Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love


The subject of biblical inspiration is an intriguing one. In the minds of many, the process of inspiration leads to an original document much like that generated on Mount Sinai in the time of Moses. The tables of stone on which the law was written were said to have been created by the very finger of God. One would therefore conclude that God selected every specific word personally. This picture is then applied to the New Testament scriptures, leading to the understanding that the various writers of the biblical books were supernaturally directed word for word in what to put down on the page. This understanding then attaches a sacredness to each an ever word, making them pregnant with special meaning, and demanding a careful word by word scrutiny of every passage of scripture. This approach to using the Bible as the spiritual guide map is clearly evident throughout church history.


The basis for the traditional definition of inspiration is based on a few key scriptures:


II Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:


II Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.


II Peter 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest , as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.


Of course, these verses do not confirm that what was originally written was word for word what God intended, much less prove that what we have in our current day translations is a perfect reflection of the original. You will notice that the prophesies of old were first spoken and then written, so we must consider whether the written word correctly captured the spoken message. Likewise, in speaking of the epistles of Paul as being a part of the scriptures, Peter concludes that Paul is difficult to understand which opens the entire issue of interpreting the scriptures, even after we confirm that we have the proper wording. Additionally, no where is the subject of translating the scriptures into other languages mentioned. That process is another question mark when one claims a word by sacred word text.


I have noted before that, in dealing with seemingly contradictory passages in the Bible, we all must pick those portions we consider essential or axiomatic, thereby relegating the rest of the Bible to a subordinate status, requiring clarification. These secondary portions, we generally ignore because we instead spend all our time emphasizing what we individually conclude is the important part. In practical terms there is little difference between this common approach to using scripture and that of declaring some portions of the Bible as inspired and others as uninspired or at least uninspiring. If some scripture can be ignored or avoided with no ill effect, then it becomes superfluous, and as such it challenges the very notion of God given.


In effect, this necessity of picking and choosing those scriptures upon which to base one’s belief system, suggest that inspiration should be completely redefined. The division of the Bible into essential Truth and incidental Truth really implies that what is actually inspired in the Bible is that portion which inspires you personally. Of course, what personally inspires can be the result of early childhood training, cultural conditioning, or legitimate personal evaluation and contemplation.


In this way, inspiration becomes a fact only after the hearer makes a personal choice. Truth, even divinely inspired Truth, cannot be differentiated from falsity until it is acknowledged and tested. The subdivision of the scriptures into the categories of essential doctrine and matters of opinion is an implicit denial of inspiration as traditionally taught.