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!