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Monday, March 6, 2017

Ask Pastor Chris (a short, quick answer about divine inspiration)

Question:  Did divine inspiration stop with the writers of the Bible? Are there modern writers who are divinely inspired?

Answer:  The writers of the books of the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit to share the Word of God.  The Bible is God's magnificent message to us and the final authority for Christian doctrine and practice.  Divine inspiration also guided the compilation of the Bible.  God inspired Christians to use the various books that now makeup our Bible, scribes to copy them, and the leaders to authorize them.  Divine inspiration guided it all.

God continues to inspire writers today.  The difference between the Bible and other books is authority.  The books of the Bible are the "authorized" collection (or canon) of inspired books.  Divine inspiration is only one criterion that determined if a book was included in the Bible.  There are other important factors.  Such as:

·      Authenticity – Is the book generally accurate or a fabrication or forgery?  In the New Testament, authenticity also required the writing to be based upon the preaching/teaching of the first-generation apostles (or their close companions).

·      Timelessness – Is the book useful for people of all times and places (even if it was originally written for a particular time and place)?

·      Consistency – Is the book consistent with the overarching message of the Christian faith?

·      Acceptance – Is the book accepted by the majority of the Christian community? The books of the Bible were widely used and recognized by early Christian communities as inspired, authentic, and timeless over the first four centuries of our faith.  Their leaders gathered in a council to "authorize" the Bible.  They affirmed the books were given by God as an authoritative and timeless guide to Christian doctrine and practice.

Although there are inspired writers and books today, they do not have the authority of the Bible because they cannot match the authenticity, timelessness, consistency, and wide acceptance of the Bible.  The Bible is the only book authorized to serve as God's Holy Word.  It contains everything we need to find salvation and live a Christian life.