The Greek word graphē is usually translated by the English words, scripture or writing. By capitalizing the first letter of the word (Scripture) translators intend their readers to understand the word Scripture to be referring to Sacred Writings. According to the lexicons graphē is used exclusively so in the New Testament, regardless of whether, or not, the first letter is capitalized.
Sacred Scripture is a writing believed to have been inspired by God, as it is stated in 2 Tm 3:16: "Every Scripture (graphē) is inspired by God (theopneustos)." That is to say, the writing is "God breathed," or infused by God. The ancient Hebrews believed that the prophets were inspired by God (Hos 12:10; 1 Kgs 13:20; 1 Kgs 17:1-2; Ex 12:1-2; Ex 15:1-2; 2 Sam 7:4-5; Neh 9:30; Zech 7:12; Ezek 24:20-21), and linked the prophet's inspiration to writings believed to be written by the prophet (Jer 30:1-2; Jer 36:1-2). Thus, the inspiration of the prophet came to be transferred to the "writings" of the prophet, and in this way the writing also became the Word of the Lord; as they believed the spoken word of the prophet was as well. The early Christians continued this practice of extending inspiration from writers to their writings, as 2 Tim 3:16 clearly shows (cf. 2 Pet 1:20-21).
Truth be told, however, one can never know if a person is inspired by God and likewise one can never know for certain what inspires an author, even if the author specifies the source of inspiration. One only knows for certain what one is told. And the only way of telling if a text is "inspired" is by the judgment of literary critics on the literary excellence of the writing and/or the number of persons who opined it either inspired or inspiring. In both cases, however, that a writing is inspired by God or by the author is a matter of opinion. There are no objective criteria of a writing by which one can identify, or quantify, inspiration of texts. Inspiration is not a physical feature of a piece of literature like language, handwriting, and stated ideas. In the church, however, people believe the New Testament is inspired simply because they have been taught to think that way. It is a learned response and does not represent a critical judgment upon the inscription or inspiration of the texts.
If one insists that a given text has been inspired, on what basis can one reasonably eliminate the human author as the actual genius behind the inspiration? Personally, I think that Psalm 23, a thoroughly religious piece, is both an inspired text and an inspiring text. It crosses the lines of most religions and offers strong encouragement for those walking through "the valley of the shadow of death." Another thoroughly secular piece in the New Testament that I consider inspired and inspiring is 1 Cor 13:1-13. God is not even mentioned in these sentences. I also consider the poem "The Road not taken" by Robert Frost to be both inspired and inspiring and it has nothing to do with religion or ethics.
I cannot say with any degree of confidence if it was the genius of God or the unknown human author that inspired these three narratives. It could have been both, I suppose; who can say with any degree of confidence? It is possible that "God" provided a degree of inspirational "spark" to motivate the writer's writing, but the psalm, the essay on love, and the poem were obviously crafted through the natural abilities of the human author. To call any of them "Word of God," however, is a bridge too far. Such a description overlooks the role of the human author in their creation.
What do you think?
Missouri State University
*I have written earlier on this subject: see Hedrick, Wry Thoughts about Religion, blog: "Revelation and Meaning," Saturday, August 31, 2013: http://blog.charleshedrick.com/search?q=revelation+and+meaning
"Is the Bible Inspired?" Thursday, December 5, 2019: http://blog.charleshedrick.com/search?q=is+the+bible+inspired