What Does “The Bible Is Inspired” Mean?

According to Barna research in 2019, only 5% of adults said they interact with the Bible frequently, and that the Bible is transforming their relationships and shaping their choices.

I think at least part of the reason for this statistic is because when we finally get the time or the courage to try and read it, we jump in with enthusiasm, but not much context. We don’t know the story of the Bible, so we hope to read something that is inspiring. We hope God will speak to us like a message in a fortune cookie, and he does… sometimes. But most times, we’re left scratching our heads wondering what it means and why it matters.

Let’s face it, the Bible can be intimidating.

  • It was written over a period of roughly 2,000 years, from three continents, and in three different languages. 
  • It is a collection of 66 books, written by 40 different authors, by farmers and fishermen, poets and prophets, kings and generals. It was written in caves and palaces and prisons.
  • It contains all kinds of different literature, from history to law to poetry to prophecy, and even an apocalyptic ending.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be inspired when you read the Bible, but the Bible is not just inspiring, it’s inspired. What does that mean?

It means that even though the Bible was written by men and assembled by men, and printed by men, it is not a manmade book. God put the words he wanted in the order he wanted to say what he wanted. He simply used people to do it.

The Bible is literally the “words of God,” which means that not only were the words inspired by God, they are still inspiring. Any reader at any time in history can receive a relevant message from God. It never expires.

According to Hebrews 4:12, the Bible doesn’t just speak to you it talks back too.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

In other words, when you read the Bible the Bible reads you. 

Sitting on your bookshelf, kitchen table, or an unopened app on your phone, is a living, breathing, active, Holy Spirit inspired message from God. All you have to do is open it.

Mark Twain said, “The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” I would suggest, “the Christian who doesn’t read the Bible has no advantage over a person who doesn’t believe it’s true.”

I’m not saying that every time you open the Bible you will be inspired, but you will get to read the inspired words of God, and if you let it, His words will guide, teach, correct, and empower you.

What are you waiting for?

The Myth of “Quiet Time With God”

Like any other discipline, reading the Bible requires effort, strategy, and consistency. 

It’s important you know that, because, in an attempt to convince more Christians to read it, pastors and preachers like me have oversold the magical experience of “quiet time with God.”

Unintentionally, we have painted the picture that if you will wake up a little bit earlier, find a quiet place to sit and open the Bible, a light from above will lift you into a heavenly realm. God will speak, your heart will be moved, and your life will be changed before you shower.

To be clear, I have personally experienced times reading the Bible, I would describe as “heavenly”. But most days, my time in the scriptures is just that: time.

Those “ordinary” days are not any less spiritual, they are the bridge that connects the significant spiritual moments in my life. 

I learned an important lesson a long time ago that has helped shape my devotional life: The more I read God’s word, the more I will learn God’s truth, and the more I will hear God’s voice.

A shorter way to say it is: information leads to inspiration.

I don’t get emotional when I think about my wife’s social security number, but I do know it. I also know her birthdate, the kind of hairspray she uses, her favorite restaurant, and all sorts of other random things because we’ve spent the last 18 years together. 

If your only measurement for the effectiveness of your time with God is how inspired you feel, most days will feel like a waste of time, but there’s no such thing as wasted time with God.

In Psalm 119, David described how he approached God’s word,

Psalm 119:10-16
10 I have tried hard to find you—
don’t let me wander from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12 I praise you, O Lord;
teach me your decrees.
13 I have recited aloud
all the regulations you have given us.
14 I have rejoiced in your laws
as much as in riches.
15 I will study your commandments
and reflect on your ways.
16 I will delight in your decrees
and not forget your word.

This is just one description of David’s time with God. Other times were more emotional, or worshipful, but in this instance, he described how he “tries hard to find God.”

  • He recites the Bible aloud (v. 13)
  • He studies the commands of the Bible (v. 15)
  • He reflects on the truths of the Bible (v. 15)

This is a great reminder that your devotional time doesn’t have to be exciting to be spiritual. Of course, I don’t mean that a relationship with God should be lifeless or emotionless, I simply mean that inspiration is not a random occurrence. Information leads to Inspiration. After David recited, studied, and reflected on the Bible, two things happened:

  • He felt delight (v. 16)
  • He remembered what he read (v. 16)

This is what always happens. The more you learn the Bible, the more you will love it. So, what should you do if you don’t feel inspired to read the Bible or spend time with God today? Do it anyway. Learn a fact, or memorize scripture, or reflect on a truth. If you create a place to meet with God, God will meet you there.