The Bible: God’s Revelation

A Light To My Path

“The unfolding of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.”

Psalm 119:130

Visualizing the Bible® Chris Harrison

Light is such a wonderful description of the effect of the Bible on the human heart.

I know, because forty years ago tonight as I read and discussed Romans 5, I became a Christian. Through His Word, God led me out of darkness into light. No other word depicts so well the work God did through the Bible that summer evening as I sat on the grass outside a college dorm.

Through the light of His Word, I met Jesus, the Light of the World.

Steerage

When a ship is crippled in naval warfare, it becomes hors de combat or “out of the fight.” Its masts broken, with sails shredded and hull or rudder damaged, the ship is at risk of being boarded and taken by the enemy.

“Without absolutes revealed from without by God Himself, we are left rudderless in a sea of conflicting ideas about manners, justice, and right and wrong, issuing from a multitude of self-opinionated thinkers. We could never know who God is, how He is to be worshiped, or wherein true happiness lies…”

John Owen

God safeguards Christians from becoming hors de combat by His Word, the Bible.

“…the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 3:14-17

Years ago as I thought through how to explain why I believe the Bible is God’s Word, I decided the starting point was the truth that the New Testament is an accurate historical document attesting to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (see Eyewitnesses). Anyone can go to the New Testament Gospels, read them and gain reliable knowledge about Jesus Christ. As we read, we each decide our answer to the question: who is Jesus? (Eyewitnesses). Even if we lay aside the Bible and read it no more, that decision reflects who we think Jesus is.

For those who become Christians (Believe, Two Chairs), and confess Jesus is Lord, we are inexorably drawn to examine and read His words in all matters, believe Him and obey Him. Not to do so is a denial of our confession. Of crucial importance is our understanding of His teaching and use of the Bible.

As you read the Gospels, you see Jesus’ continual use of the Hebrew Scriptures, our Old Testament, as authoritative to define and validate His teaching regarding God and man, and His own person and ministry. He clearly regarded the Hebrew Scriptures as the authoritative and inerrant Word of God. He claimed God’s authority for His own words and told His Apostles the Holy Spirit would come to further teach them, thereby giving the promise of God’s revelation of His Word in what we now call the New Testament.

We can clearly determine: Jesus taught that the Bible is the truthful and authoritative Word of God. Those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord are thus compelled to conclude, “When Scripture speaks, God speaks.”

Sola Scriptura

“We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.

“We deny that any creed,
council or individual
may bind a Christian’s conscience, that the Holy
Spirit speaks independently
of or contrary to what is
set forth in the Bible, or
that personal spiritual experience can ever be a
vehicle of revelation.”

Cambridge Declaration

Martin Luther’s 1534 Bible

One of the best courses I took in college was Reformation history—and this was not at a Christian school, but a secular university. I was assigned more books for that class than for any other, and it is one of only two undergraduate courses for which I still have the texts!

Our professor’s enthusiasm brought us into the time, and into the heart of the conflict and the courage of Martin Luther. Innumerable debates occurred during that period and could last for weeks. A favorite book of mine is Great Debates of the Reformation, edited by Donald J. Ziegler. This book is an English translation of the text of ten debates; most of the text is the verbatim words of the speakers, and the drama reverberates in their voices.

The first chapter contains part of the Leipzig Disputation from July 4th to July 6th in 1519: exchanges between John Eck and Martin Luther.

“A public debate was about to begin on a vital issue, the question of papal supremacy within the universal church. Did the dominant position of the church of Rome and its bishop rest on divine decree? Or, in the words of one of the two men, was it based on “utterly worthless decrees issued by Roman popes over the past four hundred years”? Was it, as he alleged, “contradicted by the history of eleven hundred years, the text of Divine Scripture, and the decree of the Council of Nicea, the most sacred of all councils”?

“The words were asserted by Martin Luther in “thesis number thirteen” against his opponent in the castle hall—John Eck, well-known lecturer and debater from the University of Ingolstadt.

The issue at stake was authority.

Eck: I come therefore to the principal issue, to prove that the primacy of the Roman church is based on divine law and the institution of Christ, that Peter was established by Christ as the single ruler of the church, together with his successors….

