God's Voice in the Bible
2 Peter 1:21
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

The reference here is, of course, to Old Testament Scripture; but there is no reason for confining this assertion to any portion of Holy Writ. The Bible, as a whole, is a Divine utterance - Divine in its purpose, and Divine in its authority. A spiritual impulse moved the writers, and their speech accordingly was in reality the voice of God. This Divinity of meaning is discernible in the aim of the Scriptures.


1. Everywhere in Scripture man is represented as a moral, spiritual, and accountable being. Other literature, properly enough, deals with man under other aspects of his nature - represents him as susceptible of emotions incidental to human relationships, as grief and joy, fear and hope; as capable of exertion, of self-denial, with a view to obtaining earthly objects. But every careful and discerning reader of Scripture feels that in every book of the volume human nature is depicted as moral, as affected, on the one hand, by temptation to a lower life, and, on the other hand, by stimulus and encouragement to a higher life; as capable of obedience and holiness, or of transgression and ungodliness. Never is man represented by the inspired writers as a mere animal, as a sentient nature moved, like the brutes, only by instinct and appetite. On the contrary, he is represented as akin to God, as dependent upon God, as responsible to God.

2. Everywhere in Scripture man is convicted of being sinful and guilty in character and habit. Such a state is, indeed, a violation of his original and proper nature; but the fact of human sinfulness cannot be concealed or palliated without injustice and flattery. It is this fact which accounts for very much of the contents of the sacred volume. This is the explanation of the Law, which is not for the righteous, but for sinners; and of the ceremonies and sacrifices of the old covenant, which symbolically set forth the impurity and depravity of man's heart and life. In this light we must read the history of the Hebrew nation, which occupies so large a part of the Old Testament. It is a record of Israel's faults, defections, and apostasy; and it is a record also of God's displeasure with sin, embodied in acts of chastisement, and especially in the afflictions which repeatedly befell the nation as a whole. Here, too, is the explanation of the fact that Scripture contains so many biographies of bad men, and of good men who have been tempted and have fallen into sin. The intention is to exhibit human frail, ties and errors, and to impress upon the mind of every reader the undeniable power and curse of sin. It would appear that the same purpose is subserved by the descriptions of the diseased and the demoniacs, which abound in the narratives of the evangelists.

II. THE BIBLE TEACHES MAN WHO GOD IS. The profound need and the pressing urgency and importance of such knowledge must be admitted by all, and are felt by those whose spiritual instincts are aroused to activity. And in nothing is the Bible more manifestly its own witness and evidence than in its incomparable and sublime revelation of God.

1. In Scripture the Personality of the living God pervades every book. Not only is there no pantheism and no polytheism; there is a pure and impressive theism throughout the sacred volume. Even those who deny to the Bible the character of a supernatural revelation, acknowledge the debt of humanity to the representation of monotheism given by the Hebrew prophets and apostles.

2. The righteous government and the holy character of the Eternal are set forth in the Bible, not only by means of statements, but by means of lessons conveyed in the form of history. His hatred of sin, in both private and public life, is effectively declared in his righteous judgments. His moral government is a great reality. In the Scriptures, the Divine Ruler is never exhibited as either indifferent to moral distinctions or capricious in his treatment of moral agents. None who acknowledges the authority of the Bible can expect to escape the eye or to evade the judgment of the righteous Governor.

3. God's interest in man, and his design for man's welfare, are portrayed in the Bible, as in no other professedly sacred and inspired book, and indeed as nowhere else in literature. From the opening pages of Genesis, where God is represented as walking and as speaking with men in the garden, down to the epoch of redemption, when "the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us," the Scriptures are full of evidence of the Divine interest in man's welfare. Whilst exhibiting the majestic dignity of the Eternal, in such a way as to call forth our reverence, the sacred volume beyond anything else makes God near to us, and leads us to feel that he is round about us in all our ways.

4. Especially does the Bible impress upon the mind of the reader the redemptive purposes of the Supreme; it shows him to be man's Saviour. His character is set forth as compassionate and merciful, and he is represented as using the means to give effect to his gracious intentions towards sinful man.

(1) In the Old Testament history we have proofs of this, especially in the deliverance of Israel from the bondage in Egypt, and in the restoration of Israel from the captivity in the East. These great events were both manifestations of God's mercy towards a nation, and prophetic anticipations of the greater deliverance in the future.

(2) For the New Testament is undoubtedly the fulfillment of the Old. What was done politically for a people was in Christ done morally and actually for the race. The Gospels and Epistles set forth before us Jesus as the Son of God and as the Saviour of mankind. "He that hath seen me," said Christ, "hath seen the Father;" and this has respect, not simply to his peerless character, but also to the mighty power and to the gracious purposes to which the world is indebted for the temporal deliverance and for the eternal hope. - J.R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

WEB: For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit.

The Plenary Inspiration of the Scriptures
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