From the very beginning, God has given His people the basic information they’ve needed to live happy, productive lives. He gave more and more as time went on, until by and by, several hundred years before Jesus came, He began to tell His prophets more specific details about His unfolding plan for man. Then when Jesus came, He told His apostles and the early church much, much more. Throughout history, God has been giving more information and more details as they were needed, and much of this information has been recorded in the Bible that we have today.
The Bible tells us the basics of what we need to know for our salvation and a whole lot more, but it doesn’t tell us everything. Some people, however, insist that the Bible’s enough, that it is all mankind needs, and that the last time God ever spoke was to the apostle John on the Isle of Patmos 2,000 years ago, when John received the book of Revelation, the final book of the Bible. Those people argue that we’re not supposed to get any further information or instruction from God. Well, a God who couldn’t talk anymore would be a pretty dead God!
But He’s a living God, a talking God, and He still speaks to His children just as He has down through the ages. He gives us His words for today because He wants to show us He’s alive and well and working on our behalf. He wants to help us through our problems. He wants to show His great personal love for each of us. He wants to help us lead others to Him. And He wants to prepare us and the world for His return.
The Bible works as well today as it ever has, and it’s the foundation of our faith. But a lot of things have changed since the Bible days. That’s another reason why we also need His updates—messages received through prophecy or other forms of direct revelation in which He gives further information, instruction, and encouragement today.
The Bible does not contain the only words of God. He has spoken to countless of His people throughout the ages, some of which they or others recorded and preserved in writings that are just as inspired of Him as is the Bible—and He’s still pouring forth fresh new words. He gives us “treasures new and old!”1
But how do you know which writings of other Christians are truly inspired by God, and which are merely their own thoughts or misinterpretations? You measure those writings against the Bible. Scripture is the final authority by which you can measure anything that’s said. Look for a scriptural precedent. Check it out with the Bureau of Standards, the Bible. Divinely inspired writing will be in conformity with the Word of God in the Bible. You won’t find anything that is contrary to the basic principles of the Bible. New writings may contain details not found in the Bible—details which help fill in the gaps and complete the picture—but there will be nothing contrary to what is in the Bible.
Another way to judge the level of inspiration of other Christian writings is by the effect they have had or are having on the world, and by the effect they have on you.2 Do they further the gospel and win people to Jesus? Do they help you experience God’s love? Do they strengthen your faith? Do they bring forth the fruits of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, faith, gentleness, meekness, temperance3—in people’s lives, including your own?
If you pray and look to Him, He will show you what is worthwhile reading. He will help you discern what is true and what is false doctrine or the thoughts of man that aren’t in line with His.
The Word of God is like a beautiful string of pearls
God’s Word is an absolutely inexhaustible source of wisdom and knowledge in which you can constantly find treasures new and old. It will stand a thousand readings, and he who has gone over it most frequently is the surest of finding new wonders there. Each time we delve into the Word, we bring forth priceless truths by the handful!
But these pearls of knowledge are nothing without the Holy Spirit. No matter how much you study, it takes the Spirit of God and the hand of God to string the pearls of His Word together in proper order, sorted out and made into something useful—a wonderful, beautiful string of truths in proper order, sequence, size, importance, and beauty to adorn your mind and heart. That’s the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Wisdom is knowing how to use what you already know—in this case, knowing how to use your knowledge of God’s Word to make it useful.
So don’t neglect the beauties, the riches, and the treasures of the Word of God. Ask God for wisdom. “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.”4 It is better than gold!5—D.B.B.
The Word of God is the most powerful truth on earth
The pen is mightier than the sword! Men of God have seldom ruled empires but they won worlds of men with their words, faith, and ideas which captured hearts, minds, and spirits, and set them forever free! God’s eternal kingdom of His words of life and love have conquered worlds of men’s eternal spirits that are far greater, longer-lasting, and happier than man’s mere worldly empires of the sword.
The words of God’s prophets have crossed the ages and swept around the earth and changed the course of nations. The words of their ideals have changed the hearts of men and given them hope for a better world! It’s the Bible that’s built great Christian empires, and given the love of God through Jesus to a world dying for His love! His words are spirit and life.6 Without them, everything would be totally dead.7
This is the most powerful weapon in the world, the Word of God. It can do more than split atoms! It can change hearts, and no atom bomb has done that yet. It can change minds, and no number of bullets has ever done that. The words of God are truly revolutionary, for they can change the hearts of men!—D.B.B.
The Word of God in human form
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.—John 1:1-5,9-14 KJV