On How We View the Bible and Why it Matters

A reader on my Facebook page mentioned she was told that the book of Jonah shouldn’t be studied; that it was not true and thus a waste of time. Lara and I received similar comments from our Bible study of Job. Unfortunately, the question of Biblical authority, inerrancy, inspiration, and relevancy is becoming more and more pervasive in mainstream Christianity. The following post is quite long, but I felt led to post this for each of us to read and evaluate these truths about God’s Word. Big shout out to my husband who helped me put this together.

There are some who say that the Biblical account of Jonah is simply an allegory—a story created by the writer to explain spiritual truths, but not tell a historical event. If I’m honest, I can see the attractiveness of this theory. Mainly because the likelihood of a man living inside of a fish for three days or a plant growing and dying in a day seems impossible.

But our God is a God of power and impossibilities. He is not bound to the laws of nature. He can stop processes, suspend time, and create or destroy as He wills. He is God, and though I have not seen with my eyes a man being spit up from the belly of a fish, I have seen him do mighty works in my life. I have known His transforming work, and experienced fruit come forth from my life that has no other explanation than a movement of His Spirit.

Seeing His work in my life gives me confidence in His ability to do much greater things.

Before we dive into the details of any book of the Bible, we must first wrestle with the authority of Scripture. ‘Cause let’s face it, there are some crazy stories in Scripture. But the longer I study the Bible and the deeper I walk with God I come to see things much differently than I did at first glance.

Too often we read the Bible through the lens of our culture, opinions, and/or circumstances. Instead, we must come to understand truths taught in Scripture with the original culture of the author and audience in mind, while keeping our opinions and circumstances from shaping our interpretations. It’s not that our opinions or circumstances don’t matter—they do—but both can change with the wind and cannot be the foundation by which we make decisions about who God is.

Every time I read God’s Word I’m learning more about Him and if I make judgements on His character based on what I think or feel that day, I am walking on shaky ground.

The Bible is not silent on this issue. In fact, God’s Word has much to say about itself. Here are just a few points to consider:

The Bible is God’s Revelation to Me

{It is Relevant}

We know about the character of God because He has revealed himself to us in His Word. As we read the pages of Scripture we see a God who creates, knows, and loves. We see a God who works miracles. We see a God who would come to the earth to rescue us. Most of what you and I know about God today we know from His living and active Word.

Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”—Exodus 3:13-14

When we approach God’s Word, let’s pray that our heart’s cry would be to know God more through the pages of the Scriptures He has given us. Not to check of our “Bible study” box, or to achieve more knowledge, but instead to walk deeper in intimacy with Him.

The Bible is More than a Good Book

{It is Inspired}

Those who wish to diminish the importance of the Bible will say that it is not a divine work but simply the work of men. However, this is not what the Bible claims for itself. 

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.(2 Peter 1:19-21 ESV)

Every word of the Bible was inspired to be written by the Holy Spirit through His chosen messengers. It is a creation of God, not merely a history book or collection of stories and letters. Every man who penned the words of the Bible were instructed and enabled to do so by God’s very Spirit.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,—2 Timothy 3:16

The Bible is Worthy of My Trust

{It is Inerrant}

In order for the Bible to be truly trustworthy it must all be true. Since the Bible is God’s word to us and for us, we can trust that God has preserved His truth within Scripture. 

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. —Proverbs 30:5

If the Bible claims that Jonah lived inside a fish for 3 days, then he did. Even if we don’t understand it or science says it is impossible we must choose to believe that it is true. We can’t pick and choose what we think is truth and what isn’t. God’s Word is all true, or it isn’t.

There is purpose for every verse in the Bible. Every one. There are certainly passages which are more easily understood and applied than others, but there are no throw-aways in the Bible. We cannot read the Bible with a razor and glue, selecting the verses we like and taking out the ones we don’t. When we do, we state that we know better than God.

There are many who deny the inerrancy of the Bible; they do not believe all of the Bible is true and without error. Many claim the existence of errors and contradictions in the Bible. The problem with most of these supposed errors and contradictions is that when both texts are properly understood, no such error or contradiction exists. Unfortunately, many of those who refute the trustworthiness of the Bible want there to be errors, so they do not put in the effort required to truly understand each passage in its context.

