Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 12, 1955

"And The Scripture Cannot Be Broken"

Hubert Moss, Jr., Bedford, Ohio

It is the thesis of this article that the basic and the fundamental cause of the multiplicity of contradictory doctrines and practices today among religionists is their conflicting and wrong attitudes toward the "sacred oracles." Many are paying only lip-service to the Bible. If men would espouse a singular and proper attitude toward the scriptures, religious division could be resolved and unity prevail on a God-sanctioned basis. It is not only desirable but absolutely essential that each of us maintain proper respect for the word of God if we would be saved.

But what is the right attitude? First, we need to examine the claims which scripture makes for itself. Is it the word of God? Is so, to what extent? Secondly, having committed ourselves to faith in its claims, what attitude does that faith necessitate or demand of us? This is best illustrated by examining the attitude Jesus and other inspired men manifested toward scripture both by their references to, and the use of, the oracles of God. Our attitude ought to be Christ's attitude! Observe these in order.

What does scripture claim for itself? In a word, it claims to be the divine revelation of truth produced by a divine mode or, process of operation called inspiration and resulting in scripture that is in its every word and every part the very word of the God of truth. Note the following declarations: "Which things we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words." (1 Cor. 2:12-13.) ". . . . When ye received from us the word of the message, even the word of God, ye accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God which also worketh in you that believe." (1 Thess. 2:13.) "Men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 1:21.) In the Old Testament alone, there are over 3800 instances of phrases like, "The Lord said," "the word of the Lord came," etc. The Bible claims verbal inspiration or no inspiration at all. It is in a sense a human product, but in a much higher sense it is divine, because it is God's word spoken by the mouth of His servants and under the influence of His Spirit. Hence it is inspired (God-breathed) scripture — the result of the creative breath of God. (2 Tim. 3:16-17.) This is what scripture claims. We are not here concerned with producing evidences to support this claim, though we believe the external evidences and internal excellencies of inspiration are cogent and many, but, for the purpose of this study we are concerned with what it claims for itself. If accepted at all then, our attitude ought to be that it "is basically Divine, and God himself is its Author. This approach to the Bible is expressed well in Exodus 3:5. 'Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground'."

That scripture is in a very real sense the living voice of God, is clearly revealed in the attitude toward, and use made of, them by Christ and other inspired men. Note the following:

The scriptures create faith. "So belief cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31.)

They maintain our faith. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matt. 4:4.) "Receive with meekness implanted word which is able to save your souls." (James 1:21; 1 Peter 2:2; John 5:39; 2 Tim. 3:16.)

They govern and limit our faith. ". . . . In us ye might learn not to go beyond the things which are written." (1 Cor. 4:6.) "The word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb. 4:12; 2 John 9; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14; Rom. 16:17.) In other words the scriptures constitute the rule of faith.

They are complete. "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3; Jude 3.)

The scriptures are final and supreme in authority, even to every word. The Jews were about to stone Jesus for saying he was the Son of God. To answer them he appealed to the authority of one word in scripture, by quoting Psalm 82:6, "I said, Ye are gods?" If God had called those to whom he spoke gods, ("and the scripture cannot be broken" John 10:35), could not Jesus call himself the Son of God? The point is he refuted their objections by the force or authority in one word of scripture, the word "gods" in Psalm 82. In Matthew 22:41-46 Jesus shows that the son of David was in a much higher sense to be the Son of God by appealing to one word, the word "Lord" in Psalm 110:1 where David said, "The Lord said unto my Lord."

The tense of the verb in scripture is authoritative. Concerning the resurrection of the dead, Jesus refuted the Sadducees by going to the scriptures. He said God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. He quoted from scripture where God said, "I am (present tense of the verb 'to be') the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." (Matt. 22:32 quoted from Exodus 3:6.) Now this was written by God through Moses hundreds of years after all three of these patriarchs were dead. But since God was still their God, and he is not the God of the dead, they must be alive in some sense, hence the existence of spirits.

The number (singular or plural) of a noun in scripture is authoritative. In Galatians 3:16 Paul bases his argument that the promise to Abraham was not with reference to the Jews, that is all of his physical seed, as they contended, but the promise was of one. "He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." Hence the argument is based upon the singular of the noun seed. (Of course seed is sometimes plural, but Paul is saying God meant one when He used that word, and what God meant in His word is what it is.)

Every jot and tittle of scripture is authoritative. "Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished." (Matt. 5:18.) The jot was the smallest letter, and the tittle the smallest part of a letter in the Hebrew alphabet, corresponding to the English letter "i" and the dot over it, or the cross over the "t." The scriptures are so inerrant and sure, that the dot over the "i" and the cross of the "t" cannot fail to be accomplished. (See also Luke 24:44.)

Every part of scripture is authoritative, "For if ye believed Moses, ye would believe me; for he wrote of me." (John 5:46.) Members of the church of Christ are sometimes charged with not believing in the Old Testament because they declare we are not under the authority of that covenant today. The charge is not true. One who really believes the whole Bible will believe and accept what the Old says about the New and what the New says about the Old. The Old said it would be done away and superseded by a new covenant; the New says the Old was done away in Christ and we are now living under the New and better covenant. To believe one part one must believe all parts, and what each part says of all other parts.

More could be said about the right attitude toward scripture, but these declarations are sufficient to demonstrate the fact that with men of God every word of scripture is the very word of God; supreme, final, inerrant in all its parts. With Christ a simple appeal to an "it is written," or a "thus saith the Lord" was the end of the argument.

We should have that attitude today. If all men would, religious questions could quickly be resolved. One cannot be a disciple of Christ and disregard the authority of his word. (John 8:31.) When we come to properly regard the word of God we will love it, learn of it, live by it so as to enjoy its benign benefits here, and die with its assurances of receiving its sublime promises hereafter. Jesus said, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day."

What is your attitude toward those "sacred oracles"? Remember, "the scripture cannot be broken."