He quotes Matthew 16:17, and later, various church writings to support his position. Eck’s strategy is to push to link Luther’s writings and words to those of John Wycliffe of England and John Huss of Bohemia. In 1415, the Council of Constance had condemned Huss and burned him at the stake. Wycliffe, although deceased, was also condemned and the Council ordered his remains to be exhumed and burned.

Eck: “Among the many dangerous errors for which John Wycliffe was condemned was his assertion that belief in the supremacy of the Roman church is not required for salvation. So, too, among the pernicious errors of John Huss was his belief that Peter was never head of the holy catholic church.

Luther was prepared for debate, and brings up the history of the church, beginning with its earliest days as he points out the existence of Christians who were never under the Roman church. He shoots back:

For even if all the admirers of the Roman pontiff were out of their minds, they could not deny that the church of Christ was established for twenty years over a large part of the world before the Roman church was identified with Peter.

Luther differs with Eck’s interpretation of Matthew 11:16, stating that the church fathers agree with him more than Eck: the rock is Christ, and Luther also cites 1 Corinthians 3:11 and 1 Peter 2:4ff for support.

A recess is called, and Roland Bainton writes that Luther spent time reading the acts of the Council of Constance. When they reassemble, Luther resumes:

At the end of the previous discussion the excellent doctor mentioned the articles of Wycliffe and John Huss that were condemned and Boniface VIII who condemned them.

And then Luther utters words that shock the listeners:

“…many of the articles of John Huss or the Bohemians were fully Christian and evangelical, which the universal church cannot condemn…

By stating that the Roman church had erred and was fallible in its condemnation of Huss, Luther lays the groundwork for the standard of the Reformation, Sola Scriptura. The only source and norm of all Christian knowledge is the Holy Scripture. The Scriptures alone are the infallible rule of faith and practice. Luther continues:

…It is not essential to salvation to believe that the Roman church is above the others. Whether this is from Wycliffe or Huss, I do not care…Neither the Roman pontiff nor the inquisitors of heresy are empowered to establish new articles of faith. They are to judge according to the established ones….

We are prohibited by divine law from believing anything that has not been proved either by Divine Scripture or by manifest revelation…

Almost two years later, at the Diet of Worms in 1521, Eck and Luther face each other again. Eck tells Luther to speak plainly: will he or will he not repudiate his writings. Luther replies,

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason—I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other—my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.

Roland Bainton writes that the earliest printed copies of Luther’ speech included these words:

“Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.

Sweeter Than Honey

The law of the LORD is perfect,
restoring the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.
They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;
In keeping them there is great reward.
Psalm 19:7-11

In April of 1984, I underwent surgery in both ears. As a result I lost most of my hearing and began suffering from continuous tinnitus. I was suddenly cut off from easy communication with my world and left with a vacuum cleaner running in my head. During the summer as I gradually began to realize I was not going to regain normal hearing, my grief was overwhelming.

In December, I was finally fitted with a hearing aid which brought back very limited hearing and verbal interaction with people. For someone who enjoyed talking and listening to others, the continuing isolation was very difficult. Over the next few years I struggled with adjusting to my handicap. I would think I was coping well until some incident triggered again the realization of the seriousness of my loss and the possibility of total deafness. I greatly feared losing what little hearing I had left and being locked alone in a world of noise. The thought panicked me because I knew I could not cope with it. My relationship with the Lord was alternately marked with trust in His care and fear that He would throw me into a situation in which I would drown from the pain. I would briefly touch the ground of trust and than an undertow of circumstances would come, knocking me off my feet.

