The foundational truth for every Christian is that the Bible is God’s Word. If we do not have a reliable source of revelation, we are left to our own assumptions, and we will very quickly find ourselves floundering in a sea of personal opinions.
Thankfully, God has not left us in such a position. As He has done throughout history, God has ensured that His people have a clear Word from Him (Heb. 1:1). In the Old Testament, this clear word was spoken, and written, by prophets who served as God’s mouthpiece – people like Moses, Samuel, Elijah, and Isaiah among many others (note the often-used Old Testament phrase: “Thus says the Lord”). These men spoke, and wrote, exactly what God told them to speak and write. And God used them to guide and teach and even rebuke His people. Eventually, God sent His own Son, Jesus, as the ultimate Prophet (Deut. 18:18). Jesus spoke God’s truth perfectly (John 12:49). Then, with those who would believe in Him in mind, Jesus appointed His disciples to be the means of passing that truth on to all who would believe in Him through their Word. And He also promised to give them His Spirit so that they could accurately and faithfully remember and record the things He taught them (John 14:26). These apostles, then – like the prophets before them – went to God’s people and spoke and wrote God’s words, so that God’s people would know His will and His truth. In this way, God’s people are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Himself as the main cornerstone of the entire building (Eph. 2:20).
But where does that leave us? The prophets of the Old Testament are long dead, Jesus is ascended to the Father’s right hand, and the original apostles are no longer around. How can we know God’s Word? We know it because God ordained that it would be written down and preserved for us. We have God’s Word in the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments which we call the Bible. These 66 books do not merely contain God’s words – as if some of the words are God’s while others are not. They are God’s words – fully and completely. When we read the Bible, we are hearing God – His record of events, His interpretation of those events, His commands, His promises, His warnings. It is as if God Himself were standing in front of us speaking. When we say, “The Bible says…”, we are also saying, “God says….”
How do we know that? We know because the very Word itself tells us. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “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.” Clearly, Scripture is able to do some incredible things, but notice that the reason it can do such things is precisely because it is “exhaled” by God Himself. It is God’s word which makes it able to teach, reprove, correct, and train so that we are competent and equipped for the good works God wants us to do. In 2 Timothy, Paul was clearly talking about what we call the “Old Testament”. But very early on, the church began to recognize (note: not declare, but recognize – they did not make it so but merely saw that it was so) that other writings were coming into existence that were “Scripture” as well. The apostle Peter included Paul’s writings with the “other Scriptures” (2 Pet. 3:16). And Paul himself quoted Luke’s writing and called it “Scripture” (1 Tim. 5:18). In His incredible power and sovereignty, God used men to write His words by filling them with His Spirit so that they would write precisely what He intended and precisely what we needed (2 Pet. 1:21).
Ultimately, this is our foundation. God has spoken. And God still speaks. And He does this through His Word. Just like the saints of Scripture, we have direct communication from God. Just like the hearers of Jesus in the gospels, we can know what Jesus taught and said. Just like the early Church, we have a perfect record of God’s will and words. This is our life because it comes from our God. Take up the Book and read, and hear the Word of the Lord.