The Bible is the divinely-inspired Word of God, the repository
of His plan of salvation and the record of His participation in history. The Bible is
God's revelation of knowledge that man cannot discover for himself. It is the foundation
of knowledge and the guidebook to life. The Old and New Testament comprise God's written
Word which forms the basis of Christianity as taught by the Church and as practiced by the
The Bible is God's written revelation to mankind. It
contains God's instructions to man and the record of God's interaction with mankind. The
Bible provides the answers to mankind's fundamental questions of life. It is the
revelation of an omniscient, omnipotent and loving God; it reveals who God is, and what
His plan and purpose for human beings is.
The Bible exists to provide man with essential knowledge which he could
not learn apart from divine revelation. Thus, the Bible includes the fundamental
principles of how man should live, how he should govern his own life to generate success
and happiness, and how to work with his fellow man to achieve peace and harmony. But at
its foundational core, the Bible provides the indispensable knowledge of how man may gain
salvation and eternal life, knowledge which he is incapable of discovering for himself (I
Cor. 2:7-11). As the repository of this vital information, the Bible is God's basic
handbook for mankind.
The Church of God believes the Bible to be divinely inspired (II Tim.
3:16), the revelation of the missing dimension in man's knowledge, by the Supreme
Authority of the universe. The Church regards the Holy Bible as the receptacle of God's
essential theological knowledge, basic, accurate, and complete in its original form. Of
course, there are no original manuscripts extant today. Few are from close to the time of
authorship and even age does not always assure accuracy and fidelity. Whatever
shortcomings therefore may be present in contemporary biblical manuscriptsbecause
human instruments were writers and copyist, because some translators lacked knowledge of
the original languages, or because of the complexities and vagaries implicit in the
transmission of the various textsall together have not substantially concealed the
intent nor overshadowed the direct inspiration of the basic biblical message as we have it
What part did God allow human fallibility to play in the transmission
of the many original biblical texts? This is a real question considering the fact, for
example, that there are three Hebrew versions for parts of the Old Testament, all of which
are pre-Christian in origin and which New Testament writers used and quoted as recent
research has shown. Furthermore, the analysis of large numbers of ancient New Testament
texts with their numerous textual variations have not yielded obvious or conclusive
results for many scriptures, though the most meticulous and highly sophisticated
techniques have been employed.
Will new discoveries, investigation and scholarship generate yet new
questions or uncertainties about certain passages? It doesn't matter, because the Bible's
primary objectives have never been, and can never be, perverted or corrupted. The sum
total of all textual variations do not alter the essential communicative function of the
Bible. Its fundamental intent is fully maintained: all the basic doctrines of God's
Church, to a greater or lesser degree, are discernible from any textual version or
translation of the Bible.
The Church accepts the books of the Old Testament as found in the canon
of the Hebrew Bible and the books of the New Testament as found in the canon of the Greek
New Testament. These have been sometimes called the "Protestant canon." This
same context has been accepted for most of Christianity for 1500 years (The apocryphal
books are thus rejected as noncanonical.) The Church has accepted this canon largely on
the basis of internal biblical evidence (such as Luke 24:44, etc.), informed faith and
tradition (Jesus' reference to "the law of Moses and the prophets and the
psalms" [or writings] gives credence to ordering the Old Testament to end with
2 Chronicles [as in the "Jewish Bible"] instead of Malachi [as in the
Essential to the teaching of the Church is the fact that the Bible can
be proved to be the written Word of God. The foremost proof that God's Word is
precisely what it claims to be is that it works in one's life. The proof of
obedience is the Bible's best stamp of divine authorship. Adherence to its principles,
laws and concepts bring about success and happiness in one's own life, which is ultimately
the most critical ratification of its divine inspiration. Only one who sincerely seeks to
apply the biblical way to his own life will eventually learn that the practical
instructions, timeless wisdom, spiritual depth and living laws come from a Supreme Being,
and not merely from fallible, mortal men. Once a person has accepted the concept of
the Bible containing the inspired word of God, he is able, by appreciating the intricate
yet harmonious interaction of all parts of the Bible, to conclude in faith that the whole
Bible, all scripture, is precisely what it claims to be"inspired by God and
profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in
righteousness" (II Tim. 3:16). The Christian will also conclude that even those parts
of the Bible which are by their very nature, unable to be "proven" in a
mathematical or scientific sense (e.g., as yet unfulfilled prophecies or historical points
which are unable to be substantiated by secular references) are indeed part of the Bible,
form part of the vehicle of its message, and are accurate in their proper context. In this
logical "jump"this leap across undocumented gapsone cannot discount
the importance of faith.
