How Can the Bible Be God’s Word if it was Written by Men?

Who wrote the Bible? [1]

There are 66 books spanning more than a thousand years written by 40 different authors. How could you believe this is the “Word of God”? We know it was written by men, how could you believe it was written by God?

Christians believe that the Bible was written by God through man. That is to say that the Bible has dual authorship. This doctrine is similar to the dual nature of Christ. Jesus was 100% God and 100% Man, yet without sin. The Bible was written by God and Man, yet without error. It’s no wonder the Bible calls Jesus The Word (John 1).

Two Theories

But what does it mean that both God and Man wrote the Bible? Some believe that the human authors were merely passive in this process; God literally spoke through them and they had no say in the matter as to what was written down. I can’t help but picture a man sitting at a table ready to write. Suddenly, his eyes go blank, like a horror movie, and his hand starts writing. Sorry, that’s just what I picture when people say this is what happened. I obviously don’t believe this is what happened, by the way. There’s too much of a human element to the literature that composes the Bible to believe they didn’t use their own styles and words. This position would put too much emphasis on the divine authorship, therefore swallowing up the human element.

The reverse can also be true. Some people believe the Bible is merely a human book. It was written by humans without any help from the Divine. For Christians, I don’t see how this interpretation is possible because the Bible itself claims to be divine over and over again. Jesus, who Christians believe to have risen from the dead proving himself to be God, also believed the Bible to be divine and that all of Scripture pointed to Him (John 5:39)!

So the best path for the Christian is somewhere between these two ends of the spectrum.

What the Bible Says About Itself

The Bible is Eternal

“Lord , your word is forever; it is firmly fixed in heaven.” Psalms 119:89

The Bible was Inspired by God

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16

God Used Men to Write the Bible

“Because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21

The Bible is Without Error

“If he called those whom the word of God came to ‘gods’ — and the Scripture cannot be broken — ” John 10:35

Three Ways God Speaks through Men in the Bible

  1. Ordinary Means. Take Luke for example. Luke makes it clear that he interviewed witnesses when composing his Gospel (Luke 1:3-4). He then wrote down what he found. Simple as that. Journalists do this all the time without any divine inspiration.
  2. God’s Idea, Man’s Own Words. In 2 Timothy we see Paul dictate theological truths and instructions, and then we also see him say things like, “bring the cloaks which I left…and the books,” (2 Timothy 4:13). Clearly, Paul is still himself, still able to write freely and personally. This is not the writing of someone disconnected, simply dictating word-for-word what God had said.
  3. Straight Dictation. In other places, like the 10 Commandments, it would seem the author, Moses, did write word-for-word what was dictated to him by God.

Conclusion

It seems to me, the reconciliation between the Bible being a man-made book and a divinely-inspired book is quite simple, albeit a bit mysterious. In some places, God speaks and man writes word-for-word. In other places, man simply does some investigation and records what he finds. And still yet, sometimes God reveals the big idea and man writes it in his own words.

This is not a defense of the authority, or accuracy of the Scriptures, but merely an explanation of what Christians exactly mean when they say the Bible is God’s word even though it was written by men.

How do you reconcile this belief?

[1] This article draws heavily from: Lutzer, Erwin W. 7 Reasons Why You Can Trust The BibleChicago, IL: 2015. Moody Publishers. Kindle.


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8 Replies to “How Can the Bible Be God’s Word if it was Written by Men?”

  1. Good post Hayden. We still need to have a conversation. All that is written is penned by the guidance of Our Creator. Keep up the good work.

  2. When we have experiential knowledge of the Holy Spirit working within us, we ‘know’ the living word and possibly this is the best witness to the methods the Lord employed in breathing the scriptures down through the centuries… an old hymn puts it this way ‘God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain’ .. at the same time He gives us a witness of the deep, deep, spiritual depths the ‘fleshly pens’ of the bible had. Excellent post thank you!

  3. How do I know that when the Bible was translated to English it was translated correctly ? And why wasn’t all the chapters put in the Bible? I have many questions regarding the Bible. With this being said. I was raised to believe that the Bible is the word of God. but I have questions not so much about what’s in the Bible as too what has been left out and why.

    1. Good questions. I’ve been considering starting a series answering questions about the Bible like those. I shall be posting soon on them!

      1. Can’t wait to read them! 🙂

  4. Yes,that’s true ,that it is written by humans but these humans are not ordinary people,they are the ones who are the chosen one’s recruited by God to spread the knowledge of God and HIS miracles.No one has the power to even write about the glories of God if he/she is not empowered to do so by the Almighty Himself.Lots of Indian scriptures are also written by learned men ,who are sent to this earth to fulfill this purpose.

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