For many years as a Christian, I glossed over 2 Timothy3:16.  Particularly during my Charismatic days, it did not seem to have much bearing.  In fact, it was a yawn.  We we looking for a fresh move of God after all.  What significance did was this passage anyway?  I had always known the Bible as God’s word, but there did seem to be something so much more to get.  Even after I went through a theological paradigm shift towards a more reformed baptistic position, 2 Timothy 3:16 continued to be a glossed over passage.  All Scripture is inspired, says the NASB.  All Scripture is God-breathed, says the NIV.  Lovely.  What’s next?

It was not until I began a study of theology proper, that I began to understand the significance of this verse.  The NIV, I believe captures this significance better than the NASB, since it translates theopneustos as God breathed, rather than inspired.  The english word for inspired can create confusion as we assign our contemporary meaning that as something that happens from within us, that motivates a particular action.  But that does not quite capture the meaning of theopneustos, which the greek-english lexicon renders as inspired by God. Therefore it is something that comes from God rather than us.   So 2 Timothy 3:16 is the proclamation that Scripture, the divinely sacred writings, are motivated by God and breathed out by Him for us.

But what was God’s motivation? Scripture is replete with the idea that God had something to communicate, which I believe is succinctly demonstrated with Hebrews 1:1-2,

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.”

God speaking references His self-disclosure otherwise known as revelation.  God wished to reveal Himself to His creation, which we see unfold progressively starting with Adam and consummating with the return of Christ.  I hear the word revelation tossed around so frequently in Christian circles, but I think it does a disservice to God’s revelation, since it is all about His disclosure and not our comprehension.  Yet clearly, what He has revealed is meant for us to understand (Deuteronomy 29:29).

This verse also demonstrates that God has spoken through specific channels, most notably recognized in 2 Peter 1:20-21: “…No prophecy is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”   Prior to Christ, it was through the prophets.  But His revelation in Christ, the testimony of Christ was transmitted through apostolic authority, hence the significance of why the apostle Paul was always trying to defend his.  Holy men being moved by God also gives credence to the fact that God not only spoke, but superintended the entire process concerning transmission of His revelation.[1] It is also important to note that the authority of Scripture rests on God’s approved mechanisms, which is why redaction theories are destructive to Scriptural authority.

So this gets to what the inspiration process is; God breathing out His authoritative word, through the prophetic and apostolic agency to communicate His revelation.  There have been various theories proposed of the specific mechanics of inspiration to explain how this happened.  For the sake of brevity, I am going to assume the verbal plenary model, since I believe it is consistent with Scriptural formulation concerning God’s communication, that does indeed produce inspired, or God-breathed writings.  I think Lewis Sperry Chafer sums it up nicely

By verbal inspiration is meant that, in the original writings, the Spirit guided in the choice of words used.  However, the human authorship was respected to the extent that the writer’s characteristics are preserved, and their style and vocabulary are employed, but without the intrusion of error.  By plenary inspiration is meant that the accuracy which verbal inspiration secures, is extended to every portion of the Bible so that it is in all its parts both infallible as to truth and final as to divine authority. (Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1, pg 71).

This stresses the significance of language, that God’s authoritative communication concerning Himself, would be transmitted in a propositional format to disclose Himself and His intentions.  I believe this is further supported by Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, where he is emphasizing that the process of divine communication in 1 Corinthians 2:10-13 by which he received divine inspiration so that spiritual thoughts could be transmitted into spiritual words (vs. 13).  This also points to the fact that God was very intentional concerning the accuracy of His communication, so that we could understand what He wished to reveal.

The determination of how writings were determined to be inspired to incorporate them into a single tome, is a rather lengthy discussion and for the sake of brevity, will not be discussed here.  However, I think it is significant to note that canonicity involved the discovery of what God had already determined, thus ascribing the compilation of books to the inspiration of God rather than the efforts of men.  But this too, I believe is essential for bibliology curriculum.

So we get to why I think this process should be taught in every church.  Because it explains how we got our Bibles; it is bibliology 101.  I find it interesting that we would engage the discipleship process and tell people to read God’s word without an understanding of why and how exactly it is God’s word.   I personally think we do a great disservice to God’s precious word by telling people to read it and do what its says without a fundamental knowledge of what exactly we are reading or why we are reading it.

