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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Why Is the Bible So Special?

Don Stewart :: Does the New Testament Claim to Be the Word of God?

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Question 13

Does the New Testament Claim to Be the Word of God?

God’s revelation to humanity was not finished with the Old Testament. The New Testament also claims to be God’s Word to the human race. The evidence is as follows:

  1. Jesus’ Words Were Given by God the Father

    When Jesus prayed to God the Father on the night that He was betrayed, He said that His words were the words that God the Father had given Him. He said:

    For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. (John 17:8 TNIV)

    Thus Jesus testified to the divine origin of His Words. The consistent theme in the ministry of Jesus was that His words were actually the words of God the Father. There is something else. These words were accepted as true by Jesus’ apostles. They believed that the words of Jesus were the words of God.

  2. The Words of Jesus Were True

    Jesus also affirmed that God’s Word is true in all that it says. As He was about to be betrayed, He prayed to God the Father:

    Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17 NET)

    His words were always true.

  3. Jesus’ Words Are Eternal

    Jesus said His words were everlasting: He made the incredible claim that His words would never pass away. He said:

    Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matthew 24:35 KJV)

    It is interesting to note that His claim has been literally fulfilled; His words are still with us to this day.

  4. Jesus Said There Were More Authoritative Words to Come

    Jesus stated plainly that more revelation was to come after He left this world. On the night of His betrayal, He said the following to His disciples:

    I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. (John 16:12 TNIV)

    From this statement we discover that Jesus would leave unfinished the revelation of God’s truth to humanity. This opened the door for God to reveal a “New” Testament to the world.

  5. God’s Word Was Given Through Human Beings

    As was true with the Old Testament, God’s Word was conveyed through human instrumentation, but not through human wisdom. Paul wrote:

    And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:13 NRSV)

    The New King James Version reads:

    These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:13 NKJV)

    God used humans to convey His words.

  6. The Words of the New Testament Writers Are the Words of God

    The New Testament, like the Old Testament, claims to record the words of God. In what was probably the earliest letter of the Apostle Paul to a church, he wrote the following:

    We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers. (1 Thessalonians 2:13 NRSV)

    The words of Paul are equated with the words of God.

  7. God’s Words Through the Writers Are Authoritative

    The Word of God, as recorded in the New Testament, is presented as the final authority on all matters in which it speaks. Jesus said the following about His own words:

    It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63 NKJV)

    Simon Peter acknowledged that only Jesus had the words of life. John records him saying the following:

    But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68 NKJV)

    The words of Jesus carried ultimate authority.

  8. God’s Words Are Expected to Be Obeyed

    When certain people spoke the words of God, the Scripture tells us that the people were expected to obey their words. The words in which they spoke were ultimately God’s Words ? He was the source of what they said. Paul wrote:

    If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 14:37 NKJV)

    Because they were God’s words, they carried His divine authority.

Conclusion: the New Testament Is God’s Word

Like the Old Testament, the New Testament claims to record the Word of God to humanity. This is the clear teaching of each of the two testaments; it is not something that the church later decided. This being the case, the claims made need to be taken seriously.

The Statement That the Bible Is God’s Word Needs to Be Clarified

There is a clarification that we need to make. When we say that the Bible is the Word of God, it does not mean that God spoke everything that is recorded in its pages. The Bible also contains the words of hundreds of different men and women. What the Bible claims for itself is that it is a true account of what these people actually said. Those people who were speaking for God had God’s authority behind their words.

However, some individuals, who did not speak for God, also had their words recorded. While their words are part of Holy Scripture, they do not have God’s divine authority behind them. Their words are not to be understood as infallible truth from God. The context makes it clear whether a person is speaking for God or whether that Scripture is merely recording the non-authoritative words of someone. It is crucial that we make this distinction.

Summary - Question 13
Does the New Testament Claim to Be the Word of God?

It is clear that the New Testament, by their direct statements, testify to its own divine origin and unique authority. The New Testament claims to be God’s revealed Word to humanity. It claims the following things: it is a record of God speaking, it is infallible, it was written to benefit future generations, it is eternal and unchanging, it is powerful, true, a guide for daily living, authoritative, and the Word of God. Thus, it is the assertion of Scripture itself that it is more than a mere human book?it is the very Word of God. These claims must be taken seriously.

However, not every word in the Bible was spoken from God. Scripture records the speech of hundreds of different people. Some of them spoke for God, and some of them said things that were contrary to the truth of God. The context must determine whether something in Scripture is a Word from God, or the mere words of humans.

How Does the New Testament View the Old Testament? ← Prior Section
How Do We Know the Bible Is the Word of God? Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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