What Does “Inspired” Really Mean?
There is a verse, 2 Tim 3:16, that says, “All scripture is inspired…”. This scripture has been the subject of many debates in recent years about what this actually means for our view of the Bible. Is it “inerrant”? Did the Holy Spirit “take over” the writer’s body (possess them) and write out the verses Himself? Where the writers simply excited at one point and decided to put something on paper? What does inspired REALLY mean?
Scripturally speaking, “inspired” actually means “breathed from within”. SPIRE means “breath”. IN means… well… “in”… LOL… This can be seen in the fact that many translations say, “All scripture is God-breathed…”. While this is helpful, it still doesn’t really unpack what inspiration is all about.
This is where the location of the breathing is so important. INspired means it is breath that is withIN you. It is not something on the outside of you. For it to be on the outside of you, the “spire” would have to be “ex”ternal. Hence, when someone has breathed their last, you can say that they have expired. Or on an even more basic level, when food has gone bad and no longer holds it internal “life”, we say it is expired. So, if scripture is God-breathed, and the word is “INspired”, where does that mean God is located?
So the overall idea here is that INSPIRATION comes from within you. It is something living inside of you (not outside).
(If you’re not sure how this might work, check out this video.)
To settle the quick question of what it means for all scripture to be inspired… When you mix this verse with the reality that God lives in each one of us, I believe this scripture is pointing to the fact that the authors were writing from a position of being in tune with the Spirit inside of them. Like any creative thought, there was a flow that came with it that gives us the amazing typological pictures we see today. I don’t believe they were any more “possessed” then we all get when we’re speaking a truth that excites us and it just starts flowing out of our inner being. And yes, I believe any of us could write similarly powerful things if we gave ourselves permission to view the sacred nature of the scriptures through different lenses… but that’s for another article.
What is it that’s actually “inside” of you?
On a very practical level, the modern-day meaning of “inspiration” is still very accurate. It is energy, excitement, ideas, creativity, etc… that comes from WITHIN.
This can overlap very nicely with the idea of “walking in the spirit” in that the Spirit of God is WITHIN us, and to walk in such as way as to always have that internal spirit “inspiring” us is an amazing way to live. Inspiring ideas, actions, comments, art, growth, etc…
SO… here’s the dirty little secret to all of this…
IF you are living from WITHIN, you are living an “inspired” life. If you are living an inspired life, you are walking “in the spirit”!
Most people subconsciously view “the spirit” as something they have to do outside of them, and the word “inspired” literally shows us the opposite. It is following the voice INSIDE. This is why scripture moves from walking “with God” in the old testament to walking “in the Spirit” in the new testament. God ceases to be beside you. He switches locations and now lives on the inside.
What does this mean for my life?
Most people are living by someone else’s plan. It is not from within themselves. They go to work, raise their kids, go to church, cook dinner, go on vacation, etc… all from a place of external expectations. Notice the beginning of those two words “EX-ternal” and “EX-pectation”. EX means from OUTSIDE! Remember “EXpired”, something that has “breathed its last”. The breath of life is now outside of it. There is no breath on the inside. There is no INspiration in their life. Everything is external.
SO… to boil it all down… What would I do to walk “in the spirit”?
I would discover what inspires me and do that! Because that is the spirit. The one God breathed into Adam. The SPIRE of God.
Live out the things that inspire you, and you will be “in spirit” at all times.
I am warning you, however, being “in spirit” and having an easy life don’t always go hand-in-hand. As a matter of fact, most of the time I’ve found the things that inspire people are usually seen as crazy to everyone else in their life. This is why so many feel uninspired. Because they aren’t following that voice/feeling, and they are trying to live a “normal” life. They are measuring their joy and quality of living through EXternal EXpectations. In the end, it fails to satisfy the reasons we are here because the inspiration that drives us is being ignored, and I believe we ALL have something that was meant to guide us to living an INspired life.
On a bigger scale… being “in spirit”, you might say, is the same as finding your life’s purpose (assuming your life’s purpose actually inspires you every day).
PERSONAL NOTE: Not to over-simplify my life’s journey, but at the end of 2016 I essentially decided I would no longer allow things into my life that were uninspiring. It has been a difficult journey to get started, but it’s starting to pay off now more than ever, and I believe it will shortly become everything I believed it could be. A life that is lead by the inspiration within me that I KNOW the Spirit is guiding and creating as I go. New Age Christianity is part of that journey, and I want to thank you for the part you’ve played.