There are many books, websites and blog posts dedicated to refuting supposed Bible errors. A great resource is Gleason Archer’s Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (affiliate link). Don’t be afraid to do some research for yourself. God’s Spirit will lead you to truth! Here are loads of sermons on the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible.

For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. (Matthew 5:18 ESV)

The Bible is for My Day-to-Day Life

{It is Authoritative}

When it comes to having a correct approach to the Bible believing it is God’s trustworthy word is one half of the picture. The second half comes into view when we correctly see how the Bible affects us. In His word, God has given us clear guidelines and principles by which we are to live our lives. By living our lives in accordance with these principles we are demonstrating trust in God. If we knowingly live outside these principles and guidelines we are claiming with our actions (if not also with our beliefs) that we know better than God. To reject the authority of the Bible in our lives is to reject the authority of God in our lives. 

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.—Psalm 119:105

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.—Hebrews 4:12-13

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”—Matthew 4:4 

What do you think about this? Have you heard of these terms before? Do you believe them? 

7 replies
  1. donna
    donna says:

    “Too often we read the Bible through the lens of our culture, opinions, and/or circumstances.”
    YES! This is so often the case and I agree 1000%! For years I fell into the habit of just taking whatever was “taught” to me and believing it to be accurate.
    I had failed the “Berean” test so to speak and boy, did it have some negative consequences.
    The hubby and I fell into a super legalistic cult-like church for about 5 years and it was not until God graciously opened our eyes {and we submitted honestly, not proudly} to specific scriptures like Galatians and Romans did we see just how far we had gone from grace and mercy!
    His Word is perfect, honest, and like you said TRUSTWORTHY and when we come to it with an open heart for HIS instruction, amazing things happen!
    GREAT post :).

    Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Thanks, Donna.

      It is natural for us to trust those whose teach Scripture, but unfortunately not all teachers are trustworthy. So thankful God opened your eyes to His great grace and mercy!

      Reply
  2. Susan Gruener
    Susan Gruener says:

    The Bible IS the true Word of God. God gave us His Word to learn to know God, and learn how we should live our lives. Sadly the percentage of people who believe that the Bible is the true inspired Word of God is decreasing. I believe this is because those of us who know the truth haven’t spread it enough (passed it on to the next generation), but also because of the ‘end times’, when peoples love for God will ‘wax cold’. I believe we should still keep spreading the truth and keep witnessing, as we listen to His Holy Spirit every day (and every hour of every day!). 😉 The Bible to me personally gives me LIFE daily! It is a ‘living’ Word that never grows old, but instead gives new meaning to our lives each day. His Presence can be felt as we read His truth and promises for us. As we are encouraged and blessed, we can share those truths with others.

    Reply
  3. Cheli
    Cheli says:

    Katie,

    Thank you for taking the time to address this issue– especially given having just concluded the writing and publishing of Immersed. My eyes have been opened to the numbers of people and churches who claim to be Christian and deny the relevant, inspired, inerrant and authoratative Word of God.

    This post clearly and simply lays out the truth about God’s Word and gives me an outline to tap into when talking to people who may not see things my way. I appreciate your advice about asking questions and exploring rather than lecturing on the truth.

    I will be praying for you as you as you grieve the loss of your brother. I appreciate your ministry and what it means to me.

    (((Hugs)))

    Reply
  4. Cheri Novak
    Cheri Novak says:

    Katie,

    I am Cheli Sigler’s sister. And, I, too, appreciate your post and your thoughtfulness in answering the question. I will use your thoughts as I find ways to probe more in my circle of influence — and hopefully find ways to challenge thinking within my circle of influence.

    Reply
  5. Jessica @ Inspire to Simple
    Jessica @ Inspire to Simple says:

    Wonderfully thought through and worded posted. As I work to form the “what I believe” aspect for my own site and knowing that what we believe touches everything about our lives, I appreciate what you say here. This post will definitely be referral to in the future and shared often. Thank you!!

    Reply
  6. Sally
    Sally says:

    Thank you for this encouraging post, Katie! I recently did a post about how to read the Scriptures, and I was reminded of Jesus’ rebuke to the Pharisees in John 5:39-40, where Jesus says, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” All of Scripture points us to Jesus, and I’m so thankful for the glorious Gospel! Thank you for these wonderful reminders of God’s Holy Word.

    Reply

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