The young man made a firm resolution. He was going to see what the Bible taught about its own inspiration. The place to start, he decided, was with the teaching of the Bible about how God revealed truth.
His discoveries were fascinating. Revelation, or the unveiling of truth to humans, came through two basic avenues. There was a general revealing of truth in nature, in history and in man himself. In fact, Paul said that the general truth of God’s eternal power and divine nature were clearly revealed to everyone, but that they refused to see the truth and found ridiculous lies about God more believable (Romans 1:18-25).
God also revealed more specific information about Himself and salvation through personal appearances (theophanies), miracles, prophecy, and of course, Christ Himself, the summation of all revelation (Hebrews 1:1,2).
What really struck the young man, however, was the way God identified Himself totally with the revelation even after it had been “filtered” through the human spokesman. God told the people of Israel that He would raise up a prophet like Moses, and if they would not listen to God’s words which the prophet spoke in God’s name, God would require it of them (Deuteronomy 18:19). If any prophet’s words failed any test of truthfulness, he could not be of God (18:22).
This was why the Bible could say that prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, or Ezekiel had God’s words in their mouths (Isaiah 51:16; Jeremiah 1:9; Ezekiel 3:4). Such a thing was not too hard to understand when God explained what He did to Moses in Exodus 4:10-13. “Who,” He said, “gave man his mouth…go, I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
It seemed clear to the young man now that God was certainly capable of seeing to it that His revelation in written form could have the same accuracy and authority, if He so desired. Just as He could use the minds and words of the prophets to speak His word authoritatively, so He could protect the integrity of His written word if that was His purpose.
But was that God’s purpose? God could and did use fallible human beings. Their fallibility did not necessarily destroy their authority or effectiveness, their general trustworthiness. Could it not be so with the Bible? Did it have to be perfect, inerrant, to be authoritative? Did the Bible claim inerrancy? This was his next study.