If Jesus believed that Scripture was truthful and trustworthy who am I to disagree? His endorsement of the history and theology of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) is good enough for me. In fact, he placed his imprimatur on some of the stories modern skeptics find most challenging and controversial.
To Jesus, Adam and Eve were real persons created by God, Noah and the flood were histories, not mythology, Jonah and the great fish symbolized his death and resurrection, and Moses led the Hebrew nation through the wilderness. To our Lord, it was all true.
He quoted freely from the Old Testament Scriptures and stated that the human authors were inspired by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 22:43). When he frequently said, “It is written,” he was saying that the voice of Scripture was the voice of God speaking with continuing relevance for all time.
Three examples stand out
In Matthew 5;17-18, Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
Jesus is here speaking of the entire Old Testament, saying that it will find its fulfillment in him. The Lord’s point is that every detail of Scripture is important and will be fulfilled according to God’s purpose.
A second example is found in John 10:33-39. Jesus was engaged in a dialogue with his detractors. In a closely reasoned argument, he added a comment with which his enemies had to agree: “Scripture cannot be set aside” (v.35). He was stating his belief in the immutability and binding authority of the Bible. It cannot be annulled, canceled, or invalidated. Anglican Bishop J.C. Ryle commented, “Wherever the Scripture speaks plainly on any subject, there can be no question about it. The case is settled and decided.”
Then in Luke 24:13-35, we have the familiar account of the Lord’s appearance to two men on the road to Emmaus. V. 27 says, “Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Jesus staked his reputation as the Son of God and Messiah of Israel on the truthfulness of Scripture. His coming was prophesied in every section of the Hebrew Bible. He went on to say, “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms” (v.44).
“You have heard … But I say”
Not only did Jesus assume the divine origin and authority of the ancient Scriptures, but he claimed that his own words carried the same divine authority. In Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28 he compared his own words with the Old Testament: “You have heard … but I say to you.” Here Jesus placed his own words on the same level as Old Testament Scripture.
The Holy Spirit
In addition, he imparted authority to his chosen apostles who, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, would write the New Testament Scriptures. Before his death, the Lord promised them, “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). “The Spirit of truth, who goes out from the Father — he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27).
The New Testament is the testimony of the Holy Spirit about Jesus through his apostles. Their report about him in the gospels, the Acts, the letters, and the Revelation, is completely truthful and trustworthy. The apostle Paul stated, “The gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12). He wrote to another group of believers, “When you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it, not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
Jesus believed in the Bible. He wanted us to know that the Scriptures are the word of God revealing how we may be sure of eternal life. Just as Jesus is a divine-human savior, the Bible is a divine-human book. When we read it a divine Person is speaking to us. When we open our hearts in faith to him, he makes the message of God’s love and saving grace real in our lives. If Jesus believed in the Bible, it is reasonable for us to do the same.