Is the Bible the Word of God?

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Paidion
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Is the Bible the Word of God?

Post by Paidion » Sat Jul 03, 2021 10:07 am

I have often heard people refer to the Bible as “The Word of God.” I am wondering what they mean by that. Do they mean that God dictated the words to the human writers? If not, perhaps that He inspired them in such a way that whatever they wrote was the words that God wanted people in every age to read?

1. The first question I have is, “Which Bible is the Word of God?”— The Orthdox Bible, the Roman Catholic Bible, or the Protestant Bible? As far as the New Testament is concerned, it doesn't matter, for all three contain the same list of writings. However, for the Old Testament, the list of writings in each of the Bibles differs from those of the other two.

2. Secondly, in his second letter to Timothy, Paul asked Timothy to bring the cloak he had forgotten at Troas, and also to bring the books and parchments he had left there.

When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. (2 Timothy 4:23 ESV)

In what way would Paul's specific request to Timothy be “the Word of God” to us?

3. Thirdly, the writings in the Old Testament indicate that God commanded the Israelites to wipe out Canaanites, including women, children and babies.

The following passage seem to indicate that God will cause infants to be dashed to pieces and women to be raped. It could be a prediction instead, but verse 13 seems to indicate that God is behind it because of His fierce anger:

11 I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless.
12 I will make people more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir.
13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the LORD of hosts in the day of his fierce anger.
14 And like a hunted gazelle, or like sheep with none to gather them, each will turn to his own people, and each will flee to his own land.
15 Whoever is found will be thrust through, and whoever is caught will fall by the sword.
16 Their infants will be dashed in pieces before their eyes; their houses will be plundered and their wives ravished.
17 Behold, I am stirring up the Medes against them, who have no regard for silver and do not delight in gold.
18 Their bows will slaughter the young men; they will have no mercy on the fruit of the womb; their eyes will not pity children. (Isaiah 13:11-18)

The following passage indicates that when Uzzah saw that the oxen stumble, he reached out his hand, presumably to keep the ark from falling, and the Lord killed him for doing so.

And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. (2 Samuel 6: 6,7 ESV)

However, Jesus never spoke of God doing such things. Rather He stated that God is kind to ungrateful people and to evil people (Luke 6:35). Jesus is Another exactly like His Father. He is the exact image of the Father's essence (Hebrews 1:3). Yet Jesus never killed anyone. He was quite different from the way God is described in the Old Testament. The apostle John declared that God is LOVE! Not that God merely exhibits love, but that He IS love! (1 John 4: 8, 16) Not that LOVE is just one of God's characterstics, but that it is His very essence! Could it be that some of the writers of the Old Testament thought God caused evil as well as good? So that when suffering and death occurred, they automatically attributed it to God?

I am a Christian, and I believe that the way the Lord Jesus described God is the way God truly is. I think some of the OT writers were mistaken about Him and what He supposedly did. My question is, did God inspire the OT writers to write this things about Him—that He killed a man for touching the ark? That He commanded the wholesale slaughter of Israel enemies?— while Jesus asked us to love our enemies, pray for them, and do good to them?

4. Fourthly it seems that the NT writers sometimes made mistakes. For example, Jude wrote the following:
Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” (Jude 14, 15 NKJV)

Similar words to those which Jude quoted are found in the book of Enoch. I happen to have a copy of the book of Enoch. In Enoch chapter 2 it is written:

Behold, He comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon them,and destroy the wicked, and reprove all the carnal for everything which the sinful and ungodly have done and committed against Him.

However, Jude appears to have been mistaken in his statement that the author of the book of Enoch was the historic Enoch mentioned in Genesis 5. For in chapter 54 verse 9 Enoch mentions the Parthians. However, the Parthians were altogether unknown in history until 250 B.C. Thus Enoch the writer of the book of Enoch could not have been the Enoch mentioned in Genesis 5. So Jude's statement that the writer was the “seventh from Adam” must not have been the case. So how could this false statement be “the Word of God”?

As I see it, the Bible is a historical record. But not mere history. It includes events in which God intervenes in the affairs of man, the most important, of course, being the birth of the very Son of God as a human being, who died to deliver us from wrongdoing, and to provide enabling grace to live righteously (Titus 2).

I welcome any thoughts you may have on the matter.

By the way, in the book of Acts, the expression “The Word of God” seems to refer to the gospel.
Also, Jesus is also called “The Word of God” since He was the very expression of God to man.
Paidion

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darinhouston
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Re: Is the Bible the Word of God?

Post by darinhouston » Sat Jul 03, 2021 4:01 pm

Steve has excellent teaching on this and if I dare summarize it, he essentially says that the OT is largely the work of prophets literally speaking what was revealed to them to say, often not even understanding it or its full context. It claims to be the word of God in many respects. In contrast, the NT doesn't ever make that claim about itself and (as you say) is largely a historic record of the teachings of Christ (faithfully recorded by the apostles and reproduced in what we have in the NT) -- his words being given to him by the spirit of God and his authority confirmed by God. In that sense, his words are like the words of the OT prophets. Beyond that, the epistles and other writings of the apostles are their own words (not prophetic as attested by Paul) but they were given specific authority to teach what they were taught and their understanding was guided by the Holy Spirit, influencing and inspiring them to write, but not necessarily being given the very words to say.

Basically, OT was generally prophetic word of God.
NT was generally the faithful and reliable witnesses of the teachings of Christ and the apostles.

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Paidion
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Re: Is the Bible the Word of God?

Post by Paidion » Sat Jul 03, 2021 5:01 pm

Thank you for your thoughts on this matter, Darin.
Paidion

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darinhouston
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Re: Is the Bible the Word of God?

