You have heard it said, “If you read it in the newspaper or hear it on television, then it must be true and accurate.” Sadly, we know that to not always be the case. There are many accurate, well written and well thought out news stories across all types of media outlets, but there are also times when the journalist or reporter seems to have an agenda that shades the accuracy of the reporting. It is sometimes hard to tell the difference, so we tend to view all news reporting with skepticism. The same can be said of the every increasing number of books that line the shelves at any bookstore, whether the book hits the New York Times best seller list or heads straight to the bargain table. However, there is one book – the biggest best seller of all time, translated into more languages and read by more people than any other single book – that is accurate, trustworthy, reliable and authoritative. And that book is, you guessed it, the Bible.
In the Vineyard we believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. By inspired we do not mean inspired in the way that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was inspired to compose one of his pieces of music. By inspired, we mean that the writing of the Bible was done by real people under the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit, thus the Bible is the product of both divine and human activity.
In 2 Peter 1:20-21 we read these words, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
We also believe that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God, meaning that it is more than a book of good ideas or helpful hints to guide us through life. It is our belief that the Bible has final authority over us for what we should believe (faith) and how we should live (practice). The Vineyard Statement of Faith puts it this way – We believe that the Holy Spirit inspired the human authors of Holy Scripture so that the Bible is without error in its original manuscripts. We receive the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments as our final authority, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.
The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
In Hebrews 4:12 we see a similar message, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Jesus said these words to His disciples near the end of His life, “The words that I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word in a divine act (John 14:10b MSG).”
In the book “Living The Message,” Eugene Peterson puts it this way, “The Christian’s interest in Scripture has always been in hearing God speak, not analyzing moral memos (March 26).”
So the next time you open your Bible, keep an ear tuned to God and allow Him to speak to you through the words on the page.