INSPIRATION & ILLUMINATION

The INSPIRATION of the Bible 

I believe the scriptures to be inspired by God—in that the writers of the Bible were influenced supernaturally by the Holy Spirit to record the things God desired as he worked through the writers’ personalities. 

2Peter 1:20-21  Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.  

This kind of inspiration was given that God might convey his truth to people throughout the ages.  It appears that God is not pleased when humans don’t take his inspired truth seriously. 

Zechariah 7:12  They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.

The Apostle Paul maintained the inspiration of Scripture when writing to early church leaders. 

2Timothy 3:16-17  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Jesus himself used the words which God had given through Old Testament writers in response to Satan’s temptations. 

Matthew 4:7  Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’

As for the New Testament, the Apostle Peter elevated the writings of Paul to the same level of Holy Scripture when he wrote about Paul’s letters:

2Peter 3:16  He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.  

The ILLUMINATION in our hearts

Illumination is that process by which the Holy Spirit continues to reveal God’s word and work to us.  The apostle John said that it was by illumination believers are able to discern between what is from the LORD and what is not. 

1John 4:6  We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

Even Jesus himself said as much. 

John 7:17  Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.

The Apostle Paul writes about this in another of his letters to the early church.

Ephesians 3:2-5  Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.

Paul expects his readers to understand what he writes by the same illumination under which he himself wrote.  

I find that in my work with young adults, one of the most frequently asked questions is about the inspiration of the Bible and human ability to understand it. It is for this reason that the doctrines of inspiration and illumination are not only important, but relevant for Christ-followers today.  On an even more personal level, I rely on the truth of this doctrine every week that I preach (as do those who hear me).  I would not want to be given the task of teaching God’s word without the ability to be enlightened concerning the Holy Scriptures!  By the same truth, everyone who leads a Bible study relies on these truths—and we all rely on them when we read the Bible or whenever the Holy Spirit brings God’s words or works to our hearts.

By amazing grace,

Mike

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