Three years later I was in a summer Bible study that was helping me walk a little more certainly on the ground of God’s sufficiency. As I was looking at passages in the Bible describing how God sets us apart and changes us, I came across Romans 15:4:

“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

As I read these words my hearing loss and my fear of possible deafness came to mind immediately. I realized that through this verse the Lord was telling me to stop being afraid of the future; whatever might happen with my hearing, I needed to persevere, knowing that He would be changing me through His Word, giving me the encouragement I needed to live in hope. I knew I could go on without constant fear and dread. I cannot find words to tell you how significant this was to me, there was such a strong and instantaneous witness of His Spirit to my spirit. It was one of the most important spiritual markers in my life. Although I had constantly been in or led Bible studies since becoming a Christian, God used my hearing loss to drive me to His Word in a deeper awareness of its effective power and the absolute necessity of having His mind and thoughts regarding my circumstances. Since then I have seen over and over again the central part His Word has in enabling me to live “the life which I now live by faith in the Son of God.”1

Through the Bible, God reveals who He is and who we are. He tells us how we can know Him and how we are to live before Him. The words of the Bible are the very words of the living God to you and me. It is amazing that we can hold in our hands the communication of the infinite Creator to us, His finite creatures. His Word is healing, giving life and restoration to us as it guides us in God’s ways.

Thinking & Living

The posts I’ve been writing on the Bible have had two main themes running through them: What is the Bible? and What happens when we read the Bible?

The themes are intertwined: the Bible has its effect on those who read it because of what the Bible is.

I want to sort through some of the major doctrines about the Bible, but before I do, I want to stop and talk about doctrine. Far too many people relegate doctrine as the hobby of those who enjoy old libraries and musty books. Why is doctrine important? What is doctrine anyway? Why isn’t just knowing Jesus enough for any Christian except a pastor? Let’s begin with the what? and then move on to the whys?

What is doctrine? The Latin word doctrina means teaching. Christian doctrine about a particular topic refers to the teaching of the Bible on that topic.

Why is doctrine important? R. C. Sproul writes in Knowing Scripture:

“Countless times I have heard Christians say, “Why do I need to study doctrine or theology when all I need to know is Jesus?” My immediate reply is, “Who is Jesus?” As soon as we begin to answer this question, we are involved in doctrine and theology. No Christian can avoid theology. Every Christian is a theologian. Perhaps not a theologian in the technical or professional sense, but a theologian nevertheless. The issue for Christians is not whether we are going to be theologians, but whether we are going to be good theologians. A good theologian is one who is instructed by God.”

Have you ever thought that when you understand and hold to correct biblical doctrine, you honor God? Or that sound doctrine can enable you to grow in your love for God? Or that sound doctrine can correct false misunderstandings about God that are harmful to you? What about teaching you about who you are and about your life? Paul admonished not a select few, but all the Corinthians:

Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.

1 Corinthians 14:20b

Why, then, does doctrine have such a bad reputation amongst so many Christians? First of all, when doctrine is pursued as mere knowledge, knowledge by itself has a damaging effect. Paul had already driven that point home to those in Corinth.

“Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.”

1 Corinthians 8:1b

He also placed things into perspective when knowledge is possessed without love:

“If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

1 Corinthians 13:2

We cannot equate knowledge of doctrine with godly character or spiritual growth. We are to be doers of the Word, and not merely hearers. Those who become puffed up with their knowledge have heard the Word, but failed to obey it.

“Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”

James 1:21-22

We cannot equate knowledge of doctrine as proof of wisdom:

“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.”

James 3:13-14

We must have the right attitude of heart. We cannot search the Scriptures for the wrong reasons.

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”

John 5:39-40

We must, however, also lay aside whatever prejudices we may have towards doctrine because of those who have misused knowledge or even bludgeoned us with it. The writer of Hebrews urges us to grow beyond milk to solid food.

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”

Hebrews 5:12-14

In the Bible sound doctrine (orthodoxy) and sound living (orthopraxy) are not seen as two stand alone entities, but the Bible teaches our conduct flows from our thinking. Paul’s letters are of great help in showing us this. As you read them, you see Paul teach about the Gospel, and then urge Christians to live in a manner worthy of the Gospel. In Paul’s letter to Titus, he tells Titus to “speak the things fitting for sound doctrine” and he then proceeds to give instructions on conduct. In Ephesians and Colossians he lays a foundation of who God is and what He has done for believers in the first part of each letter, and then spends the second part telling them how they are to live because of what he has just taught them. Paul tells the Ephesians to “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil,” and the one offensive weapon he gives for that armor is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” The schemes of the devil can come in numerous forms ranging from personal discouragement and affliction to false teaching comprised of a toxic mix of lies and truth that subverts the Christian faith. We must know the Bible to be able to stand firm.

