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Asked Questions about the Bible
recently read somewhere that the Bible is the book that has been sold
more than any other book. Also, it has been translated in almost any
language of the world. Although one would expect that after so much
interest, there would be no questions regarding the author of the Bible,
how the Bible was written, what is its usefulness and what is its right
interpretation, unfortunately this does not happen. The reason is
because when it comes to such questions, people do anything else except
of trying to learn from the information that the Bible gives for itself.
The obvious result is confusion that you cannot get rid of except by
doing what would be done for any other book i.e. by searching for and
trusting the information that the book gives for itself. The purpose of
this article is to search for this information so that we no longer be
ignorant of the truth.
1. Who is the
author of the Bible?
To find the answer to this
very important question we will go to II Timothy 3:16. There it says:
II Timothy 3:16
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God...."
word "Scripture" in the above passage is another name for the
book that today we call Bible. In other words, the name that the book
that we are speaking about gives to itself is "Scripture". The
name "Bible" is of later origin. As long as it is clear that
Scripture and Bible are synonyms, we can use both of these terms
Thus what the above verse tells us
is that all the Bible was given by inspiration of God. The phrase
"by inspiration of God" is actually one word in the Greek
text, the word "theopneustos". This word is composed by the
word "theos" that means God and the word "pneustos"
that means breathed. Therefore, when the Bible says that it is "theopneustos"
what it means is that it is "God-breathed" which in turn means
that it came out of the breath of God and consequently it is God's
product. Hence: Author of the Bible is God who breathed it or
2. How was the
Having seen that the
Bible is a book whose author is God, an obvious question is how did He
write it? A connected question that many may ask is: "How is it
that God is the author of the Bible since what I read was written by
Paul, John etc.?" Again, we cannot receive valid answers to these
questions but only by searching the book. So, II Peter 1:20-21 tells us:
II Peter 1:20-21
"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any
private interpretation, for the prophecy never came by the will of man,
but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy
we examine this passage, we must first make sure that we fully
understand what "prophecy of the Scripture" means. The reason
that I say this is because the word prophecy is used today only for the
foretelling of things. However, this is not the only Biblical usage of
this word. Biblically speaking, "to prophesy" means to speak
things that come directly from the spiritual ground1.
Whether what is spoken is about the future or not is irrelevant.
Having clarified what prophecy
means, we can easily understand what "prophecy of the
Scripture" means: it means the Bible as the sum of the separate
prophecies that compose it. Thus, what II Peter tells us is that no part
of the Bible came by the will of man. This means that it wasn't Paul for
example, that one day decided to sit down and write a letter to
Ephesians. If it happened like this, Ephesians would be written by the
will of man which the Bible precludes. To find how Paul and the others
made their contributions to the Bible we do not have but to continue
reading in the same passage. The answer is in the latter part of verse
21 where we are told that the prophecy of the Scripture i.e. the Bible
was written by holy men of God who spoke as
they were moved by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, who wrote the
Bible? Holy men of God. How did they write it? As they were moved by God
Who is the Holy Spirit. And if you ask how did God move them, Galatians
gives us the answer for the case of Paul which is also the same for all
"I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not
something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I
taught it; rather I RECEIVED IT BY REVELATION..."
way that God moved those people was not by possession for God never
possesses (I Corinthians 14:32-33). Instead, it was by revelation. In
other words, God told Paul what to write and Paul sat down and
wrote it. Who therefore wrote Galatians? Paul. Whose ideas and the
signature Galatians bears? God's. Hence, who is the author? God is the
author. What were men like Paul and the others that contributed to the
Bible? They were writers that wrote down what the author, God, told
them. That's why the Bible, though it was written by many, has one and
the same author: GOD. It is like the director and the secretary. The
secretary writes down what the director tells her. Who does the writing?
The secretary. Whose ideas it contains? The director's. And as a
director can have many secretaries so God had many writers to write down
what He wanted.
therefore: All the Bible or Scripture is God-breathed and it was written
by people as they were moved by God i.e. by revelation.
3. What is the
usefulness of the Bible ?
For one more time valid
answers can come only by searching the book. So, II Timothy 3:16 tells
II Timothy 3:16
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (i.e it is
God-breathed) and IS PROFITABLE..."
first piece of information regarding the usefulness of the Bible is that
the Bible is indeed profitable. Reading a bit more we will also see what
is its profitability:
II Timothy 3:16-17
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly equipped
for every good work."