Moreover, I believe that engaging this topic in churches would prevent the magic book syndrome that I believe is so common amongst Christians today.  The Bible did not just fall out of the sky or so neatly packaged, delivered to us all at once so that all we have to do is just open it up and let it work its magic.  I think that without an understanding of how we got the Bible can promote a reader response hermeneutic to apply whatever passages speak to us personally to whatever situations we deem reasonable.  It can promote the ‘what does this passage mean to you’ philosophy that does not do justice to a thorough and adequate understanding of what we are reading, or moreover God’s intentions for why we are reading what we reading.

This does in fact speak to hermeneutics, in how we read and interpret Scripture.  If we understand Scripture in terms of the process and God’s motivation of self-disclosure, certain distinctions will be much clearer, such as Israel’s history vs Old Testament prophecy, the gospels vs. the New Testament letters and generally how God has revealed Himself progressively throughout Scripture.  I especially believe that the way we read the gospels particularly hinges on the identification of God’s self-disclosure.   John aptly points to this in his opening words “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God….and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1,2,14).  Jesus was showing God to us and came to initiate a new way that people would relate to God.  So all of his words and works have to be considered in context of this revelation.  Outside of this context, the tendency will be to employ Jesus’ words and actions as models for individual actions as the infamous WWJD without reconciling them in context of His redemptive purpose.  It is why I believe you get extreme teachings that rest soley on Jesus’ words, indicating that we can do exactly as Jesus did, blowing John 14:12 out of proportion and out of context.

Therefore, an understanding of the inspiration process will promote the necessity for Scriptural reconciliation.  It helps us to recognize that as God breathed out his word through the pens of 40 authors, there was something He had in mind.  And what He had in mind was conveyed in various literary styles and according to the author’s personality.  So when the authors wrote, they had something they wished to convey as they were moved by the Spirit and they did this in a complete literary device, that must be understood in its historical, grammatical, and cultural context.  I can’t imagine that there is anything more grievious to God, who condescended to reveal Himself to us, seeing fit to inscribe this revelation through the compilation of 66 books, than for us to rip meaning, words, and intents out of their proper context.  We would hate for somebody to do that us.  Why would we not think it doesn’t matter to God.

In conclusion, I think it was quite unfortunate that I did not gain this understanding in church and why this topic is reserved for the study of theology proper.  I am aware that there are some churches who incorporate basic bibliology into their Christian education curriculum, such as the class called You and Your Bible that a good friend of mine used to teach and was required for membership at his church.  But overall, I would say it is a fairly untaught and unrecognized topic amongst discipleship training.  And the tragedy is that without a good understanding of why God’s word is God’s word, we might want to read it any kind of way we want that ignores the very intentions behind God and the authors He spoke through.  But if our hearts passion is to know God and love Him with all of our hearts and souls and minds, it seems to me that we would first start with how He has communicated Himself to us.  And that is why I think the inspiration process should be taught in every church.

[1] According to A.T.B. McGowan, Divine Authenticity of Scripture, 2 Timothy 3:16 indicates that Scripture was inspired, but not the agency, which I affirm.  However, I reject his assertion that the product of divine inspiration must be separated from the agency since 2 Peter 2:20-21 indicates this is the mechanism through which divine speech is communicated.

    33 replies to "Why I Think the Inspiration Process Should be Taught in Every Church"

    • Paul Wilkinson

      I’d seen the terms verbal inspiration and plenary inspiration listed as alternatives (along with a third) but had not seen the terms combined to form a single ‘mechanics’ by which the inspiration occurred.

      The concept of scriptural reconciliation is challenging, given the multi-dimensionality of some passages. Even somewhat simple prophecies can have multiple fulfillments. I don’t believe this to be accidental. I’ve always viewed this as a consequence of “seeing through a glass darkly.”

      What is more disturbing however, is when a passage has perhaps three possible basic interpretations and a minister chooses to go with interpretation number six!

      I like the three questions, (a) When and where was it written? (b) To whom was it written? and (c) Why was it written. The first two questions always help clarify the answer to the third.

    • Rey Reynoso

      Nice Lisa. Here’s hoping for a not-crazy comment thread against inerrancy.

    • Lisa Robinson

      Rey, notice that I intentionally avoided THAT word :-/

    • Lisa Robinson

      Paul, I do think that divergence of interpretation will still occur, specifically understanding what is allegory vs. literal. So I don’t think what I am proposing will get everyone on the same page in that respect. But I do think it would a long way in mitigating error or extreme deviations.