Paul always equates sound thinking with transformed living:

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Romans 12:2

Bible Basics

“…and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able
to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

“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 complete, thoroughly equipped
for every good work.”

2 Timothy 3:15-17

The intertwined themes of the posts I’ve been writing on the Bible have been What is the Bible? and What happens to those who read it? The effect of the Bible occurs because of what the Bible is.

The Bible is God’s revelation about who He is and who we are; how we can know Him and how we are to live before Him. The Bible was breathed out by God, (the word is usually translated inspired); as God’s Word, the Bible alone has authority that is infallible and inerrant. The Bible has sufficiency for all matters of faith and practice for the Christian, but we are incapable of accepting its teaching or understanding its message without the illumination of God’s Spirit. While some parts of the Bible are difficult to interpret, it’s perspicuity means that even a child can grasp its teaching about salvation, and all can comprehend how God commands us to live.

Those emphasized words are important. They name major doctrines about the Bible, and all Christians should be familiar with the words and understand their basic tenets.

I’ll have some quotes for you on these doctrines, but first take some time to read and think over the following passages from the Bible. Pray and ask God to teach you about His Word.

Psalm 19, Matthew 5:17-19, Matthew 7:24-29, Romans 1:18-21, 1 Corinthians 2:10-16,
2 Timothy 3:14-17, Hebrews 1:1-2 and 2 Peter 1:20-21.

“For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”

1 Thessalonians 2:13

May God richly bless you.

“Thy Word Is Truth”

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD,
“When I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water,
But rather for hearing the words of the LORD.
People will stagger from sea to sea
And from the north even to the east;
They will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD,
But they will not find it.”

Amos 8:11-12

The Bible is vital to us. Our strength and health as Christians comes as we are fed from God’s Word. We need to hear the Bible consistently preached from the pulpits and we need its tenets faithfully practiced in our lives.

The night before He died, Jesus prayed for those who would believe in Him, “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word in truth.” (John 17:17, ESV). In one short sentence God’s Word, and its purpose is defined.

Through His Word God remakes everything about our understanding, our attitudes and our actions: He is “truthing” us, and the circumstances of our lives can be both training ground and battlefield.

God’s Word is powerful, and we need it so to help us relinquish our tight grasp of our own ways and learn to obey and trust our God. This struggle can have depths we little understood when we became Christians—we so want to be little gods, don’t we? God knows our needs, and He has given us His Word to feed us and equip us for this fight.

In the next posts, I will be giving you verses on doctrines of the Bible with commentary from Christian pastors and theologians, this is not knowledge for the sake of knowledge;
we need His Word to live.

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

Romans 10:17

Revelation

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

Psalm 19:1

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and
unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because
that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it
evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes,
His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood
through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Romans 1:18-20

John MacArthur:

“God has revealed Himself through natural [or General] revelation….

“…what does natural revelation bring to bear on a heart of a man? As he looks around and he sees creation around him, [Romans 1] verse 20, “the invisible things of God, from the creation of the world are clearly seen.” What is? “Being understood by the things that are made, even has eternal power and God had so that they are without excuse.”

“Now here he says that at least three things in that one verse, verse 20 are revealed by natural revelation and creation. What’s the first one? His eternal power. The second one, His Godhead. And really we could add to that, His wrath. And if we throw Psalm 19 into here, we can add “the firmament shows His handiwork, the heavens declare the glory of God.” So in natural revelation through creation man can see the glory of God, the power of God, the Godhead, and he can see God’s wrath.”


“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is
a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

2 Peter 1:20-21


“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

Hebrews 1:1-2

B. B. Warfield:

“…God is a person, and persons are known only as they make themselves known — reveal themselves. The term revelation is used in this distinction, therefore, in a pregnant sense. In the unrevealed religions God is known only as He has revealed Himself in His acts of the creation and government of the world as every person must reveal himself in his acts if he acts at all. In the one revealed religion God has revealed Himself also in acts of special grace, among which is included the open Word [Special Revelation].

