By Dr. Jack Graham, Crosswalk.com
Even people who aren’t familiar with the Bible recognize it as a Holy book. There’s just something different – something miraculous – about reading the Bible compared with any other ordinary book. I believe it’s so important for people to engage with God’s Word that I’ve partnered with Pray.com on a new podcast, “Bible in a Year with Jack Graham,” for those who prefer to experience the Scriptures in audio format. Either way, as we dive into God’s Word, there are four miracles that we can expect to discover.
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1. The Miracle of Inspiration
When we say we believe the Bible is verbally inspired, we mean all of the Bible is inspired. Not just in parts or in spots. All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God. There is not one part that is uninspired or untrue. This is why Paul said in Acts 20:27 that we preach “the whole counsel of God.” Both Old Testament and New Testament are included in God’s revelation. There are no legends or lies or fables or fiction in this Book. That’s what we mean when we say: The Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God.
Through the generations, Christians have fought for the authority and the authenticity of the Bible. Thousands of times we are told in Scripture, “And God said...”, or “The Word of God spoke.” This is the very Word of God, not just a book that contains the Word of God.
There is plenty of internal and external evidence to support the claim that the Bible is the Word of God. There are textural, scientific, historical, archeological, and logical claims, along with experiential evidence. But I believe the most compelling evidence for God’s Word is the fact that Jesus believed the Bible. Jesus is the very author of Scripture, but on earth, in His humanity, affirmed the inspiration of the Bible. As a little boy in the synagogue, He learned the Scripture so well that He confounded the wise with His understanding of it. And He said, in Matthew 5:17, “Look, I have not come to abolish God’s Word, but to fulfill it!” And He believed the stories that some today suggest are unbelievable.
For example, Jesus believed in creation by the Word of God, and He spoke of Adam and Eve. Jesus believed and spoke of Noah and the Flood. He said in Matthew 24:37, “As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the coming of the Son of Man.” And then there’s the story of Jonah, which Jesus also said was true. In Matthew 12:40, he said, “Just as Jonah was in the belly of a fish for three days and three nights, so must the Son of Man (Jesus) be in the belly of the earth for three days and three nights.” He anchored His entire Resurrection on the reality of that story. It is the Scripture, not man-made tradition, human regulation, papal decrees, or philosophical speculation upon which we build our lives, but upon God’s Word.
2. The Miracle of Preservation
It’s all well and good for God’s Word to have come directly from Him, but it would have done us no good had it not survived through the ages to reach us today. Scripture says in 1 Peter 1:25, “The Word of God abides and lives forever.” The Bible lives and it lasts. It is incorruptible, it is indestructible and it is indispensable. It is not antique or modern; it is eternal! It is not a museum piece, this Word of God, but it is living and active, and the writer of Hebrews says in chapter 4, verse 12, “sharper than a two-edged sword.”
This is because God breathed out His Word; His life is in His Word, and therefore, it’s like a seed that is incorruptible. The Bible has been banned; it has been burned; it has been banished; it has been buried, but it rises again and again, because it pulsates, it breathes with spiritual life. And the Word of God never fails. The Word of our God will last forever. It’s been discredited, denied, distorted, doubted, deluded, and dismissed, but it stands as the ever-living Word of God. There are places around the world the church is under persecution, but God’s Word continues to live. The critics come and go, but God’s Word continues to live. You can’t kill God’s Word because God’s life is in His Book.
So, God kept His Word for us, and you can count on the fact that what we have today is the Word of God. You can say, “Well, are there corruptions in there? Is it perfect? How did God preserve from the autographs, the originals?” You know, the Bible says in Psalm 119:89, “God’s Word is forever settled in heaven.” That’s where the autographs are. And what you hold in your hand is 99 percent perfect and pure in terms of the translations and the textural transmissions throughout the generations. That’s a study in and of itself! But you can trust the Bible in its preservation!
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3. The Miracle of Illumination
The psalmist said in Psalm 119, verse 18, “Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Your Law.” Before you can understand the Bible, your eyes must be opened. And the only way your eyes can be opened is for your heart to be opened to Jesus. Because the natural person has no inclination, desire, aptitude, or understanding of the Bible. If you have a nonbelieving friend, and you talk to them about the Bible, they’ll tell you, “I just don’t get it. I don’t understand it.” They’re not lying; they don’t get it. You can’t get it until God gets you and opens your mind and your heart!
One of my favorite stories is after the Resurrection when Jesus is walking with two disciples along the road to Emmaus. And because their eyes were blinded to the truth of the Resurrection, they didn’t know they were walking with Jesus. He somehow hid Himself from them. And so they’re walking along and talking to Him, and then He reveals Himself to them. And those men later said in Luke chapter 24, verse 32, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us when we walked with Him on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?”
The only way you can understand the Scripture is to have your mind opened by Jesus. If you’re closed-minded and closed off ... if you have no faith ... if you don’t have Jesus in your life, there is no light, and therefore there is no life! Without the Spirit of God to help, you have no ability to understand the Bible. But the Holy Spirit has been given to us as our Comforter, our Counselor; He is our guide. And Jesus said in John, chapter 16, verse 13, “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you to all truth.” And it is in John 14, “The Holy Spirit, the Helper, whom the Father will send you in My name ... He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
When I’m preaching the Word of God and someone is hearing it and thinking I’m speaking directly about him or her, that person might be tempted to look around and say, “Who told him about me? How did he know that?” Well, that’s the Word of God at work. That’s the Holy Spirit moving in the Scriptures, applying the Word of God to you and to me! What happens when the Holy Spirit moves in us, is that He gives us the lens to be able to see, interpret and understand God’s Word.
4. The Miracle of Transformation
When you read, study, and meditate on the Bible, it changes your life. God has put a miracle in your hands in the Bible. He also wants to put a miracle in your heart. The Bible is not about more information or education, but transformation, to change our lives and make us more like Christ. It’s not just an academic exercise. When you come to worship and hear the Word of God, or when you open the Scriptures on your own, you can hear from God! Beyond the voice of a man or a teacher.
God will speak to you if you ask Him, and change your life from the inside out, if you have a hunger for the Word of God. Jesus said in Matthew 4:4, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that flows from the heart of God.” Frankly, if you don’t have a hunger, an appetite, a desire for God’s Word, then you may not be a true Christian because God’s children have a heart and a hunger for His Word. We don’t all understand it, but there ought to be a spiritual hunger. As newborn babies, we should desire the milk of the Word, and move from the milk to the meat of the Word. Job said it this way in chapter 23, verse 12, “I have treasured your words... the words of your mouth more than my daily food.”
When you get into the Word of God, then the God of the Word gets into you. They say you are what you eat. And what you eat gives you energy. So when you eat the Bible, you’re energized for life. The physical food we eat gets into our blood, it gets into our bodies, it gets into our bones, and it gets into our very breath. The Word of God does the same spiritually! When we take in the Word of God, it gets in our blood, it gets in our body, it gets down deep in our bones, it gets in our brain, and it gets in our very breath! That’s the miracle of transformation.
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