SCRIPTURE

THE BIBLE, GOD’S GIFT TO ME

“God’s Word has a claim…upon your attention because of its majesty and its condescension” Charles Spurgeon (ref#251, p47).

“Every word that God has given us in this Book claims our attention because of the infinite majesty of Him that spake it…God’s claim to be heard lies also in the condescension that has led Him to speak to us….Thou art so full of lovingkindness and tenderness that Thou wilt stoop out of heaven to converse with Thy sinful creatures” Charles Spurgeon (ref#251, p46-47).

FATHER, You did not speak Your Word to me just to increase my knowledge but that it move me to change my conduct. Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p187)

“…to make progress in all the good things that he gives us, we must have his Word so we may be built upon it and grow more and more through it.  To bring this about, we must be teachable.  From day to day , we must labor to seek help in the Word to strengthen our faith…” John Calvin (ref#164, Oct 12th).

“We don’t see ourselves with clarity, but we think we do, and we don’t know ourselves with accuracy, but we are convinced we do….” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, June 4th).  “…the mind was designed not to defend what we want, but to discover what is ultimately true….The purpose of the mind is not to rationalize subjective preferences, but to recognize objective reality and to help the heart revel in God” John Piper (ref#220, p261, underlining mine).  “Only when the Word of God is applied to a person’s life does he realize how deep and wide is his corruption” John Calvin (ref#164, Nov 13th).

FATHER, I am reminded again what a great gift Your Word is as the SPIRIT convicts me of utilizing my mind all too often to “rationalize subjective preferences.”  How refreshing it is to follow “objective reality” reading Your Scriptures, instead.

“…we all need help.  It comes to us in the gift of God’s Word…” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, June 4th).

SCRIPTURE

THE STORE HOUSE OF SCRIPTURE

“What informs your life?…We can allow a lot of things to supplant the proper role of scriptures in our lives…parents; friends; movies; music; media; scientific theories; teachers; professors” JD Blom (ref#276).

“…men and women, instead of taking the message as it is in the Bible, are imposing their own message upon it.  They are approaching it with their philosophies, their theories, their ideas, and their attempts to understand; and they are bypassing what is stated in this Book that is open before them in a language that all can understand” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, July 9th).

“The idea of much liberal theology is that Christian theology should be interpreted from the stand point of modern knowledge and experience.  Jesus is saying that this should absolutely NOT be the case.  The scriptures alone are the primary source for informing and guiding our lives” JD Blom (ref#276).

FATHER, I confess it is so easy to pluck up sensible facts from trusted friends and plant them in my personal doctrinal garden.  Trusting the Bible to inform me is hard work that I naturally don’t want to do.  Therefore, help me continue the habit of enlightening myself with Your Scriptures on a routine basis.

“…holy and sanctifying are the nature and the effect of divine truth….It brings down and lays low the high thoughts of man by revealing to him the character of God; it convinces him of his deep guilt and awful condemnation by exhibiting the divine law; it unfolds to him God’s hatred of sin and His justice in punishing and His mercy in pardoning it…it implants new principles, supplies new motives, gives a new end, begets new joys, and inspires new hopes—in a word, diffuses itself through the whole moral man, changes it into the same image, and transforms it into ‘an habitation of God through the Spirit’” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 22nd).

“Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces” (Jer 23:29 ESV)?  “God’s word shatters the sinful heart” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1417, [Jer 23:29]).

“We are never the same after listening to the truth; we may forget it, but we will meet it again….A man may not grasp all that is said, but something in him is intuitively held by it” Oswald Chambers (ref#8, April 3rd).

“…there is still an infinite storehouse of understanding of the mind of God waiting for us in Scripture” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p175).

SCRIPTURE

NECESSITY OF SCRIPTURE

“..thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” (Ps 138:2 KJV).

“…let us become stronger in the Word that God has been pleased to communicate to us…so we might have much greater love for his holy Word and give ourselves wholly to it” John Calvin (ref#164, Dec 31st).

“…the works of creation…while they testify to ‘His power and Godhead’—thus leaving man inexcusable for his atheism—nowhere supply an answer to the momentous question, ‘What must I do to be saved?’…They tell of a fallen, but not of a restored humanity” Octavius Winslow (ref#248, p33).

