By Randy Reynolds
I would imagine that 8 of every 10 persons asked this question today would answer with an affirmative reply. It’s that 80% that I want to pay close attention to this article. Maybe you have answered “yes, I believe the Bible.” Are you sure, or is that just a built in response? Hopefully as you read through this article it will help you to be more assured of your response. But, it might cause you to wonder why you made an affirmative reply to the above question.
Do you believe the bible to be the inspired, written word of God? Listen to Paul as he speaks concerning this matter.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, (17) that the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
What does the word “inspired” (Gk. theopneustos) mean? It is used one other time, in Job. 32:8, and it means “God-breathed.” In other words, all the writers of the Bible, Genesis through Revelation, Old Testament and New, were merely the vehicle that God, through the Holy Spirit, used to reveal to man what the will of God for man was. In 1 Cor. 2:13, the apostle Paul affirms his thought, “which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit, teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” Paul also says in 1 Thess. 2:13, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the word of God which ye heard from us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
What are you saying Paul? Paul, are you telling us that even though you are a mere human, the letters you write are actually written by God through the Holy Spirit? Because Paul was the writer but not the author, he was instructed as to what was to be written. So we can conclude the same of all writers of the Bible. The things written in the books they wrote, were not humanistic in nature, but rather “God-breathed.”
Let us look at some of the characteristics of this God we just mentioned, as being the one who gave the inspiration.
I. God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33).
2. God is everlasting (Is. 26:4).
3. God is jealous (Ex. 20:5; 2 Cor. 11:2).
4. God is just (Heb. 2:2; Psalms 19:9; Jer. 11:20).
5. God is all knowing. He knows our thoughts and intents (Heb. 4:12). He knows the makeup of nature (Acts 1:7).
He knows of one thing that no one else knows (Matt. 24:36).
6. God is loving (1 Jn. 4:7-8; Jn. 3:16).
7. God is the almighty, as demonstrated through the flood (Gen. 7) and in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
8. God is all powerful. He created the heavens and earth (Gen. 1:1).
9. God is all wise (Psalms 19:7); He is wise to our thoughts (Psalms 66:18, Jet. 10:23).
There are a host of other adjectives that could be used in describing our Lord God Jehovah. However, these should be sufficient for me to make my point.
Do you believe, after the description we have just given of God and His word, that there could possibly be (as men say) many different ways to obtain salvation other than what the inspired writers tell us?
Romans 10:17 says to hear the word.
Mark 16:16 says to believe the word.
Romans 10:10 says to confess with the mouth.
Luke 13:3 says to repent of past sins.
Acts 2:38 says to be baptized for remission of sins.
Is there another way for us to obtain salvation? No. Why? The Bible does not authorize it. What about the people that say baptism is not necessary? They do not believe the Bible! What about the people that say it is alright to sprinkle or pour for baptism? They do not believe the Bible. Romans 6:4 says baptism is a burial.
Let’s take the thought a little further. Does God authorize works (that are able to be done by the local church) to be done by benevolent Institutions? What do the scriptures say?
Acts 14:23 says “God ordained “elders” in “every” church. 1 Pet. 5:2 says “feed the Flock which is among you.” The word of God says each and every local church is to tend to their own affairs or to have their own “government.” So what can we conclude for those who see fit to “pool” their resources to one governing group of elders for their oversight? They do not believe the Bible.” God did not authorize it. Local churches are “independent,” they are “autonomous,” or self-governing.
What is the work of the “local church”? Edification (Eph. 4:16), evangelism (1 Tim. 3:15) and benevolence (Acts 6:1-4). What does that mean? This limits the local church to providing only what God has authorized. God’s word does not authorize the Lord’s monies (1 Cor. 16:1-2) to be used in supporting (1) softball teams, (2) boy scouts, (3) business adventures, (4) social activities, (5) youth camps, (6) human institutions, (7) joint cooperation of local congregations (elders overseeing more than “one” local work).
How can I be sure? By using the standard of authority that God has given us, the Bible; the Bible does not give authority for any of these endeavors. There is not a “direct command.” There is not an “approved example.” There is not a “necessary inference.” So if you practice these things for which there is not a direct command, approved example or necessary inference, what may be concluded by this behavior? You do not believe the Bible is “sufficient.” 2 Pet. 1:3 tells us that it is. You are not following the apostles teaching. Acts 2:42 shows us that we should. You are walking by “sight” not by faith” (2 Cor. 5:7). You are not “abiding” in the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9).
Therefore, I would “urge” you to examine yourselves (2 Cor. 13:5), before you answer the question (“Do you believe the Bible?”). It is possible that you could have been led astray by a “false doctrine” (Eph. 4:4) that is “contrary” to the doctrine of Christ (Romans 16:17), led into the doctrines of men (Matt. 15:9). 1 John 1:6-7 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth us from all sins.” Do you believe the Bible?
Guardian of Truth XXV: 12, pp. 183-184
March 19, 1981