By Pastor Ed Collins
Testimony – a: a solemn declaration usually made orally by a witness under oath in response to interrogation by a lawyer or authorized public official; b: firsthand authentication of a fact: evidence; c: an outward sign
Synecdoche – a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole (such as fifty sail for fifty ships), the whole for a part (such as society for high society), the species for the genus (such as cutthroat for assassin), the genus for the species (such as a creature for a man), or the name of the material for the thing made (such as boards for stage)
— Merriam-Webster Dictionary
God has given His own testimony. We know it as the Bible, Holy Scripture, the Word of God (aka “the law”, which is a synecdoche used to describe the whole of scripture). The Bible is a formal declaration from our most trustworthy source. It is God’s self-declaration, His own account of who He is and what He is like. If anyone has the right to speak about God, then it is God, Himself. That is unless you believe God is a liar (in contradiction to “[God] cannot lie” – Titus 1:2). I suppose if you believe God can lie or even tell half-truths about Himself, then you might as well throw the whole Bible in the garbage can.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
— 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The Greek word for “inspired” (v16) means “God-breathed”, from theopneustos (theos = God + pneo = breathe out). This means that the Bible is the very expression of God, not man. And since God is perfect and cannot lie, then His word (aka His “law”) must also be perfect, always accurate, divinely describing Him and His ways.
For example, note the very first phrase here:
The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.
— Psalms 19:7-9
The Hebrew word for “perfect” (v7), from temim, means “blameless, complete, entire, full, intact, perfect, unblemished, whole without defect”. Holy Scripture is superlative in every way. In a practical sense, the best way to apprehend it is to consider it untouchable, unchangeable, immutable. As soon as man supposes the right to question or modify it in any way, he has taken it upon himself to question the veracity of all of it. The Bible is meant to be taken as it was presented, pristinely as well as wholly.
At the end of Psalms 19:7, the Word says “The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” In the Hebrew, the word used for “simple” refers to naive ignorance. “The naive believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps” (Proverbs 14:15). However, the original language does not describe someone with a learning disability. In fact, the onus of responsibility remains with the individual. In other words, this person is willingly simpleminded. The ancient Hebrews would have described this person as being a door left standing open. Today, we’d call this person “open-minded”, which would be a compliment. In the context of Holy Scripture, open-mindedness is the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13); yet, isn’t so-called “open-mindedness” en vogue today? You bet. In fact, such philosophical living is what is encouraged, despite what the Almighty Creator has to say about it.
The result of challenging the Word as it stands is as God warns; spiritually open-minded people are never settled, entertaining counterfeit truths that are never meant to set them free (John 8:32), as James writes, “being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). Such is the self-described “agnostic”, which is derived from two Greek words that combine to mean, “without knowledge”. The Latin word for this is “ignoramus.” To call oneself an agnostic is to declare oneself ignorant, yet these same people boast in their folly.
But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.
The way of the wicked is like darkness;
They do not know over what they stumble.
My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your sight;
Keep them in the midst of your heart.
For they are life to those who find them
And health to all their body.
Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
— Proverbs 4:18-23
One last comment about Psalms 19:7, “The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” If we look closely enough, we see God’s base desire for man, “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4), in the phrase “making wise the simple.” Only immutable wisdom from the Word of God could ever do this for man, delivering a spiritually dead fool unto divine wisdom. “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26). But you see, in order for this to happen, a person must fundamentally believe that the Word of God is His own testimony. This goes for Christians, too!
“For a Christian to doubt the Word of God is the grossest kind of self-contradiction.”
— John MacArthur
I couldn’t agree more. The saddest days for me lately are the ones when I meet a professing Christian who doubts, or even outrightly dismisses, the inerrancy of the Holy Bible. I’ve heard everything from, “Oh, that book’s ancient, so we’ve got to ‘get with the times,’” at which time my soul leaps up with, “Not as ancient as its author!” to “The Bible was written by a bunch of guys who lived thousands of years ago,” at which time I recall that while man penned it, he is not the author. The One who inspired it is, that is God, Himself, as He declares it His Word, aka His Son (John 1), “Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
Do not be “open-minded” about your faith, my dear fellow believers. Know that Holy Scripture is just that, holy! Do not be deceived or pressured into thinking that you are inferior in your righteous posture about the inerrancy of the Bible and its divine Author. Do not apologize for the fruit of your faith. Understand why the apostle Paul wrote, “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). A surefire way to justify Paul’s fears, and my own for that matter, is to begin questioning the veracity of the Bible.
Always remember that there is no other book like the Bible. It is the very Word of God, His own testimony, the very “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). It is the manifestation of the mind of Christ’s Spirit. It is the wellspring of all wisdom, delivering an otherwise distraught, ignorant person from the throes of spiritual death to true joy and enlightenment, “The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Psalms 19:8).
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
— John 6:63