The Story of God and Man Part 10: The Bible

The Story of God and Man Part 10: The Bible


Sunday, November 20, 2022  Brad Barrett

The Story of God and Man:  The Bible— Week 11

I enjoy reading.  Every night before bed I’m reading a chapter or two from a book.  Usually it non-fiction.  A biography.  Some historical event.  Something from World War II.  But there is one Book I read every day that is completely different than any other book.  It’s the Bible.

This book is not peripheral or an add-on.  Rather, it has been the most central thing in my life for 40+ years.   I evaluate almost everything in light of what this Book says.  If I’m reading/watching the news, I’m thinking about what God would have to say about that.  If I’m helping someone in their faith, I’m considering the Scriptures.  If I’m reading a book or even watching a movie, I’m constantly thinking about what truths of God relate to that.

Why?  Because it is the Word—the voice, the message, the testimony—of God.

I have used and may even use this morning language like, “Obey the Word,” or “Love the Word.”  But we’re not really obeying a book.  We’re not loving a book in the same way we say we “love” other books, like Lord of the Rings.   We are obeying and loving and believing in the One who spoke these words.  We follow Him.  Ultimately we don’t actually follow a book or a set of writings, even though we may use language like this.

But to be fair, we don’t really need to distinguish between God himself and his words in this book.  For these words come from him.  They reveal his will.  His heart.  His deeds.

We are almost at the end of a 12-week sermon series, going through a document we wrote called The Story of God and Man. 

The Bible in a very real sense is a Story.  It’s a Story orchestrated by our Creator God.  And it is a redemptive story.

God is passionate about redeeming broken, sinful mankind out of darkness and bringing them into relationship with Him and into the kingdom of light, the kingdom of his Son, Jesus. 

This morning we are examining the Chapter of this Story that we call simply, The Bible.  It’s the Story about the Story.

The Bible is a heavenly, truth-filled book that is intended to save our souls and to change our lives.

It’s why every sermon we have on Sunday mornings, every song we sing, every prayer offered is all shaped and informed by the Bible.  We talk about the Bible all the time.  And if we take it away, I really have nothing to offer to you. 

Here’s our outline for this morning:

  • The Surety of the Word

We can have confidence that the Scriptures are absolutely true and without any lies.

  • The Majesty of the Word

There is something unique and majestic and glorious about God’s Word.

  • The Intake of the Word

We must take it in if we want salvation and a growing intimacy with Jesus.

  • The Outflow of the Word

As we take in God’s very words, something happens.  We are changed.  We bear fruit.

First, let’s read from The Story of God and Man, page 144.

“In the centuries immediately after Jesus lived, died, and rose again, the church recognized the writings that had been passed down from the apostles, men whom Jesus had appointed to proclaim the kingdom and lead the church.  These New Testament writings and the Jewish scriptures of the Old Testament make up the 66 books of the Bible and are uniquely, verbally, and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit.  They were written without error in the original manu­scripts and passed down to us with great accuracy.  God’s authority over His church is mediated through the Bible, and in this way, it is the supreme and final authority for faith and life in this age, superseding all extra-Biblical tradition.”

This is no ordinary book.  Without it, we know very little about God.  And we know very little about ourselves in relationship to God. 

The Surety of the Word

One fundamental point must be made when we are talking about the Bible:  We must believe it.  We must have confidence—SURETY— that it is true.  If we falter on this, we falter in our relationship with God.

Hebrews 11:1 NIV  Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Our faith is not guesswork.  It is not wishful thinking.  It is a confidence about who God is and what He has said.

Even if we don’t understand this point, Satan sure does.

Genesis 3:1 NIV Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

“Did God really say that?”  How extraordinarily shrewd!  Satan planted a seed of doubt in Eve of the words that God had spoken to them.

From cover to cover, the Bible claims to be from God.  It claims to contain His words, not the words of mere mortals.

For example, the foundation of the OT—the Ten Commandments—are claimed to be directly from God.

Exodus 32:16 ESV  The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.

Jesus believed the OT contained the very words of God.  He repeatedly quoted from it, including three timeswhen the devil was tempting him in the wilderness.

Matthew 4:4  But he answered [the devil], “It is written…”

Paul affirmed the Scriptures were from heaven.

2 Timothy 3:16  “All Scripture is God-breathed…” 

Peter affirmed it.

2 Peter 1:21 ESV For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

All the other apostles were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension.  And they wrote of it.

