“The Bible is the prism,” writes theologian John R. W. Stott, “by which the light of Jesus Christ is broken into its many and beautiful colors.” As Christian disciples we must take time to think about the Bible and the ways in which it reveals Jesus to us—and how it should impact our lives.
When all is said and done, there must be something deeper and more significant about the storyline of the Bible than choice of words and grammatical structures.
“God has been pleased to communicate His truth to the world by human agencies, and He Himself, by His Holy Spirit, qualified men and enabled them to do this work. He guided the mind in the selection of what to speak and what to write. The treasure was entrusted to earthen vessels, yet it is, nonetheless, from Heaven. The testimony is conveyed through the imperfect expression of human language, yet it is the testimony of God; and the obedient, believing child of God beholds in it the glory of a divine power, full of grace and truth.
“In His word, God has committed to men the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the revealer of doctrines, and the test of experience. ‘Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness; that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.’ 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.”1
What’s the authority behind the Bible? How could stories written by frail and faulty human beings about God and God’s dealing with the human family have authority? Maybe there’s something to be said for integrity and authenticity, being real with the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the successes and the failures, the faithfulnesses and betrayals, the ups and the downs.
One thing is for sure: the Bible doesn’t gloss over much. It doesn’t whitewash the stories. It tells it all in its attempts to describe how God intersects with humanity, how the Creator attempts repeatedly to reconcile with a rebellious family, how the Redeemer tirelessly and passionately and tenaciously works to bring about trust and hope and restoration to what God has always wanted for the world. Isn’t there a certain amount of authority that comes from this kind of transparency and honesty?
The Bible has been one of the most revered and beloved and used resources for spiritual seekers down through the ages. It is a source of comfort and hope, of challenge and rebuke, of encouragement and support, a mirror for growth, a light to show the path. It refuses to let you sit still. It prods you to move forward, to take action, to engage dialogue, and to launch into adventure. It continually challenges your picture of God and your experience of life. And in the end, maybe all that is enough to find in it true authority and inspiration.2