The Bible is not the 'Word of God'

The Bible is not the infallible, inerrant 'Word of God'. Jesus and His teachings is the Word of God.

I know it is a difficult thing to even consider. For years in my life I studied the Bible every day believing it (Genesis to Revelation) was 'The Word of God'. A couple of years ago I wouldn't even bother reading this article. Changing my view on what the Bible is, was probably the most difficult thing I had to do as a Child of God. It was unsettling and disturbing as it shook the foundations of my faith. However, once I got past the initial shock, it radically changed my faith and my life.

Gospel of Thomas, Saying 2

Jesus said, "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all."

Why is what you believe about the Bible important?

If your faith is all about God, and you believe something that is written is His Word - His commands for you - then those written words will define your faith, your life and you. It is about authority. If I believe that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God, then I have to take every verse literally. I have to follow every verse in the Bible blindly as a command from God without question.

The reality is that you can't follow every command in the bible blindly as there are many contradictions. Contradictions between the Old Testament and the New Testament, between what Jesus said and what Paul sayd, and many other. There are many scriptures in the Bible that causes problems - problems like the Bible's account of creation, how woman is inferior to men, how people with different sexual orientation should be treated, how people of other religions should be treated - and the list goes on.

All the contradictions and problems falls away when you start to understand that the teachings of Jesus is the 'Word of God' - the rest is scripture. Scripture that God can use to 'talk' to you - scripture that is important and helpful to study - but scripture that is not the 'Word of God' and should not just be followed blindly.

Not only do the problem areas in your faith start to fall away - your faith start to grow and evolve into something so much better, something so more powerful and pure.

Where does the idea that the Bible is the Word of God come from?

Most of us (Christians) were taught from childhood that the entire Bible is the Word of God and never thought of asking 'why'. The Bible does not refer to itself as the Word of God. Jesus and His teachings are referred to as the Word of God (John 1:1). Jesus referred to the Bible (Old Testament) as 'scripture' and not 'The Word of God'.

I don't want to go into the detail of the history of the Bible in this article - but if you look at the history (click here), you will see that there are a lot of things that are a bit suspect and very concerning. Names like Irenaeus and Constantine comes up.

Iranaeus was basically the first Bishop that decided what books should be in the Bible. The fact that He was a Bishop is already a problem because Jesus taught against a religion based on hierarchical leadership structure. He rejected those who had different ideas about God and Jesus - again, Jesus taught the opposite (more on that in another article).

Constantine enforced the chosen books and the rejection of those books that were not chosen when he turned Christianity into a state (forced) religion. He forced people to convert. The church leadership was full of political appointments of newly 'converts'. It was during this time that not only the books in the Bible were chosen but the idea that every book was the 'Word of God' started to take hold.

We were taught (and for a very long time I believed) that all this doesn't matter because the Holy Spirit used these people to 'create' the Bible. The problem is that the Holy Spirit did not reveal this to you - you were taught this from an early age. Look at when and by whom this 'revelation' came from. It is not from Jesus, it is not from the Bible, it is not from God.

Below are proof from the Bible that everything in the Bible is not the 'Word of God'.

Jesus did not believe the Bible was the 'Word of God'

Obviously the New Testament wasn't written yet, but Jesus did not believe the Old Testament was the Word of God. He often referred to the Old Testament, so its importance is undeniable, but He referred to it as scripture and not 'The Word of God'.

In Matthew 19:7-9 Jesus is referring to Deuteronomy 24:1-4 where it is written in scripture that you can divorce your wife with a letter. Jesus clearly states that 'Moses said this because of your stubbornness'. 'Moses said' ... not God! A verse in the Bible that Jesus said we cannot take literally as we have to look at the circumstances in what it was said!! Jesus did not believe the Bible was the inerrant, infallible Word of God!

Jesus draws a line through the idea that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.

Jesus often talked about the Old Testament as 'Moses said' and not 'God said' (John 7:19, 22).

Another instance where it is clear that Jesus did not think that every verse in the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God:

John 5:17 AMP

But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now [He has never ceased working], and I too am working.”

The Jews were upset because Jesus healed on the Sabbath and the Bible says God rested on the 7th day. Jesus responded by saying that God did not rest on the 7th day as written in Genesis 2:2. God did create the universe, but we can't take every word in Genesis literally (Jesus didn't) - artcile about Creation and Evolution coming soon.

John 5:39-40

You search and keep on searching and examining the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and yet it is those [very Scriptures] that testify about Me; and still you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

Jesus made it clear: Scripture (the Old Testament) does testify about Jesus, they are important - but they are not the 'Word of God'. The teachings of Jesus is the Word and gives life.

Having a written 'Word of God' is not biblical!

As mentioned already, the Bible does not refer to itself as the 'Word of God'. Only Jesus and His teachings are referred to as the 'Word of God' (John 1:1). The Old and New Testament also clearly says that we will not have a written document (book) as the 'Word of God' but the Holy Spirit that will teach us (Jeremiah 31:31-33, Hebrews 8:10-11).

Jesus said what we will get after He has gone, not the Holy Spirit that will come to write a book that will be the Word of God, but His Holy Spirit to teach us and remind us of the teachings of Jesus (John 14:26).

The books of the New Testament

Most books in the New Testament are letters to specific churches or even persons. The authors of those letters (mostly Paul) did not believe (if you look at how the letters are started and written) that they where busy writing 'The Word of God'. These books (letters in the New Testament) are extremely important as they are the earliest and purest written records of the teachings of Jesus and first-hand knowledge of the teachings of Jesus.

