In my last post, we saw that the words in the Bible are living and active because they are God’s words.
But wait a minute, you might be thinking. Didn’t Paul and Peter and John and Moses and David and many others write the Bible? If that’s true, then how can we claim it was written by God too?
I’m glad you asked 🙂
Historically, if you asked someone in the church who wrote the Bible — God or man — the answer would be “yes.” Through the centuries, the church has understood the Bible to have a dual authorship.
This means that “While the authors of the Bible wrote as thinking, feeling human beings, God so mysteriously superintended the process that every word written was also the exact word he wanted to be written — free from all error” (Fee & Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth).
This is called the Verbal Plenary view of the doctrine of inspiration, in case you want the technical jargon.
What the Bible Says About its Authorship
Biblically, this notion comes from places like 2 Peter 1:21, which says,
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.
So yes, men authored the Bible, but the words they produced were from God through the Holy Spirit.
And then there’s 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which says,
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
How much of Scripture is breathed out by God? All of it.
That means every word that God intended to be in the Bible has been breathed out by God himself. And the way those words made their way to us is through the written records of what we now call the Bible.
The Word of God
If the Bible is the “Word of God,” then what we’re actually talking about is a book of words that the all-powerful, all-knowing, transcendent God decided to write to us! What could be more important than reading and studying this book?
If we really believe that the Bible is the Word of God, then it should be much more than a book that we are familiar with. It ought to shape every aspect of our existence. It should guide the decisions we make in life.
If God is the designer and creator of this world, if he made us and placed us on this earth, and if he has taken the time to tell us who he is, who we are, and how this world operates, then what could be more important to us than the Bible?
The Bible isn’t merely an inanimate object that we study and pull information from. It has a life of its own. It acts. It reads us; it pierces to the deepest parts of our being and discerns our motivations.
—Francis Chan, Multiply
Since our God is a living God, his Word is alive, and he works through his Word to actively transform every part of our being.
This is part 3 in the Appreciating the Bible series. Read part 1: Does Your Bible Look Like Brussels Sprouts or Dessert? | Part 2: What is the Bible? | Part 3: Who Wrote the Bible? | Part 4: Why Study the Bible? | Part 5: Bible Study Doesn’t Have to Be a Chore