Inspiration 2 Tim. 3: 14-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God The Point

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2 Tim. 3:14-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God...
The Point: Scripture is the answer
The context:

2 Tim. 1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words,

2 Tim. 1:14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost

2 Tim. 2:2 the things thou hast heard, the same commit thou to faithful men

2 Tim. 2:14 Of these things put them in remembrance

2 Tim. 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 Tim. 3:1 In the last days perilous times shall come

2 Tim. 3:7 Ever learning, never able to come to the knowledge of the truth

2 Tim. 3:13 Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse

2 Tim. 3:14 But continue thou in the things thou hast learned

2 Tim. 3:15 From a child hast known the holy scriptures

2 Tim. 4:2 Preach the word

2 Tim. 4:3 time will come not endure sound doctrine, heap to selves teachers

2 Tim. 4:4 shall turn away their ears from the truth
Two apostasies prophesied:

Acts 20:29 after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you

Acts 20:30 to draw disciples after them

Acts 20:32 I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace

2 Pe. 3:2 be mindful of the words spoken by holy prophets and us the apostles

2 Pe. 3:3 there shall come in the last days scoffers

2 Pe. 3:4 all things continue as they were from the beginning

2 Pe. 3:5 willingly are ignorant

2 Pe. 3:6 world that then was, being overflowed with water
Scripture is solution to apostasy

Permanence: Exo. 17:14 memorial

Job 19:23,24 for ever

Isa. 30.8 time to come

Ps. 102:18 future

Authority: Exo. 34:27 these words made a covenant (official, commitment)

Confirmation: John 12:16 remembered they these things were written of him

Precision: Eze. 43:10,11 write it that they may keep the whole form

Convenience: Rom. 15:4 written for our learning, patience, comfort, hope,

Deu. 17:18,19 write him a copy of this law in a book, read all days of life

Hab. 2:1,2 plain upon tables, run that readeth it.

Confidence: John. 20:31 written that ye might believe

Promulgation: Rom. 16:26 by scriptures made known to all nations
Purpose: furnish man of God after Apostles were gone.

Scriptures take the place of ongoing, prophetical revelation. Continual doctrinal and practical authority.
The Principle: Inspiration is about the commonly available Bible
Popular attempts at defining inspiration do not match reality. (By definition, only believers are attempting the definition, so they aren’t inherently bad attempts. They are “good tries,” but they don’t work comprehensively.)
1. God breathed. That God directly communicated using men as mere instruments

Are the scriptures God-breathed? (NIV actually translates it this way).

Physically? Obviously not. It is literature. It is called “scripture.”

Metaphorically, then? God’s words on paper? Not a definition at all, tells us nothing.

Spiritually? Spoken by God in spirit? So leave it as “by inspiration”


“the Law and the Prophets are not a doctrine delivered according to the will and pleasure of men, but dictated by the Holy Spirit.” (John Calvin)

“God directed the men who wrote it what to write, and how to write it, that as a rule of faith and practice for men it might be perfect” (Family Bible Commentary)

“The scriptures are the breath of God, the word of God and not men; they are ‘written by the Spirit’, as the Syriac version renders it; or ‘by the Spirit of God’, as the Ethiopic version.” (John Gill)

“An extraordinary divine agency upon teachers while giving instruction, whether oral or written, by which they were taught how and what they should speak or write.” (Knapp)

Some scriptures were actually spoken by God, but not all:

Num. 12:6 I will make myself known in a vision, speak in a dream

Num. 12:8 [but] with [Moses] will I speak mouth to mouth

Heb. 1:1 God who in divers manners spake in time past, hath in last days spoken by his son.