The first thing that the
Bible is useful for is doctrine or teaching. This is especially
significant since when it comes to God, people usually follow the
teaching of traditions or the teaching of what the society considers as
"the right source of religious teaching". Hence, for many the
teaching about God comes from the priest, the family, the school etc.
There is no problem with any of these sources IF they teach what
the Bible teaches. Unfortunately, often this does not happen in which
case the teaching that is received through these sources may be
religious or sincere but WRONG because it is not in agreement with the
teaching that God gives in the Bible.
An example of the Bible used for
teaching is the subject of salvation. The answer that the Bible gives to
this topic is very clear:
"That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in
your heart that God has raised him from the dead , you will be
"For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of
yourselves; it is the gift of God, NOT of works, lest anyone
it be stated clearer that to be saved what you need is not good works
but to believe that Jesus is Lord and God raised him from the dead? If
your school, your pastor, your family supports something else, whose
teaching are you going to follow? The teaching of the Bible or the
teachings of the various men whoever they are? I prefer the teaching of
the Bible, for only the Bible is profitable for teaching.
Except for teaching, the
Bible is also profitable for reproof and correction. This means that the
Bible is able to tell us if we are wrong and where we are wrong.
Therefore, if I believed that salvation is given by works, or by
believing plus some good works, or by I do not know what else except by
believing that Jesus is Lord and God raised him from the dead what I
would need is reproof and correction. The above verse of Romans 10:9 is
again useful for this purpose since, if I didn't believe what it says,
it tells me that I'm wrong by stating the right. Thus it teaches me, it
reproves me and it corrects and all these in one and the same verse.
Another example is Ephesians 4:31:
"Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, and evil speaking be
put away from you with all malice."
I'm bitter, wrathful etc. the Bible tells me that this is wrong. And do
you know why it is wrong? Not because the society or the moral system of
the world defines it as wrong but because GOD in His Word defines it as
wrong. To find what is wrong or right you do not need to know and to
follow the world's system of morals. What you do need to know and to
follow is the Word of God.
The third thing that the
Bible is useful for is correction. Correction is always a necessary
complement to any reproof. With the reproof we see where we are wrong,
while with the correction we know what is the right thing to do. In the
case of Ephesians 4:31 it is enough to go one verse further to receive
after the reproof, the correction. Thus Ephesians 4:32 tells us:
"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
even as God in Christ forgave you"
these that the Bible is profitable for i.e. teaching, reproof,
correction make it profitable for instruction in righteousness or, as
the Greek reads, for training in righteousness.
the man of God be perfect, throughly equipped for every good work"
The reason that God gave
the Bible, which is useful for all these things, is that the man of God
be PERFECT. This means that you cannot be perfect but only by putting on
what the Bible says.
The passage also tells us that the
Bible was given that the man of God be "throughly equipped for
every good work". The good works that are meant here are not good
works that YOU have "prepared" for God. For God the only works
that are really good are the "good works that GOD prepared
beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). To be
ready or throughly equipped for these good works what you need is God's
textbook: the Bible.
4. What is the
right interpretation of the Bible?
Having already answered
three of the most basic questions regarding the Bible, we can now go one
step further to examine another big question that has been the source of
great confusion. This question refers to the interpretation of the
Bible. The need for a right answer to this question is shown by the fact
that there are hundreds of denominations that all claim that follow the
Bible and yet they have great differences from each other. As with the
previous questions, we must go to the Bible to see what the Bible
suggests regarding its interpretation.
The responsibility of each Christian
regarding the interpretation of the Word of God is given in II Timothy
II Timothy 2:15
"Study to show yourself approved to God a worker who does not need
to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
word of truth is the Word of God i.e. the Bible. As the above verse
tells us, we are responsible before God to rightly divide His Word. The
Greek word that is translated "rightly dividing" in the New
King James Version is the word "orthotomounta". This word is
composed by the noun "orthos" that means "perfectly right
or straight" and the verb "tomo" that means "to
cut". Thus "orthotomounta the word of truth" means
"cutting perfectly right the word of truth". Now for God to
calls us to cut perfectly right His Word this means that you cannot have
three or even two cuttings and all of them be perfectly right, for a
case like this would be equivalent to multiple different interpretations
of the Word of God and therefore contradictions. This fact is impossible
by definition of the Bible as the Word of the One perfect God. To find
what this perfectly right cutting of the Word of God is, we do not have
but to read a passage that we also examined earlier:
II Peter 1:20
"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any
private interpretation, for the prophecy never came by the will of man:
but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy
already know that "prophecy of the Scripture" means all the
Scripture i.e. all the Bible. According to the above passage, nothing in
the Bible is of any private interpretation. Now, since private
interpretation is precluded, the only alternative is that the Bible
interprets itself i.e. it is self-interpreted. This means that we are
not permitted to go to the Bible and give our own interpretations.
