In this age of printing, with its millions of books, we more or less take the Bible for granted. Oh, I know we’ve read it, studied it perhaps, some more some less, but did you ever pause to consider its supreme importance?
It is, of course, true, that we have another revelation of God beside that in the Bible—in nature. But that revelation must and can only be seen in the light of the Bible. God’s revelation of Himself in nature is not complete. Nature alone, without the Bible, could never reveal God to us completely—that is in as far as we can know God here on this earth.
But the Bible is far more than a mere sequel to the revelation of God in nature. In the Bible God reveals Himself to us, especially in the face of Jesus Christ, as fully as it is possible for us to know Him here below. The Bible is the only source of this complete, full, knowledge of God.
In this connection we see also that the opponents of God and His kingdom, both within and without the church, always begin their evil work by denying or tampering with the Scriptures. The unbeliever always denies it and calls it a book of fables and dreams. The heretic, on the other hand, always tides to tamper with it and so make its message conform to the imagination of his wicked heart. We read in 2 Peter 3:16b, “which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures. unto their own destruction”. So the Jews of Jesus’ day made God’s law of none effect, by their traditions. Matt. 15:1-5. So also in our day those who follow the example of the Jews of Jesus’ day and make the law of God of none effect by their traditions. Take, for example, the Roman Catholic Church which adds the Apocraphal books to God’s Word, adds the tradition of the church to that and above all places the power of the Pope. And solemnly pronounces anathemas upon any one who denies the equality of the Apocrapha and tradition with Holy Scripture and the supremacy of the Pope over all.
Over against these outright denials of, changes in, or additions to the Bible, the church has and always must take the position that the Bible is the only true, correct, complete and final revelation and word of God to man in this life.
But immediately questions arise. Who is to be the judge of what the Bible should contain? Is not the Apocrapha perhaps part of the Bible? Are not parts of the Bible perhaps missing? How do we know it is complete? How do we even know that we have the correct Bible?
To answer these questions we must first find how the Bible was obtained. In 2 Peter 3:2 we read, “That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandments of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour”. And in 2 Peter 1:20, 21, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. 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”.
This of course proves that the Bible is no mere, ordinary, commonplace work of man, but is the Divinely inspired Word of God. And when the human authors of God’s Word were moved by the Spirit to write, the church recognized it as the Infallible, inspired Word of God. Not always, of course, immediately upon its being written. Our New Testament was not officially recognized as a unity until 397 A.D., but even then its several books had been read in the churches from the time they were written.
Throughout history the church, guided by the Holy Spirit is the judge whether or not any given writing is Divinely inspired and therefore infallible or not. Before the coming of Christ in the flesh this had been done by the Jewish Nation, the Old Testament Church. It had studied and discarded many books and retained those contained in our present Old Testament. That this is the correct method for determining what is Scripture is proven by the fact that Jesus set His stamp of approval upon them and quoted them as the Word of God while He was here on earth. His apostles also by their quotations indicated that also in this the Old Testament Church was guided by the Holy Spirit. So also the Church of the New Dispensation chose between various books in order to determine which were the Word of God.
The Bible itself also bears witness of its own Divine origin. Besides the texts which could be quoted to prove this, the Bible presents itself as a remarkable unity and clearly indicates completeness. We have in the New Testament the completion and fulfillment of the Old and the two present a beautiful, harmonious, complete, composite picture of God, Christ and Salvation. Nothing that we must know is lacking. It covers all from the beginning to the end of time.
And in its completeness the Bible fulfills its task. Without the Word of God everything would be without purpose and meaningless. Only through God’s revelation of Himself is there purpose in the seemingly purposeless, reason in the seemingly unreasonable, sense in the seemingly senseless. Without the Word of God the entire world is vain. But it reveals God as the Just God and man as a sinner before Him. It shows God in His infinite love sending His Only Begotten Son into the world to redeem His own. It exhorts all to believe on Him and promises eternal life to those who do, and eternal desolation to those who do not. It warns of temptations and trials. It strengthens in weakness. It comforts in distress and sorrow. It provides joy and strength. It shows the beginning and the ending and the motive of all things. Truly indeed, is the Word of God. able to make us wise unto salvation. And the Holy Spirit continually testifies in our hearts that believing on God’s Word, we shall be saved.