Breathed Out by God: The Supremacy of Scripture

pexels-photo-250609All Scripture is supreme in the life of the church and in the lives of every believer. This truth is summed up in one phrase: All Scripture is God-breathed.

Scripture has a Divine Origin

What does the phrase “breathed out by God,” or “God-breathed” mean? Concerning the authority of Scripture, Wayne Grudem writes in his Systematic Theology, “The authority of Scripture means that all the words in Scripture are God’s words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God.” There is an intrinsic and special connection between God and Scripture because Paul says that all Scripture is the very words of God.

“Breathed out by God” in this context seems to be a metaphor for speaking the words of Scripture. Unlike all other books that have ever been written, the Bible has at its core divine DNA. It comes to us through human agents, but its content is very specifically, the words from God. Notice that Paul writes that it is Scripture that is inspired by God, not the authors. Timothy can be certain that every word that he preaches is from God and not from man (2 Tim. 4:2). Because Scripture is God-breathed, this indicates that it is also completely truthful and holy.

Any book written today must stand the test of peer review and evaluation in light of similar works in that particular field in order to substantiate the claims of that book. This is because authors are flawed, no matter how gifted. However, when it comes to the holy Scripture, its Author is the opposite of flawed. The reason you see “Holy Bible” written on the front or side of your Bible is because it is the direct product of an infinitely holy God. The character of this Word reflects the character of the one who spoke it. And the supremacy of the Bible is self-evident as it attests to the supreme Being who created heaven and earth.

This means that when it comes to Scripture, there is no higher authority for the church and there is no higher authority for our lives as believers. We must submit to every single text of Scripture as it is all from God. To disobey Scripture is to disobey God.

Amazing Grace

Will you just stop with me for a moment to consider and marvel at this thought? The book that you hold in your hand is not just any book. It is a book in which every single word is God-breathed or uniquely intended by God to be written in a specific time by a specific writer. We should hold this book in the highest esteem and approach it with fear and trembling. It is not a plaything to be tossed around or a worldly work to be treated lightly. These words that we are reading and studying are from the One who created the Milky Way galaxy and the amoeba. May we never be flippant or silly with this Word. And may we always fall before this Word in submission and worship because of its unbelievably God-like nature. What unfathomable love! What amazing grace!

Three Striking Implications

In light of the supremacy of Scripture, there are three striking implications for the church and Christians today.

1. No text of Scripture is insignificant

All Scripture is God-breathed, and therefore contains a divine element that demands attention and submission. It is all-important and all vital for our faith and for the satisfaction of our souls. Man cannot live on bread alone (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4).

2. No text of Scripture is more authoritative than any other

For example, if Jesus did not say something, but Paul did, this does not mean that it lacks authority because Jesus didn’t say it. All Scripture is God-breathed.

3. No text of Scripture can be ignored

This impacts our preaching and Bible study. Do not only preach or study the four Gospels. Do not only preach or study the New Testament. Instead, recognizing that all Scripture is God-breathed, we must give ourselves to the preaching and reading and studying of both testaments and all 66 writings. If the pastor asks you to turn to Ezra or a Psalm or Leviticus, do not turn him off. If your daily reading is in Deuteronomy or 2 Chronicles or Romans, do not blow it off. Two lines out of Leviticus or two pages of genealogies out of Nehemiah contain more intrinsic worth and power than an entire book written by C.S. Lewis or J.K. Rowling because Leviticus and Nehemiah have the imprint of God himself.

We are not at liberty to pick and choose to obey only those passages that agree with our finite philosophies or wishes. Scripture is not subject to our will, but rather to the will of the one from whom it is breathed out! All Scripture is from the Spirit of God and because of this it is all holy and good and true. This means that when we come to difficult passages, we do not have the option to disregard it or deny it, for when we do so, we are denying God himself. It is therefore important to learn how to study the Bible. Yes, you want to wield a sword when an enemy attacks you, but if you do not know how to wield it correctly, you are great risk of maiming yourself. In the same way, if we do not know how to properly wield the Sword of Truth, we will only be maiming our souls.

