The 6th thing that the Bible makes clear as to the inspiration of the apostle and prophets is that, the Holy Spirit in the Prophets and Apostles gave not only the thought but also gave the words in which the thought was to be expressed. We find this very clearly stated in 1 Cor. 2:13: “Which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words.” One of the most popular of the false theories of Inspiration in our day is that the Holy Spirit was the author of the thought, but that the Apostles were left to their own choice of words in the expression of the thought, and that therefore in studying the Bible we cannot emphasise the exact meaning of the words, but must try to find the thought of God that was back of the words, and which the writer has more or less inaccurately expressed. There are many teachers in our theological seminaries to-day, and in our pulpits, who speak very sneeringly and superciliously of those who believe in Verbal Inspiration,—i.e., those who believe that the Holy Spirit chose the very words in which the thought he was teaching was to be expressed, but however sneeringly they may speak of those who believe in Verbal Inspiration, certainly the Bible claims that it was verbally inspired. The passage which I have just read makes it as plain as language can possibly make it that the “words” in which the Apostle spoke were not “words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth.” Now if this is not the fact, if only the thought that was given to Paul was the thought of God, and he clothed the thought in his own words, then Paul was a thoroughly deceived man on a fundamental point, in which case no dependence at all can be placed in his teachings on any point, or else he was a deliberate fraud, in which case the quicker we burn up his books the better for us and all concerned. There is no possibility of finding any middle ground, and the attempts to find a middle ground have landed those who have tried it in all kinds of absurdities. If you have an exact and logical mind, you must take your choice between Verbal Inspiration and bald infidelity. Paul distinctly states that the words in which he conveyed to others the truth that was revealed to him were the words which the Holy Spirit taught him. The Holy Spirit himself has anticipated all these modern ingenious, but wholly unbiblical and utterly illogical and entirely false theories regarding his own work in the Apostles. The theory that “the concept” was inspired but the words in which the concept was expressed were not, was anticipated by the Holy Spirit Himself and exploded 1800 years before our supposedly wise 19th century theological teachers conceived it, and attempted to foist it upon an unsuspecting public. It was exploded eighteen centuries before it was exploited. Furthermore, the theory is absurd in itself. As the only way in which thought can be conveyed from one mind to another, from one man’s mind to another man’s mind, or from the mind of God to the mind of man is by words, therefore if the words are imperfect the thought expressed in those words is necessarily imperfect. The theory is an absurdity on its very face, and it is difficult to see how intelligent men could have ever deceived themselves into believing such a thoroughly illogical theory. If the words are not inspired the Bible is not inspired. Let us not deceive ourselves; let us face facts.
Furthermore, the more carefully and minutely one studies the wording of the statements of this wonderful book—the Bible—the more he will become convinced of the marvellous accuracy of the very words used to express the thought. To a superficial thinker the doctrine of Verbal Inspiration may appear questionable or even absurd, but any regenerate and Spirit-taught man who ponders the words of the Scripture day by day, and year after year, will become thoroughly and immovably convinced that the wisdom of God is in the very words used as well as in the thought which is expressed in the words. It is a significant and deeply impressive fact that our difficulties with the Bible rapidly disappear as we note the precise language used. The changing of a word or letter, or of a tense, case or number, would oftentimes land us in contradiction or untruth, but taking the words exactly as written, difficulties disappear and truth shines forth. Countless times people have come to me with apparent difficulties and supposed contradictions in the Bible and asked a solution, and I have pointed them to the exact words used and the solution was found in taking the words exactly as written. It was because they changed in a slight degree the very words that God spoke that a difficulty had seemed to arise. The Divine origin of nature shines forth more and more clearly the more closely we examine it under the microscope. As by the use of a powerful microscope we see the perfection of form and the adaptation of means to end in the minutest particles of matter, we are overwhelmingly convinced that God, a God of infinite wisdom and power, a wisdom extending down to the minutest parts of matter, is the author of the material universe: so likewise the divine origin of the Bible shines forth more and more clearly under the microscope. The more minutely we study the Bible the more we note the perfection with which the turn of a word reveals the absolute thought of God.
An important question, and a question that has puzzled many writers at this point, is: If the Holy Spirit is the author of the very words of Scripture how do we account for the variations in style and diction? How is it, for example, that Paul always used Pauline language, and John used Johannean language, and Peter used language that was characteristic of himself? The answer to this question is very simple and is two-fold: First, even though we could not account at all for this fact, it would have little weight against the explicit statement of God’s Word with any one who is humble enough and wise enough to recognise that there are a great many things which he cannot account for at all which could be easily accounted for if he knew a little more. It is only the man who has such amazing and stupendous conceit that he thinks he knows as much as God, in other words, that he is infinite in wisdom, who will give up an explicit statement of God’s Word simply because he sees a difficulty in the way of the acceptance of that statement, which he in his limited knowledge cannot solve. But there is a second answer, and an all-sufficient one, and that is this: these variations in style and diction are easily accounted for. The Holy Spirit is infinitely wise. He Himself is the Creator of Man, and of man’s power of speech, and therefore he is quite wise enough and has quite enough facility in the use of language in revealing truth to and through any individual to use words, phrases and forms of expression that are in that person’s ordinary vocabulary and forms of thought, and He is also quite wise enough to make use of that person’s peculiar individuality in revealing the truth through him. It is one of the marks of the Divine wisdom of this book that the same Divine truth is expressed with absolute accuracy in such widely variant forms of expression.