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How We Got the Word of God

   If the Bible is, as it declares itself to be, God's Word to mankind, how did we get the Word of God from God?  Several verses in the New Testament tell us how the Word of God, the Bible, came into existence:

II Timothy 3:16
   All scripture is given by inspiration of God [theopneustos - God-breathed], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

Matthew 4:4
   But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

   The Word of God came out of the mouth of God.  He breathed out the scripture.  God is the source of His Word.  So it came from God.  But how did it get to man?

II Peter 1:21
   For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

   This verse tells us two things.  It tells us how the Word of God came to man.  It also tells us how it did NOT come.  It did not come by the will of man.  Some person did not just decide to write his ideas and call it God's Word.  A person did not think it up.  It did not come from some man trying to tell about his experiences with God.  Man did not decide to write the Word of God.  It did not come by the will of man!
   The Word of God came to men of God who spake or wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost - The Holy Spirit - GOD.  In other Words, God, who is Spirit, gave His word to holy men, men who believed God, and they wrote that which He revealed to them.  This truth is stated in other words in two other verses:

Galatians 1:11-12
   But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me [the Apostle Paul] is not after man.
   For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by revelation of Jesus Christ.

   Once again, God tells us how the Word of God came to man and He tells us how it did NOT come.  The Word of God was not after man.  It was not some idea that Paul thought up!  Paul also did NOT receive the Word of God from another man.  He was not taught it!  Paul was a holy man of God.  God revealed His Word to Paul by revelation of [or from] Jesus Christ.  It was revealed to Paul.  The word "revealed" means to uncover or show forth.  God showed His Word to Paul.

   To understand how this process worked, you must understand that God is Spirit (John 4:24).  In the Old Testament God would take of His Spirit and place it upon holy men who believed His Word.  Then speaking Spirit to spirit He revealed His Word to those holy men:

Numbers 11:16-17
   And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel . . .
   And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; . . .  

Deuteronomy 34:9
   And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.

   Every man (or woman) to whom God revealed His Word, were holy men and women that had the spirit from God upon them.  In the New Testament, after the day of Pentecost, it became available for the spirit to be born in men and women.  But the process is the same.  God, who is Spirit, reveals His Word to the spirit in a holy man or woman.

   There is only one source of the Word of God and that is God.  He is the author of His Word.  Many men and women wrote or spoke that which God revealed to them, but God is the author of His Word.

   Jeremiah was a holy man of God in the Old Testament to whom God revealed His Word.  God was the author of the book of Jeremiah, but Jeremiah was the holy man of God who spoke forth that which was revealed to him.  And Jeremiah had a scribe, named Baruch, who actually wrote the words down.  There are many writers and speakers of the Word of God, but God is the one and only author of His Word.  Take a look at how this process worked:

Jeremiah 36:1
   And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,

   The word of God came from the Lord unto Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 36:2
   Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee . . .

   God spoke to Jeremiah and told him to write the Word of God.

Jeremiah 36:4
   Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book.

   Jeremiah listened to God and spoke exactly what God had revealed to him.  Then Baruch the scribe wrote the words - word for word - in a scroll as Jeremiah spoke.  That is how we got God's Word!

   Now when the king, Jehoiakim, heard the Word of God spoken by Jeremiah and written by Baruch he was not too happy.  The Word of God revealed that Jehoiakim was outside of God's will, so he was not very pleased to hear what was written in the scroll:

Jeremiah 36:22-23
   Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him.
   And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves [columns], he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.

   Jehoiakim thought that he could just cut up God's Word and burn it in the fire and that would get rid of it.  But burning the scroll did not get rid of the author of the Word.  God simply gave the Word to Jeremiah again:

Jeremiah 36:27-28
   Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying,
   Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned.

Jeremiah 36:32
   Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim the King of Judah had burned in the fire:  and there were added besides unto them many like words.

   God protects and cares for His Word.  It is very important to Him.   It is His Will for man.  It is the way He has chosen to reveal His Will to us.   Jehoiakim could not get rid of the Word of God because Jehoiakim could not get rid of God.  God revealed the same exact words to Jeremiah and Jeremiah spoke them to Baruch who wrote them down a second time.  And then God gave Jeremiah some added revelation and more like words were added to the scroll.

   The Bible is God's revealed Word.  You cannot know God's Will without knowing His Word.  God's Word is His Will.  He has taken great care to preserve it and make it available to us.  Many people ask, pray, plead, even beg for God to make known His will unto them.  They read books and articles about the Bible.  They ask other people what the Bible says.  They look for signs from God.  They guess about what God might want them to know.  They do everything but read that which God has already made known.  The Bible is just as much God talking now as it was God talking when He originally revealed it.  God has guaranteed His Word.   I don't know much about how God works with individual believers.  I don't know why, by God's grace, He goes beyond that which is promised in His Word.  But I do know that the Bible is revelation from God.  And I know God's Word works today with the same power and authority as it did when God first gave it.  Just think how great our lives would be and how much God would bless us if we could just get to the place in our walk where we believe and act on that which He has already revealed in His written Word.

May, 1999
Michael Cortright