As Latter-day Saints, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly" (the eight article of faith.)
When most people are asked, "Who wrote the Bible?" they usually answer, "God did." Almost every church says that the Bible is the word of God, and many people go so far as to say that it is the complete word of God. In other words, they teach that God has told us everything we need to know and has put it all in a book called "The Bible".
It is widely believed that anything not contained in this book is not suppose to be considered as God inspired. For example, if some ancient book was discovered by an archeologist that was used by the early Christians as part of their religious beliefs, most churches would not even consider adding it to our Bible. The reason is that most Christian churches believe the Bible is complete the way it is right now, thereby eliminating the need for any more information to be added.
On the other hand, let some one suggest dropping one of the books of the Bible - let's say the third epistle of John, because it's only fourteen verses long and doesn't contain anything new about the gospel that isn't found elsewhere in the Bible - and there will be howls of protest, arguing that, if God didn't want it in the Bible, He wouldn't have put it there. As proof, they often cite Revelation 22:18 which reads, "If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part of the book of life." Most people believe that "the book" being referred to in this scripture is the Bible.
All of this sounds very wonderful and dramatic, but it isn't very scriptural. Surprising as it may seem, nowhere in the Bible does it say that God wrote this book. It is a book about God, but God did not write it Himself. Most churches will agree, that, technically, this is true, but, they are quick to add, it was nevertheless written by God through his prophets and apostles. This is partially true of the Old Testament, but is not the case with the New Testament. The only book in this part of the Bible that God commanded to be written was the book of Revelation (1:11), and this is "the book" that God said should not be added to or subtracted from.
Most churches will reluctantly admit this is true, however they will claim that the men who wrote the New Testament did so under inspiration. Therefore, they argue, it was written by God through inspired men. That these men were indeed inspired is not questioned, but rather, what do we mean by "inspired"?
As we look at the list of books in the New Testament, we can easily see they were written by men named Matthew, Luke, Mark, John, Peter, James, Jude, and most of all Paul. Most of these men were apostles (except for Luke and Mark). Even so, they never claimed to be divine or infallible. Just the opposite. They declared themselves to be ordinary men with weaknesses and faults, just like any one else. Yet, in one way, they were very different. They had a thorough knowledge of God's ways.
Why did these men write the New Testament? Was it because they were commanded by a voice from heaven, like Moses? Did they receive a vision instructing them what to do, like Isaiah? Were they prompted by the Holy Ghost to sit down and write a book that was to be passed down from generation to generation? As we carefully study their writings, we see that, with the exception of the book of Revelation, none of these things happened.
To better appreciate how the New Testament came into being, we must first understand what each book is about.
Luke was a physician and a traveling companion to the Apostle Paul. In his gospel, Luke is writing to a man named Theophilus, who, apparently at the time of his writing, was being instructed in the Christian faith (Luke 1:1-5). He must have been a friend of Luke's because Luke seems interested in making sure that Theophilus understands why Christians believe what they do about Jesus.
Luke acknowledges the fact that Theophilus had already heard about the life of Jesus from others, but seems to think it would be beneficial if he also added his own version. Exactly why Luke thought it would be helpful we don't know. However, the first thing we learn is that what Luke is doing is nothing new or unique. It had been done countless times prior to this written account, and he was just one of many others who had already - either verbally or in writing - told the story of the life of Jesus.
There is no indication anywhere in the Bible that Luke was guided by the Holy Ghost to make an "inspired" document. It is clear that this was simply a letter written from a Christian to someone who was interested in learning more about Jesus. The whole purpose of this letter was to give a brief history of the life of Christ to one man name Theophilus.
Although this is quite a long letter by our standards, it was never intended to be a completely detailed account of every word and deed that Jesus did. Obviously, Luke picked and choose those incidents in the life of Christ that he thought would help Theophilus understand why the followers of Jesus look to Him as God.
Was Luke writing under inspiration? That all depends on our definition of the word. Since Luke felt some necessity to write to Theophilus, perhaps, in this way, we could say Luke was "inspired". To say that Luke was motivated by the Holy Spirit to make a divinely written record for use by generations of people through thousands of years is mere speculation and not supported by anything Luke wrote. In fact, it doesn't appear that Luke had any first hand knowledge of the Savior, nor was he an apostle or any type of a church leader. He was just a Christian, simply explaining, in his own words, what he had learn about Jesus from listening to what others had said. This is hardly the definition of being "inspired".
