THE WORD OF GOD
James Smith, New Park Street Church, London, 1849
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The Bible is God’s book, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and therefore free from error; “Holy men of God wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
It contains God’s law, the church’s history, and Christ’s gospel.
It reveals God, opens heaven, and directs man.
It makes known God’s thoughts, the world’s doom, and the church’s blessedness.
It unfolds eternity to time, brings heaven to earth, and makes invisible realities known.
It was written for sinners, has been preserved by a special providence, and is the godly man’s treasure.
Infidels scorn it, angels study it with wonder, and the saints delight in it.
It is a token of God’s love, a proof of his regard, and a display of his concern for our welfare.
This Word of God contains . . .
the Law—commanding, condemning, and cursing;
the Psalms—disclosing, elevating, and praising;
the Gospel—unfolding, inviting, and directing;
the Prophets—predicting, exhorting, and denouncing.
It contains a rich variety, a divine fullness, and is exactly adapted to meet the case and condition of sinners.
Its histories are true, instructive, and impartial.
Its precepts are just, holy, and good.
Its cautions are beneficial, wise, and useful.
Its exhortations are judicious, adapted, and profitable.
Its reproofs are kind, solemn, and suitable.
Its directions are merciful, practical, and plain.
Its instructions are deep, spiritual, and extensive.
Its corrections are loving, just, and judicious.
Its doctrines are divine, sublime, and glorious.
Its descriptions are vivid, correct, and impartial.
Its invitations are general, attractive, and gracious.
Its promises are great, numerous, and invaluable.
Its warnings are solemn, preventing, and tender.
Its threatenings are dreadful, alarming, and just.
Its parables are simple, instructive, and edifying.
Its types are significant, impressive, and suitable.
Its examples are bright, winning, and worthy.
It is in every part, and every way, worthy of a God!
We have this blessed book as God’s free gift, procured for us by our adorable Redeemer, and bestowed upon us through the Holy Spirit. Its revelations were delivered, first orally, then written, then printed: first given to a few, then written for many, then printed for all: first freely bestowed, then hard to be obtained and now easily to be gotten. Given by God, opposed by the devil, blasphemed by many, rejected by more, unknown to thousands—but highly prized by a few. It is suited to youth, adapted to manhood—but peculiarly applicable to old age. It is the child’s lesson book, the learner’s class book, and the scholar’s text book. Many study it, all Christians believe it—but none fully comprehend it.
This divine testimony is exceedingly useful; for it produces morality in the world, spirituality in the church, and good in all who believe it. It . . .
enlightens the dark,
instructs the ignorant,
comforts the desponding,
directs the lost,
encourages the seeking,
assures the waiting soul,
warns the wayward,
threatens the unruly,
condemns the impenitent,
invites the weary,
strengthens the weak,
consoles the dejected,
alarms the careless,
accuses the indifferent,
confounds the worldly-wise,
cautions the venturesome,
reproves the heedless,
gives promises to the diligent,
frowns on the thoughtless,
curses the profane,
damns the hypocrite,
urges the halting,
exhorts the obedient,
rewards the persevering,
exalts the Savior,
delights perishing sinners.
The Bible is God’s will, the saints’ treasure and the devils’ eye-sore!
This holy writing is intended for earth, it is placed before our eyes, to be copied into our memories, and observed in our lives. The world has it, the church owns it, and every part of God’s family may equally enjoy it. It is intended for the whole of this life, to be used through our entire journey—but will be dispensed with when we get home. It is here in written characters, there in substance, and both here and their prized and enjoyed. It is here to be read, believed, and tasted; but its fullest blessings are reserved for that better land. Now we need it, while on earth we cannot dispense with it—but in heaven we shall be able to do without it.
This book is pure—unmixed with error, untainted by sin, and worthy of a holy God.
This book is true—and may therefore be firmly believed, implicitly trusted, and unreservedly depended upon.
This book is sure—and cannot possibly deceive, lead astray, or sanction a mistake.
This book is right—being in perfect accordance with the holiness, justice, and grace of God.
This book is assimilating—he who believes it, loves it, and obeys it—must resemble it.
This book is divine—the offspring of God, bearing the impress of divinity, and is always acknowledged by Jehovah when pleaded at his throne.
This book is spiritual—and therefore cannot be understood by the carnal, the worldly wise, or anyone who is untaught of God.
This book is mysterious—containing mysteries which are to be believed, reverenced, and acknowledged, though never in this world to be fully comprehended.
This book is excellent—in its matter, style, and design.
This book is extensive—embracing more than the human mind can contain, than any creature could invent, or the whole of time will unfold.
This book is firm—and cannot be removed, driven out of the world, or destroyed.
This book is full—containing all that is necessary, ornamental, or useful.
This book is feeding—it feeds the memory, the intellect, and the heart.
This book is filling—it satisfies the illiterate, the learner, and the scholar.
This book is glorious—and glorifies God, the Savior, and the church.
This book is harmonious—every part accords, harmonizes, and agrees.
This book is honest—it exposes, commends, and reproves, as the case may be.
This book is immutable—it can undergo no change in its doctrines, requirements, or promises.
This book is irrevocable—heaven and earth may pass away, but its predictions, threatenings, and promises shall stand forever.
This book is inviting—for God stoops to write, instruct, and give wisdom to worms.
This book is incomparable—it never had, has not now, nor ever will have—an equal.
This book is infallible—here are no mistakes, misquotations, or exceptions, all is the word of God, and worthy of a God.
This book is lively—it gives life, quickens the dull and sleepy, and preserves the life given.
This book is ministerial—being the seed of God, the scepter of the Messiah, and the sword of the Spirit.
This book is necessary—for our information, consolation, and establishment.
This book is nourishing—it strengthens our faith, animates our hope, and quickens our love.
This book is conquering—it overcomes Satan, destroys sin, and leads sinners as willing captives to the Prince of peace.
This book is original—nothing is borrowed, stolen, or altered—all is of divine origin.
This book is penetrating—it wounds the heart, pierces the conscience, and divides between soul and spirit.
This book is perfect—as a whole, and in every part; it contains a perfect system of doctrine, a perfect code of precepts, and a perfect variety of truth to meet every possible case.
The Bible is compared to . . .
a fire, that burns;
a hammer, that breaks;
a sword, that pierces and slays;
a light, that shines in a dark place;
a lantern, that guides the feet;
milk, which nourishes and feeds;
a suit of armor, which protects the person;
incorruptible seed, which always brings forth fruit.
It is called . . .
the word of God,
the word of righteousness,
the word of reconciliation,
the word of life,
the word of faith,
the word of salvation,
the word of grace,
the word of truth,
the faithful word,
a more sure word of prophecy,
the word of the saint’s testimony,
and the word of Christ.
Of this word, Job could say, “I have esteemed the words of his mouth, more than my necessary food.”
Jeremiah exclaims, “Your words were found, and I ate them; and your word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart!”
David appeals to the Lord and says, “Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you. I will delight myself in your statutes, I will not forget your word. Your word is very pure, therefore your servant loves it. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night—that I may meditate on your word.”
Jesus said, “The Scriptures testify of Me.”
Paul insists, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
O, for greater love to the Scriptures—that we may know them, enjoy them, conform to them, exercise faith in them, and make them our delight! May we read them daily, pray over them constantly, meditate on them frequently, and manifest their holy tendency in life and death. May our memories be stored with them, our hearts be sanctified by them, and our lives correspond with them.
O may these heavenly pages be
My ever dear delight;
And still new beauties may I see,
And still increasing light!
James Smith, New Park Street Church, London, 1849