The Church, of course, acknowledges that the Bible does not claim to be
a textbook of comprehensive world history, science and technology, medicine or any other
non-theological discipline. Nonetheless, the Bible is the Word of God, and as such, is the
foundation of all knowledge, as well as being the storehouse of salvation.
Fulfilled prophecy is likewise an important aspect of God's Holy Word.
Only God can predict and bring to pass events of the future (Isa. 41:21-24). Only the
Creator God could predict the name and actions of Cyrus long before his birth (Is. 44-45).
Only He could tell the intricate and accurate events outlined in Daniel 11 or foretell in
detail about the coming of His Son as Savior of the world. While faith plays a role in assessing the significance of already fulfilled
prophecy in proving the Bible, there can be absolutely no doubt regarding as yet unfulfilled
prophecy. When the complex sequence of events culminating in the triumphant return of
Jesus Christ to earth occurs, there will be no question whatsoever that the God who
foretold it all in biblical prophecy far ahead of time is the same being who inspired the
entirety of the Bible.
The Bible alone claims absolute preeminence over all other books
esteemed by mankind and challenges all mankind by its claims of purity (Ps. 12:6; Prov.
30:5), scope and completeness (Rev. 22:18-19). The challenges of the God of the Bible (Is.
41:21-23) are powerful and direct. Its prophecies for the future return of Jesus Christ
and the establishment of the world-ruling Kingdom of God are straightforward and
In addition to being the written record of the essential theological
knowledge for mankind, the Bible is also great literature, with many literary forms and
devicespoetry, prose, allegory, epic, parable, history, even humor. It is often open
and frank, and yet at other times it is discreet and obscure. The Bible exposes the
weaknesses of its heroes, but calls them the friends of God. It shows the glory and power
of the Creator through His many miracles but it shows Him to be intimately concerned with
the smallest details of human lives. It holds out the answers to the riddles of life, yet
hides enough of God's nature and the universe to tantalize us and draw us further along in
a profound growth process.
We see through the pages of the Bible the lessons of human experience.
We read of men and women like us, those who share problems common to allwith the
same pulls and passions, hopes and dreams, fears and frustrations. The Bible not only
shows the common heritage of human nature, but enables us to understand the process
whereby we may overcome the destructive elements within us and attain our God-given
The Bible is many books yet one, a superlative example of e pluribus
unum ("one composed of many"). This remarkable unity of design is one of the
unique characteristics of the Bible. Another is its internal consistency in its diversity,
combining to form a coherent composite. The mark of one author, for those who have eyes to
see, is startlingly apparent.
The authors of the various biblical books came from differing
backgrounds, lived in disparate environments and were diverse in their personalities,
education and professions. They wrote in different styles, from different standpoints, to
different audiences and at different times. Yet the continuing themes God inspired are the
same. God used all their various and contrasting perspectives to shape and to emphasize
the same basic truth. From Genesis to Revelation we read of the same God, the same massive
plan being unfolded and developed, with each book augmenting, supporting and complementing
that which has gone before. This unitary focus is due to the God who initiated, organized
and inspired the entire Holy Scriptures. Although many different men played their part as
they were moved by His Spirit (II Pet. 1:20), the Bible is in reality God's Word and not
This is the only factor which could explain the uniqueness and
remarkable coherence of the Bible. Dozens of writers spanning a period of over 1500 years
from Moses to John of such dissimilar traits and characteristics could never have achieved
that unity as a result of human effort alone. Yet the unity is there, not as the product
of numerous human minds, but of one mindthe mind of Godinteracting with, and
directing, the grand sweep of biblical authors in many unlikely forms, but always in such
a way that their own personal emotions, feelings, personality and individual writing
styles were employed. God inspired the message, but it was conveyed through language and
vocabulary that was peculiar and natural to each man. The Bible is thus a human vehicle
through which God has chosen to convey His revelation to mankind.
