It is the Scriptures which are inspired…

Inspiration certainly includes the man and his ideas, but it must not exclude his writings. James Orr believes that “inspiration belongs primarily to the person and to the book only as it is the product of the inspired person.”

Other theologians would reverse that opinion, asserting, “Properly speaking, inspiration pertains to the holy Scriptures themselves. It may be said, however, that the writers too were inspired by God.” Regardless of which position is primary, it must be held that the person as well as his pen is under the direction of the Holy Spirit in the total process of inspiration. Nevertheless, the New Testament reserves the word “inspiration” only for the product of that process, that is, the writings, or graphe (2 Tim. 3:16).

Failure to make that distinction leads some scholars, such as Paul J. Achtemeier and William J. Abraham, to the erroneous conclusion that the inspiration is the totality of the process of gathering traditions, proclamations, writing, and editing on an ongoing basis.

Although God is actively involved throughout the total process of producing the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:20-21), the inspiration (theopneustos) and subsequent authority of those Scriptures is reserved for the written Scriptures themselves (2 Tim 3:16-17), which are illuminated by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2:14-16).

As I. Howard Marshall aptly observes, “There is a gap between the process of inspiration and the text of the Bible which causes some disquiet, particularly when we remember that according to 2 Timothy it is the Scriptures which are inspired rather than the process of composition.”

Norman Geisler, from A General Introduction to the Bible, p. 41

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