“There is an element in revealed religion, therefore, which is not found in any unrevealed religion. This is the element of authority. Revealed religion comes to man from without; it is imposed upon him from a source superior to his own spirit.

“…Authority is the correlate of revelation, and wherever revelation is-and only where revelation is — is there authority. Just because we do not see in revelation man reaching up lame hands toward God and feeling fumblingly after Him if haply he may find Him, but God graciously reaching strong hands down to man, bringing him help in his need, we see in it a gift from God, not a creation of man’s….”

God-Breathed Words


“All Scripture is breathed out by God…”
2 Timothy 3:16a (ESV)

“…for no prophecy was ever made
by an act of human will,
but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

2 Peter 1:21

John MacArthur:

“…The term inspire is not a Greek term. Inspiro comes from Latin which means to breath in. And it’s a little bit misleading. In 2 Timothy 3:16 when it says, “All Scripture is given by,” what, “inspiration of God.” Or all Scripture is inspired by God. The Latin term inspiration does not properly translate the word theopanustas, “God breathed.” Really, it shouldn’t be inspired, it should be expired.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God, not breathed in. The idea then in the Scripture is that the Bible is the out breath of God. It’s not God breathing into man’s words. It’s not God breathing into man’s thoughts. It’s God breathing out His words.”

B. B. Warfield

“The Greek term has, however, nothing to say of inspiring or of inspiration: it speaks only of a “spiring” or “spiration.” What it says of Scripture is, not that it is “breathed into by God” or is the product of the Divine “inbreathing” into its human authors, but that it is breathed out by God, “God-breathed,” the product of the creative breath of God. In a word, what is declared by this fundamental passage is simply that the Scriptures are a Divine product, without any indication of how God has operated in producing them. No term could have been chosen, however, which would have more emphatically asserted the Divine production of Scripture than that which is here employed. The “breath of God” is in Scripture just the symbol of His almighty power, the bearer of His creative word. “By the word of the LORD,” we read in the significant parallel of Psalm 33:6 “were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” And it is particularly where the operations of God are energetic that this term (whether רוח, ruach, or נשמה, neshamah) is employed to designate them—God’s breath is the irresistible outflow of His power. When Paul declares, then, that “every scripture” or “all scripture” is the product of the Divine breath, “is God-breathed,” he asserts with as much energy as he could employ that Scripture is the product of a specifically Divine operation.”

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy:

“…Holy Scripture, being God’s own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it affirms: obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises….

“Holy Scripture, as the inspired Word of God witnessing authoritatively to Jesus Christ, may properly be called infallible and inerrant. These negative terms have a special value, for they explicitly safeguard crucial positive truths.

lnfallible signifies the quality of neither misleading nor being misled and so safeguards in categorical terms the truth that Holy Scripture is a sure, safe, and reliable rule and guide in all matters.

“Similarly, inerrant signifies the quality of being free from all falsehood or mistake and so safeguards the truth that Holy Scripture is entirely true and trustworthy in all its assertions.”

Mike Braun:

The Old and New Testaments, in their entirety, are the Word of God written and are therefore inerrant in their original hand. All Scripture was given by inspiration and is fully authoritative for the Christian in all its teaching. Whatever is taught by Scripture is to be accepted, believed in, and affirmed by all who bear the name ‘Christian.’

“Forever, O LORD,
Your word is settled in heaven.”

Psalm 119:89

Sufficiency

“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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV, NKJV)

John MacArthur:

The Power and Sufficiency of God’s Word

“The Scripture’s testimony to its own power is bound up in many passages, familiar ones like Hebrews 4:12, “The Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The Sufficiency of Scripture, Pt. 1

“…when Jesus spoke of the total sanctification of a believer, that is the full holiness of a believer, the full separation from sin, He said this to His Father in John 17:17, “Sanctify them by Thy truth.” Now the word “sanctify” means “set apart from sin, holy, separated unto God.” It has the idea of spiritual perfection…spiritual completion, that which we should be in Christ, coming to fulfillment. And He says, “O God, make them pure, make them holy, set them apart from sin unto Yourself and do it by Your truth.” Then He says in the same verse, “Thy Word is truth.”

