The fourth chapter of the Gospel of Luke presents us with two striking examples of how Christians can use the Bible – the Word of God – and why we should use it!
First, Jesus Christ uses His Father’s words to deal with the devil’s efforts to tempt Him. Later, in the synagogue of Nazareth, when He is handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, He reads out the precise reason for His ministry on earth.
Examples of what the Bible meant for Jesus
When Jesus was serving His ministry, the New Testament did not yet exist. Jesus read, and quoted from, what Christians refer to as the Old Testament. He would have used the Greek “Septuagint” translation, from which many quotes in the New Testament are taken. By the time Jesus started His ministry, He had studied Scripture for decades, and God had spoken to Him through the verses that the Holy Spirit inspired.
In Luke 4:3 (also described in Matthew 4) Jesus has already resisted the temptations from the devil during forty days of fasting in the wilderness.
- When the devil tries to make Jesus use divine power to create food, Jesus rebukes him by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3.
- Luke 4:7 tells us how the devil hopes to trick Jesus into choosing him over God. Jesus rejects the devil by quoting Deuteronomy 6:13 and .
- Finally, in , the devil even attempts to make Jesus kill Himself by jumping off the temple roof. The devil pretends to use a verse from the Bible, but Jesus defeats him by quoting from Deuteronomy 6:16, and the devil leaves.
So, by knowing God’s Word better than the devil, Jesus “picks up” the sword of the Spirit and the belt of truth that Ephesians 6:14-18 speaks of.
In the second example, Jesus is handed the scroll of Isaiah to read in the Synagogue (Luke 4:17).clarifies that Jesus knew Who these verses were about. Just imagine how blessed Jesus must have felt when He realized for the first time, that the words in Isaiah 61:1 – The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me – were for Him!
Shortly after He blesses John the Baptist in a similar manner. In Luke 7:22, John had sent his own disciples to ask Jesus if He was the One they were expecting. First, Jesus, in the presence of John’s disciples, heals many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind He bestowed sight. He then quotes from Isaiah who had prophesied about such events in verses, and . By hearing these verses, John would have known instantly that, yes, Jesus is the One of Whom he had said in Luke 3:16: “I am not worthy to untie [the strap of His sandals”.
Why we should use the Bible
Whenever Jesus read Scripture, He learned about God the Father Whom He had known as His heavenly Father at least since the age of twelve, to find out about God.. And if Scripture was good for Jesus, it is good for us. We, too, can use it as a “sword” and “belt of truth” as per Ephesians, and we, too, can use it
Christians believe in Christ and in God, Who is our Creator. So, it is vital that we take a keen interest in Their words. In Romans 15:4, we read that God’s words were written down for our instruction. Written words can be shared with others, and ensure that their message remains exactly as the Holy Spirit inspired it. As Jesus does not repeat His ministry to each of us individually, we need His Word, the way He said it.
How do we know that Jesus hasn’t changed His mind?
Revelation 22:18, specifies that nothing should be changed about His words, whatsoever. This is because Jesus, and God, do not change. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8, but also Numbers 23:19, Isaiah 40:8, among others). When we use the Bible today to:
- guide us towards what God wants for our lives (Psalm 119:105, for example)
- protect us against the enemy (Ephesians 6:14-18)
- enjoy God’s promises for us (Isaiah 41:10, Deuteronomy 31:8, John 16:33 etc.)
- educate us about His will (Romans 15:4), and
- comfort us (see Biblword articles on the Holy Spirit)
we know that Jesus would tell us the same today as He told His disciples and the multitudes, during His ministry.
But the Bible is…. really old….?
The verses from Deuteronomy that Jesus quoted in Luke 4 were written over 1,400 years before He was born. The Book of Isaiah was written some 700 years BC. But the verses were completely true on the day that Jesus quoted them.
For us, the “newest” sections of the Bible are nearly 2,000 years old. So, does this mean that they are “outdated” and that we should ignore them? Definitely not! The Bible is God’s Word. God inspired Jesus, and God inspired the Word’s writers to share with us, all that we need to know about His nature, His will, and His plan for our salvation. God is omniscient, meaning that He knows everything, meaning that He didn’t have to wait until the year 2022 before He could inspire truth for the year 2022. He already knew, before times began, what He would like to reveal to us, today.
Clearly, the Bible doesn’t have anything to say on mobile phones, bit coins or Zoom meetings. That doesn’t matter. The essential things, about who we are, how we relate to God, how we relate to others, the choices we have to make, the struggles we go through, the times we have to be patient or obedient, etc., are not drastically different.
What if the Bible says something I don’t like?
You may think: “I am not Jesus; the Bible was not written for me.” Well, it wasn’t written about you, but it was certainly written for you! In the same manner that Jesus was encouraged by verses from Old Testament books, the Holy Spirit can use Scripture to encourage us, personally, or clarify something to us – personally.
There are also many general verses that apply to everyone. Sometimes, the Bible says things that are not very popular in modern times. Society has changed and is quick to point out that Biblical truths no longer apply. But God always had our good in mind. Jesus died on the cross to save us – what greater proof do we need that His teachings and guidance are not intended to hinder or frustrate us? His eternal Word is as relevant to us today, as it was to Jesus’ disciples, and it really is our “Guide to God’s Will”!