How Did We Get the Bible?
2 Peter, Day 6
. . . 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 Peter 1:20-21, ESV
Did Moses write Genesis or did God? Are the Psalms of David the creative work of David the Shepherd-King of Israel or the written word of God? Let me ask a different question: Is light a particle or a wave? What does light have to do with the inspiration of Scripture? I believe it is an excellent analogy.
Light is a particle and a wave. These two seem like a contradiction, but light is both. Albert Einstein believed that light was a particle that moved like a wave. But the photon particles of light actually become waves. Jesus is the word of God made flesh. He was always God and He became and remains human. Scripture is the word of God, given through men in such a way that it is also the words of men.
2 Peter says that Scripture does not originate with people. Scripture comes neither from the interpretation of men nor from the will of men. It is the word of God, coming from God by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. And yet "men spoke." The words of Psalm 23 were sung by David. The words of Isaiah 53 were spoken by the prophet Isaiah.
When Jesus quoted from the Scriptures we now call the Old Testament, He sometimes referred to them as the words of God and at other times referred to them as being the words of their human authors, namely Moses and David (Matthew 8:4 & 22:43-45).
We don't believe in a dictation theory of Scripture inspiration, because if God dictated His word in such a way that the prophets were mere pens in His hands, Jesus would not have used the phrases "Moses commanded" and "David said." These are authentically the words of these men. Many of David's psalms, for example, reflect his own feelings and experiences.
Yet Jesus also said that every word of Scripture was the word of God (Matthew 5:18 & 15:3). As Peter says, "men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." Is it a mystery to understand how a written word can be both the word of God and the words of a man? Yes, just like it is a mystery how light can be both a particle and a wave and how Jesus can be both true God and true man. Yet just because a truth is mysterious doesn't make it untrue; in fact, if the things of God weren't mysterious to us, beyond our full comprehension, we might wonder if they really came from God.