What is the Bible and why was it given to mankind? God spoke his Word to people to write down. The Bible is the sole objective source of all God has given us about Himself, his creation, and His plan for humanity.
As a new Christian, it is important and necessary to begin reading the Bible. There are many translations (different ways of explaining or interpreting) and numerous places to start. While there is no perfect translation, we recommend you choose a Bible that is easy for you to understand and is faithful to the original language it was written in. To sample some of today’s popular translations, you can go to websites such as BibleGateway.com or YouVersion.com. We recommend that you begin your reading with the Gospel of John or one of the other three Gospels (Matthew, Mark or Luke) to read for yourself what Jesus taught and did during His time on earth. Other articles on GotQuestions.org will help you answer the practical questions you have about God and spiritual issues. The Bible teaches, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Is the Bible truly authoritative (having the authority as God’s words to mankind) and perfect? Yes, it is. The Bible is infallible which means “incapable of error”. If something is infallible, it is never wrong and thus absolutely trustworthy. Similarly, the word inerrant, also applied to Scripture, means “free from error.” Simply put, the Bible never fails.
The Bible claims to be infallible in 2 Peter 1:19, “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable.” Peter continues with a description of how Scripture came to be: “No prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20–21).
Also, we see infallibility implied in 2 Timothy 3:16–17, “All Scripture is God-breathed” and has the effect of producing servants of God who are “thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The fact that God “breathed” Scripture insures that the Bible is infallible, for God cannot breathe out error. The fact that the Bible equips God’s servants “thoroughly” for service shows that it guides us into truth, not error.
If God is infallible, then so will be His Word. The teaching of Scripture’s infallibility is based on an understanding of God’s perfection of character. God’s Word is “perfect, refreshing the soul” (Psalm 19:7) because God Himself is perfect. God is closely associated with His Word; the Lord Jesus is called “the Word” (John 1:14).
It should be noted that the teaching of infallibility concerns only the original documents. Mistranslations, printing errors, and typos are obvious human mistakes and are easily spotted, most of the time. However, what the biblical writers originally wrote was completely free from error or missing something, as the Spirit directed their task. God is truthful and perfectly reliable (John 14:6; 17:3), and so is His Word (John 17:17).
The Bible claims complete (as opposed to partial) perfection in Psalm 12:6, Psalm 19:7, Proverbs 30:5, and many other places. It is factual throughout and, in fact, judges us (rather than vice-versa), “The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
In summary, as God’s infallible Word, the Bible is inerrant, authoritative, reliable, and sufficient to meet our needs. But reading the Bible does not necessarily bring us closer to God. A real relationship with God also includes the habit of prayer, the topic of the next lesson.
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