What is the Bible?
The Bible is the very Word of God
We all know that the Bible is the very WORD of GOD.
The term “Bible” comes from the Greek word, byblos, which means, a book or a roll.
Later on, it became biblia, denoting both the old and the new testament book of the Bible.
The Bible also consists of 66 books - making it a mini library!
Question: Is there any book like the Bible?
1. The Bible unique compared to any other book
2. The Bible is supernatural
3. The Bible is filled with God’s story - HIS story
4. It is filled with God’s dealing with mankind - His relationship with them; it talks about the events took place between human beings and God; It talks about the past, present and the future — what will happen in future.
The Bible is also known as Scripture
The term “Scripture” means writing.
The Old Testament tells us that the Scripture is authoritative!
In the New Testament, we learn that the Scripture is identical to God Himself.
Romans 1:2 - The Scripture is called the Holy Scripture. Not just any Scripture, but HOLY Scripture.
2 Tim. 3:15, the Scriptures are called the SACRED Scriptures.
The Bible tells us the Origin of Scripture is Divine
The words in the Bible are not the words of mere men. These are not compiled by men, or written by men from their own knowledge, or experience.
The text of the Bible has a divine origin.
Heb. 1:1 “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets at different times and in different ways.”
For example, דְבַר־יְהוָה֙ (the Word of the LORD came) is used around 239 times in the Bible. This indicates that the Word came STRAIGHT from God - and not from other men. God is the Source of the word.
Look at Jeremiah 1:11, “Then the word of the Lord came to me, asking, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
The phrase יֹאמַ֖ר יְהוָ֣ה, (God says, or God said) occurs 604 times in the Bible! This gives us the evidence that “GOD’ directly said - or spoke to the people.
Exodus 14:1, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses…”
Paul, in the New Testament declares that what he wrote came from the Lord! “If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, he should recognize that what I write to you is the Lord’s command.” - 1 Cor. 14:37.
This is in no way the peoples invention. The text in the Bible is given by the Lord.
Peter tells us that, “no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21.
In 1 John 4:6, John writes, “We are from God. Anyone who knows God listens to us; anyone who is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.”
The Bible is also the Revelation of God
God revealed Himself in the Bible.
Therefore, this is personal. The Bible is about God!
The revelation of God, “signifies God unveiling Himself to mankind”
In Systematic Theology Chapter III: Revelation, Lewis Sperry Chafer says,
the term revelation is restricted to the divine act of communicating to man what otherwise man would not know.
The Moody Handbook of Theology, Revised and Expanded Definition of Revelation
Revelation may be defined as “that act of God whereby he discloses himself or communicates truth to the mind, whereby he makes manifest to his creatures that which could not be known in any other way. The revelation may occur in a single, instantaneous act, or it may extend over a long period of time; and this communication of himself and his truth may be perceived by the human mind in varying degrees of fullness.”
When we read the Bible, we learn about our God - who delights to be in relationship with people. There is no way man would know God without God revealing Himself first.
The Moody Handbook of Theology, Revised and Expanded Definition of Revelation
Revelation thus is both “general”—God revealing Himself in history and nature, and “special”—God revealing Himself in the Scriptures and in His Son.
God reveals Himself through General revelation
What does it mean by General revelation?
God reveals Himself through Nature.
Look at Psalm 19:1-6
Christian Standard Bible Psalm 19
1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour out speech;
night after night they communicate knowledge.
3 There is no speech; there are no words;
their voice is not heard.
4 Their message has gone out to the whole earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It is like a bridegroom coming from his home;
it rejoices like an athlete running a course.
6 It rises from one end of the heavens
and circles to their other end;
nothing is hidden from its heat.
God’s revelation is made known to all mankind through the nature.
We see the nature, we enjoy the nature, but do we pause for a minute and think who created all this? And what is the nature telling us? It is giving the message of the Creator God. Not one is excluded from this revelation - the general revelation, because, again, God made Himself known to ALL mankind.
Notice what the Psalm says:
The revelation about God is:
- Continuous - day after day, and night after night.
- A wordless revelation - “there is no speech” nor words - the nature speaks of God
- The message of this revelation is universal - “Their message has gone out to the whole earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”
Romans 1:18-20 makes the general revelation clear -
Christian Standard Bible Chapter 1
18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth,
19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.
20 For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse.
His invisible attributes, His eternal power, and His divine nature was all made known through this general revelation.
That is why Paul says, people are without excuse. God revealed Himself through this general revelation - the nature, and through everything He created.
The general revelation, though important and reveals God to the mankind, does not provide salvation.
Look at what Acts 14:15-17 says, when Paul and Barnabas were in Lystra.
Christian Standard Bible Chapter 14
8 In Lystra a man was sitting who was without strength in his feet, had never walked, and had been lame from birth.
9 He listened as Paul spoke. After looking directly at him and seeing that he had faith to be healed,
10 Paul said in a loud voice, “Stand up on your feet!” And he jumped up and began to walk around.
11 When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!”
12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.
13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the town, brought bulls and wreaths to the gates because he intended, with the crowds, to offer sacrifice.
14 The apostles Barnabas and Paul tore their robes when they heard this and rushed into the crowd, shouting,
15 “People! Why are you doing these things? We are people also, just like you, and we are proclaiming good news to you, that you turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything in them.
16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to go their own way,
17 although he did not leave himself without a witness, since he did what is good by giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons and filling you with food and your hearts with joy.”
What is needed for salvation, for being saved is faith (Acts 14:9).
God revealed Himself in Providence - Matthew 5:45 - “For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
He reveals Himself in Conscience - Romans 2:14-15 - “So, when Gentiles, who do not by nature have the law, do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law.
They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts either accuse or even excuse them”
There is no excuse - God made Himself known through the general revelation. But for salvation, we need to look at the Scriptures, and Jesus Christ. Salvation is provided not by what we learn through what we see, but by believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.