How God’s word, the bible was inspired — Clerics
Clerics share their knowledge of how the word of God, the Bible came into being and how complete it is. CHRIS IREKAMBA writes.
Theological Position Is That God Inspired Men To Write The Scriptures’
(The Rt. Rev. Dr. Peter Ogunmuyiwa, Bishop of the African Church, Diocese of the North and Abuja/Coordinating Chaplain of National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja)
At the time Apostle Paul was writing his epistle, he had already been regenerated and so, nobody should look at it ordinarily. He was born again and so, it is not the same Paul that was Saul, but same Paul that persecuted the church that wrote his epistles in the Bible, and even if Paul said not Christ but me, everything about Paul at the time he was writing the epistle was Christ. So, he was fully empowered by the Holy Spirit. God’s Word made us to understand that the Bible is the breath of God. God breathed on the writers, and they didn’t write on their own accord. Even though they are human beings and could make mistakes, but the fact is that the message of the Scriptures is inspired. The message is completely from God, Who only used man to write the Bible. Whatever Paul suggested as a man, he did it having being inspired by God.
For example, Paul did not write those scriptures as a sinner. He wrote the scriptures after he had given his life to Christ. It was after his encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ he wrote the scripture, and that was why he said ‘even if I die when I live; I live for Christ, and when I die, I die for the Lord’ so his living was totally for Christ. And so everything he wrote or said was inspired by God; that is the theological position about Paul’s statement. The purpose of Paul’s writing was to address certain situations and circumstances. So, the circumstance in which he wrote to the Corinthians, for example, was not the same situation when he wrote to the Ephesians.
Again, where he said ‘women ought to be silent in the church and not to be heard’ was for a particular situation. So, it is still an inspired word of God. There are circumstances that will demand that a woman must be quiet… Every scripture in the Bible is inspired Word of God.
‘Bible Is God’s Word Written By Human Secretaries’
(Dr. Cosmas Ilechukwu, General Overseer, Charismatic Renewal Ministries, Worldwide)
TO a large section of Christianity, the inerrancy of the Bible is beyond question. The word “inerrancy” simply means “lack of error.” The doctrine of Biblical inerrancy is the belief that the Bible, in its original autographs, contains no error in all its teachings. This is one of the most foundational of all Christian doctrines because it makes no sense to stake one’s faith on concocted stories. The teachings of the Bible provides the basis of the Christian faith and practice; thus making it imperative that the Bible is reliable.
The fundamental question the doctrine of inerrancy is concerned with is whether God ever spoke to disclose Himself in words to humans, or did He do that only through Luminous and mystical experiences?
If God ever spoke about Himself and His acts, did He speak the truth? Are the words He spoke truthfully recorded for posterity? Some people had in time past probed for answers to some of these questions. Their thoughts are worthy of our consideration. Peter explained, “The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word” (2 Peter 1:20-21). The things recorded in the Bible were not figments of human imagination or literary expertise. They were God’s thought communicated through carefully chosen human instrumentality. Paul has this to say on this, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The idea here is that the words in the Bible are God’s dictation recorded by human secretaries. We can conclude from Peter and Paul that the text of the Bible is simultaneously the product of human writers and God’s own ordained providentially-determined word. It is a way of saying that the Bible reliably speaks the truth in what it says in whatever domain. The scripture speaks the truth in all its propositional claims. Jesus claims to be the incarnation of truth. He taught that the Bible is the very word of God, and that it is generally reliable, such that not one jot and title will pass away. He held such a very high views of the Bible because of His first hand information that God is incapable of falsehood and deceit.
If the Bible communicates the true word of God, then its teaching of various aspects of human experiences and expectations should.
‘Bible Is God’s Word, Eternally True’
(Most Rev. (Dr.) Michael Olusina Fape, Archbishop/Diocesan Bishop of Remo, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Sagamu, Ogun State)
TODAY, the contents of the Holy Bible have been subjected to vigorous criticisms that many people are wondering if every word contained therein is actually inspired by God. There is no doubt that the Holy Bible contains the words of God, and it is living, in the sense of its eternal relevance and reliability, “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:35).
The Bible as a living Word of God, came by divine inspiration, as attested to by Apostle Peter as he writes, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-12).
