"The scriptures, both the Old and the New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct." (Assemblies of God Statement of Fundamental Truths)
In ancient times the Israelites were known as "The People of the Book." Certainly, our heritage as believers from Old Testament days to the present, is rooted and grounded in the Bible, God's word contained in written form. Once we drift away from the Bible and give heed to the opinions, philosophies and theologies of those around us, as good as they may be on a human level, we lose our anchor and begin to drift carried about by the changing currents of public opinion and popular teaching.
There are four basic elements to this fundamental truth. Let's look at each one.
What this means is that the scriptures were inspired by God right down to the language used to express the ideas. God directed John for instance to write in John 1.1 "In the beginning was the Word" and to use the Greek word "logos" instead of the word "reima" for the word we translate "word." God had something specific to say through the word Logos which means "word, speech, communication, reasoning, logic and the total capacity of one to communicate with another." By contrast, reima meant merely a specific word or saying. So, God said something about the nature of Christ through the very word he gave John to write.
As a writer, I have been privileged to be directed by God in my writing, but for the most part even in those times any inspiration has been filtered through my own human training and my peculiar style. Such is not the case with scripture. Every word of scripture was chosen by God. When translated faithfully, reading scripture is the same as hearing the actual voice of God.
The Revelation of God to Man
In the pages of scripture we meet God. We see his mighty works, we understand his relationships with us, we understand His emotions, His likes, His dislikes, and most of all we come to understand His incredible love for us.
When you open your Bible and begin to read, you experience and encounter with the divine. Have you ever wanted to stand face to face with God and experience his glory? Well, you can. Pick up your Bible and begin to read with spiritual eyes. As you read God will reveal Himself to you in all His glory. And when that day comes and you stand physically in His presence, you will be meeting an old friend rather than a distant savior.
In many church circles today, nominal Christian (which I believe to be a contradiction in terms) theologians have tried to water down the Bible by denying its history, attacking its science, and compromising its teachings. Thank God, that in this church we still believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. When properly translated and read within context, the Bible presents us with an accurate chronicle of events from the time of the creation of the Earth to the culmination of all things.
As an academic, I've been taught to doubt. That isn't bad in and of itself. Doubt leads to investigation and investigation leads often to truth. Whenever I have applied the accepted principles of historical or literary analysis to scripture, I have always found it to be completely accurate. I could create a long list of Biblical events, people and places which scholarly types said were inaccurate only to find archaeological evidence which supported the Bible more than the critics. Yes, the Bible is truly the infallible Word of God.
The Authoritative Rule of Faith and Conduct
The Bible's authority is the final word concerning matters of faith. If someone is preaching a doctrine and that doctrine does not line up with the word of God, reject that doctrine. If someone gives a prophecy and it runs contrary to scripture, reject that prophecy. If someone is acting contrary to Biblical morality and claims God told them to do so, then they are being deceived.
The scripture, therefore, is your infallible guide to right living. Many of the "tough questions" of life are not so tough if you know the word. This is why Bible memorization is so important. When you face a question of ethics on the job, you may not have time to do a scripture search to make your decision, but if you have already put scripture into your mind, it will be ready to help be your guide.
What a privileged people we are to be able to interact daily with the God of all creation simply by picking up his Wonderful Book, The Bible.
2 Timothy 3.15-17
A. How was scripture given? Who did the inspiring?
B. What is the scripture useful for according to this scripture? Give some examples.
1 Thessalonians 2.13-14
A. How did the Thessalonians receive the Gospel preached by Paul?
B. What was the result of them receiving God's word?
A. These verses tell of the benefits of God's word. What are they?
B. Why do you think that the Psalmist says that God's word is "more to be desired than Gold...sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb." Have you ever experienced your Bible reading as being sweet. Tell about it.
A. How was God's word proclaimed through human instruments during the days of the prophets?
B. Who was it that gave these men those words?