What Does It Mean That All Scripture Is God Breathed In The Bible?

What Does It Mean That All Scripture Is God Breathed In The Bible? December 31, 2014

The Bible declares that all Scripture is God breathed, not just parts of it.  What does it mean that all Scripture is God breathed?

God-Breathed

Paul says that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17) but what does it mean that the Bible, which is what Paul means by saying “all Scripture,” is God-breathed?  Looking at the Greek word for “God breathed” or as some translations say, “breathed out” is “theopneustos” and means “inspired by God” or literally the very “breathe of God.”  So we believe that the Word of God is God’s breathing out His literal Word.it is inspired by God, the Holy Spirit since no “prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:21).  It’s important to note that the word “prophecy” does not mean, in the context of chapter 2 of 2nd Peter, predicting the future or future events but as the Greek word “prophēteia” means “a discourse emanating from divine inspiration” so we can safely and surely say that all Scripture is God’s breathed words and emanates from a divine (God’s) inspiration.  In other words, the Word of God is not of human origin but originates from God Himself.

All Scripture is God Breathed

Man-Breathed

Many skeptics of the Bible say that the Word of God is of human origin and that it’s not really from God but that is not what 2 Peter 1:21 says and 2 Timothy 3:16 says.  I am writing this on a word processing program using a keyboard and so you and I know that I am the author.  The word processor, the keyboard and computer are allowing me to put the words into a readable form but I was the inspiration behind the article I have written here.  Can anyone really say that it was not me who inspired this article but it was really the computer so we can’t believe that I actually wrote this?  Can it be said that I wasn’t really writing my thoughts here and that it was really the computer’s thoughts and ideas?  No, a computer has artificial intelligence but it cannot write what I am thinking or what I have studied in my life or that it has the knowledge that I have acquired, so to say that the men who penned the Scriptures are the ones who are the ultimate source of the Bible is to use the same reasoning that I am not the real author of this article but it’s actually Hewlett Packard (HP) that is real author.  See how faulty that reasoning is since “men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:21) and not man carried along by their own thoughts or beliefs or as Peter writes that is was not that “Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things” (2 Pet 1:20).

Spirit, Wind, and Breath

The words used in the Bible for wind, spirit, and breathe or breath are all the same word, so how interesting it is that God breathed into man or gave the man the “breath of life” (Gen 2:7).  Must we not conclude that the life of man was inspired by God too?  When Jesus “breathed on them” to “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22) the word used for “Spirit” which refers to the Third Person of the Trinity is the Greek word “pneuma” which is sometimes used for wind or breath.   We cannot even begin to understand the meaning of Scriptures without the Holy Spirit (pneuma) of God. This is what Paul meant when he wrote “For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Cor 2:11).  When a person repents and puts their trust in the Lord, “we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.  And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual” (1 Cor 2:12-13).   The reason why unbelievers are so antagonistic toward the Word of God is that “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14) so we should be patient with them.  It is not their fault that they cannot understand Scripture “For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18).

Conclusion

Every believer knows someone who is not saved and the reason that we must pray for God to send them His Spirit is so that they can comprehend the riches and the depths of the knowledge of God.  When Paul writes to the church at Rome he testifies, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Rom 11:33). Paul understands that the riches for those who are saved include the removal of God’s wrath, the promise of eternal life and the assurance of a joyful eternity in the presence of God is something that seems like foolishness to those who are perishing.  Let’s pray for our unsaved family members, for our lost friends, and for our co-workers and neighbors that God might show them their need for the Savior so that they too might be saved to the glory of God.

Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book  Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon


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  • Mia Kulpe

    What does Paul refer to when he says “all scripture?” Clearly, the New Testament was not on his mind, as it wasn’t yet complete. Was he referring to all books of the Old Testament, or just the Torah, or maybe even other books that we have omitted in the Christian Bible?

    • Veronica Smolko

      Honestly I find that entirely likely, there are too many similarities throughout the various holy books. I think they stem from the same place, and evolved based on location and civilization.

  • Veronica Smolko

    A computer is not capable of acting based on emotion, humans are. A better example might be the dictation of a letter, as the composer is the source yet it is still possible for the writer to write from his own perspective on the matter. I have no problem believing God inspired the scriptures, but I prefer to account for human error. Is it not required of us to question anyone claiming to be speaking for God?

    When Paul implies that women are inferior to Adam because they, ‘sinned first’, is he speaking the words of God? When he decrees the “he” wants women to never have authority in his churches, is he speaking for God?

    Men have the luxury of being the target audience of the bible, they don’t have to question why there aren’t more stories about them, or why they weren’t allowed to be involved in many of the practices. Especially when Jesus is born, and welcomes men and women equally. All sin is sin, and God loves us all equally, so why are women treated so differently? Am I to believe God is a misogynist?