“We do not read anywhere that God delights in the cloud-capped mountains or the sparkling stars, but we do read that…His delights are ‘with the sons of men.’ (Prov 8:31)” Charles Surgeon (ref#34, Sept 21st AM).

FATHER, nature displays Your creative beauty and tells me there is a great and powerful GOD, but Your written words informs me of Your love for me personally.

“As a revelation of the love of God, His Word is inexpressibly precious.  We want to know more than the mind of God.  We are sinners, and we want to read His heart—His loving, gracious, sin-forgiving heart.  We want to know, not only what His thoughts and purposes are, but what His [thoughts] towards us are….And when we approach the subject yet closer…what a transcendent, marvelous unfolding of His love is presented in the gift of His beloved Son” Octavius Winslow (ref#248, p36)!

“…There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus….” (2 Tim 3:14-17 MSG).

“Beloved, let this be the one and chief object in your study of the Bible: the knowledge of Jesus.  The Bible is not a history, a book of science, a poem—it is a record of Christ.  Study it to know more of Him, His nature, His love, His work” Octavius Winslow (ref#248, p37).

“Of these Scriptures, He is the…substance, the sweetness, the glory—the one, precious, absorbing theme” Octavius Winslow (ref#248, p37).  “Search the Scriptures, know the Scriptures, love the Scriptures, and live the Scriptures” John Calvin (ref#164, Dec 31st).

“Whatever you neglect, neglect not the Bible” Octavius Winslow (ref#248, p37).

SCRIPTURE

INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE

“The Bible, at first sight, appears to be a collection of literature—mainly Jewish.  If we enquire into the circumstances under which the various Biblical documents were written, we find that they were written at intervals over a space of nearly 1400 years.  The writers wrote in various lands…not only separated from each other by hundreds of years and hundreds of miles, but belonging to the most diverse walks of life” Josh McDowell (ref#275, p17).

“…the Bible itself, fairly examined, is the best witness of its own inspiration” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p4).  The 66 books contained in the Bible “…all tell the same story.  They all give one account of man,–one account of God,–one account of the way of salvation,–one account of the human heart” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p9).

“The Bible alone gives a reasonable account of the beginning and end of the globe on which we live” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p4).

“It boldly handles matters which are beyond the reach of man, when left to himself.  It treats of things which are mysterious and invisible,–the soul, the world to come, and eternity,–depths which man has no line to fathom” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p4).

“It is the book of the world, because He inspired it who formed the world,–who made all nations of one blood,–and knows man’s common nature.  It is the book for every heart, because He dictated it who alone knows all hearts, and what all hearts require.  It is the book of God” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p13).

“Biblical authors spoke on hundreds of controversial subjects with harmony and continuity from Genesis to Revelation.  There is one unfolding story: “God’s redemption of man” Josh McDowell (ref#275, p16).

SCRIPTURE

INFLUENCE OF SCRIPTURE

“Our convictions and values will come from society around us (the world), or they will come as our minds are renewed by the Word of God.  There is no third option” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p167-168).

FATHER, like no other book Your words change my very nature.  Externally I conclude, by the actions of the HOLY SPIRIT, that the Bible is unique in that every book in it agrees with every other book in it.  I also grasp the internal evidence.  I feel in my reading that it is Your Word explicitly.  The HOLY SPIRIT too, brings this to me. (ref#189, Dec 14th)

“The human task of thinking about God on the basis of his Word is the place where God ‘grants understanding.’  It is a gift….(Prov 2:2-6)” John Piper (ref#220, p285).

“…the word of God…performs its work in you who believe” (1 Thes 2:13 NASB).

“Many can bring the Scriptures to the mind, but the Lord alone can prepare the mind to receive the Scriptures” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Jan 19th PM).  “…the Holy Scriptures cannot be penetrated by study and talent is most certain.  Therefore our first duty is to begin to pray, and to pray to this effect that if it please God to accomplish something for His glory—not for yours or any other person’s—He very graciously grant you a true understanding of His words….You must, therefore, completely despair of your own…ability and rely solely on the inspiration of the Spirit” John Piper (ref#220, p291).