If all is directly from God, why does God make a difference?
2. Special Revelation. That God “moved upon men” giving them supernatural understanding.
1 Pet. 1:11 the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ,

2 Pet. 1:20,21 Prophecy came not by will of man, but men spake moved by Holy Ghost.

Job 32:8 the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

2 Sam. 23:2 The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.

Luke 1:70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, since the world began:

Mark 12:36 For David himself said by the Holy Ghost,

Heb. 3:7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,


“Scriptures of the prophets who were taught according to the inspiration of God” (Josephus)

“sacred writers were kept from error on those subjects which were matters of their own observation, or which pertained to memory; and that there were truths imparted to them directly by the Spirit of God, which they never could have arrived at by the unaided exercise of their own minds.” (Albert Barnes)

“They are not the contrivance of any man’s wit and fancy, but a revelation of the mind and will of God; and those that wrote them were excited to it, and assisted in it, by the Spirit of God.” (Burkitt)

“When God speaks of divine things, and this is revelation, he does for our sakes condescend to use human language, but fills it with what is divine.” (Darby)
Some scriptures, notably prophecies, were given by special revelation, but not all:

John 15:26,27 Comforter will testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness

Notice the Holy Spirit gives a separate testimony from the Apostles. It is imperative that the “eyewitness” testimony of the apostles not be something “revealed” by God’s spirit, but something that comes from their own experience, that they remember themselves, and that they relate in their own words. Otherwise, it is not eyewitness testimony at all.

Luke 1:1-4 perfect understanding from the first, from eyewitnesses

Luke 24:48 ye are witnesses

Acts 1:21,22 of these which have companied with us, must one be ordained a witness

Acts 4:20 we speak the things which we have seen and heard

John. 14:26 Spirit bring all things to your remembrance

Inspiration of all scripture does not mean supernatural revelation of all scripture, because the role of the Holy Spirit in the testimony of the Apostles is declared to be only the enabling of their own memory.

3. Holy men authorized: That God commissioned men with authority and signs to confirm it, and the scriptures connected to these men are in this way “inspired,” that is, endowed with God’s authority.
Deu. 18:22 prophet speaketh, thing follow not, thing the Lord hath not spoken

Jer. 28:9 when word shall come to pass, then prophet known, Lord hath sent him

2 Pet. 1:21 holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Mark 16:20 confirming the word with signs following.

1 Cor. 14:37 let him acknowledge that things I write are the commandments of the Lord

2 Cor. 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you

1 Cor. 2:16 we have the mind of Christ.

1 Cor. 7:6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

1 Cor. 7:12 to the rest speak I, not the Lord

1 Cor. 7:25 I have no commandment of the Lord, I give my judgment

1 Cor. 7:40 after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God


sacred writers were kept from error on those subjects which were matters of their own observation, or which pertained to memory;” (Albert Barnes)

“God hath spoken to us, and [we] are fully convinced that the prophets did not speak at their own suggestion, but that, being organs of the Holy Spirit, they only uttered what they had been commisioned from heaven to declare.” (John Calvin)

“but holy men of God; such as he sanctified by his Spirit, and separated from the rest of men to such peculiar service; and whom he employed as public ministers of his word:” (John Gill)
Much scripture is connected to “holy men” clearly authorized by God to speak for him, such as Moses, Prophets, David, Solomon, and almost the entire NT, but much is also not connected to any holy man, or no man confirmed by any signs. Viz. Judges through Chronicles and Esther. Furthermore, it is expressly stated that “holy men” are not to be trusted against “scripture.”
Deu. 13:1-3 arise a prophet, sign come to pass, shall not hearken

Gal. 1:8,9 though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other than that ye have received, accursed
4. Original Autographs. That God miraculously protected certain original documents from any sort of error, notwithstanding them being written by humans capable of error. A miracle in the composition only.


“Inspiration is here predicated of the writings, ‘all Scripture,’ not of the persons. The question is not how God has done it; it is as to the word, no the men who wrote it. What we must believe is that He has done it, and that all the sacred writings are every where inspired, though not all alike matter of special revelation: and that even the very words are stamped with divine sanction, as Jesus used them for deciding all questions of doctrine and practice...Verbal inspiration does not mean mechanical dictation, but all "Scripture is (so) inspired by God," that everything in it, its narratives, prophecies, citations, the whole--ideas, phrases, and words--are such as He saw fit to be there. The present condition of the text is no ground for concluding against the original text being inspired, but is a reason why we should use all critical diligence to restore the inspired text.” (Tregelles)

“The theory ... maintains that the entire corpus of Scripture consists of writings every word of which (presumably in the original autographs, forever inaccessible to us) was directly ‘dictated’ by the Deity...They consequently convey absolute truth with no trace of error or relativity. That I believe to be a false method.” (C. H. Dodd)
It isn’t impossible that some original documents were supernaturally protected from error, but several problems with the theory exist:
1. All original documents are lost. Highly antithetical to the point of our text – continuance – that the scriptures remain after apostles are gone. How can a departing authority be replaced by a “long gone” authority?
2. “Original” cannot be defined:

Much scripture was originally oral, never existed as an original document (Genesis, Gospels).

