The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
E. W. Farr
Editor’s Note:The following article was written over 50 years ago by a dear man of God. In the past attacks upon Jesus Christ - living Word - and the Bible - the written Word - came from admitted liberals. Today, however, many who claim to be evangelical are raising questions about the person and work of Christ, and the inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility of the Bible.
We must also warn of the growing effort to separate Christ from the Bible by the use of the very deceptive slogan, "We worship Christ, not the Bible." Clearly, liberals and pseudo-evangelicals use this statement to downgrade the Bible, and rob the Scriptures of divine authority and accuracy. Yes, we worship Christ, not the Bible. But, how would we know anything about Him apart from the Bible? Jesus said that He is the way, the TRUTH, and the life. (John 14:6) Our Saviour prayed, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is TRUTH" (John 17:17). Anyone who casts doubt upon the Bible, casts doubt upon Jesus Christ. Don't be deceived.
The aim of God from the beginning has been to unfold Himself. He has revealed Himself in Scripture and in Christ. The Book and the Man are called the Word of God. There are many points of resemblance between them.
1. Both have a duality of substance. There is a human element and a Divine element in Christ and in Scripture. The relation between these two elements is an inexplicable mystery. Christ had a Divine nature which made Him one with God. At the same time, He had a real human body of flesh and blood and a real human soul.
Scripture likewise has a material element of paper and ink and also vital and energetic element which is divine. It is the most human of all books in its structure and yet it is perfectly divine. Of Christ it was said "In him was life and the life was the light of men." (John 1:4) "As the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself." (John 5:26)
Life is also predicated of the words of Scripture. "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." (John 6:63) "The Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any twoedged sword..." (Heb.4:12). These two elements are united to make one Man and one Book but not in such wise that a third substance is formed thereby.
The material or human element is patent to our senses and may be the object of criticism and analysis. The divine element on the other hand in incomprehensible and must be apprehended by faith and not by reason. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned". (I Cor. 2:14).
Any passage of Scripture may be analyzed and criticized. It may be resolved into its parts of speech and compared with other passages but the divine inspiration that makes all Scripture one organic whole can not be discovered by this process. The human body of the Lord Jesus Christ might have been put on a dissecting table and cut up by the surgeon's knife. It might have been examined under the microscope but nothing would have been seen but flesh and blood and tissue. The principle of life, to say nothing of Deity, could not be discovered in this way.
There is a distinct loss in all analysis that sometimes may exceed the gain. You pick a flower to pieces in the study of botany. You have a long Latin name as a result of your labor, but where is the perfume? You dissect a bird in the study of ornithology. You have feathers, claws and a few bones to reward your labor, but where is the song?
These things being so, there are two extremes against which we have to be on our guard. There has
always been a tendency to go to one of these extremes and ignore the other. The Appollonian heresy which is as old as the third century, is the denial of a human soul to Christ. The opposite error is that of the Unitarian who regards Jesus simply as a man and denies that He is divine in any other sense than that in which every man is said to be divine.
2. The second feature of resemblance is similarity of expression. A word may be either spoken or written. In either case, it is the expression of a thought . Apart from the thought to which it gives expression, a word is only an empty sound in the air, or a meaningless character upon a piece of paper. It is the audible or visible sign of an idea and the medium of exchange between different minds.
We frequently find in scripture the phrase "Thus saith the Lord". The prophets introduce their messages by saying "The Word of the Lord came to me". God communicates the saving truths of redemption to man through the inspired words of Scripture. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:1 & 3).
The Word was the mind of God from eternity though unexpressed. Each fiat of the creative week shows the creative power of the uttered Word. As a word is the revelation of a thought, so Christ is the revelation of the Father. The incarnation is God's last final utterance. "God, who in sundry times and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, by whom also he made the worlds".
The last time He appears in the Apocalyptic vision, He is called the Word of God. It is the purpose of language not to conceal thought but to reveal it. The Word of God is a revelation, not an obscuration, transparently luminous and infallibly exact, conveying the mind and the meaning of Almighty God to every one who is willing to receive it. In neither Book nor Man is there ambiguity or variation.
3. Another point of resemblance is trinity of relationship. Vocalization involves the thought in the mind, the word articulate upon the lips and the breath by means of which utterance is made. The breath is the bond of union between the mind and the mouth. These three things are inseparably related and united.
Nature is the image of grace. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are seen in redemption. Each has his own distinct office work to perform. It is significant that the word "Spirit" and "breath" is the same. The Holy Spirit is the bond of union between the Father and the Son, the Executive of the God-head, without whom redemption could not be accomplished.
4. There is also a similarity in the preparation of both written and incarnate words. "A body hast thou prepared me". The Greek language in which the New Testament was written was probably in the most perfect vehicle for thought that the world has ever known.