The Bible and the physical universe were designed in a similar fashion:
they both work as the products of enormously complex interactions resulting in a
wondrously purposeful product. The similarity between the Bible and the universe is, of
course, to be expected since the same creator designed them both. The Bible is thus not a
simplistic, deterministic catechism of childish declarative statements. Rather it is a
living record of complex interactions, actions and reactions, stimuli and responses,
mistakes and miracles, successes and failures.
There is a paradox in true biblical understanding. In order to properly
understand any specific biblical doctrine, it is first necessary to comprehend the
entirety of all biblical doctrines; and, of course, it is impossible to comprehend the
entirety of all biblical doctrines until one understands all the specific biblical
doctrines separately. Seldom can one biblical teaching be fully understood in isolation.
There is an essential interdependence between nearly all biblical doctrines. Each must be
understood in light of all the others. The reason for this is the inherent unity of the
biblical focus and the coherent thread of its message. Proper biblical understanding must
be achieved by visualizing and comprehending the full sweeping scope of its message that
only the whole Bible can project.
In this regard, the Bible functions more like a living brain than a
computer. In a computer, each "bit" of data is stored in only one location,
while in a brain, the same "bit" is usually stored in numerous different
locations, though in slightly differing forms and associations. In the Bible (like the
brain), all teachings on any individual subjectfor example, honesty, marital
fidelity, salvation, the Sabbath, the millenniumare not limited to just one location
and not discussed in any other location. Just the opposite is in fact true: The Bible
discusses many subjects within the same chapters and even within the same verses, while
each subject may be discussed throughout numerous books and dozens of verses. So here
again is the paradox: How can we comprehend the Bible if we must understand all the
doctrines before we can understand any one, and we cannot understand all the doctrines
until we understand the sum total of each individual one? The only solution to the paradox
is through the leading of God's Holy Spirit and by diligent, dedicated Bible study. The
Bible is indeed the full expression of God's mind and purpose for humanity.
One of the ways to begin to comprehend the unifying flow of the whole
Bible is to follow its primary themes all the way through. Of all these, surely the most
consistent, decisive and relevant is Jesus Christ. He, in essence, is the focal
point of the entire Bible. He is the personality around whom everything revolves. Jesus
Christ was the Creator of all things (Col. 1:16); the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the
Rock of Israel as Messiah (Gen. 31:53; 2 Sam 23:3) and Lawgiver (Isa. 33:22), and exemplified throughout
the New Testament as Savior and King. He is the Redeemer of all mankind, the supreme
Lawgiver and consummate Teacher. He was the firstborn from the dead and is the Captain of
our salvation, our constant intercessor and merciful High Priest. Jesus Christ is now the
active head of God's Church and is prophesied throughout the entire Bible to return to
earth as King of kings and Lord of lords to set up. the Kingdom of God for all eternity.
Perhaps one of the most basic statements of how God has revealed
Himself to man is found in Hebrews 1:1-2: "In many and various ways God spoke of old
to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days He has spoken to us by a Son."
This passage evinces several important things about God's communication
to man. First, God's message comes in many various forms. Second, that message is also
mediated by human beings. This means that the divine Word comes to us in a human vehicle.
Even Jesus Christ, the divine Son, was Himself in the flesh when He gave many of His
teachings; furthermore, those teachings were not written down by Him but by His human
Some further points are important to understand in setting the stage
for proper biblical understanding. Third, no human vehicle is fully adequate to convey the
fullness of God's message. Human language is inadequate to express what can be discerned
in its complete spiritual sense only by means of the Holy Spirit. There is also the
problem of transmission of the text; this is done by human beings and subject to human
error. The problem of understanding ancient languages which have changed structure and
meaning through the ages or have even ceased to be used as a living form of communication
adds a further difficulty.
Fourth, the message of the Bible must speak to all people in every age.
Yet society changes, culture modifies, and each Christian finds himself living in a
particular situation which does not exactly fit that of the original writers of the Bible.
Christians do not live in the Old Testament theocracy of ancient Israel with autonomous
control of a particular territory. Nor do they live in the New Testament world of
Greco-Roman culture. Rather, Christians have lived in radically different environments
down through the centuries, from Cologne in the Middle Ages to London in the 17th century
to Los Angeles in the nuclear age. Therefore, there is always a certain
"communication or generation gap" between the written word and the later reader.
