Special Revelation and the Bible
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God . . .
~ 2 Timothy 3:16
Imagine this: a spaceship lands in Kansas. A book is ejected, and the spaceship takes off, an even witnessed by thousands. Can you imagine how big a fuss would be made over the contents? Every scientist and scholar on earth would be screaming with excitement to decode it, read it, discuss it. And yet, that is just what we have, in the Holy Bible.
When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, He rebuked the devil with the words, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4). Historically, the church has echoed the teaching of Jesus by affirming that the Bible is the vox Dei, the “voice of God” or the verbum Dei, the “Word of God.” To call the Bible the Word of God is not to suggest that it was written by God's own divine hand or that it fell from heaven in a parachute.
The Bible itself clearly calls attention to its many human authors. In a careful study of Scripture we notice that each human author has his own peculiar literary style, vocabulary, special emphasis, perspective, and the like. Since the production of the Bible involved human effort, how can it be regarded as the Word of God?
The Bible is called the Word of God because of its claim, believed by the church, that the human writers did not merely write their own opinions, but that their words were inspired by God. The apostle Paul writes, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). The word inspiration is a translation from the Greek word meaning “God-breathed.” God breathed out the Bible. Just as we must expel breath from our mouths when we speak, so ultimately Scripture is God speaking.
Although Scripture came to us from the pens of human authors, the ultimate source of Scripture is God. Paul repeatedly tells churches that the Gospel he preaches is not something he wrote or received from men, but something that was revealed to him, directly, by Christ. That is why the prophets could preface their words by saying, “Thus says the Lord.” This is also why Jesus could say, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17), and “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).
So remember not to take the Bible for granted. What you hold in your hands is God Himself speaking to you.
Father God, let me always remember that when I read the Bible, I am listening to you. Amen.
~ Mason Barge
Editor, Daily Prayer