The Inspiration of the Bible

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

2 Pet. 1:21

“Thus saith the Lord…”

Jer. 2:5

“…the serpent… said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said?”

Gen. 3:1




Bible’s Authority



Order of Contents

Articles  16+
Books  18+
History of  6+
Quotes  4




Anthology of the Post-Reformation: Lutheranism

ed. Schmid, Heinrich – ‘Of the Sacred Scriptures’  53 pp. being ch. 4 of Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church

This work is a standard anthology of quotations from the main orthodox Lutheran theologians of the late-1500’s and 1600’s.



Rutherford, Samuel – ch. 16, section 1, ‘Whether all the divine things of the apostles were to be proven to be inspired by the rule of the Word?  We deny with a distinction against the Remonstrants.’  in Rutherford’s Examination of Arminianism: the Tables of Contents with Excerpts from Every Chapter  tr. Charles Johnson & Travis Fentiman  (1638-1642; 1668; RBO, 2019), pp. 120-23



De Moor, Bernard – Continuous Commentary on Johannes Marckius’ Didactico-Elenctic Compendium of Christian Theology  Buy  (Central, SC: From Reformation to Reformation Translations, 2018), ch. 2, Concerning the Principium of Theology, or Holy Scripture

5. Infallible Inspiration of the Scriptures
6. Certainty of the Inspiration & Authority of

12. Instrumental Cause of Scripture: Amanuenses



Fuller, Andrew – Letter 6, ‘On the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures’   in The Complete Works of the Rev. Andrew Fuller (London, 1846), pp. 746-748

Cunningham, William – Chs. 27-32 on Inspiration  (1878)  68 pp.  of Theological Lectures, pp. 343-411

Cunningham was one of the great lights of the Free Churhc of Scotland.

Girardeau, John – ‘Protestantism: the Inspiration of the Scriptures’  in The Ultimate Source, Rule & Judge of Theology: The Inspiration of the Scriptures  in Discussions of Theological Questions  (1905), pp. 273-385

Girardeau (d. 1898) was a lesser known, though important, Southern presbyterian.

Haldane, Robert – ‘The Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures’ & ‘Extracts on the Verbal Inspiration of the Scriptures from the Works of Eminent Christian Writers’  (1830)  78 & 9 pp. being ch. 3 and the Appendix of The Books of the Old & New Testaments Proved to be Canonical, & their Verbal Inspiration Maintained and Established…

“Haldane reacts to German rationalism with verbal inspiration;” – Joel Beeke, Reader’s Guide

Hodge, Charles

‘The Scriptures are the Word of God’  in The Way of Life (Philadelphia: American Sunday School Union, 1841), pp. 9-40

‘Ground of Faith in the Scriptures’, a review of an essay by James H. Thornwell entitled, “Review of the Arguments of Romanists from the Infallibility of the Church and Testimony of the Fathers in behalf of the Apocrypha, discussed and refuted.” It was first published in the Princeton Review  (1845), and subsequently in Essays & Reviews (1857), pp. 185-200

Hodge was a northern presbyterian and professor at Old Princeton.

Hodge, A.A. – Lecture 4, ‘The Holy Scriptures–The Canon & Inspiration’  in Popular Lectures  (Philadelphia: 1887), pp. 68-93

A.A. Hodge was the son of Charles Hodge and followed his father as a professor of systematic theology at Princeton.

Martin, Hugh

The Westminster Doctrine of the Inspiration of Scripture (with a Prefatory Note on the Free Church College Committee’s Report, and with Remarks on Dr. Marcus Dods’ Recent Sermon)  4th ed. (1890)  31 pp.

Martin was one of the great lights of the Free Church of Scotland, known for his works on the Atonement and The Shadow of Calvary.  In the two works here linked, he takes aim at liberal professor in the Free Church of Scotland, Marcus Dods.

Letters to Marcus Dods: a Sequel to ‘The Westminster Doctrine of the Inspiration of Scripture’  2nd ed. (1877)  56 pp.

Ryle, J.C.

‘The Inspiration of the Bible’  on Jn. 17:17

‘Inspiration’  on 2 Tim. 3:16

Urquhart, John – ‘The Scripture Doctrine of Inspiration’  (1895)  84 pp.  being bk. 1, chs. 1-6 of The Inspiration & Accuracy of the Holy Scriptures



Warfield, B.B.

