“All scripture is inspired 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 Tim 3:16-17).
As a younger Christian, I would often wonder how the above claim that “all scripture is inspired by God” could be true when at the same time it was clear that many human authors actually penned the various books in the Bible.
However, any dedicated student of the Bible will soon find that the inspiration given by God to put down His Word in print did involve human authors and did not in any way conflict with the individual temperament and nature of the human instrument used. When God made a prophet, He did not unmake the man. The personality, mental traits, and even the forms of literary expression of the human authors, were left intact and perfectly free. For Eg: – The meekness of Moses, the burning sarcasm of Isaiah; the tender pathos of Jeremiah; the deep philosophy of John & the clear and sharp logic of Paul, all clearly reflect the human instrumentality.
“All these were truly and really their own. As every pipe of the organ is so fashioned that it might give one note and not another – and yet all are filled by the same breath – so, these souls, fashioned by the conditions of humanity and the circumstances of their lives, were made each to give out his own note, yet all were filled by the breath of the Divine Spirit, that has made these human and yet divine utterances ring with a melody unquenched and unquenchable” (George Henderson). “When we say that God is the author, we mean the Holy Scripture is inspired by God. It was God who breathed into those 40 authors…” (St Jerome – Doctor of Biblical Science). Hence St. Jerome continues: “To be ignorant of the Scripture is not to know Christ. (Providentissimus Deus– Pope Leo XIII).
Therefore, scripture becomes the written Word of God that is Spirit & Life to them that feed upon its pages, carefully searching it for food, light and life itself. Since the potency behind the written words is God Himself, it carries the sharpness of a two-edged sword, with ability to divide between soul and spirit, bone and marrow and reveal the innermost thoughts and intents of the heart. All that man would hide from God through the deceitfulness of his (man’s) heart is laid bare and revealed before the mirror of His Word. Hence, since it is really God speaking through its pages (and not man), it is vitally important that the Christian counts upon it daily as manna for his sustenance. Manna that cannot be kept over for the next day, but must be gathered afresh daily, lest it spoil. When we come to the Word, it must not be an academic exercise, but to fellowship with Him, for He and His Word are one (see John 1:1). Also, He does not cast His pearls (deep insights of truth) before anyone, but to the hungry searching heart, He reveals all.
It is therefore profitable for teaching God’s truth, for pointing the way (direction), for rebukes when necessary, for correction and chastisement when needed, all of which have one positive end – to train the Man & Woman of God in all righteousness – in all the ways of God, so that we may be made ready (equipped) for every good work.
Application: Just as we need daily physical food for our earthly sustenance, daily feeding upon the Word is required for our spiritual sustenance, for man cannot live by bread alone (Mt 4:4). Fix a time and a place and make this a daily time of sweet fellowship, where none will interrupt, and watch how the God breathed Word becomes a fire that burns within and a river of life that flows in you and out of you to a needy world.