THE AUTHORITY OF GOD'S WORD
Firm Foundation Chapter 6
The Author(s) of the Bible
The Holy Bible was written over a span of approximately 1600 years by over 40 different authors. These authors came from a variety of backgrounds, but each one was divinely inspired to write as they did. The Bible, God's Word, also states the fact that God inspired people to write the Holy Scriptures, "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God" (2 Pet. 1:20‑21). The pamphlet "Is The Bible The Word of God?" explains what is meant by the term "The Word of God":
This simply means that the Bible is the divinely inspired and infallible revelation of God to man, rather than the mere words of men to other men. When we say the Bible is the Word of God, we do not mean that all the words are God's words. Some are the words of men, angels, demons, and even Satan. However, it is in its entirety the Word of God in the sense that God, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, divinely directed and inspired the writing of it and supernaturally controlled its overall construction, design, and recording of contents. In other words, it is not the product of human devising, manipulation, or imagination, but God was the author and architect behind its creation from beginning to end.
Scriptures are Given to Help Us Grow
The Scriptures are inspired by God and are profitable to believers for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). As young believers in Christ, we need to have a desire to read and study the Bible just as a newborn babe desires the milk of a mother (1 Pet. 2:2). As we study God's Word of truth and "handle it accurately", we will be pleasing in God's sight (2 Tim. 2:15).
The Need for Renewing the Mind with Meditation
"God's Word is the absolute authority over our life." According to 2 Cor. 10:5, we must destroy speculations and everything raised above the knowledge of God and His Word. It provides a standard for us. Anything we do or any thought we think that falls short of that standard should be done away with. Although our spirits' have been recreated and renewed when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, our minds' have not been renewed, but they are usually filled with ungodly thoughts of the past as a result of being corrupted by sin. By constantly reading and meditating on the words in the Bible, our minds will be renewed (updated) with good, godly thoughts (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 5:26‑27).
How and When to Meditate
Bill Gothard, who has memorized the entire New Testament and most of the Old Testament, has written much about "meditation" in Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts (pp. 135‑147): The literal concept behind the word, "meditation," is that of a cow chewing its cud. Just as it brings up again and again that which it has eaten, so we should recall in our minds over and over again that which we have memorized. Whenever God speaks of success in Scripture, He relates it to the continuous inner activity of meditation, not just memorization. Success is promised for anyone who will meditate in His Word day and night. Meditation involves three steps: memorize, visualize, and personalize. As we memorize we must picture each word and concept, and then we must put Scripture into the first‑person and quote it back to God.
If we desire to build Scripture into our lives, we must realize that it demands the central focus of our concentration. The very nature of its operation requires that we build our schedules around it rather than trying to fit it into our present routine. To begin, we should select a meaningful section of Scripture that relates directly to a question or a problem or a particular interest that we have. We ought to "begin the day in the evening" and start our memorization project before we go to bed. The significance of our day beginning in the evening is that the last important thoughts on our mind in the evening remains on our subconscious mind throughout the night and consciously or unconsciously set our mental attitudes for the day. Thus, God emphasizes the need to go to sleep while meditating on His Word. "My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches" (Ps. 63:5,6).
Benefits of Meditation
Psalms 119 is filled with many benefits of meditating in God's Word. God's Word is compared to a lamp at our feet and a light to our path. In other words, the Bible leads us and guides us step by step in the way in which we should go (v. 105). Realizing that "the sum of Thy Word is truth" (v. 160), we should treasure this truth in our hearts that we might not sin against God when trouble and temptations come against us (v. 9‑11). It is important to meditate, to dwell on, to diligently ponder the Scriptures. As a result, we will be prosperous in all that we do (Ps. 1:1‑3). Furthermore, we will be successful as we are careful to do all that we have meditated upon (Josh. 1:8). In order to allow God's Word to benefit us, we must impress these words upon our hearts and bind them as a sign on our hands (Deut. 11:21‑25). In other words, if we put God's Word on our hands and head, then His Word will be with us wherever we go.
Bill Gothard mentions six benefits for meditating in God's Word. First, you will have good success (Josh. 1:8). Second, whatever you do will prosper (Ps. 1:2,3). Third, you will excel in wisdom and understanding (Ps. 119:97,100). Fourth, you will have new power over sin (Ps. 119:9,11). Fifth, you will discover how to live (Prov. 4:4). Sixth, your success will be obvious to all (1 Tim. 4:15).
The Power of God's Word in Our Lives
God's Word (also called the sword of the spirit in Eph. 6:17) has a powerful effect upon its readers and listeners as described in Hebrews 4:12‑13:
The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two‑edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
The words from God have the power to form a strong foundation in our lives'. A wise man is one who hears the Words of God and acts upon them. In tough times, these words will keep him strong and the troubles will not affect him. However, a foolish man is one who hears God's Word but does not do it. He will not be a success, but instead he will be washed away when troubles and persecution comes (Matt. 7:26‑27).
The Purpose of Life and God's Word
In conclusion, because Jesus lives inside of us, we have a desire to please God and fulfill our purpose in life. In order to please God, we must know what pleases Him. For us to know what pleases Him, He must communicate it to us in some way. The primary means in which God uses to communicate His will (the things that please Him) is through His Word. Therefore, having a desire to please God, we should also naturally have a desire to learn God's Word in order to live it to be pleasing to our Creator and Redeemer. Jesus Himself said, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word" (John 14:23).