Wisdom was the key word of Greek civilization. God had permitted this wonderful language to be prepared and perfected for centuries, so that when the time arrived for the sacred oracles to be entrusted to human vehicles, there was nothing lacking.
It was the language of philosophy and marvelously adapted to the subtleties of the Pauline and Petrine theologies crystallizing them into a permanent form so that they remain unchanged to the see present day.
A living language constantly changes. We can not read Chaucer without a glossary. A dead language is fixed and cannot change. Divine Providence may be as clearly seen in the preparation of the Greek language for the thought of Christianity as in the construction of the Roman highways over which the missionaries of the cross traveled as they carried the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the habitable globe.
Divine wisdom is as clearly manifested in the preparation of the human body of our Saviour. The hygienic and sanitary regulations of ancient Israel prevented the introduction of any impurity and increased the power of resisting disease. There was no taint of evil, hereditary or acquired in the human body of the Son of God. He had a prepared body, out of a prepared mother, out of a prepared nation.
Whenever a victim was brought to the Temple to be offered in sacrifice, it was carefully inspected by the officiating priest, to see if it complied with the requirements of the law and was without spot or blemish. If the priest after scrutiny discovered no blemish, the victim was pronounced acceptable and was sealed with the temple seal.
Jesus was heralded by his forerunner John as the sacrificial Lamb. "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29). At his baptism in the Jordan, the approving voice of the Father was heard from the open heavens, pronouncing the verdict of acceptance. "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." (Matt. 3:17). The victim was thus accepted for the sacrifice. "Him hath God the Father sealed" (John 6:27).
5. Both the written Word and the Incarnate Word have received similar treatment from the hands of man. God loves man but man hates God. The enmity of the carnal mind reveals itself in gratuitous and studied insult. In that scathing arraignment of the Pharisees by Christ shortly before His crucifixion, He accuses them of building and adorning the sepulchers of the prophets whom their fathers slew.
From the beginning God had been sending His rebellious people His messengers of mercy. Instead of welcoming them and yielding glad obedience to their exhortation, they cast them out in scorn and scourged and stoned them. Last of all, God sent His Son. They said, "This is the heir; Come let us kill him and the inheritance shall be ours." (Mark 12:7).
They fell upon the Son of God like a pack of hungry wolves upon a tender lamb that had wandered from the shelter of the fold they gnashed upon him with their teeth, they mangled His body in their fiendish rage and were not content till they nailed it to the cross. Herein is shown what is in the human heart. Man would kill God if he could.
The presence of a pure character is a standing rebuke to the impure and unholy. It makes them restless and uncomfortable and because it judges and condemns them, they seek to put it away as quickly as possible.
The written Word of God has fared no better at the hands of man. The Devil hates the Scriptures with an unrelenting hatred and has ever sought to discredit and destroy them through the agency of evil men. The devil hates the Bible because it is the sword of the Spirit which has thrust him through and defeated him so many times and men hate it because it convicts them of sin and judges their position of antagonism to God.
When Baruch gave his Bible reading at the court of Jehoikim, what a sensation it made! Jehudi childishly vented his rage against the innocent parchment by slashing it with his penknife and thrusting the mutilated fragments in the fire. Jehudi has many modern successors. They do not literally repeat his actions but they show their contempt for the Word of God by seeking to bring it into contempt, by denying its infallibility, discrediting its veracity and disputing its authority.
Dr. John Robertson tells of a certain woman who had a strange fondness for tearing silk. She indulged her whim until it became a mania. She would purchase the most expensive fabrics and holding them to her ear, would tear them in twain and shriek with laughter at the sound. She kept this up until she found herself in the lunatic asylum.
There are learned professors in universities and seminaries who go before their classes and say "Listen!" Then they take the Pentateuch and tear it from end to end with a smile of complacency and delight. There are learned doctors of divinity who go before their congregation and say "Listen!" Then they take up the prophecies and tear them into shreds and patches. It seems as if modern criticism has become almost demented, to such an extreme of fury and folly has it gone in attacking the Word of God.
6. There is also a similar Divine vindication of these attacks upon the incarnate and written word. The resurrection from the dead was God's reversal of the human verdict against his Son. Christ's dishonored and crucified body never saw corruption. It was exalted to the highest heavens and clothed with immortality.
The written Word has come through the fires of persecution unscathed. There have been times when every manuscript copy was diligently sought after to be destroyed as Herod sought the infant Jesus. God's people defended the Scriptures and concealed them often at the peril of their lives. Although many precious manuscripts were discovered and destroyed, nevertheless the Scriptures have come down to us in their purity and entirety.
The Bible has survived the assaults of skeptics and for the past 1800 years. It is an anvil that has worn out and broken to pieces many a hammer. The crowbar has never yet been forged in the furnaces of hell that can overturn this Rock of Ages. The Scripture can not be broken and the things that cannot be shaken shall remain.