Christ Assembly │ The Miracle of Inspiration
The Miracle of Inspiration
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God breathed out the Bible. This phrase provides a cornerstone for understanding the doctrine of inspiration. The authors of the Bible wrote in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. The authors did not all write with the same style, but as individuals using their own ways of forming sentences and paragraphs, choosing words, and relating the truth which God revealed to them. God always tells the truth, and we can rely upon the Bible as the Word of God to sanctify believers in the truth.
1.1 God Breathed the Bible Using the Miracle of Inspiration. God breathed the Bible through men to reveal Himself and His Message. God worked miraculously because He made special, perfect revelations and prevented all errors from seeping into the written record of His revelation (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
1.2 God Accurately Recorded the Truth in the Bible, without Errors or Mistakes of any Kind. The Holy Spirit of God also worked miraculously in bringing all the teaching and words of Jesus to the minds of His disciples (John 14:26). Such perfect memory, divinely guaranteed as complete and accurate, constituted a wonderful miracle. Through the Bible God revealed His love, emotions, plans, and everything else we need to know about God and our spiritual lives. Apart from His special revelation, we would not have known His ways or His thoughts, which stand far above our ways and our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-11; 1 Corinthians 2:9-10). He pronounced His Word complete so that the man of God may be equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17). Although God completed His written revelation with the New Testament, God also described His word as “living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). His Word lives.
The Miracle of Memory
2.1 The Ministry of the Holy Spirit and Memory. Jesus made a special point of prophesying about various ministries of the Holy Spirit in the lives of His disciples. Just before sinful men arrested Jesus, He spoke to His disciples about their future. Jesus let them know that loving Him would continue after He left. He also promised that He and the Father would spiritually abide with each one of them (Judas Iscariot had left), and with everyone who loves Jesus and keeps His word. Jesus directed their attention to the connection between His word and God’s love.
2.2 Keep the Word of Jesus. In John 14:23, Jesus answered a question about disclosing Himself to the disciples and not to the world. Jesus said: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My father will love him, and We will make our abode with him.” Jesus revealed that He would disclose Himself to the disciples as they keep His word. They will keep His word because they love Him. The disclosure here means that both the Son and the Father would abide with them and that disclosure would be ongoing in the future. Spiritually, both Father and Son would have an eternal relationship of loving disclosure to each disciple, and by implication, to all believers in all generations. Jesus and the Father do not sit mutely within the believer, they live in active disclosure with the believer. Through the words of Jesus, given by the Father, they speak to us and make their loving presence felt in our lives every day. But not everyone would receive the word of Jesus, and not everyone would love Him.
2.3 Love Jesus and Keep His Word. In John 14:24, Jesus tied loving Him to keeping His word: “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” Jesus repeatedly emphasized to His disciples that He spoke the Father’s word, not His own. This basic revelation from the Father through the Son to humanity set the pattern for the ministry of the Gospel to the world. Jesus did not commingle His own words with the Father’s words, but rather obediently proclaimed those words as given by the Father.
2.4 Jesus Spoke While Abiding with the Disciples. In John 14:25, Jesus declared that He spoke the Father’s words while abiding with the disciples: “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.” This verse implies the Lord Jesus Christ obeyed the Father in speaking the words of God the Father while living with the disciples. Apparently, the Lord Jesus Christ did not expect that the disciples had written down all those words, or that they had memorized all of them. They may have made notes, or memorized some of His words, but the Lord Jesus emphasized that He was speaking the words from God the Father while with the disciples. The Lord Jesus Christ recognized the role of the Holy Spirit in continuing the revelatory work of the Father, through the Lord Jesus Christ, after the Lord Jesus Christ had ascended.
2.5 The Prophecy of Miraculous Memory. In John 14:26, Jesus prophesied about a particular miracle for the disciples. That miracle would take place after Jesus had been crucified and raised from the dead.
2.5.1 Divine Help with Revelation. Jesus revealed that the Holy Spirit would provide two specific types of divine, supernatural help: (1) helping them learn new things and (2) helping them remember past things. As part of the ongoing disclosure, Jesus explained the process of further revelation for believers and how He would build His church. Through the disciples, He would spread the revelation and then record it for future generations.
2.5.2 The Holy Spirit and Divine Help. Jesus focused particular attention upon the Holy Spirit bringing to their mind the words of Jesus: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” Jesus proclaimed that the Holy Spirit would bring to the remembrance of the disciples all the words of Jesus. Pay special attention to the word “all” in the preceding sentence. “All” the words of Jesus. He did not leave any out, or just convey the “gist.”
