Jesus the Messiah of Israel, whom we call our “Lord” and “Master,” quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 to Satan when He was being tempted to eat physical food during a 40-day fast: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Therefore, He promoted the scope of importance of the Old Testament Scriptures over and above even the importance of eating physical food!
The following is a short paper on what I believe the Bible to be, and its importance for family life and for ministry in the local church.
Knowing God Through Revelation
How can one know God? There are two main ways people can do that as wonderful, good, partial, insufficient and incomplete as they are: Reason, which is a tool to reflect and synthesize to arrive at an understanding of revelation. Reason doesn’t make knowledge; it reflects upon knowledge. The second is experience. Most people’s experiences are the same, but we can’t come to conclusions based on mass-experiences. Therefore, it is necessary for God to reveal Himself to humans. God has revealed Himself to humanity throughout the history of time in two ways: General Revelation and Special Revelation.
General Revelation. By generally revealing Himself to all humanity, I mean that God has revealed Himself in a broad way to all people through creation (Ps 19:1-2; Rom 1:19-20), history (Prov 14:34; Rom 9:17) and human conscience (Rom 2:14-16). By this revelation, all people can somehow perceive God’s existence, nature, power and glory and even a limited knowledge of the difference between good and evil.
Special Revelation. By Special Revelation, I mean that God narrowed His focus to revealing Himself to designated individuals (people who are believers in Christ) in a unique way through various means as found in the Scriptures: such as appearances of God, visions and dreams, Apostles, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Scriptures and the Church.
The Scriptures (the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament) originated by God who superintended (2 Tim 3:16) the human authors (1 Pet 1:21) so that using their thinking, talents, life circumstances, individual personalities and styles; they composed and recorded without error His revelation to humanity in the words of the original inscriptions. I embrace the verbal-plenary view of inspiration stating that God inspired every word of the Scriptures. Scripture ought to be held in very high esteem and the reader changed as a result of encountering it, as it has a life of its own (Heb 4:12).
Interpretive Hermeneutic. I believe the Bible is totally without error, and that it must be interpreted in its historical, grammatical, cultural, theological and literary context to discover the author’s original intent and meaning.
Practicality of the Scriptures. The Bible is our Field Manual and guide for life (Ps 119:105); it is our final authority for our understanding of and dependence on God: Himself, His ways and His purposes (John 5:19), as well as for our daily faith and behavior (Ps 119:9-11), and lastly, for our practices within the Church (Phil 4:9). It is how God decided to communicate specifically to human beings, and we need to know His words so that we are better able to know its Author and obey Him in everything we are, think and do (John 14:21).
How this affects my relationship with Jesus, my family leadership, disciple making, teaching, and preaching is that I desire to teach people what God’s intent was through the original authors to the original audience of the Bible. This inevitably leads to the application of scripture to contemporary life today, as we seek to obey God (John 14:23). I want to teach people the Bible: not fads, gimmicks, or the latest church growth or business principles, all of which are “man’s wisdom” (1 Cor 2:12-13).
I want to train ministers and leaders how to teach the Bible without the use of curriculum. I believe the use of good curriculum is helpful as a supplement, but like with physical food, I can’t live on chips and salsa alone. I need the balanced and proper nutrition of whole foods, vegetables and fruit, grains, meat and potatoes. In order for people to grow spiritually, they need the substance that will foster healthy spiritual growth; that substance is the objective and very words of God found in the 66 books of the Bible.