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

I. THE NATURE OF THE INSPIRATION. Inspiration means that which is breathed into the human mind of God. In the same way as Christ breathed upon the apostles, and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost," so inspired men receive that influence and power which enlightens, and purifies, and sustains their judgment and their capacity whilst they are writing it. Exactly in the same way as a musician, out of an instrument, by the touch of his fingers, will evoke such sounds, such harmonies, as his own skill, his own will, or his own pleasure may design, the writers of the Holy Scriptures are the instruments out of which the Holy Ghost evokes the melodies of truth — the harmonies of heavenly and Divine doctrine — that which makes us happy in time, and prepares us for the happiness of eternity. There is a slight distinction to be made between inspiration and dictation. Dictation addresses itself to the ear, and goes through the ear into the understanding and the heart; inspiration is more that which is within a man — it is a power dwelling in the interior of his soul, and influencing his thoughts and expressions accordingly.

1. There is inspiration in matters historical — that which relates to the histories and biographies contained in the Bible.

2. We come to the inspiration which is doctrinal, or which has to do with abstract truth, such truth as the human faculties could never elicit, invent, or evolve; such truth as, if known at all by man, must be made known by God.

3. I advert to that inspiration which I denominate legislative — that which is associated with the giving of law and the enunciation of commandments.

4. There is the inspiration which is devotional.

5. I shall mention but one other form: that is, the form of prophecy — the inspiration which relates to the prophetic Word. I take this to be the fullest, most perfect, and unmingled of all the inspirations, because to man in no case is there vouchsafed any foresight.


1. First it claims to be so; it says of itself that it is so. Moses did as the Lord commanded him. Again and again we read, "the Lord spake unto Moses"; and every prophet came with this annunciation, "Thus saith the Lord." We find Paul saying, "I command; yet not I, but the Lord"; "The Spirit speaketh expressly"; "Ye have received the Word of God."

2. There is another evidence which arises from the nature of its contents — from the original, exalted, enlightened, amazing principles, which it contains. I hold it as an axiom that God only can reveal God — that God is never known but by His own teaching and by His own inspiration. Here is God revealed.

3. There is also an argument arising from the self-evidencing power of truth. Light is self. evidencing. When a child sees light, it does not want any logical argument to say that it is light. When mind flashes, when intellect sparkles, when genius coruscates, you say, this is mind; you want no other evidence — the thing demonstrates itself. So does the truth in the book of God. Read out the doctrine, make known the precept, let us see the history; why, it is of God; it carries its own evidence.

4. Then there is the harmony of all its parts.

5. I must add the evidence of its holiness. The Bible, received in the heart and mind, makes a man pure, gentle, and Christlike; received into a family, it makes a scene of peace and unity; received into a nation, it purifies and elevates; and the world, did it receive the Bible and act upon its principles, would be paradisaical; almost all the miseries of it would be gone at a stroke; whatever is peaceful and felicitous for the glory of God and for the happiness of man would multiply, prosper, and abound.

6. There is one other argument, that arising from prophecy, in connection with the total want of human foresight, and the vastness and extent of this proof: "We have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto we do well to take heed, as to a light shining in a dark place."

III. THE USE AND PURPOSE: "That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." You note the expression, "man of God." I take it to be a very noble and magnificent thing to be a man; I glorify God every day of my life that I am a man; I mean, that I have the capacities, the mind, the thinking powers, the will of a man. Then it is said, "man of God." There are the faculties consecrated, the grace and light, the emanation and power of Deity beaming upon the man, making him a "man of God."

(James Stratten.)

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 of Scripture
Top of Page
Top of Page