Inspiration and Authority of Scripture

Authorship and Authority

Both authority and authorship contain the word author. “The Reformers said that although the Bible…was written by human beings, the ultimate author of the Bible was not Paul, Luke, Jeremiah, or Moses, but God Himself. God exercised His authority through the writings of human authors who served as His spokesmen to the world.”

The prophets and apostles claimed that their messages came from God (2 Peter 3:16), which is why we say the Bible is the Word or the Voice of God. Although God did not personally write down the words that appear on the pages of the Bible, they are no less His words than if they had been delivered to us directly from heaven.

Breathed out

2 Timothy 3:16 literally says: “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” The Greek word that is translated as ‘Scripture,’ simple means ‘writings.’ The phrase ‘It is written’ is a technical term that has specific reference to the biblical writings. The word translated ‘breathed out’ indicates that God is the source of these writings.

To breathe out is expiration, whereas to breathe in is inspiration; so the words of Scripture were breathed-out from God and then breathed into the human writers. For example, the Lord told Jeremiah: “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth” (Jeremiah 1:9).

We do not advocate “the dictation theory,” which is the idea that the authors of Scripture merely took dictation from God, just as a secretary writes down word for word a letter as it is verbally dictated.

We do not know how God superintended the recording of sacred Scripture. The main point is that the Holy Spirit guided the human authors (with their different personalities and vocabularies) so that they wrote God’s message without error.

Every Last Word

Verbal inspiration means that every word of the Bible is inspired. Every word carries divine authority. Jesus regularly made a case against the devil or the Pharisees by the turn of a single word. He also said that not one jot or a tittle of the law shall pass away until all is fulfilled (Matt. 5:18).

The Bible does not only bear witness to the truth, it is absolute truth in its entirety.


[Adapted from Everyone’s a Theologian by R.C. Sproul]