      I do like your questions. I think I should have added the question on to whom was it written in my post on 10 Questions I Always Ask Myself When Reading the Bible,


    • JasonS

      Good post, Lisa.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      God has inspired total truth and trustworthiness in His Written Word.

    • Joshua Allen

      Great post. I can identify with your experiences in developing a more accurate view of the process. Two major inflection points for me were reading “The Spirit of Early Christianity’, and one of Metzger’s books (can’t remember which).

    • Lisa Robinson

      Thanks Joshua. I think a really great book on this subject is A General Introduction to the Bible by William Nix and Norman Geisler. It covers revelation through inspiration, canonicity, transmission and translation.

    • Dave Z

      No inerrancy hijack attempt here. I am honestly trying to understand something. I asked this question in a prior thread, got an answer, then Verbal Plenary Inspiration (VPI) was introduced and re-defined for clarity, and I think that might affect the answer to my question, so I’ll try again.

      When Paul says widows are happier if they don’t marry, or that he wishes all men were like him, meaning single, are those Paul’s opinions or God’s? If the Spirit guides (essentially determining) each word (verbal) can the writer’s (possibly wrong) personal opinion be stated?

      I’m really trying to get this clear in my mind. I hope someone takes the question seriously.

    • Lisa Robinson

      Dave, how is this for an explanation,

      PS: Can somebody explain how to do a hyperlink?

    • Dave Z

      Thanks, Lisa. I’m aware of the argument that Paul was exerting his own apostolic authority in that passage, and the argument holds up – for that passage.

      I’m not sure we can say the same for the points I raised.

      Again, did God inspire Paul to say that he (Paul) wished all men were able to be single? Whose opinion is that? The Theologica post raises the right question – if it’s Paul’s opinion, then what else is Paul’s opinion? How about 2 Tim 3:16? I know it’s a sticky question, maybe that’s why it seems to end threads.

      If we say it is God’s opinion, that God wants all men to be as Paul, then that raises real issues with the creation account (man needs a partner) and the concept of marriage itself.

      Same chapter – is it God’s opinion or Paul’s opinion that widows are happier if they do not remarry? Paul explicitly offers his judgment, then seem to claim inspiration on that. Are we ready to say that widows are always happier if they stay single?

      I’m just trying to figure this out.

      And I also want to know how to do the hyperlink thingy.

    • Lisa Robinson

      Dave, I think that explanation provided indicates that when Paul is saying, not the Lord but I, he is indicating that this was not something commanded by Christ. It is not that he is all of sudden not being moved by the Spirit, as indicated in 2 Peter 1:21 because he is expressing his opinion. In other words, I don’t think it is necessarily His opinion but that he is providing instruction that was not specifically commanded by Christ. The Spirit has not stopped moving all of a sudden.

      To say that it is not inspired text, negates the issue of authority. If this is in question, then everything else is too. Then the bound 66 books you have in your hand are of no value. Unfortunately, this is an argument promoted by liberalism, that would separates God’s authority from His word, and reduce the words in the Bible to good story telling. But He demonstrates His authority by His word, the 2 cannot be separated.

    • Dave Z

      Lisa, you seem to have missed my point.

      Let’s focus on this: When Paul says he wishes all men were as he was, is that his opinion? There is nothing in that portion of the passage that even hints at Paul quoting Christ Your argument does not hold up. I’m getting tired of asking this. No one seems to answer it directly. Have I stumbled on a big problem?

      Paul also seems to view sexuality in marriage as a “concession.” How about that? He wishes he could command. Whose opinion is that?

      BTW, the argument in your second paragraph is specious. Authority does not produce truth. It’s the other way around – truth produces authority.

      To say that it is not inspired text, negates the issue of authority. If this is in question, then everything else is too.

      Exactly why I’m trying to get a solid answer from somebody.

      Unfortunately, this is an argument promoted by liberalism…

      In the absence of a good answer, is the name-calling beginning?

    • Jugulum

      Re: Hyperlinks

      <a href=””>Your link text</a>

      (And if you’re wondering how I typed the code for a link without having it show up as a link, it was by typing “&lt;” for the < and &gt; for the >.)

    • Lisa Robinson

      Dave, yes I do think I get your point. You are asking how can it be inspired if Paul is expressing his opinion? But I think you are confusing the inspiration of Scripture with the inspiration of the agent. It is Scripture that is inspired because God breathed it out but did so allowing a freedom of expression of the agent.

