In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. This week’s question is ‘What is the word of God?’
The word of God is contained in the Bible which is made up of the Old and New Testaments. We know that the Bible is the word of God because the Bible itself makes very clear that the writings contained within it are not the writings of men alone but the writings of God.
For example, Peter affirms that the Old Testament prophetical books were written by God: ‘And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit’ (2 Peter 1:19-21). This is not to suggest that men had no role in the writing of these books, as though God used them like robots. But God oversaw these men with their gifts and spoke through them.
Peter also says that the writings of Paul are the words of God: ‘Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction’ (2 Peter 3:15-16). Here Peter calls Paul’s words ‘Scripture’, thus putting Paul’s writings on the same level as the Old Testament.
We also see Paul sum up all of Scripture as the word of God in 2 Timothy: ‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work’ (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Thus the Bible is not a human book, it is a divine book. So do you accept it as your only way to hear God’s voice? And do you obey God’s voice in the Bible by serving him through repentance and faith?