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More about Inspiration - How It Happened


God knew what he wanted to say, and he put it in words that we could understand.

How did this work? Logically, what God did would have come first, ahead of what the human author did. But if we had been there to watch it happen, the two actions would probably look as though they occurred at the same time. So perhaps the best way we could describe it would be to say that what God did (inspiration) and what the human author did (write it down) were parallel.

God did not merely put his message into words and drop it onto the earth. He put it within the context of human existence. Therefore he revealed his thoughts to prophets and apostles, who (led by God, but within the context of their own existence) understood what God had to reveal and then communicated it to God's people. This communication would have been written and/or verbal; sometimes a message directly from God, but sometimes indirectly from God, through the human author's research or the collection of data (example, Luke 1:1-4).

Scripture says that the Holy Spirit "carried them along" (2 Peter 1:20-21) in a way that guaranteed the final outcome - that what was written would be the very message God wanted communicated. He did this within the context of each prophet's life, using - rather than violating - their individual personalities to accomplish it.

We must strongly emphasize that the "holy men from God" did not mechanically write down word-for-word whatever message God gave to them - as though they were mere "robots," helplessly writing down word-for-word anything God "dictated" to them. Instead, God "breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16) the message into their hearts and they wrote it down. Even the most superficial examination of the Word will show that different human authors had different writing styles. The way they wrote reflected different backgrounds, different education levels, different interests, etc. Each book is a reflection of what the human author was like, in addition to being a revelation of what the divine author (God) had to say.

Dennis Hinks © 2005