      The big problem, I think, is not recognizing the truth claim of Scripture concerning its source. I don’t think it matters that Paul is expressing an opinion or not. In the end, we are either going to believe that inspiration extends to everything or it doesn’t. If one part fails, the whole thing crumbles because then how can our Bibles be considered Scripture? That might seem like circular reason,but I think it goes back to believing what the text says. Maybe I have to think some more on a better response. Bear with me.

      Also, I am in no ways name calling. Perhaps a better way to have said it is the ‘liberal branches of Christianity’ or the ‘liberal school of thought’, is probably even better.

    • Jugulum


      I think you may be right about what Paul’s statements in 1 Cor. 7 mean. People take it as a disclaimer, “The following isn’t inspired”, but that link provides a plausible alternative. I’m not sure yet.

      However, I certainly disagree with this argument:

      In the end, we are either going to believe that inspiration extends to everything or it doesn’t. If one part fails, the whole thing crumbles because then how can our Bibles be considered Scripture?

      If that were true, the Bible wouldn’t be able to quote lies. It couldn’t contain words like, “The man lied, saying, ‘Jesus is not the Christ.'” By your logic, if the quote isn’t inspired, then the Bible isn’t inspired. Because we’re either going to believe that inspiration extends to everything–even the lie–or it doesn’t… Right?

      The introduction that “The man lied” is inspired, and so is the quote–but the quote is simply a report. It is inspired that the quote is accurate, not that the quote is true. Similarly, it would be possible for Paul to say in an inspired letter, “This is not a command from the Spirit of God, but I say to you, ‘You should do X.'” In that case, if you say that X is a command from God, then you’re disbelieving the text!

      In that kind of situation, it would be an inspired report of Paul’s opinion, but his opinion wouldn’t be inspired as correct. It’s not a slippery slope to non-inspiration, because we’re believing his direct statement that his opinion is not the Word of God.

      Again, I’m not saying that 1 Cor 7 is that kind of thing. But it wouldn’t pose a problem for inspiration.

    • Lisa Robinson

      Jugulum, I think what you are describing would be the result of a mechanical dictation process that must then ascribe truth to every single word.

      But that is not what I am refuting. I’m saying that if one portion is un-inspired, then that refutes Scriptures claim concerning itself, not that every statement made is truthful. Example, when Moses asked Aaron about the idolatrous festival with the golden calf, he lies and said the people made him do it and and the thing just jumped out of the fire. Clearly, he is lying. But everything recorded is still inspired.

      So based on the rest of your comment, I think we are on the same page.

    • rayner markley

      The term ‘God breathed’ is the primary thing to say about Biblical inspiration, but it doesn’t help us to understand the human aspect of authorship. The point about I Corinthians 7 is that the Spirit is using human material, i.e., Paul’s opinion and judgment.

      Consider another case: the voice (or angel) in the book of Revelation tells John to write what he sees in the visions. It doesn’t ‘Write what I tell you.’ So the words of revelation are John’s, except when he records words that he hears or reads. Also, in the case of Luke’s gospel the Spirit uses Luke’s research material and his first-hand knowledge.

      So the Bible is a cooperative divine and human effort. That doesn’t compromise its authority in any way, but it means that not everything in the Bible is God’s knowledge and God’s specific wording. There are times when the Spirit draws on human sources.

    • Jugulum

      Clearly, he is lying. But everything recorded is still inspired.

      So based on the rest of your comment, I think we are on the same page.

      I think we’re on the same page about the principle, but not how it might apply to 1 Cor. 7.

      If Paul said something like, “This is not a command from God, but I think _____”, then it could be an inspired report of Paul’s opinion, but not an inspired opinion.

    • Jugulum

      To clarify: You’re saying that if Paul said that, inspiration would mean that his opinion must be correct–after all, it’s inspired!

      And I’m saying it could just be an inspired report–similar to an inspired report of a lie.

    • Dave Z

      Jugulum, I am comfortable with this:

      And I’m saying it could just be an inspired report–similar to an inspired report of a lie.

      But it does lead to the question of what is opinion and what is authoritative. If portions of 1 Cor 7 are opinion, why not 2 Tim 3:16?

      But I end up where I think you do – when Paul issues a disclaimer, he means just that and we should take it that way.