There is however NOTHING what Jesus have said or anything in the Old Testament that should give us instruction or even the indication that we should take these books and give every single letter in them the status of 'The Word of God'.

Is what Paul said just as important as what Jesus said?

No! We have ONE King - Jesus. We have ONE Teacher - Jesus.

Matthew 23:8-10 (AMP)

But do not be called Rabbi (Teacher); for One is your Teacher, and you are all [equally] brothers. Do not call anyone on earth [who guides you spiritually] your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not let yourselves be called leaders or teachers; for One is your Leader (Teacher), the Christ

Several times Jesus commanded us to observe what HE has commanded us (Matthew 28:20, John 14:15, John 14:21, John 15:14, and several more). He did not command us to follow what He taught and another person that will come after He left.

Mainstream Christianity says that Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit, so after He left, Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit wrote the 'Word of God' using Paul.

John 14:26 (AMP)

But the [a]Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you

look at what Jesus said! The Holy Spirit will teach 'you'. He was not busy talking to Paul as Paul never met Jesus in person. He was not saying the Holy Spirit will teach someone that will write the 'Word of God' for us. The 'you' means us - all of us.

The idea that the Holy Spirit will use one person to write scripture for the rest of us is how it worked in the Old Testament (Prophets). Jesus was very familiar with scripture in the Old Testament and the prophets. It was clear from what He said that something different was coming. Jesus gave us His teachings. After Jesus, there is no one else! Just the Holy Spirit teaching and reminding us of the teachings of Jesus.

The Old Testament prophesied about this - Jeremiah 31:33-34

But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” says the Lord, “I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. And each man will no longer teach his neighbor and his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me [through personal experience], from the least of them to the greatest,” says the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness, and I will no longer remember their sin

According to the prophecy we will no longer have scripture as 'The Word of God' but God will speak to us directly through the Holy Spirit. We will no longer need 'teachers' as we have ONE Teacher and that is Jesus.

Paul also did not think he was busy writing the 'Word of God'. If you read his letters you will see it is clear that he did not think he was writing the 'Word of God' but a letter. The idea that Paul's letters are just as important as what Jesus said does not come from Paul or any other verse in the Bible. After Jesus, there are no more special prophets:

Hebrews 1:1-2 (AMP)

God, having spoken to the fathers long ago in [the voices and writings of] the prophets in many separate revelations [each of which set forth a portion of the truth], and in many ways, 2 has in these last days spoken [with finality] to us in [the person of One who is by His character and nature] His Son [namely Jesus], whom He appointed heir and lawful owner of all things, through whom also He created the universe [that is, the universe as a space-time-matter continuum].

Jesus taught us with finality. He did say the Holy Spirit will teach us more, but the Holy Spirit, not another person or prophet. Paul was just another believer that was filled with the Holy Spirit. Yes, he did great things. Yes, all his letters are invaluable because although he did not personally know Jesus, he knew and learned from others who did.

We can and should learn a lot from Paul's letters as well as all the other books in the Bible. But like any other believer that is filled with the Holy Spirit, not every word that comes out of their mouth is the word of God. They make mistakes. They sometimes say the wrong thing! Only Jesus is perfect.

Acts and the Early Church

The same applies to Acts as what I explained about Paul above. We are told what happens when someone is filled with the Holy Spirit - a lot - but nowhere does Jesus say that someone that us filled with the Holy Spirit becomes perfect and every word that comes out of their mouth is 'the word of God' and every thing they do is what God wants us to do.

While Jesus was still with His disciples they made mistakes and He had to reprimand them more than once. Why do we then think that after Jesus left, everything the early followers of Jesus did in Acts are perfect and 'the will of God' and 'the Word of God'? Again, we can learn a lot from them because some of them knew Jesus personally, others new someone that did. They were however just believers like you and me that made mistakes.

The argument that all Scripture is God-breathed

2 Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]

'God-breathed' or God-Inspired does not mean dictated and as we have seen Jesus did not believe every verse of scripture was from God. There are also a couple of problems with using this verse as an argument that the whole Bible is the Word of God.

At the time Paul wrote this letter to Timothy, the New Testament like we have it today did not exist. From the way that Paul wrote this and all his other letters it is clear that he was writing a letter and did not think or believed he was busy writing the 'Word of God'. He was probably only referring to the Old Testament scripture.

Also, to use this verse as 'proof' that the whole Bible is equally important is a bit silly. It is written by Paul - you can't say Paul's words are the words of God because Paul says so.

There is another argument that says in 2 Peter 3:15-16 Peter refers to Paul's letters and then mentions 'the rest of the Scriptures' so Peter must have seen Paul's letters as scripture. We however already explained that the letters of Paul is very important - possibly even on the same level as the rest of the scripture (Old Testament) - but we have seen how Jesus treated scripture. Scripture is not 'The Word of God' and you can't take every verse and say 'this is what God says'.

Now what?? - What does all this mean?

As explained in the section above ('Why is what you believe about the Bible important'), what you believe about the Bible is very important and will affect everything else. When you focus on the teachings of Jesus (as He instructed us), everything will start to fall in place and your faith will go into a whole new level.

You will also be free from the idea that God gave us one complete book with everything we need to know. You will start to learn from God in new ways and discover more of the teachings of Jesus that was not included in the Bible (like the Gospel of Thomas).