The character and quality of the New Testament and how we received it is based upon Who authored it. The New Testament was not written by the finger of God on some mountain top or mediated by angels. Apostles and prophets, all followers of Jesus Christ, were given the words directly by the Holy Spirit. The word for this process is Inspiration.
The gospel was preached before it was ever written down. The oral preaching and the written Scriptures are in all ways equal in content and value as the word of God (Second Thessalonians 2:15). Since the New Testament originally comes from God, then it is perfect and flawless and in all ways reflect the one who gave it.
New Testament Inspiration
The gift of prophecy is another phrase used in the New Testament to describe Inspiration. It was a supernatural act, or to put it another way, it was a miracle. The apostles had every supernatural gift and could pass any one of them on by the laying on of their hands upon the recipient (Acts 8:18, Second Timothy 1:6). This may include the gift of prophecy, or it may be another miraculous enablement, such as healing or speaking in tongues. The purpose of the miracles was to confirm the Scriptures while they were being written in the first century (Mark 16:20).
The gospel was Foreordained by God (Romans 16:25). Paul calls it the “mystery” (musterion), which means something hidden now revealed (Ephesians 3:8). What was reveal and written was intended to make God’s wisdom known to mankind by reading the New Testament (Ephesians 3:10). The gospel was a message first preached by Jesus in accordance to what God the Father wanted preached (Hebrews 2:1-4, John 14:10). It was then conveyed to the Apostles (John 16:12-13).
To young Timothy, Paul writes, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (Second Timothy 3:16-17). The phrase “all Scripture” refers to the complete Bible, Old and New Testaments. We don’t follow the Old Testament today like we do the New. But we learn eternal principles about the nature of God and the name of man, the nature of sin and the nature of atonement. Plus, we see in the Old Testament all of God’s Promises to the Patriarches and Prophecies through later men. Over 3,800 times in the Old Testament Scripture does it claim that it is the word/words of God.
The word for “Inspired” is qeopneustoV and it literally means “God breathed.” It is as if God is actually speaking the words with His own breath that appear on the pages of the Bible. That demonstrates the degree to which Scripture is Inspired, that it is word for word perfect.
Because every word of Scripture is breathed out by God, it is the most practical reading ever given to mankind. The is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness and only because it is Inspired. And because the Bible has this four-fold practicality, the end result for the believer is that he is made complete and full, not lacking anything for spiritual maturity. This fullness means the believer is equipped to every good work. Not only does the Bible tell us all we need to do to be considered faithful, but it supplies us with every motivation so that we want to obey God.
When we speak of the Bible as Inspired by God, we mean word-for-word Inspiration. It must be that specific because of the nature of God. He is all-knowing and all-powerful. He knows what we need to be saved and knows how to transmit what we need. God in all things is perfect, and we can only expect perfection in any communicative effort He would proffer towards mankind. The only way to insure perfection in His Bible, His Inspiration must be word-for-word exactly what God wishes to say.
One of the over 3,800 Old Testament references to it as the word/words of God just mentioned is Second Samuel 23:2, which says, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me,
And His word was on my tongue.” Remember that the Holy Spirit is the means by which God the Father conduits Inspiration to certain men, and in this case, David. By divine Inspiration, he composed the Psalms. When David communicated by the Spirit of God, it was not the thoughts of God on his tongue, but His words.
This is a matter that the New Testament confirms. Paul tells the Corinthian saints, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (First Corinthians 2:12-13). The Holy Spirit does not speak with words of the world, but the words of God. In this, the things that belong to God are conveyed by spiritually Inspired words.
Inspiration Assures Certainty
Likewise, the apostle Peter writes, “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from Heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 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” (Second Peter 1:16-21). Peter is referring to the Mount of Transfiguration where the glory of the Lord was revealed to Peter, James, and John. Along with this visible display, God spoke directly from Heaven, and said “This is My beloved Son” (Matthew 17:5).
Peter argues that we have a word of prophecy that is more sure than that. The Bible can confirm itself, and the certainty of it as the word of God is easier to prove than if anyone were to claim that God spoke to them directly. Because the Bible is this more sure word of prophecy, no passage of Scripture is subject to personal interpretation in that no one can say one interpretation is as good as another. We need to think for ourselves and study for ourselves, but we have the obligation and responsibility to come to the proper interpretation that God intends for us to reach. Otherwise, the Bible is pointless. If one take on any given passage is as good as another, then God is advocating the folly of following the human heart.
God gave us the Bible and expects us to correctly understand it. Saving faith cannot come by any other process. The reason one interpretation is not as good as another is because of Inspiration. Men did not decide on what to write. Instead, holy men were moved, literally picked up and carried along, by the Holy Spirit. We need to take our Bibles seriously since we know it is the perfect and flawless word for word Holy Scriptures.