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What is the Bible?

What the Bible is, is not what it appears to be. Before we look at what it is, let us look at what it is not. The Bible is not a handbook for living. It is not a moral code. It is not a book of rules to live by. It is not words on paper.

Isaiah 28:9-13

Who is it he is trying to teach? To whom is he explaining his message? To children weaned from their milk, to those just taken from the breast?

10 For it is: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there."

11 Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people,

12 to whom he said, "This is the resting place, let the weary rest"; and, "This is the place of repose"- but they would not listen.

13 So then, the word of the LORD to them will become: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there- so that they will go and fall backward, be injured and snared and captured. (NIV84)

The Bible is the Word of God

2 Timothy 3:14-17

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NIV84)

The Bible Came From God

So we see from this passage that the Bible did not originate from man, but is God-breathed, that is, originates from God.

2 Peter 1:20-21

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (NIV84)

We see from both of these passages that the Bible is not something that man made up. The Scriptures come from God and are able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

The Bible is a Person

Revelation 19:11-16

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. 13 He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of kings AND LORD OF LORDS. (NIV84)

Here we see Jesus Christ, the Lord of lords and the King of kings, is also the "Word of God". The Bible is not a book of words, but is a physical manifestation of God, in the person of Jesus Christ. The Bible is not a book of rules; live like this and not like that. It is a revelation of God himself.

The Bible is God

John 1:1-4, 14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.

3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

...14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (NIV84)

This passage is very clear on this point. The "Word" is a person. The "Word" was with God. The "Word" is God. And the "Word" became a human being, and his name is Jesus Christ.

Fellowship With God Through the Bible

What this means is that the Bible is not a book of rules or moral codes, but is a revelation of God himself. We must fellowship with God through intimate closeness with his word. We don't read the Bible to learn what to do and what not to do, but rather, we read to get to know God. It is our aim to become like God in our thinking, that is, to be his children, to be a chip-off-the-old-block, as it were.

Our aim is to know God and to understand the truth. To know the truth, because the truth has become a part of us.

By Nature Obey God

Romans 2:13-15

For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) (NIV84)

Do you see what this is saying? It is not those who read the Bible and attempt to do it, but those who by nature live as Jesus would live. By nature, do the things that the law requires. By nature!

What does it mean "by nature"? This means that you are not obeying words in a book, but you have become like the Son of God and act like him in your everyday life. A person who is born-again, and has been conformed into the image of Christ will by nature do what pleases God. They have come to know God and they are his children in truth.

Walking the Christian walk and pleasing God is not something we can do ourselves. Our nature, our natural instincts, moves us toward selfishness. The Christian walk is selflessness and sacrifice-of-self for God. As we seek God and obey him from our hearts, he reveals himself to us, transforming us into his image and likeness. The power to change comes from God, the willingness comes from us. We must love God and seek him, in truth, and he will reveal himself to us. We cannot study the Bible and come to know God. It doesn't work like that. He reveals himself to those who truly love and seek him.

Hebrews 4:12-13

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (NIV84)

The Bible is a Living Person

The Bible is not a book that we can read and understand. It is a living person that we must seek out and marvel in. People who read the Scriptures and through their own efforts try to piece together and understand its precepts will never come to the knowledge of the truth. You must empty yourself and humble yourself and seek God and ask him to reveal himself to you.

If a person reads the Bible and in their own power and with their own ability endeavor to understand the Bible, then they will piece together a complete fantasy.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16

We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment:

16 "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ. (NIV84)

Do you see that this Scripture says that without the Spirit the Bible is foolishness, but with the Spirit we have the mind of Christ. How does one get the Spirit? Do we receive the Spirit through our own efforts? Can we read the Bible and understand the truth? No. It is impossible to read the Bible and understand the truth, because the understanding comes from the gift of God, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, who comes to us because we have faith which we have received from God.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-9 not by works, so that no one can boast. (NIV84)

Look For God and He Will Reveal Himself

God gives his Spirit to those who seek him in truth, and through the Spirit we can come to know God. The Bible is not a book that can be read and understood. It is alive and is a revelation and a manifestation of God himself. My dear reader, don't think that you can understand the Bible by your own efforts--no one can. Submit to God and commune with him through his Word and he will reveal himself to you.

Read the Bible Every Day

What we must do is read the Scriptures every day and determine in our hearts that whatever the Lord reveals to us, we will conform our lives to. As we read and pray and humbly submit, God opens our hearts, and minds, and gives us the understanding.

We Come to Know God Through Obedience

If we want to know God and understand the truth we must first humble ourselves and give ourselves to God. We must seek to please God, to be his children in truth, and then through trials and tribulations, when we endure them as God would, we come to understand the truth and come to know God. Without patient endurance and obedience we will never know anything about God. We must have faith in God and trust him to reveal himself to us as we allow ourselves to be conformed into his image.

Jesus Was Obedient

Even Jesus, who is our example of how to please God, had to learn through obedience.

Hebrews 2:10-11

In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. (NIV84)

 

Hebrews 5:8-9

Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him (NIV84)

Jesus is Our Example

Jesus emptied himself of everything divine and lived a life that pleases God as an example for us. We must follow him and live likewise--there is no other way.

Philippians 2:3-8

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross! (NIV84)

Follow Christ's Example

If Jesus, who is God incarnate, emptied himself and lived in obedience to the Spirit, how much more should we empty ourselves of our self-importance and live to please God? I am not writing this letter to the world, but to those who believe. Trust in God and give him your whole self. Submit yourself to God fully and God will make himself fully known to you.

People frequently try to apply the Bible in worldly situations without truly knowing God. They condemn others while standing on their "knowledge", but God is not interested in condemning anyone, rather, he desires that we all come to the knowledge of the truth. As a Christian I am a servant, even to the ungodly. I am a living example of the love of God. I manifest God to those who don't know him. My life is an example of God's attitude and love, for and to, everyone I meet. It is my desire, that through the offering of my life, that people will see what God has wrought in me and like what they see, and seek to know God also.

Hang Out With God Until You Know Him

So again, life is not a matter of reading the Bible and doing what we think it says, but rather, fellowshipping with God, that is, fellowshipping with the Bible, until it has become totally familiar to us, until it has become second nature to us, or rather, first nature; until the Bible has become known to us. Through this "hanging out with God" our minds begin to think like God, so that when this process is complete we really have the nature of God.

When I understand the truth of a matter, as God has revealed it to me, I am no longer tempted by it, because I know what it is. Jesus has rendered sin's power over me nil, and when my understanding has blossomed with the knowledge that God has made alive in my heart, I am no longer tempted by it. My only thought has become how to please my Lord and Savior, my God. I have come to know and love God, why would I look to the world? Why would I let anything get between me and my ever-loving Father?

 

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