2Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"
Do you believe 2Timothy 3:16? If you do, is it because your pastor says so? Your parents? Have you investigated it for yourself? Do you have teens who you are trying to convince that this verse is true? In today’s America, you had better put some effort into knowing why you believe this, because our culture is attacking this verse everyday as false.
Professor Charles Ryrie, former dean of doctoral studies at Dallas Theological Seminary and now president of Cairn University, is probably best known for his ‘Ryrie Study Bible’, which has sold more than 2 million copies. In his book "A Survey of Bible Doctrine", he explanation for why it’s important to know this verse is true: "Not many years ago, all you had to say to affirm your belief in the inspiration of the Bible was that you believed the Bible was the Word of God. That was it. But as people have sliced and criticized and hacked the Bible to bits, it became necessary to add that you believed the Bible was the inspired Word of God. Later you had to include the verbally inspired Word of God. Then to mean the same thing, you had to say the plenary, verbally inspired Word of God. Today one has to say the plenary, verbally inspired, infallible Word of God. So many people have tried to undermine God’s Word that you have to be really clear about what you mean."
What does it mean to say the Bible is ‘inspired’ of God? That word in the Greek means "God-breathed". God literally "breathed the words" into the hearts and minds of human authors, who wrote them down according to their own styles and personalities. What we have recorded in the Bible are God’s very words, inspired by the Holy Spirit. That’s what 2Peter 1:20-21 also confirms: "…knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."
What does Dr. Ryrie mean by ‘plenary’? He is saying that God wrote the entire Bible, not just parts, from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21. And when he says ‘verbal’, he means that God didn’t just choose the concepts – He chose the very words. The Holy Spirit communicated the specific words – not just the paragraph headings. Revelation 22:19 says "…if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." Notice that it says that if anyone takes away from the words of this book – not the concepts, not the thoughts. The words. God does not want anyone messing with His Book.
And finally, Dr. Ryrie says the Bible is ‘infallible’. He means that the Bible is 100% accurate in all it asserts and it constitutes all truth. This is what David said in Psalm 119:160: "The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever."
If you are seeking answers to questions in your life, or if you are wondering where to turn to try and make sense out of this crazy culture we live in today, there is not a better source for answers about the purpose for life than God’s inspired, plenary, verbal, infallible word
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called "Faith: Substance and Evidence." He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.