Monday, January 11, 2021

The Foundation for God's Word

In the last two posts I talked about the way that God primarily communicates with us today regarding doctrine.  In Bible times, God communicated with His people primarily through miracle-working servants - prophets and apostles.  Today, He primarily communicates with us through the Bible, which today is complete, widely available, and able to be proved to be the word of God through the miracle of fulfilled prophecy.  I talked about how and why this change was made.

I have one more thing to add.

God laid the foundation for using the Bible as His primary means of communication with us in the Bible itself - in the writings of the prophets and apostles.

God has emphasized several times that the Bible is His word and is infallibly true.

The Bible claims God as its author.  "Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure' " (Isaiah 46:9-10).

God declares His word is true and sure.

"Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him" (Proverbs 30:5).

" 'For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,' Says the Lord. 'But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word' " (Isaiah 66:2).

When Jesus was tempted by Satan, He answered every temptation with a quotation from scripture (Matthew 4:1-10, Luke 4:1-12).

Many events took place in the New Testament for the very purpose of fulfilling Bible prophecy.  Here is a list from the book of Matthew alone: Matthew 1:22-23, 2:14-15, 17-18, 23, 4:13-16, 8:16-17, 12:16-21, 13:34-35, 21:4-5, 27:9-10, 27:35.

In at least one case, Jesus Christ took actions for the very purpose of fulfilling prophecy - Jesus was concerned that prophecy be fulfilled and made choices to make sure that prophecy was fulfilled (Matthew 26:51-54).

Paul affirmed that scripture is inspired by God and is the word of God.  "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Peter likewise affirms this, "knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation [or origin], for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:20-21).

Paul reasoned with his listeners using the scriptures.  "Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, 'This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ' " (Acts 17:2-3).

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

Perhaps the strongest affirmation of the truth of the Bible is this: "Jesus answered them, 'Is it not written in your law, "I said, 'You are gods' "? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken)... ' " (John 10:34-35).

With that background, showing that Bible scripture is true and is the word of God, God gives this example of how some in the New Testament used Bible scripture to determine the truth, not just the words of the apostles.  "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men" (Acts 17:11-12).

We are also told, "Test all things; hold fast what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

Not everyone had access to the books of the Bible in the first century, and the Bible was not complete.  Nevertheless, God gives us these statements and examples to lay a foundation for our time when most of God's communication to us is through the Bible, not miracle-working prophets and apostles.

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