By Liu Xin
Like most of the brothers and sisters in the Lord, I have read the Bible over and over again all these years. Gradually, I fell in love with the Bible. Reading the Bible, memorizing the Bible, and copying the Bible have already become indispensable parts of my life. Like many believers in the Lord, I also believe that belief in the Lord is belief in the Bible; if one strays from the Bible, then he cannot be called a believer in the Lord; all scripture is the word of God and is inspired by God. The Bible has become the holy book in our hearts, which is absolutely without blemish or error. We don’t care whether we have the work of the Holy Spirit, and we think we can still carry on living even if we cannot touch the presence of the Lord, but as soon as we lose the Bible, then it is as if we have lost our life. However, we have no idea what the origins of the Bible are, or what kind of book the Bible is exactly, and who the author of the Bible is.
One day, on a famous website I saw many books of truth which revealed lots of mysteries rarely known by people, including the mystery of the Bible. There was a passage that says: “The Bible is a historical record of God’s work in Israel, and documents many of the foretellings of ancient prophets as well as some of the utterances of Jehovah in His work at that time. Thus, people all look upon this book as holy (for God is holy and great). Of course, this is all a result of their reverence for Jehovah and their adoration for God. People refer to this book in this way only because the creatures of God are so adoring of their Creator, and there are even those who call this book a heavenly book. In fact, it is merely a human record. It was not personally named by Jehovah, nor did Jehovah personally guide its creation. In other words, the author of this book is not God, but men. The Holy Bible is only the respectful title given to it by man. This title was not decided by Jehovah and Jesus after they had a discussion amongst each other; it is nothing more than a human idea. For this book was not written by Jehovah, much less by Jesus. Instead, it is the accounts of many ancient prophets, apostles, and seers, which were compiled by later generations into a book of ancient writings that, to people, seems especially holy, a book that they believe contains many unfathomable and profound mysteries that are waiting to be unlocked by future generations. As such, people are even more disposed to believe that this book is a heavenly book. With the addition of the Four Gospels and the Book of Revelation, people’s attitude toward it is particularly different from any other book, and thus no one dares to dissect this heavenly book — because it is too sacred” (“Concerning the Bible (4)”).
From this passage of words I understood that the Bible contains not only God’s words but also many words of man, and that only when we differentiate between God’s words and man’s words in the Bible can we treat the Bible properly. In fact, God’s words in the Bible include the words God spoke to Moses, the revelation of God to the prophets, the words of the Lord Jesus, and the prophecies in the Book of Revelation. Most of the other words in the Bible are actually man’s words, among which, some are the experiences and understandings originating from the enlightenment and illumination of God, and some are the records of the historical figures and events. Beside these things, the Bible also documents some words of Satan such as the words the serpent said to entice Eve, and the words Satan spoke to tempt the Lord Jesus.
Moreover, from the formation of the Bible I saw that God’s work is always performed before it is compiled by man. For example, the New Testament only came into existence after 300 A.D. Then, later generations compiled the records of the Lord Jesus’ work and words kept by the apostles and disciples during the period of time when they followed the Lord Jesus into the Four Gospels. Meanwhile, they also compiled some of the apostles’ and disciples’ experiences and understandings, including Paul’s letters into the Bible, regardless of whether they came from the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit or from the notions and imaginations of man. After the Bible became a book, generation after generation of believers in God have been regarding it as a precious treasure, exalting and preaching it till today. However, it cannot be denied that, no matter how much people treasure this book, the letters, experiences, and understandings of the apostles and disciples are not the words of God; even though some of them accord with the truth, they can only be taken as words inspired by the Holy Spirit, and can never be confused with the words of God.
