Acts 10:42-43 “He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
We tend to forget that at this point, the only Bible that existed was the Old Testament. As Peter indicates here, the prophecies about the Messiah are abundant from Genesis through Malachi. The book of Isaiah has not unreasonably been called, “The Gospel According to Isaiah.” I have long been aware that being familiar with the Old Testament prepares you to understand and receive the New Testament, and the New Testament gives insight and meaning to the Old. Christians who only read the New Testament, as well as Jews who only read the Old Testament, are both cutting themselves off from huge blessings that God intends for all mankind. Peter obviously had the highest regard for the Old Testament, but he himself put Paul’s letters on a par with it. (2 Peter 3:15-16) And that was long before any committee decided “the canon of Scripture,” as far as the New Testament is concerned. We’re back to the reality that God knew what He was doing when He had people write what is in the Bible! Paul himself (not realizing his own letters would be included in this) summed it up this way: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) God is able to use any part of the Bible to speak His grace, love, and direction to us, so we treat it lightly to our great loss.
I was certainly raised with a high regard for the Bible. Though my parents were Southern Baptist missionaries, I don’t think we were ever at the point of feeling the Trinity was “Father, Son, and Holy Bible,” the way some churches have seemed to do, but the Bible was always seen and presented as authoritative. At the same time, my father was a linguist, having gotten his ThM in Hebrew and his PhD in Biblical Greek. We were never tied to a particular English translation, since my father recognized that each had strengths and weaknesses. When I was baptized at age seven, my first full Bible was in the RSV translation, since my father felt that would be best for me among those that were available at that point. (1956) Now, I can’t keep up with all the translations that are available! The point isn’t the translation so much as it is to read it, to let the Holy Spirit take the words that He inspired and guided and plant them in my heart. I have been given the privilege of sharing that with others, and it is a joy indeed when they receive it and grow in fellowship with their Creator and Lord.
Father, thank You for the phone call yesterday that gave such evidence of what You are doing in one of my spiritual children. That really gave me joy! I do pray for him, and for all of Your children, that we would receive Your Word to do it, and not deceive ourselves. (James 1:22) May Your Word to us and through us indeed accomplish everything for which You send it, (Isaiah 55:11) for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!