Advertisements

Expositional Devotions: Mark 16:1-4

aaron-burden-113284Do you want to know what I hated most about school? I hated the end of PE and recess. You know what it’s like. You are running and playing and laughing. Maybe you just started a new game with your friends. But whatever the case, you hear that loud whistle! Or, that loud shout, “Line Up!” You have to stop what you are doing and go back to class. Nothing would upset me more than leaving a game unfinished. When recess or PE was over, it dampened my day.

Well, on a much, much greater level, all of Jesus’ disciples were deeply saddened when Jesus died. They didn’t know all we know about Jesus’ death and what it meant for them. They thought Jesus was going to save the world and rule as a King, but they never thought he would take his kingdom by dying.

When Jesus died on the cross it was like a loud whistle blowing to stop all of the disciples’ hopes and dreams. Their leader, friend, savior, and God was dead. They saw him arrested. They saw him mocked. They saw him beaten. They saw him crucified. They saw his body taken off a cross. They saw him placed in a tomb. As far as they knew, it was all over.

Can you imagine what must have been going through their minds? Jesus had made claims to being God and the Messiah who would save his people from their sins. They must have at least thought, “Maybe he was not who he said he was.” Now, they trembled alone and afraid. They were scared because they knew what was probably coming. Their leader had been arrested. The religious leaders hated him. Their next move would have been to silence Jesus’ followers. I’m sure the disciples could not understand why the one they had fully trusted and followed for three years was lying dead in a tomb.

But that is exactly the point of our passage today. Jesus was dead and buried. Dead. Buried. Three women tried to honor the body of Jesus by bringing spices to anoint him. They waited because they were not able to buy the spices and oils necessary to anoint the body on the Sabbath. When they arrived at the tomb, they were wondering how they would be able to move the stone to gain access to Jesus’ body. What is the main point? Jesus is clearly dead.

The difference between the first disciples and us is massive—about 2,000 years! We have the privilege to know just what the death of Jesus means. While the first disciples were afraid when they learned of Jesus’ death, we can be confident and courageous! Satan’s day ended the day Jesus died.

As Jesus’ lay dead and motionless in the tomb on Saturday, he was in the process of unleashing all the power that sin and death hold over us. As you read about the death and burial of Jesus, do so with total joy, knowing what those first disciples did not know—that the one who lies dead in the tomb has given new life to all who come to him in repentance and faith.

Main Idea

As Jesus’ lay dead and motionless in the tomb on Saturday, he was in the process of unleashing all the power that sin and death hold over us.

Discussion Starter

Why is it important that we have this evidence that Jesus was actually dead?

Prayer Points

Thank the Lord that Jesus was truly dead, so that we can truly live.

Expositional Devotions: Esther 9:16-19

Think of moments of great celebration in your life. Not birthday parties or family reunions. Has there been a day or event in your life that has been cause for special celebration? For some, it is the day they learn they have beaten cancer. For others, it is the birth of a child after years of infertility. Still for some it may be the return of a loved one from a distant battlefield. What day is of special significance in your family that leads to feasting and rejoicing?

After the fighting in Susa had ceased and the enemies of the Jews had been vanquished, there was peace and joy and feasting. A day of true and final salvation had come. The streets of Susa were filled with gladness. Every Jew in every village in the Persian Empire was celebrating their victory over their enemies.

The Jews in Persia did what any nation does after winning a war—they rejoiced. Peace and freedom from their foes had been accomplished. After two days of fighting, the Jews rested and decided to commemorate their rest. The same way we make certain days holidays, the Jews chose to mark their day of rest and victory as a kind of holiday—a day of feasting and gladness.

The Jews have gone from a marginalized and hated people to a celebrated and elevated people. Two of the three most powerful people in the Persian Empire were Jews. Some Persians pretended to be Jews just to stay on the side of the victors. The fear of the Jews spread throughout the kingdom. They finally received the honor that they lacked as exiles.

