Have You Not Read?
A High View Of Scripture
In a letter to Jerome, the translator of the Latin Vulgate, Augustine said, “I have learned to hold the Scriptures alone inerrant.” And in his “Preface to the Treatise on the Trinity” he warned, “Do not follow my writings as Holy Scripture. When you find in Holy Scripture anything that you did not believe before, believe it without doubt; but in my writings, you should hold nothing for certain.” He wrote: “I believe most firmly that no one of those authors has erred in any respect in writing”
“We must make a great difference between God’s Word and the word of man. A man’s word is a little sound, that flies into the air, and soon vanishes; but the Word of God is greater than heaven and earth, yea, greater than death and hell, for it forms part of the power of God, and endures everlastingly”
The fact that the Christians of an earlier day thought along these lines is not an accident of history or, still less, a product of wishful thinking. Christians of an earlier century had a high view of the Bible because the Bible has a high view of itself. Or, to put it in other language, Christians regarded the Bible as the infallible Word of God because the Lord Jesus Christ himself so regarded it.
Jesus Christ, attitude to OT
Jesus Christ’s teaching was based largely on the OT, which he treated as God’s inspired and authoritative word, but which he had the authority to interpret.
Jesus Christ recognises the OT as Scripture
Jesus Christ calls the OT “Scripture” Jn 10:35 See also Mk 12:10,24 pp Mt 22:29; Lk 4:21; Jn 5:39; 7:38; 13:18
Jesus Christ underlines the authority of the OT
The OT is authoritative over Jesus Christ’s opponents Mt 23:23 See also Mt 5:19-20; 23:2-3; Mk 2:24-27 pp Mt 12:2-6 pp Lk 6:2-4
The OT is authoritative over Satan Mt 4:4 pp Lk 4:4 See also Dt 8:3; Mt 4:7 pp Lk 4:12; Dt 6:16; Mt 4:10 pp Lk 4:8; Dt 6:13
Jesus Christ regards the OT as being fulfilled in himself
Jesus Christ regards his ministry as fulfilling the OT Mt 5:17-18 See also Mt 11:4-6 pp Lk 7:22-23; Mt 26:56 pp Mk 14:49; Lk 4:17-21; Isa 61:1-2; Jn 15:25; Ps 35:19; 69:4
Jesus Christ regards his death as fulfilling OT prophecy Lk 18:31-32 See also Mt 12:39-40; 26:28 pp Lk 22:20; Mt 26:31 pp Mk 14:27; Zec 13:7
Other aspects of the OT fulfilled or affirmed by Jesus Christ Mt 7:12; 11:10 pp Lk 7:27; Mal 3:1; Mt 13:14-15 pp Mk 4:12 pp Lk 8:10; Isa 6:9-10; Mt 17:11-12 pp Mk 9:12-13; Mal 4:5; Mt 24:15 pp Mk 13:14 pp Lk 21:20; Da 9:27; 11:31; 12:11
Jesus Christ confirms the OT teaching about judgment
Mt 12:41-42 pp Lk 11:30-32 See also Mt 11:23 pp Lk 10:12-15
Jesus Christ interprets OT teaching
Jesus Christ interprets OT teaching about the Sabbath Mk 2:25-28 pp Mt 12:3-8 pp Lk 6:3-5
Jesus Christ interprets OT teaching about religious practices Mt 9:13; Hos 6:6; Mt 15:7-8 pp Mk 7:6-7; Isa 29:13
Jesus Christ interprets OT teaching about purity Mk 7:18-19 pp Mt 15:17
Jesus Christ interprets OT teaching about family life Mt 5:31-32; 15:4-6 pp Mk 7:10-13; Ex 20:12; Dt 5:16; Ex 21:17; Lev 20:9; Mt 19:1-9 pp Mk 10:2-9
Jesus Christ interprets OT teaching about retaliation Mt 5:38-42
Jesus Christ refers to the OT in his teaching
Mt 19:18 pp Mk 10:19 pp Lk 18:20; Ex 20:12-16; Dt 5:16-20; Mt 22:31-32 pp Mk 12:26-27 pp Lk 20:37-38; Ex 3:6; Mt 24:37-39 pp Lk 17:26-27
Jesus Christ uses the language of the OT
Mt 27:46 pp Mk 15:34; Ps 22:1; Mk 4:29; Joel 3:13; Mk 8:18; Isa 6:10; Mk 9:48; Isa 66:24
Jesus Christ appeals to the OT in its entirety
Lk 11:50-51 The murders of Abel and Zechariah occur in the first (Ge 4:8) and last (2Ch 24:21) books of the Hebrew OT (Chronicles comes at the close of the OT according to the Hebrew arrangement). See also Lk 24:27,44 The Law, the Prophets and the Psalms are the three divisions of the Hebrew OT.
Jesus Christ treats the OT as a true historical record
The patriarchs: Mt 8:11; Jn 8:56,58
Moses: Mt 8:4 pp Mk 1:44 pp Lk 5:14; Mt 19:8 pp Mk 10:5
Mt 6:29 pp Lk 12:27 Solomon
The prophets: Mt 5:12 pp Lk 6:23; Lk 4:25-27; Jn 6:45
This attitude of Jesus to Scripture is confirmed by other statements of his. For one thing, Jesus often appealed to Scripture as an infallible authority. When tempted by the devil in the wilderness, Jesus replied with three quotations from Deuteronomy (Matt. 4:1–11). By quoting Exodus 3:6 (“I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob”), he rebuked the Sadducees for questioning the heavenly status of marriage and the reality of the resurrection (Luke 20:27–40). He taught that “not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will be any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matt. 5:18). On many occasions he appealed to Scripture in support of his actions—in defense of his cleansing of the temple (Mark 11:15–17), in reference to his submission to the cross (Matt. 26:53–54).
Through the ages men and women have sought to discredit Scripture and remove it as a force in their lives. But it has been those who have sought to destroy the Bible who have been destroyed, not the Bible. There are many images for the Bible in its own pages. It is called a lamp, a mirror, a sword, a seed. Notice that it also is called a fire and a hammer, a fire because it will burn in judgment and a hammer because it will break in pieces all who will not bow before it. “Is not my word like fire?” wrote Jeremiah; “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” (Jer. 23:29).
Will you resist that Word? If so, then you will be broken; for the Scripture cannot be broken. Or will you submit to it and to the Christ who upheld it?