All Scripture is Breathed by God

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I recently came across a website of a person who was once with God and has since fallen away. He also has become quite vocal in his ‘skeptical’ mindset by posting several articles attempting to prove why we should not believe in the Bible.

What saddens me is that he likely believes what he writes, even though so much of his writing has factual errors that contradict his point. It is painful to see that many disbelievers make inaccurate (yet easily refuted) claims about the Bible. I pray the Holy Spirit reveals Himself to this individual blog writer. I want to share just a few of the points he made and reveal for others that the Bible is an amazing collection of books, with one voice, and one message, written over several centuries by God.

All Scripture is the Word of God

One of his first points is that Scripture is not the Word of God but rather something made up by man. His main point in the following quote is that Christians base their belief off the New Testament, but the New Testament was not considered “Scripture” by those who wrote it. He wrote on his blog:

There are two vague verses though, that Christians use to attempt to prove that the Bible is God’s word. These two verses though, pose problems and raise more questions that preachers don’t address, cause they can’t. Let’s look at them now. Here’s the first one.

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

1) First of all, the term “All Scripture” could easily and logically refer to the Old Testament or the Ten Commandments because a) Jesus used the word scripture many times to refer to the Old Testament canons, so to be consistent we must assume that here as well, and b) at the time this verse was written, the New Testament as we have it today was not even put together yet! Now, since modern Evangelical Christian theology is based mainly on the teachings of the New Testament of course, that means that this verse doesn’t really support the core Christian theological teachings of today! source

At first glance, he appears to make a valid point. The Old Testament was indeed established by this time. And Jesus quoted from the Old Testament repeatedly. But is this what Paul meant? It is better to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture instead of man’s reason to guess what the Bible means. So let us see what the Bible actually does say (Paul specifically, here):

“For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” – 1 Timothy 5:18 (ESV)

In this verse, Paul gives two quotes from Scripture. The first (“You shall not muzzle an ox…”) is from Deuteronomy 25:4, written by Moses.

The second (“The laborer deserves his wages”) is a quote from Jesus, specifically from Luke 10:7.

This is from the New Testament.

So in just one citation of one verse, we can see that Paul (in 1 Timothy) is quoting both the Old and New Testament together to reaffirm that ALL Scripture is breathed by God (in 2 Timothy 3:16), not just the Old Testament. And there are many more New Testament verses that cite the New Testament. But the existence of even one counter-example to this blog writer’s statement nulls the entire premise.

The foundation of his first point is already in quicksand.

Regarding the New Testament having “not been put together yet,” we could cite archeological finds of Scripture in codex form (book form) but for consistency, I will again refer back to the Bible itself. In fact, I’ll even cite the verse from Luke I just mentioned above.

For Paul to reference Luke in his own writing to the church shows that the early Christians had to have been familiar with the other writings of the New Testament by this time.

It was already a collection that many were quoting!

With just one verse, we can see that the New Testament WAS already being formed even during the lifetime of Paul, and immediately refutes the blog writer’s statement above that it wasn’t a collection yet.

Scripture is Breathed by God

His second point is that it says in 2 Timothy 3:16 that Scripture is “inspired.” He wrote on his website:

Second, just because someone was “inspired” by something to write does not mean that that which caused the inspiration wrote it directly verbatim. That’s not what the word “inspiration” even means. For example, if a beautiful sunset inspired me to write a poem, that doesn’t mean that the sunset itself wrote the poem, only that the sunset motivated me to write it. The definition of the word “inspire” obviously is not that the “inspirer” is dictating their words verbatim as if it were their own.

I can understand this misunderstanding when reading an English translation. So let’s go to the original Greek.

The Greek word is θεόπνευστοι. This is literally translated as “God breathed.” (theós, “God” and pnéō, “breathe out”) – properly, God-breathed, referring to the divine inspiration (inbreathing) of Scripture).

You can see from the original language, that it doesn’t just mean the authors were “inspired” like a painter looking at a sunset. If that were the case, it should be coming from man (the greek word is ἀνθρωπώ), not God (Theos).

So we can see that God wasn’t some motivational speaker getting these writers “inspired” to write their own words like some divine pep rally. No. God, Himself, literally breathed these words, as shown by the original Greek.

The Scripture Tells Us So

The final point I’ll reference (this blog writer’s third point) is that the Bible only says it is the Word of God once, so, clearly, all the other verses are NOT the Word of God. On his website, he writes:

Third, no matter what this verse referred to, one verse out of over 33,000 Bible verses does not make all the verses divinely inspired, especially the verses of the other books of the Bible which don’t always even agree with each other. So the idea of one verse out of one book proving divinity in all 66 books is completely absurd and non-sensical. And as we know, words are just that – words. They don’t create reality or fact. Therefore, just because a verse like this implies that the Bible is the word of God doesn’t make the whole Bible the word of God.

Even if there was only one verse in the Bible that says it is authored by God, isn’t that enough? If I go see a movie based on a real event, they usually only say, “Based on a real event” once, at the beginning of the film.

They don’t flash that on the screen throughout the movie to keep reminding us. Once is enough to let us know. But his statement that there is only ONE verse is in error. God repeatedly tells us via the writers of the Bible these words are divine. For example, here is 2 Peter:

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” – 2 Peter 1:19-21 (ESV)

If your main point is that there is only one reference to something, and then we can find multiple citations throughout Scripture, well, that quicksand is sinking his foundation even faster now.

But here’s another verse from the Bible telling us it is from God:

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” – 1 Corinthians 2:12-13 (ESV)

This is why it is important to allow the Scriptures to interpret Scripture instead of us trying to interpret it ourselves. When there is a question, God has given us the answer elsewhere in the Bible to understand His words.

It is up to us to search the Scriptures daily so that we may know the words of God. So that when people make assertions about the Bible, we can intelligently correct them and not be led astray. And in the end, faith comes through hearing the Word, and if the Lord can make His way into this person’s heart, all the better!

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)

I pray this teaching finds its way into your heart!

Hi. I'm Scott Sullivan, a slave of Christ and husband to my awesome wife Angie. I'm an artist and writer, living in the beautiful countryside of Lancaster, Pa.

I recently published, Searching For Me, my first memoir. It’s about my adoption, search for my biological family, and how it affected my faith. Read about it here.