The God-breathed Word

[This is an Advanced study]




II Timothy 3: 16 has great significance in our study of power for abundant living.  It tells us that the Word of God is God-breathed.  Many believers do not totally understand this statement, but you will after studying this teaching and it will help you to understand much more of God’s Word.


All scripture is  given by inspiration of God, and is  profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for [which is] instruction in righteousness:  -- II Timothy 3: 16


The first word in II Timothy 3: 16 is ‘all.’  Every time ‘all’ appears, one must ask himself what the word ‘all’ means because in the Bible the word ‘all’ is used in one of two ways:  it is either all without exception or all with distinction.  All with distinction  means everyone in a certain designated class or group.  If one wrongly considers the word ‘all’, he will never rightly understand the Word of God or get its full impact.


And I [Jesus Christ], if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men  unto me.  – John 12: 32


Is that all without exception  or is it all with distinction?  The answer is obvious.  We know that not everybody in our community is a Christian; therefore, not all without exception have been drawn to Him.  All who have believed, all with distinction, are the ones who have been drawn.


But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels [God] (for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour;) that he by the grace of God should taste death for [because of] every man [for all men].  -- Hebrews 2: 9


Before we get into the Scripture take note of the parentheses that is missing in the King James version.  This is a figure of speech which is an explanation.  For many years, I had a section on this website for figures of speech.  In about five or 10 years, I did not get one inquiry from a believer about this topic.   So I deleted that section from the website.  Every person has their own free will, but I will never understand how a dedicated believer would not be interested in learning about figures of speech.  Figures of speech is a fascinating subject and I studied it for 18 months – 2 to 4 hours a day.  Getting back to Hebrews 2: 9:


Is the word "every" (or the word "all") without exception or with distinction?  Did Christ taste death for all men without exception or for all men with distinction?  He died for all without exception that whosoever wants to be saved can be saved.  God always has a condition that you must fulfill to reap the more than abundant life.  Christ died for every man without any exception and because of this anyone can be born again of God's Spirit.


Let’s repeat II Timothy 3: 16


All scripture is  given by inspiration of God, and is  profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for [which is] instruction in righteousness:  -- II Timothy 3: 16


In the above Scripture, the word is’  is in italics and should be scratched out.  One more time, the Scripture properly reads:


All scripture given by inspiration of God, and is  profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for [which is] instruction in righteousness:  -- II Timothy 3: 16


In this Scripture, where it reads, "All scripture is  given by inspiration of God," ‘all scripture’ means without any exception from Genesis 1: 1 to Revelation 22: 21.


HERE is why we must delete the word ‘IS’ in the previous Scripture.  This is why I have categorized this teaching for the advanced category.  You need to think, learn, and understand about different languages.  I am going to teach you something that you probably never have learned before.  It is necessary to know this information to be able to rightly divide the Word of God.


The words “all scripture” are followed by the word ‘is’ in the King James Bible.  "All scripture is …. " The word "is" must be italicized.  Where it is not italicized in a King James Bible, it was either a proofreader's oversight or a deliberate act for the printer's convenience.  All italicized words in the King James Version are words which have been added to the text by the translators.  One of the major reasons we use the King James Version is that this version points out what has been added to the Stephen's Greek text from which it was translated.


Before going further, let us understand one thing.  If a person deletes a word that is italicized, the Word of God has not been touched.  The italicized word was added anyway so that by dropping it, the Word itself is not touched.  This becomes very important as we go further into the accuracy of the Word.


Pay Attention Please:  To go another step, there was no verb "to be" in the original Hebrew or Aramaic languages and that is the key to why “is” must be deleted.  There was a verb “to become.”  In other words, the words “is,” “are”, “was”, and “were” literally were not in the original Hebrew and Aramaic.  Those words did not exist.


This becomes very interesting in the first chapter of Genesis.


