Grasping God’s Word: Week 8
Thomas Watson: “The Divine Inspiration of Scripture”
If the Scripture be of divine inspiration, then be exhorted:
1) To study the Scripture. Be Scripture-men, Bible-Christians. ‘I adore the fullness of Scripture,’ says Tertullian. In the Book of God are scattered many truths as so many pearls. John 5:59: ‘Search the Scriptures.’ Search as for a vein of silver. This blessed Book will fill your head with knowledge, and your heart with grace. God wrote the two tables with his own fingers; and if he took pains to write, well may we take pains to read. The Word is our Magna Charta for Heaven; shall we be ignorant of our charter? Colossians 3:16: ‘Let the word of God dwell in you richly.’ The memory must be a tablebook where the Word is written.
The Scripture speaks of faith, self-denial, and all the graces which, as a chain of pearls, adorns a Christian. It excites to holiness; it treats of another world, it gives a prospect of eternity! Oh, then, search the Scripture! Make the Word familiar to you. The Scripture is profitable for all things. If we are deserted, here is spiced wine that cheers the heavy heart; if we are pursued by Satan, here is the sword of the Spirit to resist him; if we are diseased with sin’s leprosy, here are the waters of the sanctuary, both to cleanse and cure. Oh, then, search the Scriptures! There is no danger in tasting this tree of knowledge; there is no danger in plucking from this tree of Holy Scripture; if we do not eat of this tree of knowledge, we shall surely die. Oh, then, read the Scriptures! Time may come when the Scriptures may be kept from us.
2) Be exhorted to prize the written Word. David valued the Word more than gold. What would the martyrs have given for a leaf of the Bible! In this sacred mine we dig, not for a wedge of gold, but for a weight of glory. The Scripture is the chart and compass by which we sail to the new Jerusalem. It is a sovereign cordial in all distresses. What are the promises but the water of life to renew fainting spirits? Is it sin that troubles? Here is a Scripture cordial. Psalm 65:3: ‘Iniquities prevail against me; as for our transgressions thou shalt purge them away;’ or, as it is in the Hebrew, ‘thou shalt cover them.’ Do outward afflictions disquiet thee? Here is a Scripture cordial. Psalm 91:15: ‘I will be with him in trouble,’ not only to behold, but to uphold. The Scripture will make us wise: Psalm 119:104: ‘By thy precepts I get understanding.’ The Scriptures teach a man to know himself. II Corinthians 2:2: They discover Satan’s snares and stratagems. II Timothy 3:15: ‘They make one wise to salvation.’ Oh, then, highly prize the Scriptures.
3) If the Scripture is of divine inspiration, believe it. Oh, give credence to the Word! It is breathed from God’s own mouth. Hence arises the profaneness of men, that they do not believe the Scripture. Isaiah 53:3: ‘Who has believed our report?’ But people are in part atheists, they give but little credit to the Word, therefore they are so impious, and draw such dark shadows in their lives. Learn to realize Scripture, get your hearts wrought to a firm belief of it. God is wise, and he thinks the fittest way to make his mind known to us is by writing; and such as shall not be convinced by the Word, shall be judged by the Word. If the word written be not believed, it is like writing on water, which makes no impression.
4) Love the Word written. Psalm 119:97: ‘Oh how love I thy law!’ ‘Lord,’ said Augustine, ‘let the holy Scriptures be my chaste delight.’ Chrysostom compares the Scripture to a garden, every truth is a fragrant flower, which we should wear, not on our bosom, but in our heart. David counted the Word ‘sweeter than honey and the honeycomb,’ Psalm 19:10.
5) Conform to Scripture. Let us lead Scripture lives. Oh, that the Bible might be seen printed in our lives! Do what the Word commands. Obedience is an excellent way of commenting upon the Bible. Psalm 86:6: ‘I will walk in thy truth.’ Let the Word be the sun-dial by which you set your life. What a dishonour is it to religion, for men to live in contradiction to Scripture! The Word is called a ‘light to our feet,’ Psalm 119:105. It is not only a light to our eyes to mend our sight, but to our feet to mend our walk. Oh, let us lead Bible conversations!
6) Contend for Scripture. Though we should not be of contentious spirits, yet we ought to contend for the Word of God. This jewel is too precious to be parted with. The Scripture is beset with enemies; heretics fight against it, we must therefore ‘contend for the faith once delivered to the saints,’ Jude 3. The Scripture is our book of evidences for heaven; shall we part with our evidences? The saints of old were both advocates and martyrs for truth; they would hold fast Scripture, though it were with the loss of their lives.
7) Be thankful to God for the Scriptures. What a mercy is it that God has not only acquainted us what his will is, but that he has made it known by writing! In the old times God revealed his mind by visions, but the Word written is a surer way of knowing God’s mind. 2 Peter 1:18: ‘This voice which came from heaven we heard, we have also a more sure word of prophecy.’ The devil is God’s ape, and he can transform himself into an angel of light; he can deceive with false revelations. Thus Satan deceives people with delusion, instead of divine revelations; therefore we are to be thankful to God for revealing his mind to us by writing. We are not left in doubtful suspense that we should not know what to believe, but we have an infallible rule to go by. The Scripture is our pole-star to direct us to heaven, it shows us every step we are to take; when we go wrong, it instructs us; when we go right, it comforts us; and it is matter of thankfulness, that the Scriptures are made intelligible, by being translated.
8) Adore God’s distinguishing grace. If you have felt the power and authority of the Word upon your conscience; if you can say as David, ‘Thy word has quickened me,’ Psalm 119:50. Christian, bless God that he has not only given thee his Word to be a rule of holiness, but his grace to be a principle of holiness. Bless God that he has not only written his Word, but sealed it upon thy heart, and made it effectual. Canst thou say it is of divine inspiration, because thou hast felt it to be of lively operation? Oh free grace, that God should send out his Word, and heal thee; that he should heal thee, and not others! That the same Scripture which to them is a dead letter, should be to thee a savour of life!
~ From A Body of Divinity