While contemplating God and His word, the psalmist observed, "Righteous are You, O Lord, and upright are Your judgments... Your word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it" (Psa. 119:137, 140). Since God is righteous, we fully expect His word to also be righteous. We are not disappointed. We marvel at the harmony of God's word. We trust its power to save souls and transform lives. We are dismayed at those who choose to dishonor God by dishonoring His word.
Many religious people discount the credibility of the Bible and discredit the Scriptures as the only authoritative, binding standard for faith and practice. They appeal to "church tradition," to "new revelation" or to "personal testimony" while rejecting the Bible as the very word of God. The apostles of Jesus preached the "word of God" and not the "word of men" (1 Ths. 2:13). The Spirit of God gave the apostles the very words to speak and write (Matt. 10:19-20; 1 Cor. 14:37). To relegate the Bible to human origin either displays a lack of knowledge or a willful rejection of the word of God (2 Tim. 3:16).
Others, wanting to deflect the validity of the apostles' teachings, say there is a big difference between the words of Jesus and the words of His apostles. We hear the uninformed say things like, "Jesus didn't say it, just Paul (Peter, John, etc.)". Yet, Jesus told His apostles, "He who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me" (Jno. 13:20). Jesus sent His apostles into the world to preach His gospel (Mk. 16:15-20). The apostles spoke and then wrote "the commandments of the Lord" (1 Cor. 14:37). We cannot minimize and reject the apostles' words without also minimizing and rejecting Jesus.
The apostle Paul said, "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8-9). This declarative statement calls on us to preach the same gospel the apostles preached.
The teaching of Christ's apostles and prophets about the nature of God's word strengthens our faith and revives our love for His truth. They assure us that God's "divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue" (2 Pet. 1:3).
Every teaching that contradicts Christ's first century apostles and prophets indicts the purity of God and His word. Here is what they taught about the nature of the word of God.
All truth. The apostles of Christ were guided by the Holy Spirit into all truth: "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come" (Jno. 16:13). This is most reassuring since we are sanctified by truth (Jno. 17:17). If we only have some truth then we can only have some sanctification. But, God's word "is truth," and "all truth" was given to the apostles. We have all of God's word through the apostles. We have no need for direct, personal messages from God. God has already given us "all truth" to follow. The Bible is enough.
Fully adequate. The Scriptures, because they are inspired by God, are "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17). To "be complete" means to be adequate, filled up, sufficient. The Scriptures are adequate to supply us for "every good work" of faith, without any additional revelation (Eph. 2:10). They are our pattern for doing God's will. The Bible is enough.
Incorruptible. The words of men fall by the wayside and are cast into the dustbin of history. But the word of God is living and powerful, vibrant to convict of sin and to convert sinners (Heb. 4:12). It is enduring, never fading away: "having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever" (1 Pet. 1:23). When people say God's word is no longer relevant in modern culture they expose their unwilling heart to accept and live by the living word of God. There have been and always will be different cultures on the earth, yet the incorruptible word of God applies to people of every culture (Mk. 16:15). Some say men have corrupted truth and we need the truth restored. No, men have fallen away from the truth; the truth has not fallen away (1 Tim. 4:1). The Bible is enough.
Once for all delivered. The gospel is not repeatedly delivered from heaven to earth throughout the ages. The faith was fully delivered to mankind by the first century apostles and prophets of Christ -- "...once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). Jesus Christ died a single time ("once") as a sacrifice for sin (Heb. 7:27; 9:28; 10:10). Once was enough. Likewise, "the faith" was delivered "once" (a single time). The Bible is enough.
Full and final authority. The apostles' teaching carries the full weight of heaven's authority. When we accept the apostles' teaching we are accepting Christ because He sent them into the world with His word (Jno. 13:20; Mk. 16:15; Acts 2:42). The writings of the apostles of Christ "are the commandments of the Lord" (1 Cor. 14:37). God speaks to us today "in His Son" by the words of His apostles (Heb. 1:1-2). Their word has binding authority over us (Col. 3:17). The Bible is enough.
Understandable. Amazingly, by reading what the apostles wrote we can understand what they knew about the will of God! "...how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)..." (Eph. 3:3-4). It is false to say the Bible is not understandable (2 Pet. 3:16-18). We do not need a new revelation to understand the first century revelation. We need to read and learn it. The Bible is enough.
by Joe R. Price -- Via The Spirit's Sword, November 9, 2014, Volume 17, Number 24
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