Organic Discipleship - Appendix 2: Verbal Plenary Inspiration

Dennis McCallum and Gary DeLashmutt




We use this outline to teach disciples why the Bible is inspired by God, and what inspiration means. We usually read the text and look up the verses, asking for each what implications they see for the doctrine of inspiration.


Inspiration - “All Scripture is inspired by God [theopneustos= “God-breathed”] and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) - God so moved the authors of Scripture that the resulting product was the Word of God written, totally without error in the autographs, in every area including theology, history, geography and science.

Reasons for Accepting This View

An inductive case for verbal inspiration:

  1. Demonstrate the relative historical reliability of the Gospel records. 
    • Bibliographical test - Are there enough copies to reconstruct the originals
    • Internal test - Does the author disqualify himself by contradictions or known factual errors?
    • External test - Do other historical materials confirm or deny the author's testimony? (See F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents, Are They Reliable? or Gleason Archer, Survey of Old Testament Introduction for details on these questions.)
  2. Note the claims of Christ to deity recorded in the Gospels.
  3. Verify the claims deductively by eliminating unsatisfactory explanations (the Lord, liar, lunatic argument) or by demonstrating the authentication of Christ based on biblical prophecy.
  4. Therefore, since Christ is God, his teaching on biblical inspiration is authoritative.

Christ's Teaching on Inspiration

With your disciple, go over each of the following passages, answering the question, “What does this passage teach or imply about the nature of inspiration?”

  1. The Old Testament: 
    Matthew 5:18; John 10:35; John 5:39-47; Mark 12:36; Matthew 19:4-5; Matthew 22:29-32; Matthew 12:39,40; Luke 17:26-32; Luke 24:44
  2. His own words: 
    Matthew 24:35; Matthew 7:24-27; John 3:5 "truly I say"; John 8:31, 32
  3. The Apostles' writings: 
    Jesus preauthenticated the apostles' writings during the last supper: John 14:26; John 15:26,27; John 16:13,14

The Human Authors Agree with Christ's Position

Again, if you have your disciples read these passages with you, and determine what each teaches or implies about inspiration, the knowledge will last longer in their memory than simply telling them.

  1. The Old Testament: 
    Joshua 1:8; 22:5; 2 Samuel 23:2; Nehemiah 10:29
  2. The New Testament: 
    John 21:24; 1 Corinthians 14:37; Galatians 1:11-12; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Timothy 5:18 (Where in the scripture does it say “The laborer is worthy…?”) 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:16-21; 2 Peter 3:2; 2 Peter 3:15, 16; Revelations 1:3; Revelations 22:18,19