What does it mean to say that the Bible is God’s word?
This article is an excerpt from the CSM book, “A Travel Guide to the Bible”. The book is in pre-press proofs and should be in distribution by July 1, 2017. The full text of the book can be found at www.asimpleword.org.
THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD
The Bible is like other books in many ways. But there is one way that the Bible is like no other book. In fact, it is the only book of its kind. The Bible is the word of God.
What does it mean to say that the Bible is God’s word? We mean that the Bible is a revelation* from God. We are saying that the words of the Bible come to us as a message from God himself. The words are God’s way of showing us things that we could not know unless he showed us.
God has many ways to show us things about himself. For example, God made all things. When he did, he left many signs in his creation* that tell us things about him. When we look at what he made, we can see that he has great power. We can know that he must be very wise. We can see that God likes order and beauty. We can know these things about God by looking at all he has made.
But there are many things that we cannot know about God just by looking about us. That is why God gave us the Bible. God tells us things in the Bible that we could not know without it. The Bible tells who God is. It tells us why God made us. It tells us what is wrong with the world. It tells us how God will make everything better some day. We could not know these things unless God chose to tell us. God has chosen to tell us in the Bible. If God had not given us the Bible, we would know almost nothing about him. And we would know almost nothing about his son, Jesus.
How does the Bible tell us these things? The Bible uses words. It is a book with words and sentences just like other books. But there is one very important difference. The words that are in the Bible come to us from God. That is why we sometimes call the Bible the scripture*. They are God’s words in writing. So, when we read the Bible, we are reading God’s words. When we listen to the words from the Bible, we are hearing from God. The Bible is not just some men’s ideas and thoughts about God. They are the thoughts and words of God himself.
So men wrote the words in the Bible and the words are the words of God. But how can that be? How can human words be God’s words too? The Bible tells us. Sometimes, God told men just what to say. But, sometimes, men wrote just what they wanted to say. And, as they wrote, God helped them. The Bible does not tell us just how God did this. The Bible only tells us that these men were ‘carried along’ by God’s Spirit*. The writers did not just write the words as they heard them from God. Nor did God just give them ideas about what to write. The Bible says that the written words are ‘God breathed’. What the human writers wrote is what God wanted to say to us. The words that they wrote tell us what God wanted us to know.
We should read the Bible because there is no other book like it. The Bible comes to us from God.