The Word of God – Part 6
2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
Our attitude toward Scripture depends upon whether we really believe that Scripture is inspired. If not, then any system of truth it contains cannot be relied upon. It is imperative to understand their claims to divine inspiration, infallibility and integrity. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
One of the great truths about the Word of God is its symmetry. The Bible contains 66 books, written by 39 human authors (although we know that the main author is the Holy Spirit moving upon these men as He so chose) and over a period of 1500 years. Separate any one of the 66 books and it makes no sense, but together they proclaim a unity of the whole will and plan of God.
We talk about the revealed Word of God. What does that mean? The dictionary definition of the word revelation is: “A revelation is that which is revealed by God to man.” The word itself means “flinging or drawing back the veil,” which would indicate the removing of a veil or obstacle that hinders complete vision.
The Bible is not primarily a record of man’s thoughts about God, but a record of what God has done and revealed of Himself to man. Its basis is not, “Thus and thus man thinks,” but rather, “Thus and thus saith Jehovah,” or “Thus and thus hath Jehovah done.”
We also talk about the inspired Word of God. It is important to grasp what we mean by this often used word. There is a difference between revelation and inspiration.
Revelation is the subject matter of the message, what God imparts to man, but inspiration is the power or method by which man communicates his God-given message to man. We may therefore regard inspiration as a special gift of the Holy Spirit, by which prophets of the Old Testament and the apostles and their companions in the New Testament transmitted the revelation of God as they received it. These two facts are combined by Peter: “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21
Here the word signifies “breath,” thus showing that God is the Author of man’s intelligence. In 2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” The particular word used by Paul means “God-breathed,” that is, God Himself, or, through His Holy Spirit – told the writers of the Bible just the very things to record.
The Bible not only contains God’s words, but is, from beginning to end, the Word of God. If anyone has reason to doubt the inspiration of the Bible, the certain yet simple test to apply is to yield oneself to its power; strive faithfully to follow its commands, acting as it suggests, and as a result, the conviction will irresistibly grow upon the mind seeking proof in this way – that its claim to be inspired of God is not to be questioned, but reverently received as just and undeniable. After all, it is personal experience that counts, and our Lord said: “If any man will do…..he shall know.” (John 7:17)
Another word that we often use is ‘illumination.’ Clarence Larkin observes that: “Spiritual illumination is different either from Bible inspiration or revelation. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer, by which he has his ‘spiritual understanding’ opened to understand the Scriptures. (John 16:12,15)
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” I Corinthians 2:11
“The natural man cannot receive the teachings of the Spirit of God; neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned.” I Corinthians 2:14
He goes on to say, “The work, then, of the Holy Spirit in these days is not to impart some new revelation to men, or to inspire them to write or speak as the prophets and apostles of old, but so to illuminate men’s minds and open up their understanding of the Scriptures that their heart will burn within them as they compare Scripture with Scripture, in having revealed to them God’s plan and purpose in the ages, as disclosed in His Holy Word.”
Reformation brings us back to the realization that God’s Word is just that: GOD’S WORD, and it is reliable “for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17