But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)
This past Sunday I preached on Mark 12:35-37, and briefly pointed out something Jesus says almost as an aside, but something that carries huge significance. Just before quoting Psalm 110:1, which is written by King David, Jesus says, “David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared…”
Do you see what Jesus is saying? Jesus says that David, in writing this Psalm, was writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This Psalm–and Jesus clearly believed the same about the rest of the Old Testament–is not just the words of men, but the words of God. To say the least, Jesus has a high view of Scripture.
In fact, Jesus has such a high view of Scripture that he lives his life and even dies to fulfill Scripture! Both before and after his death, he explains his life as a fulfillment of Scripture (Mt. 26:54, Lk. 24:26-27). He commits his life to the words of Scripture, because they are words of God.
We have, in our Bibles, God’s very words.
Now, why does this matter? It matters because Scripture gives us something both utterly unique and utterly necessary. Scripture is not merely human wisdom on how to live life, which we might find elsewhere. Scripture is not one interpretation, among many, of life and its meaning and priorities. It is not a random collection of writings concerning the history of one people group. Scripture is not something for us to sit in judgment of and decide whether it aligns with our convictions and feelings (though God invites us to bring our questions and doubts to him).
Scripture is God’s unique revelation of himself, of the meaning and priorities of this world, and of our true nature. Scripture tells us truths that we can find nowhere else, and truths that we desperately need.
Thus, Tim Keller can say: “Only if your God can say things that upset you will you know you have a real God and not just a creation of your imagination.”
We may not like or have an easy time with all that Scripture says or commands. Again, God invites us to wrestle with both honesty and faithfulness. But, at the end of the day, we are dependent on God’s word like we are dependent on food (read Psalm 119). Our desire and prayer should be to regularly hear God’s word, study God’s word, meditate on God’s word, submit to God’s word, and speak God’s word to others.