By Dr. Herbert Samworth
To answer this question we must note what the Bible says about itself. In the second letter of Peter, in the first chapter and verse twenty-one, we read the following words, “men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
At first we might think that this is talking about oral speech but the context shows that Peter is speaking about the Scriptures and the confidence we may have in believing what they reveal to us.
First, the verse tells us that men spoke. So the first part of the answer to the question is that men wrote the Word of God. The Bible is a unique book that was written over the period of nearly fifteen hundred years. We believe there were at least forty persons who wrote books. Some of these individuals are well known because they identified themselves as the authors. For example, persons such as Paul, James, and Peter said that they wrote books. Other books, including Kings and Chronicles of the Old Testament, are not identified with specific authors. However, we believe that persons, including Ezra the Scribe, studied the official records and compiled the books from them.
The authors differed in many ways. Some were Pharisees, including Paul. Others were fishermen such as Peter and John. Matthew was a tax collector. David was the King of Israel and the man after God’s own heart. Amos was a shepherd from Judah who was sent to prophesy against the nation of Israel. Although their backgrounds and occupations were vastly different, they were men who accomplished the will of God.
It is an amazing thing to consider that the Bible, written by over forty men and over a period of fifteen hundred years, has a common theme: the redemption of sinful man by a gracious and loving God.
The consideration of the theme leads us to the second part of the answer regarding who wrote the Bible. The Bible claims to be the word of the living God. So a short answer is that God wrote the Bible. It is His book. How did God accomplish this wonderful task? While He did through the instrumentality of men, He superintended its writing through the power and ministry of the Holy Spirit.
We cannot state definitively exactly how God oversaw the writing of the book. Theologians have used such terms as “organic inspiration” that means God used the background experiences and personality traits of the persons but still caused them to write the message that He desired to have communicated. Whatever may have been the exact method, we can be confident that the Bible has come directly from God. The Bible is the Gospel or the good news of how sinful man can be reconciled to God.
The Bible is what one person has called a “linguistic incarnation?” What does that mean? Simply stated it means that the Bible is 100% the word of man and 100% the word of God.
How thankful we should be that God has communicated His message of grace to us. Perhaps you still have questions regarding its source. The best suggestion is to take the Bible and begin to read it. Before you do that, ask the Lord to give insight and understanding of what it means and how it applies to your life. As you do this, you will discover that what the Bible claims about itself is true. “Holy men have spoken from God.”