Inaugural Address:  ‘Is the Church Doctrine of the Plenary Inspiration of the New Testament Endangered by the Assured Results of Modern Biblical Criticism?’  in Discourses Occasioned by the Inauguration of Benj. B. Warfield, D.D. to the chair of New Testament Exegesis and Literature, in Western Theological Seminary: delivered on the evening of Tuesday, April 20th, 1880  (Pittsburgh, 1880), p. 17 ff.

See an introduction to this address at This Day in Presbyterian History: April 20th.

‘The Inspiration of the Bible’  a lecture, from Bibliotheca Sacra, v. 51, 1894, pp. 614-640

‘The Real Problem of Inspiration’   The Presbyterian & Reformed Review, v. iv  (1893), pp. 177-221

“‘It Says:’ ‘Scripture Says:’ ‘God Says'”  The Presbyterian and Reformed Review, vol. 10, issue 39, 1899, July, pp. 472-510  Also in Works, 1.283-332 & The Inspiration & Authority of the Bible, 299-348

‘God-Inspired Scripture’  in The Presbyterian and Reformed Review, vol. 11 (Jan., 1900), p. 89 ff.

”Scripture,’ ‘The Scriptures,’ in the New Testament’  in The Princeton Theological Review, vol. 8, issue 4, 1910, p. 560 ff.

‘The Church Doctrine of Inspiration’  in The Inspiration & Authority of the Bible  (1948), pp. 105-28

‘Inspiration & Criticism’  in Works, 1.395-425  Also in The Inspiration & Authority of the Bible, pp. 419-42

Works, vol. 1

‘The Idea of Revelation & Theories of Revelation’, pp. 37-48

‘The Inspiration of the Bible’, pp. 51-75

”Scripture,’ ‘The Scriptures,’ in the New Testament’, pp. 115-65, also in condensed form in The Inspiration & Authority of the Bible, pp. 229-41, under the title ‘The Terms ‘Scripture’ & ‘Scriptures’ as Employed in the New Testament’

‘The Oracles of God’, pp. 335-91, also in The Inspiration & Authority of the Bible, pp. 169-226

Selected Shorter Writings, ed. Meeter

vol. 1

‘Christianity & Revelation’, pp. 23-30
‘Inspiration’, pp. 31-33

vol. 2, Part V, pp. 537-638, including:

‘The Authority & Inspiration of the Scriptures’
‘The Divine & Human in the Bible’
‘The New Testament Use of the Septuagint & Inspiration’
‘The Westminster Doctrine of Holy Scripture’  also found in Works, 6.155-257
‘The Westminster Doctrine of Inspiration’
‘The Inerrancy of the Original Autographs’
‘The Westminster Confession & the Original Autographs’
‘The Rights of Criticism & of the Church’

‘A Review of Three Books on Inspiration’
‘Inspiration’  (1915)  28 paragraphs  from The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, ed. James Orr, vol. 3, pp. 1473-1483, this is also in Selected Short Writings: Benjamin B. Warfield, vol. 2, ed. Meeter, pp. 614 ff.

Warfield has some of the best writings on Inspiration and was a great defender of the Inerrancy of the Original Autographs of the Scriptures.

Be aware, though, that, in his adoption of the ‘critical texts’ of Scripture (dug up in the mid-1800’s) and the philosophy behind them, Warfield did quietly drop the doctrine of the special, providential preservation of the Scriptures through the New Testament era *in all ages* (as WCF 1.8 states:  “and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical”).  Warfield, unfortunately has been greatly influential in this regard towards those who have come after him.  For a correction of this, see The Ecclesiastical Text.

Macleod, John – The Inspiration of the Scriptures  from The Evangelical Quarterly (1935)  A professor in the Free Church of Scotland

Murray, John

‘Inspiration & Inerrancy’  in Collected Writings, 4.22-29  Excerpt

‘The Inspiration of the Scripture’  33 pp.  in Collected Writings, vol. 3, pp. 30-57

Boettner, Loraine – ‘The Inspiration of Scripture’  in Studies in Theology  (P&R, 1985), pp. 9-49

Boettner (1901–1990)

Clark, Gordon H. – ‘Inspiration & Language’  (1961)  39 pp.  being ch. 3 of Religion, Reason & Revelation, p. 111 ff.  Buy



de Witt, J.R. – The Divine Spiration of Scripture: Challenging Evangelical Perspectives by A.T.B. McGowan – A Review by Dr. J.R. de Witt’  (2008)  39 paragrpahs  at Banner of Truth

“The gauntlet thrown down by McGowan’s treatise differs little from the challenges with which evangelical Christianity has been confronted over the centuries.”