Fifth. God has deliberately hidden much of His important truth from
mankind so that the full progression, and eventually resolution, of human history would
proceed according to God's timetable. As a result it is not man's fault that he doesn't
understand the Bible. Even the prophets of old didn't always grasp the meaning of their
own biblical statements (e.g. Dan. 12:8); and they surely didn't comprehend the fullness
of the mystery of the purpose of human life (Matt. 13:17; Eph.3:4-5). Jesus Himself spoke
in parables so that the common people would not understand what He was saying
(Matt. 13:10-11); He was teaching His disciples not the masses (v. 10-1 7), since God's
plan did not yet call for the vast majority of people to be called and converted.
Once these five points are recognized, a specific progression of
biblical logic must be followed and accepted unless one is to falsely assume that God has
left man in the dark about His basic purpose for mankind and plan of salvation. This
progression can be summarized as follows:
1. The essential truths God wishes to convey will be intelligible to any normal person
with even below average intelligence and education (if God has chosen to open his
mind). They can be discerned from any basic version or translation of the Bible which the
reader understands. This must be true regardless of textual revision and/or poor
2. God must open a person's mind in order for him or her to understand
the fullness of His truth. It is, of course, possible for human beings to learn many
aspects of the Bible on their own, utilizing the mechanisms of intellect and the tools of
scholarship. Yet God has so designed the Bible and the human mind that even with the most
intense effort men cannot fully grasp the profound spiritual depth of the scriptures
without the active involvement of the Spirit of God. The mind of man cannot understand the
things of Godthe mysteries of Godwithout the supernatural help from the Spirit
of God (I Cor. 2:7-11). Since human language is always inadequate to break through the
boundaries of spiritual reality and truth, a perceptive spiritual understanding of the
Bible requires the direct intervention and action of the Holy Spirit "bearing witness
with our spirit" (Rom. 8:16), thereby effecting a change in the mind of the
individual. Only God can make this decision to open our minds through His Spirit. It makes
no difference how vehemently a human being desires to understand the Bible, nor how hard
he studies it. Though such study will produce much knowledge, this knowledge will remain
physically oriented and bound, forever missing the vital key of spiritual enlightenment;
Paul wrote, "So it depends not upon man's will or exertion, but upon God's
mercy" (Rom. 9:16); so it is with true biblical understanding. Faith, as well, is a
critical factor in achieving the spiritual comprehension necessary to understand the
Bible. One must be convinced beyond the scope of the experimentally controlled and
repeatable data demanded by scientists as verified "proof," that God exists and
that the Bible is His inspired Word. The faith for such an absolute belief can come only
through God's Holy Spirit.
3. The message of the Bible is theological. The Bible is not a history
or science text. Its purpose is not to dictate on matters of art, technology, personal
taste or the vast world of knowledge which man is capable of discovering for himself via
the precious gift of man's God-given mental capacities. The Bible rather gives those
essential theological and religious truths which man could not find out for himself
through the academic disciplines.
4. The Bible contains various types of literature, each of which must
be understood on its own terms. It contains history, poetry, parable, metaphor and
symbolic revelation. It is often a record of those things which it elsewhere condemns,
such as false opinions, lies, misunderstandings, deceptions and heinous sins of every
type. This leads to the next point.
5. The biblical message is gained from the Bible as a whole, not from
reading a verse or two in isolation or otherwise "proof-texting". What may seem
to be a blanket statement in one passage can be greatly qualified elsewhere. The picture
given by one book may be somewhat altered in the light of the teachings in another. One
must perceive and comprehend the full spectrum of biblical doctrine in general in order to
properly understand almost any specific element in particular.
6. The resources of modem scholarship, properly handled, can add
insight, detail and historical color to the basic biblical message. God has designed the
Bible so that the essential message of God must be clear to any Spirit-led person seeking
humbly to learn the plan of salvation as expressed in His Word. Indeed an uneducated
Christian reading an inadequate translation will be able to understand the fundamental
doctrines necessary for salvation. Nonetheless, a technical understanding of ancient
languages, literature, history, society and other information put at our disposal by
contemporary scholarship will enhance a person's total understanding of the Bible. The
various books of the Bible were not written in a vacuum. To achieve a deeper understanding
of their teachings, one must strive to grow in the knowledge of the history and background
of the Bible, and the cultures in which they arose. Thus a Christian may add scholarly
knowledge which can come only from God. This physical data will in turn embellish and
enhance his spiritual understanding.
