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Morrish Bible Dictionary


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Though this word occurs in the Bible but once in reference to the scriptures, yet the one statement in which it is found is important and full of deep meaning: "Every scripture is divinely inspired [literally, 'God-breathed'], and is profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be complete, fully fitted to every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16,17 . This places all scripture on one basis as to inspiration, whether it be historical, doctrinal, or prophetic. We learn by this passage that not simply the persons who wrote were inspired, but the writings themselves are divinely inspired. Cf. 2 Peter 1:21 .

All writings are composed of words, and if these writings are inspired, the words are inspired. This is what is commonly called 'verbal inspiration.' Other passages speak of the importance of 'words:' Peter said, "To whom shall we go? thou hast the words (ῥήματα) of eternal life," John 6:68 : and we find those words in the Gospels. When it was a question of Gentiles being brought into blessing without being circumcised, James in his address appealed to the 'words' of the prophets. Acts 15:15 . Paul in writing to the Corinthian saints said, "Which things also we speak, not in the 'words' (λόγοι)which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth." 1 Corinthians 2:13 . The Holy Spirit taught Paul what words to use. The whole of scripture forms the word of God, and both in the O.T. and in the N.T. we read of 'the words of God.' 1 Chronicles 25:5 ; Ezra 9:4 ; Psalm 107:11 ; John 3:34 ; John 8:47 ; Revelation 17:17 . Neither must His word be added to, or taken from. Deuteronomy 4:2 ; Deuteronomy 12:32 ; Revelation 22:18,19 .

The above passages should carry conviction to simple souls that every scripture is God-inspired. As nothing less than this is worthy of God, so nothing less than this would meet the need of man. Amid the many uncertain things around him he needs words upon which his faith can be based, and in the inspired scriptures he has them. The Lord Jesus said, "The words (ῥήματα) that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." John 6:63 . He had the words of eternal life; and, through the grace of God, many a soul has found them to be such, and has no more doubt of the plenary inspiration of scripture than of the existence of God Himself.

It may be noted that scripture records the sayings of wicked men, and of Satan himself. It need scarcely be said that it is not the sayings but the records of them that are inspired. Paul also, when writing on the question of marriage, makes a distinction between what he wrote as his judgement, and what he wrote as commandments of the Lord. "I speak this by permission," he says; and again, "I give my judgement." 1 Corinthians 7:6,10,12,25 . He was inspired to record his spiritual judgement and to point out that it was not a command.

Some have a difficulty as to what has been called the human element in inspiration. If the words of scripture are inspired, it has been asked, how is it that the style of the writer is so manifest? John's style, for instance, being clearly distinguishable from that of Paul. The simple answer is that it is as if one used, so to speak, different kinds of pens to write with. God made the mind of man as well as his body, and was surely able to use the mind of each of the writers He employed, and yet cause him to write exactly what He wished. God took possession of the mind of man to declare His own purposes with regard to man.

Further, it has been asserted that the doctrine of verbal inspiration is valueless, because of diversities in the Greek manuscripts, which in some places prevent any one from determining what are the words God caused to be written. But this does not in any way touch the question of inspiration, which is, that the words written were inspired by God. Whether we have a correct copy is quite another question. The variations in the Greek manuscripts do not affect any one of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, and only in a few places are the words doubtful.

Another objection to the value of verbal inspiration is that most persons read scripture in a translation, the words of which cannot, it is alleged, be said to be inspired. But if the translation conveys exactly the same meaning as in the original, the words can be said to be inspired: for instance, the words 'God is love,' may surely be said to be the same as ὁ θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστίν, or Deus caritas est, Dieu est amour, or Dio è carità, to those who can read them. It may be that the translations from which the above are taken cannot in all places be said to be the same as the Greek; but this only shows the great importance of each having a correct translation in his vernacular tongue. And it must not be forgotten that the Lord Himself and those who wrote the New Testament often quoted the Septuagint, which is a translation from the Hebrew; and they quoted it as scripture.

Nothing can exceed the importance of having true thoughts of the inspiration of scripture. As no human author would allow his amanuensis to write what he did not mean, so surely what is called the word of God is God's own production, though given through the instrumentality of man. Though there were many writers, separated by thousands of years, there is a divine unity in the whole, showing plainly that one and only one could have been its Author. That One can only have been the Almighty — Jehovah — now happily revealedto the Christian as his Father as well as his God.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Inspiration '. Morrish Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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