It is impossible to believe in the infallibility of the Bible without believing that the Bible is a spiritual book. That is the first and most important truth that the infallible book maintains about itself, writes Jan-Aage Torp in this second article in the series on our view of the Bible.
Often we start with so many complex issues when we start analyzing a scientific question, that we miss the most elementary truths. As for our view of the Bible, it is impossible to have a clear and integruous view on this, without first accepting the most elementary truth that the Bible maintains about itself: The Bible is spirit and life!
Jesus led the scribes and pharisees to desperation with his simple and authoritative teaching. One of the truths that was maintained forcefully by Jesus, is that Jesus Himself is the Word. He is God´s Word personified.
John 1 conveys this as a self-evident matter. Jesus and God´s Word are inseperable. «The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth». Jesus is God´s spoken message to mankind, He is the actual explanation of who God is.
Jesus was the Word that God uttered in the miracle of creation: «All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made».
During the endtime drama Jesus will continue to present Himself as God´s personified Word: «He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God» (Rev 19:13).
«The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life» says Jesus in John 6:63. John 1:4 says that «In Him was life, and the life was the light of men».
Jesus was careful to underscore that His Words were full of life and power.
His Words of truth implicitly brought freedom: «And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free» (John 8:32). «Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed» (Joh 8:36).
In Mark 11 Jesus curses a fig tree. What does that tell us? That Jesus´ Words were full of life and power. That is the basis when Jesus states in Mark 11:23: «Assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ (...) but believes that those things he says will be done».
Jesus expressed judgment words over the cities Capernaum, Bethsaida and Korazin. What happened? The cities faded away and were wiped out from the real world.
«Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever(...) the word of the Lord endures forever» (1Peter 1,23 & 25).
This divine word shows more specifically what happens through God´s Word. It has inherent power to rebirth. We see, therefore, that the power of the Word and the new birth are inseparable.
Hebrews 4:12 is classic: «For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart».
James 1:21 says: «Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls». God´s Word is mighty to sustain and develop the new life, and it is necessary in the gracious work of sanctification.
«All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work» says 2Timothy 3:16-17. The usefulness of the divine word is not first and foremost its intellectual clarity, but the basis is that Scripture is inspired by God. God breaths upon His children through His Word.
«So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God» (Romans 10:17).
Peter´s pentecost message led to the conviction of faith and repentance of the heart in thousands. The gospels and Acts of the Apostles are filled with examples of preaching of the Word that led to obedience and joy in the faith.
But this faith must be maintained, is the message of the sower. The Word must be heard and received (Mark 4:20), it must be understood (Matthew 13:23), it must be kept in a noble and good heart, and in perseverance (Luke 8:15). The result of this are rich fruits in the believer´s life.