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How Should We Regard the Bible?
How Should We Regard the Bible?
Every brother and sister in the Lord emphasizes reading the Bible and regards it highly. Moreover, the Bible is a book of great authority and it holds an important position in people’s heart. Many people think that one must read the Bible when believing in God, reading the Bible is synonymous with believing in God, and no one can go against the words of the Bible and depart from the Bible, or else they are not believers of God.
Since we are going to talk about the Bible, we must make clear its true story, and have some knowledge about its content and historic background. We all know the Bible consists of the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament includes the Pentateuch, Books of History, Books of Poetry and Wisdom, and some Books of Prophecy. It mainly records God’s creation of the world and the work God did in the Age of Law. For example, it records how God created heaven and earth and all things, how mankind betrayed God after listening to the enticements of the serpent and how God led man who had committed sins, how God destroyed the world by a flood and how Noah and his family survived the destruction, how Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt under the leading of God, and then how God set forth the laws and led the Israelites to live on earth. Besides, it also records the prophecies of some prophets. That is to say, the Old Testament records the work God did in Israel and the actual situation of how the Israelites led their life in the Age of Law. The New Testament includes the Four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the letters of the apostles, as well as Revelation in the final part of the Bible. It mainly records the birth of Jesus, how Jesus performed signs and wonders in many places of Judea and preached everywhere and taught the Jews, how Jesus was slandered, condemned and rejected by the Pharisees, how the Lord Jesus was resurrected three days after He was nailed to the cross, and how His disciples and apostles preached the gospel to testify for Him and then shepherded the churches of that time under the leading of the Holy Spirit…. From above, we clearly know that the Bible records the work God did and things that ever happened. That is, before God did the work, there was no Bible. God does not do His work based on the Bible.
Take the New Testament for another example. Over three hundred years after Jesus’ ascension, people assembled some disciples’ records of Jesus’ work, some apostles’ letters that shepherded the churches and the record of the vision that came to John on the isle of Patmos ninety years A.D.. Then they compiled these into the New Testament, among which, the letters of the apostles were all about their experiences and knowledge of God’s work. Just through that, they shepherded the churches at that time. For various reasons, sometimes they couldn’t personally go to shepherd brothers and sisters in every church, so they shepherded them with letters. Actually, the letters they wrote were far more than those recorded in the Bible, many of which were lost when they were passed down during several hundred years. Three hundred years A.D., some religious leaders of that time thought the letters were of great help to people. For people to read them easily, they selected some from so many remained letters and then put them together.
In the above paragraphs we have fellowshipped about the origin and the historical background of the Bible. This shows that the Bible records the real situation of God’s work, after all, it is the work that God has done before, and it cannot replace God’s work today. Just as Almighty God says, “Everyone who has read the Bible knows that it is an account of the work God did during the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. The Old Testament of the Bible records the history of Israel and shows how Jehovah did His work from the creation of the world to the end of the Age of Law.… By recording the experiences and knowledge of those who served Jehovah and Jesus in the old and new ages, the Bible has given much inspiration, illumination, and many ways of practice to later generations. The reason that the Bible surpasses the writings of other great spiritual men is that their writings all draw their material from the Bible, and their experiences all stem from the Bible and are directed toward interpreting it. So even though people could draw sustenance from the books of any great spiritual man, they still worship the Bible, for they regard it as ever so lofty and profound. Some books of the Bible, like the letters of Peter and Paul, carry the word of life and can be a source of help and sustenance. But nevertheless they are out of date; they are writings of a past age. No matter how good they are, they are applicable only to one period of time, and will not last forever. For God’s work is always moving forward, it is not frozen in time at the age of Paul and Peter, will not remain forever fixed at the Age of Grace in which Jesus was crucified. So, these books are applicable only to the Age of Grace, not to the final Age of Kingdom; they were able to provide sustenance only to believers in the Age of Grace, and cannot do the same for the saints of the Age of Kingdom. No matter how good these books may be, they are obsolete now. It is the same with Jehovah’s creation of the world and His work in Israel; no matter how good the work was, there would come a time when it was no longer applicable, when it became a thing of the past. It is also the same with God’s work; no matter how good it is, it will eventually come to an end, and cannot remain frozen forever at His creation or His crucifixion. No matter how persuasive His crucifixion was, no matter how effective it was at defeating Satan, work is work, and the times are the times; the work must progress past its foundation, and times must change. For just as surely as the world was created, it will come to an end—this is inevitable.” (from The Word Appears in the Flesh) God is always new and never old, so His work is always progressing forward. God is always doing the latest and most realistic work according to man’s need. In every stage of God’s work, He never does it according to the Bible. This is the truth that we must know.
The Bible is just the testimony of God’s previous works, and it cannot provide people with the practical life. As the Lord Jesus says, “Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have : and they are they which testify of me. And you will not come to me, that you might have life.” (John 5: 39-40) “ to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:” (John 14:6) It can be seen that there is no eternal life in the Bible, much less does it enable man to gain life. Only if man comes before God, accepts His latest work and keeps pace with His latest leading, can he gain the truth and the life and have the way to go forward, because only God is the truth, the way and the life. As Almighty God says, “… That is because life can only come from God, which is to say, only God Himself possesses the substance of life, there is no way of life without God Himself, and so only God is the source of life, and the ever-flowing wellspring of living water of life.” “Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path through which man shall gain life, and the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God. If you do not seek the way of life provided by Christ of the last days, then you shall never gain the approval of Jesus, and shall never be qualified to enter the gate of the kingdom of heaven, for you are both a puppet and prisoner of history. Those who are controlled by regulations, by letters, and shackled by history will never be able to gain life, and will never be able to gain the perpetual way of life. That is because all they have is turbid water that has lain stagnant for thousands of years, instead of the water of life that flows from the throne. Those who are not supplied with the water of life will forever remain corpses, playthings of Satan, and sons of hell. How, then, can they behold God?” (from The Word Appears in the Flesh). Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is Almighty God’s utterance today and is also what the Holy Spirit says to the churches. We should come out of our notions, break away from the trapping of the Bible, seek God’s footprints, keep pace with God’s latest work and obey God’s latest leading. Only when we follow Almighty God’s work and accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s word, can we truly gain the truth and the most practical life supply from God. And then we will be commended and saved by God.
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