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31 Reasons from Jeremiah about Why the Bible Is Inspired by God

  • David Sanford Contributing Writer
  • Updated May 25, 2021
31 Reasons from Jeremiah about Why the Bible Is Inspired by God

Many historians and other scholars say one of the most, or the most, influential book in the world is the Bible. It’s influenced history for thousands of years. It’s changed hundreds of millions of lives. That’s because…

The Bible isn’t just a book of writings collected by faith leaders down through the ages. Instead, the Bible is God’s exclusive and inspired Word. Through the Bible’s God-inspired messages, God Himself clearly communicates with every generation.

No other book of the Bible makes this clearer than Jeremiah. At every turn, Jeremiah confirms the who, when, how, what, and why of God’s inspiration of the Bible.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Arkira

Who Inspired the Bible?

1. No Old Testament prophet volunteered to be a prophet. This certainly was true in Jeremiah’s case (Jeremiah 1:1-19).

2. The Lord appointed Jeremiah and other biblical prophets to speak His inspired words, thoughts, statements, and messages. Inspiration is exclusively God’s Word to humanity, through human instruments and their secretaries (Jeremiah 36:4 and Romans 16:22).

Not all prophets used secretaries. Moses told the people of Israel that everything he had commanded to and written for them was from the Lord God (Deuteronomy 4:2). In 2 Samuel 23:2, King David on his deathbed likewise said the Spirit of the Lord had spoken through him. Both men wrote God’s Word time and again.

3. Sometimes, the Lord insisted Jeremiah and other biblical prophets say exactly what He commanded (Jeremiah 1:7-8, 1:17, 26:2, 36:18, 36:28, 36:32). In those cases they couldn’t indirectly quote, paraphrase, or communicate the essence of what the Lord said.

In every case, inspiration applies to the very choice of words. Jeremiah felt strongly that he had to deliver the whole message of the Lord, without omitting a word (Jeremiah 42:4 and 43:1). 

4. Jeremiah and other biblical prophets claimed dual authorship. That is, the messages and words of God were expressed through men without canceling out their personalities. Jesus confirmed this (Mark 12:26) and so did the apostles (Acts 4:25, 2 Timothy 3:16, and 2 Peter 1:20-21). Only 2 Timothy 3:16 uses the word “inspiration” (“God-breathed” NIV), but many other passages strongly support this truth. Second Peter 1:20-21 teaches that men “moved” (“carried along” NIV) by the Holy Spirit wrote Scripture. Without a doubt, Jeremiah vividly and repeatedly experienced God’s choosing to communicate His message through him.

5. Many prophets didn’t want to be God-appointed. They weren’t perfect. They got depressed. They suffered terribly. Many wanted to quit, including Jeremiah (15:10 and 15:17-18), but the Lord always charged them to resume their vital, God-mandated work. In some cases, if they balked, the Lord threatened to discipline them (Jeremiah 15:19).

6. Inspiration includes messages from the Lord through the biblical prophets for all peoples around the world down through the ages. Other God-inspired messages are for specific nations, tribes, clans, families, couples, or individuals. The Lord spoke individually to Jeremiah right from the get-go.

Many years later, the Lord spoke individually to Jeremiah’s scribe, Baruch (Jeremiah 45:2-5). I can imagine Baruch was simultaneously stunned, shocked, surprised, challenged, and comforted by that message!

Bible open to book of Jeremiah

When Was the Bible Inspired?

1. The Lord wasn’t deciding what to say and then telling Jeremiah or the other biblical prophets. Far from it. The Lord had decided His exact words long ago, before the creation of the heavens and earth (Jeremiah 4:23, 10:10-12, 31:3, 32:17-18, 32:40, 50:5, 51:15).

2. Inspiration is confirmed the moment God reveals any portion of His truth to His prophets for His people (Jeremiah 36:1). Text is not inspired when it’s recognized as canonical (accepted by the Church). It’s not even inspired when it’s written. Instead, as soon as God communicated it, the biblical prophet immediately knew he had received a new revelation from God!

3. The Lord is infinite and eternal, but His Word is only eternal (Psalm 119:89 and Matthew 5:17-18), not infinite. The Lord started speaking to Jeremiah on a specific day, time, and place. Many years later, the Lord stopped speaking to Jeremiah on another specific day, time, and place. In Jeremiah’s case, it was after he finished writing Lamentations 5:22 and closed his second book. In other words, inspiration is progressive. Each book was inspired one message at a time. Often long gaps separated messages (see Jeremiah 36:2 and Jeremiah 36:32).

4. Inspiration is always dependent on the Lord. Even though Jeremiah was a God-inspired prophet, he couldn’t prophesy whenever he felt like it. Sometimes the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, compelling him to prophesy (Jeremiah 37:6). Sometimes the Lord gave Jeremiah a message as he spoke (Jeremiah 37:17). Sometimes Jeremiah had to wait on the Lord until the Lord gave him a message (Jeremiah 42:7).

5. Inspiration can be faked by false prophets, but only for a time. False prophets inevitably fail. The Lord expounds on the differences between false prophets and true inspiration from the Lord in Jeremiah 23:9-40.

