And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.
The fifth chapter of John’s Gospel contains the evidences that the Lord Jesus Christ gives for his claims – the witness of John the Baptist, the witness of Christ’s miracles, and the witness of the Scriptures.
To Understand the importance of these verses, one needs to recognize that they come at the end of Christ’s discourse and therefore are in a position of prominence. To give an illustration, they stand at the end of this discourse much the way a star witness might be introduced at the end of a trial to nail down the case for his prosecution.
Jesus Christ begins to speak about the witness of the Bible to himself, stressing two points. The first is the divine origin of the Scriptures. The second is their primary purpose, which is to point to him.
It is unfortunate that we need to stress the divine origin of the Scriptures as much as we do in our day. But it is necessary due to the fact that this truth is so widely contested, not only by scholars but also by many regular church members. Doubt as to the divine origin of the Scriptures is so widespread in some quarters that many have even come to think that the situation is normal.
The low view of the Bible that prevails in our day is fairy recent development in light of the broad flow of church history. Up to the time of the Reformation, almost no one within the church doubted that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are uniquely the Word of God.
Unfortunately, in the post-Reformation period, the Roman Catholic church in 1546 took the step of officially placing the tradition of the church alongside Scriptureas an equally valid form and source of Christian doctrine.
The protestant church, as the result of its heritage and its sharp polemic against Catholicism, held of longer for two hundred years. but in the 18th century and particulary in the 19th century a critical appraisal of the Scriptures, backed by naturalistic rationalism, succeeded in dislodging the bible from the place it had previously held. For the church of the age of rationalism the Bible became man’s word about God rather than God’s word to man. And when people rejected the unique, divine character of the Bible, they rejected its authority also.
The Catholic church weakened the orthodox view of the Bible by exalting human traditions to the stature of Scripture. The Protestant Church weakened the orthodox view of Scripture by lowering the Bible to the level of traditions. The differences are great, but the results are similar. In both cases the unique character of the Scripture has been lost, its divine authority forfeited, and the function of the Bible as the reforming voice of God within the church forgotten for the majority of people.
Peter wrote, “No prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by HolySprit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:21 RSV). In this verse the Greek word translated “moved” is the word used by Luke in the second chapter of Acts to compare the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to “the blowing of a violent wind”(Act 2:2). Again, in the twenty-seventh chapter, it is used to describe the force of the wind upon the ship that was carrying Paul to Rome. Luke notes that the ship was carried along by the wind. He says, “The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along”(v.15). Agin, “they…let the ship be driven along”(v.17). Cleary, Luke wished to say that the ship was at the mercy of the storm. It did not cease to be a ship, but it did cease to have control over its course and destination.
In the same way, we are told through Peter that the writers of the Bible were borne along in their writing to produce the words that God intended to be recorded. they wrote as men, but as men moved by Holy Spirit. the result was the revelation of God.
All their writings bear the marks of human personality. They differ in style. At the same time, the ultimate source is divine.
Also about the reliability of the Bible, in past years almost every biblical theologian and scholar spoke of so-called “certain results” or “assured findings” that were imagined to have laid the orthodox conception of the bible to rest forever. But the results of scolarship in our day increasingly validate the biblical claims.
The Christian need never fear to stand upon the Word of God, recognizing its full authority, as the Lord Jesus Christ did.