By Ron Courter (Excerpt from Article originally printed January 30th, 1982)
The Bible, what a book, it stands alone. Year after year, the Bible is a best seller in a world that does not often agree with it. No book has been translated more than the Bible. Actually, the Bible is sixty-six books written over 1,600 years by forty different men. The unity of the book defies human possibility. Truly it is easier to accept the Bible as the word of God than try to explain it as the work of men.
No book has caused more intense changes in man’s behavior over the years than the Bible. Men argue today over the censuring of materials, but no book has faced the wrath of censuring that this book has faced from time to time. BUT IT REMAINS! Sixteen hundred years passed while the book was being written and another eighteen hundred have passed since then. No wonder we pay little attention to those who are going to bury the Bible. The Bible always buries them. There is no reason to doubt the word of Jesus. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Mt. 24:35). Truly, the things of God are forever. The Bible is what it is and will remain what it is, because it is the WORD OF GOD.
The Word of God
When the Bible is received gladly as the word of God it makes the honest heart the ground of a true faith in the true God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Why was the apostle Paul so thankful for the brethren in Thessalonica? “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (l Th. 2:13). What benefit is there to permitting the word of man to monopolize our time, when we have the word of God? The word of God can save and work effectively for our eternal salvation.
The church then and now has good reason to receive the preaching of the apostles as the word of God. Why? 1 Th. l:5 reads, “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.” Man’s word never has and never will receive such confirmation. The historical testimony of the miracles remains forever to declare the Bible is the word of God.
Why, where, and how did the scriptures come to man? 2 Ti. 3:16,17 reads, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” Inspiration literally means, “God to breathe.” The scriptures came from within the Lord and came out from him just as the breath comes from within and goes outward. The scriptures came from God, and Jesus gives a perfect picture. “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Mt. 4:4). Yes, the scriptures are God-breathed.
The Biblical writers wrote according to the counseling and superintending of the Holy Spirit. “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual (1 Co. 2:13).” Jesus had promised before his departure into the heavens he would not leave his apostles comfortless. (Jn. 14:18). The Spirit of truth was promised to come and guide them into all truth. (Jn. 16:13). No wonder, we receive the Bible as the word of God.
Peter talks about the promise being fulfilled. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2Pe. 1:3,4). The will and power of heaven is on earth today and at your fingertips in the written word of God. BELIEVE IT!
Again, Peter made a strong statement regarding the origin of the scriptures. “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 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.” (2 Pe. l:20, 21) What is Peter saying? The words of prophecy never did come by the will of man, but by the will of God. Private interpretation indicates coming from one’s own thinking or in this instance the prophet’s own thinking. If the scriptures did not come from the prophet’s own thinking, where did they come from or how? Peter answers, “From the Holy Ghost.”
Therefore, we can understand why Paul could write, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” (1Co.14:37) Paul was surely within his rights when he said to the Thessalonians, “Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ…” (2 Th. 3:12) Again Peter said, “That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandments of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.” (2 Pe. 3:2)
Realizing what the Bible truly is, let us receive the message gladly. (Acts 2:41). Let us feed on the word of God and live. “Thy word’s were found and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.” (Je. 15:16). We should be easily convinced not to place anything above the written word. “And these things, brethren I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.” (l Co. 4:6).
The Effects of Inspiration
The results of inspiration are made clear from the scriptures. “And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” (Mt.10:18-20) The actual process of inspiration may be beyond our comprehension, but this does not mean that what the Bible teaches is mystical or beyond our understanding. This is no different than our relationship to laws of the universe. We may not understand how the law of gravity actually works, but we can understand the results and effects of the law.
We can read on many accounts of the fulfilling of the words of Mt. 10:18-20. The book of Acts gives numerous occasions. This inspiration is not found among men today. It was essential to the time of new revelation being given, but the word of God anticipates no new revelation. The government of heaven has a standing rule that no function or process stands longer than the time of its need. All truth has been given essential to our circumstances and salvation through the early mentors of saving faith. It is found in the written word of God. There are no openings left on the committee of divine inspiration, because it has closed its operation. JOB DONE.
Today, when we have something we want to know we must examine the remaining record. This is reasonable and fits with man’s ability to acquire knowledge and understanding of the truth. Read 2 Ti. 2:15 and especially Ep. 3:3-5. The truth will not be known without knowing the Bible. “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2Ti. 2:2) We have that information in the written word of God today.
Peter evidently was not expecting the continuation of divine inspiration forever. Also there is no evidence he was expecting the kind of things that happened in his lifetime as an apostle to continue through time. “Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ ,but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” (2 Pe. 1:15, 16) The results of inspiration are clearly given in 1 Co. 2. We conclude the word of God is sufficient. 1 Co. 2:9,10 reads, “But as it is written eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” This quotation is from Isaiah 64:4, where Isaiah pondered the revelation from heaven not yet given to human eye or ear. Paul is saying that it is now known to us, it is the written word of God. We now have the completed revelation.
We can be confident that what the apostles left is true to heaven’s will. “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (l Co. 2:12, l3) The miracles, wonders, and signs accomplished by the apostles declared from God these are the messengers of heaven with heaven’s message. (Mk.16:20; He. 2:3, 4; 2Co.12:12). The result of inspiration permitted Paul to say without fear of contradiction, “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. ” (l Co. 2:16).
The Bible is the revealed mind of God upon the earth today. Truly, the Bible is the book of books. How do you treat the Bible in your home? Like the Book of Books or…