Luke supposedly also wrote the book of Acts. I say "supposedly" because the author of the "Gospel of Luke" and "The Acts of the Apostles" does not identify himself. In fact, the titles themselves on any of the books of the New Testament do not appear on the original manuscripts, but were added centuries later. It is only by way of tradition that we believe he is the author of these two books. The same is true of the other three gospels. Nowhere in them, is the author identified.
In "The Acts of the Apostles" we see that it's another letter written to Theophilus, apparently because this man was still very much interested in the Christian faith. We also know that it was written by the same person who had written "The Gospel of Luke". This time, however, Luke focuses on the actions of the apostles after the death of Christ as a means of convincing Theophilus of the divine calling of these special men. Once again, we see that he gives an historical account and not a doctrinal exposition. As in his first letter, Luke seems to carefully pick and choose which events he wishes to talk about.
As we look at this account of the "Acts of the Apostles" it becomes clear that Luke gives us only a brief summary of a few events in the life of a few of these men. Since he traveled extensively with Paul, not surprisingly, most of this book concerns itself with the acts of this particular apostle. But even here we see that Luke doesn't give a complete description of everything Paul did.
For example, in Acts 15:32 Luke wrote, "And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words and confirmed them."
These two men (Judas and Silas) "spoke many words", but what were the many words which they spoke? We know the subject they talked about, but Luke doesn't tell us one word of what they actually said. What did Luke mean when he wrote, "and confirmed them"? What does "confirm" mean? How were they confirmed? Why was it necessary for them to be confirmed? Luke doesn't explain. And the reason is because it has nothing to do with the purpose of why he is writing this letter. His intention is merely to show how Paul was called to preach the gospel. Apparently he doesn't want to clutter up the narrative with minor details.
In the 17th chapter we read of a sermon that Paul preached on Mars Hill in Athens. The whole sermon is only ten verses long, and takes about one minute to read. Luke tells us that Paul had spent some time in this city, disputing with the Jews in their synagogues, arguing with the Greek philosophers and then preached a sermon on Mars Hill. Yet Luke gives us only one minute's worth of all that Paul said during his several day stay in Athens.
Why didn't he tell us more? Today we would be grateful to have that knowledge, but the reason Luke doesn't is because he wasn't trying to teach doctrine. His whole purpose was simply to give an historical account of the acts of a few of the Apostles. There is some doctrine contained in Luke's story, but it's there only in an incidental way to give continuity to the story line. As with his other letter, this was never intended to be a doctrinal discourse on salvation. Although we can pick up some clues and hints about doctrine, we must firmly keep in mind that this was primarily intended as a historical account.
Was Luke "inspired" to write this book? To say that God guided him in every single word he wrote cannot be proved from anything in the book of Acts. To say that Luke wrote this letter because God was trying to leave a record of His word to the world is sheer speculation and contradicts what the Bible itself says about this letter.
What about the other three Gospels? They too are also historical accounts, written as explanations of what Christians believe about Jesus. Matthew seems to direct his account toward the Jews. Again and again he emphasizes how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies. In almost every chapter he quotes Old Testament scriptures and compares them to Jesus.
Mark, who was not an apostle, but an interpreter for Peter, seems to address his historical account of Jesus toward the Gentiles. He doesn't quote any scripture, but, instead, heavily emphasizes the miracles Jesus performed. This book contains very little in the way of doctrine, and almost every chapter contains at least two accounts of miracles. Rather than get into a discussion of what Christians believe, it's as though Mark was trying to convince the Gentiles that Jesus is the Son of God by showing what a miracle worker he was.
The Gospel of John was written after the Book of Revelations. If "the book" referred to at the end of Revelations is "the Bible", as many contend, then John must have violated the commandment given to him not to "add or subtract from the prophecies of this book" when he wrote his account of the life of Christ.
In this book, John writes primarily to Christians to reaffirm the divinity of Jesus. At this time there were many false beliefs creeping into the church, and, as such, this gospel is understandably more doctrinal than it is historical. Scholars have determined that this book was written approximately 90-95 AD, which would make John the only living apostle at the time of it's writing. If any book was written to leave a record for future generations to read and to understand the teachings of Christ, this book comes the closest. And yet John himself says that even this book is not a complete record of everything Jesus taught (John 21:25).
