"Canonicity" may be defined as the worthiness of a book to be included in the Scriptures. As claims of canonicity arose, church leaders tested each book in question by seeking evidence of inspiration, whether or not it bore the authority of a prophet or godly leader, whether it declared itself to be the Word of God, and other such tests. In this manner, by the end of the fourth century, the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven of the New were recognized as the extent and limit of Holy Scripture.
We are told in 2 Timothy 3:16, All Scripture is inspired by God. The Greek word translated 'inspired' is Theopneustos, which means "God-breathed," and emphasizes the exhalation of God. Inspiration, then, is really "outspiration." God "outbreathed" the Scriptures through human writers.
Peter adds clarification in 2 Peter 1:20-21: No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
Prophecy is the ability to receive revelation directly from God. Revelation is "a divine act by which God communicates to man those things... which otherwise man could never know."(1) God inspired some of His prophets to write down their revelations as Scripture. He also inspired some of His compilers of records and researchers to write down the results of their labors as Scripture (cf. Luke 1:1-4).
But what does men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God mean? The Greek word for 'moved' is the same word used in Acts 27:15 and 17 to refer to a ship being "borne along" the water by powerful winds. Now, "no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will" reveals that God superintended the inspiration process so everything that God wanted written down was written, and that no human addition, deletion, or error crept in. A prophet, then, was one whom God moved upon in such a way that His Word was both heard and delivered by that prophet infallibly and inerrantly, that is, with unfailing accuracy and without error. We can therefore conclude that all who wrote the Scriptures - whether prophets, compilers or researchers - were "borne along" by the Holy Spirit of God as they wrote their revelations, compilations, and research results. God inspired - "outbreathed" - the powerful Word-bearing wind of His Spirit into the sails of His chosen vessels to bear them along in the writing of His Word. Yet, God allowed the flavor of each writer's personality and style to be richly evident.
The evidences for inspiration are overwhelming. (Please see the Evidence study for a much fuller treatment of these points.)
I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away from his part in the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.
~ Revelation 22:18-19 ~
These verses appear just three and four verses before the end of Revelation. The dire warnings that John issues against tampering with the book clearly indicates that it is the Word of God; but inasmuch as Revelation alludes to hundreds of Old Testament prophecies from Genesis to Malachi, and to the core teachings and prophecies of the New Testament from Matthew to Jude, it is clear that the entire Bible is the Word of God and that John's warnings against tampering refer to it, as well. John's warnings, therefore, seal up Scripture as the final revelation of God to man until the epochal revelation of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords Himself upon His return.
'Inerrancy' means "without error." Inerrancy may be attributed only to the original autographs of Scripture because it was only the original autographs that were inspired. The Bible contains no error on any matter despite the protests of some. In matters of history on which the Bible touches, archaeological and historical discoveries have put scoffers to shame hundreds of times. In scientific matters, the Bible has always proven to be accurate. For example, in the matter of origins, evidence for evolution is exceedingly feeble despite claims to the contrary, whereas evidence for biblical creation is overwhelming. (See Section II E of Evidence.)
This derives from the fact that the Scriptures are God-breathed, that God is true ( John 3:33; 2 Cor. 1:18) and that it is impossible for God to lie (Heb. 6:18). For evidences for biblical infallibility in matters of science: visit The Creation Research Institute at www.icr.org. For matters of history: go to www.christianbook.com and type in the keyword "archaeology."
For a much fuller treatment of the Scriptures as the Word of God, please see the author's study, Evidence Upon Evidence: The Bible Is the Word of God.