By John Henry
September 15, 2004
"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. 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 1:20-21)
The Bible says, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God ..." (2 Timothy 3:16). Many erroneously think that God inspired the prophets and apostles, but this verse clearly says that it is the Scriptures that are "given by inspiration of God." The prophets and apostles on the other hand "spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." What is Scripture? Speech is not Scripture until it is written down. Scripture is defined as "holy writ" or "the sacred writings of the Bible." The word is translated from the Greek word "graphe" (Strong's #1124) which means "a writing." It's root word is "grapho" (Strong's #1125) meaning "to write letters." So Scripture is the written Word of God. As used in the Bible the word "Scripture" and "Scriptures" always mean the writings of the Word of God in whole or in part.
The process of God giving His words to the prophets and apostles to speak is called revelation. The process of writing those spoken words down is called inspiration. There is a final step in God's communication with man called illumination. Revelation is God's words from God to man (Galatians 1:12; Ephesians 3:3; Romans 16:25). Inspiration is God's words from man to paper (2 Timothy 3:16). Illumination is God's words from paper to man's heart (Psalm 119:130; Proverb 6:23; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Isaiah 8:20; 1 Corinthians 2:12-14)
We have examples of the processes of revelation and inspiration in the Book of Jeremiah where it talks about "... Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet ..." (Jeremiah 36:26). It says, "... Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book." (Jeremiah 36:4)
Another misconception about inspiration as expressed in 2 Timothy 3:16 is that "it applies only to the original giving of the Scripture" and not translations.
The phrase, "given by inspiration of God" in 2 Timothy 3:16 comes from the Greek compound word, "theopneustos" (Strong's #2315). "Theo" means "God" (Strong's #2316), and "pneo" means "breath," "blow," and "wind" (Strong's #4154). "Pneo" is also the root word for "pneuma" which means "spirit" (Strong's #4151).
The Hebrew equivalent of "pneo" is "neshamah" (Strong's #5397) which is translated "breath," "blast," "spirit," "inspiration," and "souls." It's first use is in Genesis 2:7:
"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7)
"The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." (Job 33:4)
A studying the 24 Old Testament verses where the "neshamah" is found reveals that the word has to do with life. Likewise "pneo" in John 3:
"... Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth [pneo] where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." (John 3:5-8)
The word "water" in John 3:5 above is symbolic for the Word of God (cf. Eph 5:26; Isa 55:10-11; John 15:3, 17:17; Psalm 119:9). Both water and wind (air) are essential for physical life. Likewise the Word of God and the Holy Spirit are essential for spiritual life.
God breathed life into the words of the Scriptures, and life begets life. "God formed [Adam] ... and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life ..." Adam then begat sons and daughters. Likewise God breathed life into the words of Scripture and they beget born again people.
"Of his own will begat he us with the Word of Truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." (James 1:18)
"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." (1 Peter 1:23)
In similar manner the words of the Scriptures continue to live when they pass from language to language. The breath of life from God or inspiration continues in translations that are true to the words of the Scriptures. The King James Bible is such a true translation. It received it's life from the Hebrew, Greek, Latin and other manuscripts that God provided. It was translated when the English language was at it's peak. It was translated by 57 of highly qualified Bible believing translators the likes of which has only been seen once in the History. The providence of God was in every facet of the translation of the King James Bible. The King James Bible has withstood the test of time, attacks by liberals and apostates, and has produced more spiritual results in souls saved in just 400 years than perhaps all other inspired Scriptures put together.
The Lord Jesus Christ said:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my Word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." (John 5:24)
"It is the spirit that quickeneth [gives life]; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63)
"... It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4)
The King James Bible is not twice inspired or re-inspired, but it rather received it's inspiration or life from the the inspired manuscripts it was translated from.
"... [T]he Word of God ... liveth and abideth for ever." (1 Peter 1:23)
"... [T]he words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63)
"For the Word of God is quick [alive], and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)
It is this inspiration of our King James Bible that makes it "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," and if it is not inspired then men of God for the past 400 years were not "throughly furnished unto all good works." So let us continue "holding forth the Word of life ..." (Philippians 2:16)
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