Inspiration of Little Words

The Importance of Little Words

There are no words in the Bible that are there by accident. When the Bible speaks of inspiration, it is not in vague terms as though God gave His thoughts to His prophets and they did their best to put heavenly thoughts into human words.

Every word of scripture, big and little, is by inspiration of God.

Every word of scripture, big and little, is by inspiration of God.

Think of how “inspired” the words were on the tablets of stone Moses received from God. Every word was specifically given by God. Paul shows the same is true of the New Testament. The American Standard expresses it best. After affirming that it had not entered the heart of any man as to what God’s  plan was for the redemption of man, Paul said, “But unto us God revealed them…which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth…combining spiritual things with spiritual words” (1 Cor. 2:10-13). God gave the truth by giving those truths in the very words selected by the Holy Spirit.

The importance of the word “to.” There are those who believe that when Jesus returns from heaven in the clouds he will at that moment establish the kingdom for the next thousand years. They think this is what Daniel said in Daniel chapter seven. “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom.” At first glance it might seem as though when Daniel saw Jesus coming in the clouds at the end of time, that God would then establish the kingdom. However, read it again carefully. This is not a picture of Jesus coming from heaven. Look at one word in the text. He was not descending from heaven, but He was ascending into heaven! He came not from God but Daniel saw a vision of Jesus ascending to God. One small word chosen by God! Daniel’s vision was of Jesus’ ascension and the establishment of that kingdom on Pentecost. One word makes the difference.

The importance of the word “and.” Here is a three letter word chosen by God which so powerfully expresses eternal truth. It is a coordinating conjunction. By definition, “coordinating conjunctions are used to join two parts of a sentence that are grammatically equal.” Both parts are equal in importance. Look at two passages. “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). In reference to salvation, by definition, baptism is equal in importance to faith. Look also at Acts 2:38. “Repent and be baptized every one of you…for the remission of sins.” In reference to the remission of sins, baptism is equal in importance to repentance.

There’s more that we will say about this next week. Just remember to look at every word when you study!

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At the end of our lives, our spirit shall return unto God and our bodies shall
return to the earth (Ecclesiastes 12:7). All men are susceptible to death (Hebrews
9:27). Death is the penalty of sin (Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12). Death, however,
is not the end of the existence of man: the soul of man shall live on (Luke 20:36;
Luke 23:43). Death is only to be feared if one is unprepared. (See 2 Corinthians
5:8 and Philippians 1:23).

The death of the physical Body is not what should be feared.

The death of the physical Body is not what should be feared.

  • Ecclesiastes 12:7: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and
    the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
  • Hebrews 9:27: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this
    the judgment.”
  • Genesis 2:17: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt
    not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
  • Romans 5:12: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death
    by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
  • Luke 20:36: “Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels;
    and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.”
  • Luke 23:43: “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt
    thou be with me in paradise.”
  • 2 Corinthians 5:8: “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent
    from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
  • Philippians 1:23: “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart,
    and to be with Christ; which is far better.”
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The Instruction of the Scriptures

Romans 15:4

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

A lot of us misunderstand the Old Testament.

The entirety of scripture provides guidance for our lives.

The entirety of scripture provides guidance for our lives.

Some of us think it records the story of a vengeful, unmerciful, wrathful God, whereas the New Testament talks about a God of love and grace…even though the Psalms sing repeatedly of God’s everlasting love and mercy and Acts 5 informs us of him killing a husband and wife on what we would perceive to be a minor offense.

Some of us think that some of the Old Testament commandments and practices are still binding today…some of them, but not all of them, in spite of what the apostle said (Gal. 5:3).

Some of us recognize the truth that the Old Testament foretold of its replacement with a New Testament (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:7-13) which took place at the cross (Eph. 2:14-15; Col. 2:13-17)…but as a result hardly study the Old Testament and resent it when sermons are preached from it, thinking a study of Genesis through Malachi to be irrelevant.

Yet, even though the Old Law was taken out of the way at the cross, the Holy Spirit still inspired Paul both in today’s scripture passage and also in 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 to declare to Christians that they need to study it.  The Old Testament (“whatever was written in former days”) was written “for OUR instruction.”  Ours.  Christians.  The Old Testament instructs us.  To see how, read the book of Proverbs alone.  In addition, take note of how God reacted when men disobeyed the laws he had for them in that covenant (e.g., Nadab and Abihu, Uzzah, Adam and Eve, Saul, Moses, David).  See how patient he was with them while they sinned and how quick he was to forgive them when they repented (David comes to mind when he repented of the sin with Bathsheba.)  See these great men and women of faith shine as examples of faithful obedience (Noah building the ark, Eli’s charitable taking in of Samuel)…and yet still sin in terrible ways at times (Noah getting drunk, Eli being a terrible parent).  The Psalms teach us not only about God’s mercy and blessings, but also how to praise him and pray to him in good times and bad.  Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, has 176 verses, all of which extol the virtues and blessings that surround studying and obeying the Word of God.

All of these examples and more are found in the Old Testament, and when we read them and commit them to our hearts and minds…what happens?  We learn more about God and his will for us.  We learn how to endure through difficult times, and we are encouraged to keep on keeping on.  In short, we get hope.


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