DO YOU believe that the Bible is from God? Or do you think that it is a book that contains purely thoughts from men?
That is an ongoing debate even among professed Christians. For instance, in 2014 a Gallup poll in the United States revealed that the majority of nominal Christians agreed that “the Bible is connected in some way to God.” On the other hand, about 1 in 5 polled viewed the Bible as a book of “ancient fables, legends, history, and precepts written by man.” This controversy puts the spotlight on the real meaning of the term “inspired” with regard to the Bible.—2 Timothy 3:16.
“INSPIRED”—WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
The Bible is made up of 66 small books, which were written by some 40 writers over a period of about 1,600 years. But if the Bible was written by men, how can it be “inspired of God”? Simply stated, the expression “inspired of God” means that the Source of the information in those writings is God. The Bible puts it this way: “Men spoke from God as they were moved by holy spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21) In other words, God used his invisible energizing force, holy spirit, to transmit his message to the writers of the Bible books. This can be likened to a businessman dictating a letter to his secretary. The letter’s author is, not the one doing the writing, but the one doing the dictating.
Some Bible writers actually heard God’s message conveyed audibly by an angel. Others saw visions from God. In some cases, God communicated his message in the form of dreams. While God at times allowed the writers to use their own words to record his message, at other times he gave them precise wording. In any event, human writers conveyed God’s thoughts and not their own.
How can we be sure that it was God who inspired the Bible writers? Consider three lines of evidence that build confidence in the Bible’s divine origin.