“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” – 2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV
My younger brother, Desanya the Maestro, is a fairly accomplished saxophonist. When he plays the instrument, usually he has a song on his mind that he wants people to hear, and in order to do this, he has to breathe into the saxophone in a certain way and with different patterns to produce the song he has in mind in a way that carries his will and desire. When this song is produced and the people listen or dance to it, they never say, the saxophone produced a beautiful song. No. They say, Desanya, produced a beautiful song, even though it is obvious that the saxophone was the instrument he used to do accomplish this.
When the Bible says that all scripture is given by the ‘inspiration’ of God, believers tend to take it lightly because of our modern understanding and use of the word inspiration. We tend to think of it as when someone says he or she was inspired to write a poem, and we hear it simply as, I got an idea to write a poem. Or when someone says I was inspired to give a speech. It doesn’t carry as much weight if you don’t understand the meaning of the word used in this verse of scripture.
This word ‘inspiration’ is heavier that it seems, and I want to try to help you understand it a little bit better today. The word inspiration used in 2 Timothy 3:16 comes from the Greek word, theopneustos. It is a compound of two words, theos, which is the word for God, and pneuma which is a Greek word with a range of meanings; life, force, energy, dynamism and most often, power.
Pneuma is essentially the powerful force God employed to create the universe, and it is the force by which it is sustained (Hebrews 1:3). It also refers to moments when God moves mightily upon a person, enabling that person to perform supernatural feats.
When the word theos is combined with pneuma, the new word is theopneustos. This word literally means ‘God-breathed’, and this is the word translated ‘inspiration’ in our Bible. This means that when we say the scripture is given by the inspiration of God, we are basically saying that God breathed His substance and life into someone and produced the written scriptures, just the way the saxophonist breathes into the instrument to produce a song. That song is not just a sound, it carries the personality and life of the instrumentalist breathing into the instrument, distinct from another instrumentalist using the same instrument. God moved on the people who wrote the scriptures for us, made them temporary instruments through which he communicated his heart, will and life to us through the Bible. The word not only conveys an intellectual message, it has God’s heart in it as well. The human writers are the instruments, God is the author.
As a writer myself, I have had the opportunity to write a few books for some prominent personalities. Some of these people have ideas they want to present in book form, but they are often better speakers than they are writers, so they get me to sit with them and they communicate the ideas to me. My job then is to take those ideas and put them into writing in a way that reflects the heart, personality, emotions, and desire of the author. I don’t put my name of those books because I am not the author. I am simply the writer, the instrument if you like, through which the author delivered the words. That is exactly what happened with the Bible, but it’s even better.
The best part of it is this: in the same way pneuma was used to create the universe and it still sustains the universe today, the life of God breathed to us through the scriptures is still available within it today to sustain us. The same way God breathed into man and he became a living being, continuously sustained by that breath, the word of God carries within it the sustaining life of God to accomplish all that it says. As you give the word of God first place in your life, you can rest assured that the written word of God – the song that came out of God through human instruments - carries within it the heart and fragrance of God that then permeates your own heart and life, literally producing the heart and will of God – the melody from the heart of God - in your own life as you take it in consistently.
The life of God in the Word is just as strong today as the day it was given. And so there is nothing you address in your life or circumstances with the Word, that will not respond to the power resident inside it. If only you believe it.