“You don’t really believe all that stuff in the Bible is true, do you?”
Now that is a loaded question! How would you answer it?
Over the years, many people have asked me this question. Some were genuinely curious. Others were a bit more antagonistic. Regardless of their motives, I tried to answer them as simply and faithfully as I could.
You see, I believe the Bible is entirely true, and it does not state anything that is contrary to fact in the original manuscripts. 2 Timothy 3:16 affirms that all Scripture is what? God-breathed! That means all the language, choices of words, grammatical structure, and logical flow of the Hebrew and Greek texts from Genesis to Revelation are inspired or “breathed-out” by God. So how did this all come about? Great question!
The Bible was written by particular human authors, during a specific period of time, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:18-20; Jn. 14-16; Acts 1:16, 3:18, Heb. 1:1-2). Therefore, Scripture reflects the unique personalities, backgrounds, knowledge, and vocabularies of these authors. Yet, the Holy Spirit so guided this process that these authors did not stumble into what God desired, rather they chose the words that accurately conveyed the intention of God.
Is your mind blown? Mine is! However, let’s think about this for a minute.
You see, 2 Peter 1:20-21 is foundational to this understanding of the Bible. Even though men spoke and wrote, Scripture is not fundamentally a result of human origin or will,
“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.”
Amazing, right? That is why Paul can say in 2 Timothy 3:16 that all Scripture is God-breathed! Paul uses the Greek word theopneustos here. It literally means “breathed out by God.”
Take in a breath. Hold it. Now let it out.
The exhaled air is the idea Paul is communicating. From what I’ve read, this word cannot be found in any other Greek literature. Some think it is possible that he even created the word to make his point clear.
So what’s the point? The Bible is not inspired in the same way that a person is inspired and moved to write a song or a poem. These authors weren’t just thinking big thoughts about God. God-breathed means that Scripture is literally exhaled from God and is therefore authoritative in a believer’s life (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).
You see, Jesus had this view of Scripture. Check out what he says in Matthew 22:42–44. Jesus asked the Pharisees a question:
Saying “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is He?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet” ’?
Now Jesus is quoting from Psalm 110 here. Who wrote this Psalm? David! How does Jesus say David wrote this Psalm? In the Spirit!
So do I really believe all that stuff in the Bible is true? My answer is yes! It is both 100% divine and 100% fleshy, if you will. This was how Jesus and his followers thought about Scripture. There is nothing else like it!
In the coming weeks, we’ll think more about the importance of this. In the meantime, pick up the Bible and read God’s Word!