Last night we continued our study of how God’s Triune nature affects our lives by looking at what is happening when we read the Bible. Here are the notes:
What we’re doing when we read the Bible. (Or, Why are Christians so hyped up about the Bible?)
The Bible, from the very beginning, reports that God is a speaking God, and gives the long history of his speech to humans and what He has said.
- Genesis 1:1-3 – The pattern: God speaking, the Word is what He spoke, the Spirit energizing
- Gen 1:29 – God spoke to the first humans
- Gen 12:7 – God appeared to Abraham and spoke
- Exodus 24:1-3 – God told Moses to write. So, not only did God appear to people ad speak to them, but at a certain time, He told them to start writing down what He said. They did, and these written documents held the same authority as His audible voice.
- 2 Samuel 23:1-2 – The Spirit of God spoke “by” David, and He wrote it down (Luke 1:70). This is a new level of God’s speaking to Humanity. David is typical of the prophets, who were people who God not only spoke to, but also spoke through. The Holy Spirit, in these people, spoke in such a way that at certain times, what the prophet said was what God was saying. The prophets words were God’s words.
- Heb 1:1-3 – God’s final and full revelation is in a person – his Son. This is yet another level of God’s speaking. In Jesus, we have God the Son not only speaking to a human, or through a human, but becoming human. His words and actions are a complete, perfect revelation of who God is.
- John 12:49 – Jesus speaks the Father’s words. So this man Jesus spoke perfectly what God the Father spoke. His words were God’s words.
- John 14:26 – The Holy Spirit taught the Apostles what to write. After Jesus left, the Holy Spirit came and indwelt the Apostles, so that they remembered correctly what Jesus taught, spoke correctly what Jesus said and did, and interpreted it correctly for their hearers. Like the prophets, what the Apostles said about Jesus was what God said.
- 1 Peter 1:10-12 –Peter says the Holy Spirit was in the Prophets, and in those who preached the Gospel.
- 2 Peter 1:12-21 – Peter says the Apostles didn’t only speak, they also committed their teaching to writing, so that Christians would “always have a reminder” of what they taught. And this wasn’t merely a human process, for the Spirit “carried” the writers of Scripture along. (See also 1 Cor 14:37)
- 2 Timothy 3:16 – So… Scripture is God-breathed. (“Inspired” means God created an identity between what a Prophet wrote or said and His own words.)
- 1 Cor 2:9-12 – We have the same Spirit in us. When we read these words which the Holy Spirit used the prophets and apostles to write, we have the Holy Spirit who inspired the words living in us as well (indwelling us) and speaking to us, in us, teaching us the truth of these words.
Summing it up: God speaks, and has spoken finally by giving us His Son. Jesus said and did things that we all need to know, because they are what God says and does. The Holy Spirit lived in the hearts of the Apostles to guide them in their writing of Scripture about Jesus. What they wrote is what God says. When we read scripture, with the Holy Spirit in our hearts, He is speaking, to us, the words on the page. And what does He speak? Primarily, He tells us about the Son, who reveals the Father. In other words, “the words of the Father are delivered by the Son, in the Power of the Spirit.” Or you might say, the Father speaks the Word through the Spirit. When You read the Bible, God is with you, in the Spirit, speaking the Father’s word about Jesus to your heart. So reading the Bible with faith and the Spirit in our hearts is the clearest, most reliable way to hear the Word of God.
Finally, see Acts 10:36-44. God’s main word is: Jesus shows us God. He lived the life we haven’t lived and died the death we deserved, in our place. Whoever believes in Him has forgiveness for their sins.
Along these lines, here’s the bit of logic I was working with last night, taken from John Frame’s book The Doctrine of the Word of God.
- God is Lord, which means He is all authority.
- When God speaks, His words carry all the authority that He is in Himself.
- When someone (like a Prophet) hears those words and faithfully repeats them, the words the prophet speaks are as authoritative as if God were speaking the words Himself.
- When a prophet writes down God’s words, the written words are as authoritative as God’s very speech.
- And when those words are faithfully copied (and even translated) and I read them thousands of years later, what I read is as authoritative as if God Himself stood in my room and spoke them to me audibly. In other words, the Bible is God speaking to us.