Summary: Are the scriptures the word of God? Can we believe the scriptures? What did Jesus believe?
Are the scriptures the word of God? Can we believe the scriptures? What did Jesus believe?
Word of the Lord
What are the Scriptures? Are they the same as the word of the Lord? Writing that he understood the duration of the Babylonian captivity, Daniel refers to the Scriptures as the word of the Lord.
… I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. (Daniel 9:2 NIV; Jeremiah 25:11; 29:10)
Notice that Daniel defines “the Scriptures” as “the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah.” That which is written there is the word of the Lord, a statement denied by skeptics.
Scripture of Truth
Daniel also quotes an angel speaking of the book or Scripture of truth.
But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince. (Daniel 10:21 KJV)
Here we see the holy writings called the Scripture of truth, or book of truth, not myth, not fiction as some moderns claim. Why not take the testimony of these witnesses, who were there at the time, at face value?
The Scriptures Say
When Jesus was taken into the wilderness to be tested after fasting, He recognized the authority of Scripture. Even the devil tried to twist the Scriptures to his advantage. But, a right view of the Scriptures became Jesus’ defence. If Jesus did not believe the Scriptures were true, why would He have bothered using them three times as His defence?
But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” … [The devil] said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’” … Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’” … “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” (Matthew 4:4-10 NLT)
The Sermon on the Mount was not about Jesus disagreeing with Scripture, but about a right interpretation. When Jesus said, “But I say” he was not disagreeing with the Hebrew Scriptures, but was countering a legalistic, letter-of-the-law limiting of the Scriptures, which allowed loop-holes, whereby people could claim righteousness, even with evil hearts.
Jesus expounded murder as including murder in the heart, revealing that verbal abuse differentiates between unrighteous anger and righteous anger (Matthew 5:22). He recommended reconciliation and settling matters quickly, if possible, as the right way (verses 23-26).
Jesus expounded adultery as including a lustful look and a careless touch (verses 28-30), and that easy divorce is not the way (verses 31-32).
Jesus expounded bearing false witness as including making promises and oaths that we cannot keep (verses 33-37).
Jesus corrected a misinterpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures when some believed they allowed hatred of enemies. Yet the Old Testament actually tells a different story.
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink (Proverbs 25:21 NASB)
If you come across your enemy's ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it. (Exodus 23:4-5 NIV)
So, no, Jesus was not correcting supposed Old Testament wrongs, but popular wrong interpretation of the Hebrews Scriptures, by those who thought they were righteous, if they just kept the letter while breaking the spirit of the law. Jesus further explained this, quoting the Hebrew Scriptures.
Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners. (Matthew 9:13 NLT; Hosea 6:6)
Some moderns declare that Jesus and the disciples broke the law, yet Jesus would disagree. The laws had a priority of rank whereby mercy was given a higher importance and so lesser laws could be bent or broken in order to show the more important attribute of mercy.
Jesus allowed his disciples to eat a meal from a grainfield. They were not harvesting a whole crop or stealing from a farmer, but just eating a meal, and farmers were obligated to set aside the corners of their fields for the poor or strangers to eat from (Leviticus 19:9-10; 23:22).
Some legalistic Pharisees condemned them for “breaking the Sabbath.” Jesus quickly called them innocent and explained the higher priority of mercy.