Thoughts on the Verbal Inspiration of the Bible

Jerry F. Bassett
Bend, Oregon

"O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10:23).

The history of mankind is a continuous demonstration of the truth of the prophet's humble observation. Each instance in which man has ignored the will of God to follow his own counsel is but one more example of man's inability to keep himself on the right track. This was true of the men of Noah's day who forsook God until every thought of the heart was evil continually. The Israelites turned from the law of Moses given them by God, and gradually accepted idolatry with all of its foolishness and moral degeneracy. Christians of the 1st Century drifted away from the New Testament to embrace the doctrines and practices of men, and found themselves on the road to the corruption manifest now in Roman Catholicism. Examples could be multiplied, but these are sufficient to impress the futility of human thinking.

How wonderful, then, is the assurance that the Bible is, to fallible man, the repository of the infallible wisdom of Jehovah God! The express purpose of this book is to guide men through the pitfalls o/life and bring them to an eternal inheritance in heaven. Paul said that scripture inspired of God"is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

However, this purpose of the Bible can be accomplished only if it is verbally inspired, that is, if its very words are words supplied by God. Some try to tell us that the Bible is divinely inspired in thought only. They say that God supplied the writers with the thoughts who in turn were left free to express those thoughts in their own words. Such an idea leaves the Bible open to the possibility of many gross errors. Men are forever choosing the wrong words to express right ideas and consequently saying the wrong thing. Is this the way it is with the Bible also? No! On the contrary, the Bible makes it clear that it is inspired of God not only in thought, but also in word.

Notice the following texts (The capitalization of whole words has been done for emphasis of the point at hand.)

"Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel said, The Spirit of the Lord slake by me, and HIS WORD WAS IN MY MOUTH" {2 Samuel 23:1-2 ).

"Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. Then the Lord put forth his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, BEHOLD, I HAVE PUT MY WORDS

IN THY MOUTH" (Jeremiah 1:5-9). Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, NOT IN THE WORDS WHICH MAN'S WISDOM TEACHETH BUT WHICH THE HOLY GHOST TEA CHETH: COMPARING SPIRITUAL THINGS WITH SPIRITUAL" (I Corinthians 2:12-13).

Thus, God supplied the writers of the Bible both the thoughts and the words in He wanted them expressed. In this way the Bible is an accurate expression of the infallible mind of God containing the right thoughts spoken in the right words to convey right idea.

While the verbal inspiration of the Bible is a wonderful and indispensable blessing, it suggests an obvious responsibility to be borne by man. What good is scripture inspired in every word unless men respect and fo11ow it in every word? From a purely logical point of view, what clearer argument could be offered for the necessity of man's giving strict obedience to every word of God than the fact that such a God as Jehovah purposely supplied the words in which His will is revealed? As God said through Isaiah, Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken." Again we are admonished, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God: if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen" (1 Peter 4:11).

Therefore, let every man carefully heed the divine instruction found in the Bible. If we fail to do so we are sure to falter and lose our way in a maze of confusion and folly. Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).

TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV; 40, pp. 10-11

August 20, 1970