ALL SCRIPTURE IS INSPIRED BY GOD
By Bishop Danilo O. Bantilan, Th.D.
Dead Sea Scrolls
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever”1 Mohammed Dib, a Bedouin shepherd of the tribe of Ta’ Amireh, shared the experience of young Saul, who set out to find his father’s asses which were lost and acquired a kingdom (1 Samuel. 9, 10). On fine day in the springs of 1947 Mohammed was combing he rocky ravines on the north shore of the Dead Sea in quest of a lost lamb, when he unintentionally came upon a veritable royal treasure in the shape of Biblical material. He had been clambering to no purpose for several hours up and down the clefts and gullies of the ridge, which had many a time served as a hideout for hermits and sectaries, to say nothing of bandits, when he spied a dark crevice above his head in the rock-face of Wadi Qumran. Could his lost lamb have taken refuge there? A well aimed stone whistled through the air. Instead of the sharp crack which he expected in reply, a dull rumbling noise came from the cave instead. Mohammed Dib fled in terror and fetched two of his fellow tribesmen to the scene. They approached the cave with great caution and eventually squeezed their way through its narrow entrance. To their amazement they saw in the dim light of the little vault some clay jars. Treasures were their first thought and the three shepherds pounds on the jars and smashed them. But to their disappointment they contained neither jewels, nor gold, nor coins: nothing appeared but battered looking written scrolls of ancient leather and papyrus, wrapped in linen. In their annoyance they threw their finds carelessly aside, trampling on many of them, until it suddenly dawned on them that their might be money in them. At all events they took a few of the best looking scrolls to see if perhaps they had some cash value. With that the ancient documents set out on a remarkable journey. They were smuggled into Bethlehem and came via the black market into the hands of antique dealers.2
Ancient Writing Materials: Papyrus
Jewish and Arab collectors bought some of the Scrolls, and a bundle of four came into the possession of the orthodox arcbishop of Jerusalem, Yeshue Samuel, for a handful of coins. The archbishop had no idea how precious was the treasures he had acquired, until experts from America School of oriental Research paid a visit to St. Mark’s Monastery, where the documents were stored.
Isaiah 4:8 ESV By Werner Keller, the Bible as History 2nd revise edition Copyright © 1965 by Hodder and Stoughton.
A cursory examination convinced the archaeologists that they were dealing with Biblical documents of an uncommonly early date. A 23- foot –long scroll with the complete text of the Book of Isaiah in Hebrew was among them. The date 30 BC- 70 AD. Papyrus is the most common writing material we have in our collection, and it was used for all manner of public documents, private letters, literary and paralitery texts. Nevertheless, papyrus was expensive enough in ancient Egypt that it was often recycled and reused. Many papyri are written on both sides, and old papyrus was sometimes recycled as mummy car tonnage. An entire archive of texts was discovered in the car tonnage of mummified crocodiles at the site of Tebtunis!
Divine Inspiration What does it mean to be “inspired by God”? Inspiration has various nonreligious meanings. There are inspired speakers who move to action by their eloquence and personal conviction that they were led by the Spirit of God no question ask, it’s a personal intimacy with God, that God can speak to them in a personal address. In general literary inspiration is a gifts of our great poets and novelists. A critic can tell by the quality of the speaking performance or the literary product of a writer whether this kind of inspiration was present. Divine inspiration is both similar and different. It is similar in that where divine inspiration is present God is involved coupled with his divine providence, anointing and power from the Almighty will be released without limit as He will. A divinely inspired writing may even be dull and [poetically] uninspiring. When God inspire, He works within the human history He has created and with the creatures He has formed, but He protects these fragile creation from error in establishing his truth. The Bible is a divinely inspired writing. Biblically inspiration that the Scriptures make God’s presence available to the readers and that the Bible will teach only truth about the ultimate realities of life and Salvation, it is the Breathed of God3 and it remind us during creation in the book of Genesis 2:7 “When God created man, He breathed his nostrils4 and this organic composition of man from the dust, became a living creature” that is man. Man was composed with material and immaterial thing. Meaning both physical and Spiritual. Man is responsible to his physical body to take care in order to live, with proper foods, and rest well. And the Lord is also responsible for both of this composition. He provided everything for man to live and enjoy his life with God’s provision. Most important is the Word from God to sustain the Spiritual life that He gave to man. Apostle Paul confirmed it by saying to Timothy, that God’s Word is the “Breathed of God.” Without the Word of God, man can’t live physically and spiritually; even Jesus in Matt. 4:4 “He said, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God.5” God is so much concerned on man’s Spiritual life rather than material thing. Because the body dies and it return to the ground but the spiritual man will return God 6[my paraphrased] it must be sanctified and saturated with God’s Word, before life depart from the material body, because His Word is our life and the Word is God, without His Word, we don’t have God and life. “For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from His