And the earth was [became] without form and void:  and darkness was  upon the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.    Genesis 1: 2


Here the word "was" is not in italics; it is in regular print.  Genesis 1: 2 continues:  "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was  upon the face of the deep .... " The second usage of the word "was" is italicized.  This tells us that the first word which is translated "was" is not the word "was"; it is the word "became."  But the second "was" is added.  Therefore verse 2 literally reads:


And the earth became without form, and void; and darkness upon the face of the deep.  – Literal translation of Genesis 1: 2


It became  without form and void.  God did not create it that way.  If the word "was" is left in the text, "And the earth was without form," it appears to say that God created the earth this way.  To the contrary, the earth became  this way as Isaiah 45: 18 substantiates.


For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited; I the Lord; and none else.  – Isaiah 45: 18


(Notice that I deleted the words in italics and the original Word is not touched.).


"Without form" (tohu) in Genesis 1: 2 is the same word used in Isaiah's "in vain" (tohu).  God did not create it without form and void (tohu bohu).  The earth became that way.


Let us go back to II Timothy 3: 16.  Observe carefully, "All scripture is  given by inspiration of God .... " These five words, "given by inspiration of God" are one word in the critical Greek texts.  The word is theopneustos.  This word is composed of two root words:  theo  and pneustos.  Taken in parts, theo  is "God" and pneustos  is "breathed."  Theopneustos  literally means "God-breathed." "All scripture is  given by inspiration of God" equals "all scripture is theopneustos" or "all scripture is God-breathed."


Now we ask, does God breathe?  You and I breathe, but does God? 


God is  a Spirit;  and they that worship him must worship him  in spirit and in truth.  – John 4: 24


John 4: 24 records that "God is  a Spirit .... " The Greek texts delete the article a  and simply say, "God is  Spirit."  Furthermore, the Word of God says that a spirit has no flesh or bones.  We cannot view a spirit with our eyes.  Yet II Timothy 3: 16 says that God breathed.  We must search out exactly what is meant when God is attributed human characteristics.  What does "God-breathed" mean?


Have you ever asked yourself what should be emphasized in the Word of God?  If the Bible is God-breathed, theopneustos, and if the Bible is the Word of God, can you imagine for one minute that God would allow any mortal the privilege of deciding what should be emphasized in the Word of God?  In the Word, "God-breathed," theopneustos, is a great truth that has taken years to ferret out and study.


God is Spirit so God does not breathe, but we do.  Whenever the Bible attributes human characteristics to God, as does this particular Scripture in II Timothy, it is called a figure of speech.  The figures of speech in the Bible from Genesis 1: 1 to Revelation 22: 21 are God's markings in the Word as to that which He wants emphasized.


A figure of speech is not something to be guessed at.  Figures of speech are legitimate grammatical usages which depart from literal language to call attention to themselves.  For instance, if we have not had any rain for a long time, I could say, "The ground is dry."  This would be a plain statement of fact.  The dust is blowing around and the cracks are gaping.  But if I say, "The ground is thirsty," that is a figure of speech.  The figure of speech is always more vivid than the literal statement itself.  When I say "The ground is dry," I place an indistinct idea in your mind; but the moment I say "The ground is thirsty," then you have a clear picture.  A figure of speech always augments, always vitalizes, the statement.


The Word of God is to be accepted literally whenever and wherever possible.  But when a word or words fail to be true to fact, they are figures of speech.  Figures of speech have a God-designed emphasis which must be grasped and understood in order to fully obtain the impact of the Word.  Men are prone to use figures of speech haphazardly, but in the Word of God figures of speech are used with divine design.  Each and every one of them may be accurately catalogued and analyzed with precision.  There is absolutely no guesswork.  Except for the figures of speech and the Oriental customs and mannerisms, the Word is literal.


There are 212 different figures of speech used in the Bible.  As far as I know, throughout history there must have been approximately 220 different figures of speech.  Two hundred twelve of these are used in the Bible; sometimes there are as many as 40 variations of one figure.  It is easy to see that there is a monumental opportunity for research in the field of figures of speech.  That’s why I spent 18 months studying this subject and I believe I may have only scraped the surface.  Many Scriptures that were difficult for me suddenly became clear.


This figure of speech, "God-breathed," is so tremendous that I am taking much  time to develop its greatness for you.  Once you understand this and study it, hundreds of Scriptures will become very clear to you.