Instead we are obligated, if we want to present ourselves approved to
God, to follow the interpretation that the Bible gives to itself. In
other words, you are not the one that defines the perfectly right
cutting of the Word of God. It is the Bible that has defined it by
interpreting itself. Your responsibility before God is to find
this perfectly right cutting.
Therefore, the answer to the
question: "which interpretation of the Bible is right" is: the
interpretation that the Bible gives to itself. Whether this
interpretation agrees or not with the denominations or the traditions
this must not have any significance for you. For you what must have
significance is to study to show yourself approved to God and to
do this you must search for the interpretation that the Bible gives to
importance of accuracy illustrated by two examples
We have already seen that
the Bible is the Word of God and it was given directly from God by
revelation. This shows that any alteration through additions, deletions
and generally distortions degrades the Word of God and makes it no more
Word of God. The same is true for wrong divisions of the Word: you have
Word of God to the extent that you have rightly divided it. Below we
will present two examples that will make clear the importance as well as
the consequences of failure to rightly divide the Word of God.
5.1 Eve and
The first example is from
the very early history of man. God had already made man giving him power
over all the earth (Genesis 1:28) and putting only one restriction to
him. This restriction is given in Genesis 2:16-17
"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the
garden you may freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil, you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall
is what God said i.e. this is the word of God. Let's now go to chapter
"Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which
the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed
said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
this verse, the serpent, which is another name for the devil2,
tempts the woman. As we can see, he didn't reveal his true face from the
beginning. Instead, he started with a question: "Has God indeed
said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" Did he know
what God said? Certainly yes. However, he tries to put doubts in the
mind of the woman about it. This strategy hasn't changed at all. Indeed,
how many people have come through the centuries that have spent their
lives trying to challenge God's people about what God said, exactly as
the devil did? And they will always succeed as long as the people of God
are inaccurate in what they know from the Word of God. That's why it is
needed to rightly divide and to know accurately what the Word of God
says. Unfortunately, the woman didn't do that. See her answer in verses
2 and 3:
"And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat the fruit of the
trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst
of the garden, God has said You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch
it, lest you die."
first glance, what the woman said seems pretty accurate. However a
simple comparison with what God said can easily prove that it is not.
Indeed, while she said: "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the
garden", God said: "Of every tree of the garden you may freely
eat". Evidently, she omitted the word "freely". Now you
may say "Oh that's nothing. It doesn't matter". But if it
doesn't matter then why God said it? Everything that God says matters.
Every word of the Bible is there because God wanted so and therefore
it is equally word of God. Returning to Eve, her omission was
just the beginning. Verse 3: "But of the fruit of the tree
which is in the midst of the garden, God has said "You shall
not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest ye die." Is this really
something that "God has said"? No because He never said
"nor shall you touch it". Moreover, He didn't simply say
"lest (probably, sometime) you die" but He stated emphatically
that "in the day (in that very day) that you eat of
it you shall surely die." Thus, since God is right in everything He
says, something had to die that day3.
But see what the woman did: she initially omitted a word, then she added
a phrase, and finally she took away the emphasis from what God said.
Therefore, what she said was no more than a distortion of the word of
God. Now, when the devil saw that she was wrong in what she knew from
the word of God, he showed his true colours: "Then the serpent said
to the woman, You shall not surely die". See the contradiction to
what God said: God said: "you shall surely die". Devil said:
"You shall not surely die". Isn't interesting that it takes
just the addition of a small word , the word "not", to arrive
to such a contradiction with the Word of God? You may think that this
has changed today but it hasn't. For example, for thousands of years God
says: "For by grace you are saved through faith; .....not of works
lest anyone should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, for millions
of people it is the exact opposite: "by works". Guess who is
the one that made this "not of works" of Ephesians 2:8-9
non-existent for those millions of people? The same one that added the
"not" in Genesis 3. Unfortunately, this is not the only
example of wrong division of the Word of God. There are many others
equally serious that would have been avoided if instead of following
various traditions, we rightly divided the Word of God.
