LESSON 3
WHAT INSPIRATION IS 
(2 TIMOTHY 3:14-17; JOHN 16:7-14; 1 CORINTHIANS 2:9-14)

Copr. 1999, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  All scripture references are to the
New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International
Bible Society,  unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used
by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found
within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or
some other visual aid.

Introduction: Last week we looked at the specific ways in which God
communicates His will through the prophets. We continue to explore and
expand upon that issue this week.  Let's dive in to God's Word!
 

I.       THE GOD-BREATHED BENEFIT

        A.      Let's read 2 Timothy 3:14-17 where we find some advice from Paul to
Timothy on how to remain faithful in the last days.

                1.      If I asked you to tell me the single most important reason why you
are glad to have the messages from God which form the Bible, what would
it be? (Verse 15: We learn about Jesus who allows us to be saved.)

                2.      Paul lists several other uses for the Bible. What are they? (Verse
16: Teaching, rebuking, correcting and training.)

                        a.      Do you get the feeling that the student is in serious need of
help? (Rebuking, correcting.)

                3.      What is the goal of all this learning from the Bible? (That we may
be thoroughly equipped for every good work.)

                        a.      Do you study the Bible with an eye to what good works you can do?

                4.      Think of a time that you were "corrected" or "rebuked."  Did you
like it?  Did you think the correction was wrong or unneeded?

                        a.      Who do you think is doing the correcting and rebuking in v.16?

                                (1)     The Scripture or a teacher using the Scriptures?

                        b.      Do you think of the Bible as a source of rebuke and correction?

                                (1)     Can you think of the last time that you changed something
in
your life based on a rebuke or correction that you found in the Bible?

                                (2)     How much time every day do you spend in this
learning/training/correction process?

                5.      Human nature does not like to be rebuked or corrected.  When
someone tells you that you are wrong, what is your first reaction?
(Maybe I'm not wrong!)

                        a.      Do you think this has anything to do with Paul telling us that
Scripture is "God-breathed?"

                                (1)     What do you understand him to mean when he says Scripture
was
"God-breathed?"

                                        (a)     Why not refer to speaking instead of breathing?

                                        (b)     Was Adam "God-breathed?" (Gen.2:7)

                                        (c)     Do you think what God did to Adam is similar to
what He did to
Scripture?  How?

        B.      Let's look at John 16:7-14. Read. This text tells us that the Holy
Spirit plays a special role in inspiration.  What role(s)do we find in
these verses? (The Holy Spirit:

                1.      Will tell man what is to come. (v.13)

                2.      Make known (to us) Jesus and the Father. (vv.14-15)

                3.      Convict us of sin, righteousness and judgment. (v.8)

                4.      Guide us to truth -- directly from God. (v.13))

                        a.      As you look at these roles of the Holy Spirit, does He act on the
prophet, the hearer of the prophet or both?

                        b.      Does He help the hearer to know whether the message is true?
(Verse 13 tells us that He will "guide" us into "all truth." Verse 8
tells us that He will convict us of "righteousness.")
 

        C.      Remember a few minutes ago we discussed whether it was the role of
the Bible or the role of the reader of the Bible to reprove and correct.
Do you think, based on reading these verses in John 16, that it is the
role of the Holy Spirit to correct and reprove? (Yes, verse 8 "convict
the world of guilt in regard to sin.")

                1.      Some mental health "experts" say "guilt is bad." What does this
verse suggest?

                2.      I have a friend who no longer attends church. Taking on the role of
the Holy Spirit, I "harass" him for not attending. He says "Don't lay
that guilt-trip on me, I paid a lot of money [to my mental health
professional] to get beyond guilt."

                        a.      What do you think about what my friend says?

                        b.      What do you think about me usurping the role of the Holy Spirit?

        D.      Let's look at yet another text on the role of the Holy Spirit in
inspiration. Read 1 Cor. 2:9-14.

                1.      How important is the Holy Spirit to understanding God's will in the
Bible?

                2.      When v.14 says the people without the Holy Spirit cannot understand
the Bible, what do you think this means:

                        a.      They don't know what the words mean?

                        b.      Or, they understand the meaning of the words, but do not
understand the logic of what is said? (I think the second. They do not
understand why they should do these things. They consider it all
foolishness.)

                3.      If you wanted to understand the Bible, or wanted a friend to
understand the Bible, would it be better to spend more time studying or
more time asking the Holy Spirit to help you (or your friend) to
understand?

                        a.      Are these mutually exclusive alternatives?

II.     NEW TESTAMENT INSPIRATION

        A.      Last week someone in the class reminded us that all of these
references to Scriptures in the New Testament (See, eg. Matt. 22:29,
Luke 24:27, 2 Tim. 3:15) referred to the Old Testament.  I think we all
agree that the Old Testament is inspired. On what basis do you think the
New Testament is inspired?

                1.      Some churches seem to virtually ignore the Old Testament.  What do
you think about that?

                        a.      Have they missed the point that Jesus and His disciples were
referring to the Old Testament when they spoke of Scriptures?

                        b.      How well do you know the Old Testament?

        B.      Let's look at two texts on this issue of the inspiration of the New
Testament. First, let's read 1 Thessalonians 2:11-13.

                1.      Who wrote this? (Paul. (1 Thes. 1:1)

                2.      When Paul says, "the word of God, which you received from us," is
he talking about sharing the Old Testament with them or is he calling
his own words "the word of God?"

                3.      Read 2 Peter 3:15-16. What do you find in this text that leads you
to believe that Peter accepted Paul's words as a part of Scripture?

                        a.      Is the reference "to the wisdom God gave him" enough to treat
Paul's words like Scripture?

                        b.      What about the reference to distorting Paul's writings "as they do
[to] the other Scriptures?" (By the way, this is consistently translated
with this meaning in the major translations.)

                4.      Consider for a minute, how your views of salvation might be
different were it not for the writings of Paul?

III.    NEXT WEEK: "HOW INSPIRATION WORKS."