God is Spirit, yet II Timothy says that "all scripture is God-breathed."  This figure of speech is called in the Hebrew derech benai adam  which translated means "ways of the sons of man," bringing God down to the level of man.  Now the Greeks took derech benai adam  and translated it anthropopatheia  meaning "pathos of man."  The Romans used this figure and called it condescension  in Latin from which is derived our English word "condescension."  Whenever the Word of God attributes human characteristics to God, the figure of speech is called in Greek anthropopathia  and in Latin condescension.  This is the Holy Spirit's emphatic marking in II Timothy 3: 16.  The emphasis is not on the word "all" or on the word "scripture."  The emphasis is on the source, God-breathed.  God put the emphasis where He wanted it; He marked it by this figure of speech.


Another example of condescension  is in Exodus.


And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is  not Aaron the Levite thy brother?  I know  that he can speak well.  And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee:  and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.  – Exodus 4: 14


God is Spirit; He has no anger.  When the Bible says the anger of the Lord, what figure is it?  Condescenscio. 


The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.  – Isaiah 52: 10


Isaiah 52: 10 says, "The Lord hath made bare his holy arm”…..   Does the Lord have an arm?  No, He does not, but I do and you do.  "To make bare the arm" is the figure of speech condescension.


What exactly was the process by which the God-breathed Word came about?  The key to answering this question is in the Word of God.


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.  -- II Peter 1: 21

"Prophecy" is uniquely used in this verse of Scripture.  When the average person thinks of prophecy, he thinks of foretelling the future.  This definition is one of the usages of the word "prophecy," but is not the only one.  The word "prophecy" can also mean "forthtelling."  This is something that comes true immediately and not in the future.


Isaiah's prophecy of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and John's prophecy of the return of Christ (which is still in the future) are examples of foretelling.  Some of the Word of God is foretelling.  The verb "prophesy" also means "to forthtell, to state, to set forth, to speak forth."  "Prophecy" literally means "that which is foretold and that which is forthtold."  The whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation is either foretelling or forthtelling.  "For the prophecy [all that which is foretold or forthtold, everything from Genesis to Revelation] came not in old time by the will of man as II Peter 1: 22a states.  "The Word of God, which foretells and forthtells, did not come by the will of man.  Many theologians and religious leaders have taught that whenever a Biblical writer wanted to write he sat down and penned a part of the Word of God.  The Word of God does not say that.  Moses never sat down in the desert and said, "Well, now I think I am going to write the Word of God," and then got out his shorthand pad.  He did not scratch his head and write, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."  "I like that."  No.  The prophecy came not by the will of man; in other words, man never willed the Word of God.  He never sat down and said, "Now I will to compose Genesis" or "I will to compose Matthew."  "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man .... " This is basic to our understanding of a fundamental background of how The Word came about.


The Word of God never came by the will of man, " ... but holy men of God spake .... " Holy men of God spoke.  Who are holy men?  Men who believe God are holy.  The Bible was not written by God-rejectors, unbelievers or skeptics.  The Bible was written by holy men of God who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.


Ask many people about this verse concerning who did the speaking.  And do you know what they will say?  The Holy Spirit.  That is not what the verse says.  It says, " ... holy men of God spake as they were  moved by the Holy Ghost."  It does not say God spoke; it says holy men of God did the speaking.  That is what the Word says and that is what it means.


Do you know why there is such a difference between the books of Amos and Isaiah, between the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of John?  Can you speak with any vocabulary other than the one you have?  For instance, if you have never heard of the word "idiosyncrasy," you cannot use it.  One can only use the vocabulary that he possesses.  That is exactly what The Word declares in II Peter 1: 21, that holy men of God spoke.  They used their own vocabularies and their own modes of expression. The Gospel of Mark is short and choppy:  "and immediately," "and straightway," "and forthwith."  These words are used because the writer of the Gospel of Mark was not a highly-educated man with a flowery vocabulary.  But the Gospel of John is different.  John wrote, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made."  How beautiful!  Why?  Because of John's style of writing.  Amos' writing was terse; he was a herdsman.  Isaiah used beautiful expressions.  This accounts for the differences in writing styles that are found in the Bible.  Holy men of God did the speaking and writing; they used their natural vocabularies.  But they spoke"as they were moved  by the Holy Ghost [Spirit]”.