2 Tim. 3:16 ESV “All scripture is breathed out by God”…. Gen. 2:7 ESV … “The Lord formed the man of the dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 5 Matt. 4:4; Isaiah 6 Ecc. 12:7
sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”7God’s presence is really in his Word. God is Word and God is in the Word. Therefore it is a must for each human being to read and study masticate the Word of God, regardless of any religion. Man made religion but God made a man to have fellowship with Him and dwell in His Word forever. According to Werner Keller one of great archeologist after he had done all his research he concluded that “The Bible is right after all” “The grass withers, the flower fades: but the Word of our God will stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8). In the beginning was the Word, [Gk logos] or [Gk Theo’s] and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In His presence there is fullness of joy, meaning in the presence of His Word there is fullness of joy and satisfaction for our soul; material things cannot satisfied our living soul. Therefore it’s man’s responsibility to feed himself with the written Word of God which is the Bible. Feeding our inner being day and night.8 Don’t depend yourself only on the sermon every Sunday, God, doesn’t taught us to be like that, yes, we need that often times eating His word like a feast. But He taught us also to eat God’s Word in our home and cook your food according to the menu that you want; and then come also during celebration is like a feast of God’s Word in every Sunday. The Bible is divinely inspired writing. It assures readers that they are in the presence of God and his truth when opening the Bible in faith and a series of menu everyday; this inspired book is not for the religious Christian this is for primarily for every single human being created by God. Transforming Power. God’s Word, in whatever form it comes, always has divine healing and saving power. The risen Lord Jesus Christ acts in them to extend his healing touch to the minds, hearts and bodies of the disciples. Where the condition are right, that is, where the heart is open in faith, the seed of God’s Word takes root and has a sure effect. The same kind of divine power is available through God’s written word in the Bible; the effect of individual readings is not as clearly defined, but the healing power of God is present. It is the Word of God, which is now at work in you who believe. The day- to –day effect of Bible reading is usually subtle but real. The divine power does not work only through striking ideas or feelings, so the Bible reader cannot measure the effect of the Scriptures as the Spiritual life grows. But from time to time the transforming power of the Word of God is recognized as one’s life become change. This is the principles of cause and effect. The result will determine the cause.
Illustration A story from the early Church clarifies this point. In the fourth and fifth centuries the deserts of Egypt were populated by men and women who had gone into the wilderness to seek God in solitary prayer. Many of these Christians monastics became very holy and were sought out by other searchers for advice. A young man came to one of the monks and made his request: “Master, I want to seek God in the wilderness, too. How can I become holy and happy?” “My son said the Desert Master, “go over into one of those caves, taking with you this book of Scriptures. Read it day and night and you will find what you are seeking.” After three days, the young man returned, complaining that the reading was boring, that his mind wandered, and that he remembered little of what he read. “Do not despair, my son. You are doing fine. But do this also. Fill a basket with sand and set it just outside your cave. Every morning and evening pour a bucket of water over the sand. Come back in a week and we will talk.” The young monk followed the older man’s strange instructions. At the end of the week he still complained about his lack of progress in holy reading.
Hebrew 4:12-13 ESV Joshua 1:8;Ps. 1:1-6 ESV.
“But about the sand, every time I pour water over it, some leaks out the sides of the basket.” This same simple process continued, with the young monk coming each week to talk with his spiritual leader. Finally he reported: “Master, the sand is all gone. For the past two days I have been pouring out water into a clean basket. But with the reading, I find myself just as lazy and bored and forgettable as ever.” The old master rose. “My son, you are the basket. The sand is your sinfulness, pride, unhappiness. The water is the Word of God. The Basket doesn’t remember the water that gradually cleansed it. No more do you remember every Word of Holy Scriptures that you read. But if you continue to pour the water of God’s Word over your sinfulness every day, some day you too will be clean.”9 Sometimes the Word of God it refers to like water. This is why the Bible is worth reading. Its healing and transforming power is the revelation we all seek, whether we recognize the fact or not. Regular Bible reading will strengthen our knowledge of revealed truth. But most of all, it will deepen our relationship with the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit and cleanse us for ever closer union with the three divine persons of the Godhead and dwelling daily with His presence now and forevermore.
References 1. By Werner Keller, The Bible as History copyright© 1965 USA 2. By Martin Abergg Jr., Peter Flint & Eugence Ulrich, the Dead Sea Crolls Bible copyright©1999 printed in United States of America 3. By Jerome Kodell, O.S.B A Popular Introduction to Studying Scripture copyright©2001
John 15: 3 ESV “ … You are cleans because of the Word that I have spoken to you”