As Christians, we have all read faith statements about the Scriptures like the one below.

“I believe the canonical Scripture to be the inerrant Word, inspired by a Holy God and penned by Man, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of Man, and the Divine and final authority for all Christian faith and life.”

But agreeing and putting our faith upon these basic truths does not mean a whole lot unless we take the time to read God’s Word. We can agree on the basic idea that we can have a total trust in the content of what God has given to us. But now what? Yes, the Bible is God’s written Word, but, is it really relevant to modern life? Can we understand God’s message and apply it? The answer is a resounding yes!

We do not need dumbed-down and misleading translations to understand the Bible. The Bible has authority to speak into our lives. From it we can learn all that we need to know about God’s plan for us and what it means to be a Christian. You see, the Bible is inspired by God. Inspiration is God “breathing” into the heart and mind of the human writers a revelation of Himself so that by using their individual personalities He was able to produce a coherent and infallible record of His love for Man.  The infallibility of the Bible does not mean it is free from errors in spelling, numbers, or even errors of fact.  Infallibility refers to the power of the Scripture to accomplish its purpose in your life and mine.  Through the superintendent work of the Holy Spirit, the Scripture has not failed to accomplish God’s purpose. And God’s purpose for you, me and the world will never fail… HE is infallible.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 And so we too constantly thank God that when you received God’s message that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human message, but as it truly is, God’s message, that is at work among you who believe. (NET Bible)

To know the Scripture though, we must understand that it does not stand alone. God has given to you His Written Word (the Bible), the Living Word (Jesus), the Word who Speaks (the Holy Spirit), and the Manifest Word (The Church).  These four are given so that you can grow and mature into the wonderful person He has made you to become. And you know what? There is not one thing in this world that limits your ability to understand and apply God’s Bible to your life.

God’s Holy Spirit can work in your life to illuminate your understanding of His truth for you life. Unlike “Inspiration”, which is restricted to the human writers of the Scripture, illumination is meant for every Christian of every age. Illumination is God’s Holy Spirit giving you insight into what He has already revealed through His Bible. Illumination is not new information about God; it is God helping you understand the stuff He has already revealed. The world is not the controlling factor in how we view God and the Bible; rather it is God who works so that our understanding of Scripture is not subject to natural limitations of worldly birth or limited experience.

Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope. (NET Bible)

Don’t ever sell yourself short as someone who can not understand God’s Bible. Your own experience does not limit the truth of God’s Word. The mind of Man is made free to see the wisdom of God by the illuminating power of His Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1:20-21 Above all, you do well if you recognize this: no prophecy of scripture ever comes about by the prophet’s own imagination, for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (NET Bible)

I know this might sound harsh, but hang in here with me when I say that the only limit to the Bible is personal ignorance. Understand though, ignorance is not talking about a lack of education or not knowing Greek or Hebrew. Ignorance is talking about a conscious choice to ignore God’s Word. God has promised us that He will illuminate our minds and hearts to hear and understand His written Word. We should never be afraid of knowing “too much” about the Bible, the only fear is knowing too little of God’s Word and its power.

Matthew 22:29 Jesus answered them, “You are deceived, because you don’t know the scriptures or the power of God.” (NET Bible)

The Word belongs to God and we must submit our hearts to it. God’s Written Word (Scripture) must always be approached with an attitude of humility, a desire to be sanctified into the image of Jesus (the Living Word), and an unswerving reliance upon God’s Spirit (the Word who speaks) to guide and inspire Truth.

1 Corinthians 2:12-13 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things that are freely given to us by God.  And we speak about these things, not with words taught us by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. (NET Bible)

We, as the creature, must strive for obedience in what has been revealed by the will of YHWH our Creator and not impose our own desires or dreams. Submit your life to the Father and His Word (Living, Spoken, and Written) and your life will be forever transformed!

2 Timothy 3:16-17 Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work. (NET Bible)

Dr. Joe Miller (aka JR) is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. In addition, he is a church planter and coach for emerging leaders. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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