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Cummings continues:

1. God in His Word Claims to Be Its Author

Every letter we receive has a signature. This signature tells us who the author is. The same is true fo the Bible. It has God's signature.

This signature is not in some little space at the end of the Bible, as in letters. God's signature is written all over the Scriptures, from beginning to end. Throughout the Bible, God testifies time and again the he, not man, is speaking and writing. In the Old Testament alone, the expression, "thus says the Lord" or its equivalent occurs some 2,000 times. The sacred name of God is brought forward to compel the whole world to hear and obey his word.

The most significant testimony in Scripture to its own inspiration and infallibility is the witness of Christ, the Son of God. Christ, the second person of the Trinity, regarded the Scriptures of the Old Testament in their entirety as the word of God. He promised that the same Holy Spirit who inspired the writers of the Old Testament would inspire the writers of the New Testament. What did Jesus really believe and teach about the Bible?

Jesus believed and taught unmistakably that the Scriptures of the Old Testament are the final, authoritative and infallible Word of God. Three times he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness(Matthew 4:3-10), and each time he appealed to the infallible authority of Scripture. 1)When tempted to turn stones into bread, he replied, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" 2)When Satan dared Christ to tempt God by leaping off the pinnacle of the temple, Christ said, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" 3)When Satan offered Christ the kingdoms of the world if he would only fall down and worship him, Christ answered, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"

Each time, Christ rebuffed Satan with the words "It is written." And he expects us to do the same. He appeals to the Scriptures of the Old Testament as being he final Word. He says in effect, "Satan, I cannot do these things; they are contrary to the Bible. The written word of God is my infallible rule of faith and conduct."

The same attitude toward the Old Testament Scriptures is reflected in other teaching of Jesus. In his Sermon on the Mount, Christ said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, nor the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished" (Matthew 5:17,18).

On another occasion, in answering his critics Jesus quoted from one of the psalms and added, "The Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35). When Peter tried to prevent Christ's death, Christ appealed to the prophecies of the Old Testament: "But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" (Matthew 26:54). These quotations affirm that Jesus regarded the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets as unalterable true. The Law, the Psalms and the Prophets together make up the entire Old Testament. Jesus thus accepted the whole Old Testament as God's Word.

But what about the New Testament? The New Testament had not yet been written when Christ was on earth. How then can we appeal to Christ's authority for the New Testament inspiration?

Christ promised the same Holy Spirit who inspired the authors of the Old Testament would be given to those who would write the books of the New Testament. He promised his apostles: "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come" (John 16:13). He also gave his apostles the authority to act and speak in his name: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:19). Both Protestant and Roman Catholic scholars agree that each of the 27 books of the New Testament was either written or approved by an apostle. The New Testament then, comes to us as the Word of God upon the authority of Jesus Christ, God's Son.

The apostles of our Lord, endowed with the promise of the Spirit and divine authority, give some of the clearest statements concerning the Sriptures. Paul, writing of the Old Testament Scriptures, declared, "All(emphasis mine, i.e., ServeHim)Scripture is God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16). Peter wrote, "For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit"(2 Peter 1:21).

Referring to his own message, which makes up about one-half of the New Testament, Paul affirmed: "When you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God" (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Peter places Paul's letters in the same class as the writing of the Old Testament: "...just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters...His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction" (2 Peter 3:15, 16). Paul referred to Luke's Gospel as Scripture. Quoting from Luke 10:7, he wrote: "For the Scripture says...'The worker deserves his wages'"(1 Timothy 5:18).

Only one conclusion is left: "The authority of the holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or church; but wholly upon God(who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God" (Westminster Confession of Faith, chap.1, sec.4 -hereafter WCF, chap. 1 sec.4). We are dependent creatures. The only way that we can think is to base our opinions upon some authority. It you do not base your thinking on God and his Word, then you will base it upon some limited human reason, and something else will have become your final authority.

There is no better reason to believe the Bible is the Word of God than because God himself says so. What if you approached God and asked him why you should believe the Bible was his Word, and he said, "I'm sorry, you will have to consult the experts for the reasons."? Then God has passed the buck and is no longer God. He is no longer the utltimate authority.

But God is the only one(emphasis SH's) who knows everything. He is therefore the only ultimate authority to be trusted. We are limited and sinful. We can never be certain about anything unless the One who is holy and all-knowing reveals it to us. If God was not all-knowing, there would be room for doubt. What is discovered tomorrow might contradict what God says in the Bible today. But God is all-knowing; nothing will be discovered tomorrow that will contradict what he says today. God took into account all past and future discoveries and eventualities when he declared his will in his Word. God's word and God's claims about his Word can always be counted on. "Cursed is the one who trusts in man...But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord"(Jeremiah 17:5,7).

So then the Reformers took a very serious view of God's Word, The Bible, on the authority of God himself.


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