When many people approach the Bible and their Bible studies, they often do so with the wrong idea about the Bible and where it belongs in the scope of things. They think that because a few human names appear as the title of some of the books that Scriptures are a human authored book subject to human judgment. The do this because if they allow its rightful author his place then they feel that they cannot alter its words because they will know that the Bible is the truth and the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians
For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth. (13:8 NASB)
The people who want the Bible to be a fallible human work do not want the truth for then they would have to change their views, their ideologies, their lives and the focus of their work. There was one good thing I found in Dr. Brauch’s book, Hard Sayings Of Paul and it was right in the first paragraph of the first chapter on page 13:
The reading and study of any writing, if it is to be faithful to the author’s purpose, must take seriously at least three things:
1). The nature of the writing itself
2). The purpose for which it was written, and
3). The situation or context out of which it was written
Failure to observe these matters is more likely than not to lead to misunderstanding or misinterpretation
With God’s help, I will look at the Bible using Dr. Brauch’s criteria one at a time.
#1. The nature of the writing itself:
The first thing we need to do is define the word ‘nature’ and in this case, the following definition from Webster’s applies:
the inherent character or basic constitution of a person or thing : essence b : disposition, temperament (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nature)
This definition gives everyone the right idea about what makes the Bible tick. So we can say that the ‘nature’ of the Bible originates in the divine. It is not an earthly work thus it is not a subjective set of ideas which depends upon a strong human to be in power who can force its implementation upon everyone else. This is exampled by Mohammad, the Kora and the present state of acceptance of Islam around the world.
The Bible also tells us of its divine origins , first with the words of Peter:
0 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Pet. 1 NASB)
Then the words of Paul:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; (2 Tim. 3:16 NASB)
We also have the words of Moses:
Now the Lord said to Moses, “Cut out for yourself two stone tablets like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets which you shattered. (Ex. 34:1 NASB)
As well as the many times in the prophets where those books state, ‘and the word of the Lord came upon…’ Thus we can see that the nature of the Bible is rooted in the supernatural, the divine, a level far above our own. The books of the Bible may have human titles and names but those do not indicate the nature of the Bible. They indicate the titles God wanted them to have.
Then if we want we can point to the earthly success of the Bible as further proof of its divine nature. Not only have there been over 6 billion copies printed (http://www.statisticbrain.com/bibles-printed/) but it is also one of the most translated, studied, discussed books of all time, enjoying a rich manuscript record that does not waver in content.
All of these facts point to the real nature of the Bible.
#2. The purpose for which it was written:
First, and there is no particular order to this list, it is a revelation of what God did. It tells us that before everything there was God. He existed before man thus he is not a being made after man’s imagination. The Bible tells us that there is no god like him. So the first purpose of the Bible is to tell God’s creation about himself.
Second, the Bible tells us about origins. It answers all of our questions about where everything came from. From the universe on down to the different nations, languages and law. The Bible provides peace to our minds about where we came from so we can concentrate on other things.
Third, we get true history so that we do not have to get all of our information from the secular world. The Bible allows us to see the erroneous theories and conclusions that stem from deceived eyes and helps us turn our thoughts from those to the truth.
Fourth, the Bible gives us the rules to live by. It defines right and wrong, justice, mercy, morality and provides examples of what will happen if we disobey those rules. From Cain to the Flood to Sodom and Gomorrah to Ai and much more, we see what can and will happen if we do not repent of our sins and live according to God’s ways. The purpose of the Bible is to tell us the correct way of living, and it also warns of evil and its tricks so we are not naive or unaware.
It does God no good to create the world and originate everything yet refuses or fails to instruct us on how to live and please him. The Bible provides the divine instructions to guide our thoughts, actions and so on.
Fifth, the purpose of the Bible is to bring God’s creation to salvation. God wants his creation to live with him thus he has provided the information on how we can fulfill that desire. John 3:16-17 is just the beginning of that objective.
#3. The situation or context out of which it was written:
The situation was the world was lost without God’s word to guide them. He was intervening into secular culture and providing a better way to go. He was bringing light to a dark world.
Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life. (Jn. 8:12 NASB)
While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” (Jn 9:5 NASB)
Be very firm, then, to keep and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, so that you may not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left, (Josh. 3:6 NASB)
The books of the Bible were not fashioned after some diabolical scheme where the religious leaders were looking to enslave and manipulate the people for their own benefit. They were written by humble servants of God who had no personal aspirations or ulterior motive. The words of the Bible are not made up, fabrications or lies, they come from the sinless, infallible and timeless God who cares about his people and wants to share his kingdom with them.
They do not oppress women, make men to be dictators nor does it provide permission to enslave others or sin. The words of the Bible provide life, light and an everlasting home if we choose to abide by its words correctly.
If we put the Bible in its proper divine perspective and then follow the HS to the truth we will not misunderstand or misinterpret its words or meaning. But if we rebel against certain instructions, rules or guidelines then we will have problems for we are not following the HS to the truth but evil to deception and sin. If we claim that the Bible is limited to certain points of history, culture or patriarchal contexts then we are not speaking the truth nor following the HS; for the Bible was not written for one ancient audience in one era of time by humans. It was written from a timeless and divine manner for all people for all times because all people in all times needs the light of the Bible to see their way to salvation.
The same situation that was present when the Biblical books were written have existed in each era thereafter thus the same book and its words are needed in each generation. God does not change nor does his word.
The Bible is a divine, supernatural, timeless book because its purpose is to bring all men to God and free them from the dark, slavery of sin.