5.2 Jesus and
After the above rather
sad example, let's examine a more pleasant one in Matthew 4:1-11:
"Then was Jesus led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be
tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty
nights, afterward he was hungry. Now when the tempter came to him, he
said, "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become
we say anything else, how do you think that the devil spoke to Jesus
Christ here? For many years, because of religious influence, I tended to
think that a dark-skin being with two horns, is speaking here. But where
does the Bible describes the devil like this? Nowhere. According to the
Bible, the devil is a spirit being, a fallen angel, that has no material
substance. How therefore did the devil speak here? The answer is
obvious: by revelation. And if he managed to do that with Jesus he
surely can do that with the others of us. Therefore, it is not enough
that something comes from the spiritual ground. It must also come from
the right source of the spiritual ground. Something that comes from
God is always in alignment with the Bible and it is a blessing in the
short-term, in the mid-term and in the long-term. Something that comes
from the devil sooner or later will end up in tears, confusion and
contradictions of the situation to what the Word says. Needless to
say, this mistake would have been avoided if I didn't read my ideas into
the Bible. Also, I would have avoided the troubles that devil caused me
exploiting my ignorance.
Returning to our example, see that
the pattern that devil follows is the same as in the previous example.
He again tries to challenge what God said and which was that Jesus is
the Son of God (Matthew 3:17). Did the devil know that Jesus was the Son
of God? Surely he knew it. But he tries to make him doubt his true
identity. How did Jesus answer to the devil? Verse 4 tells us:
"But he answered and said, IT IS WRITTEN man shall
not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth
face the temptation Jesus knew that what he needed was the Word of God.
Look how sharp he was: his first words were "it is written.."
and he quoted the passage of the Bible that was relative to the
temptation. That's how he defeated the devil and that's how you and I
can also defeat him.
The devil having failed in the first
temptation continues to a second one. The pattern is the same:
"Then the devil took him up into the holy city, set him on the
pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "if you are the Son of
God, throw yourself down: for it is written, "He shall give his
angels charge over you": and "in their hands they shall bear
you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone."
the above passage makes clear, the devil can also use the Bible.
However, he uses it deceitfully. What devil quoted is from Psalms
91:11-12. If you compare this passage with what devil quoted, you will
see that he omitted the phrase "in your ways". Moreover, he deliberately made a private
interpretation of the Word of God asking Jesus Christ to throw himself
down because, as he said, ....it was written. That's an example of what
kind of conclusions one can get if he wrongly divides the Word of God.
See now how Jesus Christ reacted:
"Jesus said to him, "It is written again you shall not tempt
the Lord your God"
Christ divided the Word of God rightly. You cannot take what
the Word of God says in one point, separately from what it says in other
points for the same topic. Thus, by leaving the Scripture to
interpret itself, Jesus Christ defeated the devil second time. But the
"Again the devil took him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and
showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; And he said to
him, all these things I will give you, if you will fall down and worship
the devil plays his last card. He gives everything and requires direct
worship. Let's see Jesus Christ's reaction:
"Then Jesus said to him, Away with you, Satan: for IT IS WRITTEN
"You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall
people say "Away with you Satan" when they feel his pressure
and presence. But Jesus Christ didn't stop there. He also added:
"IT IS WRITTEN......." stating accurately what the Word of God
says about the object of worship. The result of Jesus Christ tactic is
given in verse 11:
"Then the devil left him"
you think that the devil would leave him if Jesus Christ hadn't faced
him the way that he did? I do not think so. As James 4:7 says, the only
way to get rid of the devil is to resist him:
"Resist the devil and he will flee from you".
Christ's example tells us that to resist the devil you must know
accurately and apply with consistency the Word of God. Eve didn't do
that. The results are well-known. You and I must determine what are we
going to do? Shall we rightly divide the Word of God independently of
doctrines of men and denominational views or we will follow man-made
traditions? As it concerns God, there is no more than one right choice: "Study
to show yourself approved to God a worker who does not need to be
ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
1. Since there are two
forces in the spiritual ground, the Bible discriminates between the true
prophecy that comes from God the Father of Jesus Christ and the false
prophecy that comes from the enemy of God the devil (press
here to return where you stopped).
20:1-2 (press here to return where you stopped)
3. To find what died in
that day the reader is referred to The
Journal of Biblical Accuracy, Vol.1, Iss.5, 6. (press
here to return where you stopped)
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