These things have I
written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye
may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name
of the Son of God. (1John 5:13).
God caused the Bible to be written as a divine testimony to Christ and
to the forgiveness that He secured for us through His death on the
cross. And He works through that Word to bestow his grace on a world
that is unworthy of it. Therefore, because our eternal destiny rests on
the truth of what is said, God did not leave its authorship to the will
of man, but instead moved His chosen penmen to speak the words that He
wanted them to speak (2Peter 1:20, 2Timothy 3:16). [See 1John 5:13,
John 5:39, 19:35, 20:31, Romans 10:17, Matthew 4:4, 2Peter 3:16,
1Corinthians 14:37, 1John 1:3-4, Revelation 19:10]
Because the Bible was intended to serve a specific purpose it is
complete in itself and fully sufficient to accomplish the purpose that
God intended it to serve (Isaiah 55:11). For that reason, there is not
only no need to supplement what it says, but every addition to what it
says obscures the truth. For all of man's wisdom, philosophy,
tradition, and science is totally useless in answering the question,
"What must I do to be saved?" [See Acts 17:20, 1Corinthians 1:20-21 and
3:19, Luke 10:21, Romans 1:22]
Since the Bible was written to bring us to the light, it contains no
dark and hidden meanings. Instead, the truth that God wants you to
receive is nothing other than "what you read" (2Corinthians 1:13). In
fact, it is only because the Bible is clear that it can be a light unto
our path (Psalm 119:105). Therefore, while the words of scripture may
seem dark to those who have never trusted in Christ, the darkness is in
their own minds (2Corinthians 4:4). [See 2Corinthians 2:17, Psalm 19:7,
It is important to understand that just because you find something in the Bible that is hard to understand, does not mean that the words are not clear. Medical journals are written in plain language, yet I would have a hard time understanding one because I am not familiar with the concepts being expressed. The same holds true of Scripture. Even though the writers used "great plainness of speech," those who do not understand what is being discussed may find it hard to understand (2Corinthians 3:12). However, unlike medical journals, Scripture will explain itself if you begin with the statements that are perfectly clear, and interpret the unclear passages in the light of those that need no explanation. The danger of denying the clarity of Scripture lies in the fact that those who assume that the Bible is not clear often wind up being led astray by those who claim to have some private insight or knowledge, 2Peter 1:20.
God did not bring the Bible into existence as a lifeless witness to
historical events, but as a vibrant means of conveying eternal life to
those who are by nature dead in their trespasses and sins (Romans
1:16). In order to accomplish that, He first works through the law to
expose our sin, thus bringing us to repentance. He then works through
the gospel to assure us of forgiveness in Christ (Romans 3:20 and
10:17). [See John 1:12, Ephesians 2:1-3, 1Peter 1:23,25, 2Peter 1:21,
Matthew 4:4, Hebrews 4:12, John 16:8] I might also add that, just as
God has brought us to faith by His Word so He keeps us in faith by His
Word (1 Peter 1:5, 2Thessalonians 3:3).
Because the Bible is the Word of God, every opinion that contradicts what it says needs to be rejected as false. As it is written, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:20). For that reason, no statement of Scripture should ever be interpreted to contradict what the Bible says elsewhere, and nothing that the Bible says should ever be explained away (2Peter 1:20, 1John 4:6).
The same love that moved God to give us the Bible, moves Him to
preserve it as a testimony to all generations (Psalm 12:6,7, John
5:39). Therefore, even though Satan is continually trying to lead
people away from God's Word, God has not allowed him to corrupt the
text of Scripture. Of course, I realize that there are some who claim
that thousand of errors exist, but that is just smoke and mirrors. They
arrive at such numbers by calling every little difference in wording
and error. For example: If we have five thousand hand written
manuscripts that say "Jesus Christ," and one that says "Christ Jesus,"
they claim that there are five thousand and one errors in the text.
Yet, for all intents and purposes, all of those manuscripts are saying
the same thing. Therefore, while a comparison of handwritten
manuscripts will reveal some minor differences in wording, those
manuscripts all teach the same doctrine.
The preservation of God's Word in a language that is readily understood
is just as vital to the work of the church as the preservation of the
text itself (1Corinthians 14:19). However, if a translation is to serve
the purpose that God intended His Word to serve, it needs to provide us
with an objective rendering of the original language. Moreover, it is
wrong to criticize and pick apart a translation, for those who do so
undermine faith while making the Word of God of none effect. Even
though God does not directly inspire translations, He uses the original
Hebrew and Greek texts to tell the translators what to say, and, for
that reason, every legitimate translation needs to be respected as the
Word of God.
Because God designed the Bible to be the basis of our faith, He
included evidence of its inspiration. In addition to the many fulfilled
prophesies I could also mention its honesty about the shortcomings of
its heroes, its accurate portrayal of human nature, and its internal
doctrinal unity. However, until a person comes to the knowledge of
forgiveness in Christ, and personal faith in Him, such evidences will
not satisfy the longing of the heart. For, it is only as we look to
Christ for forgiveness, that Holy Spirit assures us that what the Bible
says is true (Romans 8:16).