Much scripture was compiled using sources (Genesis, Chronicles)

Some logically were authored for publication, making multiple original documents

(Psalms, Gospels, general epistles written originally for wide publication)

1 Cor. 16:24 written from Philippi by Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus and Timotheus.

2 Cor. 13:14 written from Philippi, a city of Macedonia, by Titus and Lucas.

1 Pet. 1:1 to the strangers throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

Rev. 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia

Some were incorporated into later documents with changes

Exo. 24:4,8 Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, took the book, and read

Exo. 20:2-21 I am the Lord thy God – wife ... house

Deu. 5:6-17 I am the Lord thy God – house ... wife

Some scripture was edited long after the original

Deu. 34:5-12 So Moses died, no man knoweth sepulchre unto this day.

Deu. 31:24-26 finished, side of the ark

Josh. 24:26 Joshua wrote in the book of the law

Some scripture was written over many generations by multiple authors (Judges, Kings, Prov. 25-31)
3. Context of inspiration is current – “is” given, not “was” given

“Scripture” was the charge of the scribes, Baruch, Ezra, etc., so “inspiration” must include the work of the scribes

2 Tim. 3:15 From a child hast known the holy scriptures, learned, assured of

Acts 15:21 Moses read in every city, of old time

Mat. 22:31 read that spoken unto you by God
What Inspiration is not: Inspiration is not a miraculous act in the remote past that produced a perfect document for a moment in time.

1. Such an act (of inspiration) is impossible to define comprehensively.

Some scripture is God’s direct speech – but not all (Num. 12:6-8)

Some scripture is God’s revelation ( not by will of man) – but not all (John 15:27)

Some scripture is connected to holy men – but not all (Judges, Kings, Esther)

Some scripture was an original definable document – but not all (Ex. 24:4)

2. Such an act in the remote past is antithetical to the point.

Scriptures continue, hold fast, profitable now

3. Such an act is illogical.

An isolated miracle undone in the first copy, a perfect original impossible to publish or preserve perfect.

4. Such an act is not what the text says.

Scripture, the object handled by the scribes, not original documents or original authors.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, not was,

is profitable, not was profitable.
What is obvious about inspiration in our text:

1. That inspiration is relevant to the current scriptures (not some theoretical point about some miracle in the distant past.)

that he had in his possession,

that were presently available to all,

that he was reading,

that he had known from a child (v. 15), all his life, and all his grandmother’s life.

2. That object of inspiration is "scripture," a published manuscript form.

inherently imperfect in individual copies

dependent on comparison and consensus for authority and confidence

yet still claimed to be given by inspiration (obviously the standard, usual, consensus reading)

3. That inspiration is true about all scripture:

the whole body of writings collectively

each and every part individually (not some nor most)

applying to all equally – Moses, Prophets, Psalms, Apostles – and even

Scribes, Chroniclers, Historians, Editors, Publishers – and even receivers

4. That Timothy knew what is, and is not, scripture

The same scripture Paul knew of and recognized

the same Timothy’s mother and grandmother recognized as scripture

the same generally recognized by everyone else

and that they all were correct – they did indeed know what the scripture was, clearly defined

5. That scripture exists by the involvement of God’s Spirit in every aspect of its production,

and the existing result is “holy” – of God

6. That holy scripture given by inspiration is intact, available, recognizable.

What Inspiration means: that God gave us the scriptures we have, not some specific type of miracle.