But, this Jewish feasting and celebrating is merely a glimpse into the celebration that will commence in the New Earth after Christ finally and forever vanquishes his enemies. On that day when sin and death are no more, we will celebrate at a feast like no other with our God who will reign over and with us forevermore. The victory of the Lamb over sin and death is a victory worthy of an eternal celebration. This victory brings true and lasting peace and freedom. In the words of John in Revelation 21,

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Main Idea
God’s victory over sin and death leads to feasting and rejoicing with him.

Discussion Starters
How does knowing that you will one day feast and rejoice with God help you when life gets tough now?

Prayer Points
Ask God for help to look forward to the New Earth when life in the old Earth is hard.


17498999_1870940272931412_6999370580315029592_nMathew Gilbert is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminaryand the author ofCome to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God. Mathew and his wife, Erica, live in Tupelo with their two boys, Jude and Jack.

Expositional Devotions: Esther 9:1-5

Last Sunday night, Kentucky’s men’s basketball team played one of their biggest rivals, North Carolina, for a chance to go to the Final Four. We were just two games away from the National Championship. Kentucky tied the game with only ten seconds remaining. Kentucky fans everywhere, including those of us in Tupelo, were jumping and cheering for joy. However, just ten seconds later everything changed. One of North Carolina’s player’s hit a last second shot to win the game. The player everyone least suspected ended Kentucky’s hope for victory. The tables were turned on my Wildcats last week in dramatic fashion.

The Jews in Esther have experienced a reversal, or turning of the tables, far more dramatic than a basketball game. They have literally gone from fearing death to being feared. They have gone from running for their lives to running after those who would take their lives. Reversals do not get more ironic than the one we see play out in Esther 9. You’ve read, or at least heard of, books with perfect endings, right? Well, the ending of Esther is about as perfect as it gets. In fact, this story is so perfectly constructed that it’s hard to believe it’s real! It’s almost as if someone was intentionally orchestrating events to bring about this particular ending. Weird!

On the very same day that Haman’s plan for the destruction of the Jews was to be enforced, Mordecai’s plan for the protection of the Jews would win the day. In the words of the author of Esther, “the reverse occurred.” The Jews “gained mastery over those who hated them.” Those who were fighting in the name of Haman would meet his fate.

Not only do we see how God sovereignly reverses the fate of his people, but we see that God always conquers his enemies and the enemies of his people. Christ is a valiant warrior-king who tramples his enemies beneath his feet. He is the victorious snake-crusher of Genesis 3:15. While no one could stand against the Jews in Susa, no one in heaven or earth or under the earth will be able to stand against Christ the Lord.

Those who oppose Christ through unbelief now will be overcome by Christ later. Oh, but those who submit to Christ through faith now already walk in victory in the one who has overcome their greatest enemies—sin and death.


17498999_1870940272931412_6999370580315029592_nMathew Gilbert is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God. Mathew and his wife, Erica, live in Tupelo with their two boys, Jude and Jack.

Morning Mashup 08/26

Morning Mashup

A daily mashup of Kindle deals, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


KINDLE DEALS

Romans (The Story of God Bible Commentary) | Michael Bird | $7.99

41UBw6wLtiL

How to Read the Bible Book by Book: A Guided Tour | Gordon Fee | $4.99

7158ZhFUq6L

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth: Fourth Edition | Gordon Fee & Douglas Stuart | $4.99

41G5h1eWjEL

ARTICLES

VIDEOS

Morning Mashup 08/16

1451631120721

A daily mashup of Kindle deals, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


KINDLE DEALS

Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry, Updated and Expanded Edition | John Piper | $0.99

518DWzhjgaL

Read the Bible for Life: Your Guide to Understanding and Living God’s Word | George Guthrie | $2.99

51fJWJlgmYL

The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected | Nik Ripken | $0.99

41HnxVCd8HL

The Insanity of Obedience: Walking with Jesus in Tough Places | Nik Ripken | $0.99

51UBgLxG4LL

ARTICLES

Greater Than Gold | David Boudia

The thought of another Olympics and the potential aftermath intimidates me a little. I’ve walked through the challenges that came in the aftermath of a gold medal in London, and I know how easy it is to believe the lies that come with such exposure. I understand now, however, what to expect if God chooses to put me in the position to win gold again. I hope you’ve encountered something in my story that connects to your life and your circumstances. Allow me to leave you with a few final encouragements that God has revealed to me and that have been beneficial to my walk…

The Watchmen | Alan Jacobs

Excellent essay on Christian intellectuals.

