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The God-breathed Word

The God–breathed Word

II Timothy 3:16 has great significance in our
study of power for abundant living. It tells that The
Word is God-breathed.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for
correction, for instruction in righteousness.
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 without distinction. All
without 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.

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

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

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

Is the word “every” (or the word “all”) without
exception or without distinction? Did Christ taste
death for all men without exception or for all men
without distinction? He died for all without
exception that whosoever wants to be saved can be
saved. Christ died for every man without any
exception and because of this anyone can be born
again by God’s Spirit.

In II Timothy 3, where it reads, “All scripture is
given by inspiration of God,” “all scripture” means
without any exception from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation

The words “all scripture” are followed by the
word “is.” “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 I have my
students 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

To go another step, there was no verb “to be” in
the original Hebrew or Aramaic languages. 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.

This becomes very interesting in the first chapter
of Genesis. Genesis 1:2 says “And the earth was....”
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.” It became without form
and void. God did not create it this 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....

“Without form” (tohu) in Genesis 1:2 is the same
word used in Isaiah’s “not 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? 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”

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 this word, “God-breathed,” theopneustos,
is a great truth that has taken years to ferret out and

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 about. 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 can calculate, 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
what a monumental opportunity for research the
field of figures of speech is.

This figure of speech, “God-breathed,” is so
tremendous that I am taking this time to develop its
greatness. Once you understand this, hundreds of
Scriptures will become very plain 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 condescensio
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 anthropopatheia and in
Latin, condescensio. 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 condescensio is Exodus 4:14
which says, “And the anger of the Lord was
kindled.” God is Spirit; He has no anger. When the
Bible says the anger of the Lord, what figure is it?
Condescensio. 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 condescensio.

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.

II Peter 1:21:
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.

“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.”

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...” The
Word of God, which foretells and forth-tells, 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.

I have asked many people about this verse, “Who
did the speaking?” And do you know what they
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 can not 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

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

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

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

For I neither received it of man, neither was I
taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

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

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

II Peter 1:21:
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.

Galatians 1:11, 12:
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which
was preached of me is not after man.
For I neither received it of man, neither was I
taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

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

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.
Numbers 11:17 helps 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....

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

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

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 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.