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The Word of God

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The Old and New Testaments are unified in revealing God’s plan of salvation and the working out of that plan in human history. The entire Bible reveals the acts of God’s merciful intervention to save mankind for eternal life in His family. The writing in the various books of the Bible reflects the human writers’ own personality, style and vocabulary. Nevertheless, they wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21 2 Peter 1:21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
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). Thus God influenced and directed the minds of His servants while at the same time allowing them free expression as they wrote the books known as the Word of God.

The Holy Scriptures are the foundation of knowledge and truth that Jesus and the apostles used as a basic text for teaching God’s way to salvation. First and foremost, Jesus Christ set the example of following the Scriptures as the ultimate authoritative text in a Christian’s life. In successfully combating temptation from the ultimate enemy, Satan the Devil, Christ stated, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4 Matthew 4:4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
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; Luke 4:4 Luke 4:4And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
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; Deuteronomy 8:3 Deuteronomy 8:3And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live.
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). Christ also quoted other scriptures during His battle against the devil (Matthew 4:7 Matthew 4:7Jesus said to him, It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God.
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Matthew 4:10 Matthew 4:10Then said Jesus to him, Get you hence, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.
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Jesus then began His earthly ministry by reading the Scriptures and declaring, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:16-21 Luke 4:16-21 16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17 And there was delivered to him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say to them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
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). In John 10:35 John 10:35If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
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Christ proclaimed that “the Scripture cannot be broken.” He referred to Scripture as an active, authoritative source in His life (John 7:38 John 7:38He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
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; John 7:42 John 7:42Has not the scripture said, That Christ comes of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?
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). Nothing distracted Christ from His focus on the Scriptures—neither betrayal, nor being crucified (John 13:18 John 13:18I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.
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; John 17:12 John 17:12While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name: those that you gave me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
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; John 19:28 John 19:28After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, I thirst.
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; Matthew 27:46 Matthew 27:46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
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; Psalms 22:1 Psalms 22:1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
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; Luke 23:46 Luke 23:46And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
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; Psalms 31:5 Psalms 31:5Into your hand I commit my spirit: you have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
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The apostles followed the example of Christ. The core of Christian faith, doctrine and behavior continued to be defined through the Scriptures. The resurrected Jesus Christ resumed His personal instruction to His disciples as He “opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (Luke 24:32 Luke 24:32And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
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, 44-45). It was through the Scriptures that disciples began to be made of people in all nations, as in the example of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-35 Acts 8:26-35 26 And the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south to the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is desert. 27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, 28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, Go near, and join yourself to this chariot. 30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understand you what you read? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray you, of whom speaks the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached to him Jesus.
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Paul, the apostle chosen to bear Christ’s name to both gentiles (non-Israelites) and Israelites (Acts 9:15 Acts 9:15But the Lord said to him, Go your way: for he is a chosen vessel to me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
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), appealed to the authority of the Scriptures by asking questions such as “What does the Scripture say?” (Romans 4:3 Romans 4:3For what said the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.
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; Romans 11:2 Romans 11:2God has not cast away his people which he foreknew. Know you not what the scripture said of Elias? how he makes intercession to God against Israel saying,
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; Galatians 4:30 Galatians 4:30Nevertheless what said the scripture? Cast out the female slave and her son: for the son of the female slave shall not be heir with the son of the free woman.
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). At other times, Paul confirmed his position on particular matters by declaring, “For the Scripture says…,” or through similar statements (Romans 10:11 Romans 10:11For the scripture said, Whoever believes on him shall not be ashamed.
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; Galatians 3:8 Galatians 3:8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel to Abraham, saying, In you shall all nations be blessed.
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, 22; 1 Timothy 5:18 1 Timothy 5:18For the scripture said, You shall not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward.
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). Paul’s writings show that he repeatedly quoted or referred to Old Testament passages to back up his teaching. Clearly the Old and New Testaments were written for both Jewish and gentile Christians.

There is a continuity between the Old and New Testaments (Matthew 4:4 Matthew 4:4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
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; 2 Timothy 3:15-16 2 Timothy 3:15-16 15 And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
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). The New Testament builds on and amplifies the Old (Matthew 5-7). History shows that the only Scripture that existed during the ministry of Christ and the early decades of the apostles was what we today call the Old Testament.

Reading, hearing and doing God’s Word are key characteristics of God’s people (Luke 8:21 Luke 8:21And he answered and said to them, My mother and my brothers are these which hear the word of God, and do it.
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; Luke 11:28 Luke 11:28But he said, Yes rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
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). The Word of God builds faith in a person’s life (Romans 10:17 Romans 10:17So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
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; Colossians 3:16 Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
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). God expects His people to diligently study His Word regularly for understanding, for personal edification and for guarding themselves in an ungodly society (Acts 17:11 Acts 17:11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
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; Ephesians 6:17 Ephesians 6:17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
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; 1 John 2:14 1 John 2:14I have written to you, fathers, because you have known him that is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God stays in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.
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; Psalms 119:9 Psalms 119:9Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to your word.
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). Internalizing God’s Word enables one to defend his faith (1 Peter 3:15 1 Peter 3:15But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
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). The Holy Scriptures are able to make us “wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15 2 Timothy 3:15And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
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The Bible is alive with timeless application in our daily life (Hebrews 4:12 Hebrews 4:12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
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). Paul, while imprisoned, reminded Timothy that, though man can be restrained, the Word of God cannot (2 Timothy 2:8-9 2 Timothy 2:8-9 8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: 9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even to bonds; but the word of God is not bound.
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The Church of God maintains the biblical mandate to rely on God’s Word in its quest for the truth. As stated in 2 Timothy 3:16 2 Timothy 3:16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
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, God’s inspired Word establishes doctrine (teaching), refutes error, administers correction and gives instruction in the right way to live. The next verse says that through it “the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17 2 Timothy 3:17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.
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The truth of the Bible not only teaches and guides God’s people, but it also sanctifies or sets them apart (John 17:17 John 17:17Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.
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). The Bible serves as an essential tool in Jesus Christ’s relationship with His sanctified people, His Church, “that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26 Ephesians 5:26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
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Scripture is intended to bring us into a relationship with the One who inspired what is written in it—the personal, incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ, on behalf of God the Father (John 1:1-3 John 1:1-3 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
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; John 1:14 John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
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). Christ pointedly told the people of His day: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40 John 5:39-40 39 Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And you will not come to me, that you might have life.
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It is not enough to just read and study when it comes to the Bible—or to just try to follow many of its directives. We must be led to know, serve and rely on the God revealed in its pages—the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ the Word.

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