What the Bible Says About Itself Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Title: What the Bible Says About Itself
Series: What the Bible Says About....
Text: For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12; RSV)
Scripture reading: Hebrews 4:12
In recent years there has been considerable division among Christians of all denominations in regard to the Bible and its contents. Some claim that only parts are inspired. Some declare that only its thoughts are inspired, but not its language. I have heard men and women say that much of the Bible is only stories meant to teach moral principles, but they never really happened. The very educated use theological terminology to describe certain concepts regarding the Bible and its contents, such as verbal inspiration, plenary inspiration, inerrancy, and so forth. Perhaps the safest course to pursue is to let the Bible speak for itself.
We should always beware of those who try to persuade us to worship the Bible as though it was a good-luck charm. The important thing about the scriptures is that they reveal to humans what God is like and how we can be reconciled to God through His Son Jesus Christ.
Today, let’s ask the Bible to answer five questions about itself:
1. What are the various names given to the Scriptures?
2. How are the Scriptures described?
3. How can the inspiration of the Scriptures be proved?
4. How can the Scriptures be understood?
5. How should the Scriptures be received?
Our text is Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
The Bible has a lot of other things to say about itself, but let’s ask the first question.
What are the Scriptures called?
First, they are called The Word of God (Heb 4:12). That phrase was in our text, which we read. As the Word of God, the scriptures are an extension of God’s being. They are more than just what God said. They are the essence of His nature.
Next, the Scriptures are called The Word of Truth (James 1:18). James wrote, “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” God’s word does not merely contain truth; it is absolute truth. Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)
Third, the Scriptures are called the oracles of God (Rom 3:2). In Romans, Paul wrote, “To begin with, the Jews are entrusted with the oracles of God.” Pagans referred to messengers from their gods as oracles. So when Paul was writing to Roman Christians (many of whom
had only recently been saved out of paganism), he explained to them that the messages of the true God (which he calls oracles) were first given to the Jews.
The Scriptures are also called The Word (James 1:21-23). James wrote this about it, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and accumulation of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass.” The phrase “engrafted word” implies the personification of Jesus Christ, who is “in you” in the person of the Holy Spirit.
They are also called Holy Scriptures (Rom 1:2). Paul wrote, “Which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures.” They are holy because they are uniquely God’s words.
And finally, the Scriptures are called the Sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." As “the sword,” the Word of God serves as the Christian’s defense against Satan. The Holy Spirit makes the Word powerful in the heart of believers. He “activates” it.
Now we have found six other names for the Bible: the Word of God, the Word of Truth, the oracles of God, The Word, Holy Scriptures, and Sword of the Spirit.
Next lets ask,
“How are the Scriptures described?”
First, The Bible says that they are authoritative (Ps. 19:7-8). It says in the 19 Th Psalm, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” Because they are the words of God, they contain absolute authority.
Next, the Bible says that the Scriptures are inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Paul wrote to Timothy, “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.” They are God-breathed; therefore they communicate to us the very personality of God.
They are also described as sharp (Heb. 4:12). “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit…” This means that God’s word is razor-sharp like a surgeon’s scalpel. It does not mangle but opens the heart to reveal its contents.
It says in Proverbs, “Every word of God is pure…” There are no lies mixed in, therefore we can trust it. When people try to add to God’s Word, they destroy its purity. One of Satan’s tactics is to tamper with God’s Word, to make people doubt it and twist its truth. The Scriptures were described as authoritative, inspired, sharp and pure.
That brings us to our next question,