By Roland W. Keith
From the human, historical perspective the Bible is a product of forty writers, all of whom were Jews, except Luke, the physician. However, as Paul wrote, “the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God” (Romans 3:2). Accordingly, all the texts in the Old Testament were inspired by God, the final text being that delivered by the prophet Malachi. After his writings a four-hundred-year period of silence between God and man, known as the intertestamental period, occurred.
That silence ended when John the Baptist began his ministry as the Messiah’s forerunner in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign (Luke 3:1-3), followed closely by the ministry of the Messiah Himself(Acts 10:36). Jesus’ life and ministry fulfilled the law and prophets ((Matthew 5:17), issuing in a new, and brief period of miracles, inspired prophesy and writings, which ended with the death of the last person given such powers by the Lord or through the laying on of the apostles hands, a period which culminated with the inspired writings we now know as the New Testament.
Cumulatively the works of both the old and new covenant periods and their writings have a single goal: “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (II Corinthians 5:18-19).
God’s word is truth (John 17:17), given to man with the intent of freeing him from his sins (John 8:32). It is both the weapon we need to defeat our enemies and a shield by which our Savior protects us (Proverbs 30:5). And since the last writing was completed late in the first century, it contains the completed and final covenant between God and man, including all the knowledge we need to reconcile ourselves to our creator and to live in accordance to His will for us (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:20-21).
According to Peter knowledge of the inspired word provides all that we need to live full, godly lives. Moreover, it reveals to us both the Heavenly Father and His Son, all the work that they have done on man’s behalf, and all of God’s promises, including His plan of salvation for man (II Peter 1:3-4). In describing the word Peter wrote, “since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for 'All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.' And this word is the good news that was preached to you” (I Peter 1:23-25).
James, the brother of our Lord, once said that the man who looks into the word of God and perseveres in its application would be blessed (James 1:25). But what of the one who refuses its wisdom? As Paul wrote, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13).
The Bible is full of blessings and curses. Blessings for those who obey God, and curses for those who rebel against Him. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). In the end God’s word and His judgments will stand— for eternity. The Savior also observed, “Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: ‘You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.’ For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them” (Matthew 13:14-15).
How can we receive the blessings of God? By obeying His word (Psalm 119:9; John 8:31, 52). It is in His word that we find our eternal inheritance, according to Acts 20:32: “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
Next week’s blog: The Bible: Its Authority and Our Responsibility
Hi! I'm Roland. I began writing after retiring from the Navy in 2015. I believe that we each should strive to learn from one another, by sharing our thoughts and ideas. As a writer my goal is to help other seekers of truth to find and grow in Christ.