Brothers and Sisters of Loving Stage:
The Bible is Christianity’s canon, the foundation of our faith. Since we believed in the Lord, each of us has had a Bible. We read frequently and cherish it as a treasure. What’s more, we even more take the words of the Bible as the highest standard in our life and work hard to follow. Paul said: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). This even more makes us think that all scripture is inspired by God. Some people say that in the Bible there are the words of Satan and the ass talking to Balaam. Obviously, they are not the words of God. May I ask, are the words in the Bible not all God’s words? What do you think about this question?
Your question is very good. Recently, many brothers and sisters also ask us about this question. Let’s seek it together.
Many brothers and sisters all believe these words said by Paul. Yet first we should know Paul’s words are just man’s words but cannot represent God’s words. There are sixty-six books in the entire Bible, but no one verse records that God said that all scripture is inspired by God or that the words in the Bible are all the words of God. Since God didn’t say that, then does Paul’s statement conform with ? Are there words of the Holy Spirit as proof? If this statement by Paul is corroborated by the words of the or the Holy Spirit, then we should accept and obey that. This is completely in line with the Lord’s intentions. No matter who he is, as long as his words are not supported by the words of the Lord Jesus or the Holy Spirit, we cannot accept them blindly. We men are only men, are created beings. So, our words cannot represent the Creator’s will. The Lord Jesus we believe in is the Lord of heaven. Only by practicing according to God’s words can we be approved by God.
We all know very clearly that Paul used to resist God and oppose the Lord Jesus. It’s a commonly acknowledged fact that he was the ringleader of the opposition against the Lord Jesus’ work. Even though the Lord Jesus chose Paul as an apostle to spread the , Paul is still a created being. Therefore, his words are undoubtedly the words of a man. The Lord Jesus is God, whereas all of the Lord Jesus’ apostles and disciples are men. They cannot be compared to the Lord Jesus Himself. So, when it comes to the words of man, we cannot accept and obey them blindly. We should seek whether they are in line with , which is crucial for us to be able to .
What Is the Background of Paul Saying the Words “All Scripture Is Given by Inspiration of God”?
Since people think that all scripture is inspired by God and that all the words in the Bible are the words of God according to 2 Timothy 3:16, let’s first investigate the background of Paul saying these words. As we all know, the words “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” were said by Paul when he wrote letters to Timothy. When he wrote letters, there only existed the Old Testament. The New Testament was just dozens of letters kept in the churches and hadn’t been compiled into a book. Not until after 300 A.D. did the New Testament come into being. That is to say, the New Testament existed two hundred years later after Paul wrote letters. It can be seen that the background of Paul’s words are referring to the Old Testament.
However, from Moses writing Genesis to the Lord Jesus coming to work, it was at least 1,000 years. Paul did not know any of the authors of the Old Testament at all. How could he know that the Old Testament was inspired by God? He couldn’t know that unless the authors of the Old Testament personally told him or the Old Testament clearly said: “The Bible is inspired by God.” But those authors didn’t tell him that and the Old Testament also doesn’t record that the Bible was inspired by God. So what Paul said has no factual basis.
Moreover, if we say that the Bible is entirely given by the inspiration of God and what is written in the Bible are all the words of God, then what about the words spoken by the serpent when it tempted Eve, the words spoken by Satan when it accused Job, the words the ass said to Balaam and the words of the band of Korah? Can we take them as God’s words? Brothers and sisters in the Lord all know: Satan is the archangel who betrayed God and is God’s enemy; the ass is an animal; while the band of Korah are the ones who resisted Moses and were directly destroyed by God. If we insist on claiming that their words are God’s words, then we are blaspheming God. This is a serious problem in substance! Thus, it can be seen that the words “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” said by Paul are his own imagination and are not in line with the truth.
Which Words in the Bible Are God’s Words?
