By Shelby C. Smith
The Bible is an inspired book and I am an uninspired man. There are many things that point to the inspiration of the Bible; it is complete and cannot be changed because it is from God. Since the close of the New Testament scriptures, no religious leader, no matter how many Ph.D.’s he may have, has been able to bring forth a single new religious truth, which is not already set forth in the Bible. There are some who claim to have done so, but what they claim is either already in the Bible, or it is condemned by the Bible.
I am not responsible for what the Bible teaches. But it is my responsibility to study the Word of God (2 Tim. 2:15), follow it (2 Thess. 5:13, 14), and to teach it to others (2 Tim. 3:14-17; Rev. 22:17). If anyone wants to praise the Word, he must praise Him who gave it. Also, those who want to criticize the doctrine in the Bible must criticize not me, but its author, who is God. If I misrepresent the Word of God, a person has a right to point out my error. Yea, even more, it is his responsibility to do so. But if what I teach is taught in God’s Word, no one has the right to criticize me, because it comes from God.
If, for example, I teach that baptism is a burial and a resurrection, I can read in Romans 6:2-4 that this is true. Also, I can read that baptism puts us into Christ, His church (Gal. 3:27), that baptism is for the remission of sins, and that we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38). Men do not like this teaching concerning baptism. To them it is a hard doctrine; those who preach this doctrine, to the denominational world, are considered narrow-minded.
What does the Bible teach about denominationalism? The Bible teaches that Jesus prayed for unity of believers on earth (John 17:20ff). Denominationalism contributes to unbelief and thus hinders unity. It takes time, talent and money to build up denominational groups which could be used in evangelizing the world. The Bible does not support many different doctrines. There is only one doctrine of faith in the New Testament (Eph. 4:5), but the denominational world twists the Bible to make it support their doctrine. But some fail to believe the Bible because those who profess to believe it are so divided. Thus we see that denominationalism is a curse (1 Cor. 1:10-12). I did not write the Bible; therefore, I cannot change it. So, before you criticize the Bible or try to change it, remember that God is its author and some day we will all be judged by the words of Christ (John 12:48).
But remember this, the last work man has from God is written for us in the New Testament. We have no new revelation from God today, as some claim. Man did not write the Bible and man cannot change it.
Does the Bible suit you? Do you find fault with those who preach it? Do you call on them to revise it? Remember, revisions will face us in judgment (John 12:48; Acts 17:30). Let us strive to be Christians and to serve God in the things that are pleasing to Him.
Guardian of Truth XXV: 23, p. 354
June 4, 1981