Inspiration of the Holy Bible

By Ray Foster


We are to live by every word that comes from God's mouth.

1. Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

2. 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Inspiration means "divinely breathed in" according to the Greek word translated "inspiration".

3. 2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.

In the story of Balaam we are shown an example of what God does when He inspires a person to speak for him.

4. Numbers 22:38 And Balaam said unto Balak, Lo, I am come unto thee: have I now any power at all to say any thing? the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak.

Numbers 23:5, 12, 16 And the LORD put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said, Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak.

And he answered and said, Must I not take heed to speak that which the LORD hath put in my mouth?

And the LORD met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, Go again unto Balak, and say thus.

5. Deuteronomy 18:18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.

Referring to Jesus, this indicates that Jesus spoke the words given Him from His Father. Jesus referred to this more than once in His life on earth.

6. John 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

7. John 14:24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

8. Jeremiah 1:9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.

9. Acts 1:16 Men [and] brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

10. 1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

God's thoughts were clothed in words which He directed, not in the wisdom of man without the aid of God and independent thereof. It appears to be a futile attempt to separate words and thoughts. I cannot think thoughts, without thinking words to think those thoughts. What is the point and purpose to emphasize that the words of the Bible are not inspired - only the thoughts?

Spirit of Prophecy statements on Inspiration:

Stephen's sermon found in Acts 7, is said to be spoken at the dictation of the Holy Spirit:

1. 3 Spirit of Prophecy 297 " He made plain his own loyalty to God and to the Jewish faith, while he showed that the law in which they trusted for salvation had not been able to preserve Israel from idolatry. He connected Jesus Christ with all the Jewish history. He referred to the building of the temple by Solomon, and to the words of both Solomon and Isaiah: "Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands." "Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool. What house will ye build me? saith the Lord; or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? The place of God's highest worship was in Heaven. {3SP 297.1}

"When Stephen had reached this point there was a tumult among the people. The prisoner read his fate in the countenances before him. He perceived the resistance that met his words, which were spoken at the dictation of the Holy Ghost. He knew that he was giving his last testimony. Few who read this address of Stephen properly appreciate it. The occasion, the time and place should be borne in mind to make his words convey their full significance."

(Same words are used in Story of Redemption p.265, and Sketches from the Life of Paul p. 18 - the words "dictation of the Holy Ghost" is left out of Acts of the Apostles, p. 100)

2. {RH, January 22, 1880 par. 1} "The lives recorded in the Bible are authentic histories of actual individuals. From Adam down through successive generations to the time of the apostles, we have a plain, unvarnished account of what actually occurred, and the genuine experience of real characters. It is a subject of wonder to many, that inspired history should narrate facts in the lives of good men that tarnish their moral characters. Infidels seize upon these sins with great satisfaction, and hold their perpetrators up to ridicule. The inspired writers did not testify to falsehoods, through fear that the pages of Sacred History would be clouded by the record of human frailties and faults. The scribes of God wrote as they were dictated by the Holy Spirit, having no control of the work themselves. They penned the literal truth, and stern, forbidding facts are revealed, for reasons that our finite minds cannot fully comprehend. It is one of the best evidences of the authenticity of the Scriptures, that the truth is not glossed over, nor the sins of its chief characters suppressed. {RH, January 22, 1880 par. 1}

3. {4SP 375.1} "Moreover, the apostles, as personated by these lying spirits, are made to contradict what they wrote at the dictation of the Holy Spirit when on earth. They deny the divine origin of the Bible, and thus tear away the foundation of the Christian's hope, and put out the light that reveals the way to Heaven." {4SP 375.1}

4. 7BC 945 "The Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God's mode of thought and expression. It is that of humanity. God, as a writer, is not represented. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God's penmen, not His pen. Look at the different writers. {7BC 945.9}

It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man's words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts. But the words receive the impress of the individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the Word of God (MS 24, 1886). {7BC 945.10} Also found in 1SM21.2

It appears that the new translations of the Bible may be evidence of getting away from the specific warnings God has put in His word concerning changing His words.

1. Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

2. Deuteronomy 12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

3. Psalms 89:34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.

4. Proverbs 30:5, 6 Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

5. Ecclesiastes 3:14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth [it], that [men] should fear before him.

6. Jeremiah 26:2 Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD'S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD'S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word:

7. Revelation 22:18, 19 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.


The Holy Bible is the inspired word of God. God's thoughts are clothed in human words so we can think God's thoughts after Him. We cannot improve on God's thoughts or on God's words. Where possible, it would be advantageous to read the Holy Bible in the original Hebrew and Greek in which it was written. A Strong's Concordance with every Hebrew and Greek word defined for us is a wonderful resource for those who do not have opportunity to learn Hebrew and Greek.

We can have implicit trust and Faith in God and in His Holy Bible as the rule of faith and guide to eternal life that is pleasing to God.