Jesus’ identity is bound up in the Word of God. He is the Word made flesh. The trustworthiness of the Bible is inextricably tied to the trustworthiness of Jesus. If the Word of God is not trustworthy, neither is Jesus, and if Jesus is not trustworthy, neither are the Scriptures. To follow Jesus, we must obey his word; they cannot be separated. Written Scripture, penned by the apostles and prophets, is the very Word of God. It is truthful, intelligible, sufficient, and authoritative.
It seems everyone has a view of Scripture. Some think it is verbatim God’s Word to us. Others believe it is not the words themselves that are important; it is the experience we have while reading it. In other words, the true Word of God lies behind the text. Others believe it is a book merely written by men. Some will even say, “We follow Jesus, not the Bible.” With all these ideas floating around, asking how Jesus views Scripture seems wise. The first chapter of The Doctrine of Scripture: An Introduction by Mark D. Thompson does precisely that and gives us ten truths Jesus holds about Scripture. I have summarized them below.
1. Scripture is the final authority in matters of faith and faithful living.
When Jesus faced temptation in the wilderness, he said, “It is written” each time before quoting Scripture. In doing this, he implies that Scripture settles any question at hand. He appeals to no authority in this situation other than the written Word of God, which decides the question in his mind.
The rich young ruler asks, “What should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responds, “What is written in the law?” Jesus was not trying to mislead the young man; he pointed him where he could find the needed answer. During his ministry on this earth, Jesus appealed to Scripture as the final authority in matters related to faith and practice.
2. The written Scripture was the context for Jesus’ self-understanding and ministry.
Jesus reads Isaiah and says about himself, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Jesus also saw himself in typology. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (John 3:14). At the Last Supper, he sees himself as the Passover lamb when he says, “This is my blood.”
Jesus saw the Old Testament Scripture as the context of who he was and what he came to do. If Scripture is not true, Jesus was deceived about who he was and, therefore, deceived others.
3. Jesus Identified Scripture as the “Word of God.”
In Mark 7:13, Jesus verbally identifies the written Old Testament Scriptures as God’s Word when he tells the Pharisees they were “making void the Word of God by your tradition.” Jesus did not believe it was merely a man-made book. The very words are the Words of God.
4. Jesus believed the “double agency” of Scripture.
As Jesus believed the scriptures are the Word of God, he also knew men wrote them. Jesus often used words like, “Moses wrote of me.” “David himself says in the Psalms.” “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you.” Jesus believed the “Word of God” was written through human agency, and the one does not diminish the other.
5. Jesus believed Scripture was intelligible.
Jesus expects people to know and understand what Scripture says. He would critique those in error by saying, “Have you not read.” He expects people to read his Word and understand what it is saying. Sure, some passages are more complex than others, and some finer points may take years of study, but the basic message of Scripture is not hard to understand.