Many say that they believe in the bible, but do they really? To these who say they do, please pay special attention to this lesson. Do you believe the bible to be the inspired, written word of God? The inspired apostle Paul said, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). In 1 Cor. 2:13, the apostle Paul said, “which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit, teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” Paul also says in 1 Thess. 2:13, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the word of God which you heard from us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually works also in you that believe.”
Let us look at some of the characteristics of God, who inspired every scripture in the bible in which so many believe. God is everlasting (Is. 26:4). God is jealous (Ex. 20:5; 2 Cor. 11:2). God is all powerful. (Mt 28:18) God is the Creator of all things (Gen. 1:1). God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). God is vengeful (Rom 12:19). e.g. the flood (Gen. 7) and in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:24). God is loving (1 Jn. 4:7-8; Jn. 3:16). God is all knowing (Heb. 4:12). God is all wise to our thoughts and intents (Jer. 10:23). God is our judge (Rom 2:16). God is just (Heb. 2:2; Psalms 19:9; Jer. 11:20). etc.
Can anyone believe in the bible and believe in various ways to obtain salvation? Romans 10:17 says to hear the word. Romans 19:8-10 says to believe with the heart that Jesus is the Christ; And to confess Jesus is the Christ with the mouth. Acts 2:38 says to repent of past sins; And to be baptized in Jesus name for remission of sins. John 4:23,24 says all Christians must worship God in Spirit and in truth. Acts 2:42 and John 9 says we must continue and abide in the doctrine of Christ and His apostles. Revelation 2:10 says all must remain faithful unto death in order to obtain a crown of life.
Is there another way for us to obtain salvation? Absolutely Not. Why? The Bible does not authorize it. What about the people that say baptism is not necessary? They do not believe the Bible! What about the people that say it is alright to sprinkle or pour for baptism? They do not believe the Bible. Mark 16:16 and 1 Peter 3:21 says baptism saves.
Let’s point the finger at ourselves. Does God authorize works (that are able to be done by the local church) to be done by benevolent Institutions? What do the scriptures say? Acts 14:23 says “God ordained “elders” in “every” church. 1 Peter. 5:2 says elders are to “feed the Flock which is among you.” The word of God says each and every local church is to tend to their own affairs or to have their own “government.” So what can we conclude for those who see fit to “pool” their resources to one governing group of elders for their oversight? They do not believe the Bible. God did not authorize it. Local churches are “independent,” they are “autonomous,” or self-governing.
What is the work of the “local church”? Edification (Eph. 4:16), evangelism (1 Tim. 3:15) and benevolence (Acts 6:1-4). What does that mean? This limits the local church to providing only what God has authorized. God’s word does not authorize the Lord’s money (1 Cor. 16:1-2) to be used in supporting sporting events, youth camps, business adventures, social activities, human institutions, joint cooperation with denominations or other local congregations (elders overseeing more than “one” local work).
How can I be sure? By using the standard of authority that God has given us, the Bible; the Bible does not give authority for any of these endeavors. There is not a “direct command.” There is not an “approved example.” There is not a “necessary inference.” So if you practice these things for which there is not a direct command, approved example or necessary inference, what may be concluded by this behavior? You do not believe the Bible is all “sufficient.” 2 Pet. 1:3 tells us that it is. You are not following the apostles teaching. Acts 2:42 shows us that we should. You are walking by “sight” and not by faith” (2 Cor. 5:7). You are not “abiding” in the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9).
Therefore, I would “urge” you to examine yourselves (2 Cor. 13:5), before you answer the question (“Do you believe the Bible?”). It is possible that you could have been led astray by a “false doctrine” (Eph. 4:4) that is “contrary” to the doctrine of Christ (Romans 16:17), led into the doctrines of men (Matt. 15:7-9). 1 John 1:6-7 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all sins.” So I ask you directly, “Do you believe the Bible?” If so, speak where the bible speaks and remain silent where the bible is silent (1 Pet 4:11)! If so, don’t go beyond that which was written (1 Cor 4:6)! If so, obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29)!