“We conclude then, very obviously, that the full holiness of the believer is the work of the Word of God, it is the work of the Word of God. It is not the Word of God plus something else, that’s cultic….It’s an age-old kind of thing, striking a blow at the sufficiency of Scripture. But, Jesus said, “Make them perfect and pure by Your truth, Your Word is truth…Your Word is truth.” The full holiness of the believer is the work of the Word of God.”

The Sufficiency of Scripture, Pt. 2

“…Psalm 19…what I believe to be the most concise and direct treatment of the sufficiency of Scripture in all of the Word of God.”

“The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true;
they are righteous altogether.
They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;
In keeping them there is great reward.”

Psalm 19:7-11

“Now I want you to note, for a moment, the structure of those three verses [7-9]. There are six lines of thought. And each of those six lines has three elements. It has a title for the Word of God, a characteristic of the Word of God and a benefit of the Word of God. The titles are…the Scripture is called the law, testimony, statute, commandment, fear and judgment. All of those are synonyms for the Scripture. Its characteristics are, it is perfect, sure, right, clear, clean and true. Its six benefits are, it converts the soul, it makes wise the simple, it rejoices the heart, it enlightens the eyes, it endures forever and it is all together righteous…that is, it provides full spiritual resources.

“Now, in those three verses, consistent with the infinite intelligence of the infinite mind of God, you have an absolutely surpassing and comprehensive statement on the Scripture reduced to a very few words. The magnitude of this section of Scripture stretches us beyond our ability.

“I want you to notice another element, another six-fold element. Six times in these three verses we read “of the Lord.”…this then represents that which proceeds from God. Six times the covenant name of God, Yahweh, is used to identify the source of the sufficient Word.

“The Word of God can take a naive, inexperienced, undiscerning, uninformed, ignorant person and bring them to such wisdom that they can live out a godly life according to the will of God. This through the Word of God. It is the providing source of all that is necessary for applying God’s will to daily living….”

Illumination

“For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all
things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts
of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts
of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so
that we may know the things freely given to
us by God, which things we also speak, not
in words taught by human wisdom, but in
those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual
thoughts with spiritual words.

“But a natural man does not accept the things
of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness
to him; and he cannot understand them,
because they are spiritually appraised. But he
who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he
himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE
LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.”

1 Corinthians 2:10-16

Charles Hodge:

“The Scriptures clearly teach that the mere outward presentation of the truth in the Word, does not suffice to the conversion or sanctification of men; that the natural, or unrenewed man, does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them; that in order to any saving knowledge of the truth, i.e., of such knowledge as produces holy affections and secures a holy life, there is need of an inward supernatural teaching of the Spirit, producing what the Scriptures call “spiritual discernment.”

“…He reveals himself unto his people, as He does not unto the world. He gives them the Spirit of revelation in the knowledge of himself. (Eph. i. 17.)

“…The object of the inward teaching of the Spirit is to enable us to discern the truth and excellence of what is already objectively revealed in the Bible.

“…The inward teaching of the Spirit is to be sought by prayer, and the diligent use of the appointed means [i.e., the Bible]…

“…The effect of spiritual illumination is, that the Word dwells in us “in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Col. i. 9)….”

“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”

Ephesians 1:15-21

Perspicuity

“You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

2 Timothy 3:14-15

R. C. Sproul:

“In the sixteenth century, the Reformers declared their total confidence in what they called the perspicuity of Scripture. What they meant by that technical term is the clarity of Scripture. They maintained that the Bible is basically clear and lucid. It is simple enough for any literate person to understand its basic message.

John Owen:

“…The Holy Spirit hath so disposed of the Scripture that the mind of God in all things concerning our faith and obedience…is clearly revealed therein.

“…In those very fords and appearing shallows of this river of God where the
lamb may wade, the elephant may swim. Every thing in the Scripture is so plain that the meanest believer may understand all that belongs unto his duty or is necessary unto his happiness; yet is nothing so plain but that the wisest of them all have reason to adore the depths and stores of divine wisdom in it….