“The Word of God…is the weapon that God designs to use in penetrating the kingdom of darkness and gathering the children of light…His whole redemptive plan for the universe hangs on the success of his word…” John Piper (ref#220, p222).  “The great design…is to reveal the love of God to His people, and thereby recover their love to God, that they may love Him again who first loved them” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p128).

SCRIPTURE

THE POWER OF SCRIPTURE

“…’the Book’…is a fountain for spiritual thirst, food for the soul, a revelation of God, a living power and a two-edged sword” John Piper (ref#220, p292).

FATHER, the more familiar I become with Your Bible the more I approach it with respect and fear.  One read through cements the fact that it is indeed a supernatural book.  Ordinary books inform or entertain; the Bible changes my very nature.  UTMOST LORD, I thank You for providing the SPIRIT who guides me as I read.

I can easily fall back into reading with the mind of my flesh, using my natural “sense and reason without the Holy Spirit…” (Rom 8:6 AMP).  But by reading this way I’m only looking for information to help me.  Without the SPIRIT to help, Your Word is external.  It does not change me inside.  It only gives me advice to act independently of You.

“…the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12 ESV).

“…the ‘word’ is pictured as God’s personal utterance, living, active, sharp, piercing, and discerning…with eyesthat expose….The Word of God then acts as God himself, so that one’s innermost thoughts and intentions are exposed.  This happens constantly in Christians’ lives” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2367, [Heb 4:12-13]).

If the ESV translation is hard to understand, try the Message: God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what” (Heb 4:12-13 MSG).

I praise You, LORD, that Your Word “is a sifter…of the reflections and conceptions of the heart” Kenneth S. Wuest (ref#37, p519, [Heb 4:12]).  Its energy seeks to get into and stay with me. It has the ability to stir me and work in me to a degree that I can’t get away from it. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (ref#28, p83)

“We are being drawn more and more under the transforming influence of Scripture, or we are being progressively drawn into the web of an ungodly society around us” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p171).

SCRIPTURE

AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE OR AUTHORITY OF THE CHURCH?

“If the Word derived its authority from the church, then we would have to hold the church in higher esteem than God Himself.  For whoever gives the credence and emphasis to someone’s words is superior to the person who speaks them.  God has no superior, and therefore no one is in a position to give authority to His words” Wilhelmus a Brakel (ref#247, p29).

Thus, we acknowledge the Word to have divine authority solely because God is the One Who speaks:…(Isa 1:2).  The Church merely functions as a herald” Wilhelmus a Brakel (ref#249, p29).

“If the Scriptures be not clear in themselves to all believers, but that all its perspicuity depends on the interpretation of the church, then our faith is to be ultimately resolved into the testimony of man.  But that cannot be, for human testimony is not infallible and authentic, and therefore cannot [establish] divine faith and an infallible persuasion” Thomas Boston (ref#245, p40).

“…no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion.  And why?  Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart.  Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word” (2 Pet 1:19-21 MSG).

“Deny that the Bible is, without any qualifications, the very Word of God, and you are left without any ultimate standard of measurement and without any supreme authority” Arthur W. Pink (ref#245, p1).

SCRIPTURE

BIBLICAL WRITERS

FATHER, now is the time I sit before a large table full of paper slips placed into subject piles all containing quotes about Your Holy Scriptures.  Thank You for the honor to record what Your godly people have said about Your Book.  But, all these quotes are written by men and women who don’t possess the SPIRIT in order to write Your exact words.  Only men who have written the Bible fit that category.

“Sermons, and tracts, and theological writings of all kinds, may be sound and edifying, but they are only the handiwork of uninspired man.  The Bible alone is the Book of God” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p3).

“All the words in Scripture are God’s words” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p73).  “Its first line, its last line, all its teachings, understood or not understood, are by the same Author…Whoever may have been the writers—whatever their circumstances, their impressions, their comprehension of the book, and the measure of their individuality in this powerful and mysterious operation—they have all written faithfully and under superintendence…under the guidance of the same Master, for Whom a thousand years are as one day; and the result has been the Bible” Louis Gaussen (ref#246, p8-9, “God-breathed Scripture”).