And we all have our own testimonies of God’s faithfulness to us. 

Fulfilled prophecy, especially those related to the First Coming of Jesus Christ, are powerful proof of the wisdom and power and the truth of God’s Word.  One of my favorites is Isaiah 53, written 700 years before Christ came. 

Verse 5 speaks of our redemption that comes through Jesus’ death.

Isaiah 53:5 NIV But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Adding to all this is the overall unity of the entire Bible.  OT and NT blend together so beautifully, including hundreds of quotes in the NT from the OT.  And I have read through the entire Bible at least 25 times over the years.  Every time I do that, I am amazed how these 66 books written by about 40 authors spread out over 1500 years truly flow together as one masterful, cohesive, heavenly book.

It’s a stunning book.  We must not add to the Bible or subtract from it.  Neither should we pick and choose which portions of the Bible to agree with and obey,  For the Bible claims to be the perfect, inspired words from a perfect, truthful God.

So either it is a massive lie, or it really is the trustworthy words from the God who is in heaven. 

Foundational to the Christian faith is that we grow in our confidence—our surety—that the Bible are the very words from God breathed out to us through the hands of prophets and apostles. 


This is why it is so important we address doubts and objections we have to the Bible.   Every one of us, at times, will have our faith tested.  Will we believe that these words are from heaven?   Will we acknowledge that they are trustworthy?  That we can stake our lives on it?   And even more, that we can stake eternal life on it?

If we let doubts and objections go unchecked, our faith will crash.

For example, sometimes very hard things happen to us, and we begin to wonder, “Is God really good?”

A few years ago my wife and faced some challenges including health.  Over a few months, I was growing more and more frustrated.  Angry.  I was reading a book called Gospel Fluency.  The author had an exercise to walk through to discover in your heart and mind what you truly believe at that moment.  Not what you theoretically believe.  I knew the right answers according to the Scriptures—that God is good.  Powerful.  Kind.  Loyal.  Attentive.  But as I went through this simple exercise, I realized functionally in my trials I was doubting those very things.  It was eye opening for me.  And I repented of my unbelief and my doubts. 

So doubts and objections can creep in during hard trials.

Doubts can also come up with other issues.  One common issue centers around science.   The science we’ve been taught seems to contradict the clear reading of the Bible.  So we wonder, “Can we trust this Book?  Is it true?”  We can’t adequately address this important topic this morning, but it’s vital we honestly investigate our questions.

And it’s important we cast off any shame we feel about our doubts and openly ask other godly believers our honest questions. 

God is not thwarted nor surprised by our questions.  Let’s bring them into the light.  God’s integrity and his truth will withstand even the harshest opposition.

In the end, even with piles of evidence in front of us that the Bible is completely true and trustworthy… we still have to decide, “Do I believe this?  Do I trust in the God who had this Book written?” 

We must believe it by faith. 

Like Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is being certain of what we cannot see.”

The Bible itself testifies that we can have assurance—surety— it is from God.

The Majesty of the Word

God’s Word is also majestic.  There is some glorious.  Something powerful.  Something authoritative about this Book.    

His Word is majestic and glorious, for God Himself, the True Author, is majestic and glorious.

It is unparalleled in its wisdom and truthfulness.  There is nothing like it. 

King David wrote about the words of God with rich, poetic, holy language.

Psalm 19:7–10 NIV

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.

The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.

The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.

The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.

They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;

they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.

God’s Word reveals Him in all His perfection, faithfulness, justice, glory, purity, and strength.

It’s our main source of revelation to know him.  And the Holy Spirit takes these words from heaven and opens our minds and hearts to understand them and believe them. 

The Scriptures not only reveal God to us, they reveal US to US.  We begin to understand ourselves.

Created in his image.               What glory!

Fell from glory.                       What shame!

Lifted up in redemption.          What love!

Called to walk in Christ.          What purpose!

Destined for glory.                 What hope!

The Scriptures reveal where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going.

Not only do the Scriptures give the answers to life’s biggest questions, it also reveals to us our own souls.  The Word of God penetrates deep within us.  I love this verse: 

Hebrews 4:12 ESV For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Somehow the very words of God penetrate deep within us.

When we are lost, God helps us find our way.

When we are believing lies, God reveals truth.

When we are hopeless, He is our hope.

When we are weak, God is our strength.

This Book has a majesty and glory about it, for the Heavenly Author of this Book is majestic and glorious.