What does it mean to be " ... moved by the Holy Spirit"?  II Timothy 3: 16 tells that all Scripture is God-breathed.  Here in II Peter 1: 21, The Word declares that these men were moved by the Holy Spirit.  Whatever is "God-breathed” or to be "inspired of God" is to be "moved by the Holy Spirit."


Some people teach that God took the arm of Moses and shoved it around and, in this way, made Moses write what God wanted written.  No.  It does not say "pushed around by the Holy Spirit"; it says, " ... moved by the Holy Ghost."  People are always guessing and offering opinions rather than reading the declared accuracy of God's Word.  What is it to be God-breathed and moved by the Holy Spirit?  Galatians 1: 11 contains this record.


But I certify [guarantee] you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  – Galatians 1: 11


If the gospel had come after man, he, Paul, would have received it by the will of man and that would have been a contradiction with the rest of the Word.  II Peter 1: 21 emphatically states that The Word did not come by the desires of man.  It did not come by the will of man.  Galatians says, " ... the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it ….” Then there must be another way to get information.  All learning in our sense-knowledge world of mathematics, science, history and such - all our information - comes by the will of man. But in contrast, Paul said of his writing in Galatians 1: 12:


For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of [from] Jesus Christ.  – Galatians 1: 12


The Word came "by the revelation of Jesus Christ."  Now let us put these verses together.


All scripture is  given by inspiration of God [God-breathed], and is  profitable for doctrine for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.  -- II Timothy 3: 16 


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.  -- II Peter 1: 21


But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  -- Galatians 1: 11


For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it  but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.  -- Galatians 1: 12


In II Timothy 3: 16 is the "God-breathed word” which in II Peter 1: 21 is to be "moved by the Holy  Spirit" which in Galatians 1: 11 and 12 is "revelation.”


There is a mathematical axiom involved at this point:  "Things equal to the same thing are equal to each other."  Therefore, God-breathed Word = moved by the Holy Spirit = revelation; or God-breathed means to be moved by the Holy Spirit which is revelation.


Before we go deeper into this particular verse in II Peter, let's look into the Old Testament and see how those holy men of God spoke who received this revelation. We have seen from John 4: 24 that God is Spirit.  God being Spirit can only speak to what He is.  God cannot speak to the natural human mind.  This is why the Word could not come by the will of man because the will of man is in the natural realm. God being Spirit can only speak to what He is - spirit.  Things in the natural realm may be known by the five senses - seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching.- But God is Spirit and, therefore, cannot speak to brain cells; God cannot speak to a person's mind.  It is a law and God never oversteps His own laws.  The spirit from God had to be upon these men, otherwise they could never have received revelation as Paul declared in Galatians.  Let’s take a look at a record in Numbers which will help explain revelation.


 And I [God] will come down and talk with thee [Moses] there:  and I will take of the spirit which is  upon thee, and will put it  upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it  not thyself alone.  -- Numbers 11: 17  


God is Spirit and He could reveal Himself through the spirit from God which was upon Moses.  Then Moses, having a mind, used his vocabulary and wrote the revealed Word of God.  That is the exact means by which the Word of God came into being.


A man of God, in Biblical usage, was a man upon whom was the Spirit from God, also called the "spirit of wisdom" because God as Spirit is wise.  Joshua was one of these men as told in Deuteronomy 34: 9.


And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him:  and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.  -- Deuteronomy 34: 9


Every man in the Bible who wrote the Word of God had the spirit from God on him. There is only one author of the Bible and that is God.  There are many writers but only one author.  God is the author while Moses wrote, Joshua wrote, Paul wrote, David wrote and many others wrote.  God being Spirit spoke to the spirit upon the holy men and told them what He wanted said.  Then the men of God used their vocabularies in speaking what God had revealed.  "For the prophecy [all that is foretold or forthtold] came not ... by the will of man:  but holy men of God spake as they were  moved by the Holy Ghost [Spirit]."  The original, God-given Word literally contained no errors or contradictions.  Why?  Because God was its author.   Holy men simply wrote down what God revealed to them.  This is how we got the God-breathed Word.  It truly is tremendous.