The Importance of God's Word
“Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” (John 21:21-23).
This Scripture makes an important point because the disciples misunderstood what Jesus' said. Frequently people misquote others. Likewise, many Christians sometimes misquote Scriptures. It's easy to take the Bible out-of-context. Jesus told Peter if He wanted John to live until He returned, what did it matter to Peter? Rumor circulated Jesus said John wouldn't die, but that's not what He said. Jesus simply said, what is it to you if I want John to live until I return? Points we should learn from this exchange are:
Try not to misquote others.
Don't repeat something you hear what until you verify it.
God is the most misquoted person in the world. People are always attributing false teachings to God. Anyone can misquote the Bible. That's why Jesus told us in John 5:39 to personally search the Scriptures for ourselves.
Words have the power of life or death. Words spoken cannot be taken back. They are so important Jesus said in Matthew 12:36 men shall give account on Judgment Day for every idle word spoken.
Jesus plainly warned in Matthew 5:20,
“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus said this because they had self-righteous religion rejecting Christ completely.
"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thessalonians 1:8).
As we can obviously see, accurate knowledge of God's Word is extremely important. God has preserved His Word for our generation. However, not everyone believes the Bible is the Word of God. In fact, some are actively involved in trying to discredit the Bible and disprove its inspiration.
Each person must study the Bible for themselves and reach a personal conviction as to its trustworthiness. Was it really inspired by God? What does God teach us in the Bible and for what purpose? Each individual must search the Scriptures for themselves and come to a conviction about what the Bible says and its value in a Christian's life.
If the Bible isn't God's holy and inspired Word, all that has been done in the ministry has been in vain, because it has been based on the Bible as the Word of God. Therefore, we must know without a doubt the Bible is the absolute truthful Word of God.
Is the Bible Truly Inspired by God?
2 Timothy 3:16 teaches all Scripture is inspired by God.
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good work."
First, we must understand what the word inspiration means. The word, translated from Greek in the New Testament, is a combination of two words literally meaning "God breathed." It means God gave us His Word by direct dictation.
"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21).
This means every word was chosen carefully by God. He didn't just plant thoughts in the minds of those who wrote. He dictated each Word to them.
We are now confronted with the question why we need an inspired Bible. It's because man was separated from God by sin. In the book of Genesis we find when man sinned, he was separated from God.
If God and man were to exist together again, God first had to communicate with them. He did this through His written word, revealing His great plan for man's salvation.
God sent us His Word for our forgiveness and restoration. He wanted to give authority to the church. The Word of God is the final authority for everything we believe and practice.
Evidence for an Inspired Bible
How can we know the Bible is truly inspired? There are many proofs of inspiration. Let's consider a few:
The Bible is the only inexhaustible book. One can read through it numerous times, and find new things each time. In fact, it's a common occurrence.
The Bible has been indestructible through many centuries. No other writing has survived such brutal attacks as has the Word of God. It has been hated, banned, and burned, yet it still exists as the world's most popular book in history. Long after its enemies have passed on, the Bible will still survive.
"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever" (Isaiah 40:8).
The Bible is the only book indispensable to Christian ministry. For one thing, no one can be saved apart from the Word of God.
The God of the heroic men and women in the Bible is the very same we love and serve. According to His own Word, He doesn't change. That means He is able to help you overcome great odds and win victories in your life.
We could not preach apart from the Word of God. The Bible must remain the central theme of every pastor, evangelists, missionaries and full-time church workers. We must preach the Bible if we want to see the God's blessings upon our lives and ministries.
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Timothy 4:2).
Paul's message to Timothy in this verse gives the different "types" of preaching and what God has planned it to bring about in the lives of those who are saved. We are to preach with all long-suffering and doctrine. Pastors grow weary in the ministry, and sometimes give up, and quit. We must earnestly pray for our pastors as they seek to find what God would have them preach. This isn't an easy task. In fact, it's more difficult than many imagine. Your pastor needs your prayers and support.
