Inspiration Is Not Mechanical Dictation

Those who reject the verbal inspiration of Scripture often make the false claim that verbal inspiration is the same as mechanical dictation.  Mechanical dictation is the view that the writers of Scripture were just secretaries writing down what the Holy Spirit said; that is, the writers were not allowed to use their own personalities and vocabularies in the writing process.  These critics then point to the differences in style and vocabulary in the books of the Bible as evidence that the Bible is not verbally inspired.  I have heard people in our fellowship make these same accusations about those who believe in the verbal inspiration of Scripture.    

It has been my experience that people who make this charge tend to believe the Bible contains contradictions and mistakes.  They discount the verbal inspiration of Scripture so they can justify their own unbelief.  Equating verbal inspiration with mechanical dictation is a false charge against those who believe the Bible is inspired of God.  I have never known anyone in our fellowship who believed in the mechanical diction theory of inspiration.  In contrast to these accusers, all the Bible teachers and preachers I have known have consistently argued that God uses the human element in inspiring every word of the original books of the Bible.  For example, In a lectureship I attended in 1971, B C Goodpasture said, “Their inspiration was not purely mechanical” and “If the writers had been mere pens, instead of penmen, in the hands of God the style and vocabulary of the Bible would be uniform” (Harding Graduate School Lectures, p. 30). 

In inspiration, therefore, the Holy Spirit operates within the human context to produce the very words needed in the autograph copies of Scripture.  If the Holy Spirit supervises the process, then the words will not be subject to human error.

J B Myers

Books:

Faith and Addiction

Elders and Deacons

Life Choices

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