According to the Scriptures

by Dr. Ken Matto

(1 Cor 15:3-4 KJV) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; {4} And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

(Jonah 3:3 KJV) So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey.

I want to focus on two sayings from the Bible which carry the same weight. I am not going to focus in on the essence of these two verses but rather two sayings, “according to the scriptures,” and “according to the word of the Lord.” During the time of Jonah, he did not have any written word which pertained to his mission at hand. However, he did have much of the Hebrew Scriptures which we have today and he certainly would have known the history of Israel in the area of obedience to God’s law. What I want to do is to bring to light the reality of these statements and how they are one. I have heard so many Christians state that if they were back in the time of the Prophets or the time when the Lord Jesus Christ walked the earth, that they would have been obedient to God’s word and would have not been like the rebellious Israelites.

That is simply not true! Let me explain why. We read the Jonah went to Nineveh according to the Word of the Lord. Of course, by the time we read that statement, he had already spent some time in the great fish’s belly. He is vomited up on the shore and God speaks again to Jonah and tells him to go to Nineveh which Jonah did according to the word of the Lord. Jonah went because he heard the word of God directly on his situation. How do we as Christians today view the Word of God? Since God is no longer giving any verbal directions because we have the completed Word of God, how do we approach that Word of God? The written word of God should be carrying the same weight with us as the verbal word did to those prophets! The written word of God is no less authoritative than the verbal words spoken to His people before the completion of the Bible in the first century.

We like to strut our stuff and claim we would not be like the disobedient of years past if we were there. Why do we think that we would be any more obedient if we verbally heard the Word of God than if we read the word of God? Moses heard the word of God and was disobedient. David heard the word of God and was disobedient. Jonah heard the word of God and he was disobedient. What makes us think that we are better then these? The word of God that we have today is our authority. What makes us think that we would be more obedient to verbal words rather than written words? The verses that I started off with show that we need to be as Jesus was. He was obedient to the point of death and this was according to the Scriptures. Our lives of both service and living day to day, need to be ordered by the Scriptures. We need not fear that there is less authority in God’s written word than in His verbal words. The reason that we do not hold the Bible in highest esteem is because we mix the words of God with the thoughts of man which neutralizes the strength of the Scripture in the life of the believer.

We fail to realize that it was the word of God that spoke this universe into existence. It was the word of God that orchestrated the death of Christ for His Elect. It was the word of God that will end this universe and create the new Earth and Heaven. When we live our life according to the word of God rather than picking and choosing what we will obey, we will begin to see a dramatic increase in desired obedience and spiritual strength. Living according to something is living according to the fullness of the object in view. Let me illustrate: If you have an orthopedic surgeon who is about to replace a knee but all they do is open the knee and clean out the old parts but fail to put the new parts in, then you have a surgeon who is operating but not according to his full knowledge of knee surgery. So we need to do the same thing. We need to live according to the Scriptures to the fullest extent of them. They are divine and unbreakable and we need to see them as the “written” direct words of God, which they are, with the fullest essence of divinity within them. Once we regain our proper perspective on Scripture, we will live our lives according to true Christianity, not just picking out of Christianity what we want.