The Bible: Seven Facts Concerning Scripture
The word “Bible” is not found in the Bible. The word simply means “The Book,” so “there was a time,” as Trench says, “when bible might be applied to any book,” but in our present use of the word we use it in a restricted sense of the one Book. The Imperial Dictionary says: “The Bible is the Sacred Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as received by the Christian Church as a Divine Revelation.”
There are seven things about these Holy Writings.
1. What is It? They claim to be “inspired of God” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The word “inspired of God” is Theopneustos. Theos is the word for God, and the other part is a presumed derivation of pneo, which means to breathe or blow hard. It is rendered “bloweth” in John 3:8, and “wind” in Acts 27:40. Thus the word means to divinely breathe in. Some would render the sentence, “The Scriptures are the Divine breathing.” Our English word “inspired” only occurs in one other place, and that is Job 32:8—”There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” As God breathed into man the breath of life, and he became a living soul, so God has breathed this Book, and it breathes out what He has breathed in. It breathes life into the spirit, love into the soul, understanding into the mind, determination into the will, grace into the heart, beauty into the life, and harmony into the being.
2. Who Inspired It? “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). The Holy Spirit is the Author and the Interpreter of the Book. The “men” who were “moved” were men, human beings; but they were not the common herd of men, they were “men of God,” and not only so, they were “holy men of God.” These men were in fellowship with God. “Holy men” and “the Holy Spirit” needed to be in touch with each other to produce holy results. The word “moved” means to be “borne along,” and is used of a ship being “driven” by the wind—Acts 27:17, of a man being “brought” on a bed—Luke 5:18, and of one who is carrying another— John 21:18. This at once makes the Bible different from all other books.
3. Who Were the Instruments Used? “The prophets” (1 Peter 1:10). We naturally think of a prophet as one through whom events are forecast; but the primary meaning is a seer, that is, one who sees. “A prophet,” as one has said, is—
“One who speaks forth openly before anyone, a proclaimer of a Divine message; among the heathen, the interpreter of the oracles. In the Septuagint, it is the translation of the earlier ‘seer,’ showing what really constituted the prophet, was immediate intercourse with God. The usage of the word is clear, it signifies one on whom the Spirit of God rested—Numbers 11:17, Numbers 11:25-26, Numbers 11:29; one to whom and through whom God speaks—Numbers 7:2; one to whom God makes known His mysteries—Amos 3:7-8; hence it means one to whom God reveals His truth, and through whom He speaks…. In the Old Testament prophets, their preaching was a prophesying of a salvation and purposes of grace and glory yet to be accomplished; while in the New Testament prophets, their prophesying was a preaching of those purposes of grace already accomplished, and also a foretelling of the purposes of glory which were still future.”
4. What was the Purpose of the Bible’s Revelation? Christ Himself answers the question, for He says of the Scriptures: “They are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39). He is light in the lantern, to show the way; He is the life in the tree, to make it grow; He is the kernel in the nut, to make it worth; He is the glory in the temple, to make it beautiful; He is the heart in the body, to cause it to live; He is the spring in the watch, to make it to go; and He is the power in the wire, to electrify the machine.
The Old Testament characters in the Bible are types of Him. He is the Last Adam, to quicken; the offering Able, to sacrifice; the faithful Abram, to separate; the peaceful Isaac, to substitute; the working Jacob, to secure; the providing Joseph, to store; the leading Moses, to guide; the priestly Aaron, to represent; the valiant Joshua, to subdue; the strong David, to conquer; the wise Solomon, to teach; and the Kinsman-Redeemer, to redeem.
The offerings were all foregleams. He is the Passover, to protect; the Burnt-offering, to please; the Sin-offering, to be judged; the Trespass-offering, to release; the Peace-offering, to reconcile; the Drink-offering to rejoice; and the Red Heifer-offering, to cleanse.
All Scripture contains in Him, and He is the contain of all Scripture.
5. What are the Two Fundamental Themes of the Bible? Christ Himself answered the question to the two disciples as He journeyed with them to Emmaus, and to the eleven gathered in the upper room—Luke 24:27, Luke 24:36.
The sufferings and glory of Christ are the couplings of God, which couple up everything. Calvary and Olivet are His viewpoints. The Cross and the Crown are the Alpha and Omega of Revelation. The Lamb and the Throne are the fulcrum and lever of God’s purpose. The Passover and the Lamb are His starting point and goal; and the Altar and the Skekinah are the Genesis and Revelation of everything.
6. What the Bible Imparts? Among the many things to which it is compared is seed—1 Peter 1:23. There are two things which are characteristic of seed. It contains life, and produces like to its kind. Faith in the Living Word comes by means of the Written Word; and when the Living Word, by means of the Written, operates in a living soul, the character of the Word is reproduced. It is a Holy Word, to sanctify; a Righteous Word, to rectify; a Living Word, to fructify; a Wise Word, to edify; a Peace Word, to pacify; a Powerful Word, to electrify; and a Loving Word, to intensify.
7. What the Bible Does? This raises another question: “What does it not do?” One has tersely said of the Bible in a general way: “Every hour I read you, it kills a sin, or lets a virtue in to fight against it.”
Many are the things the Bible does; the following will illustrate a few of the things:
- Acquaints us with the theme of the Gospel—1 Corinthians 15:3, 1 Corinthians 15:4.
- Blesses us as we obey its precepts—Psalms 119:2.
- Consecrates us as we follow its injunctions—Numbers 6:1-7.
- Defeats the enemy as we use it against him—Matthew 4:4, Matthew 4:7, Matthew 4:10.
- Edifies the life as we heed it—Acts 20:32.
- Fires the heart to a faithful testimony—Jeremiah 1:1; Jeremiah 23:29.
- Guides those who follow its light—Psalms 119:105.
- Heals the spirit as it is applied—Psalms 107:20.
- It forms the mind as to its secrets—1 Corinthians 2:9; Isaiah 64:4.
- Judges the conduct and maketh wise—Psalms 19:9-11
- Keeps us abiding in Christ’s love—John 15:10.
- Leads to the true and beautiful—Proverbs 6:20-24.
- Moulds us like to itself—Romans 6:17.
- Nourishes the spiritual life—1 Peter 1:2.
- Orders the steps of our life—Psalms 119:133.
- Purifies the mind—2 Corinthians 7:1.
- Quietens the heart—Isaiah 30:15.
- Rewards those who keep it—Psalms 19:11.
- Sanctifies those who live in it—John 17:17.
- Teaches those who are led by it—Psalms 25:4, Psalms 25:5.
- Unites us to the Lord—Psalms 86:11; John 17:8.
- Verifies the experience—2 Peter 1:19, 2 Peter 1:20.
- Warns the observant—Psalms 19:11.
- ‘Xamines the heart—Psalms 26:1-3.
- Yokes us with Christ—John 17:8.
- Zeals the soul—Psalms 69:9; John 2:17.