In fact, all words spoken by God are clearly marked in the Bible. The words that Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out God enlightened the prophets are always marked with “thus said the LORD of hosts,” “thus said the LORD,” etc. For example, Ezekiel 34:11: “For thus said the Lord GOD; ,” and Isaiah 1:2-3: “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD has spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel does not know, my people does not consider.” These show that the prophets were conveying God’s words and were echoing the words personally said by God. The words of the Lord Jesus are marked with “Jesus said to them,” “Jesus answered and said to them” and “Jesus said”; or the scriptures told us straightforwardly that these are the words that the Lord Jesus spoke, such as Matthew 4:19: “And he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,” Matthew 5:1-4: “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came to him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted,” and Matthew 18:22: “Jesus said to him, I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” The words of God in Revelation are also clearly marked with “said the Lord,” “And he that sat on the throne said,” and so on. For example, Revelation 1:8: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, said the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty,” and Revelation 21:5: “And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said to me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”
From these scriptures we can see that in the Bible only the words of Jehovah God, the words that Jehovah spoke to the prophets, the words said by the Lord Jesus Himself and the words God revealed to John are God’s words; apart from these words, other words are some historical facts or man’s personal experiences and knowledge recorded by more than forty authors. Although most of their personal experiences and knowledge came by enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, they cannot be equated to God’s words. Just as in the Old Testament, what most of the scriptures document are some historical facts that God did work in the Age of Law; besides, there are a few words of Satan, the words of the ass, and so on. In the New Testament, apart from God’s words quoted by various authors, the remaining words are all man’s knowledge, insights and understandings, such as the letters of Peter, Paul and Timothy. Their letters only represented man’s work and their own experiences and knowledge. They wrote their understanding to assist, help and encourage brothers and sisters in the churches, which was completely out of the burden for the Lord’s commission. Furthermore, they never said their words were God’s words and at the beginning of their letters they clearly marked their own name.” This is fact.
What Is the Difference Between God’s Words and Man’s Words?
God is the Creator and only God’s words are the truth, the way, and the life; we humans are created beings. There is substantial difference between the Creator and the creation. They cannot be placed on the same level and cannot be confused with each other. The work and word of God cannot be done by any corrupted man in God’s stead. In the course of us humans experiencing God’s work, no matter how great our experiences, understandings and enlightenment from the Holy Spirit benefit other people, they cannot be treated as God’s word but can only be used as a reference. Just like Paul, Peter and Matthew at that time, they were all used by God but they were not the incarnate God. Although their letters are beneficial and constructive for brothers and sisters in the churches, they cannot be said to be the words of the Holy Spirit. This is undoubtable! The words of God are the expression of God’s disposition and all that He has and is. They are the reality of positive things and can be man’s life. Words spoken by man that conform with the truth all come from man’s experience and understanding of God’s word and the truth, and all represent the stature of man at the time. The words that conform with the truth can only provide people with a bit of help and benefit. They cannot be man’s life. Even with the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, they are still man’s words, and cannot be compared with God’s word at all.
Through the fellowship above, I believe that we all know that the Bible is not inspired by God and that the Bible is not entirely the word of God. When we take man’s words as the words of God, it is the same as treating man as God. This is betraying the truth and blaspheming God. Thus no matter how much suffering we have gone through, God won’t acknowledge this kind of faith of us. The Lord Jesus clearly told us, “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). So, if we, believers in the Lord, want to be approved by the Lord, we should correctly treat the Bible and cannot worship it blindly. When we read it, we also need to differentiate between God’s words and man’s words in it clearly. No matter what things come upon us, we should seek and practice according to God’s words, and man’s words can only be used as a reference. If man’s words are in accord with the truth, then we accept them; if not, we refuse them. Only by practicing faith in this way can we act in accordance with the intention of God.
I hope the answer above could be helpful to you.
Peace be with you all! Dear brothers and sisters, if you have any understanding or enlightenment from God, welcome to share with us.
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