Did John write his gospel under inspiration? If, by that, we mean God commanded John to leave this record, there is no indication this was the case. If we interpret "inspiration" to mean he felt that, as the last living witness of Jesus, there was a desire to provide one last testimony, one last bit of advice, one last clarification about salvation before he died, then we can say that perhaps he wrote this book under inspiration.
As I have already mentioned, Revelation is the only book in the New Testament that God specifically commanded to be written. And this book is also different from all the others in the New Testament in that it's a prophecy of things to come, rather than instruction on salvation. More than that, it's a prophecy stated in symbolism rather than in clear, concise language.
However, there is no indication that this book was designed for use by the general public. As we read it, we see that it was to be written for the benefit of seven specific churches (Revelations. 1:11); the Lord was sending a personal message to each one of them through John. However, it must be remembered, the author of this book doesn't identify himself as the apostle John; that is an assumption many Christians make, yet, it's not confirmed by the scriptures. The date when the book was written is not exactly known, but we are told that John received this revelation while in exile on the Isle of Patmos (Revelations 1:9). Based on Roman history, some scholars have placed the date of its writing at about 75 AD.
The consensus among theologians is that this book was designed to strengthen the Christians and to give them hope as they endured the horrific persecutions which the Roman authorities unleashed against the believers in Christ around 75 AD. The reason for the symbolism is thought to be that John was shown what judgments God was about to pour out on Rome, and, if he had stated these things in clear language, not only he, but all Christians, would be in further peril of death, since Rome would then have had written evidence that Christians taught treasonous doctrines against the State.
The remaining books of the Bible are simply letters, written mostly by Paul, to specific people or churches. They were written to believing Christians for the purpose of clarifying some point of doctrine that was being misunderstood. For example, there were Christian Jews who felt that converted Gentiles should be required to undergo circumcision, some doubted the reality of the resurrection, some were worshiping angels, and many had become extremely prideful. In addition to these, there were other members of the church teaching false doctrine and leading people away from the truth.
It must be remembered that Paul, as well as the other apostles, were preachers. These letters were, in effect, written sermons. Like any good preacher who is concerned for his congregation, the apostles wrote a sermon that was directed toward correcting those problems that a particular congregation was having at that point in time. In a few of these letters, there is advice or greetings given to a specific person, such as to Timothy, Titus, Philemon, or the "elect lady".
These sermons were not meant to be a complete statement of Christian beliefs, no more than today's preacher tries to include everything that's to be known about salvation into one Sunday Sermon. In fact, some Christian writers can publish a whole book and only cover one aspect of the gospel, and so it was with each of these letters. More than that, these letters were not connected. It wasn't as though they were a series of lectures designed ultimately to cover every aspect of Christian belief. They were random letters, written for the problems of the moment, and composed over a wide period of time.
It's important to keep in mind that these were individual letters intended to help a specific person or congregation to remain true to the faith. They were not being written with the view of providing information for the people of the 20th century, and there is no such evidence in the scriptures that any of the apostles wrote with this thought in mind.
This becomes clear when we read these letters. For example, Paul counseled Timothy to "lay hands suddenly on no man." (I Timothy 5:22). We know that the laying on of hands seemed to be practiced in the early church, but how was this done, when was it done, for what reasons was it done, and by whom was it done? Paul doesn't answer any of these questions when writing to Timothy, and the reason is obvious; Timothy already knew the answer to these questions. Since Paul was writing for Timothy's benefit, not ours, Paul feels no need to explain this principle that was widely practiced among the early Christians.
Peter wrote, "Ye are a...royal priesthood." (I Peter 2:9), but today we argue over what he meant by this. If he were truly writing to people in a different era, if he were actually being inspired by the Holy Ghost to leave a record for future Christians, why didn't he explain what he meant by this statement? Again, the answer is obvious, he wasn't writing to us. The people to whom his letter was addressed clearly understood what he meant, therefore he felt no necessity, no compulsion by the Spirit, to elaborate on his statement.
Did Paul and Peter and the others write these letters under inspiration? Certainly they were inspired by the Holy Ghost to watch over the flock of God. Certainly they prayed for guidance in how to help the Christians under their care to grow and stay true to the faith. They did what any good pastor would do. But to say that God dictated every word they wrote and that their writings were meant to be used as scripture throughout all generations of time, is not supported by anything in the New Testament.
