What the Bible Says About Itself Part 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
“How can the inspiration of the Scriptures be proved?”
They were first spoken by the Lord (thundered from Mount Sinai). It was God who gave the Ten Commandments, which were written by His own finger, to his servant Moses. It was accompanied by heavenly signs and wonders. But the Lord Jesus Christ was the first who began to speak it clearly and plainly. He spoke as no man ever spoke before, and many believed His words and were saved.
Second, the Scriptures were confirmed by those who heard them. The disciples of Jesus Christ, who were eye and ear-witnesses of what He did and taught continued and confirmed His Gospel. These witnesses had no self-interests to serve and nothing could induce them to give their testimony except the Redeemer’s glory, and their own and others salvation. They exposed themselves to great danger by their witness and they lost everything that was dear to them in this life, and many sealed it with their blood.
And when the Scriptures were given by Christ and His disciples they were accompanied by signs and wonders. Jesus did many miracles and He gave his disciples the ability to heal the sick and raise the dead. These were wonders quite beyond human ability and the power of nature. However, the miracles filled the spectators with wonder and admiration and stirred them up to receive what was preached by His ministers.
But the Scriptures were also corroborated by the gifts of the Holy Spirit and by the coming of the Holy Spirit in power on the Day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came to indwell believers and He qualified, enabled and excited the believers in the Early Church so that they did the work that God called them to do. Those are the proofs for the inspiration of Scripture.
The next question that we asked was,
“How are the Scriptures understood?
First and foremost, they are understood by illumination provided by the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:10-14) Paul wrote to the believers at Corinth, “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” The scriptures are given by the inspiration of God. The men who wrote them were instructed by the Holy Spirit. We are told here that the Holy Spirit knows all things because He is God, and He will reveal many things to the minds of men and women. It’s the Holy Spirit that opens the eye of the mind and gives us knowledge and faith. He illuminates and influences our minds so that we come to God for salvation. Those who are lost never have their mind illuminated by the Holy Spirit and therefore don’t understand the Bible. The things of God are foolishness to them.
Second, we come to understand the Bible by examination. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15) Read the Bible and study what it says. Meditate upon it and pray to God for understanding. There are many helps that are available to clarify scripture, such as commentaries and Bible dictionaries. Organized Bible studies and preaching will also help. But unless you make the effort to read the Bible, you will miss the opportunity to learn God’s Word, and to be approved of by God.
We also come to understand Scripture by reasoning (Acts 17:2) We know that Paul was a man who debated the scriptures, for it says in Acts, “Then Paul, as his custom was, went into them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures.” Both Paul and Jesus made it their practice to go into the synagogues and explain the scriptures. Paul would present teaching after teaching concerning Christ. Jesus was his principal subject and his business was to make people acquainted with him so that with knowledge they would be saved. Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord God gave this challenge, “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Is. 1:18) The prophet’s appeal to come and reason together shows God’s gracious invitation to all men. When a person turns to Christ in faith, they are washed clean of sin.
Finally, we learn with the assistance of Human help (Acts 8:27-35) The story of the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch is a good example of how God uses men in His program of salvation. The Ethiopian was traveling home, after visiting Jerusalem. Along the way, he was reading the Bible, but he didn’t understand what he was reading. God providentially placed Philip in the chariot with him to explain the scriptures and to present the gospel. The Ethiopian believed and was baptized. Here we see God’s formula for salvation. The Holy Spirit uses a man of God and the Word of God to work the miracle of salvation in the heart of a sinner and create a child of God.
So, we have seen that we come to understand Scripture through the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit, by examining it, through reasoning, and with the help of others.
The last question that we asked was,
“How should the Scriptures be received?
Paul wrote, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Col.3:16) We must take instruction from it, and take comfort in it. In other words, let the Word of God be alive and effective in our lives.
Second, we receive the Scriptures when we Search and study them daily Acts 17:11). In writing about the Christians in Thessalonica, Mark said, “…they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” Daily reading and studying God’s Word is an excellent habit.
Then, we are told to hide them in our hearts (Ps 119:11). David wrote, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” They provide a “reserve power” that can help us combat sin and temptation. Furthermore, when we hide the scriptures in our hearts, God will bring them to our remembrance in our time of need.
In Psalms, we are told to Delight in them (Ps. 1:2). The Psalmist wrote, “…But his delight is in the law of the Lord.” The godly man is pleased that there is a Bible, a revelation of God and of His will; because we love to think of the things we love.
Finally, we are told to teach them to our children (Deut. 11:19). Moses wrote, “You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” This means that you don’t just take your children to Church and Sunday school, but that you also teach them the Bible in the home as well.
Through the Word of God, we learn of our sinful nature and our need for salvation. Because the Word of God is alive and powerful, it is used by the Spirit to probe relentlessly into our hearts. The spiritual nourishment it provides brings about spiritual growth and releases within us a marvelous defense mechanism against sin. I hope that you will agree with me; that the Bible speaks well for itself. It did a good job answering all the questions. It’s another of the great gifts that God has given to His children.