Bible - Inspiration & Authority

Scripture Passes the Endurance Test

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
The Apostle Paul tells us that it is through the endurance of Scripture that we have hope.

 

The Apostle Paul tells us that it is through the endurance of Scripture that we have hope.

Manufacturers subject new aircraft designs to all kinds of endurance tests - extremes of heat, cold, and altitude; extreme maneuvers that a pilot might need to perform in an emergency; takeoffs and landings on extremely short runways; the ability to remain aloft after complete loss of engine power, and so on. Only after a new airliner passes all such tests is it considered reliable enough to carry passengers. Athletic competitions such as long-distance races are essentially endurance tests as well, involving not only the effort to finish first, but to finish at all.

But in every case in the natural world, an endurance test comes to an end. That end often comes because of the failure of the test subject - the prototype is damaged beyond salvaging, or the athlete reaches his limits. But always, even when the test subject survives, the endurance test is of limited scope or duration.

Scripture Put To The Test

The Word of God, however, continually undergoes a very different kind of endurance test - one without limits as to time or conditions. Throughout the ages and into eternity, the Word of the Lord endures forever. Ever since Eden, Satan has been at work planting doubts in men's minds about the veracity and durability of Scripture. Following the evil one's lead, sinful man puts God's Word to the test continually in myriad ways, but unregenerate man rejects the abundant evidence of Scripture's endurance.

But the true believer in Christ understands the durability of Scripture. We understand that God is continually putting His Word through His own "stress tests." He is applying it to countless individual and church needs through the foolishness of preaching and through the indwelling Spirit's illumination, application, and calling of the Word to our remembrance. Christians understand, as the unregenerate do not and cannot, that God is keeping His promises to the very end. And He is saving, to the very end, all those who come to Him through His Son (Hebrews 7:26).

Scripture Perseveres

For the first fourteen chapters of the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul sets forth the unsurpassable glories of God's eternal plan of redemption. In chapter fifteen, as he sums up his case and gives final practical instructions to believers, Paul encourages Christians to remember that "whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Romans 15:4). The Greek word here translated "patience" is the Greek word hupomonay. It is also translated elsewhere in the New Testament as "endurance" or "perseverance." The word speaks of an individual or entity having the characteristic of never being swayed or deviated from a determined purpose, no matter how much external forces may try to divert that course.

This is what Paul is saying by the inspiration of the Spirit: The Word of God perseveres. It endures. We can rely upon it without question because it will never fail and never change. "Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in Heaven" (Psalm 119:89). "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:8).

Our Enduring Hope

Put to whatever "stress test" man or Satan may devise, and for however long they may apply it, God's Word will never fail. Neither finite man nor Satan can devise any test that will outlast, weaken, damage, or destroy God's inspired, infallible, inerrant Word. God has sworn it with an oath to Abraham, our father in the faith (Galatians 3:6-9), and thus also to every one of his spiritual descendants.

For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you." And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:13-20)

This enduring, persevering Word is our source of comfort for this life, and our hope for the life to come. Resting on that sure foundation, we shall endure.

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25)

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