    • Steve in Toronto

      I would like to thank Dave Z for so thoughtfully and clearly articulating questions that I have has for a long time.

      God Bless
      Steve in Toronto

    • Dave Z

      Thanks, Steve. I’ll be sitting for an ordination council around the end of the year and I’ve got to make my mind up on this. Posts and threads like this are helping me.

      BTW, Lisa, I should note that I agree with your original post. This is an area that many churches gloss over, but all believers should know what the Bible is and how we got it. I’ll be teaching it soon at my church.

      In part, I’m looking for any holes in my beliefs and arguments before someone else finds and questions them and I have not thought it through to an answer.

    • Lisa Robinson

      Dave, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I really do think we need to start with divine communication and how that is conveyed, which 2 Peter 1:21 indicates is through the holy men authorized to carry out this transmission. If we say that every word has to be of the Lord, then that ascribes to a mechanical dictation theory. But as Jugulum pointed out in comment #20, the text is inspired because the agents were moved by the Spirit so that every word is considered Scripture. That means, regardless of whether it is an opinion or not, it is still divinely sourced.

      The reason that we have red letters in our Bibles is because those of the liberal branch of theology made this unnecessary and false distinction that some words are inspired, namely those of Jesus, and some are not. (Too lazy right now to look up specific advocates, but will get back to you on that for further research). But inspiration extends equally to all Scripture, otherwise it is not Scripture.

      Here is what Rene Pache says about the objections concerning citing Paul’s opinion as uninspired texts:

      “There is no doubt but that he [Paul] knew himself to be fully inspired when he dared to say that he knew that some things were the commandment of the Lord. However, he shows here that, although some rules are absolute, in other cases God lets man decide according to his conscience, his circumstances and his particular gift (vs. 6-9,36,39). Paul, out of his great experience and special calling, felt free to offer faithful advice, given also by the Spirit of the Lord (vs. 40). There is nothing false in that which he says, nothing to mar the inerrancy of the text” (Pache, The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture, pg 133.)

    • rayner markley

      Lisa: ‘I think you are confusing the inspiration of Scripture with the inspiration of the agent. It is Scripture that is inspired because God breathed it out but did so allowing a freedom of expression of the agent.’

      You’re saying that God breathed scripture out. What does it mean for God to ‘breathe out’ Paul’s opinion? It seems to me either it’s Paul’s opinion or it isn’t. Do you mean simply that the Spirit gives Paul permission to state his opinion? If so, Paul doesn’t realize this because he says it is not a command of the Lord. We are making the text say something.

    • Lisa Robinson

      Rayner, I specifically indicated in my footnote, that I believe it is the text that is inspired and not the agent. But that does not negate that fact the agent is utilized to transmit the text. Apparently, as Dr. Pache indicates, there was latitude given in the inspiration process to allow for a recording of opinions and even, lies. But it does not make the text uninspired.

      Additionally, Paul is giving his opinion as contrasted with direct commands of Jesus concerning marriage. When he says, not of the Lord, it does mean that he is suddenly unmoved by the Spirit, so he can express himself. His words are all under the purview of the Spirit’s guidance.

      Nix and Geisler also support this,

      “It is argued that Paul is giving his own opinion and not an authoritative pronouncement. However, it should be observed that Paul probably meant merely to say that Jesus said nothing explicitly about the subject at hand during His earthly ministry. Hence, Paul had to say ‘I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion (7:25). His opinion, however, was inspired.” (Nix and Geisler, A General Introduction to the Bible, pg 97)

    • Dave Z

      Lisa, two points.

      If we say that every word has to be of the Lord, then that ascribes to a mechanical dictation theory.

      And that is EXACTLY what verbal plenary inspiration demands. God determines each and every word – verbal. Then VPI advocates say it is not dictation. I don’t buy it. You can’t have it both ways. Choose one or the other.

      BTW, I have no problem with inspiration. I believe the Bible is inspired, but I hold to what some call dynamic inspiration, where the writers write as God fills them, but it is the human writer who writes, choosing the words that express, to the best of his ability, the concepts God imparts, as God oversees to ensure accuracy. That is the only way to be true to a combined divine/human perspective on scripture.

      I know Geisler/Nix, Grudem, Erickson and many other respected theologians disagree, but I cannot see the difference between VPI and dictation. If you insist on verbal – God determines the actual words, then that is dictation.

