Recently a local church posted billboards around the city declaring that the Bible is God's editorial or love letter to humanity. This view of the Bible as a fiery or affectionate, informative message is undoubtedly true. In some ways, the Bible does resemble a newsy letter from a distant loved one. The Bible is informative, explaining:
However, the Bible is more than just a compilation of written records collected some 2000 years ago. It is more than an affectionate letter or a fiery editorial about modern behavior. Unlike other collections of writings, the Bible is more than just paper, cloth, animal skins, and various inks. The Bible is not like any other ancient or modern book; the Bible speaks to the ages.
Psalm 119:89-91—Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. 91 Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you.
Today's modern Bible may resemble other books in its printed form, but the Bible is supernaturally unique. While over forty people wrote sections of the Bible, the Bible has one author. Despite being written over a period of 3000 years in various countries and circumstances, the Bible has one theme and purpose. The Bible is the Word of God manifested, just as Jesus was God manifested in the flesh.
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— 2 and the life was revealed, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was revealed to us— 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ [1 John 1:1-3, See also John 1:14].
Only the Bible reveals God's plan to reconcile man to Himself (Jn. 3:16). Only the Bible tells the hope and life one may find in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 3:2-3).
The unique characteristics of the Bible prove this manifestation of God exists in the written or printed Word. The Bible is holy, inspired, and inerrant. Like God the Father Himself, the Scriptures are righteous (2 Timothy 3:15). Like God, the Bible is perfect and set apart from any sinfulness. While the Bible does record the sins and failings of man, it records those facts as a faithful accounting of the righteous judgments of God. The Scriptures also are characterized by their perfection and transcendence [which means the Bible exists not only in our reality but beyond the limits of our material existence].
The Bible itself commands that we study and obey its teachings and handle its teachings with adoration and reverence.
Psalm 19:8-9--The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether [see also Psalm 119:123, Deuteronomy 4:8]
We are to study and revere God's Word because it is pure.
Psalm 12:6—And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times. (New International Version, NIV)
The Bible also claims that the revelation of God given through his written Word is transcendent.
Isaiah 55:8— "For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord.
9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
God's Word, the Bible, is transcendent because God is transcendent.
Acts 17:24—The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;
Isaiah 40:22—It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. [See also Jeremiah 23:24]
God has literally "breathed" the written revelation provided through the sixty-six books of the Bible. God directed the human authors and told them what to write as they composed the different books of the Bible.
The intimate involvement of God with His revelation He gives people is known as "inspiration". The Bible was "verbally inspired”. [Now, "verbal inspiration" means the words, as they were recorded in the original languages, are "God-breathed"]. This inspiration "is also "plenary," which means that God breathed upon every single word. God Himself, through the Holy Spirit, wrote the Bible. Every written word and punctuation mark was put in the original writings as part of God's eternal purpose and plan (Mt. 5:18). However, exactly how God inspired the human authors is a mystery.
Nevertheless, the critical point is not how God inspired men but that He did. Therefore, the Bible is infallible and without error. The Bible is authoritative and binding. It reveals God's eternal purposes in teaching man "for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). Man can, therefore, stand on the reliability, truthfulness, and inspiration of the Scriptures with its hope of eternal life, which God Who cannot lie promised before the world began (Genesis 1:26-27).