In His Own Words • Alpine Chapel

There is a fact about Jesus that seems to have gone AWOL in our Christianized society. Whether downplayed or deliberately misplaced, it is a fact that is indisputable: Jesus had a high view of Scripture.

Everywhere he went in his earthly ministry, Jesus either quoted or fulfilled passages from the sacred writings of his time, the Tanakh ¬- the collection of books Christians call the Old Testament.

To the Pharisees who advocated the practice of casual divorce (Matthew 19, Mark 10), Jesus quoted Scripture to set the record straight about marriage: “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

When confronted with skepticism about the resurrection (Mark 12.24, Luke 4), Jesus told the Sadducees, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?”

To those who sought to dismiss “inconvenient” passages, Jesus reserved perhaps his most forceful statement on the subject: “the Scripture cannot be annulled.”

At the end of his ministry, we learn that Jesus “opened the minds of his apostles to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24). He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and in his name repentance and forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

By opening their minds, Jesus conveyed to his apostles the authority to write Scripture.

“Giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen,” the first chapter of Acts tells us, Jesus “appeared to them over a span of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”

Thus, not only did the words Jesus spoke become Scripture, so also did the writings of his apostles. Along with the Gospel accounts of his life and teachings, the letters of Jesus’ chosen apostles became sacred writings, circulated among various gatherings of the early church.

“No prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation,” Peter explains, adding, “but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Elsewhere, Peter pointedly includes the writings of “our beloved brother Paul” with “the rest of the Scriptures” (2 Peter 3.16).

Employing a word found nowhere else in the Bible, Paul reminds us, “All Scripture is God-breathed.” It’s why Scripture is “profitable for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, having been fully equipped toward every good work.”

As Jesus tells his followers (John 7), “To the one who believes in me, it is just as the Scripture has said: ‘Streams of living water will flow from within him.'”