The Value of Marrying Young | Albert Mohler

Albert Mohler explains how our culture devalues marriage and why young people delay matrimony. He encourages Christians to avoid this societal trend by marrying young and pursuing adulthood as a couple.

Read Books of the Bible in One Sitting | Andy Naselli

Here’s my latest ally for why you should read books of the Bible in one sitting…

Your Church is Not Your Platform | Timothy Paul Jones

It is a privilege to lead the people of God—but the privilege of being a leader of God’s people never transforms the people into the leader’s property. 

The One Really Good Reason I Serve in Children’s Ministry | Aaron Armstrong

I serve in children’s ministry because I get to teach kids the Bible and be a part of making disciples. Children’s ministry is not (or shouldn’t be) the church’s babysitting ministry. It’s not telling nice stories where you’re a David or a Daniel. It is intentional evangelism and discipleship.

VIDEOS

Morning Mashup 07/12

1451631120721

A daily mashup of Kindle deals, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


KINDLE DEALS

Family Worship: In the Bible, In History, and In Your Home | Don Whitney | $3.99

Family Worship Book

Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Family Members, Close Friends, and Others Who Know You Well | Randy Newman | $2.99

Bringing the Gospel Home Book

ARTICLES

What’s Going On? | Tony Carter

“Brothers and sisters, we are pro-life, not simply because black lives matter, or blue lives matter, or unborn lives matter, but because Christ matters, the kingdom of God matters. We are pro-life because God is. Let us not make it a black thing (though the world does), and let us not make it simply a justice thing (though it is that). But let’s always make it a God thing, because it is. Let’s make it a Christ thing. And remember Christ is no respecter of person, race, or class.”

Alcohol Abuse, Perry Noble, and the Church’s Response | Ed Stetzer

Grieved by numerous pastoral moral failures in recent months. I’ve openly disagreed with much of Perry Noble’s ministry, but the news of his struggles with alcoholism and his removal as pastor has only led me to bow my head in sorrow and prayer.

Church Attendance Spikes Nationwide Due to Influx of Pokemon GO Players | Babylon Bee

You can always count on the Bee for much needed comic relief!

Grieving Racial Injustice as Citizens of the Kingdom of God | Jarvis Williams

“Christians, we must not hate, although we mourn. We must not fight violence with violence, although we want justice for all of the lives lost last week, and over the weekend. But we must hold fast and hold forth the life giving and life changing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, with our words and with our actions. And we must seek to live in community with our brothers and sisters in Christ who don’t share our ethnic postures so that the world might see that we love Jesus, that we belong to Jesus, that we love one another, and that we are citizens of the already-not-yet kingdom of God.”

Two Kinds of Voting, Two Kinds of Disruption, and Two Kinds of Unrighteousness | Sen. Ben Sasse

Thank you, Senator Sasse. This needed to be said.

The Playschool Tragedy for Twentysomethings | Marshall Segal

“We all live for something. Some purpose statement hides beneath all our desires and decisions, whether we know it or not. We do everything we do out of love — for something or someone. The question is whether that purpose (or person) is worth all the time, money, and energy we’re spending.”

You Are Smart Enough to Study the Bible | Ryan Higginbottom

“You don’t need seminary training. You don’t need a full bookcase or years of experience or an understanding of Greek and Hebrew. You don’t need a high IQ or a big vocabulary. You don’t even need a high school diploma. I don’t dismiss any of the education, intellect, or training God gives. But only a few things are necessary to study the Bible. You need a Bible, a pen, paper, a heart that seeks God, and the Holy Spirit. Gather the first three, ask God for the last two, and you’re ready to go.”