The Intake of the Word

As we have SURETY that God’s Word is from heaven and is trustworthy, and as we see the MAJESTY of it, that what should we do with it?   We are to take it into our hearts and minds.

We are to drink it in.  

1 Peter 2:2 ESV Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation…

If you’ve never watched a newborn drink, you should.  Then you will understand more richly what Peter means here.   When a baby is crying, often what they need is milk.  Once they are at mom’s breast or at the bottle, they typically go at it with intensity.  That is how we should drink of this Book.  And I appreciate Peter’s metaphor here for another reason:  the relationship.  The tender relationship between a mom and her baby as she nurses.  We are to take in God’s Word like that.  To have our souls nourished, and to experience this intimate relationship with God like a mom and her child. 

Peter also speaks of the OUTCOME of the Word in our lives.  The fruit.  “That we may grow up into salvation.”   But we’ll save that discussion for a bit later.

So how do we drink of God’s Word?

Even back more than 3000 years ago, God gave Israel instructions on taking in the Scriptures and absorbing them.

Joshua 1:8 NIV Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.

We are to meditate on it day and night.  This is not the kind of meditation that eastern religions focus on, where you are to empty your mind and so find inner peace.  This is the kind of meditation that means we fill our minds with what God says.  We saturate our minds and hearts with what is true. 

Job, in all his heavy trials, said this: 

Job 23:12 CSB I have not departed from the commands from his lips; I have treasured the words from his mouth more than my daily food.

We treasure it in our hearts more than we treasure food. 

Then Apostle Paul said this:

Colossians 3:16 CSB  Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

The words of God are to dwell in us…not in poverty….not skimping by….not just barely enough.  But richly.  Overflowing. 

So how do we do drink of it, meditate on it, treasure it, and dwell on it richly? 

First, through prayer.

This Book is unlike any other book.  We actually can’t understand it on our own, for God has written it.  And we need the help of His Spirit to grasp it.  To have it penetrate deep inside.

1 Corinthians 2:12 NIV  What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.

So we simply pray every day and on every occasion when God’s truth is before us, “Lord, would your Spirit open my mind and my heart to understand what you have written here?”  And we also pray for soft, tender, willing hearts to receive what God has for us.  That we would, like Job, treasure and value and appreciate what God says.

Some mornings I get up and my body is tired and my mind is blank.  I’ve got nothing.  So I need to pray, “Lord, my body and mind and spirit are weak.  Would you help me hunger and thirst for you?  Give me strength?”

So first, we pray to understand and believe.

Second, we simply must hear it. 

If we want to move from doubting to faith….from unbelief to belief….we must hear God’s Word.

Romans 10:17 NIV Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

We can’t believe in something we don’t know.  Or someone we don’t know.

So how do we hear it?

There are dozens of ways.

  • Read it in the morning. 
  • Read it with our households at meal time.  Bible studies.  In community.  We learn best together.
  • Pay careful attention on Sunday mornings during Scripture readings, songs, and sermons. 
  • Listen to an audio Bible or a good podcast while we’re driving in the car or exercising.
  • Memorize Scripture.  Then Joshua 1:8 says, we can “meditate on it day and night.”
  • Speak it to one another. 
  • Listen to music that focuses on truth about God.
  • Read a good book about God and the Christian life. 

And know this:  Not every Bible reading or every sermon or every Bible study is going to be remarkable.  Some will seem just OK.  Thissermon may be just OK.  Or less than OK.  But we stay at it.  We persevere.   Just like eating food.  Next Thursday’s Thanksgiving meal at my sister’s should be amazing.  She and my brother-in-law are both very good cooks.   But some meals I eat are just OK…especially when I’m cooking.  But we keep eating because we need nutrition and strength. 

So our faith is grounded upon the SURETY of the Word. 

We glory in the MAJESTY of what God says.

We fervently INTAKE the Word deep within our minds and hearts.

The Outflow of the Word

Then fourth, as we do all this, something happens.  We change.  There is an OUTFLOW.

We take in his Word so that we bear fruit.  What is this Fruit?  What is the Outflow?


As we just read:

Romans 10:17 NIV Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Faith is not automatic simply by hearing God’s Word.  But faith cannot happen without it.  If we find ourselves weak infaith and consistently doubting, are we hearing what is true?

Salvation also flows out when we take in God’s Word.