Bible preaching is part of God's plan for evangelizing.
Have Confidence in the Bible as the Word of God
The most important part of any structure is its foundation. It may be a beautiful thing above ground, but if it's foundation isn't strong it's a worthless structure. We must be sure our foundations are secure. The foundation for the Word of God is the Word of God. If the Bible is our foundation, then our foundation is secure.
The unity of the Bible is nothing less than a miracle. It was written by over 40 different men over a period of 1600 years, in two languages. Every portion of the Bible agrees perfectly with every other. Without the hand of God this would be impossible.
The link between the old testament and New Testament is truly amazing. It has been said, "The New Testament concealed, is the New Testament in the old testament revealed." This is true.
When you read the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, you also need to read the book of Leviticus in the Old to arrive at the understanding of the atonement for sins through the shed blood of a lamb.
It takes the book of Daniel in the Old Testament to shed light on the book of Revelation in the New Testament. The 53rd chapter of Isaiah in the Old Testament teaches us of the One who would be "bruised for our iniquities," and all four of the Gospels in the New Testament bear out this truth in the record of Jesus Christ.
One would never understand what Paul meant when he referred to Christ as our "Passover" in 1 Corinthians 5, of the New Testament, without first reading the account of the Passover in the Old Testament.
It's this marvellous unity between the books of the Old Testament and the New, separated by hundreds of years, that builds confidence the Bible is the Word of God. This kind of unity would be impossible even in this day of modern technology, much less centuries past.
Consider this. Without telephones, word processors or printing presses, these men, wrote a book of perfect unity. This book has to be the Word of God. There is no other explanation for its perfect unity.
Confidence in the Bible increases when one reads of the many prophecies that have been fulfilled. If you wrote a list of predictions for the coming year, and 85 out of every 100 of your predictions came to pass, you would be a wealthy man. Soon you would be proclaimed a great prophet. The Bible can claim the amazing record of 100% when it comes to accuracy in it's prophecies. How can that not build confidence? Let's look at a list of prophecies concerning Christ, found in the Old Testament:
Genesis 3:5. The Messiah would be born of the seed of the woman.
Genesis 12:3. The Nation through which He would be born (the Jews, or the seed of Abraham).
Genesis 49:10. From which of the 12 tribes he would come, the tribe of Judah.
2 Samuel 7:12. The exact family from the tribe of Judah through which the Redeemer would be born, the family of David.
Micah 5:2. The town of His birth, Bethlehem.
Daniel 9:25. The exact time of His birth, 483 years after the end of the time of captivity for the Jews.
Malachi 3:1. A forerunner would come before. This was John the Baptist.
Zechariah 9:9. His triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding upon a colt.
Zechariah 11:12-13. His price of betrayal would be 30 pieces of silver.
All prophecies about Christ were made a minimum of 400 years before His birth. Every one of these prophecies came to pass in Jesus Christ. It has been estimated the odds of such an event taking place by mere chance are about 160 billion to 1.
Another proof of the divine inspiration of the Bible is found in its great ability to change men and transform lives.
The word quick means alive. The Bible is a living book. The Bible has an influence upon people no other book possesses. Churches are filled with people whose lives have been changed by the Word of God. No other book has that power, or can claim to be the Word of God.
How Should We Use the Bible?
By now you should have arrived at the conviction the Bible is the true Word of God, divinely inspired and preserved. What should you do with this knowledge? Most would conclude it must be read, studied and scrutinized in order to become an "approved workmen" who is not ashamed.
We must not lack in our understanding of the Bible. Doing so leaves us wide open to Satan's attack. With the Word of God we can fight the spiritual battle Satan wages against us daily. Keep your Bible close at hand. Study it daily and hide it in your heart. Walk in its principles and precepts. Let it hide in your heart and shine on your path through life until you are safely guided home to God's kingdom.