How did God give them to us? By inspiring (the Spirit involving himself in):

The history itself – Any theory of inspiration must begin before anything is written, (consider life of Joseph)

because what is written later is not fiction, and the events themselves are elements of later inspiration

Gal. 3:8 Scripture, foreseeing ... preached the gospel unto Abraham

Gal. 4:22-24 written Abraham had two sons ... things are an allegory (but also actual history)

Memory of the protagonists – inspiration must include the enabling of memory

since human imperfection extends easily into our very memories

John 14:26 he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance

John 2:22 When he was risen, his disciples remembered he had said this

Transmission of oral accounts – so much depends upon oral sources,

that if the account is actually true, that the writers were faithfully relating what they received,

inspiration must have preceded the writing of the eventual authoritative document

Judg. 6:13 his miracles which our fathers told us of

Ps. 44:1 our fathers have told us, what work ... in the times of old

Ps. 78:3 we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us

Isa. 38:19 the father to the children shall make known thy truth

Recording onto primitive documents – by scribes, not the so-called "inspired men" themselves

Jer. 36:32 Baruch the scribe wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words

Rom. 16:22 I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.

1 Co. 16:24 written from Philippi by Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus and Timotheus.

2 Co. 13:14 written from Philippi, a city of Macedonia, by Titus and Lucas.

Direct communication on occasion –

Heb. 1:1,2 God in divers manners spake in time past, spoken unto us by his Son

Special revelation on occasion –

2 Pe. 1:21 holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Heb. 10:15 the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,

Scribal publishing – God intended to publish the scriptures,

so inspiration must take into account the inherent imperfection of manuscript publishing,

and function within the established principles of variable copies, (because God knew the state of the art)

agreement, continuity, consensus, standardization

Deu. 27:8 And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly.

Hab. 2:2 Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.

Isa. 8:1 Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man's pen

Isa.30:8 write it in a table, note it in a book, may be for the time to come for ever and ever:

Acts 15:21 Moses of old time ... in every city ... read in the synagogues every sabbath day

Improvements in publishing – scripture has been on cutting edge of all major publishing breakthroughs

Biblical scribes invented, developed, perfected or popularized every breakthrough in the industry

material - vellum, papyrus, paper (hydraulic paper mills in Spain - 13th c.),

form - scroll (rolls - pre-Babylon - Isa. 8:1, Jer. 36:2, Ezra 6:1,2), codex form (NT),

technique - scribal principles, scribal guilds, printing press

Determination of Canon – inspiration is useless if not recognizable,

so if "all scripture" is inspired, then the definition of scripture (which books) is also inspired

Deu. 18:21 How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?

Deu. 13:1-3 saying, go after gods thou hast not known, shalt not hearken unto that prophet

Gal. 1:8,9 we, or angel from heaven, preach any other gospel than preached, accursed

Mat. 7:15,16 beware false prophets, know them by their fruits

Rev. 2:2 tried them say are apostles, found them liars

Reception of the text by God’s people – inspiration must include standardization of text among the people,

it is inevitable that standardization occur, God understood the publishing industry's principles,

so commonness, availability, continuity, fruitfulness, dependence, and consensus, confirm the text

1Th. 1:5,6 having received the word, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

John 10:26 my sheep hear my voice

Gal. 1:9 any other than that ye have received, accursed

Luke 1:1 declaration of things most surely believed among us

Jude 1:3 faith once delivered

Titus 1:1 apostle according to the faith of God's elect

Titus 1:4 common faith

2 Co. 1:13 write none other things than what ye read or acknowledge

1 Co. 14:37 if ye are spiritual, acknowledge what I write commandments of the Lord

1 Th. 2:13 received not as of men, but as of God

Isa. 55:11 shall accomplish which I please

Acts 13:48 glorified the word

Acts 16:14 that she attended to the word

Ps. 110:3 thy people shall be willing in the day

Translation of the text into common languages – common understanding, plain sense, literal when possible

not innovation in translation techniques – dynamic equivalence, not looking for "new things"

not flexibility in interpretation

Written in Hebrew, also Aramaic (Daniel, Ezekiel, some parts of Ezra and Chronicles), also Greek,

and phrases originally in Latin as well (Luke 23:38, John 19:20),

Acts 2:5-11 Every nation under heaven, hear every man in our own tongue
Received text principles:

Acts 15:21 Moses of old time ... in every city ... read in the synagogues every sabbath day

Written, old, continuous, common, available,
Historical standard: the continuously available complete canon, full text, and most usual text:

"vulgates" in both Greek and Latin, standard readings supplied from both Greek and Latin,