Actually every chapter of the Bible has its author, and was recorded and compiled by man. The human records are always mixed with human will and imaginations and have errors. For example, the Old Testament records, “And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah” (2 Samuel 24:1). “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel” (1 Chronicles 21:1). From these two verses we can see that one verse says the LORD God moved David to number Israel while the other records it was Satan that provoked David to number Israel. In addition, regarding the death of Judas, one verse says, “And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5), and another says, “Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the middle, and all his bowels gushed out” (Acts 1:18). It can be seen that the same thing is recorded differently in these two verses. If they were the words given by inspiration of God, there wouldn’t be these discrepancies. From this, I came to realize that the author of the Bible is man rather than God. So the records concerning God and God’s work, which are compiled by corrupt people, will inevitably be mixed with man’s imaginations, notions, and definitions, and even have many absurd sayings and conclusions. The well-known Jesus’ genealogy written by Matthew is a most typical example. This book of truth says: “At the start, it says that Jesus was a descendant of Abraham, the son of David, and the son of Joseph; next it says that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of a virgin — which would mean He was not the son of Joseph or the descendant of Abraham, that He was not the son of David. The genealogy, though, insists on associating Jesus with Joseph. Next, the genealogy begins to record the process by which Jesus was born. It says Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, that He was born of a virgin, and not the son of Joseph. Yet in the genealogy it is clearly written that Jesus was the son of Joseph, and because the genealogy is written for Jesus, it records forty-two generations. When it goes to the generation of Joseph, it hurriedly says that Joseph was the husband of Mary, words which are in order to prove that Jesus was the descendant of Abraham. Is this not a contradiction? The genealogy clearly documents Joseph’s ancestry, it is obviously the genealogy of Joseph, but Matthew insists that it is the genealogy of Jesus. Does this not deny the fact of Jesus’ conception by the Holy Spirit?” (“Concerning the Bible (3)”). Therefore, it is entirely because Matthew didn’t understand the truth that he created the genealogy for Jesus; it actually came from his enthusiasm and is a betrayal of God’s will. This proves that the Bible isn’t given by inspiration of God, and that the author of the Bible is man and not God.
Since the author of the Bible is not God Himself but man, it is erroneous and extremely preposterous that we take all the words in the Bible as the words of God and think the Bible is given by inspiration of God. I saw some more words in this book of truth: “Today, people believe the Bible is God, and that God is the Bible. So, too, do they believe that all the words of the Bible were the only words God spoke, and that they were all said by God. Those who believe in God even think that although all of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament were written by people, they were all given by inspiration of God, and a record of the utterances of the Holy Spirit. This is the erroneous interpretation of people, and it does not completely accord with the facts. In fact, apart from the books of prophecy, most of the Old Testament is historical record. Some of the epistles of the New Testament come from people’s experiences, and some come from the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit; the Pauline epistles, for example, arose from the work of a man, they were all the result of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, and they were written for the churches, were words of exhortation and encouragement for the brothers and sisters of the churches. They were not words spoken by the Holy Spirit — Paul could not speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit, and neither was he a prophet, much less did he see visions. … and because of this, he wrote epistles for all of the brothers and sisters in the Lord. All he said that was edifying and positive to people was right, but it did not represent the utterances of the Holy Spirit, and he could not represent God. It is an egregious understanding, and a tremendous blasphemy, for people to treat the records of a man’s experiences and a man’s epistles as the words spoken by the Holy Spirit to the churches! … Thus, he could not speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit. His words were not the words of the Holy Spirit, much less could they be said to be the words of God, for Paul was nothing more than a creature of God, and was certainly not the incarnation of God” (“Concerning the Bible (3)”).
If it were not for this book revealing to us the mysteries of the Bible, we would never understand them or see through the root and essence of the problems. This is absolutely true. Actually none of the authors of the Bible, except Moses and the prophets who were directly instructed by God to convey His words, dared say that their words were inspired or revealed by God. The Lord Jesus never said such a thing, nor did the Holy Spirit. If any of the authors of the Bible dared say that, it was blasphemy against God. As those who compiled the Bible didn’t tell people how to treat the Bible correctly, later generations formed a wrong viewpoint on it. They can’t distinguish between God’s words and man’s words in the Bible, and as a result, they treat man’s words as God’s words to adhere to and follow, nullifying God’s words, which completely strays from God’s will. In fact, prophets could just convey God’s words; people used by the Holy Spirit are also unable to express God’s words, because they don’t possess what God has and is. They can only speak of their own experiences and testimonies under the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit to provide and support people, which conforms to the truth and God’s will, but can never be compared to God’s words. The Bible documents some words that Paul and other apostles spoke according to the actual situation of the churches of the time, and some of Paul’s words were compiled into the thirteen epistles. However, these words were spoken for the sake of building the churches and establishing the believers’ faith, and some of them were inspired by the Holy Spirit when they bore a burden for the churches. It can’t be said that these words were inspired by God. But we not only worship the Bible, but even treat man’s words in the Bible as God’s words, holding on to the viewpoint that all scripture was given by the inspiration of God. We are so foolish. Isn’t this opposing and blaspheming God?
At this point, we should understand that the Bible is a historical record of the work of Jehovah God in the Age of Law and the work of the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace, and was written by man; the words of the Bible are not completely the words of God, nor are they inspired by God. Therefore, the notion that “belief in God is belief in the Bible” is wrong, because the author of the Bible is men and not God!