- The revelation of God (Holy Scripture)
The word of God recorded in the Bible is our standard to measure truth from deception and false doctrine from true doctrine about God, humanity, and salvation and sin, God’s standards for right and wrong and righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:14-17 is critical to understand why the Scriptures have been given to us. Paul the apostle is speaking to Timothy:
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:14-17 ESV).
The aim of Scripture and the reason God has preserved it for the human race is so that we might become wise unto salvation through Jesus Christ and to teach us concerning righteousness and how to live God-honoring lives. The Scriptures were given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and they are enough and sufficient to teach us everything we need to know how to be saved for eternity, have eternal life in the Holy Spirit and how to live lives pleasing to God. We cannot add anything to the full revelation of God and we should never take anything away from sacred Scripture (See Revelation 22:18,19; Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6). God’s word is forever settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89). Not any Christian commentary, systematic theology, devotional book by renown Christian writers or any sermon preached or so-called modern-day prophecy equals or supersedes the authority of sacred Scripture. Our lives, our Christian lives, should be based on sacred scripture, because in sacred scripture we see the revelation of the character of God, his ways, his standards for truth and righteousness and the way He worked out his redemptive plan in history. The 66 books we have in the Old and New Testament have sufficient information about God, not exhaustive, but sufficient to make us wise unto salvation and to correct our sinful behavior and attitudes, motives and words, so that we can be satisfied with God in Christ and the Holy Spirit. It is in the Bible we find the very words of God, the unchangeable words of God that revives us, directs us, comforts us, encourages us, regenerates us, warns us and guides us in the narrow way to heaven.
Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar (Proverbs 30:5,6 NKJV).
The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of the earth, purified seven times (Psalm 12:6 NKJV).
Because the Word of God is the chief agent in the work of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, we should know the word of God, study the word of God, memorize the word of God and meditate on the word of God, day and night (Psalm 1:1-4). The word of God is the primary power in evangelism and in the proclamation of the gospel. In the Bible we find the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes (Romans 1:16,17). We see that the Bible is the Sword of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) that it is still living and active (Hebrews 4:12) and that it is the word of truth by which we are born again.
“having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the LORD endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you” (I Peter 1:23-25 NKJV).
“Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures” (James 1:18 NKJV).
The word of God is our weapon that pierces the darkness, that triumphs over deception and the lies of the devil as we read it and as we proclaim it wherever we go. It gives hope to the hopeless and convicts of sin, righteousness and judgement by the work of the Holy Spirit. By the word of God the church is sanctified and built up in love (John 17:17). Without the word of God we have no warrant to evangelize and to share the hope that is within us. It is the very foundation that the church is built upon and by God’s providence we have it today preserved in thousands of manuscripts in the world and translated into hundreds of languages around the globe. If we study history we see how God has preserved it through the work of his church and the Holy Spirit that even though we have variant readings in the thousands of manuscripts available to us we can determine with astounding precision the intent of the Holy Spirit through the pages of Scripture and the meaning of the word of God. The variant readings of the different manuscripts in Hebrew and Greek available to us do (comprising 1% of all the manuscripts) not in the slightest vitiate or overturn the truth of Scripture and God’s plan of salvation and our understanding of righteousness and what right and wrong and sin is. God has preserved for us so many manuscripts so that we can know with certainty how God wants us to live and how we can receive eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.
Although God used men to write the Scriptures we do now have, the primary author was the Holy Spirit. God is the originator of Scripture.
“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (II Peter 1:19-21 NKJV).