Editor’s Note: Below is a transcript of a message, posted to YouTube on January 12, 2022, from President of the Adventist Church, Ted N.C. Wilson. You can see past messages here
Greetings, friends. When we open our Bibles to the Gospel of John, we read this marvelous statement in the very first chapter and verse: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1).
What a beautiful description of Jesus, the son of God and the son of man—a perfect blending of the human and divine. We don't understand exactly how this can be, but we know that it is. And Jesus Christ has given us His words of life through the Holy Scriptures, "the living, powerful word of God," according to Hebrews 4:12. Speaking of the Scriptures, Jesus affirmed, "these are they which testify of Me" (John 5:39).
We find the footprints of Jesus throughout the 66 books of the Bible, leading us through the 39 books of the Old Testament history, law, wisdom, poetry, and prophecy. We see Him clearly through the 27 books of the New Testament—in the Gospels, early church history, letters by the apostle Paul and other general letters, and prophecy through "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants--things which must shortly take place" (Rev. 1:1).
In fact, the Bible is God's message given to humanity, in the language of humanity, through men who were divinely inspired, as 2 Peter 2:21 explains, "holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."
So, in a sense the Scriptures are like Christ in that they are a combination of the divine and human—the Bible is God's message to us, contained in human language, written by men who were divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Scriptures are the foundation upon which we base all of our beliefs as Seventh-day Adventists. That's why our very first Fundamental Belief is "The Holy Scriptures," which reads as follows:
"The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration. The inspired authors spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to humanity the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are the supreme, authoritative, and the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the definitive revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God’s acts in history" (Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Belief 1, "The Holy Scriptures," adventist.org/beliefs).
There are many texts affirming the beauty and power of Scripture. In Proverbs 30:5, 6 we read this promise and admonition: "Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
Isaiah 8:20 testifies, "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."
In John 17:17, we again hear Jesus affirming the importance of Scripture when He prays for His disciples, asking His Heavenly Father to "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth."
In the letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul states to the believers, "For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe" (1 Thess. 2:13).
Yes friends, the Bible is truly God's Word to us, revealing His truth and drawing us closer to Him as we follow His divine counsel outlined in its precious pages. But in order to really hear God speaking, we must approach the Scriptures believing that they are indeed, the supreme, authoritative, and infallible revelation of His will.
We are warned in the book, The Great Controversy: "The truths most plainly revealed in the Bible have been involved in doubt and darkness by learned men, who, with a pretense of great wisdom, teach that the Scriptures have a mystical, a secret, spiritual meaning not apparent in the language employed. These men are false teachers. It was to such a class that Jesus declared: "Ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God." (Mark 12:24). The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed. Christ has given the promise: 'If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.' John 7:17. If men would but take the Bible as it reads, if there were no false teachers to mislead and confuse their minds, a work would be accomplished that would make angels glad and that would bring into the fold of Christ thousands upon thousands who are now wandering in error" (The Great Controversy, p. 598, emphasis supplied).
Yes, friends, the Bible is indeed "a lamp to our feet and a light to our path," (Ps. 119:105), but we must first take off the blinds of our own presuppositions in order to see the light clearly.
If you would like to learn more about what we, as Seventh-day Adventist, believe about the Holy Scriptures, there are two resources that I would like to recommend to you. First, I invite you to visit www.adventist.org/beliefs where you will find a lot of helpful information. Secondly, I encourage you to read a very important document that explains how we, as Seventh-day Adventists, approach the Scriptures. It is titled, "Methods of Bible Study" and can be accessed at the URL shown at the bottom of the screen: www.adventist.org/documents/methods-of-bible-study
Friends, I encourage you today to open the living Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, and find out what God would like to say to you just now.
Let's pray together. Father in heaven, thank you for the Word of God. Thank you that we can open the Word of God. Thank you that when we read the Word of God, first of all we need to ask for your guidance, through prayer and that through the Holy Spirit you will reveal to us truths, that will become not only those things which are on paper, but they will become absolutely practical for our lives. Please give us guidance as we look at the Word of God daily, to understand your direction for our lives, as we come close to Jesus soon return. Thank you for hearing us in this prayer. In Jesus name we ask it, amen.