Christ and the Scriptures 1
The Bible lays claim to nothing less than verbal inspiration, and this claim comes from the lips of the Lord Himself: “Think not that I am come to make void the law or the prophets; I am not come to make void, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Until the heaven and the earth pass away, one iota or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all come to pass” (Matt. 5: 17, 18). If this is not a clear and emphatic claim to verbal inspiration, then words have no meaning. What is an “iota”? It is the smallest letter in the Greek alphabet. What is a “tittle”? It is even less than part of a word. It is part of a letter, consisting of a small mark to distinguish one letter from another, when two letters are so alike as to be easily confused. Now if the very “iotas” and “tittles” of Scripture are inspired, then every word is inspired.
When the Jews took up stones to stone the Lord Jesus, He asked them “Many good works have I shewn you of my Father; for which of them do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy, and because thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” (John 10: 32, 33). In His answer, the Lord said this: “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and the scripture cannot be broken), do ye say of him whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am Son of God?” (vs 34–36). In this passage, the Lord speaks of the “law” (the OT, not just the Pentateuch, for the quotation is from Psalm 82: 6), and the “scripture” as identical, adding the very significant statement “and the scripture cannot be broken”. Now if the Word of God had been a mixture of truth and error, of God’s inspiration and fallible man’s additions, this statement “and the scripture cannot be broken” could never have been made. The Bible would have been like the feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of the great image, partly iron, and partly clay, partly strong and partly weak. The claim that the Scriptures cannot be broken is the clearest possible assertion of verbal inspiration.
Three times when tempted, the Lord Jesus is recorded as saying “It is written” (Matt. 4: 4, 7, 10), quoting each time a different passage from the fifth book of Moses. Think about this. Here is the Lord of heaven and earth. Does He call to His aid in that solemn moment Moses His servant? Does He rebut the attacks of the Enemy with the words of a man? How can we explain this mystery, unless the Lord Jesus regarded the words of Moses as not the words of a mere man, a mere servant, but the Word of God? Thus “prophecy was not ever uttered by [the] will of man, but holy men of God spake under the power of [the] Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1: 21). We can write IT IS WRITTEN over the whole Word of God––over every single word, iota, and tittle.
Again, the Lord testified “for if ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me. But if ye do not believe his writings, how shall ye believe my words? “(John 5: 46, 47). Note the connection between the “writings” and the “words”. The Lord Jesus links up the “writings” with His “words”, and gives them equal authority. It is not possible to regard the one as less perfect than the other, without besmirching both. Thus the Scripture’s testimony to Christ, and Christ’s testimony to the Scriptures, support each other in the fullest and most unequivocal way.
If the Bible does not fully answer to our Lord’s claim for it, then we have an unreliable Christ, a Christ who is no Christ at all. The inspiration of Scripture is a central stone in the arch of Christianity, without which the arch must fall. May we never give up that central tenet of our faith that “Every scripture [is] divinely inspired, and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be complete, fully fitted to every good work” (2 Tim. 3: 16, 17).
Christ and the Scriptures 2
There is a vital, inseparable link between the Word Incarnate and the Word inspired, between Christ and the Scriptures. “In [the] beginning was the Word” is the great opening declaration of John’s Gospel. Before there was an Angel in Heaven above, or a living creature on earth below, He, the Word at whose bidding all things came into existence, was there. It is of Him eternal, uncreated, then incarnate, obedient, sacrificed and now glorified, that the inspired Word, the sacred Scriptures, breathed from God, tell. The inspired Word, from first to last, is full of Christ, and He, throughout the entire path of His obedience, service and suffering here, was full of the Word. He was the supreme lover of the Book of God. He received it in its entirety as He found it, in the full confidence that it was the Word of God, and called it so, (Mark 7: 13). He was the Man whose delight was in the law of the Lord, and he meditated therein “day and night”, (Psalm l: 2). His ear was awakened morning by morning to hear as the instructed, (Is. 50: 4). It was “His custom” to read it for Himself and to others in the Synagogue at Nazareth, His village home for thirty years, (Luke 4: 16). Little wonder if “Teachers” of the Law in Jerusalem were astonished at His knowledge of the Book, and the answers He could give to their questions when a boy of twelve, (Luke 2: 46, 47). He had more understanding than all His teachers ever would or could have. When the Devil in the days of His temptation thrice assailed Him and was thrice foiled and discomforted, it was because He lived by every word that proceeded from the mouth of God, and had the right word at the right moment, as the “Sword of the Spirit” to meet Him with, (Matt. 4: 3–11). Yes, blessed be His Peerless Name, our Lord was a Man of the Book. In His public ministry He spoke to the people “The Word of God” and they “pressed on Him” to hear it, (Luke 5: 1). In the last hours of His agony and untold sufferings on the cross, it was to “fulfil” the Scriptures that He asked for vinegar to drink, and at last bowed His head in death. Blessed Redeemer, who would not love, reverence and obey the Word Thou did’st love and honour so well? And on that journey toward Emmaus after He had come forth from the grave a Conqueror, it was the Book as it were anew in His hands, that He expounded to the two sad fellow–travellers, “in all the scriptures the things concerning himself”. What a Scripture reading that was, with Christ Himself as expounder and theme, and “all the Scriptures” the Text Book. Little wonder their heart burned within them as they walked. It is the Christ of the Scriptures, Jesus, our Lord and Lover, Jesus as Sacrifice, Redeemer, Saviour and Lord, that we go to the Book of God to find, to see, to adore and worship. And none ever go to the Sacred Book, subject to the guidance and teaching of the Spirit, with a true desire to find Him there in vain. Nor will any true lover of the Lord, who reveres His person and owns His claims, ever neglect or lightly esteem that Word, which was His delight, and which He has left to be the guide and counsellor of His people till they see His face in glory.