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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Every word of Scripture is inspired, which means “God breathed.” God worked through the writers personalities and backgrounds to communicate His message to us. We may not understand exactly how this happened, but we can be certain that the message they wrote was, and is God’s divine Word.
God’s truth transforms lives, but not by magic. As we listen and study it ourselves, it becomes “profitable” to us by changing our lives. The Bible teaches us truth about the greatness and grace of God and about the human need for forgiveness. It instructs us in relationships of every kind. When our lives are in alignment with God’s will, the Scriptures affirm our direction; when we’re off base, it shines it’s light on our selfishness and disobedience. The Bible gives us new tracks to run on, directing us to live in ways that honor God and bring fulfillment to us. And ultimately, our humble and willing response to God’s truth shapes us so that God can use us to accomplish His purpose in other’s lives.
Today we can read scores of translations, and we can download hundreds of files of the Bible. In addition, we can listen to messages by many of the finest teachers of our day. If the benefits of studying God’s Word are so great, and it is so readily available, why don’t we read and study it more often?
There are some promises in the Bible which I have ever yet used, but I am well assured that there will come times and trouble when I shall find that poor despised promise, which I thought was never meant for me, will be the only one on which I can float. I know that the times coming when every believer shall know the worth of every promise in the covenant.
In a world filled with inconsistencies and drowning in subjective thinking, we need absolutes. When you’re driving down the highway there is a reason for stripes on the edge and in the center of the road. Often there is a need for guardrails and when crossing a river or a deep hollow over a bridge there are concrete rails. These are necessary to keep us safe as we travel from one destination to another. While a careful driver may never need them, nevertheless they still give guidance and when something happens that causes the vehicle to lose control, we’re glad that they are there.
In the same way on the journey of life we need guidelines and guardrails. God in His great mercy has given such through the Scriptures. Study of the Word of God and alloying it’s truths always keeps us going the right way and safe. But what if for some reason we would choose to ignore or worse move the guardrails? Unfortunately there are those who wish to go through life using their own feelings, surmising, and thoughts. Often those aren’t rooted in the teachings of Scripture for they wish to create their own standards. Let’s consider this practice through using our highway example. In the US the absolute is that we drive on the right side of the road. But what if someone decides that they wish to create their own way and drive on the left? I think most of us would call that foolish at best and a dangerous decision not only for the one who made that choice but for the rest of us as well. More dangerous than this is the decision to set aside the guidelines and directions of Scripture. Yet we find effort to do such things especially when the Bible interferes with our preferred lifestyles. Our justification is to call into question the inspiration and authority of Scripture. Is it truly God’s Word or just a collection of the writer’s opinions? Is it “God-breathed” or creative writing that reflects the views of its writers heavily influenced by their culture, education, and environment? I don’t think most of us question why the highway department has erected guardrails or put side rails on bridges. Most of the time their placement is due to evidence that these are dangerous places and we need their protection. But what if someone decided that they were a hindrance to them and decided they were unnecessary and removed them? In the same way we must be careful to keep the absolutes of Scripture intact.
Having said this, I must press the point that only through careful study and seeking understanding through the revelation of the Holy Spirit can we find the absolutes of Scripture. This means that we have to become students of the Word rather than just accepting what someone else tells us. A lot of the confusion in the church today is that many don’t actually know what the Bible says about things. Or they are victims of someone quoting a single verse out of context.
The beginning of having a safe journey is to have someone or something to guide us. We rely today heavily on GPS without thinking that someone set it up and put the data in so we could take the advantage of it. Many of us trust our GPS more than we trust God and the Bible to guide our lives. None of us have been to heaven so I’m sure we don’t know the way. At least that’s what Thomas said. But Jesus told him and us that He was the way and if we want to go there we will need to follow Him. In the Gospel of John we read that Jesus is the Word, has been from the beginning and when He became human, the Word became visible in the flesh.
What happens when we choose to disregard Scripture as God’s Word? In the Garden, Adam and Eve chose to override what God had said and humanity is still paying that price. The Israelites often chose to set aside God’s Word, many times by making it only the word of the prophet who had given it. Read their story and learn from it.
We may choose to question, ignore, or set aside the Bible as God’s Word, but we do do at the peril of our souls. Just like the natural highway, we may choose to ignore the signs of direction, guidance and warning, but we ought not be surprised when it doesn’t end well. In the same way, there will come a day when the books are opened and we will be judged not by popular opinions but by those books. What books you might ask? According to Jesus in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, it will be the books of the law and the prophets. For Christians it will also include the gospels and the epistles.
In light of the end, perhaps we would be wise to accept, follow, and believe that God is the author of all Scripture.
Dr. John Thompson