In our Faith Basics series, we’re starting with the importance of the Word of God—the Bible! Though the Bible does not specifically mention every unique situation that occurs in your life or in human history, it is completely sufficient in providing what we all need to navigate those situations in a God-honoring way.
First, where did the Bible come from? This is an important starting point because it is only when we understand this that we can fully appreciate the necessity of every word written within it.
The other names we use for the Bible give away its origin: God's Word, the Word of God. The Bible comes from God!
“All scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16a). The word “scripture” in this verse is used 50 times in the New Testament, and each time it is used in reference to the Old Testament. The New Testament quotes from the majority of Old Testament books.
Similarly we find that the New Testament writings are also referred to as Scripture. After witnessing the resurrection of Jesus, the Apostles had the unique New Testament task of speaking and writing the very words of God (2 Peter 3:2). The writings that we have which have been confirmed to have been authored by these men (Matthew, John, Paul, James, and Peter) are also Scripture.
In 2 Peter 3:15-16, Peter shows that he considers all of Paul's letters “scripture.” And Paul confirms the same of Luke's writings when he quotes some of Luke's words as “scripture” in 1 Timothy 5:17-18.
The term “all scripture” in 2 Timothy accounts for every book we have in our Bibles, Old and New Testaments. It does not just allude to the general ideas behind the writings, but every historical detail, word, letter and grammatical choice.
Next, Paul tells Timothy all the Scriptures are “breathed out by God.” I prefer this translation to ones that say “inspired” or “given by inspiration.” The Scriptures were indeed given by inspiration, but this is not what the Greek word means.
“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.”
What a wonderful and essential truth, that the ultimate origin of all of the Bible is God! And because all of the Bible comes from God:
Paul goes on to tell Timothy that Scripture is therefore “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
If there's anything we need in this life, it is the Word of God. Jesus himself said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
It supersedes all other “necessities” because it is how God reveals Himself to us, and it is how we are led to Christ. We must read it and discipline ourselves to put into practice the actions and attitudes it teaches, so that we also may be equipped for every good work.
The next question is, how did God deliver His Word to us?
In 2 Peter 1:16-21 the Apostle Peter, one of Jesus' closest disciples, confirms that the things he says about Jesus, which have been recorded in the Bible, are not just a cleverly put together story, but that he and the other Apostles were eyewitnesses of all these things (see also 1 John 1:1). They were reporting and writing down what they had seen.
Then Peter says something astounding in verse 19: “We have the prophetic word more fully confirmed.” The best court and legal systems in the world rest heavily on eyewitnesses, but here Peter claims to have something better even than his own eyewitness account.
What did Peter have? What was even better than the perfectly agreeing eyewitness accounts of the Apostles who had spent three years with Jesus?
In 2 Peter 1:20-21, Peter says three things about the message that he and all of the biblical writers proclaimed:
“The men who spoke from God are here declared, therefore, to have been taken up by the Holy Spirit and brought by His power to the goal of His choosing. The things which they spoke under this operation of the Spirit were therefore his things, not theirs.”
—The Scripture Cannot Be Broken, page 144
We must not let our trust in the Bible waver when we consider that it was written by men. Rather, we should have unshakeable confidence because we know that when the writers wrote it they were carried along by the inerrant, perfect, all-powerful Holy Spirit. We believe the Bible not because we can prove through archaeology or science that the things written in it actually happened. We believe the Bible because it comes from God and was written down by men who were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
We must have an intimate relationship with the Bible because the words it contains are the very words of God. What could be more important than hearing what the one true God has to say? What could be more important than discovering who our God is as He has revealed Himself to us through His Word? What could be more important than reading our Creator's words that tell us how to live lives that honor Him?
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”