What Does it Mean That the Bible Is God-Breathed?

The Bible described as God-breathed means that it is a representative of God’s perfect power. It tells us about God’s love for us and it also shows how we should live our lives in this temporary world to be in relationship with Him until we meet face to face.

Glory Dy
What Does it Mean That the Bible Is God-Breathed?

In 2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV), Paul states that the Scripture is God’s breath, as it is written: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.”

Paul was referring to the Bible when he was talking about the Scripture. This is the only instance that the Bible is referred to as “God-breathed.”

When we talk about God-breathed, we refer literally to God’s breath — the exhale from His mouth. Being God-breathed means that a specific thing or person is directly from God.

In this case, the Bible is from God directly because it is God-breathed. With this in mind, what does Paul really mean when he says that the Scripture or the Bible is God-breathed?

Let us examine different supporting verses in the scriptures to understand this fully.

The Meaning of God-Breathed

God’s perfect power is represented in the Bible. This is one of the reasons why the Bible is God-breathed. In Genesis 2:7, we read that God’s breath brought life to Adam, the first man,

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

In John 20:22, we see that Jesus breathed on His disciples, and this brought new meaning to their lives, “And with that, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Taking these two verses and relating them together, we see that the power of God is represented in the Bible, “For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).

The scriptures are words spoken by God and are testimonies of Jesus’ life here on earth. It represents how God is so perfect and powerful that He created the heavens and the earth and also breathed life into mankind, the guardians of His creations.

Wisdom That God Gave Man

Scripture is God’s Word in a form of an accessible book. We should be grateful that we are able to know and hear God through the Bible.

Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15-16).

The Epistles, written by the apostles, some that bear their names, used the wisdom that God gave them. This means that what they wrote is from God and God alone because it is only from God who gave the apostles the wisdom to write the words.

We can also read this in 1 Corinthians 2:13, as stated, “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.” It is clear in this verse that what Paul is speaking is from what the Spirit taught through His words.

Scripture Is Inspired by God

2 Timothy 3:16 particularly mentions that the Bible is God-breathed, and it is the only verse in the Bible that directly tells us this.

Despite this, we can find different passages in the Bible that tell us that this document is the compilation of God’s expression of love to His creations and His teaching.

It tells us the story of His great love that He had to sacrifice His only begotten Son to save us from our sins as stated in the New Testament.

It also tells us about His revelation or the future that He wants us to have as well as the historical relationship of humankind with God as stated in the Old Testament.

Because the Bible is an expression of God’s love and teachings, it becomes our guiding principle on how we can live our lives with the desire to be in relationship with Him.

James 1:17 states that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Because Scripture is a perfect gift, then we must be in it daily.

The Bible Tells Us of Jesus

Lastly, one of the reasons why the Bible is God-breathed is because it shares the story of Jesus’ life, God’s only begotten Son, and God’s perfect gift for humanity. The entire New Testament tells us the story of the Messianic prophecy being fulfilled.

This prophecy was already told in the Old Testament of the Bible and was fulfilled in the New Testament. In Revelation 19:10, it is stated,

At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.”

Jesus is God’s only begotten Son and our Lord and Savior. This document, which tells us the story of God’s love for us through Jesus Christ, has to be God-breathed.

There is no other account that documents this either than the Bible, as it is written in 2 Thessalonians 3:5, “May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”

The Bible described as God-breathed means that it is a representative of God’s perfect power, it is wisdom that God gave to man, it is inspired by God, and it tells the story of Jesus.

It tells us about God’s love for us and it also shows how we should live our lives in this temporary world to be in relationship with Him until we meet face to face.

We should constantly be in the Bible because it is the most tangible guide that God has left us in this physical world.

For further reading: 

What Does it Mean That the Bible Is Divinely Inspired?

Did Paul Know That His Letters Would be Scripture?

What Does it Mean That the Word of God Is Alive?

What Does it Mean that the Bible Is Infallible? What Is Biblical Infallibility?

Why Can the Bible Only Be Understood Through the Spirit? (2 Corinthians 2:14)

How Can We Trust the Bible We Have Today?

How Do We Know What Truth Is?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Arkira


Glory Dy has been a content creator for more than 10 years. She lives in a quiet suburb with her family and four cats.


Originally published February 26, 2021.