I do not remember a time when I did not believe that the Bible was God’s Word. As a child, I believed it was a unique book that was above every other book. I came to know Christ in my early 20’s and began to spend time with my pastor as we rode together to some of his preaching engagements. Our denomination was at the end of a decades old battle for the Bible. My pastor began to educate me on some of the issues in this battle. I was shocked to learn that there were some within my own denominational tradition who did not believe that the Bible was without error and that it was the final authority on all issues.
The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself, of truthful events, and it will never fail. First Samuel 3:2 says that God revealed Himself to Samuel in His Word. God reveals “things” (Deuteronomy 29:29), His plans (Amos 3:7), the future (Daniel 2:28) and the mysteries of the gospel (Romans 16:25-26) in the Bible.
The Old Testament writers repeatedly said that they were giving “the word of God” (Isaiah 59:21, Jeremiah 1:2-4, Hosea 1:1). They knew that they were writing at God’s direction (Deuteronomy 31:24-26). Paul acknowledged that these men were under the direction of the Holy Spirit when they wrote (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Peter even recognized that the writings of Paul were inspired by God (2 Peter 3:16).
Jesus Himself upholds the Word of God. He saw His Father as the ultimate source of the Holy Spirit and the ultimate author of His Word (Matthew 15:4). Jesus said every part of His Father’s Word was important (Matthew 5:18, Mark 12:24-27). He believed the Scriptures were the source of truth and could not lie (Matthew 26:52-54, John 10:35). As such, He even placed Himself under the authority of God’s Word (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10).
So how do we bring some of these lofty truths down to the world in which we live?
1. God’s voice in His own Word should drown out all other voices in our own private worlds.
We are regularly being spoken to by the talking heads of the media, bloggers, critics in our churches, our flesh, and Satan Himself. None of these voices are inspired by God, without error or able to give what they promise. God’s Word is all of that and more. When the Bible speaks, God speaks. Are we listening?
2. We should place ourselves under the authority of God’s Word above that of our experience, reason, or ideas.
We live in a world that claims there is no such thing as truth and that this is the truth! Our hearts and minds can become clouded. The weakness of our flesh can cause us to make a wrong decision. Personal experiences are different from person to person. None of these should have the final word in our lives. Only the Bible should occupy this place of authority. Do not trust yourself, do not trust your feelings, do not trust your experiences; trust God’s Word. His Word is right every time. His Word is truth all the time.
3. God’s Word is sufficient to grow me as a Christian and grow my ministry.
Whatever happened to just reading the Bible cover to cover for our spiritual growth? I am not opposed to devotional books, blogs, or Christian growth classes or conferences. However, we can mistakenly believe that we need the Bible plus something else to really grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. As a pastor, I could wrongly begin to believe that my church will really grow if I preach the Bible and have the right kind of music, certain cultural conformities, or ministries like the church up the street that is growing. Not only is the Bible God’s Word without error, it is sufficient to sustain and grow me. It is sufficient to grow people in my church spiritually and numerically. Nothing needs to be added to God’s Word.