“It is supposed, when we assert the clearness and perspicuity of the Scripture, that there is unto the understanding of it use made of that aid and assistance of the Spirit of God concerning which we do discourse. Without this the clearest revelations of divine supernatural things will appear as wrapped up in darkness and obscurity: not for want of light in them, but for want of light in us. Wherefore, by asserting the necessity of supernatural illumination for the right understanding of divine revelation, we no way impeach the perspicuity of the Scripture. All things wherein our faith and obedience are concerned are clearly declared there…”

Songs

Over the past week I’ve given just an introduction to some of the great doctrines regarding the Word of God. I’ve done it to provide some help for you to grow in your understanding of what the Bible is.

B. B. Warfield speaks so eloquently on revelation:

“…we do not see in revelation man reaching up lame hands toward God and feeling fumblingly after Him if haply he may find Him, but God graciously reaching strong hands down to man, bringing him help in his need, we see in it a gift from God, not a creation of man’s….”

John Owen writes:

“How often in the reading of it do we meet with, and are as it were surprised with, gracious words, that enlighten, quicken, comfort, endear, and engage our souls! How often do we find sin wounded, grace encouraged, faith excited, love inflamed, and this in that endless variety of inward frames and outward occasions which we are liable unto.”

As John Bunyan so aptly described in Pilgrim’s Progress, we are on a pilgrimage in this life, and it sometimes takes us through dangerous territory. We need His Word to show us the safe road and the dangerous pits. We need His Word to light our way and to enable us to go on when every step is one of suffering. We need His Word to see Jesus and keep us close to Him.

In the Bible God makes Himself known to us. It is the very Word of the living God to you and me. The Bible is truth, power, love, warning, comfort, strength—because the Bible is God’s mind and heart revealed.

In opening our eyes to the good news of Jesus Christ, the Bible becomes our song. It’s our song of praise to our God. It’s our song of love to our Redeemer. It’s our song of joy in knowing God.

“Your statutes are my songs
In the house of my pilgrimage.”

Psalm 119:54

__________
A Light To My Path
Visualizing the Bible® Chris Harrison. Used by permission. Click the image to enlarge.
This image was named one of the best science images of 2008 in National Geographic News. A poster of the image can be bought at HistoryShots.

“The bar graph that runs along the bottom represents all of the chapters in the Bible. Books alternate in color between white and light gray. The length of each bar denotes the number of verses in the chapter. Each of the 63,779 cross references found in the Bible is depicted by a single arc – the color corresponds to the distance between the two chapters, creating a rainbow-like effect.”
Posted in Apologetics, Believe, Bible, Life in Christ, Truth.

Steerage
The Ninth Wave by Ivan Aivazovsky, Public Domain via Wikipedia.
Admiral William Henry Smyth, The Sailor’s Word-Book, 1867.
John Owen, Biblical Theology: The History of Theology from Adam to Christ, p. xl.
via: Kubecki.com
Posted in Apologetics, Believe, Bible, Life in Christ, Truth.

Sola Scriptura
Cambridge Declaration of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, April 20, 1996,
Thesis One: Sola Scriptura.
Martin Luther’s 1534 Bible: Public Domain via Wikipedia.
Donald J. Ziegler, Great Debates of the Reformation, 1969, pp. 3, 14-16, 18.
Heinrich Heppe quoted by R. C. Sproul, Sola Scriptura: Crucial to Evangelicalism.
A. A. Hodge, Sola Scriptura.
Roland Bainton, Martin Luther: Here I Stand, 1950.
Martin Luther, Wikipedia.

Posted in Bible, Doctrine, Hermeneutics, History, Life in Christ, Truth.

Sweeter Than Honey
Bee & Flowers: Public Domain, National Park Service.
1Galatians 2:20

Posted in Adversity, Believe, Bible, Comfort, Encouragement, Life in Christ.

Thinking & Living
Old Library Books, The Literary and Philosophical Society Of Newcastle upon Tyne: FreeFoto.com
R. C. Sproul, Knowing Scripture, 1977, p. 25.
Posted in Bible, Doctrine, Life in Christ, Truth.

