How to Define a Word
Linguists do not define words; they simply demonstrate how they are used in various contexts. Dictionaries are therefore descriptive, not prescriptive. The unique context of a writer or a speaker identifies which 'definition' (linguists would never use the word 'definition' ) of the sometimes several definitions a word may have. Dictionaries are formed by accessing modern 'usage' data bases such as the Brown University Corpus of American English, The British National Corpus, the Lancaster-Oslo/Bergen Corpus of British English, collins-birmingham University International Language database (COBUILD) or the Longman/Lancaster English Language corpus. (For a good primer on how dictionaries are made see David Crystal's The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, i.e. page 438). These databases give a word 'in use,' showing ten words before and ten words after. The context for Bible words is obviously the Bible itself. Such word samples of usage are not shown in normal short dictionaries, such as the modern Webster's Dictionary. Therefore dictionary users misunderstand and see what they think are 'definitions,' but are sentences derived from the word 'in use.' The multi-volume Oxford English Dictionary does show the context from which a so-called definition or example of usage can be derived. When defining 'Bible' words, the OED uses the Bible. Most people do not own all the books in the world, nor do they have access to one of the million word corpuses mentioned previously. However, Christians are in a unique position, in that they all own a Bible, the source from which all dictionaries get their definition of all Bible words. Therefore, it is not necessary for Christians to go to a dictionary to define Bible words, when they actually have the original resource dictionary-makers use themselves.
Going back to the Bible's usage of the word "inspiration" (the context from which the OED composed its 'definition.'), note the only two usages of the word "inspiration in the Bible:
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable..." (2 Tim. 3:16)
Definition #1: The word "inspiration" is a compound word, being made up of two words, "in" and "spir." The meaning of each is obvious to any Bible reader. The word "in" is used many times in the Bible and is the simplest of all words. The phoneme "spir" will only pull up the word "Spirit" for any Bible reader. (A process called 'cognitive scaffolding' is that by which vocabulary is built to understand compound words. It erects a meaning from the constituent parts of a word.) The suffix "ation" when applied to a verb (inspire) makes a verb into a noun of action. Therefore "inspiration" describes the action of the "spirit in." Therefore, if "All scripture is given by inspiration of God," then "All scripture is given by the "spirit 'acting' in' the giving of scripture." Any elementary school child will garner this 'meaning' by simply reading the English Bible.( But 'scholars' would love to make it seem more difficult so that we would need to go to them for the real 'meaning'.)
Definition #2: The first usage of the word "inspiration" in the Bible is in Job 32:8. As with all first usages of words, this verse defines the word 'inspiration.'
"But there is a spirit in man: and the in-spir-ation of the Almighty giveth them understanding." (Job 32:8).
The first usage (in Job) defines "inspiration" EXACTLY as we have just defined it, as the "spirit in." Since the word "inspiration" is only used in these two places in the Bible, then it can have no other 'theological' (see OED) meaning than that which these contexts and its constituent parts ('in' and 'spir' and 'ation') give it. Job 32:8 defines "inspiration" as the "spirit in" man. It further defines it as an action by "the Almighty" which "giveth them understanding."
Therefore the meaning of inspiration is:
From these biblical usages men have come up with a so-called definitions such as Webster did in 1828. He said, "inspiration" is "the infusion of ideas into the mind by the Holy Spirit; the conveying into the minds of men..."
So, what is the Bible's own definition of inspiration? It is so simple that the "wise and prudent" will reject it and look to a wordy, man-made dictionary for their authority. What a word means is not what the dictionary says it means. What a word means is the meaning the word creates in the mind of the reader. That meaning comes from the pre-existing files in the brain which have been created by pre-conditioned associations with the words, letters, and sounds in a word. Since the Bible was the only book that men had for millenia, the pre-existing 'definitions' and 'meanings' came from Bible usages of words. In Genesis we begin with, "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." The phoneme 'spir' echoes throughout the Bible as only the 'spirit.' The word 'in' is pre-defined by hundreds upon hundreds of Bible usages. By the time a Bible reader gets to 2 Tim. 3:16, the phonemes 'in' and 'spir' could have no other 'meaning to them than the 'spirit' being or acting 'in' something.
The Spirit of God, in the believing KJB translators, ("the spirit in man" Job) , as in all born again believers led them into all truth.The words he led them to use therefore are inspired words, that is, words that are the product of being given by the Spirit of God.Jesus said, 'the words that I speak unto they are spirit..'
I don't believe in a lot of John Calvin's doctrine, but this is a good quote.
"A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked
and yet would remain silent without giving a sound." --John Calvin
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