The Bible as the Word of God
Christians believe that the Holy Scriptures, or the Bible, are the inspired Word of God in
written form. They can be viewed as divine communication or self-disclosure to humanity. The Scriptures identify
God as the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and are an invitation to a close relationship with this
transcendent Being. They include information unattainable through science or reason, addressing life’s
ultimate questions such as the purpose of life and the hereafter.
The Bible is not literally the Word of God – its contents weren’t just
dictated by God for individuals to write down word for word. Nevertheless, the book expresses, sometimes in
metaphor, what God said, what God did, what God continues to do, and what God will yet do in the future. The
ultimate divine self-revelation was in the coming to earth of Jesus Christ who brought the message of God's
Divine Love as the way to salvation and at-onement with the Father. In teaching this vital truth, he also
exemplified it by his life.
God-given inspiration is affirmed in the pages of the Bible itself.
Phrases such as “the Word of the Lord came to me” appear numerous times and indicate that some of the Old Testament
writers knew that they were commissioned by God to write what they did. New Testament writers affirmed the
inspiration of the Old Testament writings – the only Scriptures they had – referring to them as the words of God
pertaining to historical and prehistoric realities.
Jesus Christ affirmed the divine inspiration and authority of the Old
Testament. Calling the Scriptures the “word that comes from the mouth God”, he quoted various passages to refer to
himself and to predict his death, burial, and resurrection. He also spoke about significant events and
persons mentioned in the Old Testament as past realities. After his resurrection, Jesus used Scriptures to show his
disillusioned disciples that he was indeed the prophesied Messiah.
The Bible was written over a period spanning about fifteen hundred years
by humans from different walks of life, different time periods, different locations, and in three different
languages. It has since been translated into hundreds of modern languages. The writers wrote in their own style,
influenced by their background, education, culture, and political situation of the time. Using a range of literary
genres, they compiled legal precepts and histories, recorded their joys, sorrows, frustrations, and praises
addressed to God, recounted stories, wrote epic poetry, and verbalized dramatic symbolic dreams and visions. New
Testament writers interpreted the Old Testament Scriptures in light of the life of Jesus and their own
Furthermore, today’s Bible is the product of a complex process of
document selection, copying, editing, compilation, and translation – all human activities subject to error. As a
result, there are intertwining strands of teachings and even contradictions. Because of these factors and the
complexity of the canonization process, the Bible is a set of writings with great diversity -- yet a book
that has inspired millions, pointed them to their Creator, and set them on the way to salvation. Without the
guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within the vast and varied range of human endeavours, such result would
be highly unlikely to be achieved by humans alone.
Because of the limitations of language and the incompatibility between
language as a human phenomenon and God as divine spirit, some have suggested exploring the term “Word of God” as
also metaphorical. This allows many concepts to have both a literal and metaphorical meaning, and to be interpreted
at several levels. It makes room for imagination to search for depths of meaning beyond the literal. As a result,
it enables a range of interpretations and insights, which are also influenced by the understanding, experiences,
and prejudices that readers bring to their Bible reading and study. The Holy Scriptures then remain a living word
for all people everywhere, as well as becoming like a treasure chest with endless possibilities of new
The inspiration of the Holy Scriptures is further attested to by the
fulfillment of prophecies; the confirmation by history, archeology, and science; and above all, the changed lives
of individuals. Through the message of the Bible, people from all levels of society have been led from darkness to
light, received new life, and become transformed.
Ultimately, however, no reasoning or argument can prove the authority
inspiration, and trustworthiness of the Scriptures, or even the existence of a Creator God. Eventually, each person
must test for themselves whether the claims of the Bible are true, whether the God of the Holy Scriptures answers
their prayers, and whether the Bible is relevant in today’s world. These are all matters of faith based on personal
Those who desire to learn about God and to have him change their life can ask him to do so. The
evidence strongly suggests that their earnest petition will be supernaturally and encouragingly
© Eva Peck, 2010
To see a book of basic Bible
teachings co-authored by the author of this website, click here.