Because the answers for eternal life are found in this Majestic, remarkable book…  Paul writes to his young disciple, Timothy: 

2 Timothy 3:14–15 CSB But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, and you know that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

The first fruit of drinking in the Word of God is faith in Christ, which is our salvation.   Eternal life. 

Third, we grow spiritually.

As we looked at earlier:    

1 Peter 2:2 ESV Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation…

When we believe in Jesus, we are born again.  Born spiritually.  Born of God.  At that moment, we are like babies.  We know very little.  So what do we do?  We drink milk.  Then what happens?  We grow!  We mature. 

And I love this verse:

Romans 12:2 NIV Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

We are to “renew” our minds.  That word is like the word “reconstruction.”  We tear out the old and broken…and replace it with the new.  And as we do that, we are transformed.  The Greek word there is essentially “metamorphosis.”  Completely made new, like a caterpillar changing into a beautiful butterfly. 

So when we feel like our spiritual lives are stagnant, are we “being renewed”?  Are we drinking of God’s Word with a hunger like a newborn baby?

A fourth OUTFLOW of the Word: 


This is not merely a good idea.   Our spiritual health depends on it. 

James 1:22–25 CSB

But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like someone looking at his own face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of person he was. 

But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who works—this person will be blessed in what he does.

Deception awaits all who take this Book in but disregard it.  Forget it.  Pay little attention to it.   We become deceived.  We hold lies as truth.  We don’t properly understand God and life.  But look at the last verse:  Blessing awaits all who consume this Book and obey it.  Like the INTAKE of the Word, we need prayer and the help of the Holy Spirit to see OBEDIENCE as our outflow. 

It’s important here to remember whose words these are.  They are God’s words.  God spoke this.  He sent it from heaven for us to consume.  To drink.  To believe.  To obey.  So it’s less about us following a set of rules, and more about obeying an Almighty God, our Creator and Savior….the One who made us in his image and who sent his Son so that we might find eternal life in glory with him.  He has invited us into an eternal relationship with him.  So we not following a simple list of Do’s and Don’t’s.  We are following the Person of God who loves us.    

That leads to the last OUTFLOW I’ll mention here:

Knowing God

I love King David’s heart here:

Psalm 27:4 NIV One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

As much as any person in the Bible, David had a passion to simply know the Lord.  To know his beauty.  His power.  His justice.  His mercy.  And through God’s inspiration, David wrote down many things about his pursuit of God in the Scriptures.  Specifically in the Psalms.  About ½ of the Psalms were penned by David.  He intimately knew the Lord.

You see, Christianity is unlike any religion or philosophy.  The gospel beckons us to a relationship.  To a journey with the Living God who is so mighty and powerful and holy, that we tremble before him.  Yet he is so tender and merciful and kind that we draw near to him. 

And we see all of this in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Not just in the STORY of the gospel but in the Person of God’s Son, Jesus.

Hebrews 1:1–2 ESV  Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

God is speaking to us today through his Son.  We read of Him and know Him in the Scriptures.  We find forgiveness of our sins through Him, and so we are reconciled to God.  And then we are invited to know him.  Abide in him.  Trust him.  Love him.  Walk with him. 


The Bible is such an extraordinary book.  There is nothing like it.  Nothing at all.   It is not a mystical book, as if the ink on the page has some spiritual powers.  Rather, it is special and powerful and unique because of the One who spoke it into existence

We can have SURETY that God’s Word is true and real and relevant.

We discover the MAJESTY and beauty and glory of the Words that come from God’s mouth.

We INTAKE the Word, drinking it down to the innermost..

We discover an OUTFLOW of the Word.  Somethings changes inside us.  The Spirit of God takes the truth and saves us, transforms, and strengthens us.  And so we bear the fruit of God.

I will close with a rich quote on the Scriptures from theologian Philip Schaff from the 1800’s. 

“His Cross has become the tree of life to all nations;  his teaching is still the highest standard of religious truth;  his example the unsurpassed ideal of holiness;  the Gospels and Epistles of his Galilean disciples are still the book of books, more powerful than all the classics of human wisdom and genius. 

“No book has attracted so much attention, provoked so much opposition, outlived so many persecutions, called forth so much reverence and gratitude, inspired so many noble thoughts and deeds, administered so much comfort and peace from the cradle to the grave to all classes and conditions of men.  It is more than a book;  it is an institution, an all-pervading omnipresent force, a converting, sanctifying, transforming agency…”