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Vol.  9  No. 5 May 2007  Page 13
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D. Gene WestHow the Bible Was Written

By D. Gene West

    The process by which the Bible came from the mind of God to the mind of man is called revelation. The process by which it was written is called inspiration. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul wrote, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16‑17 NKJV). The phrase “given by inspiration of God,” can also be accurately translated in these words, “is breathed out by God.” Paul taught the Corinthian brethren that the Holy Spirit searched the mind of Elohim and revealed his will to the writers of the Bible, and then helped them choose the appropriate words in which to express the ideas of God. (See: 1 Corinthians 2:1-14.) The searching of the mind of Elohim by the Holy Spirit and revealing the mind of God to the writers of the Bible was one part of the equation, the speaking, or writing, of those words in the words which the Holy Spirit taught was the second part of the equation, and it is his part that is called inspiration. The apostle Peter also spoke to this matter, especially regarding the work of the Old Testament prophets when he wrote, “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:19‑21). Hence, in both parts of the process of bringing the Bible into the world, the Holy Spirit did his work in both revealing and inspiring the Sacred Volume.

    Inspiration does not mean that the writers and speakers of the Bible merely felt enthusiastic about what they were doing as did some of the great artists and writers of the earthly material like Handel when he composed his Messiah, or Shakespeare when he produced the plays that have enthralled audiences for four hundred years. It means that God assured that his message came accurately to this earth by allowing the Holy Spirit, who is also God (Acts 5:3-4), and third personality of Elohim, to do the work of getting this marvelous and sacred work to the earth. This was not entrusted to any heavenly creature such as angels, but this work was done by the Holy Spirit, God himself, to assure that all would be done precisely and correctly. That is why we maintain the Bible is reliable, indestructible, historical, factual, scientifically correct, inerrant and infallible. It is truly a product of heaven!

    However, since we can observe differences in wording, style and flow of thought throughout the Bible, we must not think that God simply dictated the Bible as an executive dictates a letter to a secretary. The Holy Spirit did his work in such a way as to allow the different styles, word choice and construction of the writers to come through. Since, as we have pointed out the Holy Spirit is God, he had the power and ability to take the words, talents, styles and thought processes of the writers of the Bible and infallibly use them in such as way as to precisely write what God wanted his creatures to know. In every step of the process, God was involved. Nothing was left to mere human wisdom due to our penchant for making mistakes.

    It is because the Holy Spirit operated in just this way in producing the Bible that such evidences as writing styles, wording, etc. can be used to identify authors of various books, or assure that those claiming to be the authors are indeed, the authors. We do this all the time in the ordinary affairs of life, and there is no reason we should not do the same in matters of biblical understanding as well. The Bible is, then, a combination of human talent and the divine, with the divine overshadowing.
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