The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
What did Christ think about the Bible?
If we go by the name of Christians, we must have the same Bibliology as Christ.
So what did Jesus think about the Bible?
Here are ten brief observations:
1.- Jesus never opposed the Word of God
Jesus never opposed the written Word. His attitude was one of complete subjection to Scripture. He never uttered a single word of criticism against the Bible.
Even in the Sermon on the Mount when He said, “Ye have heard that it was said... But I say unto you” he assured the crowds that He had no intention to belittle Scripture.
After all, He said in the Sermon, “Think not I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy but to fulfil” (Matthew 5:17). He wanted to explain the Word of God in its true sense that had been distorted by the religious leaders of the day.
2.- Jesus never rebuked the Pharisees for their Bibliology
Although Jesus had some terrible encounters with the Pharisees, never once did he condemn their belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. He did hit out at them for their interpretation of certain texts; but he never questioned their belief in inerrancy.
This is important because Christ did criticize the Sadducees (the theological liberals) for their weak view of Scripture.
3.- Jesus lived in submission to Scripture
Even before embarking on his public ministry, Jesus lived in full obedience to the Word of God. He was circumcised as a baby then baptized as an adult. When He was in the desert face to face with the devil, He submitted himself entirely to the Word: “it is written” (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10).
4.- Jesus preached the Scripture would be fulfilled
Jesus was fully persuaded that the whole of Scripture would come to pass. In John 10:35 He says in no uncertain terms that the Scripture cannot be broken.
And in Matthew 5:18 He proclaimed, “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled”. The word ‘jot’ corresponds to the term ‘yodh’ in Hebrew which is the smallest symbol in the Aramaic alphabet.
It’s a type of apostrophe. There are around about 66,000 yodhs in the Old Testament and as far as Jesus was concerned, ever yodh matters! The Lord Christ couldn’t have defended his belief in the inerrancy of Scripture more powerfully.
5.- Jesus said that even the human parts of the Bible were from God
A good example of this principle is Matthew 19:4-5 where Jesus quotes a verse from the Old Testament (Genesis 2:24). Genesis 2:24 was not spoken audibly by God; it was written by the author of Genesis.
The Matthew text reads that God said, “For this cause a man shall leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh”. Jesus says that God said so.
But in Genesis there is no indication whatsoever that God said that. Why could Jesus say that God said Genesis 2:24 if He didn’t say it?
Because Jesus believed in the doctrine of inspiration! He knew that the Spirit had inspired Scripture and therefore could allude to its human parts as divine.
6.- Jesus was dedicated to the teaching of the Word
Jesus was, first and foremost, a preacher of the Word. When He stood up in the synagogue at Nazareth, he surprised everyone by revealing that the prophecy of Isaiah 61:1-2 had been fulfilled before their eyes.
From that day forth, Jesus’ public ministry was characterized by the preaching of the Word. “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages teaching in their synagogues and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 9:35).
The Saviour believed in the need of sound teaching and His foundation was Scripture.
7.- Jesus healed to fulfil the Word
Jesus was not just a teacher but a healer. His had a powerful ministry of deliverance. He cast out devils, cleansed the lepers, healed the sick and raised up the dead.
He went about healing everywhere He went. But why? Matthew gives us the answer in Matthew 8:16-17, “They brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses”.
All this means that when Jesus was carrying out His deliverance ministry, He was all the while thinking about the fulfilment of Scripture.
8.- Jesus never once disobeyed Scripture
If Jesus had disobeyed the Scriptures, He could not have been our Saviour. The holiness of God demanded a perfect sacrifice. Jesus never sinned.
As Hebrews 4:15 puts it, “For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all pointes like as we are, but without sin”.
Some say that Jesus sinned when He blazed with anger in the Temple; but such an angry was purely holy and righteous. Others say that He defiled the Sabbath when His disciples picked ears of corn; but Jesus was the Lord of the Sabbath and He explained that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.
It’s one thing to set up a corn market on the Sabbath; it’s another thing to pluck some ears because one is hungry.
9.- Jesus believed in the fulfilment of the messianic promises
Throughout His public ministry, Jesus taught that the messianic prophecies were being fulfilled in Himself.
When John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the one to come, Jesus responded by saying, “Go your way and tell John what things you have seen and heard: how the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised” (Luke 7:22).
What did He answer in such a fashion? Because that answer taught John that Christ was the fulfilment of the great messianic promise of Isaiah 35:4-6. Jesus knew full well He was the Holy One of God.
Even before the Jewish Council He cited Daniel 7:13 saying, “I AM: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62).
In His darkest hour upon the cross, Jesus carried on making much of Scripture. Do you recall how He uttered the first lines of the messianic Psalm 22? He was meditating upon the Word even in His hour of death.
10.- Jesus’ death and resurrection obeyed Scripture
Finally, Jesus had the written Word in such high regard that He gave His life and rose again so that it would be fulfilled. How many times did He prophesy of His death and resurrection?
Before His Passion, He said, “This that is written must yet be accomplished in me” (Luke 22:37).
After rising from the dead, Jesus explained that everything regarding His death and resurrection had occurred to fulfil Scripture. “These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses and in the prophets and in the psalms concerning me. Then opened he their understanding that they might understand the scriptures and said unto them, Thus it is written and thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day” (Luke 22:44-46).
In life and in death, Jesus followed wherever Scripture led. He embraced the blessed, infallible and inerrant Word of God.
In the light of all that has been said, Jesus had a high view of Scripture. He understood that all Scripture is given by inspiration of the Spirit.
I do hope that all of you here have this same class of Bibliology. If we don’t have this type of faith in the Bible, can we really consider ourselves to be Christians? A servant of the Lord loves Scripture just as Christ did.
Is that so in your heart? Do you love this word? Do you treasure it? Do you cherish it above all else?