Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.Psalms 119:105
The word of God is the only reasonable guide if we are to walk the path of God. It is His path and only He knows the way. But how does God communicate His way to us? This may sound like a very difficult question but actually God has chosen to communicate to us in several ways. He has spoken to us all regardless of our background through the language of His creation. By observing creation we can know many things about the Creator.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.Romans 1:1
But this kind of general revelation of God, though powerful, is not enough to answer the more specific questions a follower may have. Fortunately, God did not stop with just His general revelation through nature. God began to speak to us and reveal himself to us via language. These more specific revelations were eventually written down and preserved for us in the Bible. These revelations were delivered through the agency of the Holy Spirit to faithful people and written down. This is what is meant by “inspired”. The Spirit of God moved on chosen people to serve as messengers of God’s word. God prepared both the message and the messenger to be conduits of His word to us.
This is why we see so many human fingerprints on the scriptures, we see the personality of the writers in every word they say, and yet we say this is the very word of God. Both the message and the messenger are instruments of God to communicate His word to us. As a sculptor uses the character of the stone to become part of His image, so God uses the character of the writer to become part of His message.
…and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,…2 Timothy 3:15-16
And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, 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
Can we truly understand?
So we have these words of God, given to us by the power of the Holy Spirit. They are collected for us in the Bible. But how are we to understand the Bible? The Bible is not a book
These are important questions, but they are not insurmountable problems. I believe these problems are often exaggerated by those who are looking for a reason not to believe or follow God. The answer is humble, careful, and thoughtful reading of the text, trusting the Holy Spirit to enlighten us as he enlightened those writers so long ago. Remember, God gave us His word because He wanted us to know. To those who truly want to know God, He will not hide himself or His word. His desire is still to reveal himself to us, so that we can come to know Him.
The ultimate revelation
But there is more, God was not satisfied to simply talk to us, He wanted to show us. He wanted to fellowship with us in a tangible way, so He became one of us. Jesus was born, the one Isaiah called Immanuel1Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6-7 , a name that means “God with us”.
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.Hebrews 1:1-4
So the ultimate revelation of God to us is His Son Jesus. Who, though he was equal with God did not try to hold on to this glory but laid it all down to become on of us.2 Philippians 2:5-11 To reveal himself to us in human form. Taking on human flesh to show us in ways we can truly understand who He really is. This is how Jesus could say,
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”John 14:6-7
The Bible is the testimony of Jesus
Jesus lived 2,000 years ago, how are we to know Him and follow Him now? This takes us back to the Bible, specifically the New Testament of the Bible. These are the testimonies of those that were there. These are the testimonies of the life and teachings of Jesus. This is our introduction to the master. Jesus does not walk in the flesh among us now. However, He is still alive and still communicates through His Spirit and the inspired testimony of the witnesses recorded for us in the New Testament.
It is the responsibility of the follower now to know, to understand, and most importantly to follow everything that Jesus demonstrated and commanded. We know this through the testimony of those original followers of the “way the truth and the life”. Jesus is still knowable by word and Spirit. He is in us and we are in Him and His words guide our steps. But the follower does have one all-important responsibility, to listen and truly hear what Jesus is saying, then do it.