June 20, 2011
The Truthfulness of the
Words of Scripture
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Verbal inspiration means the exact words of Scripture are true. We have seen that God chose each word of Scripture carefully, so that the author would communicate the truth with precision. Verbal inspiration does not mean a dictation theory of inspiration, where the author merely writes down what God spoke. Rather, verbal inspiration means that each writer communicated using his own style of writing, vocabulary, and syntax. Peter writes in a style different from John or Paul. Yet, God guaranteed that what each of them wrote perfectly communicated His message, with word for word accuracy. The writers of Scripture did not always say they were communicating the exact words of Jesus, or of other people. In some cases, they used paraphrases or summaries of the words. But when they did claim to report the very words of Jesus, they reported the exact words that Jesus spoke. In fact, each time the Bible writer claims to report the very words of someone, then the words are exactly as reported. Through the words of Scripture we learn the revelation of God. The revelation will be no clearer than the precision of the words used to communicate it. Therefore, we must pay close attention to the words of Scripture. Some people may argue that only the thoughts of Scripture count, and not the actual words. Jesus stressed that the words themselves really matter, because the words communicate the truth and revelation of God to man. God always speaks clearly and precisely. He says what He means, and means what He says.
The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue.
2 Samuel 23:2
“Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me, ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth'”).
“Thus says the LORD, ‘Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak to all the cities of Judah who have come to worship in the LORD’S house all the words that I have commanded you to speak to them. Do not omit a word!
Then Jeremiah the prophet said to them, “I have heard you. Behold, I am going to pray to the LORD your God in accordance with your words; and I will tell you the whole message which the LORD will answer you. I will not keep back a word from you.”
Do Not Keep Back a Word. Later in Jeremiah 42, we see that Jeremiah communicated the exact words of the LORD to the people. He would not keep back a single word from them. We see from this passage that God gave very specific words. Notice that Jeremiah understood the LORD to speak with word for word accuracy. God also required prophets to speak His word with truth. He said that His word was like fire and “like a hammer that shatters rock” (Jeremiah 23:28-29). Not only do the words of God burn and shatter, they also benefit the believer.
Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
Every Word of God Tested. Scripture records for our benefit that every word of God is tested. God links His word to believers taking refuge in Him and of His Person acting as a shield for us. As God provides a refuge for us, He also provides food for us from His Word.
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’
Living on Every Word of God. As Jesus confronted Satan, Jesus quoted the Old Testament. He relied upon Scripture to refute the lies of Satan. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, and made the point that every word of God provides spiritual food for man to live upon. While men think about earthly bread, Jesus speaks of the Word of God as the only thing He needs to eat. Jesus did not command the stones to become bread, as Satan had challenged Him. Instead, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy as a sufficient response to Satan. Jesus had no intention of taking His orders from Satan, but rather emphasized how God provided every kind of food essential for living. Jesus declared that every letter and the smallest parts of the word of God would be fulfilled.
For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
The Smallest Letter or Stroke. In Matthew 5:18, Jesus also had confidence in the words of the Old Testament. He speaks of them with precise details. Jesus says that not only the words were inspired, but even the smallest letter or strokes (“yod”) would not pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Jesus taught that He did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill (Matthew 5:17). In this context, Jesus proclaimed that the smallest letter or stroke would be accomplished. We should follow Jesus in everything, and especially rely upon the spiritual truth and integrity of the words He gave to us as recorded in the Bible.
So we learn about the inspiration of the Word of God today.
● The Word of God means that God communicated through men who spoke for Him.
● The Word of God means that God gave specific words to the authors of the Bible, and not just general messages.
● The Word of God means that He inspired every letter and stroke of the letters. In Hebrew, one stroke of the pen could change one letter and so change one word. God gave extremely precise words to the authors of the Bible, even down to the letters and the strokes of the words.
Application for Today
We take refuge in the Word of God, knowing that God communicated with us to bless us and to save us from our sins. Through His Word, we live and draw near to Him. Will you listen to every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, and so live in God today?