Tag Archives: Bible


Bev Ellis, an Australian book store owner was understandably upset when a customer told her a strange man had been defacing many of the store’s Stephen King books by writing in them. She was surprised to catch up with the man in a nearby Woolworth’s and find out that it was Stephen King himself, who had autographed the books (World, September 18, 2007).

Having bought many used books over the years, I am always irritated to find that a previous owner has underlined or highlighted the book, but I am glad to find a book that has been autographed by the author. I realize that defacing the book by underlining lowers the value, but the autograph of the author increases the value.

It would be marvelous if “Original autographs” [the original manuscripts] of some of our Bible books could be found among the thousands of extant manuscripts, but apparently none have ever surfaced. Verification of an original autograph would be a sensation in the archaeological world, no doubt.

Paul apparently used a scribe to write down most of his epistles, although he indicates several times that he personally wrote down a part. “Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand” (Galatians 6:21). “The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write” (2 Thessalonians 3:17).

Moses told Israel, “the LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly” (Deuteronomy 9:10).

Every page of the Bible demonstrates the autograph of God. It is more than coincidence that the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119, is devoted to praise for the written word of God. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).


The apostle Paul wrote to the evangelist Timothy, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). This verse well-illustrates the need for understanding that word meanings may change, and we must be ever on guard against misapplying or twisting scripture, even when we try to teach the truth. The rendering, “study to show thyself approved unto God” is found only in the King James Version, translated in the year 1611. In 1611 the word “study” meant “strive”, or “be diligent”. Thus the New American Standard Bible renders the verse, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth”. The New International Version renders the verse, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth”.

Bible study is very important, but 2 Timothy 2:15 is not just a command to study the Bible. Being an approved workman involves much more. Paul wanted Timothy to understand that to be a workman that God could approve, he would have to be diligent in his service to God. God is not the kind of Master that accepts shoddy work! By earnestly applying himself in service, Timothy would not need to be ashamed as he stood before God in the day of judgment. To be that diligent, approved workman, he would have to correctly handle the word of truth, what the King James Version renders, “rightly dividing the word of truth”. Of necessity, correctly handling the Bible, the word of truth will involve much study, contemplation, and prayer. It will involve bringing an open mind, an open heart, and a faithful life to the word of truth. Implied in the correct handling is the proper understanding of the divisions between the Old and the New Covenants, understanding that the New Testament is the rule of faith and practice for Christians today.

The goal of being an approved workman should be the goal of all of God’s children. In the verses immediately before 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul stressed the importance of living faithfully before God, even to the point of suffering. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us (2 Timothy 2:12). He then told Timothy, “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers” (2 Timothy 2:14).

The evangelist Timothy was to remind his hearers of the sacrifice of Christ, the need for serving Him, and the need to work diligently to be approved workmen before God. The diligent application of all our energy to the service of God will allow us to join Timothy standing before God without shame. Nothing will help us more to please God than to handle carefully and correctly God’s written word. We should look to the written word of God with the same reverence as the psalmist who wrote, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).


Many today claim that God has spoken directly to them, or that He speaks to them just as He did to the prophets in days of old. God has not promised to speak to man today, however, except through the Bible, His written word. The Bible places constraints on what the followers of Christ can and should do, so some throw off those constraints by claiming special revelations from God. The Bible, however, was written to provide us God’s guidance without need of further special revelation. As Paul told Timothy, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The scriptures are complete, giving us all we need for serving God and man, that the man of God may be perfect, or complete.

If God is going to speak to individuals today directly and personally, apart from His written word, then is there really any need for the Bible? Our knowledge of God, His nature, His plan for redeeming man, and His purpose for mankind are all revealed in scripture. Must we have further revelation from God to know how to please Him? Peter reminds us that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), but if some dedicated Christians today receive special revelations, and some other dedicated Christians do not receive special revelations, does not that make God a respecter of persons?

When we examine the teachings of those claiming to have special revelations from God, it becomes apparent that much of what they teach conflicts not only with the Bible, but also with what other equally sincere people claim God has revealed to them. Paul highlighted the seriousness of teaching that which conflicts with the scripture, by saying, “though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). Paul said that if someone, even an angel, preaches a different message than that revealed in scripture, we must reject it.

Paul reminds us, “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33). The modern revelations that men claim today are a tremendous source of confusion in our religious world. One person says God told him one thing, while another claims God told him something the exact opposite of what the first person claims. God’s revelation is not contradictory.

Paul said that miraculous revelations of the Holy Spirit would cease. He said that the gift of “prophecy would fail, the gift of tongues would cease, and the gift of knowledge would vanish away, but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). That which is perfect is the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25), the completed revelation of God’s will in the Bible. It is sufficient to thoroughly furnish us unto good works (2 Timothy 3:17).