Sad to say, even among those who call themselves Christian, many do not regard the Bible as God’s unerring word. Rather, they view it as any other book written by men and pick and choose what they believe to be true and what they regard as opinions of another time which are not binding today. But true followers of Christ Jesus have a different attitude toward the Bible, that of Jesus, who regarded every word of the Scriptures as God’s revealed truth.
Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17-18). The Law and the Prophets was what the Old Testament Scriptures were called, and a jot is the smallest Hebrew letter and a tittle, the smallest part of a Hebrew letter. Jesus regarded every letter, even the smallest part of a letter, true and important.
He also said, when referring the wording of the Old Testament Scripture: “The scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). And, in rebuking those who did not believe in Him, Jesus said: “Ye have not his [the Father’s] word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:38-39). Jesus called the Scriptures the word of God the Father and told His hearers to search the Scriptures because they testify of Him and His work.
Jesus said: “Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it” (Luke 11:28). And, Jesus, when praying for His disciples, said: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
The Bible is true throughout
Believers in Christ Jesus believe that each and every word, as well as the entirety and whole, of the Bible was given by inspiration of God and is therefore the true and unerring Word of God, for that was the view of our Lord Jesus and that is what the Scriptures say of themselves.
The apostle Peter wrote in his first epistle, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:19-21). The prophecies of Scripture are called a sure word because they were not written by the will or decision of men. Rather, they were written when the Holy Spirit moved men to write, gave them the thoughts they expressed and guided them in the words they used to express those thoughts.
St. Paul wrote to Timothy, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…” (2 Timothy 3:16); and to the church in Corinth, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:12-13). The Scriptures are called God-breathed or inspired because they are the words and truths taught by the Holy Spirit Himself.
Of David, the writer of a great many of the psalms in the book of Psalms, the Bible says this: “Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:1-2).
The Scriptures, like Jesus, testify to the truthfulness of all of the Bible. In Proverbs 30:5, we read: “Every word of God is pure.” Psalm 119:160 says, “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.”
It is because the Scriptures are the inspired Word of God that the Bible, which is made up of 66 books and letters written by about 40 human authors over a period of almost 2,000 years, is in total accord and agreement throughout. That’s something not found outside the Bible.
The Word of God has not been lost or corrupted
Though many believe the Word of God has been lost, at least in part, or corrupted over the centuries since it was first recorded, Jesus’ testimony and the teaching of the Scriptures say otherwise. Jesus said: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come … Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:14, 35). Jesus said the Gospel will be preached unto the end of time as a witness to the nations and, though heaven and earth pass away, His words will not pass away. And, again, He said: “Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18).
The Scriptures themselves, which are the Word of God, testify: “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89); “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8; also quoted in 1 Peter 1:24-25).
Therefore, followers of Jesus believe the Word of God has been faithfully preserved by God down through the centuries as a witness to all the nations, that it is still accurately recorded in the Hebrew Masoretic and Greek Majority (Received) Texts, and that it can be read and studied in faithful Bible translations such as Luther’s German Bible, the King James Version and the New King James Version of the Bible.
And, since the Bible is the Word of God and every letter is important, followers of Jesus reject and discourage the use of texts and translations of the Bible which are unfaithful to the preserved texts and corrupt the Word of God. In fact, God warns against it when He says: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2); “He that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully” (Jeremiah 23:28); “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:18-19); and, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).
The Bible is the only source and judge of Christian doctrine
Since all of the Bible is God’s true and unerring Word, followers of Jesus believe and teach that the Bible is to be the source and judge of all Christian doctrine. What is not in accord with God’s Word is not to be taught as Christian doctrine. Christians believe and teach as Christian doctrine only what is taught in the Bible, nothing more and nothing less!
It is as Isaiah wrote: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). Jeremiah also wrote: “The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:28-32).
Psalm 119:128 reveals the attitude of a true believer to God’s Word when it says: “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.”
St. Paul wrote to Timothy: “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 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 perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:14-17).
And, the Scriptures hold up the example of the Bereans, who “were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).
People often say there are many ways to interpret the Bible, but there is really only one right way and that is to interpret it as God intended it to be understood. Therefore, followers of Jesus look to the Scriptures to find the correct interpretation of Scripture. Christians let the Bible be its own interpreter; thus, passage interpretations which are not in agreement with other clear passages of Holy Scripture are rejected as erring interpretations. Remember that “no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Isaiah wrote: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).
Followers of Jesus read and study their Bibles
Finally, followers of Jesus diligently study and hear the Bible for it reveals to mankind the only way of salvation, which is through faith in Christ Jesus, and it guides the Christian in living according to God’s Holy will. The Scriptures “are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15); and we read and study the Scriptures because they testify of Christ Jesus to give us a knowledge of Him and all He has done for our salvation (John 5:39). As John wrote, those things recorded for us in the Bible “are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31). And, of course, followers of Jesus read and study their Bibles and listen attentively when it is read and explained because, as the psalmist says: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (Colossians 3:16).
[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible]