In our present culture we have many writings that various religious groups claim to be inspired works of God. It’s important, as we sort through these many writings, that we are able to find out what is truth and what isn’t. The Bible makes amazing claims to its truthfulness, clarity, its lack of error and that it is completely inspired by the same God who created the heavens and the earth. This is what we call the Doctrine of Revelation, or the idea that the God of Genesis 1 is a God who speaks and what He speaks is true. As we unpack the Doctrine of Revelation we will look at what the scriptures are, who wrote the scriptures and how Jesus is the hero of all the scriptures.
What Are The Scriptures?
As Christians and those interested in becoming Christians it is important that we have a set of absolutes that guide us in our relationship with God. Without absolutes we end up believing and trusting in things that aren’t grounded in concrete truths that are safe for our lives and families. The scriptures which Christians also refer to as the Bible are a grounded, safe, tested and tried collection of books that are absolutes we can trust both for our personal lives and our families. One of the most amazing proofs of the Bible is how it was written.
History tells us the Bible was written in three primary languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic), by more than 40 authors, on three continents (Asia, Africa and Europe), over a period of 1,500 years. Now, if you were to attempt to make any of those four things happen on your own apart from divine inspiration you could never reproduce a perfect and flawless work like the Bible. That people who didn’t speak the same language, or live in the same time period, or even on the same continent with no electronic communication could all write something separated from one another and have it all say the same thing is mind bending. Through this alone, it is clear to say that God authored the Bible and whatever God does is perfect.
The Bible is divided into two major sections that are called the Old Testament and the New Testament. Within these two sections there are a total of 66 individual books that make up the whole of what is called the scriptures, or the Bible. Inside of those 66 books there are a total of 1,189 chapters and 31,173 verses. The chapters and verses in the Bible were given at a later time than when it was written for the purpose of being able to quickly reference various sections in a time sensitive fashion. The Old Testament was written on Papyrus reeds and the New Testament was written on Parchments (dried animal skins). All of these writings were on both plant and animal skins and they were not kept in safe storage like a modern day library with heating and cooling systems, yet they survived which is another proof of the Bible’s inspiration.
Who Wrote The Bible?
The manner in which we received the Bible is nothing short of a miracle and an act of God. When looking at who wrote the Bible we must understand that it didn’t come to man because He looked up into the heavens and starting thinking about who God was, and wrote what he thought. This is called speculation. The Bible was received when God who is above all things, began to speak from the heavens to the earth and inspire different men to write what exactly what He said. This is called divine revelation. Though the Bible was written by both God and man, it was not co-authored. Man didn’t help come up with the words of the Bible, but rather man was responsible for recording what God was saying. Scholars call the process by which we received the Bible “Verbal plenary inspiration.”
The word verbal means that the scriptures we have received were spoken by God or that they came verbally. 2nd Timothy 3:16 says;
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
In the NIV translation of the Bible it says “all scripture is God breathed.” Plenary, means complete. This means that there is nothing off-limits when it comes to the Bible regarding matters of faith, history, agriculture or the future. The Bible is a complete revelation of who God is and it lacks nothing. Christians believe that all the words within the Bible are inspired by God and are beneficial for humanity in our understanding of who God is; therefore nothing in the Bible is off-limits. Not only was the Bible given as a complete spoken work it was also given by inspiration. This means that it wasn’t the process that was divine, or even the person whom God was working through that was divine, but actually the very words man received from God were divine. The idea behind this is that of a sailboat moving across the water. It’s not the sail that moves the boat, but the wind that moves the boat. This is what inspiration means. It wasn’t the writer that came up with the words, but the wind of God moved upon them and God gave the words. This is what “verbal plenary inspiration” means.
Some critics say that the authors of the Bible didn’t know that they were writing the divine scriptures. But when we look into the New Testament it is clear that those writing the Bible clearly knew that what they were recording was in fact the very words of God. In 1st Corinthians 7:10 this is what Paul has to say;
“Now to the married I command you, yet not I but the Lord…”
Paul is comparing his words (or the words he is recording) to be on the same level as the words of Jesus Christ. And then again in 1st Timothy 5:18 Paul says;
“For the scripture says, you shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain, and the laborer is worthy of his wages.”
