How can we say anything meaningful about God? If God is transcendent, defying our cognitive abilities to fully comprehend him, how can we say anything of certainty about God? This is a critical question. How we answer it determines who we know God to be. If our primary source for knowing God is nature, we can infer a variety of conceptions about God, some of which will be categorically different from one another. If our primary source is human reason or our own experience, still other gods could be fabricated.
The Apostle Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy were among the apostle’s final written words. Paul was intimately aware of external and internal threats against the church. During such trials and tribulations, Paul turned to his dear friend and protege Timothy and said, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have come to trust, knowing from whom you learned it. And that from infancy, you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed… (2 Timothy 3:14-16).”
The word translated “God-breathed” is a unique combination of two Greek words: “Theos” meaning God and another word meaning breath. God breathed out his word into human authors, who wrote them down. He did not suppress the author’s personality. He did something more marvelous. He raised the author up to a higher wisdom. He enabled each author to express what he wanted them to say in words that were not only understandable to each of them and those they wrote to, but were true to their personality and adapted to their culture.
How can we say anything meaningful about God? Because, God has spoken to us in the Holy Scriptures.
When the Augustinian monk, named Martin Luther, went back to the Holy Scriptures in the sixteenth century and compared them to the practices of the church of his time, he realized the church had departed from God’s Word. It was following teachings that contradicted that Word. He would later reportedly say, “I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God.” The reformation and a movement to return to God’s Word began.
There are many teachings that have the appearance of being from God, but our primary source for knowing God comes from his self-revelation in Scripture. “Speak, O Lord, as we come to you to receive the food of your holy Word,” is how one modern hymn writer said it.
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