Yes, it is only through the Bible that we have access to God's word.
Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things...
God expects us to read and understand the Bible in the same way that we read and understand any other piece of writing.
Because it is a large collection of writings which cannot be read at one sitting, we must read successive portions of it on a daily basis. A reading plan is recommended.
The message it contains is simple but the ways of God are profound and the Bible contains sufficient information for a lifetime of profitable study.
God’s words were given through prophets and written down for us to read and learn.
Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
The problem is that we can read it without taking any notice of what it says.
Acts 13:27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.
2 Corinthians 3:15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
Or we can read it and not believe what it says
Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Sometimes we need a little help from others as in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch
Acts 8:30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
Because God’s thoughts and ways are not ours we need to approach the Bible prayerfully
Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
With an open mind
Matthew 18:2... Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Faith (belief) is God is essential.
Hebrews 11:6... without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Genuine faith comes from reading (and understanding) the Bible. There is no other source of faith. ‘Blind’ faith is of no value.
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Christ at his first advent fulfilled many of the Old Testament prophecies
Luke 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
The New Testament writers frequently quote and explain the writings in the Old Testament.
Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. 29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
The writer to the Hebrews explains much of the symbolism contained in the ceremonial law; which pointed forward to the work of Christ. All scripture is written by direct inspiration of God so we can trust what we find written.
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
If we find contradictions, the problem lies with our understanding, not with the Bible. The Bible is consistent from beginning to end; there is no ‘evolution’ of thought involved.
Paul in his preaching reasoned out of the scriptures
Acts 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
The people at Berea examined what was preached by reading the scriptures
Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Many churches claim that we need to possess the Holy Spirit to understand scripture but this is not the case.
Jesus said that if the Jews wouldn’t believe Moses’ writings, then they wouldn’t believe him.
John 5:47... if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
The Bible stands by its internal integrity.
Jesus, for example, supports the account of creation given in Genesis.
Matthew 19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
And the account of the flood
Matthew 24:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Jesus often draws attention to the plain statements of what is written
Matthew 12:3... Have ye not read what David did...
Matthew 12:5... have ye not read in the law...
Matthew 21:16... have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
Matthew 21:42... Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner...
Matthew 22:31... as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
John says that he wrote so that we might believe
John 20:31... these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
The parable of the sower makes clear that our salvation depends on how we respond to the word of God when we hear (or read) it.
Matthew 13:18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Jesus expected his disciples to understand what they read in scripture
Mark 13:14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:
We are to make an effort to make sure that we have a correct understanding (ie that what we believe makes sense rather than nonsense).
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The Bible explains God’s plan and purpose with the earth and how we can obtain salvation from sin and death and have eternal life in the kingdom of God which Christ will establish when he returns to the earth.
It is plainly written and intended to be plainly understood by reading with an open mind free from the pagan philosophy of our forefathers.
I hope you have found this helpful.