Vol. 3, No. 9
Acts Chapter Two decisively proves "verbal inspiration" to be the true definition of "inspiration" as it pertains to the Word of God (Bible). That some sort of "thought inspiration" instead was bestowed upon the apostles and other writers of the Bible is absurd. Thought inspiration as a means of transmitting divine communication to mortal men would be ineffective and therefore useless in the production of a standard moral code. The inefficiency of supposed thought inspiration would completely negate definitive religion (no patterns, just a vague and subjective "love letter"). The Bible confirms the validity of verbal inspiration.
Presumably, both proponents of thought inspiration as well as adherents to verbal inspiration concede that God is the Divine Author of the Bible. Surely, each acknowledges "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" (2 Peter 1:21).
Incidentally, however, the two preceding verses forcefully, though indirectly, utterly dispel the possibility of thought inspiration. The definitive character of God's Word is easily discerned from: (1) "We also have a more sure word of prophecy" (2 Peter 1:19a), (2) "no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation" (2 Peter 1:20). The two verses preceding these refer to the literal "voice" and words of God (2 Peter 1:17-18). The context, then, of 2 Peter 1:17-21 pertains to verbal inspiration -- not thought inspiration.
Now, consider the conclusive evidence for verbal inspiration found in Acts Chapter Two. First, as either thought or verbal inspiration disputants admit, the final transmittal of divine revelation to human auditors employed the medium of words; see verses 6, 8 11, 29, 37, 38, 41 and "hearken to my words" (verse 14), "hear these words" (verse 22), "with many other words" (verse 40). Still, the question remains: "In what form did the apostles receive inspiration (thought or verbal), and who selected the words spoken in Acts Two (infallible God or fallible man)?"
A thoughtful person, upon closer examination of the text, is drawn to the inescapable conclusion that God necessarily chose the exact words spoken at least in some instances. However, if God obviously selected the precise words to convey his message to men some of the time, who would imagine that God then at other times abandoned verbal inspiration and implemented thought inspiration in its place. The Bible is void of any such indication.
The speakers in Acts Two were the apostles, of whom Peter was only one. They were perceived as comparatively uneducated men (Acts 4:13) and therefore incapable of speaking to the masses in their various native languages (Acts 2:7-8). It could not be clearer that inspiration involved the exact God-chosen words when Peter and the other apostles spoke in languages of which they were ignorant (see verses 4, 6, 8, 11). That's verbal inspiration!
The apostle Peter made this observation about the apostle Paul's epistles: Some of the Scripture that Paul wrote is difficult to understand. Therefore, uneducated and careless readers twist it or wrestle with it to make Scripture teach something false. To treat the Word of God in this manner is spiritually hurtful.
"And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 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" (2 Peter 3:15-16).
To "wrest" means to wrestle with, fight against, twist or pervert.
Also, some teachers and preachers pervert the Bible. Their false teaching condemns them and those who are taught by them.
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of" (2 Peter 2:1-2).
Every student of the Word of God has a great responsibility to properly study the Bible to learn what it truly teaches. "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). Further, every student of the Word of God has a great responsibility to compare what teachers and preachers teach with what the Bible teaches. "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1).
Finally, anyone who teaches the Word of God to others has a great responsibility to teach only the truth. What a teacher or preacher teaches affects both those who are taught AND the one doing the teaching. Therefore, teachers or preachers will be more strictly examined in the judgment. "My brethren, be not many teachers, knowing that we shall receive the heavier judgment" (James 3:1).
Dear Friend, wrestling the Bible will result in no good and is sinful. However, the proper and frequent study of the Bible will lead one to forgiveness of sins and the hope of spending forever in heaven.