“The apostles and prophets were the people to whom God revealed spiritual truth” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Nov 7th).

“…no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:21 ESV).

“…when these…were written, it was not a case of a man in control of himself, using his natural powers and propensities and abilities, thinking things out and then writing as best he could.  Not at all!  The whole time, he was controlled by…the Spirit…this divine energy.  This divine [creative impulse] came upon him, it held him and carried him, and he was borne along by the Spirit.  And it was as a result of that process that…prophecies and…Scriptures came into being” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#250, p45).

“If the Bible is not inspired in the strictest sense of the word, then it is worthless; for it claims to be God’s Word” A.W. Pink (ref#250, p3, “The Impregnable Rock”).

SCRIPTURE

THE INERRANCY OF THE BIBLE

“…the word of the Lord remains forever….’” (1 Pet 1:25 ESV).

FATHER, Your Bible does not and cannot have errors: the sinless CHRIST cannot error.  He says the Bible is Your Word; therefore the Bible cannot error. Norman Geisler (ref#95)

CHRIST, GOD INCARNATE, in Your earthly ministry You advocated what had been written of the FATHER previous to Your coming.  Time after time You preface Your subject with the words, “it is written” (Matt 4:4,7,10).  You did not come to abolish what had been written, but to fulfill what had been written (Matt 5:17-18).

You say Yourself that the Scriptures cannot be set aside or annulled (John 10:35).  Even the hard-to-believe Scriptures You confessed as true.  Jonah was indeed three days in the belly of a great fish (Matt 12:40).  Your FATHER’s word is truth and without error (John 17:17).

“My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right” (Ps 119:172 ESV).

The Bible does not and cannot have errors: OMNIPOTENT, HOLY, PERFECT, FATHER, You cannot error.  You say the Bible is Your Word, therefore the Bible cannot error (ref#95).

The sum of Your Word is truth and every one of Your righteous rules endures forever (Ps 119:160).  You never lie (Titus 1:2); it is impossible for You to lie (Heb 6:18).

You are true even if we are all liars (Rom 3:4)—even if we are faithless, You remain faithful for You cannot deny Yourself (2 Tim 2:13).  Your Word is Truth (John 17:17).  The audacity of Your creatures to accuse You of allowing an errant book to represent You!!

You revealed Yourself in words and resided over them as they were written in an earthly Book for all generations to read.  The Bible is the prime testimony of Your compassion and caring.

SCRIPTURE

INERRANCY

“…Scripture is divine in its origin, character, and authority, it must bear the marks or evidences of that divinity.  If ‘the heavens declare the glory of God’ (Psa 19:1) and therefore bear witness to their divine Creator, the Scriptures as God’s handiwork must also bear the imprints of His authorship” John Murray (ref#250, p41, “Witness of the Spirit”).

“…the omniscient God, is the One who announces events beforehand.  That is the proof of His deity” Alfred Martin (ref#260, p77).  “Prediction of the future is the prerogative of God alone…prophecy is the seal which God has put on His Word to show its genuineness.  It authenticates the Scripture” Alfred Martin (ref#260, p70).

“The Old Testament, written over a 1,000-year period, contains several hundred references to the coming Messiah.  All of these were fulfilled in Jesus Christ…” Josh McDowell (ref#275, p141).

“Reformed theologians uphold the Bible as the inspired, infallible, inerrant, authoritative, and fully sufficient communication of truth from God to us.  When they say the Bible is ‘inspired,’ they mean that the Bible was actually written by God through the agency of human authorship in a miraculous way that preserved the thoughts of God from any taint of human sinfulness (2 Peter 1:20-21) Carole J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p145-146).

“When they say the Bible is infallible, they mean it is incapable of error, and when they say it is inerrant, they mean the Bible, in actual fact, contains no errors.  The Bible is authoritative because it comes from God whose authority over His creation is absolute (Isaiah 46:9-10).  And it is completely sufficient because it contains everything necessary for us to know and live according to God’s requirements (2 Peter 1:3-4)” Carole J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p146).

“…the Bible is (in its original manuscripts) inerrant and infallible…” Arthur W. Pink (ref#245, p1, “The Impregnable Rock”).