Turretin, Francis – The Doctrine of Scripture  Buy  trans. John Beardslee III  (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981) from Turretin’s Institutes



Alexander, Archibald – Evidences of the Authenticity, Inspiration, Canonical Authority of the Holy Scriptures  (d. 1851; 1906)  326 pp.  This is a later expanded edition that includes A Brief Outline of the Evidences of the Christian Religion, 1825, and parts of The Canon of the Old and New Testaments Ascertained  (1833)

Alexander was the first professor of Old Princeton Seminary.

“Alexander’s work presents numerous ‘evidences’ but lacks his customary depth of thought;” – Joel Beeke

Carson, Alexander – The Theories of Inspiration of the Rev. Daniel Wilson, Rev. Dr. Pye Smith, and the Rev. Dr. Dick Proved to be Erroneous; with Remarks on the Christian Observer & Eclectic Review  (1830)  227 pp.

Carson was an Irish presbyterian turned baptist who was known for his work on Providence.

Janeway, Jacob – The Internal Evidence of the Holy Bible, or, The Bible Proved from its own pages to be a Divine Revelation  (1845)  300 pp. with a two page Introduction by Samuel Miller

Janeway was an Old School Presbyterian.

Bannerman, James – Inspiration: The Infallible Truth & Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures  (1845)  588 pp.

Bannerman was another one of the great lights of the Free Church of Scotland.

“Bannerman excels on the history of the doctrine of inspiration.” – Joel Beeke

Gaussen, Louis

“It is Written”: or the Scriptures the Word of God  (1856)  194 pp.

Theopneustia. The Bible: Its Divine Origin and Inspiration Deduced from Internal Evidence and the Testimonies of Nature, History and Science  Buy  (1867)  422 pp.  It is also here on HTML

Gaussen was a Swiss-Reformed pastor.  This is the best and fullest book on the inspiration of the Bible, being Gaussen’s most well known work.

“Theopneustia” is the Greek word in 2 Tim. 3:16 for “inspired”, or more literally, “God-breathed”.  One highlight among many is Gaussen responding to the objection against inspiration that the NT writers often misquote the OT.  Gaussen lists and superbly analyzes the dozen or so ways in which the NT writers reference the OT (literally, in paraphrase, summarizing, interpreting, applying, giving the spirit of, combining the teachings of, etc.).

“Gaussen’s treatise is the nineteenth-century classic;” – Joel Beeke

“A classic defense of the conservative view and authority of the Scriptures.” – Cyril J. Barber

Hodge, A.A. & B.B. Warfield – Inspiration  HTML  (1881)  75 pp.

This is one of the best, short, yet in-depth, pieces that one can read on the subject.  This is on the required reading list for those in training for the ministry in the American presbytery of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing).

Warfield, B.B.

The Divine Origin of the Bible  (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1882)  47 pp.

The Inspiration & Authority of the Bible  ed. Samuel G. Craig  (Presbyterian & Reformed, 1970)  460 pp.  ToC

Warfield has some of the best writings on Inspiration and was a great defender of the Inerrancy of the Original Autographs of the Scriptures.  Be aware, though, that, in his adoption of the ‘critical texts’ of Scripture (dug up in the mid-1800’s) and the philosophy behind them, Warfield did quietly drop the doctrine of the special, providential preservation of the Scriptures through the New Testament era *in all ages* (as WCF 1.8 states:  “and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical”).  Warfield, unfortunately has been greatly influenctial in this regard towards those who have come after him.  For a correction of this, see The Majority Text.

“The twentieth-century classic… which contains the bulk of articles (many of which have never been surpassed exegetically or theologically) in ‘Revelation and Inspiration’ (New York: Oxford, 1927), as well as a superior 65-page introduction by Cornelious Van Til.  Warfield is essential reading for understanding the ‘old Princeton’ position on divine inspiration.” – Joel Beeke

“A work which deserves a place on every pastor’s desk.” – Cyril J. Barber



Engelder, Theodore – Scripture Cannot be Broken  (Concordia, 1945)  500 pp.  no ToC

“Other helpful volumes on the popular level include: Theodore Engelder, Scripture Cannot be Broken… a vigorous defense of verbal-plenary inspiration;” – Joel Beeke

Young, E.J. – Thy Word is Truth: Some Thoughts on the Biblical Doctrine of Inspiration  Buy  (1957)  274 pp.

