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

Don Stewart :: To Whom Was the Bible Written?

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To Whom Was the Bible Written?

Why the Bible Is So Special – Question 18

Whom did God intend to read the words of Scripture? Was it everyone, or was it only meant to be read by an elite few? Who is meant to read the Bible?

A number of important points need to be made about this issue. They are as follows:

1. Scripture Is Written to Everyone

The appeal of the Bible is universal; addressed to all humanity. It is a book that everyone can understand. The Bible says the following happened when Jesus spoke:

And the great throng heard him gladly. (Mark 12:37 ESV)

The multitudes listened and followed Him. They understood exactly what He said.

Jesus encouraged the children to be brought to Him, for they could understand His message. We read the following in Matthew’s gospel:

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14 ESV)

While certain parts of the Scripture are written to individuals and other parts to specific groups, even these have both special and universal application.

All Scripture is beneficial. Paul wrote:

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. (2Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

The New Living Translation says:

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do. (2 timothy 3:16-17 NLT)

The Bible has something to say to everyone.

2. The Bible Is Written in Everyday Language

One way that we know the Bible was written for everyone is the language in which it was composed. As recently as about one hundred years ago, we did not possess any Greek writings that were contemporary with the New Testament. The Greek of the New Testament was different from the classical Greek of Plato and Sophocles. Most scholars speculated that it was some special kind of “Holy Ghost” language—not the ordinary speech of that day.

This all changed at the end of the nineteenth century. In a garbage dump in Egypt, the discovery was made of the letters, contracts, receipts, etc. of ordinary people who lived at the same time as Jesus. It became clear from these writings that the New Testament was written in the same common, everyday language of the people, not some special Bible language. This reinforces the idea that the Bible was written to the masses, not just to an elite few.

3. The Bible Is an Understandable Book

The Bible has been written in such a way that everyone can understand it. This, of course, does not mean that everyone will understand it, or that any one person will understand everything in it. Neither does it mean that a person will understand it the first time they read it. The more one reads and studies the Bible, the more it will be understood.

The Apostle Paul compared his speaking to the church at Thessalonica as a mother caring and feeding her own children. He wrote:

As apostles of Christ we certainly had a right to make some demands of you, but we were as gentle among you as a mother feeding and caring for her own children. (1 Thessalonians 2:7 NLT)

He spoke in plain language that they could understand; in the same way a mother takes care of her children. As the mother speaks to her children in language they can understand, God’s Word speaks to us in language we can understand.

4. Everyone Is Held Responsible to Obey Its Teachings

Scripture assumes its message is clear because everyone is held responsible to respond to it. The Bible claims to have universal authority over all people everywhere. There are only two categories of people according to the Bible, believers and unbelievers. The New Testament says:

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (John 3:36 NKJV)

The New Living Translation reads:

And all who believe in God’s Son have eternal life. Those who don’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life, but the wrath of God remains upon them. (John 3:36 NLT)

The fact that the Bible separates humanity into these two categories is another indication that all people are held responsible to believe its message. Therefore, it is necessary for everyone to know the contents of Scripture, for they alone contain the words of life.

Summary – Question 18
To Whom Was the Bible Written?

The evidence demonstrates that the Bible was written to every human being, not to just a select few. We now understand that the language of the New Testament was the common written and spoken language of the time.

The Bible was not written in some special, holy language to meet the needs of a few. Scripture has been composed in such a way as to be understandable to the masses.

Furthermore, God will hold everyone responsible as to how they receive His Word. This is another indication that the Bible was written with everyone in mind. Therefore, every person needs to pay close attention to its message.

Is Human Language a Sufficient Means of Communication Between God and Humanity? ← Prior Section
Are There Other Written Sources of Religious Truth Apart from the Bible? Next Section →
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