Left to myself, I cannot truly know God. Even the consciousness of a supreme being comes from the hand of God, put there in the heart of every human being by the Creator Himself (John 1:4). The only way I can hope to grow and nurture that spark of understanding is to seek God out in His word.
(2) Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.
(3) I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.
(4) Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?
(5) Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
(6) Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
These are the words of a man called Agur. He opens his chapter of Proverbs by bluntly stating his ignorance of the most basic aspects about God. When you look at his questions you think: “These are questions any child in children’s church could answer. The Person he is talking about is God and His Son’s name is Jesus Christ. It’s so obvious!”
Is it? If it’s so obvious, why doesn’t everybody already know it instinctively?
The point is, we can’t possibly know God outside of His Word. If God had chosen not to write the Bible, what could we really know about Him? Creation speaks of His marvelous power and goodness, but that is a limited message. Man, left to himself without any supernatural intervention, cannot know God. Even the creation that God designed to testify of Himself is perverted into idol worship (Romans 1:25), or grossly misinterpreted by “oppositions of science falsely so called” (1 Timothy 6:20). The world is filled with its own ideas of who God is and who man is, and every philosophy and form of worship that is outside what God has clearly told us in His Word is wrong. Of course, there is the argument: “Every religion says its book is God’s book.” To that I would say: “Go ahead and read those other books but read them alongside the Bible, God’s Book.” Those others do not compare. You can read the Bible as you do those other religious books, but the Bible is different. You can read it, but it also reads you. That is something you will have to experience for yourself to understand. The point that Agur is making is that you cannot know who God is, or truly understand man’s condition outside of what the Bible tells us.
The Bible speaks honestly about who God is.
Through the Bible I can see that my God is all powerful – and He is good! (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). Imagine an all-powerful God who was not good? You don’t have to look far. Most all the religions of the world can only see a god like that. It’s why they are all based on appeasing that god’s wrath in some way. The ancient Greeks lived in constant fear of their gods’ meddling in their lives. The God of the Bible is not like that. He is all powerful and He is all good and He does all things well (Mark 7:37).
The Bible speaks honestly about who I am.
It tells me I am a sinner by birth and by choice and that I have a sentence of death on me: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “For the wages if sin is death…” (Romans 6:23a). It tells me that because of my sin, my whole world is cursed and any pain or heartache I see in it, comes as a direct result of the curse of sin upon me (Genesis 3:16-19). My condemnation before God is genetic, passed down to me from my father Adam. This knowledge leaves me longing for a Savior – and God gives me one!
The Bible gives me a real Redeemer.
To save me, God sent His Son to redeem me:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
(3) 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:
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (1 Timothy 1:15)
The Bible gives me the truth.
No man could have made this up, or even conceived of such a redemption! And no man-made religion could have told me of a Holy and good God, nor would it have been honest with me about my desperate condition. All the religions of the world tell me I can redeem myself when I cannot. God tells me I cannot redeem myself, but He can. How could any of us know that, outside of God’s Word?
I cannot know anything about God – left to myself. But I can know everything I need to know about God through His Word.