The motivation for this series is responsive . . . I am responding to something I heard recently, and I’ll leave it at that for now. The main content of the series is going to be quotes and thoughts from Christian pastors and theologians, past and present, and this first post which is the linking together of several key passages of Scripture.
Is the Bible the Word of God? Our answer to that question will determine everything about our lives: how we approach the Bible, how much we value the Bible, what we believe, how we live, and our eternal destiny.
In 2 Timothy 4:1-2 Paul wrote to Timothy,
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
Paul went on to tell Timothy in 4:3-4 what to expect from the times of the age (then and now):
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
That sounds ominous, and we are probably inclined to think that it can’t happen to us or anyone we know. But the threat is real. Fortunately, so is the antidote: “Preach the word!” And why is the word so important? Because, as Paul told Timothy just before he charged him to preach the word,
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16
Many centuries before Paul wrote that letter to Timothy, the prophet Isaiah wrote these words:
Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:6-11
So what is a primary reason for the Bible? It must be so that we can know God, particularly as he has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ. In John 5:39-40 Jesus said these words to the Jewish religious leaders of his day,
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
In my opinion, Jesus wasn’t demeaning the Scriptures. Rather, he was elevating their value above and beyond what the Jewish leaders saw in them. If anything, Jesus was declaring that the Scriptures were absolutely essential to knowing and coming to Jesus, who alone is the source of eternal life.