Today as we look into our Bible toolbox for tools and techniques to help us understand the Bible and gain enjoyment from reading the Word of God, we will we will consider the Bible as the inspired Word of God with some examples.
The word “inspiration” literally means, “God breathed”. The Bible is “inspired” because the words have been breathed by God Himself. The Apostle Paul described the Scriptures like this
“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 competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV).
The Apostle Peter described the inspired prophets as, “… men [who] spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21, ESV).
Sometimes God seems to have inspired what the writers said word for word to the point that they did not always understand what they wrote (see 1 Peter 1:10–12). At other times, the writers seem to have had more freedom of expression, although God inspired the thoughts expressed. For example, the writings of Paul are distinctive in their style and language, but were still inspired by God.
Since the Bible claims to be inspired the following examples are meant to show the consistency of the Old and New Testaments together, the use of Bible echoes and other techniques, and ultimately to be used as proof that the Bible was authored by God and the writers were inspired by God.
In the first two chapters of the Gospel of Matthew, we find some information about the birth and very early life of Jesus: his mother Mary was a virgin and yet pregnant with him, he was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea and he was to go into Egypt and come back to the land of Israel.
What is truly amazing about these facts is that they were all prophesied in the Old Testament and applied to Jesus. The New Testament passage will be followed by the corresponding Old Testament passage.
Virgin Birth: New Testament Fulfillment
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us) (Matthew 1:18-21, ESV).
Virgin Birth: Old Testament Prophecy
And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:13-14, ESV).
Place of Birth: New Testament Fulfillment
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel'” (Matthew 2:1-6, ESV).
Place of Birth: Old Testament Prophecy
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days (Micah 5:2, ESV).
Out of Egypt: New Testament Fulfillment
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son” (Matthew 2:12-15, ESV).
Out of Egypt: Old Testament Prophecy
When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son (Hosea 11:1, ESV).
It is evident that some of the Old Testament passages, such as the verse from Hosea 11 regarding “coming out of Egypt”, had an initial application to the nation of Israel under the leadership of Moses. Because Israel was referred to as “God’s son”, this passage could also be relevant to the true son of God, Jesus.