The Bible – Historic or A Direct Communication?
(Within our secular culture, many argue about the validity and usefulness of the Bible. Even many who call themselves Christians disagree as to how the church should interpret it’s words. Is the Bible only an historical account that we can embrace or disregard with no real consequences to ourselves or society? Or is it direct communication from a God who longs for us to experience a life of hope through knowing him?
PART ONE IN THE SERIES: Why Should You Consider the Bible?
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE CLAIM ABOUT ITSELF?
Interestingly, the Bible has a lot to say about itself, and its emphatic claims are either absurd or other-worldly true. If its claims are false, then we may ignore them without concern. If they are true, it is essential to lasting hope that we regard them.
From the Old Testament pages through the end of the New Testament, it is pretty clear what the Bible says about it’s authorship, purpose, and power.
What does the Bible state about its authorship?
Those who penned the Bible’s words said they did so by inspiration from God or by having him speak directly to them:
These are the last words of David:
“David, the son of Jesse, speaks—
David, the man who was raised up so high, David, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, David, the sweet psalmist [song writer] of Israel.
“The Spirit of the Lord speaks through me; his words are upon my tongue. The God of Israel spoke.”
2 Samuel 23:1-3 (NLT)
THE ABOVE WAS WRITTEN BY KING DAVID, THE GREATEST KING IN ISRAEL’S HISTORY, FORMERLY A SHEPHERD/SINGER
Then the Lord said to me,
“Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.
Habakkuk 2:2 (NLT)
THE ABOVE WAS WRITTEN BY A MAN NAMED HABAKKUK WHO WAS TASKED WITH SPEAKING FOR GOD TO GOD’S PEOPLE (ONE OF A GROUP OF PEOPLE KNOWN AS PROPHETS). HE LIVED IN A VERY VIOLENT TIME IN ISRAEL’S HISTORY AND FOUND HIMSELF QUESTIONING GOD’S JUSTICE AND SEEMING LACK OF CONCERN FOR THE STATE OF HIS PEOPLE. THE ABOVE BEGINS A DIALOGUE BETWEEN GOD AND HABAKKUK
Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.
2 Peter 1:20-21 (NLT)
THE ABOVE WAS WRITTEN BY PETER, ONE OF JESUS’ FOLLOWERS, A WITNESS TO HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION. HE WAS ALSO ONE OF THE LEADERS (KNOWN AS APOSTLES) IN THE EARLY CHURCH WHO WAS FORMERLY AN UNEDUCATED FISHERMAN.
For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.
1 Thessalonians 2:11-13 (NLT)
THE ABOVE WAS WRITTEN BY PAUL, ONE OF THE MAIN WRITERS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. HE WAS A VERY EDUCATED, FORMERLY RELIGIOUS MAN WHO DESPISED JESUS AND PERSECUTED HIS CHURCH. ONE DAY HE MIRACULOUSLY MET THE RISEN AND ASCENDED JESUS ON HIS WAY TO IMPRISONING CHRISTIANS IN A TOWN CALLED DAMASCUS. THE ENCOUNTER TRANSFORMED HIS LIFE AND HE EVENTUALLY DIED FOR HIS FAITH.
The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (TLB)
THE ABOVE WAS WAS WRITTEN BY TIMOTHY, A CHURCH LEADER AND PASTOR CONVERTED BY PAUL AFTER JESUS’ DEATH AND RESURRECTION. HE WAS A TIMID MAN RAISED IN A MIXED RACE/MIXED RELIGIOUS HOME
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE ABOVE BIBLE VERSES AND THEIR AUTHORS?
The above Bible verses are only a few of many Bible passages that record God communicating directly with people for a given purpose.
We learn that:
- The Bible records God directly spoke to certain individuals of his choosing.
- These individuals came from diverse economic and educational backgrounds.
- God spoke to his people through his appointed messengers called prophets in the Old Testament and Apostles in the New Testament. (Both Peter and Paul, quoted above, were called apostles. Habakkuk and David were called prophets.)
- The New Testament verses also express the Bible is God’s direct written communication with the world in every generation.
WHAT THEN SHOULD WE CONSIDER IN LIGHT OF THIS?
- If God exists we can conclude that since he has spoken with people in the past, he may wish to do so again.
- Since it is recorded that God spoke directly to prophets and apostles (those who had dedicated their lives to listen and follow his words), we can conclude that he is more likely to speak to those who have some desire to listen and willingly respond when he speaks.
Since it appears that God more likely speaks to those willing to listen and follow what he says, it would be helpful to know if the Bible has anything to say about how to develop a relationship with this God for the purpose of him speaking to us. There are several Bible passages where God himself promises that anyone who seeks to discover him for the purpose of knowing and following him will find him:
“He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Acts 17:24-28 (NLT)
Also: Deuteronomy 4:29; Proverbs 8:17; Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:9
IS THERE ANY EVIDENCE THAT GOD SPEAKS TODAY?
Through over fifty-five years of walking with God in a growing, thriving relationship I have discovered that he does speak today through the Bible, directly to his people, and at times to those who don’t yet know him.
I don’t hear audible voices but experience a sense and a knowing that comes from outside me. I’ve been comforted, given directions and instructions, received rebuke, and have experienced corresponding emotions which relate with each interaction with God as though we were conversing face to face.
The stories of others
I am not alone. Millions of people in this century, and in past centuries have attested to hearing God’s voice as I have stated. Also, something I have not directly addressed is that many including me have had dreams where God either revealed himself for the first time, gave instructions, offered warnings, or infused comfort.
My mother tells the story that when my uncle was serving in Vietnam, there would be nights when my grandmother would awaken with the direction to pray for him. Months later she would learn that at the very time period she was directed to pray he was somehow in danger, and was miraculously rescued.
In the third podcast episode, coming soon, you will hear the story of a friend who was given the offer of hope through a dream that changed her life.
Although God speaks directly to his people, he most often speaks through the Bible. Yet when God does speak directly he will never contradict the Bible. The more we spend time seeking him through reading his Word, prayer, and listening for his voice, the more clearly we will hear when he speaks. (Proverbs 31 ministries has a wonderful article on hearing God’s voice.)
THE QUESTION BECOMES, “WHAT WILL YOU DO ABOUT IT?”
If you have any interest in knowing God for who he is then know he’s interested in speaking with you. All it takes is just asking something like, “God, I’m not certain you are real. I want to get to know you if you will speak to me.”
Then begin reading the Bible. Start with the book of John in the New Testament. As you read, ask God to show you what he thinks about you, your world, and himself in relation to you.
God wants you to know him and experience a life filled with hope through developing a relationship with him. One of our free resources is a short Bible study entitled “Six Tools for Building Healthy Relationships with God and People.” It takes about ten minutes a day for six days and will help you develop a vital relationship with God.
Click on “Resources” to get your free tool.
Id’ love to hear how this post has affected you.
The next post will look more closely at God’s purpose in giving us his words through the Bible.
Blessings dear one,