God is Speaking
By Joseph Mizzi
By ourselves we can never come to a true knowledge of
Throughout history and in different cultures, people
have fashioned a host of gods and diverse religions.
Left to our own resources we are helpless and
hopelessly lost; we cannot find the true and living God.
world through wisdom did not know God”
We can only know God because he was pleased to show
himself to us.
in a general way by the works of
hand, that is, the created universe.
Thus nobody has a valid excuse; nobody may rightly
claim that he didn’t know about God (Romans
Furthermore, it pleased God to reveal
to us in a special and personal way.
has spoken and
still speaks to us today through
Word, the Holy Bible.
We will look at the three steps involved in the
communication process: revelation, inspiration and
The activity of God by which
message known is called
God intervened in the course of history to reveal
will. He spoke directly to Adam, destroyed the ancient
world by the flood in Noah’s time, called Abraham and
promised to bless the world through his descendant,
redeemed the people of Israel from Egypt, gave them the
Law by Moses, established them as a nation, deported the
Jews to Babylon for their idolatry, restored them to
their land, and repeatedly promised to send the Messiah.
During this long period God spoke to Israel through
prophets. Moses, Isaiah and the others prophets
addressed the people in God’s name:
says the Lord!”
The apostle Peter comments,
never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke
as they were moved by the Holy Spirit”
The miracles they performed testified to the fact that
the prophets really were God’s mouthpieces in this
God’s revelation reached its pinnacle in the incarnation
Son, Jesus Christ.
in these last days spoken to us by His Son”
Christ is the Word of God, God’s perfect image, and the
The apostles were appointed to explain and set down the
significance of the person and work of Jesus Christ,
death and resurrection, and to lay down the doctrinal
foundation of the Christian faith.
God confirmed their authority by various miracles and
gifts of the Holy Spirit.
God’s revelation has reached its full extent; it is
complete and perfect.
Christians are exhorted to contend, that is, to strive
and struggle for the Faith,
which has been given once for all (Jude 1:3).
are called to cherish and defend the original Faith and
guard against the additions of so-called new
and human traditions.
We are living long centuries after the prophets, Jesus
then may we come to know what they taught so long ago?
pleased God to record his Word for us in the Scripture
(scripture means something written).
Moses and Paul are gone, yet their doctrine is still
accessible in their writings.
though Jesus ascended back into heaven, we can still
said and did in the four gospel accounts.
The Bible is not merely a collection of human writings.
Bible has a dual authorship, human and divine.
people like Moses, Isaiah, Luke and Matthew wrote the
books that make up the Bible.
the same time the Bible was written by God, because the
Holy Spirit guided the human authors, without violating
their personalities or literary styles, to write exactly
activity of God’s Spirit upon the human authors that
enabled them to write God’s Word is called
Scripture is given by inspiration of God”
is a translation of a single word
The written words of the Bible are
– the words that came out of
Bible is truly the Word of God!
Since the Bible is the Word of the all-knowing and
faithful God, we can have full confidence in the Bible’s
inerrancy (it is free from any mistakes) and
infallibility (it cannot lead us astray or deceive us)
Moreover, since it is the Word of our Lord, it has
absolute authority over the
and we are obliged to believe and obey it from the
Scripture says and what God says amount to the same
there cannot be a higher authority than Scripture, as
there cannot be a higher authority than God.
Jesus considered the Scriptures as God’s living
to every generation.
He said to
concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not
read what was spoken to you by God?”
22:31), and proceeded to quote a portion of Scripture,
specifically from the book of Exodus.
written many centuries before, that scripture was
relevant to their situation and useful in their own
Jesus didn’t tell them,
said to Moses”
(though the words were originally addressed to the
said to you”!
so, what we read in Scripture is God speaking to us
Which are the inspired books that make up the Bible?
Bible is divided into two sections, the Old Testament
(39 books, written mostly in Hebrew); and the New
Testament (27 books, written in Greek).
The history of the formation of the canon (that is, the
collection of writings acknowledged by the
as the authoritative Word of God) is intertwined with
the history of the people of God.
received the books of the Old Testament from the Jews to
whom they were originally committed (Romans
39 Old Testament books correspond exactly to the 24
books of the Jewish Scriptures, or Tanakh, as it is
known. (There are less books in the Tanakh because some
books in our canon, such as 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel, form
one book in the Jewish Scripture.)
Already in the apostolic
Christians were aware that God was adding new books to
the Holy Scriptures (2 Peter
gospels and epistles were copied and circulated among
By the middle of the second century, the gospels and
most of the epistles were recognized, and by the fourth
century all 27 New Testament books were universally
We do not possess the original writings, yet we can be
confident that God’s Word has been preserved.
The scriptures were carefully copied by hand (the
handwritten documents are called
Even so, there are variations between different
manuscripts (caused mainly by copying errors), but in
most part the variations are trivial. Moreover, the
original text can be accurately determined by comparing
the great number of manuscripts available.
God, who originally inspired the Scriptures,
people to acknowledge the canonical books and to
transmit them essentially intact to succeeding
generations, even to our own time.
The Holy Spirit, the Author of the Bible, illuminates
the mind of God’s people to understand
have received, not the spirit of the world, but the
Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things
that have been freely given to us by God”
The Bible can be understood.
It is not addressed to philosophers and theologians,
but to the whole people of God.
The letters of Paul, Peter, James and John were
addressed to ordinary Christians.
charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all
the holy brethren,”
ordered the apostle Paul in concluding one of his
epistles (1 Thessalonians
purpose would it serve to have the epistle read out in
the audience of all Christians if it was too difficult
to be understood?
On the other hand, the Bible can also be misunderstood.
apostle Peter warns us that there are
things hard to understand”.
He also points out that the
and unstable people twist to their own destruction”
Peter is not discouraging us from studying Scripture;
he only warns us against presumption and carelessness.
Like any other written document, the Bible must be
interpreted (or explained) according to grammatical
rules, the meaning of words, and consideration of
biblical interpretation is not merely an academic
exercise; it is first and foremost a moral and spiritual
An attitude of reverence and honesty are essential to
rightly understand God’s Word.
cannot expect to hear God’s voice if we approach the
Bible with the intent of twisting its meaning to suit
our lifestyle or to justify our belief system.
The Bible becomes our spiritual guide if we are
determined to believe it no matter how disagreeable it
is to our tastes, and to obey its message even if it
costs us our lives.
Gospel e-Letter (January
© Dr Joseph Mizzi