When we take hold of the Bible, it is easy to forget the significance of what is in our hands. When you think about it, Scripture is unlike anything else in our life. There is something about Scripture that makes it distinct from all other literature works in history. We say it’s God’s word. We call it God’s revelation. But what does that mean? What are the implications of calling it that?
Jesus saw the Old Testament text as God’s word. He refers to it as the “Word of God” during his trial by the Satan in the wilderness.
Matt. 4:4 But he answered, “It is written,“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Even though it was written by men, Jesus said it was God’s words that were written. And the words that they wrote were eternal.
John 10:35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—
Jesus recognized those Old Testament texts as Scriptures, but the Apostles also recognized other texts as Scripture. Peter called Paul’s letter Scriptures
2Pet. 3:15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.
Paul refers to the Gospel of Luke as Scripture in 1 Timothy 5:18
1Tim. 5:18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”
Luke 10:7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house.
Scripture is unique from all other literary works because it is God’s word. It is the capturing (by men) of the many times and many different ways that God has spoken.
Heb. 1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
How did these men figure out to write the Scriptures? Were they taken over and placed into a trance? Were the Scriptures the product of men who were just writing history, poetry, and guessing what would happen in the future? No, the Holy Spirit is said to have carried them along as they wrote.
2Pet. 1:21 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.
Thus Scripture is unique because it is God’s word that he gave to men through the Holy Spirit. And therefore the nature of Scripture is that it is “breathed out by God”. (2 Tim 3:15) This phrase “breathed out by God” is the word theopneustos in Greek. No other piece of literature in all of the world is said to be theopneustos. Creeds, confessions, Church Fathers, great commentaries, none of them are theopneustos. They are all important. I’m not saying they aren’t. But Scripture alone is said to be unique because it alone is theopneustos.
This means that not only is the Scripture unique because of what it is by nature and what everything else isn’t. But also that Scripture is used by God as he brings about his will. Through it he brings in his people, builds his kingdom and rules over his people. Scripture is a means of grace. Through it, God gives grace by the Holy Spirit who is always at work through the reading and especially the preaching of Scripture.