JESUS' THEOLOGY OF SCRIPTURE
There certainly is a spectrum of views today on how involved God was in the writing of Scriptures. While we have many thoughts on what exactly the Bible is, it’s safe to say that Jesus had a higher view than any of us.
The only Bible Jesus’ knew was the Old Testament. In Judaism, there had been a gap of 400 years since a prophet was in their midst with a fresh message from God. While his ministry, death and resurrection would proclaim a new covenant agreement with God and man, Jesus did not simply set aside the old text and come up with a more humane human version of thought.
Jesus was not conflicted with God as revealed in the Old Testament. He never once said, “That doesn’t count, because it’s Old Testament.” What he did do was reveal how the Old Testament leads us to Himself. He fulfilled (met the requirements of) the Law. He fulfilled the Messianic vision of the Prophets. The Old Testament matters to us in its preparing the way of the Lord, a straight path through the bumpy desert leading us to God.
Dr. Gary Habermas, professor of philosophy and theology wrote:
Jesus referred to the Old Testament not simply as a time-honoured human document. Rather, He called it the very command and words of God. True, humans like Moses and David penned the text, but God still spoke through them. In citing the Scriptures, Jesus believed that He was reporting the very message of God. The Word of God was the expression of God's truth.
Seen from various angles, this is indeed a high view of inspiration. We conclude that Jesus definitely accepted the inspiration of the Old Testament. It is very difficult to do otherwise.
So what about the New Testament? If Jesus only had the Old to refer to, would he approve of the New?
Dr. Habermas makes the case for the inspiration of the New Testament with four key ideas:
1. Jesus taught his disciples that they were his designated witnesses and spokesmen.
2. Jesus also promised His disciples the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
3. As the New Testament writers penned their words, they recognized that they were inspired. They claimed Jesus' twofold promise.
4. Comparing a quote from the Law to one found in the teachings of Jesus, and calling them both Scripture, is certainly significant, and for more than one reason. It shows some conviction that the existing canon of inspired texts, consisting only of Old Testament writings, is not the end of the matter.
Time and skill do not permit me to expand these to Dr. Habermas’ full writing on the subject. You can research this on his website if you want to dig in. I simply bring his scholarly thought to bear on the matter of inspired Scripture.
When you meditate on Scripture, you are entering the world of God at work. While we do not idolize the book that contains the writings, we worship the One who inspired the writers and the text. The message emanates from and leads us back to God. For that, we become students and disciples and call this Bible holy.
I leave you with the words of Paul to his protégé in the faith Timothy: