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

Don Stewart

The Christian church has not invented the claim that the Bible is the Word of God-it is the claim of the Bible itself.

The Claim Of Scripture

We find in the Bible the claim that the words and deeds it records come from the living God. In hundreds of passages, in both the Old and New Testaments, the Bible plainly declares to be the very Word of the living God. Some thirty-eight hundred times the Bible declares, "God said," or "Thus says the Lord."

We will consider a few specific passages in both the Old and New Testament.

The Claims Found In The Old Testament

The Old Testament claims to record the words of God. We are told the biblical authors recorded the words of the Lord. Moses wrote.

And Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses (Exodus 4:30).

In the Book of Joshua we read.

Joshua said to the Israelites, "Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God" (Joshua 3:9).

It is written in Second Kings.

The LORD warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: "Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your fathers to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets" (2 Kings 17:13).

The prophet Isaiah testified.

Look in the scroll of the LORD and read: None of these will be missing, not one will lack her mate. For it is his mouth that has given the order, and his Spirit will gather them together (Isaiah 34:16).

The Word Of God Will Benefit Future Generations

The Old Testament was recorded for the benefit of future generations. The Lord said.

As for me, says the Lord, 'This is my covenant with them: my Spirit who is upon you, and my words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants' descendants . . . from this time and forevermore (Isaiah 59:21).

God's Words Are Infallible

The words of God, as recorded in the Bible, are an infallible guide to humanity. Moses wrote.

God is not a man that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should repent. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken and will he not make it good (Numbers 23:19).

They Are Eternal And Unchanging

The Word of God is eternal and unchanging. Isaiah wrote.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8).

The psalmist said.

Forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89).

His Words Are Powerful

God's Word is powerful. Jeremiah recorded the Lord saying.

Is not my word like a fire says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? (Jeremiah 23:29).

God's Words Are True

The Old Testament records things that are true. The psalmist wrote.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul (Psalm 19:7).

The psalmist also wrote.

Your law is truth (Psalm 119:142).

The Lord said through the prophet Isaiah.

So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:11).

God's Words Are A Guide For Daily Living

The Old Testament is a guide for living a godly life. The psalmist proclaimed.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).

In Proverbs we read.

For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life (Proverbs 6:23).

We Are Not To Add Or Subtract To God's Word

Because the Old Testament is the Word of the Lord people were not to add or subtract from it. The Lord said.

See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it (Deuteronomy 12:32).

From these statements contained in the Old Testament, we can see that it claims to record the words and deeds of God. We also observe that the statements made about God's Word assure us that humanity can place their trust in His promises.

THE NEW TESTAMENT CLAIMS

God's revelation to humanity was not finished with the Old Testament. The New Testament says this about itself.

There Is More To Come

Jesus stated plainly that more revelation was to come after He left this world.

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

From this statement we discover that He 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.

They 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.

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).

They Were Given Through Human Beings

As was true with the Old Testament, God's Word was conveyed through human instrumentation: 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).

The Words Are Authoritative

The Word of God is presented as the final authority on all matters, as Jesus demonstrated in response to His temptation by the Devil.

Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only you shall serve'" (Matthew 4:10).

Jesus' Words Are Eternal

Jesus said His words were everlasting:

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away (Matthew 24:35).

His Words Were Given By God The Father

When Jesus prayed to God the Father, He said that His words were the words that God the Father had given Him.

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).

His Words Were True

Jesus also affirmed that God's Word is true in all that it says. He prayed to God the Father.

Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth (John 17:17).

His 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.

The Claim Clarified

When we say that Bible is the Word of God it does not mean that God spoke everything that is recorded in its pages. The Bible 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 said. Furthermore, those people who were speaking for God have 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 that Scripture is merely recording the non-authoritative words of someone.

Summary

It is clear that the Scriptures by their direct statements testify to their own divine origin and unique authority. In both testaments the Bible claims to be God's revealed Word to humanity. Scripture itself claims the following things: it is a record 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.

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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