7. Because of changed situations and society, there has to be some
institution to clarify the meaning of the Bible for the Christian in the particular age in
which he lives (Acts 8:31). Recognizing this need, Jesus Christ established and sustains
His Church, to which He has given the responsibility to determine how to apply the Bible
in particular situations in which the various individual Christians would not necessarily
be unified. Even though the Bible always stands at the foundation of Christian belief, the
Church can still come to decisions under the guidance of the Holy Spirit which were not
specified in the pages of the Bible itself. For example, just as Moses modified the
statutes and judgments of Israel for use in an agrarian society. and just as Paul made
decisions that he did not learn from the Lord (e.g.. I Cor. 7:12), so the Church today
must render judgments based on biblical laws and principles in order to keep itself
relevant and vital in our modern age.
The essential element here is unity of the believers and coherence of
the Church. Members of the Church must have a common body of beliefs, traditions, customs,
practices and procedures in order to remain united. And this unity is vital if a
collective work is to be done. A Christian in isolation will have to render his own
judgments, and two such Christians will not always agree. But if we must have fellowship
together (which God says we need for our spiritual development), if we must be in the same
Church together (which God states is critical for our spiritual sustenance), and if we
must accomplish a major work together (which is our collective, God-given commission),
then God's government must be authorized to finalize doctrine, discern interpretations,
administrate decisions, etc. And God's government can be established only by and through
In summary, Christians should study the Bible diligently,
respect it as the Word of God and seek its guidance through the inspiration
of the Holy Spirit
14:26; 16:13) and the teachings of the Church. In order to become like God, we must seek
to understand the Bible, which is the clearest expression of the mind of God. This we can
only hope to achieve through profound and regular Bible study, and through the
internalized implementation of its precepts and values.
Thus, God's Word is a totally unique collection of writings absolutely
profound in every sense, making commonly available to all mankind the words of
lifethe hope for today and the promise of tomorrow. It is man's responsibility and
privilege to seek out the incredible depths and riches of God's mind as revealed in His
READ THESE SCRIPTURES IN YOUR OWN BIBLE.
Timothy 3:16-17 and
2 Peter 1:20-21
- The Bible is the inspired book of
-To fully understand the Word of God,
one needs the Holy Spirit.
- All scripture is given by the
inspiration of God.
Psalm 12:6 and Proverbs 30:5
- The words of God are pure words.
2 Peter 1:20
- No prophecy of scripture is of any
The historical accuracy of Daniel chapter 11 proves the inspiration of
Job 26:7 and
- These verses prove scientifically the
inspiration of the Bible. How could these men have known these
scientific truths before telescopes?
Matthew 24:15 & Acts 2:16
- The New Testament uses the Old Testament as authority sources in many
- It was Jesus Christ who created all things.
- Learn how it is God who communicates with us.
- The Spirit
of God beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of
Bible is divinely inspired. True or False?
Bible consists of both the ___Testament and the ___ Testament.
Bible contains the ____of God [what?]
Bible is the handbook for the Salvation Process. Yes or No?
Bible contains information man could not find on his own. True or
The Church of God believes the Bible to be divinely
inspired. True or False?
New Testament gives credibility to the Old Testament. True or False?
the Bible be proved to be the Word of God? Yes or No?
Bible is the foundation of all _______________ [what?]
Bible records fulfilled prophecy. True or False?
Bible was written over a period of _______ years. [how many?]
focal point of the whole Bible is __________ [who or what?]
God of the Old Testament is actually _______ [whom?]
According to Hebrews 1, God spoke to man by His prophets. Today He
speaks to us by His ____. [who or what?]
must open one's mind in order for him to understand the fullness of His
truth. True or False?
truly know and understand the truth of God, one needs the ____ ____
17. We cannot open our own minds. Only God can open the human mind to
understand spiritual things. True or False?
Proof-texting is a good method of studying and understanding the Bible.
True or False?
A Bible doctrine can easily be fully
understood in isolation from the rest of the Bible?
True or False?
20. In order to become like
God, we must seek to understand the Bible. We can only hope to achieve
this through _______ and _______ Bible study. [what?]