There is one word in the Bible that stands out from all the others. It is a word that is rich in meaning and deep in implication. It is a word that provides us assurance and gives us confidence. It is at the very heart of the gospel itself.
On this short list of possible words, one might naturally think of love, grace, faith, or hope. But even these words come after what I consider to be the überword in all of Scripture.
So what is it? Well, it is what most English Bibles translate as the word inspiration.
You might be scratching your head at this point, but please give me a moment to explain.
I’m not talking here about that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when someone or something makes you feel good or gives you a good idea. That’s not the inspiration I’m talking about. Instead, I’m referring to the word used by the apostle Paul when he wrote to Timothy to give him confidence in Holy Scripture. Here is what he said. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17, NKJV).
The actual word Paul used was theopneustos (a combination of theos, meaning “God,” and pneō, meaning “to breathe, blow”). This word—used only one time in all of Scripture—is a Greek word that literally means “God-breathed” (as rendered by the NIV) or “breathed out by God” (as rendered by the ESV). Paul is saying the text of Scripture is the product of the divine, life-giving breath of the Almighty—breathed out through the secret operation of the Holy Spirit by which he produced the Word of God from the word of men.
The important point to remember about this big fancy Greek word (translated into English as “inspiration” or “God-breathed”) is that all Scripture—not just the Gospels or the “red letters”—are important. All of it is—everything from the seemingly irrelevant verses (which they are not) describing the Levitical code to the long genealogical listings. Every word tells us something important about God and how we are to live in light of that knowledge.
The entirety of Scripture—all 66 books of the Bible—comes together so that each of us may be complete Christians in which we are equipped to live a well-balanced life. God knew exactly what every Christian in every generation would need in order to live a holy and upright life. And the Bible tells us exactly how we are to do that.
Every time we pick up the Bible, we are holding the truth in our hands. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31–32). Some struggle to know what truth is, yet the source of our truth is the Bible. Holy Scripture is the source of everything we need to know about this life (which includes love, grace, faith, and hope) and the one to come. We know it is true and reliable, because it is God-breathed.