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Epistle of James

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God-breathed Scriptures

The Holy Spirit initiated and controlled the process of giving us the written revelation of God.

The Scriptures were not merely man’s own thoughts, nor divine thoughts in their own words, but “the words of God,” as the writers were impelled or “born along” by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit enlightened the mind and superintended for both the spoken and the written word (2 Peter 3:15; 1 Peter 1:3-25). Even the very language is “God breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16). It “breathes out the Spirit.” It is the product of God’s creative breath. God breathed through man the words that make up the Scriptures.

The word “plenary” means “full, entire, complete.” It is the way theologians speak of the fully or completely inspired Bible. It is God-breathed in all of its parts. It is also “verbal,” i.e., it applies to the words. God-breathed Scriptures consists of God-given words. It was not “dictated” to the witnesses (1 Kings 22:8-16; Neh. 8; Psalm 119; Jer. 25:1-13; Rom. 1:2; 3:2, 21; 16:26).

The authors did not write like robots. Verbal inspiration does not imply mechanical or dictational inspiration. It does not efface the writer’s own personality. The human writers were not passive in the process. They were God’s penmen, not merely His pens. They used their minds, personalities, individual characteristics and expressions as they wrote.

The language of the Scriptures is human. They wrote in the language of the people. Some wrote in Aramaic, others Hebrew and Greek.

However, the message these men wrote down came from God. God is the true author of the Scriptures. That is why we understand the Bible to be the Word of  God.

When we say we believe in the “verbal” inspiration of the Scriptures we mean that the very words the authors used were inspired, not the thoughts only. The Holy Spirit guided the writer in the choice of words he chose from his vocabulary. God enabled them to choose the very words they used in the original manuscripts.

If there was not this governing by the Holy Spirit the Bible would be less inspired. We believe in the “full, complete” inspiration of the Bible and therefore no part of the Bible is omitted. The words are the words God wanted in the text. It is the verbal, plenary, infallible and unlimited inerrancy of the Bible that I trust to be the Word of God for me today. The authority of the message is guaranteed in the accuracy of the words. You cannot have errors in the Bible and authority too.

The Holy Spirit influenced control over the sacred writers as they wrote, including their expression of thoughts in language, as well as the thoughts themselves, and the choice of words they wrote. What God had to say is conveyed with infallible accuracy. The words and the thoughts they convey are God’s revelation to us (1 Cor. 2:13; 1 Thess. 2:13; Jn. 14:26; 16:13).

When plenary inspiration is denied all Christian faith is undermined.

God revealed truth to the Bible writers by means of the Holy Spirit uncovering it to them, but they were not left to make a permanent record of it by themselves. It is one thing to know a certain fact, and quite another to find the exact words in your vocabulary to give an accurate understanding of that truth. The words they used were not dictated by their human reason or wisdom, but “in the words taught by the Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:13). The Holy Spirit taught them the words because He revealed the truth behind the words. Thus we have in the original Hebrew and Greek texts of the Biblical manuscripts the very words that God taught the writers to use as they recorded the truth which they had received by revelation. This is what is meant by verbal inspiration.

By divine revelation the Holy Spirit unveiled or revealed the spiritual truth to the writers. Moreover, He also led them to choose the right word out of their own vocabulary to communicate the exact truth God wanted them to understand.

The Holy Spirit took those writers as he found them and used them infallibly. Luke’s Greek is the purest and most beautiful. Paul’s Greek was far more involved and difficult than John’s. John often uses words with double meaning to draw out contrasts, and his thoughts soar to the windows of heaven. Mark races through his gospel with words of action. There was a difference in their education and this is often seen in their writings.

The authors of the Scriptures were led by the Holy Spirit as  they searched their vocabularies for the exact words which would accurately express the truth they wished to communicate.

They compared the word in their vocabulary with the truth they wished to write down. They did not choose to use the words which the Holy Spirit showed them would not correctly express the thought. The words they used were those which the Spirit led them to use as they wrote.

The Holy Spirit freed them up to express their own individual  personalities, vocabulary, and education while at the same time guiding them to make an "infallible record of truth infallibly revealed.”


Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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