Furthermore, the author of "Hebrews" is not identified, and there is no conclusive proof that it was written by Paul, as some scholars have supposed. The same can be said for the epistle of James. Since James was a common name, and there were two apostles with that name, we can't tell for certain which one of them wrote it or if it was written by some other church dignitary with the same name.
And there's a question about the second epistle of Peter. The author states he is Simon Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, but scholars are puzzled by this because some of the things contained in this letter occurred after the death of the apostle, Simon Peter. Yet, even though there are many portions of the scriptures written by unknown people, or people who were not church authorities (as in the case of Mark and Luke), there are those who nonetheless continue to declare that the Bible was written by God through specially chosen "holy men" even when there is no evidence to support such a belief.
Then there are others who actually believe that the Bible is deliberately meant to be unclear because that's the way God designed it. They conjure up the image of God, or a group of men being directed by God, sitting down and writing the Bible all at one time, and someone said, "Let's not make this book too plain and clear. Let's put everything in it that's necessary for salvation, but let's do it in a way that people will have to search through all the scriptures and piece together the doctrines like a jig-saw puzzle. In that way only those who have the Spirit of God with them will be able to understand how to be saved."
This concept is historically false because each of these letters were written independently of one another, and there was no collaboration between the apostles to create new scriptures. Often these letters were written years apart from one another. Rather than being deliberately vague, the purpose of each letter was to clarify doctrines and beliefs that were being misunderstood by a particular group of people at a particular time in history.
But these twenty-seven books which make up our New Testament were not the only writings used by the early Christians as scripture. They represent just a part of the sacred, instructional books and letters that were revered as inspired words of God in the first two centuries. For over two hundred years these writings were never put together in book form as we have it today. They remained as separate, individual letters. It wasn't until the end of the 4th century that the twenty-seven books which make up our modern-day New Testament were finally decided on as being the only books to be used as scripture. Yet, even so, other letters, which had been used as scriptures until that time, were still allowed to be read, but were not given the same status of importance as the "cannonized" letters.
The decision of which books were to be authorized as God-inspired scripture was not done by the apostles or even by revelation from God. It was done by a group of men more than three hundred years after these letters were written, and the decision did not come at one time but over centuries. There was much arguing on this matter, and not every one agreed when a verdict was reached. In the end, the decision of which books were to be in the New Testament and which books weren't, was made by man - not God.
And what about the books of the Old Testament; how were they written? In II Peter 1:21 we are told, "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." Does that mean that the entire Old Testament was written by holy men who were being moved upon by the promptings of the Holy Ghost to write a sacred and enduring record of God's dealings with man?
There certainly were holy men in the Old Testament who did receive prophecies and words from God. Out of the thirty-nine books, their writings comprise fifteen of them - Isaiah, Jeremiah (& Lamentations), Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. These books accurately fit Peter's description of holy men writing as they were moved upon by the Spirit of God, but they make up far less than half the books in the Old Testament.
Four other books - Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon - can be classified as poetical literature; that is, they are not so much instructional words from God concerning doctrine and correction, as they are poems (in the case of Psalms) and a collection of wise sayings. The psalms were supposedly written by David, both before and after he became King of Israel, while the other three books were written by David's son, Solomon. As to whether these two people can be classified as "holy men", is subject to debate. In any event, they are not words of prophecy and therefore would not fit Peter's description.
It is said that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament. He was indeed a holy man whom God spoke to, however, with the exception of Genesis, the versions of Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy we have today in our Bible could not possibly have been written by him. Why? Because, if Moses wrote these four books, which are about his life, he would have written them in the first person, using the pronouns, "I" and "me". Instead, these books are written in the third person, using the pronouns "Moses" or "he".
For example, in Exodus 8:1 we read, "And the Lord spake unto Moses and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go that they may serve me." If Moses had written the book of Exodus, he would have said, "And the Lord spake unto me and said unto me..." In Exodus 3:1, instead of saying, "Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law," Moses would have written, "Now I kept the flock of Jethro my father in law."
We see that, rather than Moses telling us the story about himself, our version clearly shows that someone other than Moses is telling us the story about what happened to this holy man of God. Who was it, then, that wrote our version of these books? Was it a different holy man inspired by God? We have absolutely no idea. And, if Moses really did write the first five books of the Old Testament, why don't we have his version instead of some mysterious author?
