Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

What is the Bible? (Part 1)

The Bible means “The Book.” It means that the Bible is the unique book with divine inspiration and authority.

However, in today’s society, this understanding is not commonly accepted.

Dictionary.com simply refers to the “Bible” as “the collection of sacred writings of the Christian religion, comprising the Old and New Testaments.”

Then it goes on to say that Bible may refer to “(often lowercase) the sacred writings of any religion.” Also, that it may be (lowercase) any book, reference work, periodical, etc., accepted as authoritative, informative, or reliable: He regarded that particular bird book as the birdwatchers’ bible.”

But what is it that makes the Holy Bible unique from all other books? And how can you prove it? I say “you” because the assurance does not come from others convincing, but from your own experience.

In this post we’ll begin to consider what the Bible is, from its own words. Essentially, we’ll let the Bible speak for itself.  Then, by application, we’ll see how we can prove the authority of the Scriptures by our own experience.

The Bible is the speaking of God to man.

“Men spoke from God while being borne by the Holy Spirit.”

2 Pet. 1:20-21 says,

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of one’s own interpretation;   for no prophecy was ever borne by the will of man, but men spoke from God while being borne by the Holy Spirit.”

 The footnotes on these verses in the Holy Bible Recovery Version say,

…No prophecy of Scripture is of the prophet’s or writer’s exposition, for no prophecy was ever borne, or carried along, by the will of man. Rather, men spoke from God while being borne by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Pet. 1:21, note 1)

…No prophecy was ever borne by the will of man. Man’s will, desire, and wish, with his thought and exposition, were not the source from which any prophecy came; the source was God, by whose Holy Spirit men were borne, as a ship is borne by the wind, to speak out the will, desire, and wish of God. (2 Pet. 1:21, note 2)

When I come to the Bible, I’m often reminded that God is the living Source of the Scriptures that spoke to men, moving them to write the Bible. Then I’m also reminded to pray that this same inspiring Spirit, would speak these words afresh in me, causing His inspired Word to operate within my heart.

 “God, having spoken…in the prophets and in the Son.”

Heb. 1:1-2 says,

God, having spoken of old in many portions and in many ways to the fathers in the prophets, has at the last of these days spoken to us in the Son…”

 Footnote 1 on Heb 1:1 says,

 God has spoken! Praise Him! Without His speaking, God is mysterious. But He has revealed Himself in His speaking. He is no longer mysterious. Now He is the revealed God.

The emphasis of [Hebrews] is that God, not man, has spoken. Therefore, it does not identify its writer, nor in any of its quotations from the Old Testament does it mention the speaker’s name. According to the concept of this book, the entire Scripture is the speaking of God. Hence, in referring to the Old Testament, this book always says that it is the Holy Spirit’s speaking (3:7; 9:8; 10:15-17).

In the Old Testament, God spoke in the prophets, in men borne by His Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21). The prophets were like sailing ships, being blown along by God’s Spirit to speak.

In the New Testament, God speaks in the Son, in the person of His Son. Since the Lord entered into and became one with His apostles (Gal. 2:20; Phil 1:21), their writing was also part of God’s speaking in the Son. The word preached by the apostles are the contents of the New Testament, the apostles’ teaching (Acts 2:42).

 “The word of God, which also operates in you who believe.”

1 Thes. 2:13  says,

“And because of this we also thank God unceasingly that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but even as it truly is, the word of God, which also operates in you who believe.”

The notes on this verse say,

 The word received by the believers was from the apostles, but it was of God. Its source, its origin, was God and not the apostles. (1 Thes.  2:13,  note 2)

Since the word of God is living and operative (Heb. 4:12), it operates in the believing ones.  (1 Thes.  2:13, note 3)

For more on being a believing one, you may enjoy reading my post: “How to have faith? 12 Action Verbs to Fill You with Faith ”

Proving by Experience

So how can you prove that the Bible is the speaking of God and not just of men?

It is simply by coming to its Source, by opening to the Lord, the Source of the Scriptures as you read them.

That’s why praying before, during, and after reading the Bible is so invaluable (Eph. 6:17-18). By bringing every verse, even every word, back to its Source, we mix faith with the Word of God we hear.  In this way, God’s living Word profits us. That is, it operates in us who believe (1 Thes. 2:13; Heb. 4:2, 12).

Sadly, many scholarly people today have missed the real benefit from God’s living Word by merely considering the Bible as a book of classical literature, religious doctrines or ethics.

Instead, we should follow the pattern of the Lord Jesus in Matt. 4:4. He said,

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word proceeding out through the mouth of God.”

By daily receiving the words of the Bible as “words proceeding out through the mouth of God” we’ll be nourished to live an overcoming life, just as Jesus did as a man on this earth. We just need to breathe in what God has breathed out!

A Simple Application 

This week, remind yourself to stop and pray as you read the Bible,

 Lord, I’m coming to You as the Source of the Scriptures. As You moved men by Your Spirit to write the Word, now, by Your Spirit, cause Your Words to become living and operative in Me. I open to breathe in every word that proceeds from Your mouth.

Try it and see if you don’t find reading the Bible something living and full of the breath of God. You may also find that by coming to the Source in your reading the Bible the words fill you with divine love, light, life, joy, and comfort.

If touching God as the Source of the Scriptures has changed your Bible reading, please share the benefit you have received.

References:

You can get a free copy of the New Testament Recovery Version with footnotes from Bibles for America.

You can also read more about “The Bible” in Lesson One of Truth Lessons, Level One, Volume 1, by Witness Lee.

In addition,  check out a great hymn on the Bible as the speaking of God: “God the Lord has spoken. ” Make sure to click the “View Lyrics” link.

Photo Credit: Mike Johnson (Creative Commons)

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

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