VIDEOS

Pulpit Aflame: Essays in Honor of Steve Lawson | Reformation Heritage Books

 

Propaganda on Racial Justice (Part 2) | The Verge Network

Morning Mashup 05/24

1451631120721

A mashup of Kindle deals, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


KINDLE DEALS

Shepherding a Child’s Heart | Tedd Tripp | $4.99

Shepherding a Child's Heart

Read the Bible for Life: Your Guide to Understanding and Living God’s Word | George Guthrie | $0.99

Read the Bible for Life

ARTICLES

Why Social Media (and the Church) is Making You Sad | Russell Moore

“We’ve been warned that social media can distract us, shorten our attention spans, disconnect us from real-life relationships. But what if our Facebook and Instagram are also making us miserable?

3 Ways Biblical Theology Will Change Your Bible Study | Holly Marr

“Biblical theology is an important discipline for understanding both the high-level narrative of Scripture and the development of key themes across the canon.

Appreciating the overarching narrative of Scripture and the development of themes across the Bible can significantly impact the way you study God’s Word. Here are just three ways.”

Stop Saying ‘I Feel Like’ | Molly Worthen

“Yet here is the paradox: “I feel like” masquerades as a humble conversational offering, an invitation to share your feelings, too — but the phrase is an absolutist trump card. It halts argument in its tracks.”

Don’t Waste Your Summer | Kevin DeYoung

“In a little over three months we’ll all be moaning, ‘Where did the summer go? I can’t believe it’s over.’ So what can we do over the next hundred days or so to help alleviate that feeling of loss? Or to put it positively, what can we do to make the most of June, July, and August? Here are twenty suggestions.”

Ten Differences Between Delagating and Dumpster Leadership | Eric Geiger

“Sadly, what some leaders call delegating is really dumping, doing whatever it takes, as quickly as it takes, to get responsibilities off their plate and onto the plates of others. On the other hand, delegating is wise, effective, and loving. Effective delegation spreads responsibilities to others so that the organization can accomplish more while simultaneously developing other leaders.”

How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life | Nicole Cliffe

“I know that sounds depressing, but I found the idea of life ending after death mildly reassuring in its finality. I had started to meet more people of faith, having moved to Utah from Manhattan, and thought them frequently charming in their sweet delusion. I did not wish to believe. I had no untapped, unanswered yearnings. All was well in the state of Denmark. And then it wasn’t.”

VIDEOS

Morning Mashup 09/30

coffee-newspaper
coffee-newspaper

A Quick and Easy Guide to the Planned Parenthood Videos – Shameful silence from the mainstream media. Mollie Hemingway helps them do their jobs.

I Don’t Want Your Good Vibes. I Want Prayer. – Megan Hill: “There’s no substitute for our communion with the Father.”

Speak for the Unborn Leader Pleads for Life – Great look at the work of Andrew King and Speak for the Unborn.

Every Living Thing Matters – “The Every Living Thing Campaign invites Christians to celebrate the wonder and beauty of God’s creation and commit to compassionate living by signing the Evangelical Statement on Responsible Care for Animals.”

Lies, Carly Fiorina and Abortion – Ross Douthat: “There has been an impressive amount of angry liberal commentary, which has spilled over into the mainstream press coverage (or do I repeat myself?) of the issue, about how in the last Republican presidential debate Carly Fiorina allegedly cited an entirely imaginary video in order to make a crazy claim about Planned Parenthood’s brain-harvesting ghoulishness that’s totally unsupported by the facts.”

Pope Francis Met Privately with Kim Davis – “The Pope met privately with Kim Davis and her husband, Joe, at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C.”

Chipotle Church and the Problem of Choice – Brett McCracken: “Imagine if God were as fickle and restless as we are. But he isn’t. God’s covenant faithfulness to his people, even when the relationship is messy and embarrassing, should be instructive to us. A healthy relationship with the local church is like a healthy marriage: it only works when grounded in selfless commitment and non-consumerist covenant.”

When You Get Home…? – Consider asking your spouse what they want in those first few minutes you get home from work.

4 Tips for Using a Study Bible Well – Helpful article from Justin Taylor. If you use a study Bible, be sure to check it out.


If a preacher isn’t first preaching to himself, better that he falls on the pulpit steps and breaks his neck than preach that sermon. –John Calvin