Did God permit men to write parts of Scripture? 


Some suggest that the words of Scripture are a mix of God’s thoughts and those of various men. It is alleged that, as the latter were fallible people of their time and culture, with unconscious biases and cultural prejudices, we should therefore take many parts of Scripture with a pinch of salt.  


Scripture is, without exception, described by Jesus as “unable to be broken” being, as stated in Psalm 25 as “pure … as silver, purified seven times.” In Daniel 10 an angel shows him “that which is noted in the scripture of truth.” Scripture is the word of God, not men, though it may record a man’s thoughts and words, good or bad, if this serves God’s purpose.

Twice Booker Prize winner and author of the trilogy on Thomas Cromwell, Hilary Mantel, gave a recent Reith Lecture and quoted the historian Patrick Collinson: 

It is possible for competent historians to come to radically different conclusions on the basis of the same evidence. Because, of course, 99% of the evidence, above all, unrecorded speech, is not available to us.

Patrick Collinson

Hilary Mantel continued by saying:

Evidence is always partial…. history is not the past – it is the method we have evolved of organizing our ignorance of the past.

Hilary Mantel

This, then, was her view of the modest nature of history as recorded by even well-intentioned and sincere human authors. That it is imperfect, inconsistent and partial.

By contrast, the Bible claims the opposite: to be perfect, to provide consistent evidence of truth – pure, impartial and reliable. 

This is because it is nothing short of miraculous, it is written by a God who knows everything about everything, who knows the heart of a man, his secret thoughts – let alone the order and nature of events.

A God who knows our limitations and therefore our need of great clarity about His instructions to us.

Where does it claim such things?

Every word of God is pure.

Proverbs 30: 5

You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men.

1 Kings 8: 39

He searches all hearts and understands every intent of the thoughts.

1 Chronicles 28: 9

So, imagine writing a biography with God’s insights.

A biography that revealed every aspect of someone’s life and their innermost thoughts? Fleeting thoughts, that even they mightn’t recall.

The Bible does this because it is written by the same Holy Spirit power of God that created the universe.

… not by man’s wisdom, but as taught by the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2: 13

Being “God-breathed” it is intrinsically able to help us better fulfil and be more complete in serving our Father and His son, as we know from 2 Timothy 3:16-17 where we’re told how to find true doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.

The Bible is not like a novel or biography, although sometimes the dramatic insights into the private thoughts and actions of real people, often exceeds the drama of fiction. God enables us to know something of the actual anxiety of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, the reality of David’s fear when fleeing his enemies. 

It claims to be the work of one author, God – a creator who is described in Psalm 147: 4 in this way:

He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.

Psalm 147: 4

In Proverbs 15 we are told that His eyes are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.

So, God is all-knowing, all of the time. 

As such, He is more than able to select the precise content of His message to us, to choose to convey a particular word, even down to the precise tense of a particular word in Hebrew or Greek, so that our analysis by comparison of such a word yields deeper and exciting layers of truth.

This happens, for example, when the singular form of a word matters a great deal. This is true of the word ‘seed’ which is the basis of teaching in Gal 3: 16 where it stresses its singular form when quoting the promises recorded in Genesis 12, 13 and 22 “not seeds as many, but one, which is Christ.” 

This precision is wondrous.

Jesus said to God: “Thy word is truth”.

We, the brothers and sisters in Christ hold this understanding about its nature and authority – unlike the vast majority of people.

As such, we rejoice that it forms the foundation on which saving truths stand.

And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

Acts 20: 32
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