The Bible – Historic or A Direct Communication?

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:

OLD TESTAMENT

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

NEW TESTAMENT

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

The Bible - Is it only a historic record or Could it be a direct communication from Yahweh for any who are willing to search for him?

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:

WHAT THEN SHOULD WE CONSIDER IN LIGHT OF THIS?

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?

My experience

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.)

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...

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,

Robin

Associated posts:

What Do You Mean, “God Loves You”?

What Do You Mean, ‘God Loves You?’

What Do You Mean, ‘God Loves You?’

Blog post from the podcast transcript of episode 002

During the first episode of the podcast, I often referred to God’s love for you as one of our core beliefs. Yet it dawned on me that many of you may struggle with the idea that God loves you, much less wants a relationship with you. The pain of life and the traumas of existence have left you feeling both unloved and unheard.

WHAT WE MEAN WHEN WE TALK ABOUT GOD’S LOVE

When looking at God’s love, surprisingly we can go back to the very first pages of the Old Testament where we are given a glimpse of God’s thoughts and longings as he designed the first man and woman.

I understand some of you may hold to beliefs other than a literal creation. I respect you in your opinion, but please follow me a few moments as though listening to a story. I’m going somewhere you may not expect.

Yahweh-The-Lord-The-God-of-compassion-and-mercy-I-am-slow-to-anger-and-filled-with-unfailing-love-and-faithfulness.-Exodus-34_6-NLT.jpg

God’s love was portrayed in his choices toward humanity

Nothing was left out as God carefully took earth and sculpted the man’s body from the pattern of his own being, both in image and likeness. As he finished, he placed his mouth over man’s lifeless lips and exhaled God-life into his lungs, and man became a living soul. Later, so the man would have someone like himself, God formed the woman from Adam’s side, for his delight, their mutual enjoyment, and for procreating and ruling his new earth. God stepped back and for a moment viewed his new designs as though looking at a finished masterpiece. The Bible states that “God saw all that he had made and it was very good.”

Questions to ponder as you consider this scene from Genesis one and two:

  1. Are you an artist or designer? Maybe a baker or possibly a writer? Maybe a new mom or dad? If so, what did it feel like when that which was only in your imagination became real?
  2. Relate this to how God must have felt in that moment and those first days of Adam and Eve’s lives. Could there be similarities?
  3. How could the choices God made as he fashioned the man and woman show his love for them?

However, the Bible states that he only spoke the rest of creation into being, period. Only the man and woman were created in his image, and only they received God’s breathe of life making them living souls.

Further questions to ponder:

  1. Even if you believe otherwise if you were God why would you go to all the effort to make something so like you and so different from everything else you had made?
  2. Could it be that all humanity was made with a special place in God’s heart? Could it be that they were made for a different purpose and plan from the rest of creation?
  3. Could it be that God created humanity, including you, in a way to be able to relate and enjoy a relationship filled with his love?

God’s love chose to allow us to choose

With Adam and Eve in mind, God’s love created a garden, unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and placed them in it. He filled it with only good things.

For their protection, he gave them one rule and warning not to eat from the tree called “The Knowledge of Good and Evil.” My paraphrase: I’ve given you every good tree to eat and enjoy, and every flowering plant. But that tree – it’s bad and eating its fruit will kill you.

I imagine some of you are now asking, “If that tree was so bad, why would a loving God include it in his garden? Great question!

It would have been easier and less painful for God had he just programmed humanity like robots to return his love train them to obey his one command. God had every opportunity to do so.

Questions to consider:

  1. In wanting a healthy loving relationship, can you deny the other party the ability to choose or reject you? What is it called when relationships are forced?
  2. Could it be that God’s love provided the forbidden tree to offer the man and woman the freedom of choice?
  3. Could it be that God did so not to force them to love and obey him as God but to offer the man and woman (and therefore all of us) a chosen relationship with him?
  4. However, what is the possible result when offering someone the ability to choose? Have you ever been in the position of being the one rejected? Can you use this experience to relate to how God must have felt as he placed that tree in the garden, knowing what they would choose?

Their choice

Within a short time, the man and woman were shown the beauty and desirability of the forbidden tree by a talking snake and chose to eat from it because they came to believe that a proper choice required them to know all the options. They were told and chose to believe the tree they’d been forbidden to eat from offered things their good God had forgotten to provide.