Within this one verse, Paul an author of the Bible, is quoting two other human authors, Moses and then Luke. Now Luke was alive during the time of Paul, and both were authors of the Bible, and Paul here is telling us just like Moses wrote, so also did Luke add to the Holy Scriptures with what he wrote. And finally in 2nd Peter 3:15-16 Peter has this to say about the writings of Paul;
“…as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, has written to you, as also in all of his epistles (letters) speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand…which people twist to their own destruction, as they do the rest of the scriptures”.
Peter tells us here that Paul’s words are just like the rest of the scriptures that God inspired men to write so that we could have the word of God to help us navigate life in this age on our way into the age to come. Peter who is an author of the Bible, is comparing other scriptures with the writings of Paul.
Critics throughout the ages have worked hard to say things about the Bible that would tear it down and even supporters of the Bible have said things about the Bible that the Bible doesn’t say for itself. Just like God is able to speak for Himself, so also is the Bible. Here is a list of things that the Bible say’s about itself: it’s given by God’s inspiration, it’s the very words of God, it’s all we need to know God, it’s a perfect guide for life, it’s pure, it’s trustworthy, it’s perfect, it’s effective, it’s powerful and it’s not to be taken away from (2nd Tim. 3:16; 1st Thes. 2:13, Luke 16:29,31; Prov. 6:23; Ps. 12:6; Isa. 55:11; Heb. 4:12; Deut. 4:2). Clearly the Bible speaks for itself!
How Is Jesus The Hero Of The Bible?
When we read through the Bible from cover to cover we could walk away assuming that Jesus is only alive in the New Testament and miss all the conversation about Him and His activity in the Old Testament because the name Jesus Christ isn’t specifically mentioned within it. This is what the scholars call progressive revelation. Progressive means that the closer we get to the New Testament the clearer the image of God in the Person of Christ Jesus becomes. Jesus Christ is most defiantly within the Old Testament, but He was veiled and hidden from the naked and untrained eye. It was a bright, but also dim revelation. And when Jesus came and stepped into time and space that bright but also dim revelation was no longer dim, just bright, clear and really loud.
One of the most powerful encounters that the early disciples had with the full revelation of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament is found in the gospel of Luke and chapter 24. Luke 24:24-27 says;
“And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see. Then He said to them, O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken. Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all things concerning Himself.”
For us to fully understand this passage we have to understand what had just taken place. Prior to His death Jesus had spoken to His disciples and His apostles that in a short amount of time He was going to die, but that God was going to raise Him up from death and He would live forever. Although these words deeply impacted the disciples and His apostles they didn’t really sink into their hearts in the way that Jesus intended. When Jesus, after His resurrection comes alongside these two people walking on the road to Emmaus, He notices that they are sad and are downcast and asks them why they are in that condition.
Their response to Jesus is one of total shock, because they don’t yet know that He has risen from the dead. When Jesus speaks this passage quoted above, it will be recorded as one of the most eye-opening experiences for anyone in the Bible as the God man Jesus Christ begins to explain Himself throughout the entire Old Testament. It was at this point that Jesus begin to show them Himself in all of those Old Testament stories. Jesus is the hero of the Bible because all things are about Him, are created through Him and are returning to stand before Him. Jesus Christ is the supreme revelation of God the Father and the written Word of God which we call the Bible. Jesus is the Bible become flesh. He is the Word of God and without Jesus we end up searching the Bible for truth and never come to the knowledge of who Christ is and what He did for sinners.
You must make sure that when you are reading and searching the scriptures that everything you are learning is drawing you into closer relationship with Jesus Christ not farther away. I have personally met people who have a P.H.D. in religion but don’t believe in Jesus or the inerrancy of the scriptures. These people have studied and know the Bible better than I ever will, but I KNOW the Bible better than they ever will. They can quote it, tell you the history of it and how we got it, but all of that study hasn’t led to their own redemption and the opening of their eyes.
Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of His day because they had searched the scriptures, but didn’t recognize that the God-Man Jesus Christ was standing before them. Without Christ there is no such thing as Christians, and without Christians we have no Church, and without Church we have no message of the forgiveness of sins and without the message of forgiveness we have only eternity in hell awaiting us.
Jesus is the Hero for life in this age, and the hope for the age to come. Jesus is to be searched out through all the scriptures as the supreme revelation of God the Father. Let us go forth and discover the beauty, majesty and worth of this Man!