The importance of the Bible
Not just another book
Although in form it is much like any other book on the bookshelf, in content the Bible is unlike any other. What that sets it apart from all other books is its divine author.
It was God’s Spirit (His power) which moved selected men to speak and write down words they received from Him. Most of those men were very ordinary people made extraordinary by God’s impact upon them. They were seized by an overwhelming power which filled their minds with words, causing them to speak and write as God’s messengers delivering His message to mankind.
The Bible is the word of God
The apostle Peter makes clear the distinction between human (private) writings and God’s divine word:
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:20-21
These words tell us that this procedure is a long standing one.
It is a procedure which occurred “in old times”; in fact God also tells us in Acts 3 that this is something that has happened “since the world began”:
The Old Testament
The Old Testament is a collection of 39 individual books, physically written by many different men over a period of about 1500 years, but the source of it all was God who spoke through His specially selected prophets.
This is a fact confirmed by many of the prophets in their writings. For example, David said:
There are countless references in the Bible to the fact that the prophet’s words were “the word of the Lord” or “the word of God”. God was effectively in control of their ability to speak and write. This is, very simply, the process by which the books of the Bible were produced.
It was not just the Old Testament scriptures which were received from God in this way, but the New Testament as well.
The New Testament
The New Testament, like the Old, is a collection of books and letters written by a number of different men, but again all their words had their source in God.
The apostle Paul most definitely taught that the gospel message that he preached and wrote down in letters was the truth of God, and by no means his own private thoughts and teaching.
Paul in this letter writes about the gospel message of God with which he had been entrusted. He expresses his pleasure at the fact that the Thessalonians received that message for what it was. Not the word of men, but the truth - the word of God.
We see then that it is “the word of God” that was put into the minds of the prophets and apostles, and in turn was spoken and written down by them throughout the period during which the whole Bible was written. This fact alone (that the Bible contains the words of the almighty God of Heaven and earth) should warrant that we attribute great importance to it.
But it is not just the fact that the Bible contains God’s revealed word that makes it important, it is its message too.
An important message
If we accept the guidance in the Bible regarding to how we should lead our lives, and believe in the principles contained in it, then it can be our guide book to eternal life. Jesus said:
The Bible tells us that eternal life is possible by knowing God and Jesus. Knowing God and Jesus sounds very simple. Although the message of the Bible is not complicated, it does involve gaining a full knowledge and understanding of them, and following of their ways.
The only way to ‘know God and Jesus’ is to read and understand the Bible! This is what Jesus himself encouraged by saying,
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy of the remarkable ability of the Bible.
The power of the word of God
The Bible are able to impart wisdom to its readers – a special wisdom that can procure salvation. Such is the effect of the knowledge and wisdom to be found in the Bible that it is described as being ‘powerful’.
Paul in writing to the first century believers in Rome was more specific in pointing out where the ‘power’ for this salvation lies:
The power lies in the gospel of Christ, which is the power of God to save everyone that believes in it, that is, that believes in the good news about Jesus and his coming kingdom. Consider this fact for a moment. It really is quite remarkable that the ‘power of God’ (the Creator and Sustainer of heaven and earth) is contained in the words of a book. But that is exactly what God has made available to us. The power of God has many aspects and is used by Him in a variety of ways. However, in this case it is contained in His word which is powerful to save the lives of men and women.
On the basis that the Bible is the word of the almighty and powerful God of the heavens and the earth, having the power to save the lives of men and women, it surely warrants our close attention so that we too can gain the marvellous things promised by God to those who believe and obey Him.