The Bible challenges our presumptions, testing our emotions and worldview. I have often indulged in “scriptural pick and mix”– choosing to accept some parts of the Bible as God’s truth, particularly those which are easiest to stomach and least at odds with our culture at large. Treating the Scriptures as such undermines their timelessness and authority as God’s complete truth communicated to us – the Word of God in its written form. We must assess how we view Scripture which in turn reveals why we must have an unwavering commitment to God’s Word which authoritatively speaks to all past, present and future events and our very way of living.
All of the Bible is God’s Word
Jesus and the apostles viewed Scripture, both the Old (OT) and New Testament (NT) as God’s word, thus requiring us to do the same.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17
In verse 15, Paul is referring to the “sacred writings” of the OT. Therefore, in verse 16, the apostle is affirming that all of the Old Testaments writings are “breathed out by God” (ESV) which is best understood as a metaphor for speaking the words of God penned down through human agents.
The apostles also viewed Christ’s words as Scripture itself (1 Timothy 5:18), God’s very own words and their own writings in the same manner, with Peter identifying Paul’s epistles as “the other Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:15-16).
The Source of Scripture
knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.2 Peter 1:20-21
Although Peter is specifically speaking about the “prophecy of Scripture”, it is perfectly reasonable to suggest that he also viewed the entirety of the Old Testament being spoken “from God” with his fellow apostle Paul, affirming that it is “breathed out by God” – the very Word of God itself.
Peter explains that God was the ultimate source of the prophetic writings as they wrote under the inspiration by the Holy Spirit. He informs the readers that they must give heed to the Old Testament Scriptures, carefully reading and receiving its teachings as the context suggests that the false teachers he has in mind (2 Peter 2:1) accepted their inspiration but perverted their meaning to suit their own false teachings.
This is a crucial lesson for all of us. We must stand upon the entirety of Scripture as God’s Word as its source is none other than Jehovah Himself. He is the One who does not and cannot lie, thus leading to a natural conclusion that it must be without error (Numbers 23:19; 2 Samuel 7:28; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18). His Word is forever settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89) and every single word of God proves true (Proverbs 30:5). A failure to accept the Bible as the complete and authoritative truth from God may make us extremely susceptible to false teachings and doctrines which affect our understanding of the God whom our Bible so beautifully reveals to us in the vastness of His character and attributes.
The Utility of Scripture
Not only does the Bible present to us God’s authoritative and complete truth, free from error, but it is vastly useful and effective for the life of faith because it is living and active.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.Hebrews 4:12
This here refers to the spoken or written Word of God as opposed to the Logos of John 1. God’s Word possesses inherent power within itself. It penetrates through the soul and spirit, bringing about supernatural transformation, effective for salvation. His Word is not dead, but alive. It convicts us of sin by judging the attitudes of our hearts. Furthermore, God’s Word is a mighty weapon to wield when confronted by temptation, shattering the enemy’s lies and accusations with the Truth of God as masterfully displayed by Christ.
Jesus possessed a reverent view of the OT Scriptures as the words of God. He used them to fend off Satan when tempted in the wilderness, declaring, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”(Matthew 4:3). Here he quotes Deuteronomy 8:3 and the entire discourse sees Jesus fend off the devil using Old Testament scriptures which “came from the mouth of God.”
Once we begin to esteem the Bible as such, standing upon God’s Word as our final authority to which our conscience is bound, we begin to see how God has revealed Himself in the pages of His Word and fall more deeply in love with Him. This is seen through the Psalmists eloquent description of God’s Word in Psalm 19:7-13 which testifies to its authority and sufficiency.
God has remarkably chosen to reveal Himself to us in His written and spoken Word presented to us on the pages of sacred Scripture. What a joy is it to be known by God and to know Him through His Word! We cannot allow the culture to dictate how we view Scripture, but rather, allow Scripture to shape our theology and worldview as God’s complete and authoritative truth through faithful study in its context and accurate interpretation. This should capture our affection, driving our speech and conduct to agree with the Psalmist:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.Psalm 19:14
In essence, this is worship. As we do so, our souls will be satisfied and joy made complete (Psalm 19:8-9; Luke 11:28).