If God really did speak, we would expect his words to be recognized as divine. That’s exactly what happened!
God began his story with the Jewish people. He chose them as a people to tell his story. He spoke to them through leaders and prophets about his plan and the people of Israel began to collect and treasure what he said. They recorded his word on clay tablets, parchment, and scrolls in collections they called the Tanakh, what we know as the Old Testament.
After many years, their story still unfinished, it ended on a cliffhanger as God’s voice became silent. God promised the Jewish people all throughout their Scriptures that he would send a rescuer to deliver not just their people, but also the whole world from the curse of sin.
God would deliver all of us from the sin in our hearts and the wedge it puts between us and our good Creator. Through the Christ (Messiah), God would invite the whole world into his plan, and make a way for all people to know the true God.
Just when the Israelites gave up all hope of a savior, the promised hero showed up—plot twist—as a baby. He is the reason for Christmas. He is the reason time is marked based on his birth — B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini, translated as, In the Year of Our Lord). The hero God sent to save the world was his own Son born in human flesh.
God spoke most clearly to us about himself through his Son, Jesus—through his life, death, and resurrection.
Then, four of Jesus’ followers each wrote an account of Jesus’ life, and each book became recognized as an extension of the Hebrew Scriptures. They were called “Gospels” or “good news,” and are the first four books of what we call the New Testament.
Before Jesus left earth, he promised to write one last chapter of God’s story. Until the death of the apostle John, who wrote the last book of the Bible, God’s Spirit kept writing his story through a number of Jesus’ followers.
They explained the significance of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and how he fulfilled the Jewish Scriptures. These authors explained the good news of how the God of Israel can become your God and my God.
In God’s wisdom, he used these select authors to tell us all we need to know about God, his plan, and how to live the way he intended for us until Jesus returns to judge the world. When Jesus does return, he will judge us based on whether we believed in him and his Word or not. Most importantly, he will judge us based on whether we believed in his Son, Jesus.
See, the books of the Bible weren’t just chosen by men. Instead, they were given by God. As they were given, they were treasured and recorded. Years after the apostle John died, it became apparent, as people studied the Scriptures, that God was done revealing himself, and we need not wait on a new revelation. All we need to do is return to what God has already given us—his complete story—to hear him speak.
God’s Word—his Old and New Testament—shines brighter than other books as something totally unique. The books of the Bible were, over time, recognized by men and women for what they are—the precious self-disclosure of God himself.