What would you do if a frog hopped up to you one day and started talking?
If that bumpy green frog then told you he was a human too?
To say that Jesus is fully human and fully divine sounds a bit like that to our human ears, doesn’t it? We struggle to understand how Jesus can be fully God and fully man. Yet, as we learned in Jesus, God’s Perfect Revelation, that is exactly what Jesus is.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1,14.
It’s a dichotomy that our human minds cannot grasp, but one that fuels our faith in Jesus as our best friend and Savior. “Christ… connects earth with heaven… The humanity of Christ embraces fallen humanity, while His divinity lays hold upon the throne of God.” Ellen White, Testimonies, vol 6,p. 147.
The same dichotomy applies to the Bible, God’s written word. Just as Jesus is fully human and fully divine, so the Bible is of both divine and human origin. “The Bible, with its God-given truths expressed in the language of men, presents a union of the divine and the human.” Ellen White, Great Controversy, p. vi
“For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21.
Let’s look at the human and divine elements of the Bible.
Human Origin of the Bible
The Bible is a compilation of 66 books written by about 40 authors over 1600 years. Its human authors include kings and statesmen, shepherds and farmers, unnamed prophets and people of whom we know a great deal.
Many of the authors tell us their names and something about their lives. Their personalities, interests and linguistic skills vary from one another. Their writings portray the range of human emotion and reflect the culture and surroundings of their times. They weren’t perfect. Their sins include coveting and disobedience, murder and adultery.
The unmistakeable human element in Scripture has led many to question the truth and authority of the Bible. Perhaps you are one of them. Is the Bible really inspired by God?
Yes!! Let’s look at the evidence for the Bible’s divine authorship.
Divine Origin of the Bible
We cannot deny the human shape of Scripture, yet neither can we deny the perfection and holiness of God that shines through it. The Bible “manifests a remarkable unity, and from beginning to end reveals one God, Creator of heaven and earth, whose love embraces all things… and Jesus of Nazareth, so truly human and yet so completely free from all the weakness and imperfection of the Biblical writers themselves.” Peter M. van Bremmelen, SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 12, p. 35.
Many evidences point to the divine origin of Scripture.
- Attributed to God:Innumerable passages in the Bible are directly attributed to God as the author. The words “Thus says the Lord God” or similar phrases are used thousands of times in the Bible. King David’s testimony represents the conviction of the Bible writers of their mission and calling: “the Spirit of the Lord speaks by me, His word is upon my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2).
- Unity of the Scripture: Despite being written over the span of centuries and across cultures, the Bible presents a clear picture of the One true God. The many teachings of the Bible harmonize with one another. When one part is unclear, another part explains it. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
- Prophecies of the Bible:The Bible contains numerous prophecies, by some counts as many as 1800. These precise predictions of future events confirm the truth of the Scriptures as they come to pass. The prophecies in Daniel 2, 7 and 8 foretell with amazing accuracy the major kingdoms of the world from the time of Babylon to the divisions of Europe. And over 200 prophecies of the Messiah were accurately fulfilled in the life of Jesus. “I am the Lord… new things I declare, before they spring forth I tell you of them.” Isaiah 42:8-9
- Transformative Power:The strongest evidence of the Bible’s divine origin is its continued power to transform lives. Those who come to the Bible with an open heart and a willingness to follow its teachings are transformed by it. Why? Because the Bible reveals Jesus Christ, our loving Savior. “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
How Was the Bible Inspired?
Clearly the Bible points to God as its foremost author, yet it was written by human hands, therefore Scripture is of dual authorship. So how was it created? Inspiration is the process by which God spoke to the prophets and enabled them to record His thoughts.
Inspiration is crucial for us to understand. The way we understand inspiration greatly affects whether we view the Bible as a trustworthy, true and authoritative guide for life or whether we see it as simply a collection of fables.
The Bible explains its inspiration in two key verses: 2 Peter 1:21 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17. We’ll unpack them one at a time.
