The Word of the Spirit
By Heath Jarrett
We call the Bible “Scripture” and “the Word of God.” Yet the question is still often raised whether man wrote the Bible or God did. A popular argument goes like this: Men wrote the Bible, and all men make errors, therefore the Bible contains errors. The conclusion is that Scripture cannot be trusted.
Peter shines light on the subject for us. He reminds his readers, “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 1:16a). In context, he’s talking about being an “eyewitness” of Christ’s transfiguration along with two other disciples (2 Pet 1:16; see Matt 17).
Although Peter’s eyewitness accounts are valid and true, not “cleverly devised myths,” he points to something even greater. “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed” (2 Pet 1:19). Peter wants us to look to the Bible for confirmation. He’ll soon be dead. The Bible lives on.
Peter tells his audience what’s of primary importance: “…knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:20-21).
He makes several critical points here. Men did not make up what Scripture says (“from someone’s own interpretation”). Neither did prophecy originate with man. “No prophecy was ever produced” this way. Yet men did speak in Scripture. They spoke “from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
Take this passage for an example: “‘Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas'” (Acts 1:16. See also Matt 22:43; Mark 12:36; Acts 4:25). The Bible originated with the Holy Spirit who spoke through men. The men wrote what the Spirit directed them to write.
Men were carried along by the Spirit of God to write exactly what He wanted them to write. And the Spirit used the vocabulary, personality and personal experiences of each biblical author to convey His words to us.
Does the Bible record the words of men? Indeed. Does it record the words of God? Absolutely.