Asking the Right Questions About The Word of God
A professor of mine told his class once, “If you’re going to ask adult questions, you need to expect adult answers.” In other words, the deeper your question, the more willing you should be to work hard for a deep answer instead of a quick, easy fix. Even more so, this is true when trying to understand the word of God.
People have many different views and opinions on the Bible. They ask questions like, “How do we know the Bible is really God’s Word?” or “Doesn’t it have errors in it?” These are valid questions, but sometimes it takes years of study to answer them.
However, here we will take a wide, surface-level approach at answering some prevalent questions about God’s Word. Let’s begin with authorship.
Who Wrote the Bible?
Christians believe that the Bible is inspired, or God-breathed. In other words, God spoke (or breathed out) the words of Scripture, which is why we call it “God’s Word.”
“I thought humans wrote the Bible,” you may be thinking. You’re right! For example, Moses wrote the first 5 books, David penned many of the Psalms, and Paul is the author of much of the New Testament. How did both God and man write the Bible?
God used the unique writing styles and personalities of various authors to bring the Bible into existence. Many of the books tell us who the human authors are (e.g., Romans 1:1). Yet, we learn in 2 Timothy 3:16 that “All Scripture is inspired by God” While this may seem like a contradiction, it isn’t—for both are true!
So, what? Is it really such a big deal who wrote the Bible? Yes! If it were simply the words of people, it would just be another book of religion like The Book of Mormon or the Qur’an. Consequently, it would not hold any divine authority.
Why Is the Bible Such an Important Book?
Because of its divine origin, the Bible holds extreme power. God’s words have full authority over the universe, as we see in Genesis 1 where He speaks everything into existence! (As a side note, it appears that the only part of His creation that He didn’t speak into existence was man and woman—these He fashioned more intimately, demonstrating our value to Him.)
Many people struggle with parts of Scripture because they don’t like that God can tell them what to do. Yet, because He made us and knows what’s best for us, He does have the right to give us commands.
“Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker—
An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth!
Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’
Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’?
This picture of the clay talking back to its maker sounds ludicrous to us, and it’s supposed to. The point is that it’s just as foolish for us as humans to look at God and say, “Who are you to tell me how to live my life?”
Another way the Bible is powerful is in its ability to change hearts. God tells us that His Word can turn a rebel into a follower of Jesus (1 Peter 1:22-25). Have you ever known someone who was always miserable or angry, but then he became a Christian, and everything changed? This is the power we’re talking about.
You may have experienced this power yourself to some degree. You read a verse that you’ve read a hundred times, but that day it speaks to you in a whole new way. “I never thought about it like that before!” you exclaim. You feel the truth of that verse working its way into your heart, creating a softness that wasn’t there before.
Can I Trust the Bible?
It’s a popular opinion that the Bible is a good book but not a perfect book. People believe they see errors and contradictions here and there throughout it. If this is the case, how do we know we can trust anything that it says?
If it were just a book of human origin, we could explain away many of the truths and commands. “Times change,” we would tell ourselves. “Sure, we can learn from the Bible, but we should take what we read with a grain of salt.” But God says the following about His Word:
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. ~ 2 Peter 1:20-21
Yes, you can trust the Bible, because God is the author behind it all, and He never lies (Numbers 23:19)! If a reader of the Bible encounters any apparent contradictions, he or she, through prayer and deep study, will eventually find that they aren’t contradictions at all.
Another reason you can trust the Bible is that it applies to every situation. It doesn’t speak specifically to everything specifically, obviously—like which doctor to choose or how to set up a budget—but it is full of truths and principles that you can utilize no matter what you’re going through.
One of David’s Psalms, the 19th, talks about the beauty and value of God’s Word. He uses the following adjectives to describe it: perfect, trustworthy, right, radiant, pure, firm, precious, and sweet. Wow! You would trust any book that had all those qualities!
David also describes in the same passage how the Bible helps us: It refreshes our souls, makes us wise, creates joy in our hearts, brings us light, lasts forever, and warns us against danger (v. 7-11). So, can you trust the Bible? Is it worth clinging to? Yes!
What’s the Point of the Bible?
Every quality work of literature has a main point that it wants to convey to its readers. In The Count of Monte Cristo, author Dumas demonstrates the ugliness of revenge as it overcomes his main character. In Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, we see the beauty of sacrificial friendship between Frodo and Sam. The Bible is a long book—longer than even those other two! Can it really have one overarching theme?
Basically, God’s Word boils down to two themes: the nature of humanity and the nature of God. The Bible describes itself figuratively as a mirror for its readers (James 1:23-24). In it we find all the answers that humans are looking for: “Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going?”
The Bible tells us that we came from God, that we fell into sin, that we exist to bring Him glory, and that we are going to one of two places—Heaven or Hell—depending on how we respond to God’s Son, Jesus. It helps us understand ourselves and our needs.
Not only is God’s Word like a mirror, but it also acts as a telescope pointed up at the heavens. The main point of Scripture, even more than understanding ourselves, is to help us understand who God is. Jesus said it best when He was talking to the proud religious leaders of the day:
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. ~ John 5:39-40
These religious people devoted their entire lives to studying the Old Testament, but they tragically and completely missed the whole point of those Scriptures—God Himself.
The Word of God and You
What about you? Have you missed the point of the Bible?
Perhaps you grew up with barely any knowledge of Christianity. To you, the Bible is just another book of religion. “That’s great if it helps you,” you tell a Christian friend, “but it’s not for me.”
But it is for you! The Bible is for everyone. Don’t miss out on the beauty of a relationship with your loving Creator. If you give your heart to Him, your life will still be hard, but you’ll never be alone. He will relieve your heavy soul with whispers of His kindness.
Maybe you grew up very religious. To you, the Bible was a rule book. “Do this; don’t do that.” If so, here is the passage for you. God says:
“Here is a place of rest; let the weary rest here. This is a place of quiet rest.” But they would not listen. So then the Word of the LORD to them will become, “Do this, do that; a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there,” so that as they go they will fall backward, be broken, snared and taken captive. ~ Isaiah 28:12-13
God’s Word isn’t primarily a rule book. If you live that way, you’ll never know freedom. The Bible is a sign post pointing you to Jesus so that your soul can find rest in Him. Stop trying to work off your guilt—take it to the foot of the cross.
Even if you’ve walked with God for a long time, you still need this reminder sometimes. While there’s nothing wrong with reading the Bible to find a nugget of encouragement for the day, remember that the point of the Word isn’t to make you feel good but to help you know God (which, consequently, will make your heart joyful!).
So, there you have it—everything you need to know about the Word of God. Yet, it’s not everything there is to know. You have a lifetime and eternity to get to know this amazing God!
Learn more about the sword of the spirit which is the word of God.