“For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21
- “Prophecy never came by the will of man”– The prophecies (messages given on behalf of God) did not come through the “will of men”. The prophets were not speaking for God just because they wanted to share. In fact, many of them were reticent prophets. Moses vigorously protested his call (Exodus 3 & 4). Jonah ran away from God and Jeremiah protested, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.” Jeremiah 1:7.The prophets spoke for God out of obedience to their Lord.
- “Holy men of God” – The prophets were chosen by God because they had an unswerving commitment to serving God. They were not perfect, but they were faithful followers of God.
- “Spoke”– The prophets put God’s thoughts into words and gave them to the people in verbal or written form. They used the language that was familiar to them to express the ideas God revealed to them.
- “As they were moved by the Holy Spirit”– Literally, “as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit”. The Holy Spirit, the mighty third person of the Godhead, enabled and empowered each prophet to speak on God’s behalf. He gave them God’s thoughts and guided them as they expressed those thoughts in their own words. Jesus explained that “the Spirit of truth [would] guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”John 16:13
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
- “All Scripture”– Every portion of the Bible is included here.
- “Given by inspiration of God”– This literally means it was “God-breathed”. Just as God’s spoken word created the earth (Genesis 1), so His revelation to the prophets was the source of the Bible. The Bible came from the mouth of God, through the prophets, to you.
- “Is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”– God designed the Bible is to provide us with all we need to teach us God’s truths (doctrine), tell us when we are wrong (reproof), show us how to change (correction), and teach us how to live holy lives by God’s power (instruction in righteousness).
- “That the man (and woman) of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work”– The Bible is not primarily a book of science or history. It is a book designed to reveal God’s purposes and teach us the way of salvation. The Bible teaches is all we need to know so we can live for Jesus now and enjoy eternity with Him in heaven.
Put it all together and we see a picture of inspiration that looks like this: God selected individuals who were dedicated to following Him and would faithfully share His messages. He revealed His plans and purposes to them through the Holy Spirit’s power. He spoke to them through dreams and visions (Exodus 12:6), through direct conversation (Exodus 33:11), the general revelations of nature, history and reason. The Holy Spirit then guided the prophets as they expressed God’s ideas in their own words.
“As presented through different individuals, the truth is brought out in its varied aspects. One writer is more strongly impressed with one phase of the subject; he grasps those points that harmonize with his experience or with his power of perception and appreciation; another seizes upon a different phase; and each, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, presents what is most forcibly impressed upon his own mind—a different aspect of the truth in each, but a perfect harmony through all. And the truths thus revealed unite to form a perfect whole, adapted to meet the wants of men in all the circumstances and experiences of life.
“God has been pleased to communicate His truth to the world by human agencies, and He Himself, by His Holy Spirit, qualified men and enabled them to do this work. He guided the mind in the selection of what to speak and what to write. The treasure was entrusted to earthen vessels, yet it is, nonetheless, from Heaven. The testimony is conveyed through the imperfect expression of human language, yet it is the testimony of God; and the obedient, believing child of God beholds in it the glory of a divine power, full of grace and truth.” Ellen White, Great Controversy, p. vi
What the Inspiration of the Bible Means for You and I
Friend, the inspiration of the Bible beautifully illustrates God’s love for humanity and His willingness to adapt Himself to our needs. Through the Holy Spirit’s power, the human and divine elements have been deftly woven together in God’s Word. Together they create a tapestry that reveals God’s love to you and I.
God wants you to know Him. That’s why He inspired the prophets to write out His messages in human words that you and I can understand and appreciate.
God also wants you to trust Him and His revelation to you in the Bible. Knowing that it is divinely inspired should give us assurance that we can follow the Bible fully. It is absolutely trustworthy and an authoritative guide for our daily lives because it is “God-breathed”.
It is our sincere prayer that this will be your experience as you study God’s divine/human book:
“As I read scripture I am led again and again to my knees, I am amazed by Jesus’ love, I am charmed by his grace, I marvel at his goodness. Scripture provides for you and me an authoritative revelation of Jesus and his truth for end time. The word of God is the authoritative revelation of His will.” Pastor Mark Finley, in a sermon entitled “The Authority of the Scriptures”.
**All Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version.