The Inspiration of Scripture
2 Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction…

We can form no more distinct conception of what inspiration is in itself than that implied in the word — the breathing of God upon, or into, the minds of His servants. He imparted to them an extraordinary degree of influence, whereby they were instructed what and how to speak and write. This special Divine influence distinguishes them from all other teachers, and their writings from all other books. The manner of inspiration is beyond our knowledge; indeed, the working and influence of the Divine Being anywhere are to us a profound mystery. Motion, life, and growth, the fruitfulness of the earth, and the order and harmony of all things must be traced to Him; but how they are produced we know not. In Him we live and move and have our being; He besets us behind and before, and lays His hand upon us; but His manner of doing this is too wonderful for us to understand. We are bound to recognise His influence in the mental power, wisdom, and goodness of men; but how He comes into contact with the mind it is impossible to explain. So also of the prophets and apostles. They were inspired of God; He breathed into their minds, and endued them with a supernatural power of seeing and teaching spiritual truth — this we know; but beyond this point we cannot pass. Observe a threefold effect of inspiration — the revelation of truth, intensity of feeling, and abiding power in the words.

I. FIRST, THE INSPIRED MAN WAS A "SEER"; THE VEIL WAS TURNED ASIDE, AND HE WAS PERMITTED TO LOOK INTO THE SANCTUARY OF TRUTH. Think of the Hebrew prophets to whose writings the text refers. The unity, personality, and spirituality of God were revealed to them. They beheld His glory as others did not, and therefore spoke of it in sublime and incomparable language. The teaching of the Bible should be judged of by this: Do the prophets and apostles reveal spiritual truths in a clearer light than the ancient philosophers did? To this a thoughtful man can only return one answer — they do. Read, for instance, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, and then turn to the Epistles of St. Paul, and I think you will be obliged to acknowledge that moral and spiritual truth shines in the verses of the apostle with a brilliancy and strength not to be found in the words, wise and beautiful though they are, of the imperial Stoic. Seeing, then, that the prophets and apostles speak with such deep spiritual insight, the question is, How this came to pass? They were not philosophers, scholars, and orators, as the great and learned men of Greece and Rome were. The true explanation is, "holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

II. THEIR MENTAL ILLUMINATION WAS ACCOMPANIED BY DEEP AND INTENSE FEELING. Their spirits were "moved" — they felt the burden of "the word of the Lord" — the truth was in their heart "as a burning fire." Therefore speech became a necessity, for by speaking they lightened the burden that oppressed them and gave out the fire that burned in their bosoms. When they had messages of peace and good tidings to deliver, their "doctrine dropped as the rain, their speech distilled as the dew, and as the small rain upon the tender herb." But when the sins of the nation and the judgments of heaven were their themes, they cried aloud, and their language was as terrible as a midnight alarm. To speak as the prophets spoke we also must be enlightened and "moved" by the Holy Ghost.

III. THE ABIDING POWER IN THE WORDS. They are instinct with the love, the pity, the sympathy, and the power of the Divine mind. "They are spirit, and they are life." The ancient sacred fire that descended from heaven continues to burn on the altar of the Bible.

(T. Jones.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

WEB: Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness,

The Inspiration and Utility of the Scriptures
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