Bible Basics
Coloured Glass: FreeFoto.com
2 Timothy 3:15-16: (ESV) English Standard Version.
2 Timothy 3:17: Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by
Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
R. C. Sproul, Knowing Scripture, 1977, p. 25.
Posted in Bible, Doctrine, Life in Christ, Truth.

“Thy Word Is Truth”
Weather damaged cereal crop: FreeFoto.com
I used the quote from Amos because of my great concern that we are presently seeing a famine of God’s
Word here in the U.S.
Posted in Adversity, Believe, Bible, Doctrine, Life in Christ, Sin, Truth.

Revelation
Blue Sky and Clouds, Bible, Cross at Sunset: FreeFoto.com
John MacArthur, Grace to You: God Has Spoken.
Benjamin B. Warfield,
Mysticism & Christianity, “This essay originally appeared in The Biblical Review (vol. 2 ,1917, pp. 169-191) but this edition was derived from The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1991, vol. 9, pp. 649-666). The electronic edition of this article was scanned and edited by Shane Rosenthal for Reformation Ink. It is in the public domain and may be freely copied and distributed. Pagination from the Baker edition has been retained for purposes of reference. Scanning errors may be present in this edition.”

I found Warfield’s essay, Mysticism & Christianity, earlier this summer when researching mysticism. As Warfield sorts out the errors of mysticism, he has these cogent words on revelation and authority. Some of the best delineations of truth are made as fallacies are refuted.
Posted in Bible, Doctrine, Life in Christ, Truth.

God-Breathed Words
Gutenberg Bible Illumination: Lunkwill, Public Domain
John MacArthur, Grace to You: Our God-Breathed Bible.
See also: Is the Bible Reliable?
B. B. Warfield, The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, pp. 132-133. I added this quote after
I published this post. I don’t have all of my books with me at this time, but I did find the quote in some of my papers and later on the web.
Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy with Exposition.
I highly recommend reading this in its entirety.
Mike Braun is a former pastor.
Posted in Bible, Doctrine, Life in Christ, Truth.

Sufficiency
2 Timothy 3:16: (ESV) English Standard Version.
2 Timothy 3:17: Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by
Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Sword: Britton LaRoche, Public Domain.
John MacArthur, Grace To You: The Power and Sufficiency of God’s Word,
The Sufficiency of Scripture, Pt. 1, The Sufficiency of Scripture, Pt. 2.
Posted in Bible, Doctrine, Life in Christ, Truth.

Illumination
Sunrise: FreeFoto.com
Charles Hodge, “Mysticism,” Systematic Theology, Vol 1.
Ephesians 1:15-21: Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by
Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Posted in Bible, Doctrine, Life in Christ, Truth.

Perspicuity
Lamb: FreeFoto.com
Ichetucknee Springs, Florida: Site of my mother’s family reunion since 1933.
R. C. Sproul, Knowing Scripture, 1977, p. 15.
I’d add that you don’t even have to be literate to understand the Bible’s basic message about what it means to believe in Jesus. Neither of my children could read when they became Christians.
John Owen, The Works of John Owen, edited by Rev. William H. Goold, Vol. IV, pp. 193-194.
Posted in Bible, Doctrine, Life in Christ, Truth.

Songs
Isaiah 42: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
Benjamin B. Warfield,
Mysticism & Christianity,“This essay originally appeared in The Biblical Review (vol. 2 ,1917, pp. 169-191) but this edition was derived from The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1991, vol. 9, pp. 649-666). The electronic edition of this article was scanned and edited by Shane Rosenthal for Reformation Ink. It is in the public domain and may be freely copied and distributed. Pagination from the Baker edition has been retained for purposes of reference. Scanning errors may be present in this edition.”
John Owen, The Works of John Owen, edited by Rev. William H. Goold, Vol. IV, pp. 192.
Posted in Adversity, Believe, Bible, Comfort, Courage, Doctrine, Encouragement, Hope, Life in Christ, Love, Sin, Truth.

Original content: Copyright ©2010 Iwana Carpenter

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One Response to The Bible: God’s Revelation

  1. Pingback: 2 Chronicles 16–20: Jehoshaphat & The Teaching of God’s Law |

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