Moved By The Spirit
But understand this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of or comes from one’s own [personal or special] interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
2 Peter 1:20-21
Far too often, people read the Bible with all the enthusiasm they’d have if they were reading last week’s news or another city’s phone book. They think it sounds so old, so outdated, so out of touch with real life. Certainly, the Scriptures were written years ago, but although they were written in another era in a farming society, the Bible is for all cultures- even our high tech environment. The truth of God’s Word is the most challenging, most dramatic, and most comforting the world has ever known. If it doesn’t blow our socks off by it’s power, we’re just not paying attention!
Some people complain, “Yeah, but it’s just men writing what they thought about God. What difference can that make in my life today?” Great question! It makes all the difference in the world because every word was written under the direction of God’s Spirit. Each writer was prompted, guided, and inspired to write God’s message, which applies to every person for all time.
If we take our blinders off, we’ll see that certain passages give us the most wonderful promises we can imagine. God offers forgiveness and cleansing to the worst of sinners, and He promises His Spirit’s presence and power if we’ll only ask. When we doubt, God’s Word gives us hope. When we feel crushed under the weight of guilt, the Scriptures teach that God forgives. When we don’t know where to go, God’s promises and commands guide us. And when we close our eyes for the last time, God leads us to a glorious place He has prepared for us, a place He described in His Word.
The Bible doesn’t speak to every conceivable situation in our technological age, but it speaks boldly and clearly about the condition of the heart, the nature of relationships, and the hope we can experience if we follow God. That should be enough to keep us interested.
Nobody ever outgrows the Scriptures; the Book widens and deepens with our years.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
In recent years there has been much discussion over the authenticity and the authority of the Bible. Yet the Bible itself declares that the whole of it has been inspired- God-breathed. At stake is whether or not the Bible is God’s Word and is an accurate reflection of His will. Many wish to treat it as though it is the “Holy Buffet,” allowing us to pick and choose which parts we wish to believe and which we choose to disregard. Others wish to place portions of Scripture as the opinions of the writers influenced by their time and culture. Some even view portions of Scripture as oppressive and even unkind and cruel. Let’s take a moment and see what the Bible says about itself:
Paul in his letter to the young pastor, Timothy says:
All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]; so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
To the church at Corinth, Paul gave this defense:
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the [Holy] Spirit who is from God, so that we may know and understand the [wonderful] things freely given to us by God. We also speak of these things, not in words taught or supplied by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual thoughts with spiritual words [for those being guided by the Holy Spirit].
1 Corinthians 2: 12-13
The writer of Hebrews reminded the readers that God spoke to their ancestors, God spoke through the prophets and now God was speaking through His Son.
God, having spoken to the fathers long ago in [the voices and writings of] the prophets in many separate revelations [each of which set forth a portion of the truth], and in many ways, has in these last days spoken [with finality] to us in [the person of One who is by His character and nature] His Son [namely Jesus], whom He appointed heir and lawful owner of all things, through whom also He created the universe [that is, the universe as a space-time-matter continuum].
Hebrews 1: 1-2
The Old Testament records God speaking through His prophets and the people deciding to write it off as the ravings of some religious person. In the following passage we read the results of the folly of categorizing God’s words as that of human opinion.
Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments and My statutes, in accordance with all the Law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets.” However they did not listen, but stiffened their necks as did their fathers who did not believe (trust in, rely on, remain steadfast to) the Lord their God. They rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers, as well as His warnings that he gave them. And they followed vanity [that is, false gods, idols] and became vain (empty-headed). They followed the [pagan practices of the] nations which surrounded them, although the Lord had commanded that they were not to do as they did. They abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God and made for themselves cast images of two calves; and they made an Asherah [idol] and worshiped all the [starry] host of heaven and served Baal.
2 Kings 17:13-16
Finally there is no greater voice than that of Christ who confirmed that the Scriptures are God’s Word.
In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. And the Word (Christ) became flesh, and lived among us; and we [actually] saw His glory, glory as belongs to the [One and] only begotten Son of the Father, [the Son who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, who is] full of grace and truth (absolutely free of deception).
John 1: 1, 14
“Do not think that I came to do away with undo the Law [of Moses] or the [writings of the] Prophets; I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For I assure you most solemnly say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke [of the pen] will pass from the Law until all things [which it foreshadows] are accomplished. So whoever breaks one of the least [important] of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least [important] in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever practices and teaches them, he will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
I testify and warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book [its predictions, consolations, and admonitions]: if anyone adds [anything] to them, God will add to him the plagues (afflictions, calamities) which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from or distorts the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away [from that one] his share from the tree of life and from the holy city (new Jerusalem), which are written in this book.
Revelation 22: 18-19
The final defense of accepting the whole of Scripture as inspired and God-given is this: Who among us has the wisdom or the audacity to decide what we keep and what we throw away. The same Bible that offers correction and instruction also offers us the most important promises such as grace and mercy, forgiveness and eternal life, and heaven and all its blessings. It’s tempting to reject the scriptures when they don’t agree with the social norms, culture, or current thought that has been developed in absence of the wisdom and instruction of Scripture. Some of the things the Bible teaches are difficult. For those who have loved ones who haven’t received Christ as their Savior, we would love to embrace the idea that none are lost and surely their destiny can’t be eternity in hell. Yet that’s the truth of Scripture. Our human care for others wants to move us to reason that people who practice another religion or biblically sinful lifestyles will be accepted but that contradicts what Christ Himself said when He said, I am the way, the truth, the life, and none comes to the Father except by me,” and who said “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (John 14:6, Luke 13:3) While we may never fully understand every reason and certainly God’s ways are often beyond our comprehension, we are left with accepting God’s way and God’s Word or rejecting it. It’s not halfway measure. It’s all in or all out. One day every person will stand before Christ, either at the Judgement Seat of Christ or at the Great White Throne Judgement. Christians will give account to Christ for their works at the first and sinners will give account for their sins at the latter. Those in first will enter into eternity in heaven and those in the last will enter into eternity in hell. There won’t be a vote and human opinion won’t be sought. Christ will make the final decree. In the Great White Throne Judgement, the Bible says the books will be opened and they will dictate the judgement. This is the moment for every Christian to choose to accept or reject the inspiration and authority of the Bible or to continue to write their own laws.
“ And I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them [for this heaven and earth are passing away]. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life; and the dead were judged according to what they had done as written in the books [that is, everything done while on earth]. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and death and Hades (the realm of the dead) surrendered the dead who were in them; and they were judged and sentenced, every one according to their deeds. Then death and Hades [the realm of the dead] were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire [the eternal separation from God]. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was hurled into the lake of fire.”
Dr. John Thompson