This Fall marks my second year of teaching a theology class at my church. The class covers all sorts of subjects pertaining to what makes up the orthodox faith of Christianity. Our subject for Sunday’s lesson was taking a look at God’s Word, the Bible, and exploring some of the truths about it.
For many Christians, the Bible is something they know they should probably read more, but can’t quite find the time or motivation to make it happen. It can feel like a daunting task, especially if you’re not super familiar with the Scriptures or haven’t been in the habit recently of reading it. Let me share a couple of realities about the Bible which I hope will inspire you to continue your pursuit of growing in your passion for and understanding of God’s Word.
1. The Bible is Inspired
The Bible is God’s revelation to man. It is directly from Him, completely a product of the mind of God. The way He has chosen to bring it to humanity was by using humans in the process. He spoke the words that were captured by the human authors of the individual books of the Bible. So the process by which we have the Bible is “Fully God and Fully Human.” The theological term for this is Inspiration. God incorporated the personality of the human author into the books or letters being written, but “…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.” (1 Peter 1:20-21)
2. The Bible is Timeless
“‘All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.’ And this is the word that was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:23-25). God and His Word will never change. This is an incredibly reassuring truth, as we can always know what to expect from Him. However, this can also mean that different aspects of the culture in which you find yourself will seem out-of-step with God’s Word. Actually, in no point in history has their been a culture that was perfectly in-sync with the Bible. This is because sin has impacted every person, every society, and every culture, no matter its time period or geography. While the particulars may vary, each person within each society needs to wrestle with the truths contained within the Bible. His Word will never change.
3. The Bible is Authoritative
If the Bible is the revelation of God and His thoughts, then it stands to reason that the Bible has authority. It has authority over two different areas. Over our lives and over our beliefs. Our beliefs about God and what He wants shape our day-to-day actions. If we think God is actually a giant chicken, then we will be hesitant to order a chicken salad sandwich for lunch. If we think God doesn’t like us, then we’re going to be pretty fearful of an all-powerful deity with whom we’re not too sure of where we stand. The Bible is God’s instrument He uses in His merciful and authoritative reign over us. If God is our King, the Bible is His constitution for us. “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).
4. The Bible is Enough
The theological term for this truth is sufficiency. The Bible does not contain all of the truth that is out there. There is truth found in other sources about other topics, such as the pitching mechanics for properly throwing a curveball without injuring your elbow. The Bible is God’s revelation to man regarding what He desires for us to know about Himself, His plan, His heart and intentions, and what He desires from us. What He has given us in the Scriptures is enough to answer the questions that come up in life. Throughout the history of the church, people have gotten into trouble when they’ve added anything to the Bible. Therefore, we should learn to be content with what God has included, and chose not to include, in the Bible.
It’s incredible that the God of the universe has given each of us access to know a little of His thoughts and His mind. The God who created galaxies and universes beyond where our most powerful telescopes gives us the opportunity on a daily basis to interact with Him through the Bible and prayer. It’s my hope that these thoughts are an encouragement to you as you continue along this semester!