It is important to note the fundamental distinction between "inspiration" and "revelation." Revelation is the means through which God imparts facts and truths previously unknown, i.e. from God to man. Inspiration is the means through which God ensures that facts and truths are inerrantly conveyed, i.e. from God through man. For instance, Luke did not receive through divine revelation the information he recounted in Acts 16:11-17, because he personally witnessed and experienced these events. Nevertheless, divine inspiration ensured that he recalled and reported these things correctly. While the contents of the book of Revelation were received by John through revelation (1:1-3), it was inspiration that guaranteed the accuracy of his written testimony (1:10-11).
The Bible should not be perceived as an atomistic revelation of each separate word but as a holistic inspiration of all the words collectively. This does not suggest that an individual word is without significance, since the main point of an argument may be centered on the tense of a verb (cf. Matthew 22:31-32) or the numerical value of a noun (cf. Galatians 3:16). The point is, a single term does not stand alone in the communicatory process but is part of a broader context of meaning. This is consistent with, and an attempt to clarify, what is often referred to as "verbal plenary inspiration."
The will of God has been disclosed through human penmen, each of whom utilized his own personality, background, resources, language, and writing style, while supernatural governance ensured that no mistakes were made in the process and that the words chosen were in accordance with what the Godhead wanted communicated. Since all scripture is divinely inspired, all scripture is necessarily infallible and inerrant. In short, the Bible professes to be the word of God transcribed in the words of inspired men. Either this lofty assertion is true or it is not. There is no middle ground. The legitimacy of the Christian faith is inseparable from the accuracy, reliability, and historicity of the biblical record.
--Kevin L. Moore
Related Posts: The Bible in Perspective, Oral Transmission
Related articles: John Jones' What's the Big Deal About Inerrancy?, Dewayne Bryant's Coincidences Support the Bible