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets:  therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts.


F.     Acts 1:16


Men and brethren, this Scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.


G.   Acts 4:24-25


And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is; who by the mouth of thy servant David has said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?


H.   Acts 28:25


And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers.




A.   The psalmist’s words of Psalm 95:7-8 are attributed to the Holy Spirit in Hebrews 3:7-8.


Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.


B.    The psalmist’s words of Psalm 46:6 are attributed to God in Hebrews 1:8.


But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever:  a scepter of righteous-ness is the scepter of thy kingdom.


C.   What Isaiah said in Isaiah 7:14 is mentioned in Matthew 1:22-23 with the words:  “…spoken of the Lord by the prophet…”


Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.


D.   Similar words are found in Matthew 2:15 with regard to the words of the prophet Hosea (Hos. 11:1).


And was there until the death of Herod:  that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.




A.   A brief summary:

1.     God’s will was in His mind hidden, that is, kept secret from man.  At this stage, it was a mystery.

2.     When God wanted this will manifested, the Holy Spirit searched out the mind of God and retrieved the message.

3.     The Holy Spirit took the message and revealed it to human agents.

4.     These human agents spoke the message that was revealed unto them by the Holy Spirit.  (NOTE:  It was revealed through the mind, education, background, and experiences of each individual author).

5.     Over the course of time, these men also wrote messages that God’s Spirit gave unto them (II Thess. 2:15).


Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.


6.     It was known that this revelation of God’s will would come to an end (I Cor. 13:8-13; Eph. 4:7-16; Jude 3).

7.     Even in the first century, they recognized the writings of the other inspired men of God as Scripture (II Pet. 3:16).


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.


8.     These letters were viewed as authoritative.  They were both distributed among the churches and collected by them (II Pet. 3:15; Col. 4:16).



B.    It has been several hundred years since the revelation came to those first century writers. 

1.     The original autographs to not exist.

2.     We do have several thousand manuscripts from which we have made our translations of the Scriptures.

3.     The question of today is:  “Do we have now what they had back then?”

4.     If we do, then our Bibles are our divine guide both for now and eternity.