If there's one thing that I've noticed while testing everything, it's the fact that the Church makes claims about what the Bible says about itself that, quite frankly, the Bible never makes! These claims are made by the Church on behalf of the Bible, and if you dare to question whether the Bible makes these claims (or even claim that the Bible does not make them), then you are "undermining the authority of the word of God" (or something along those lines). Responses like these are how the Church protects their doctrine from Biblical scrutiny. Here are two of the claims that the Church makes about the Bible on the Bible's behalf:
- The Bible claims to be the word of God.
- The Bible claims to be inerrant.
Let's first take a look at the evidence that the Church provides to prove these claims about the Bible. For the assertion that the Bible claims to be the word of God, some quote this passage:
For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. [1 Thessalonians 2:13; NKJV]
And that is how we get 100% proof that the Bible claims to be the word of God! Never-mind the fact that Paul was referring to what he spoke to the Thessalonians when he was physically with them! So what was Paul referring to? Probably the Law of God and the writings of the prophets in order to prove that Yeshua is the Messiah, and also the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah.
After reviewing all of the instances in the New Testament where the phrase "word of God" appears (71 times according to Bible Gateway), I have to conclude that every single one of those appearances is referring to the "Old Testament" or specific portions of the "Old Testament", such as the Law of God and the writings of the Prophets. There is no evidence that the phrase "word of God" is used to refer to any of the "New Testament" writings. And in fact, if you look at the book of Revelations, you will find that the "word of God" is actually distinguished from the "testimony of Jesus [the] Christ" (that is, the Gospel message of Jesus the Messiah).
On a side note: While none of the "New Testament" writings claim to be the word of God, Yeshua did claim to be God and he proved his claims to be true. This makes all of Yeshua's teachings the word of God by definition, even though the writers of the Gospels never claimed that their writings were the word of God.
In the so-called "Old Testament", we see the phrase "word of Yahweh" many, many times. Each time, it refers specifically to something that God has spoken through his prophets, or sometimes the law of God. And in the case of the writings of the prophets, the phrase "word of Yahweh" is used many times specifically to claim that what is being said (or is about to be said) is indeed the word of God. But the phrase "word of God" in the "Old Testament" usually just refers to the Law of God.
Does the fact that these prophetic writings claim to be the word of God mean that the whole Bible is claiming to be the word of God? Not at all.
By the way, some within the KJV only cult will use Proverbs 30:5 to prove that the KJV is the word of God. The line of logic behind that claim is this: "The KJV says every word of God is pure, therefore the KJV (and only the KJV) is the word of God." With that line of logic, you might as well use every single appearance of the phrase "word of God" as proof that the Bible itself is claiming to be the word of God.
Another passage often used as proof that the Bible itself claims to be the word of God is this verse:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness [2 Timothy 3:16; NKJV]
What's the line of logic here? The line of logic is that since the Bible is also called Scripture, this verse is the Bible itself claiming to be the word of God. By the way, the word (singular) translated as "given by inspiration of God", literally means "God-breathed". This fact is used to claim that God dictated every word that is in the Bible and that the Bible is therefore claiming to be inerrant. But that's not what this passage is saying! By the way, since we're on the topic of taking the Greek text literally, the word translated as "scripture" is the Greek word "graphe", which literally means "writing" or "document". Have fun trying to explain that one away!
Actually, the "New Testament" outright tells us what it is referring to when it uses "graphe":
44 Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures [graphe]. [Luke 24:44-45; NKJV]
The "Scriptures" refer to the law of Yahweh, the writings of his prophets, and the Psalms. Usually, when the word "graphe" ("writing") is used, it's referring either to the law of Yahweh or the writings of the prophets, but not the Psalms. This passage is one of only a few exceptions to this rule. In other words, the "New Testament" used the generic word for "writing" to refer only to the writings which were widely regarded as having a great deal of authority. And we can see this usage clearly in 2 Peter 3:16.
Now, about the "God-breathed" part: It does not necessarily mean that Yahweh dictated every word that's in the writings that Paul is referring to. In fact, it is highly unlikely that this is the case at all. While the parts that claim to be quoting Yahweh directly are this way (and probably a significant portion that is not claiming to be quoting Yahweh directly), there is no reason why this cannot simply refer to Yahweh guiding the process, or motivating those who seek truth to write what they have written. Of course, there are places where Yahweh dictated what these documents should say. And nothing that comes directly from the mouth of Yahweh is ever in error. But the Bible never claims to be without error.
Now, is the Bible even capable of making claims about itself? No. Why? Because the Bible is a book that was compiled from 66 individual books. It has no content of its own and is therefore not able to make any claims about itself. Instead, what we see is some of the books in the Bible claim to be the word of God. And some claim that other books (which are also in the Bible) are the word of God. But the Bible itself makes no claims about itself whatsoever. In fact, even when all of the 66 documents which are now contained within the Bible were completed, the Bible still didn't exist until these documents were compiled into a single book. Ironically, this compilation was done by the Catholic Church, which is pretty much the only work of the Catholic Church that has any instructional value on how to carry-out the will of Yahweh, as Yeshua warned. Though the 66 documents that are in the Bible were widely accepted as having a high level of authority long before that happened.