Why Can We Rely on the Bible – Part II

**Since this lesson I have written a 30 page document on the Reliability of Scripture which I used to teach a Deeper Life class in my church – Click Here for Info

2) WHY ARE THE WORDS THE NT WRITERS WROTE CONSIDERED SCRIPTURE (GOD’S WORDS)?

So we have determined that the Bible we hold in our hands does contain the inerrant words the NT writers wrote.
• Where, then, do we get the idea that their words are really God’s words?

Theópneustos: remember this word because it is a remarkable claim.
• Many translations translate the word as “inspired by God”.
• However, many also translate it literally as “breathed out by God” which denotes more of a direct involvement as compared to just “inspiring” it.
• In other words, just as our life came out of dust via God’s breath, the wisdom, truth and authority of the NT writer’s words also found their origin and life in God’s breath – the Holy Spirit.
    o We will see, in fact, that the NT writers and Jesus Himself make clear the role of the “breath of God” (Holy Spirit) in producing Scripture.

So what did the NT writers say about the words they wrote?
• Often, the following verses are used to answer that question.
• 2 Timothy 3:16–17 (ESV) — 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God [theópneustos] and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
• 2 Peter 1:19–21 (ESV) — 19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

These verses make clear that Scripture was seen as coming from God.
• However, to be fair, these texts speak of the Old Testament.
• What about the New Testament? Why is it in the same class as the Old Testament?

Peter and Jude have something to say about this question.
• 2 Peter 3:15–16 (ESV) — 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.
    o In other words, they twist Paul’s Scriptures just as they do the other Scriptures.
    o Peter comparatively declares, unequivocally, that Paul’s letters are Scripture!
• Jude 17 (NAS) — 17 But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    o “In the NT ‘to remember’ is not just a mental act. To remind others is to bear witness to the word of God; to remind oneself is to place oneself totally under this word” – TDNT.

And even more substantial are the words of Jesus Himself about this question.
• The following verses make clear that there was a “chain of custody” in the revelation of God’s word.
• As you will see, this chain of custody confirms that the NT writers spoke the Words of God!
• Just as crime scene evidence is tagged and bagged so that it is not contaminated.
• God provided a way to transmit His word through the NT writers so that it was not contaminated.

Chain of Custody of God’s Word:
• John 14:10 (ESV) — 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
    o Jesus identifies that the authority of His words comes from the “Father who dwells in” Him.
• John 17:8 (ESV) — 8 For I [Jesus] have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.
    o Jesus reveals that the source of His words comes from the Father.
    o Jesus reveals that he gave the words he received to the disciples.
• Matthew 10:20 (ESV) — 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
    o Jesus tells the disciples that their very words come from the “Spirit of your Father” not themselves.
• 1 Corinthians 2:13 (ESV) — 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
    o Paul confirms his words were taught by the Spirit.
• Acts 6:10 (ESV) — 10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.
    o Luke also reveals that the words of the apostles were rooted in “the Spirit”.
• Matthew 10:27 (ESV) — 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
    o Jesus commands the disciples to proclaim the words he gave them.
    o Their obedience to this command is why we have their words.
So the “chain of custody” of God’s Word looks like this:
• Father – Source and Authority of His Word and gave it to Jesus
• Jesus – Given the Words and Authority by the Father and passed it on to NT writers
• Holy Spirit – Promised by Jesus and also gave words to the NT writers after Jesus left
• NT writers – Received both their words and authority by Jesus through the Holy Spirit

It is therefore clear that the words spoken (and written down) by the disciples had a divine chain of custody that began with the Father, flowed through the Son, and then later flowed through the Holy Spirit, and dwelled with them.

So, the answer to our question, “Are the words the NT writers wrote to be considered Scripture (God’s Word)?”
YES, they are God’s Words and are as much theópneustos (god breathed) as the OT.

So now that we can be assured that the Bible contains the inerrant words the original authors wrote and that those words are God’s words, we need to see what we are to do with it.

We will look to the the NT writers and Jesus for our cues in this regard.