Summary: Christians are called to address the issues of the day with the whole counsel of God’s Word. Their listeners must understand, “It is written” means “Thus says the Lord.”
It Is Written
The Necessity of pointing to God’s Word
There has been a trend in the past few years of very good speakers using their talent of communicating to win a crowd, rather than be obedient to God’s Word. They are falling to preach in a way which challenges hearers to make a decision to agree or disagree with God. Too often their messages are of eloquent (s?f?a sophía) speeches intriguing the human flesh, based off worldly wisdom of mankind, full of philosophy and rhetoric. This is in contrast to the work of the great Apostle Paul who wrote, “…preach the gospel – not with words of eloquent wisdom…” (1 Corinthians 1:17) and, “My message to you was not with wise and pervasive words.” (1 Corinthians 2:4) Today, proclaimers of God’s Word must make it clear, their listeners are hearing thus says the Lord on the issues people face today.
Biblical truth challenges hearers to make a clear choice to live for the Lord and be guided by God’s Word. Anyone who would counsel a friend, instruct the misguided or correct falsehood without pointing clearly and directly to the whole council of the written Word, the Bible, is committing a terrible injustice.
There is a phrase in the New Testament, “it is written” (????apta?) referring to the Old and New Testament, with reference to the authoritative writings of the Holy Scriptures. (Geisler, N. L., & Nix, W. E. (1986). A General Introduction to the Bible (Rev. and expanded., p. 79). Chicago: Moody Press.) It means it has been written, and stands written. (Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Vol. 1, p. 28). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.)
The most revealing phrases of Jesus after His entrance in ministry were, “It is written.” (Matthew 4:4) “It is also written” (Matthew 4:7) and, “for it is written.” (Matthew 4:10) His first proclamation to Satan, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3. In His second refute to Satan’s temptations, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:6. On His third rebuke to Satan, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:13.
Ninety-two times in the New Testament are expressions of authoritative Scriptures such as: “How is it written of the Son of Man [Jesus]?” (Mark 9:12), “as it was written of Him [Jesus]. (Mark 14:21) “All things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.” (Luke 18:31; Luke 24:44) And Jesus spoke the prophetic truth about Jerusalem which was fulfilled, “For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.” (Luke 21:22)
In His dealing with the Pharisees the Lord spoke, “Haven’t you read?” (Matthew 19:4) and “Have you never read in the Scriptures?” (Matthew 21:42) Jesus knew His charge to preach the Word and so did the Apostle Paul, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:4) In Romans chapter one we read, “I am obligated both to the Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. …I am so eager to preach… just as it is written…” (Romans 1:14-17) The charge “to preach the Word” (2 Timothy 4:2) is just as imperative today.
The great evangelist Billy Graham had often been heard saying, “The Bible says.” Obedient servants of the Lord get the Word of God out addressing the issues of the day. Speaking with eloquent words touches the emotions, the Word of God “is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) Be careful to teach in a way which proclaims “It is Written!”