Big Truths for Young Hearts
- Thursday, June 11, 2009
Notice, though, that both of these ways that God has made himself known to us come through his actions—we know he is great and good because we see these qualities shown in what he has made. But there is another amazing way that God has made himself known to us, and it is this: God talks! One of the first things we learn about God in the opening chapter of the Bible is that God is a talking God. For each of the days of creation, he brings about what he makes by speaking. Have you noticed this? The first one comes in Genesis 1:3, “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” And the words, “And God said” are repeated in verses 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, and 26, where each of the special acts of creation are brought about when God speaks. We learn from this that God’s word is powerful and active, and it is meant to create what is new and glorious, not only to instruct.
Knowing that God is a talking God helps us understand better one of the most important and precious possessions we have in all of life—our Bible. We can far too easily ignore the Bible or spend too little time reading it and learning from it. But when we realize what it really is, we desire to spend much more time learning just what the Bible says. Why? Because the Bible is where we hear what God says. Yes, it is true. What the Bible says is what God says; as the Bible speaks to us, God speaks to us. One of the most important ways that God has spoken is through the very pages of the Bible itself. Consider with me a few verses that help us see this.
Paul describes the Bible this way in 2 Timothy 3:16–17: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” Notice that Paul says “all” of Scripture—not just part of it, but all of it—comes from God. So we should see the Bible as a different kind of book from any other book there is. In the entire Bible, God tells us what he wants us to know. Not just parts of the Bible come from God, but all of it is God’s own word to us. Also, notice that the Bible is “breathed out by God.” This is a way of saying that it comes from God’s own mouth. God speaks and breathes out the very books that form the Bibles that we have. Of course, human writers are responsible for writing these books also (we’ll say a bit more about this in a minute), but here Paul’s main point is that the Bible should be seen as God’s Word.
Look next at what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 2:13: “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” This helps us because Paul shows that the word spoken to these Thessalonian believers really was God’s Word, even though it was spoken to them by Paul. So the Bible is the word of certain men, to be sure. But because God is working through those men as they speak and write, the Bible is really “the word of God,” as Paul says.
But how can the Bible be from men but really from God? How can we be sure that humans who spoke and wrote actually have spoken and written what God wanted them to express, so we can be sure that the Bible really and truly is God’s Word? Our answer comes from a very helpful statement by the apostle Peter. In 2 Peter 1:20–21 Peter writes, “no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Here is our answer. The Holy Spirit of God, who lives in the lives of all of those who trust in Christ, did a special work in producing the Bible. As Peter says here, the authors of Scripture, who spoke forth the prophesies of the Bible and all of its teachings, were “carried along by the Holy Spirit” as they wrote. So, what they wrote was not as much from them as it was from the Holy Spirit who moved them to write what they did. In this way the Bible is from human authors but even more from God. God, by his Spirit, worked in these writers so that these “men spoke from God” as they wrote the books that we now have in our Bibles. This doesn’t take away from the fact that Moses and Isaiah and Paul and Peter and many others wrote different books of the Bible. But it means that with these books, unlike any other books, God worked by his Spirit to make sure that what they wrote would be exactly what he wanted.
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