      OK that’s one point. Here’s the other. You have still not addressed the verses I keep bringing up. I’m referring to the first seven verses of 1 Cor 7. You keep mentioning Paul quoting Jesus. Fine, but that doesn’t happen until verse 10 where Paul starts addressing divorce. Your arguments do not apply to the verses prior to that.

      So, again… is Paul expressing his own opinion that singleness is better than marriage?

      His opinion, however, was inspired.” (Nix and Geisler, A General Introduction to the Bible, pg 97)

      What exactly does that mean? As I see it, Paul’s opinion directly contradicts God’s statement in Genesis that it is NOT good for the man to be alone.

      So is it Paul’s opinion that singleness is better than marriage, and if so, is that opinion authoritative, and if so, what are the implications for us? And if it is not authoritative, what are the implications of that?

    • Lisa Robinson

      Dave, I will restate what I have said to you previously in that other thread. I really think you are not understanding the difference between mechanical and verbal plenary. Mechanical is a word for word dictation. That would contradict the fact that Scripture is God breathed and that non-truths are recorded in the Bible. Verbal plenary is the act by which the Spirit moves to influence the what is said that allows for the author’s personality, writing style and in the case of 1 Cor 7, opinions to shine forth. But in a way so that every word is inspired. That is different than a word for word dictation and I also believe that holds a bit of mystery to fully comprehend it. Kind of like the incarnation.

      In terms of Paul’s statements in vs 1-7, The whole of Paul’s argument is undistracted devotion to the Lord (vs. 35). He is not indicating that singleness is better but that a single-minded focus is better. Married folks have split attention but that is not the case with single folks, unless of course they don’t have the gift to remain that way and burn with passion. Then, they should get married. So he is saying, if you can handle it, don’t have your attention divided. If you can’t, then marry.

      I don’t see what he is saying at all contridictory to God’s statements. If that’s the case, you could say that about James in relation to Paul’s writing. They are coming at faith from a different angle but in the end talking about the same thing.

    • Steve in Toronto

      Is it just me or is it becoming painfully obvious that the reason that evangelicals don’t teach the process of inspiration is that we don’t have a coherent doctrine to communicate? Their seems to be a consensus that verbal plenary inspiration does not mean dictation but no clear idea of what it does mean. Like wise the distinction between an inspired text and an inspired author seem arbitrary to me. This conversation has me pulling my hair out!

      Steve in Toronto

    • rayner markley

      Most people are gong to be ‘distracted’ by the opposite sex whether they are married or single. That’s the way God made nature and His original command in Genesis verbalizes nature. Paul’s wishing that all men remain unmarried is clearly contrary to God’s wish, and I’d bet that not one of us here would share Paul’s wish for everyone in the whole wide world. Paul is an unusual individual who is projecting his individual wish onto all. So the issue for this discussion is whether Paul’s wish is inspired and authoritative, or is just wishful thinking. It seems to be the latter, and I see that as a definite benefit for us. It shows that Paul is capable of error, as everyone else is, even though he thought he had ‘the mind of the Lord.’ What kind of inspiration is involved in the passage is irrelevant. Other Bible writers held erroneous beliefs too. No one is right about everything.

    • Dave Z

      Lisa, thank you, that is a clear answer to my question.

      For now, I’ll stick with dynamic inspiration, as I still see no difference between VPI and dictation. And I’m getting tired of thinking about it, so I think I’ll move on for now.

      We did accomplish this – it’s possible that Paul may be expressing his own opinion, but (and I don’t really know what this means)that expression is still inspired.

      I do agree with Lisa that it’s important that we teach the concept of inspiration (whichever flavor we favor). It is what sets the Bible above any other religious writings.

    • Paul Wilkinson

      Rayner (30): “So the issue for this discussion is whether Paul’s wish is inspired and authoritative, or is just wishful thinking.”

      Given what we know of Paul’s intellect, I’ve always regarded that statement as hyperbole. He has a passion for the spread of the gospel; sees that a maximum impact can be made by people who are not distracted by family life; and then says he wishes [for the sake of the gospel] that everyone could be that focused.

      So the question the becomes one concerning the inspiration of the parts of the Bible where wordplay or hyperbole are used. Personally, I just find “error” to be too strong a description.

    • Dave Z

      Paul, I’d agree with your argument if we were discussing Gal 5:12, but in this case, Paul points out that he is living the life he advocates.

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