(Beza's rejection of C because of its unusual readings)


What, then, do those babblers, but betray their snarling petulance in falsely alleging the spuriousness of books whose sacred antiquity is proved by the consent of all history? (Calvin's Institutes)

We never go from that text and ancient reading, which all the fathers used and expounded; but we translate that most usual text, which was first printed out of the most ancient copies that could be found; (Fulke's defence)

But as for the Hebrew and Greek that now is, [it] may easily be proved to be the same that always hath been; neither is there any diversity in sentence, howsoever some copies, either through negligence of the writer, or by any other occasion, do vary from that which is commonly and most generally received in some letters, syllables, or words. (Fulke's defence)

"The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as in all controversies of religion the Church is finally to appeal unto them." (Westminster)

Canon II: But, in particular, The Hebrew original of the OT which we have received and to this day do retain as handed down by the Hebrew Church, "who had been given the oracles of God" (Rom 3:2), is, not only in its consonants, but in its vowels either the vowel points themselves, or at least the power of the points not only in its matter, but in its words, inspired by God. It thus forms, together with the Original of the NT the sole and complete rule of our faith and practice; and to its standard, as to a Lydian stone, all extant versions, eastern or western, ought to be applied, and wherever they differ, be conformed. (Forumula Consensus Helvetica 1675 )
Consensus: Mutual agreement, the received text


Add, moreover, that, for the best of reasons, the consent of the church is not without its weight. For it is not to be accounted of no consequence, that, from the first publication of Scripture, so many ages have uniformly concurred in yielding obedience to it, (Calvin's Institutes)

Nay, its divine origin is more completely established by the fact, that when all human wishes were against it, it advanced by its own energy. Add that it was not a single city or a single nation that concurred in receiving and embracing it. Its authority was recognized as far and as wide as the world extends--various nations who had nothing else in common entering for this purpose into a holy league. Moreover, while we ought to attach the greatest weight to the agreement of minds so diversified, and in all other things so much at variance with each other--an agreement which a Divine Providence alone could have produced--it adds no small weight to the whole when we attend to the piety of those who thus agree; (Calvin's Institutes)

By the received text of Shakspere we do not mean the particular text which has obtained in particular editions such as Boswell's of l82l but the text which if a new edition of Shakspere is set about for general circulation is generally adopted for the most part without any attempt whatever towards revision (C. Knight's Library Edition of Shakspere).
What scriptures? The received text, the commonly accepted, recognized, acknowledged scripture.

How do we recognized it? It is the one already recognized!

commonness, availability, continuity, fruitfulness, dependence, and consensus, ,

Notice, agreement is still the basis for authority, even among multiple differing versions in our modern

"Bible Babel" we find where different Bibles agree, that is the only common remaining authority.

The Posture: The attitude owed to scripture, and shown by the apostles
Citations w/o criticism

References w/o controversy (obvious authority)

Authority of standard translation (Gospel of Matthew, Heb. 9:16 covenant/testament)
Final - for doctrine

beware creeds, church fathers, councils, traditions, historical positions, “historical context,” scholars,

Correct - for correction (it corrects us, we don't correct it)

pastors and teachers have no business correcting the standard Bible

believers practically correct it often, where they don't like what it says

(Hell, original sin, election, whosoever, etc.)

Perfect - that the man of God might be - (stop nitpicking,)

a better rendering would be..., oldest manuscripts say..., this word is not in the original...,

this word is translated differently..., it really means..., in the Greek it is the Aorist tense...,

Complete - throughly furnished to every good work

beware seminary, bible institutes, study booklets, even commentaries, references to "historical context,"

Isa. 8:20 if they speak not according to this word, there is no light in them.
no priest-class - each believer studies to be approved - personal instruction

preachers and teachers expound what can be proved to everyone out of the standard Bible

no permission to correct the standard Bible

not a matter of preference – a matter of authority, submit

no selective use of different versions, or

no "eclectic" manuscript evidence, no multiple criteria to use, leaving opinion as only authority

not allowed to choose – must recognize the standard common Bible

no selection of a Bible according to preferences

no preferring one over another according to tastes, ease of understanding, pretty colors, etc.

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