THE WORD OF GOD DISTINGUISHES AND EMPHASIZES
The Word of God can distinguish between these two unseen parts of us. Take the Word away from the people, and they will not be able to differentiate between mere hype, or soulish excitement, and spiritual life. They may suppose that lively external expression is indicative of receptivity to God, when it may be nothing more than a frolic in the flesh!
God's Word also uncovers the thoughts and intentions of the heart. The "heart" is the inmost part of our beings, like the body is our most external part. The heart is the citadel that determines thought, motive, and objective. When it is corrupt, everything about the person is corrupt. Jesus said, "For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander" (Matt 15:19, NRSV). Things like that can remain hidden from view for years, undiscovered or not perceived by those around the person. The Word of God, however, will bring out the real nature of the heart. When Jesus spoke, the Pharisees' corruptness was revealed, and the Scribes pride was uncovered. The inner longings of the Samaritan woman were unveiled, as well as the good intentions of Zaccheus (John 4; Luke 17).
Emphasis Placed On What Is Written
God has been known to speak directly to His people. He did so in the "cool of the day," when first He walked with Adam (Gen 3:8). He revealed Himself to Cain in foreboding judgment (Gen 4:6-7, 10-12). The Lord spoke to Noah when the world was about to be destroyed (Gen 7:1). Abraham was also privileged to hear God speak (Gen 13:14; 18:13).Time would fail us to mention others to whom the Lord has spoken, including Rebekah (Gen 25:23), Jacob (Gen 31:3), and Moses (Ex 4:4). God spoke to Israel at the giving of the Law, speaking through angels (Acts 7:53; Gal 3:19).
All of those were remarkable incidents, and we dare not treat them as though they were common. However, when God sought to impress His will upon the people, He referred to what was written. There is a staggering consistency of this approach throughout the Word of God. Permit me to cite a few examples.
"If you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deut 30:10). "And observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go" (1 Kgs 2:3). "The king gave this order to all the people: "Celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant" (2 Kgs 23:21). "Then Jeshua son of Jozadak and his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his associates began to build the altar of the God of Israel to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, in accordance with what is written in the Law of Moses the man of God" (Ezra 3:2). "The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born" (Matt 26:24). "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:31). "He has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father'" (Acts 13:33). "Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: "So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge" (Rom 3:4). "When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory" (1 Cor 15:54).
Such texts could be multiplied many times. These will suffice to confirm the Divine emphasis on the written Word. Remember, God SPOKE the ten commandments, but they were not bound upon the people until they were WRITTEN. This by no means minimizes the words God uttered, nor does it suggest they carried no force or were not bound upon the people. However, it does confirm that God's manner is to put His counsel in writing, then urge His people to give heed to what is written.
If all of this seems to have little relevance to our subject, think again! When it comes to "How we got our Bible," there are a variety of approaches. Some suggest that only the original language was really inspired by God. Others proclaim that parts of our Bible really do not belong there--that they have been placed into the text by uninspired men. In the name of scholarship, these thoughts are being perpetrated in the most conservative Bible Colleges and Seminaries. Such positions give undue credit to men, and denigrate the God of heaven. I will affirm in these lessons that God would never have placed such a great emphasis upon what is written if it was not utterly reliable--to any and every generation.
You cannot read God's Word without seeing the emphasis on what is "written." At least 26 times Jesus said, "it is written," referring to Scripture. That same phrase is mentioned no less than 37 times in Acts through 1 Peter. Holy men of God always buttressed their teaching with appeals to the written Word of God, i.e., "It is also written" (Acts 13:33), "which are written" (Acts 24:14), and "all that was written of Him" (Acts 13:29). We are apprized that these things were "written for our learning" (Rom 15:4), and "for our admonition" (1 Cor 10:11). Those that question the written Word strike at the heart of our faith. They seek to deprive us of the appointed means of life. They may come in the name of scholarship, but they are Satan's "servants," who "also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds" (2 Cor 11:15). If this seems too strong, ponder what a great emphasis is placed upon the written Word, then, seek to justify any attempts to judge or question its authenticity. Such attempts do not come from God!
Moses, the Prophets, Jesus, and the Apostles refer to what "is written." Although texts in reference had been copied many times, and often translated into other languages, there never is the slightest hint that what was written could not be trusted. This may not comport with the approach of contemporary scholars, but it is the representation of the Holy Spirit.
This circumstance presupposes the involvement of God in the formation and preservation of His Word. Those that affirm this is not the case need to point us to some word of God that confirms their opinion. We are warned about "false Christ's" (Matt 24:24) and "false apostles" (2 Cor 11:13), but they are all to be tried according to what is written (Isa 8:20). This situation compels us to view the Scripture as absolutely reliable and binding. Casting doubt upon the Word of God is Satanic!