LET THE BIBLE SPEAK
This blog is based on the outline of a sermon preached by Jimmy Chrisman at Livingston Baptist Church, Livingston, KY, on September 14, 1969; and edited on November 13, 2020 for this blog by J. David Chrisman (with the intent of retaining his original style and structure).
Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere [unhypocritical] love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible [perishable] seed but incorruptible [imperishable], through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you (1Peter 1:22-25)
I have done justice and righteousness; Do not leave me to my oppressors. 122 Be surety [guaranty] for Your servant for good; Do not let the proud oppress me. 123 My eyes fail from seeking Your salvation And Your righteous word. 124 Deal with Your servant according to Your mercy, and teach me Your statutes. 125 I am Your servant; Give me understanding, That I may know Your testimonies. 126 It is time for You to act, O Lord, For they have regarded Your law [broken Your law] as void. 127 Therefore I love Your commandments More than gold, yes, than fine gold! 128 Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way. (Psalm 119:121-128)
The Bible is God’s divine library. It contains 66 books, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and the New Testament was originally written in Greek. The Bible is the sourcebook of the Christian’s faith.
Jesus was questioned many times “by what authority do you do these things? Where do you get your authority?” And this question of authority still applies in our own day. There are many who are inquiring with open and honest minds as to the final authority in religion or in life itself.
There are other places in life which have their standards for authority. Businesses have regulations, bylaws, operational standards, etc. Government has regulations, laws, Constitutional authorities, etc. Schools have regulations, standards, accreditations, etc.
There are some false standards which do not meet the requirements of authority in religion. First is man’s relative reasoning – basing morals upon the standards of humanistic thought within the halls of higher education and authority. Second is man’s religious reasoning – basing morals upon the standards of regulations and practices instituted by religious authorities. Those who think man’s reason is the highest authority do not accept the Bible. And those who think the church is the supreme authority do not consider the Bible.
But above all of these, the Bible stands out as the only reliable standard of authority in living and religion. This is the position to which I firmly hold and believe. Why do I hold to this position?
Because the Bible is true, it has ultimate authority. Consider some of the testimony given in God’s Word:
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17)
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13)
because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel (Colossians 1:5)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6)
Because it is inspired, it is the standard of authority. Consider the following testimonies:
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation [origin], 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2Peter 1:19-21)
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction [training, discipline] in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2Timothy 3:16-17)
There are three important aspects to consider in the transmission of the Word from God to man:
First, there is revelation – the unveiling or uncovering of the Word. We see this demonstrated in the introduction and benediction of Revelation 1. Paul also spoke of this in Galatians 1:11-12 when he wrote, “But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Second, there is illumination – the spiritual imparting of understanding by God’s Holy Spirit to enable man to grasp the truth revealed. Jesus described this in John 14:25-26 when He said, “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper [Comforter, Gr. Parakletos], the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” We are also reminded of this in the Old Testament where in Job 32:8, we find written, “But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.”
Lastly, there is inspiration – the in-breathing of the Holy Spirit whereby the human messenger is Divinely guided in delivering or recording God’s message. Jeremiah 1:9 describes it like this, “then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.’” Paul also instructed Timothy about this in 2Timothy 3:16 when he wrote, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction [training, discipline] in righteousness”
Because it has complete unity, it has reliable authority. The Bible was written by 57 different people representing many different walks of life – shepherds, farmers, fishermen, kings, and peasants. It was not all written in the same age or time – for there is a span of over 1,600 years between the writing of the first book and the last book. But in spite of all of this, the Bible has proven to be continuous, accurate, and reliable in spite of such a diverse group of human authors over such a long period of time. And this we should expect since every written word was given by the revelation, illumination, and inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God.
Because it tells the Wondrous Story, the Bible has redemptive authority.
The Bible is not meant to be a book of history, science, or literature (though it contains all three to certain degrees). It does not tell man all he would like to know; but it does tell man all he needs to know. It is the written record of God’s will for man and how he can be saved. The Bible tells us of: God’s power; God’s creation and His dealings with man; God’s love for man; man being a sinner and why; God’s Son; immortality for the soul of man; man’s redemption.
In John 20:30-31, we find these words, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” And in 1John 5:12-13, we read, “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”
The Bible tells us of God’s hatred for sin. Romans 1:18-25 records, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress [hold down] the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest [evident] in [among] them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead [divine nature, deity], so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible [perishable] man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
The Bible also tells us of God’s love for man. In Galatians 1:3-4, we are greeted with these words, “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,” And in John 3:16-17, Jesus teaches us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
The Bible is God’s letter to mankind to know Him and His will. Therefore, we should: know it; reverence it; have confidence in it; obey it; and give it to the world.
Because it is true, the Bible is the ultimate standard of authority. Because it is inspired by God, it is the only divine standard of authority. Because it has complete unity, it is the only reliable standard of authority. And because it tells the Wondrous Story, it is the only redemptive standard of authority. Let the Bible speak to you today and you will hear from God.
© 1969 by Jimmy Chrisman
© 2020 by J. David Chrisman
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.