2.5.3 Word for Word. The Bible claims word for word accuracy. In essence, the Holy Spirit will communicate with verbal, plenary inspiration. “All” means plenary in the sense of complete in every respect or total. “All” also means the words themselves. Since the Holy Spirit reminded the disciples of “all” the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, why would anyone say the Holy Spirit only reminded them of the “gist” of the message of Jesus Christ? Consider 2 Peter 1:21: “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Was the Holy Spirit just communicating the “gist” of God’s message in the Bible? Of course not, and the Bible contains many passages showing that God communicated precise words with precise meanings. The disclosure to the disciples would be special and miraculous, because, for them, it would expand beyond the loving presence of the Father and Son abiding with them.
2.5.4 All the Words. The Holy Spirit would perform the miracle of bringing all the words of Jesus to the disciples as they proclaimed the Gospel to the world and recalled the facts of the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus promised a miracle of revelation. He fulfilled it in: (1) the preaching of the disciples under the influence of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 10:19-20; Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11-12; Acts 1:8; Acts 2; Acts 4:8; Acts 4:31); and (2) with the Holy Spirit moving men to write the New Testament (2 Peter 1:20-21).
2.5.5 Eyewitnesses with Perfect Recollection. The disciples not only provided eyewitness testimony, and preached Christ crucified and risen to the world, but they also had supernatural recollection of the facts. Every trial lawyer would love a witness that could never be impeached, even after two thousand years of cross examination. Despite the attacks upon the veracity of Scripture, God’s miracle of revelation continues to live and pierce the lives of His children with His truth and love.
2.5.6 The Flow of Revelation. The following diagram shows the flow of revelation from the God the Father to the Son to the Holy Spirit to the Disciples. Please recall that God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) know all things all the time, but purely to illustrate the process in John 14:26, the chart below may help.
Therefore, the Father revealed things to the Son who revealed them to the Holy Spirit who revealed them to the Disciples, through helping them recall with perfection the words of Jesus already revealed to them during His incarnate ministry.
The Father’s Commandment
As Jesus concluded His public ministry, He repeated His call to salvation. He linked salvation to hearing and keeping His word. The word of Jesus carries essential significance for all men. Therefore, Jesus carefully elaborated the importance of His word for the world.
3.1 Jesus Came to Save the World. In John 12:47, Jesus said: “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” Jesus said He came to save the world, not to judge now anyone who hears His sayings and does not keep them. Time matters here. Jesus did not say He would never judge the world, but rather He had not come now to judge the world. Jesus came to save the world now through His “sayings” of salvation. Jesus brought salvation through His sayings and empowering individuals to keep them by faith. Jesus alone stands as the sole Savior of mankind. Jesus spoke the words of life: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63; compare John 6:68).
3.2 The Word Will Judge. In John 12:48, after explaining that He did not come to judge anyone, Jesus addressed the consequences of rejecting Him and His “sayings”: “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” In verse 47, Jesus did not deny judgment would come upon those who reject His “sayings,” but only that He came to judge those people now. Instead, Jesus described a future judgment based upon His “sayings.” Jesus did not focus upon His person, but upon His “sayings.” Those “sayings” of Jesus result in one of two destinies for every man hearing them: (1) saved by Jesus or (2) judged by those “sayings.” In this case, Jesus saves people who keep His “sayings” from the judgment. No one hearing His “sayings” can ignore them.
3.3 The Father’s Commandment. In John 12:49, Jesus explained that He spoke according to the Father’s commandment: “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.” Jesus first explained that the words He spoke would sit in judgment upon everyone who rejected them. In contrast, everyone who heard and kept His word would be saved. The Gospel of Jesus Christ resulted in either judgment or life. Now Jesus discloses that the Father commanded Him what to say and what to speak. Jesus did not speak on His own initiative (John 14:10). Both the content of His words (Matthew 13:10-17) and the form of His words (see for example Matthew 13:34-35) were commanded by the Father. In other words, Jesus and the Father were concerned not only with the content of the Gospel, but also the way to present the Gospel, such as speaking parables to some, and explaining the parables to others. Jesus did not add or subtract words by His own initiative. Jesus emphasized that the words He spoke He did not choose Himself, but rather the Father gave Him a message and commanded Him to proclaim it. That message contained the best news ever preached to humanity.
3.4 Jesus Spoke the Father’s Words. If people readily understand that Jesus spoke the words of His Father who commanded Him what to say and what to speak, why would anyone deny the miraculous ministry of the Holy Spirit performing the same communication of the Father’s words through the disciples? Taken together, the words originated with the Father, then proclaimed by the Son at the Father’s commandment as to what to say and what to speak, and finally miraculously recalled by the Holy Spirit as He moved men to write down the God-breathed text of Scripture.
Jesus made a specific prophecy concerning the inspiration of the Bible. He prophesied that the Holy Spirit would bring back to the remembrance of the disciples all that He said to them (John 14:26). Because of this wonderful promise, every believer should take comfort in knowing we have a record of the very words of Jesus, because the Holy Spirit brought those words back to the memory of the disciples. What a miracle of love!
Christ Assembly │ The Miracle of Inspiration