|Volume 23 Number 12 December 2021
Second Timothy 3:16-17 reads, “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” (NKJV). Scripture could not any more plainly teach that the Word of God is inspired – literally “God-breathed.” I read the other day where someone said, “Well the Bible is inspired. It contains within it words from God.” The whole point of his article was that he did not believe in the inerrancy of the Scriptures and the significance of being the words from God.
Notice again, 2 Peter 1:20-21, which says, “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.” The NJKV footnotes “interpretation” as meaning “origin.” In other words, the Scriptures are not the result of the private musings of the human penmen. Instead, the Holy Spirit moved them. Some object that this says “prophecy” and therefore does not apply to all the Scriptures. The fact is that while prophets did foretell future events from time to time, their main purpose was to present the will of God. That could include foretelling the future, but that is not all it includes.
Further, listen to what Paul said, specifically about his writing, but applicable to all inspired writers. “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13). The ESV includes in its footnotes on the last word “spiritual” – “interpreting spiritual truths in spiritual language.” The NASB translates it, “Combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.”
The expression “the word of the Lord” is found about 498 times in the Bible, 103 times just in Jeremiah. The claim that what is being written and spoken is from God, including God’s approval of even the words spoken, is emphatically shown.
Note what Peter says about Paul’s writings in 2 Peter 3:15-16. “And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation – as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.” Peter called Paul’s writings “Scriptures.” That means that the passages we have noted are Scripture and that they are inspired.
We often use the terms “plenary, verbal inspiration.” The dictionary defines “plenary” as “unconditional, unlimited, unrestricted, unqualified, absolute.” The inspiration of the Scriptures is complete or total. Regarding “verbal,” inspiration of Scripture involves even the words. God used each penman’s own personality and individuality, while making sure every word was accurate. It was not dictation; it was supervision! Inspiration, as already noted, means “God-Breathed.” The Bible is the Word of God. It does not just contain the Word of God as some people contend.
The bottom line is that without the solid foundation of the Word of God, there is no basis for faith (Romans 10:17). “Whatsoever was written aforetime was written for our learning…” (Romans 15:4). The Word of God is “written” – not stories just passed down orally from generation to generation. Jesus dealt with Satan with “It is written.” In Psalms 119:11, the Psalmist clearly spoke of the written word; he declared, “Your Word I have hid in my heart that I may not sin against you.” The Lord has revealed His will to us through the written word. We must study it and handle it appropriately (2 Timothy 2:15).
The revealed Scriptures are “that which is perfect” (1 Corinthians 13:10) and the “unity of the faith” (Ephesians 4:13), which replaced the miraculous with a superior form, the inspired and inerrant recorded Scriptures. Paul said, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-10). The major reason to reject the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible is because men want to follow their own “gospel” that is more popular. Thereby, they can feel unencumbered by the will of God. They want to pick and choose what they like and ignore what they don’t like. They want to please themselves, not God.
[Editor’s Note: “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). There is no satisfactory answer to that question. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Tools in the Hands of the Master
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12 NKJV). We are tools in the hands of the Master. Within us the Master has placed further tools for use in His kingdom. These tools in God’s toolbox are designed for great good, which is God’s reasonable expectation, though their specific and expedient use is left up to the person possessing them. Unfortunately, many of these tools either go unused or go unrecognized. Neglect or failure to use them will conceal the tools so that we forget we even have them.
I was reminded of this just a few days ago while teaching at a local Christian school. The church that houses the school was cleaning some large closets and had systematically pulled all of the items out of each closet and arranged them on the floor of the hallway. Like items were grouped together. As I walked by and observed this, I was not only impressed by the organization but also by one pile within the mass of piles. Near the end of a hallway, just before a descending stairwell, on the cold hard tile, sat a large pile of hammers. I would estimate there were no less than 30 to 40 hammers of various shapes, sizes and purposes in the stack.
As I descended the staircase, I met one of the older gentlemen working in the room and simply said, “You could do a lot of building with that lot of hammers.” His simple response was, “Well, we forgot they were even there.” Along with them were stacked all sorts of other tools like trowels, caulking guns, knee pads, screwdrivers and some leather tool belts. It reminded me of the equipment we carry to Mexico every year, though they had at least three times more, left in a closet and forgotten. It may seem like a waste to us, but how much worse is the waste of the human talent that could swing those hammers? Of course, I am not implying that is what went on at this church for I neither know the reason they were collected nor their history. Yet, the point remains.
One must wonder just how many potential preachers there are who never get out of the pew to deliver a single lesson. One must wonder how many teachers, elders, song leaders, missionaries or other potential tools in God’s toolbox never get beyond siting in a pew on Sundays. They drop their money in a plate with the expectation that “someone who is good at such things will do them.” One wonders how many of God’s tools every day are neglected and resigned to the dusty, neglected corner of church buildings.
Resolve to not be one of God’s neglected tools. Do not let the talents and abilities He has given you lie dormant or dead. Brush them off and use them to their full affect for His kingdom.
[Editor’s Note: My late wife Bonnie – as well as her best friend and my wife now, Martha – never imagined that they could write religious articles in which anyone would be interested. With a little encouragement and oversight, they both have authored many articles that will continue to be useful to readers long after they are gone. Not long ago, something that Martha had written was read aloud by a Gospel preacher in the Philippines during a teaching session viewed over the Internet. Look in your closet. Are you an unused tool that belongs in the hands of the Master? ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]