“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT)
In light of my last few posts, I thought the question might arise: “If we can’t place our full trust in any man’s understanding of Scripture, can we even trust the men who wrote the Bible?” And the short answer is – with unlimited confidence. How can I be so certain?
The NIV translates the first part of the verse above “God-breathed.” What’s my point? The easiest way for me to think of this is that the Spirit of God “dictated” what He ultimately wanted us to read. Yes, of course He used human instruments, but He gave them words upon which we could build a faith that was based on truth. Yes, I realize that some of the New Testament books hadn’t yet been written, but the same principle applies to both Old and New Testaments. Let’s look more closely at the verse above.
Why did God give us His written Word? First, to use it as the basis of sound teaching. Teaching to what end? So that we would “do what is right.” The purpose of the Bible isn’t simply information, it’s transformation. We can memorize the entire Bible, but if that knowledge doesn’t lead to God’s Spirit having full access to our lives, it’s for all intent and purpose, useless. We have to know what is true, not only in a general sense, but what is true about us.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5::17: “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” Learning requires more than knowledge. Wisdom is the application of knowledge to how we think and live. Truth defines how we should think and live.
Part of that process is not only understanding what the right way is to live but understanding what needs to be corrected. We must gain insight into what changes need to be made in our conduct, especially as it relates to how we love God and each other.
Why is it so vital that we learn truth and apply that truth to how we live? Because the ultimate purpose is to equip us to carry out God’s mission on this earth – to point people to Him! To help others to understand the basis of our faith, so they can have faith of their own, not based simply on our ideas, but foundationally on what the Bible teaches.
This is scary on some levels because Scripture taken out of context can easily become a pretext. What does that mean? It means we can essentially use the Bible to “prove” almost anything. So, what do we do?
Paul wrote in Romans 8:16: “For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.” I know that God’s Spirit indwells me because He bears witness with my spirit that I’m His. I believe the same principle can be applied to what is true – i.e. what is of God. How so?
When I’m reading a book or listening to someone teach/preach, I have at least two avenues to follow to understand whether what I’m reading, or hearing is of God. The first is the Bible. Is what the person is saying consistent with the whole of Scripture? The second is the Spirit’s confirmation. Am I sensing in my spirit affirmation from God or is He raising the proverbial “red flag.”
Ultimately, you must decide whether you want to believe the Bible or not. If you don’t, that will be to your peril. But if you do want to learn and follow the dictates of Scripture, you’ll have to put in the effort to learn what it says by reading and studying it for yourself. To entrust your eternal destiny to someone who seems to know the Bible is very dangerous.
As for me, I trust the Bible without reservation, because I have an intimate and personal love relationship with its Author.
Blessings, Ed 😊