“Edward J. Young… does a marvelous job of combining doctrinal accuracy with popular readability.  He also effectively addresses inerrancy, individual ‘problem texts’, and modern views of Scripture.” – Joel Beeke

“A forthright defense of the Bible as the infallible and inerrant Word of God.” – Cyril J. Barber

Harris, Robert Laird – Inspiration & Canonicity of the Bible  Buy  (1957)

Harris was an Old Testament scholar and minister in the Bible Presbyterian Church and the P.C.A.

“On a somewhat higher level, R. Laird Harris, Inspiration and Canonicity of the Bible… is a basic, reliable work on canonization that covers most of the major issues.  Harris lucidly argues that inspiration is the core principle of canonicity.” – Joel Beeke

“A masterly approach to the subject of bibliology.” – Cyril J. Barber

Wenham, John William – Our Lord’s View of the Old Testament  Buy  (1961)

Custer, Stewart – Does Inspiration Demand Inerrancy?  Buy  (Nutley, N.J.: Craig Press, 1968)

“A study of the Biblical doctrine of inspiration in the light of inerrancy.  A clear, informative statement.” – Cyril J. Barber

Pink, A.W. – ‘The Divine Inspiration of the Bible’  Buy  (1971)  in Old Paths, pp. 1-39

“…aims for personal edification more than doctrinal depth;” – Joel Beeke

Edwards, Brian – Nothing but the Truth: the Inspiration, Authority & History of the Bible Explained  (1978; Evangelical Press, 1993)  390 pp.  ToC

“…which excels for those unfamiliat with doctrinal terms and recent debate;” – Joel Beeke

Packer, J.I. – God has Spoken: Revelation & the Bible  (1979; 1998)  170 pp.  ToC

“…which stresses the joy of Bible study and examines what Scripture says about itself.  Packer’s work includes the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.” – Joel Beeke

Clark, Gordon – God’s Hammer: the Bible & its Critics  (Trinity Foundation, 1982)  245 pp.  ToC

McDowell, W.J. – The Incomparable Book  Buy  Info  (Banner of Truth, 1998)



The History of the Doctrine of Inspiration

Early Church

Albl, Martin C. – ‘And Scripture Cannot be Broken’: The Form & Function of the Early Christian Testimonia Collections  (Brill, 1999)  350 pp.  ToC


On Calvin

Murray, John – ‘Calvin’s Doctrine of Scripture’  18 pp.  in Collected Writings, vol. 3, pp. 158-175

Packer, J.I. – ‘Calvin’s View of Scripture’  in God’s Inerrant Word: a Symposium on the Trustworthiness of Scripture, ed. John W. Montgomery


On Westminster

Warfield, B.B.

‘The Westminster Doctrine of Holy Scripture’  106 pp.  being ch. 3 of vol. 6 of Works  Buy  Also in Selected Shorter Writings, vol. 2

II. ‘The Doctrine of Inspiration of the Westminster Divines’  in Presbyterian Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 27  (Jan, 1894), p. 19 ff.  & as ch. 4 of vol. 6 of Works  Buy  76 pp.


On Lutheranism – 1600’s

Preus, Robert – The Inspiration of Scripture: a Study of the Theology of the 17th Century Lutheran Dogmaticians  (1957)  225 pp.  ToC

Preus (1924–1995)

“…is an able monograph on the theology of seventeenth-century Lutheran dogmaticians.” – Joel Beeke


On Warfield – Early 1900’s

Lloyd, Marc – ‘What the Bible Says, God Says: B.B. Warfield’s Doctrine of Scripture’  28 pp.

Nicole, Roger – ‘The Inspiration & Authority of Scripture: 
J. D. G. Dunn versus B. B. Warfield’  (1983)  16 pp.




John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

“True, they [the Biblical writers] were the pen-men of the Holy Spirit, but then they were pen-men.”

“It is a grand evidence of the inspiration of the apostles that the theology of the post-apostolic Fathers is so puerile.”

“God speaks.  He speaks in his Word to all to whom it comes.”

“Believe not any man on his own mere word.  Sacredly reserve your faith for the Word of the living God.”




“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…”

2 Tim. 3:16




Related Pages

The Inerrancy of the Bible

The Canon of the Bible

The Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha & Dead Sea Scrolls