In other words, the Bible is the living Word of God and it is eternally true. Just as it ministered salvation to those of the old, it is doing the same in our time. When sinners come in contact with its transforming power, it brings about an instant change that goes beyond human power. The messages therein are of eternal value. They were not only relevant to the first recipients, they are equally relevant to the present generation, be it on marriage, forgiveness, holy living, politics, leadership and administration.
That the Bible is a product of divine inspiration, regardless of what might look as the interjections of its various authors can be validated by the facts behind its composition. The Bible, which contains sixty-six books, was written by forty different men in different locations over a period of one thousand six hundred years, yet addressing the same issue without any contradiction.
The Bible, as the inspired word of God, came both by verbal and plenary inspiration to the various authors. In other words, the contents of the Bible were not only inspired by God, but the authors also received the mandate from God, regarding every word in the Bible (Jer. 30:1-2). However, there are instances when there are words spoken by wicked men, which are recorded in the Bible. Such words could not have been inspired by God. But the authors were inspired by God to take record of such pronouncements as a warning for those who may want to follow in the footsteps of such wicked people (Exodus 5:2; Daniel 3:15; Matthew 9:3).
In every sense of it, as noted from the earlier scripture from 2 Peter 1:20-21, the authors were fully inspired, as to the choice of words in the Holy Bible in communicating God’s messages to the recipients. Therefore, just as those words have relevance then, they equally have relevance now; and they are of eternal value.
‘Belief In Biblical Inspiration Is A Matter Of Christian Faith’
(Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu, Acting Director, Directorate of Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos)
THE controversy of the authenticity of the Christian Sacred or Holy Scriptures (Bible) being inspired by the Holy Spirit (God) has always been a point of heated arguments. While many biblical scholars believe that the Holy Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit (God), many other scholars believe it was mere figment of human imagination.
But according to the Catholic (Christian) teachings, the Sacred Scriptures was inspired by God through the Influence of the Holy Spirit. Human beings, according to many Church Fathers, were only instruments through which God’s Word was transmitted to the human community.
The doctrine of Biblical Inspiration, going by Christian Theology, states that, “God Himself breathed upon the human authors and editors, through the influence of the Holy Spirit, His words, which were conveyed to His people.” In other words, the human authors and editors were instruments or medium through which God (He himself being the Chief Author and Editor) transmitted His message to the people.
From the Holy Scriptures itself are a handful of evidences of God causing the human to communicate that which He wanted His people to know about Him.
Going through the Old Testament, we can find a number of prophets that were mouthpiece for God before His people. For instance, in 1 Sam. 10:6 & 19, God caused Saul to prophesy. Each of these instances referred to an occasion when King Saul prophesied under the influence of Divine (Holy) Spirit. Also in the Book of Prophet Isaiah 61: 1-3, it was revealed that the Messiah that would come to save the world shall possess the Spirit of the Lord to announce good news to the poor and mend the brokenhearted and so on (Cf. Luke 4:18ff).
The prophet Micah 3:8, states that, “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.”
In the New Testament beginning with St. Paul in his second letter to Timothy 3:16, we read that “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness.” St. Peter equally attested to the fact that human beings were under the influence of God, when they wrote the Holy Scriptures. “Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own (the will of man) interpretations. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21).
In Christian theology, the Latin word inspirare was already used by some Church Fathers in the first centuries to translate the Greek term pnéo. The Church Fathers often referred to writings other than the documents that formed or would form the biblical canon as “inspired.” Worthy of note here is to also connect Biblical Inspiration to Biblical inerrancy. Biblical inerrancy is the Christian teaching that, because the Holy Scriptures was inspired by God, it cannot err in the matters of faith and morals.
According to the Fathers of the Church, “The relationship between divine inspiration and biblical inerrancy is that since God is the ultimate Author of the Sacred Scriptures, Who inspired human authors to deliver His message in human words, the books of the Bible manifest and teach the truths of faith accurately and without error.” This is the traditional and doctrinal teaching that has passed from one Christian generation to another. And this is not going to change soon. From the above, therefore, the belief in Biblical Inspiration under the influence of the Holy Spirit is a matter of Christian Faith and must be considered as such.