The remaining thirteen books - Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I & II Samuel, I & II Kings, I & II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Ester, Job, and Daniel - are primarily historical records, but they were not written by the person in the title. For example, the book of Joshua was not written by Joshua, nor were the two books of Samuel written by the prophet Samuel. They are stories told about these people, but were not written by the person themselves. Furthermore, the books of I & II Samuel and I & II Kings are very similar to the stories found in I & II Chronicles, which are a history of the Kings of Israel and Judah up to the time of King Nebuchadnezzar. We then have two separate accounts of the same events in Israelite history.
Who wrote these historical records? Were they the works of holy men being guided through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost? If so, there is no evidence in the Bible to support such a theory. If not, who and why did they write these accounts?
The most likely explanation is that scribes, either on their own or by command from someone in authority, at some point in time, began to compile all the stories that had been told over the centuries, both written and verbal, and wrote them into an orderly record.
From the accounts given in the scriptures, it appears that scribes may have gathered the original books upon which these stories are based, and then, after reading them, rewrote the stories in their own words. For example, the person who wrote I Chronicles ended his book by saying, "Now the acts of David the King, the first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer" (1 Chronicles 29:29)
We'll assume that the book of Samuel the Seer is 1 & 2 Samuel, although that is probably a wrong assumption, since we know Samuel didn't write those books. But where are the books of Nathan the prophet and Gad the seer? Whoever wrote I Chronicles obviously had access to these three books and then used them to make their own account of the history of King David.
Similarly, in 2 Chronicles, after telling the story of King Solomon, the author writes in 9:29, "Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat?"
Samuel, Nathan, Gad, Ahijah and Iddo were all prophets or seers, which would qualify them as holy men. Why doesn't our Bible have their words instead of the writings of some unknown author who doesn't appear to speak for God? Why do we have a retelling of events by some unknown scribe instead of the first hand account by the prophets of God themselves?
In addition to these books, the Bible also refers us to the Book of the Covenant, the Book of the Wars of the Lord, the Book of Shemiah, Jehu and Jasher, the Acts of Uzziah, and the Saying of the Seers. In the Epistle of Jude there are quotes from two Old Testament books; one called The Assumption of Moses and the other the Prophecies of Enoch (Jude, 9,14). In the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew there is a quote from an unknown book of scripture prophesying about Christ (Matthew 2:23). We also know that the Jews, at the time of Jesus, used others books as scripture such as The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, the Book of Jubilies, the books of Tobit, Judith, Baruch, the Ascension of Isaiah, the Wisdom of Solomon, the Psalms of Solomon, the Prayer of Manasses and many others.
Not only don't we know who wrote the historical books we now have in our Old Testament, we don't know when they were written or why these books were used instead of the original books of the prophets or why the many other books once used as scripture are no longer in the Bible.
We do know that near the end of the first century A.D. a council of Jewish Rabbis decided which books were to be part of the official set of scriptures and which ones were to be removed from study. Were these men moved upon by the Holy Ghost when they made their decision? It should be remembered that Jesus had little good to say about the Rabbis and other self-righteous scriptorians of his day. And it was these religious leaders that were most vocal in denying Jesus' claim as the Messiah and having Him put to death. Yet the Old Testament, as we have it today, is a result of what those men decided we should and shouldn't read as holy scripture.
In addition to all of this, the Bible has been translated from one language to another many times before it has come to us in the English version. In the case of the King James Bible, it is translated into Old English. As any one knows who has learned a foreign language, it's not always easy to adequately translate a thought in one language into another because there are different meanings to phrases and words that have no equivalent in another language. For example, we might tell someone to "Keep your nose clean." What we mean is they should not get into any trouble, but if we literally translate those words into a foreign language, the inferred meaning is completely lost. The same thing happens when we translate the Bible from Hebrew or Greek, to Latin, to Old English and finally to modern English.
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul told him, "From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God." (3:15-16) It would appear from a quick reading of these verses that Paul is stating that every word in the Bible (referring to the Old Testament which Timothy grew up with) is indeed inspired by God. However, there are two questions we need to ask ourselves: One, what does Paul mean by "inspired" and two, what books did Paul mean were scriptures?
As we have just seen, the historical and poetical books of the Old Testament don't claim to be written under inspiration in the same way as the writings of the prophets. Whoever wrote these records have merely retold the inspiring stories that did happen to holy men, but there is absolutely no evidence in the Old Testament to support the conclusion that these authors were moved upon by the spirit of God in the writing of every single word they wrote, as was the case with the prophets.
