Monday, March 05, 2018

Inspiration—Truth Breathed Out

by Laura Springer, Th.M., Ph.D.

When we think about inspiration, we often think of something along the lines of, “I feel so inspired…” But biblical inspiration is not about feeling. It is about history and reality.

With regard to the text of Scripture, inspiration means that through the influence of the Holy Spirit, the writings of God-selected persons (prophets) are also the trustworthy and authoritative Word of God. Inspiration has to do with this influence, describing the process whereby the breath of God—his spiration—works through his prophets, making their written words his Word.

The family of terms translated “breath” in the New Testament, namely, pneuma and related terms, is used concerning the creation the universe (Genesis 1:2) and of humanity (Genesis 6:17) in the Greek version of the Old Testament. God spoke, and the universe became. God breathed into the human's nostrils, and he became a living being. God breathed into the writings of the prophets, making those written words the very Word of God.

Because the Scripture, this written text, is breathed by God, it has value for our growth as persons in community in Christ. The prophets understood they were writing the words of God. They understood inspiration and their part in it. They communicated this each time they used the phrase, “This is what Yahweh says.”

Feeling moved, awed, or convicted in response to Scripture is good. It is important to feel the feelings rather than set them aside as useless or analyze them into non-existence. But feelings are not the foundation of faith. Truth is. And the inspired Word of God is our primary source of the truth about God. Feelings must not be the filter through which we select which biblical passages are authoritative and which we set aside. The entire Bible is authoritative.

Biblical truth, gleaned from the entire Bible, is a sure foundation. It is always worth our intellectual, emotional, and behavioral engagement. Know the truth. Feel the feelings. Do God's work.

2 Peter 1:16-21
1 Peter 1:10-12
1 Corinthians 14:36-40
2 Peter 3:14-18
C. F. H. Henry. Bible, Inspiration of.  Ed.  Elwell, W. A. (2001). In Evangelical dictionary of theology: Second Edition (pp. 159–163). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

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