November 16, 1993
A few weeks ago, I dreamed I played a perfect round of golf. If you saw my swing, you would know this had to be a dream!
When awake, I hit the ball just right a few times a game. This dream just happened to be an entire sequence of just right hits — for 18 holes. Of course the last one was a hole-in-one and I won the tournament. I told you it was a dream. In real life, I make too many mistakes.
Part of our humanness is that we do make mistakes, but no one is hopeless. Golfers do hit an occasional good ball. Most of us do much better than that broken clock that is only correct twice a day.
I thought about my golf dream later, when someone asked me how the Bible could be written without error. They pointed out it was written by ordinary people and we make many errors. I hesitated. Was it possible for an ordinary person to hit a lucky sequence and write an error-free book about God? Not likely.
In spite of the fact it could be, that is not how the Bible was written. God wisely considered the odds and had a better plan than that. Instead of leaving it up to one chance in however many billions, God did not ask the authors of Scripture to write with their own wisdom and skills, however extraordinary they may have been.
What God did do was rather unique and the result is writing that claims to be “given by inspiration of God,” writing that “never came by the will of man but holy men of God spoke as the were moved along (or carried) by the Holy Spirit.”
Breaking that down, “inspiration” is used in the Bible quite differently than we used it. We are “inspired” when we are filled with an emotional or zealous motivation that stimulates our creativity. But this verse explains the Bible writers were not “inspired” at all; it is the words of God that were given by inspiration. A better way to say it is: “All Scripture is God-breathed....”
As God breathed out a revelation of Himself, holy men wrote down what He caused them to understand. That they were holy is important since sin separates us from God and prevents us from really understanding Him accurately. These holy men were committed to live in obedience to Him, and were open to receive His revelation.
Sounds good, but a there are several people in our generation who make the same claim to hearing God speak. People rightly wonder if “holy men” have a greater claim to an error-free understanding of God than anyone else. Does the Bible really contain the words God wanted them to say?
The various religions and cultic groups who claim their writings are also “from God” can usually be examined. None of them claim a Savior who died and rose again, and if they do, there is no historical evidence to back their claim. The Bible’s contents are unique.
Further, the teaching of other religious writings often contradicts itself, or it endorses behavior that is decidedly ungodly by anyone’s standards. If those tests are not conclusive, further proof is often seen in the lives of those who follow these “revelations.” Certainly, if any of them end by mass suicide or they continue in harming themselves and others, whoever wrote them does not have the same God-concept as most would accept, certainly not the one presented in the Bible.
Perhaps the best way to ascertain the validity of Scripture is by reading it from the perspective it claims: as a record of what God says about Himself. Then, if God does not match the reader’s expectations, each reader must decide for himself who is making the error.