Secondly, as we have also seen, the number of books which Timothy had for scripture was far more numerous than the Old Testament we have today. If Paul declares that all scripture is God inspired, then why have some of the books, which Timothy used since his childhood in developing faith in Jesus Christ, been no longer considered by us to be inspired?
All of these facts brings into question the traditional concept that our present day Bible was written through the direct guidance of the Holy Ghost deliberately to produce a complete and accurate doctrinal book designed to teach people throughout the centuries everything we need to know about salvation.
Some will say that surely God must have been guiding men in the decisions they made concerning the Bible. Surely He would watch over these books and letters to insure they were properly preserved. Surely every book that is needful for us to have has been included. That sounds wonderful and comforting, but it isn't very scriptural. That's only someone's opinion and nothing more.
If we look at the stories in the Bible, we see that man has destroyed God's plan many times before. Most churches believe that in the beginning God created the perfect world, but Adam and Eve destroyed God's plan. According to the scriptures, by the time of Noah, God repented that He had made man (Genesis. 6:6). Because man's wickedness had covered the whole earth, God felt compelled to wipe the slate clean and start all over again.
When Moses came along, God wrote His commandments in stone, but that didn't keep the Israelites from changing it. By the time Jesus came to earth, the scribes and Pharisees had written so many other regulations into the law, people were being required to live something completely different than what God had intended.
From the time of Adam to Jesus, God's word had been changed, altered, modified, interpreted to mean something different than what it said, or ignored all together. Why should we think that from the time of the apostles to now this couldn't happen again?
Yet, despite all of these troubling questions, are we to conclude that the books of the Bible are not the words of God? Not at all! If a man had spent his working life as an electrician, we would assume he knew quite a bit about this subject. And if we were doing some electrical wiring, wouldn't we appreciate any advice or help he could give us? Would we complain because he didn't tell us everything he knew, or would we automatically assume that what he did tell us was everything there was to be told? If all we had were his memoirs, written by someone other than the electrician himself, could we still not gain valuable knowledge about electrical work?
The apostles knew God's plan of salvation. These men had a complete understanding of what God wanted us to do to be saved. When they sat down to write, it wasn't necessary for the Holy Ghost to dictate every word, no more than it would be necessary for a master electrician to check his manual every time he went to wire a house.
These men wrote, not because the Holy Ghost made them do it, but they did so because of their great concern for the spiritual development of the Christians who relied upon them for guidance. No doubt the Holy Ghost inspired them to correct the problems in the church, but that doesn't mean the Holy Ghost told them every word to write. Because of their love for Jesus and their dedication to the work He had called them to, they used every means available to spread and develop the gospel, both with and without the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
The same can be said about the books of the Old Testament. Although many may have been written by unknown scribes who were not holy men being moved upon by the Holy Ghost, these books are still valuable in helping us to understand how God dealt with men in the past. They tell us about men who were inspired by God, and what God said to them. Just because every word in each book wasn't dictated by "inspiration" from God, doesn't make them any less important to us.
The Bible is the word of God to man. It is good for doctrine, reproof and instruction. It may be incomplete, vague, have errors, or leave many questions unanswered, but it still gives us valuable knowledge that we would not have otherwise. We can still read these books and gain important information from them, but to do that doesn't mean that every word in the Bible has to be exactly the word God intended to be used, that doesn't mean that every thing in it is every thing we should have, nor does it mean that after thousands of years since the books of the Bible were written and then translated into our present-day language that no mistakes have occurred. Yet despite any imperfections there might be, this in no way diminishes the importance of or the need for the book we call The Bible.
"Major Bible scholars ignore the code because, they note, no one has a letter-by-letter version of the Bible as originally written. The oldest surviving manuscripts include slight variations, any of which would through off computer test results." [end of article]
To say that the Bible has no errors and contains all the inspired words of God, one has to ignore the fact that we don't have a perfect copy of the manuscripts produced by the original writers upon which to base such a claim. Without such a copy, there is no way to know with complete certainty what the original writers did or didn't write. What we use today to translate from are copies of copies that were made hundreds of years after the originals were written. And even these manuscripts have "slight variations" among them, further compounding the problem of claiming that our modern-day Bible is totally complete and absolutely accurate.