The Claim of Inspiration
Do biblical claims of divine inspiration really mean anything? Should we stress the fact that thousands of times in the Bible a person can find sentences prefaced by the words “God said…” or “Thus said the Lord God…”? Recently I received a letter that read: “To say that ‘all scripture is by inspiration of God’ is pointless double-speak that proves nothing!” Is this an accurate statement?
Admittedly, the mere claim that a certain document is inspired of God does not mean He actually inspired it. If a person attempts to defend the inspiration of the Bible solely on the premise that the Bible claims inspiration, likely his efforts to convince an unbeliever will fail. Simply because a particular book claims to be from God does not mean that it is from God. However, to say that the claim of inspiration “is pointless double-speak” greatly diminishes the importance of such a claim.
The fact is, the claim of inspiration at the hand of God is extremely rare. Many books assert special importance, while others claim to be a kind of “creed book.” But, as Kenny Barfield noted in his book, Why the Bible is Number 1, only seven documents exist in the whole world that openly claim divine inspiration (1997, p. 186). Sadly, misguided devotees of various religions clamor about, defending books and various writings as allegedly being “inspired of God” when, in fact, the books themselves do not even make such a claim. Take for instance, the many Hindu writings. Of their six most notable “sacred” texts, including the Vedas, the Laws of Manu, and the Puranas, only the section of the Vedas known as the Rig Veda claims inspiration. Similarly, the Christian Science group has led many to believe that the writings of Mary Baker Eddy are inspired. Yet, even though her writings claim special importance, they never openly claim divine inspiration (Barfield, p. 186). Why would anyone want to follow a creed book and claim it is from God when the book itself does not even make such a claim?
I repeat: the claim of inspiration at the hand of God is extremely rare. For this reason, one of the best places to begin a Bible study with someone concerning the Bible’s divine origin is with these claims of divine inspiration (cf. 2 Samuel 23:2; Acts 1:16; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; etc.). Such claims are only “pointless double-speak” if we never continue to give evidence proving that the Bible truly is a book from Almighty God.
Are there other books in the world that claim inspiration? Yes, but they are few and far between. And none of them exhibits such amazing qualities as the predictive prophecy and scientific foreknowledge that can be found in the Bible. Furthermore, the unity of the Bible and its accurate historical documentation of biblical people, places, and events is unparalleled in human history and bears testimony to the fact that the very existence of the Holy Scriptures cannot be explained in any other way except to acknowledge that they are the result of an overriding, superintending, guiding Mind.
Barfield, Kenny (1997), Why the Bible is Number 1 (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers)