Now that we have seen that God’s inspiration applies to Scripture as a whole and every part of it, we need to look at how He dealt with the human authors. For this, we need to look at 2 Peter 1:21, which says, “…men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” The King James says, “…holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” The Holman says, “…moved by the Holy Spirit, men spoke from God.” The New American Standard says, “…men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” This verse explains how God directed the expressions of the writer’s thoughts without disturbing the free exercise of their personalities. So let’s look at this verse in more detail.
First of all, we need to understand that this is talking about Scripture. If we go back to verse twenty, we see that Peter is talking about Scripture. That means, that in verse twenty-one, he is telling us how we got the Bible. Now let’s notice what he says.
First, he says that “men spoke.” This shows that there is some involvement or authorship of humans relating to Scripture. But how did men speak? They spoke “from God.” So far, we have men giving us God’s Word. But how exactly did they do it? Remember, our three possible models are Mechanical Dictation, Dynamic Inspiration, and Plenary Verbal Inspiration. So did God dictate the words? Did He just give them the thoughts and let them express them in their own words? Did He direct their thoughts without disturbing their personalities?
To get a better understanding of what took place so that we can answer that question let’s look at what “carried along” means. Simply put, it is being led while controlled. What that means is that God let the human authors remain true to their personalities (i.e., Peter-uneducated fisherman; Paul-educated lawyer; David-shepherd) but controlled what they said in order that what was written would be God’s words. Therefore, the Bible is both divine and human in authorship. Humans wrote God’s words.
So we believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. However, we do not stop there. We continue that statement and say that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. Inerrant simply means that the Bible does not contain errors. In saying this, we must understand that there are six views that can be held with regard to inerrancy.
1) Absolute Inerrancy: The Bible, which includes rather detailed treatment of matters both scientific and historical, is fully true.
2) Full Inerrancy: The Bible is completely true, and while the Bible does not primarily aim to give scientific and historical data, such scientific and historical assertions as it does make are fully true.
3) Limited Inerrancy: The Bible is inerrant in its salvific doctrinal references.
4) Inerrancy of Purpose: The Bible inerrantly accomplishes its purpose (i.e., to bring people into personal fellowship with Christ).
5) Accommodated Revelation: The Bible came through human channels, and thus participates in the shortcomings of human nature.
6) Inerrancy is an irrelevant issue.
Out of those six, I will narrow it down to two for you. If we hold to the Plenary Verbal Inspiration Model, then we can only accept either Absolute or Full Inerrancy. So a proper view of inspiration will lead to a proper view of inerrancy.
Let me show this to you in the form of a deductive argument:
Premise A: All the words in the Bible are God’s Words (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).
Premise B: God cannot lie or speak falsely (Titus 1:2).
Conclusion: All the words of Scripture are completely true and without error in any part.
This leads us to complete our above statement. Not only is the Bible the inspired and inerrant Word of God, it is only infallible, meaning that it is incapable of containing errors. So this logical deduction proves that if one truly believes that the Bible is “breathed out” by God, they will naturally believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible.
Now I told you that I align myself with the Plenary Verbal Inspiration Model. What about the two views of inerrancy? Which one is better or more biblical? I lean towards Full Inerrancy. Here’s why. Absolute Inerrancy says that the Bible specifically seeks to inform people about scientific and historical matters. I do not agree with that statement. I believe that the Bible specifically points people to Jesus Christ. However, it does provide scientific and historical information, and when it does, as Full Inerrancy states, I believe that it is fully true. The difference is that Full Inerrancy does not say that the Bible intends to inform people about scientific and historical matters specifically; instead, it just deals with them in seeking to accomplish its purpose. Both views hold that the Bible is completely and totally inerrant.
So the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. But two questions still remain: Do we have the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God today? If yes, how do we explain the different translations that we have?
Well, we will pick that up again next week. Please let me know what you think in the comments.