The Perfect Word of God

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple (Psalm 19:7).

We are not in any wise dependent upon human testimony in forming our conclusions as to the divine origin of the Bible, inasmuch as these conclusions rest upon a foundation furnished by the Bible itself. God’s Word, as well as His work, speaks for itself; it carries its own credentials with it; it speaks to the heart; it reaches down to the great moral roots of our being; it penetrates the very innermost chambers of the soul; it shows us what we are; it speaks to us as no other book can speak. As the woman of Sychar argued that Jesus must be the Christ because He told her all things that ever she did (John 4:39), so may we say, in reference to the Bible, it tells us all that ever we did, is not this the Word of God? No doubt it is only by the Spirit’s teaching that we can discern and appreciate the evidence and credentials with which Holy Scripture presents itself before us; but still it does speak for itself, and needs not human testimony to make it of value to the soul. We should no more think of having our faith in the Bible established upon man’s testimony in its favor, than we should think of having it shaken by his testimony against it.

It is of the very last possible importance, at all times, but more especially at a moment like the present, to have the heart and mind established in the grand truth of the divine authority of Holy Scripture; its plenary inspiration; its all sufficiency for all purposes, for all people, at all times. There are two hostile influences abroad, namely, infidelity on the one hand, and superstition on the other. The former denies that God has spoken to us in His Word; the latter admits that He has spoken, but it denies that we can understand what He says, save by the interpretation of the church.

Now, while there are very many who recoil with horror from the impiety and audacity of infidelity, they do not see that superstition just as completely deprives them of the Scriptures. For wherein, let us ask, lies the difference between denying that God has spoken and denying that we can understand what He says? In either case, are we not deprived of the Word of God? Unquestionably. If God cannot make me understand what He says – if He cannot give me the assurance that it is He Himself who speaks, I am in no wise better off than if He had not spoken at all. If God’s Word is not sufficient without human interpretation, then it cannot be God’s Word at all. That which is insufficient is not God’s Word. We must admit either of two things, namely, that God has not spoken at all, or if He has spoken, His Word is perfect. There is no neutral ground in reference to this question. Has God given us a revelation? Infidelity says, "No". Superstition says, "Yes, but you cannot understand it without human authority." Thus are we, in the one case as well as in the other, deprived of the priceless treasure of God’s own precious Word; and thus, too, infidelity and superstition, though apparently so unlike, meet in the one point of depriving us of a divine revelation.

But, blessed be God, He has given us a revelation. He has spoken, and His Word is able to reach the heart and the understanding also. God is able to give the certainty that it is He who speaks, and we do not want any human authority to intervene. We do not want a poor candle to enable us to see that the sun is shining. The beams of that glorious luminary are quite enough without any such miserable addition. All we want is to stand in the sunshine, and we shall be convinced that the sun shines. If we retire into a vault, or into a tunnel, we shall not feel its influence; and just so is it with regard to Scripture – if we place ourselves beneath the chilling and darkening influences of superstition or infidelity, we shall not experience the genial and enlightening power of that divine revelation.