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The Certainty of the Written Word of Truth
by  Richard Bennett and Robert J. Nicholson

 

The Lord Jesus Christ, in His great high priestly prayer, declared clearly the truth of God’s Word. He said, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” God’s Word not only contains the truth but rather it is truth itself. This is consistent with the declarations throughout the Old Testament in which the Holy Spirit continually proclaimed that the revelation from God is truth, as for example Psalm 119:142, “thy law is truth.” The Lord Himself therefore identified truth with the Written Word. There is no source, other than written Scripture alone, to which the statement, “thy word is truth” can apply. That source alone, the Holy Scripture, is the believer’s standard of truth.

In the New Testament, it is the Written Word of God, and that alone, to which the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles refer as the final authority. In the temptation, the Lord Jesus three times resisted Satan, saying, “It is written.” For example, in Matthew 4:4, “he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” In stating, “It is written”, the Lord used the very phrase that is used in the Holy Bible eighty times. The prevalence of this repeated phrase underlines its importance. The Lord’s complete acceptance of the authority of the Written Word is evident in His words found in Matthew 5:17-18,

“Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily, I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled.”

Other sources of authority condemned

Christ Jesus continually castigated and rebuked the Pharisees because they placed their tradition on a par with the Word of God. He condemned them because they were attempting to corrupt the very basis of truth by equating their traditions with the Word of God. He declared to them “[You are] making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such things do ye” (Mark 7:13). These traditions of the Pharisees were precepts, ordinances, and rules of religious belief and practice that had been developed by learned religious teachers over time. They had been passed on by word of mouth and by selectively edited writings. These traditions, oral and written, formed a body of cultural material that became an official set of interpretations and guidelines for religious life. Even the clear teaching of the Holy Scripture was being sifted through them and modified to suit men’s tastes and preferences. Furthermore, in refuting the errors of the Sadducees, the Scripture records the Lord saying, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Matthew 22:29). Unlike the Pharisees, who mistakenly considered themselves the loyal followers of Moses, the Sadducees were a radical party of religious liberals who had appropriated the thinking of Greek agnostic philosophers. They manufactured beliefs on the basis of what seemed reasonable to them rather than what had been revealed by God in His Word. However, since Scripture alone is inspired,[1] it alone is the ultimate authority, and it alone is the final judge of all human traditions and reasoning. The Word of the Lord says as a commandment in Proverbs 30:5, 6, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” God commands that we are not to add to His Word. This command shows emphatically that it is God’s Word, and God’s Word alone, that is pure and uncontaminated.