Thursday, 16 March 2023
“And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: Acts 15:15
James, speaking to the assembly in Jerusalem, just noted how God first visited to take out of the nations a people for His name. He now continues, saying, “And with this the words of the prophets agree.”
James has noted what occurred. He has indicated that it is ongoing since the coming of Jesus. But to demonstrate that his conclusion will not simply be a reasoned deduction or best guess as to what he will determine, he supports what he will say with words already prophesied hundreds of years earlier.
By saying “prophets” in the plural, even when he will only cite one prophet, he is indicating that the prophetic writings are a unified whole, inspired by God. What Jeremiah says may be different in content than what Amos says, but they are from the same source and are harmoniously in agreement in thought. With that understood, he next says, “just as it is written.”
As is normally the case, the verb is perfect – “as it has been written.” The words are complete, finalized, and recorded for all time.
Life application: If we treat the Bible as James has done, we would be more fixed and determined to treat it as the complete and unchanging holy document that it is. The Greek perfect verb is always a true perfect and cannot be substituted for the simple past. There is a sense of absolute completeness that will not be added to or amended.
This is how the word of God is. God has spoken. Those words have been written. With the final words of the final book penned, the Bible has been completed. The completed Bible has become the final authority for all matters pertaining to life and godliness in Christ.
Think of the many cults, denominations, and churches, and even individuals active today that claim a word from the Lord, a vision, a dream, etc. What is it that tells us they are false? Only the Bible can do so. If revelation from God is an ongoing process in the church today, then the Bible is not the final word for believers. Think of the mayhem that this line of thinking has brought forth!
Let us not get diverted by anyone who claims an authority over Scripture, such as the RCC. Let us not get misled by anyone who claims additional revelation beyond Scripture. Rather, let us hold fast to the word of God. Even if those people’s claims were true, we have lost nothing in the end. But if they are not, we have been diverted from the soundness of God’s fully revealed word. It is sufficient, so stand on it alone and you will do well.
O God, because of our failure to rightly divide what is said, there is already enough confusion in the church over what You have inspired in Your word. How much more confused we would be if we accepted that You are still breathing out words to direct us. Rather, help us to hold fast to Your word alone, and then to spend our time meditating on it and maintaining context as we evaluate it. Help us in this, O God. Amen.