Have you heard that God inspired Moses, Paul, John, and the others to write the books of the Bible?
That isn’t accurate.
God never inspired those writers to write anything.
Still Reading This?
For those who haven’t yet called the Blasphemy Police on me, thanks. I’d like a chance to explain.
The Other 3:16
Most believers and many unbelievers know John 3:16:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
I love that verse. But I love all verses in the Bible. And just two verses later, there’s a verse that I think is equally important. It’s not as nice which is why hardly anybody knows it:
He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Wow. Some are “condemned already.” Jesus is telling us here that those who don’t believe in Him are in big trouble. In today’s watered-down churchianity, only the nice verses are ever taught. This is why you don’t know about John 3:18. Today’s churches don’t typically like to talk about the results of rejecting Jesus.
I think that’s a mistake.
The fact most churches only teach the nice, feel-good verses may be a reason why so few people today think they are bad off enough to need a Savior.
But Back to My Point
John 3:16 is a wonderful verse though. It deserves to be the most-quoted Bible verse.
But there’s another 3:16, in Second Timothy, that is pretty good too. And many believers know it:
6 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
What Is Is
When an English Bible translation has one or more italicized words in a verse, did you know those words were not in the original Greek or Hebrew texts? I’ve always thought italics were a poor choice for the translators to use. We often emphasize italicized words when we write things.
But an italicized word in Scripture means that the translators added that word.
In that light, look again at 2 Timothy 3:16:
6 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, …
Even if you knew those two verses before, and even if you knew that italics in English Bibles weren’t words in the original Greek, did it ever occur to you that there is no verb in 2 Timothy 3:16 even though we all learned it with the two “is” verbs?
We lose so much in translations. This is true no matter how literal a translation is. No language can perfectly capture the meaning and essence of any other language. A translation always gives up something in the translation. That’s the nature of translation.
In the original Greek, by omitting the “to-be” verb is, Paul was making a vital statement. Paul was tying together God’s Word, showing that even a verb would not be enough to show that God’s Word and God are equivalent and inseparable! Also, Paul was demonstrating that God’s Word and good doctrine (teaching) are equivalent and inseparable!
To us today, this sounds a little silly, but when we learn it was Paul’s mechanism to show how inseparable and equivalent these are, it makes the meaning mean that much more to us:
Scripture God doctrine.
Scripture God inspiration.
Scripture God reproving.
Scripture God correction.
Scripture God righteous instruction.
No verb. Simple equivalents.
In other words, even when we say that Scripture is correction keeps the two concepts too far apart. Even though our sentences require verbs to be grammatically correct, the notion here is that a verb keeps them too disconnected.
God’s Word good doctrine.
There is no difference. They are equivalent.
Okay, But What Was That About God’s Writers Not Being Inspired?
They were not. God’s writers were not inspired. No matter how many times you’ve heard they were by other Christians.
I’ve even said that God’s Word was inspired before. You should have called me on that error. If I’m wrong now, show me where I’m wrong. I appreciate reproof and correction because I never want to be wrong on God’s Word.
But until you do show me, know that I was, and you are, and yes even your Pastor is wrong if either of you still promote the error that God inspired the writers to write Scripture.
Proof? It’s been the centerpiece of this entire post so far.
Here it is – the proof:
God’s writers were not inspired. GOD’S WORD WAS INSPIRED!
2 Timothy 3:16, the verse many of us have known a long time, tells us clearly that it is the Word of God that is inspired. Not the writers.
How Important is this Distinction?
I think it’s extremely important. But maybe it’s not.
No, it is.
The Holy Spirit (God) certainly led those writers to write the things they wrote.
But we know now that it was the Word that was God-inspired. Not the writers.
The Words were so inspired, that to say the “Word was inspired” keeps the Word and the inspiration too far apart. Drop the verb.