What is Divine Inspiration & Why is it so Important?

2 Timothy 3:16
       All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.

ALEXANDER CARSON (1776-1844): Accurate views of the Scripture doctrine of inspiration are of immense importance for the discovery of what the Scriptures contain.

ROBERT HALDANE (1764-1842): The word inspire signifies to breathe into, and literally corresponds to the original in 2 Timothy 3:16. All Scripture is inspired by God, or, breathed into the writers by God.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): By “inspiration” we do not mean that these men were inspired in the way certain poets have been ‘inspired’ and given glimpses into truth―and who, having this poetic insight, saw a little further into life than other people, and, thus inspired, made wonderful statements about life and how to live it.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Not inspired in the sense which Shakespeare, Milton, and Dryden may be inspired, but in an infinitely higher sense.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): We must not confound it with intellectual power, such as great poets and authors possess. To talk of Shakespeare and Milton and Byron being inspired, like Moses and St. Paul, is to my mind almost profane.

HORATIUS BONAR (1808-1889): [Satan] rages against the Divine accuracy of the Bible, and cunningly subverts its inspiration by elevating every true poet and philosopher to the same ‘inspired’ position.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): Undoubtedly there is what I may call a black inspiration—the influence of the evil spirits, who work in the hearts of the disobedient, and not only excite their wills, but assist their faculties, and qualify as well as incline them to be more assiduously wicked, and more extensively mischievous, than they could be of themselves. I consider Voltaire, for instance, and many writers of the same stamp, to be little more than secretaries and amanuenses of one who has unspeakably more wit and adroitness in promoting infidelity and immorality, than they of themselves can justly pretend to. They have, for a while, the credit―if I may justly so call it―of the fund from whence they draw; but the world little imagines who is the real and original author of that philosophy and poetry, of those fine turns and sprightly inventions, which are so generally admired. Perhaps many, now applauded for their genius, would have been comparatively dolts, had they not been engaged in a cause which Satan has so much interest in supporting.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): But holy men of old wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, 2 Peter 1:21.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: They were actually controlled by the Holy Spirit. ‘Borne along’, as Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:21, or as Paul puts it, ‘God-breathed.’

J. C. RYLE: It proves nothing against inspiration, as some have asserted, that the writers of the Bible have each a different style. Isaiah does not write like Jeremiah, and Paul does not write like John. This is perfectly true—and yet the works of these men are not a whit less equally inspired. The waters of the sea have many different shades. In one place they look blue, and in another green. And yet the difference is owing to the depth or shallowness of the part we see, or to the nature of the bottom. The water in every case is the same salt sea…The handwriting and style of the writers differ enough to prove that each had a distinct individual being; but the Divine Guide who dictates and directs the whole is always one. All are alike inspired.

ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): But though all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, it does not follow that it is [inspired] in the same sense and degree.

ROBERT HALDANE: The Scriptures contain no intimation of their being written under an inspiration of any kind but one―that the inspiration is in the matter, not in the words; that one part of Scripture is written with one kind or degree of inspiration, and another part with another kind or degree, is contrary to the phraseology, and totally without foundation in any part of the Scriptures themselves.

JOHN NEWTON: I do not approve of the scholastic distinctions about inspiration, which seem to have a tendency to explain away the authority and certainty of one half of the Bible at least.

C. H. SPURGEON: Do you see why men would lower the degree of inspiration in Holy Writ, and would fain reduce it to an infinitesimal quantity? It is because the truth of God is to be supplanted. If you ever go into a shop in the evening to buy certain goods which depend so much upon colour and texture as to be best judged of by daylight; if, after you have got into the shop, the tradesman proceeds to lower the [light]…and then commences to show you his goods, your suspicion is aroused, and you conclude he will try to palm off an inferior article. I more than suspect this to be the little game of the inspiration-depreciators. Whenever a man begins to lower your view of inspiration, it is because he has a trick to play, which is not easily performed in the light. He would hold a seance of evil spirits, and therefore he cries, “Let the lights be lowered.”

J. H. MERLE d’AUBIGNÉ (1794-1872): The divine authority of the Scriptures and their inspiration are two distinct, but inseparable, truths. The authority of the Scriptures proceeds from their inspiration, and their inspiration establishes their authority…If the authority of the Scriptures falls, their inspiration falls; if, on the contrary, it be the inspiration that is taken from us, the authority likewise vanishes away. The Scripture without inspiration is a cannon from which the charge has been removed.

LORD SHAFTESBURY (1801-1885): Men contend that one part of the Bible is inspired, and that another is not, or that there are differences in the degree of inspiration. The whole authority of the Bible is thus cut up from beginning to end.

ROBERT HALDANE: Christians ought to beware of giving up in the smallest degree the inspiration of the Bible.

C. H. SPURGEON: If you adopt theories which pare off a portion here, and deny authority to a passage there, you will at last have no inspiration left, worthy of the name.

PHILIP DODDRIDGE (1702-1751): A partial inspiration is, to all intents and purposes, no inspiration at all.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Upon the foundation of the Divine inspiration of the Bible stands or falls the entire edifice of Christian truth—if the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? Surrender the dogma of verbal inspiration and you are left like a rudderless ship on a stormy sea—at the mercy of every wind that blows. Deny that the Bible is, without any qualification, the very Word of God, and you are left without any ultimate standard of measurement and without any supreme authority.

C. H. SPURGEON: To us the plenary* verbal inspiration is fact, and not hypothesis.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): The two testaments are the two lips by which God hath spoken unto us.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): It is the Word of God, and not the word of man, and has as real authority to call for obedience, as if God spoke it immediately from heaven.
*Editor’s Note: The word “plenary” means “unqualified, full, entire, or absolute.” The Bible is not inspired by God in one part, and uninspired in some other part; it is the fully complete, absolute Word of God. Everything that God has to say to man, He has said in His Word, and as such, the Bible requires an obedience to its authority.


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