Post by darinhouston » Sat Jul 03, 2021 5:24 pm

Paidion wrote:
Sat Jul 03, 2021 5:01 pm
Thank you for your thoughts on this matter, Darin.
A related question would be -- how would you treat more writings that might be found if you could confirm with good confidence that they were actually epistles authentically written by apostles? To me, our NT authority is derived apostolic authority from the delegation by Jesus to speak on his and his Father's behalf. Not conciliar canon authority.

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darinhouston
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Re: Is the Bible the Word of God?

Post by darinhouston » Sat Jul 03, 2021 10:25 pm

Here is a series from Steve (Authority of the Scriptures)...

https://thenarrowpath.com/topical_lectu ... Scriptures

and one of the particular sessions on the Authority of Apastolic(sic) Writings.

https://thenarrowpath.com/audio/topical ... itings.mp3

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Paidion
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Re: Is the Bible the Word of God?

Post by Paidion » Sun Jul 04, 2021 3:08 pm

Darin wrote:A related question would be -- how would you treat more writings that might be found if you could confirm with good confidence that they were actually epistles authentically written by apostles?
I would treat them exactly the same as those apostolic writings which form part of the New Testament.
Why do you ask?
Paidion

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Re: Is the Bible the Word of God?

Post by dwight92070 » Sun Jul 04, 2021 4:17 pm

In what way was Paul's specific request to Timothy the word of God to us? Obviously, it was not necessarily meant for us, unless we are to see how studious Paul was, which I think we already knew.

What about when Jesus raised a little girl from the dead, and then told them to give her something to eat. Jesus was obviously a prophet and He spoke the word of God. In what way was that a word of God to us?

What about when King Saul went into a cave to relieve himself? In what way is that a word of God to us?

Why is it that a narrative cannot be the word of God? The fact that God speaks to us about the mundane, everyday events of life at times - does that make it any less the word of God?

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Paidion
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Re: Is the Bible the Word of God?

Post by Paidion » Sun Jul 04, 2021 7:11 pm

Dwight, you wrote:Why is it that a narrative cannot be the word of God? The fact that God speaks to us about the mundane, everyday events of life at times - does that make it any less the word of God?
Why do you ask these questions? Is anyone claiming the contrary?
Paidion

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Re: Is the Bible the Word of God?

Post by Paidion » Sun Jul 04, 2021 7:20 pm

I want to share with you some facts about the writings which the early Christians wanted "read in the churches." A problem arose because of the gnostic groups that were prevalent in those days. In order to spread their gnostic beliefs, they constructed false "gospels" and "epistles" purporting to have been written by disciples of Jesus or by apostles. For example, one of these supposedly describes some of Jesus' activities when He was still a child. It reports that he formed a bird out of clay, and then turned it into a real, live bird which then flew away.

In order that the Church would not be deceived by these false, so-called apostolic writings, the leaders of the Church made a list of the writings of the genuine disciples and apostles, and proclaimed that only they could be read in the churches. They didn't talk about these writings as being "The word of God" or that only they were "inspired." The test was only whether they were written by the apostles or the disciples of Jesus. Thus the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were the only gospels included. Though Mark and Luke were not disciples of Jesus or apostles in the strictest sense, they were fellow workers with Paul, and did apostolic work with him. So they qualified. Acts, the early history of the Church was also accepted without dispute.

There was some heavy discussion among the early church leaders with regard to the apostolic letters (or "epistles"). Which of the letters circulated around were really composed by apostles and therefore qualified to be read in the churches?

All the letters of Paul were accepted without dispute. So was 1 Peter and 1 John.

Hebrews was under dispute. Who wrote it? Its author doesn't say. Some early churches accepted it to be read in the churches; others didn't. Those who accepted it assigned the authorship to Paul. This is highly doubted by most Biblical scholars today. 2nd and 3rd John were disputed. The author of these books referred to himself as "the elder." We don't know who this elder was, but some have speculated that it was an elder named "John," though he doesn't give his name at all. Again those who accepted 2nd and 3rd John assigned the authorship to the apostle John, although there is absolutely no evidence for this.

For some reason James and Jude were under dispute, although both these authors open their letters by giving their names and "James" and "Jude."

Clement's letter to the Corinthians was disputed. The author was Paul's fellow worker (Philippians 4:3) and therefore did apostolic work as did Mark and Luke. Although some churches accepted it, others didn't. Clearly it didn't "make it" into the New Testament.

Revelation was under heavy dispute. Four times in the book, the author identifies himself as being "John." But which John? The apostle John never calls himself "John" anywhere in his Gospel or in 1 John. So there is no reason to suppose that the apostle John was the author. Again, those who wanted it read in the churches said the author was John the apostle, and this idea has persisted to our day. Whoever the John was who wrote it, had a vision, and in most of the book, he describes what he saw in his vision. In my opinion, it is a mistake to formulate doctrine or beliefs about the future based on the vision which some unknown John saw.

Much later in A.D. 367 Athanasius formed a list which comprised what is knows as the "canon of New Testament writings". Athanasius was the first person to form a list which is identical to that which is in the "New Testament" as we have it today. His Old Testament "canon" was the same as that which is found in the Protestant Bible except it included the book "Baruch." This book is not found in the Protestant Bible, but it IS included in the Catholic and Orthodox Bibles.
Paidion

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commonsense
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Re: Is the Bible the Word of God?

Post by commonsense » Sat Jul 10, 2021 7:51 pm

There is only one word ( Law) of God: Love others as yourself. As the New Testament writers say, "For all the law is fulfilled IN ONE WORD : " You shall love your neighbor as yourself." This is the unchanging, pure word of God, which always was, from the the very beginning, and still is today.

In the Old Testament, there are two words- the Levitical law and the Law of God, aka the Law of Christ. One is false, and one is true.

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