6. Inspiration sometimes includes historical dating of specific messages in the x year of the reign of king so-and-so, and similar (see Jeremiah 26:1, 27:1, 28:1, 37:1, 49:34, 51:59, 52:1, 52:4, and 52:31). Most times, however, inspiration is left undated.

7. Inspiration continues after the biblical prophet concludes his writings (see Jeremiah 51:64 among many others). Inspiration resumes the moment the Lord speaks to that prophet again. Some prophets like Jeremiah heard from the Lord dozens of times.

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How Is the Bible Inspired?

1. Inspiration often takes shape as an oral message from the Lord that the biblical prophet (or apostle) dictates or writes. It’s inspired whether it’s written down immediately or after an extended period of time (Jeremiah 36:1-2 and Jeremiah 36:32). In this way, inspiration continues. It doesn’t evaporate after God stops talking.

2. The phrase “declares the Lord” appears 167 times throughout the book of Jeremiah. The same exact phrase appears 164 more times from Genesis to Malachi and 4 more times in the book of Hebrews. In addition, “Declare,” says the Lord, appears an extra 4 times in Jeremiah.

3. “Thus says the Lord” appears 150 times in Jeremiah. The same exact phrase appears 265 more times from Exodus to Zechariah.

4. “The word of the Lord came to” the prophet Jeremiah 24 times. The same exact phrase is used of the Lord speaking to other prophets from Abraham to Zechariah. In addition, “the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord” appears 10 times, and “These are the words” of the Lord to or through Jeremiah appears twice.

5. “The Lord said to me,” the prophet Jeremiah, 14 times. The same exact phrase is used of the Lord speaking to other prophets from Moses to Zechariah, as well as to the apostle Paul in Acts 22:10.

6. The Lord said to Jeremiah, “Go and proclaim” twice. The same exact phrase is used by the Lord Jesus in Luke 9:60.

What Inspired the Bible?

1. Inspiration includes conversations between the Lord and Jeremiah (and other biblical prophets).

2. Inspiration is not dependent on the written Scriptures. When we share portions of Scripture orally, we are transmitting God’s Word to others (Jeremiah 36:9-16). In that way, we become one of the links that helps God’s Word become part of some people’s thoughts and actions. Again, not everyone listens!

3. The Lord’s messages often were under a minute (like Baruch’s). Many other messages were longer (see 33:1-26) or much longer (see 50:1 - 51:64).

4. Inspiration included instructions from the Lord for Jeremiah to carry out, including with a linen waistband (Jeremiah 13:1-27), going to a potter’s house (Jeremiah 18:1-23), examining two baskets of figs (Jeremiah 24:1-10), buying a field (Jeremiah 32:1-44), and visiting the Rechabites (35:1-19).

5. Inspiration included figurative instructions from the Lord for Jeremiah to carry out. A great example is the Lord instructing Jeremiah to take His cup of the wine of His wrath to each of Israel’s oppressor nations (Jeremiah 25:25-33), which he does by recording each of the Lord’s judgments on them (Jeremiah 46:1 - 51:64).

6. Inspiration included the biblical prophet’s own reactions to the Lord’s messages, to the people’s reactions, to the terrible judgments coming, and to the terrible judgments that have come, among other things. That’s why Jeremiah is often called “the weeping prophet.”

hand holding page reading open Bible, who is Barnabas?

Why Is the Bible “Inspired?”

1. Inspired messages communicate God’s words to humanity in an exact form. They become inspired Scriptures (writings) the moment they are penned. Their value as God’s Word does not increase, but their long-term effectiveness does. People can reconsider published messages and read them along with other messages from other times (Jeremiah 36:3).

2. Inspiration never depends on the popularity of the Lord’s messages. Many were accepted, and many were not. Jeremiah’s were rejected in almost every case for decades.

3. Inspiration never depends on the intended audiences believing the Lord’s messages. In Jeremiah 25:3, the Lord expressly says the Jewish people had rejected all of His messages through Jeremiah for 23 years.

4. Inspiration always is correct, right, and true. A great example is the Lord’s message to Jeremiah that the Babylonian captivity of the Jews will last 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11-13 and Jeremiah 29:10).

5. The inspiration of Jeremiah is reaffirmed by Jesus. For instance, Jeremiah 6:16 says, “And you will find rest for your souls,” which Jesus echoes in Matthew 11:29. And, Jeremiah 7:11 says, “Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers,” which Jesus echoes in Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17, and Luke 19:46.

6. The inspiration of Jeremiah is reaffirmed by the apostles. For instance, Jeremiah 31:15 says, “Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more,” which is quoted verbatim in Matthew 2:17-18. And, Jeremiah 31:31-34 talks at length about the New Covenant, which is quoted verbatim both in Hebrews 8:8-12 and Hebrews 10:16-17.

How good that we can give thanks daily for these 31 reasons we know the Lord Himself inspired His eternal Word, the Bible.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/pcess609 

headshot of David Sanford new 2020The late David Sanford’s book and Bible projects were published by Zondervan, Tyndale, Thomas Nelson, Doubleday, Barbour, and Amazon. His latest book was Life Map Devotional for Men published concurrently with his wife Renee’s book, Life Map Devotional for Women.