Before they ate the fruit from this tree, all they’d experienced was God’s goodness. Yet as soon as they ate the forbidden fruit, their newfound knowledge of evil caused them to immediately begin to experience evil and everything that comes with it. Death. Destruction. Pain. Heartache. Brokenness.

Love covers a multitude of sins

Love means even God feels the pain of our choices

The tree was no threat to anyone if left alone. The talking snake was inconsequential as long as it was ignored and they followed God’s loving warning. However, as soon as they disregarded God’s warning and chose their own way, defiance against God caused evil to enter the world, and marred all of God’s creation through its natural consequences. Evil entered humanity’s core and destroyed their desire for God. Like an addict looking for a fix, feeding their passions became their goal as they died inside to all that was holy and good.

We make the same choices daily to disregard God’s warnings and do as we please, with the same effects.

Going our own way as Adam and Eve once did leads us down a road away from knowing, seeing, and being loved by the God who made us. And since all goodness still comes from God, the only way to experience goodness void of the effects of evil is to return to him. For apart from God there is no good thing.

Questions to ponder:

  1. How would you feel if you designed and created a magnificent piece of art, or built a building beyond anything made before, and someone came along and marred it beyond recognition? What would you want to do to them?
  2. Can you use your feelings to relate to how God had every right to feel when Adam and Eve’s choice brought pain and suffering into his pristine, spotless, pain and shame-free world?

Some of you may be asking, “Is that why God gave up on us?” No, friend. God never gave up.

God’s love chose to forgive and restore their relationship

Moments after their devastating choice, God stepped in and decreed that one day a champion would come and set all things right. And no matter how the world or God’s people treated him, throughout the rest of the Old Testament God continued to proclaim the champion was still coming to bring forgiveness and restoration of relationship with God.

And in the proper time, Jesus, God’s son, someone born like us but without rebellion came to fight on our behalf. He came to bring life and light into a very dark world. He lived as God’s representative full of love and faithfulness. He dwelled among his people as God had always wanted. He then gave his life for all who knew they needed rescuing so that we can experience what it’s like to be known, seen, and loved by the God who made us for this very purpose.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NLT)

God’s love longs for you to choose him by reaching out for his Son Jesus. He still offers each of us the choice to choose or reject him with all its consequences. Love must give us a choice.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted,

The Soul Cries Core Values

Love, Commitment, and Relationship bringing Hope. God loves you unconditionally and longs for you to experience the beauty of a committed relationship with him through his Son Jesus. The totality of his Word and the life of his Son is the fullest expression of his passionate love for you.

But he waits until you desire the same with him. Healthy, loving relationships always set boundaries. No one wants to share their intimacy with a third party, and so God won’t be used or taken for granted. Nor will he share you with the evil and rebellion that mar his world daily through our rebellious choices against him.

However, if you at some point wish to begin a loving relationship with God, your commitment to seek him above all else will unleash powerful lavish gifts for you to experience with him. And some of his greatest gifts will be to empower, strengthen, and give you hope as he walks with you through this world’s pain.

May I please pray for you?

Dear Lord, I come to you on behalf of this dear one. You see their pain and you care about every tear they’ve cried silently in the darkness of their own space. You see their hopelessness and longing to be embraced right where they are. I ask in Jesus’ name that you meet them where they stand, with whatever questions they have, and let them know that you are real and that you love them beyond compare. Please powerfully express your love to them right now in a way they will comprehend. Thank you, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Your next steps

Ready to take steps toward experiencing God’s love in a relationship with him?

Are you willing to look further into the matter? If so, then a simple conversation with God may go something like this, “God, if you’re real, give me a reason to live and I’ll serve you.” Many years ago my husband prayed such a prayer as he contemplated suicide. He later stated that instantly he was filled with peace and knew God was real and had heard his cry. It radically changed his life forever.

And so you know, one of our free resources, a very short Bible study about building healthy relationships with God and people (with short Bible passages and questions similar to the ones you found here) can be obtained for free through a subscription to the monthly newsletter. Head over to the home page to click the link entitled Resources.

You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending. CS Lewis

Want to dialogue further about your questions and doubts?

If you aren’t yet ready to commit to anything with God but would like to discuss your questions and doubts, there are several ways in which we can dialogue. Throughout the website, there are ways to contact me through email. You also may leave a comment at the end of this post and I can get back to you. I’d love to begin a chat about any questions and doubts. It’s a safe place here. We will offer the truth, but we force no one. God gave us all the gift of choice, and we honor that.

You will always be respected and honored, because God’s love for you is as real today as it was when he made you.