5. The Bible’s inherent value and how one should approach the Bible in a way that conforms to God’s will
Relevant Words of God:
The Bible is a historical record of God’s work in Israel, and documents many of the foretelling of ancient prophets as well as some of the utterances of Jehovah in His work at that time. Thus, people all look upon this book as holy (for God is holy and great). Of course, this is all a result of their reverence for Jehovah and their adoration for God. People refer to this book in this way only because the creations of God are so revering and adoring of their Creator, and there are even those who call this book a heavenly book. In fact, it is merely a human record. It was not personally named by Jehovah, nor did Jehovah personally guide its creation. In other words, the author of this book is not God, but men. The Holy Bible is only the respectful title given to it by man. This title was not decided by Jehovah and Jesus after They had a discussion amongst each other; it is nothing more than a human idea. For this book was not written by Jehovah, much less by Jesus. Instead, it is the accounts given by many ancient prophets, apostles, and seers, which were compiled by later generations into a book of ancient writings that, to people, seems especially holy, a book that they believe contains many unfathomable and profound mysteries that are waiting to be unlocked by future generations. As such, people are even more disposed to believe that this book is a heavenly book. With the addition of the Four Gospels and the Book of Revelation, people’s attitude toward it is particularly different from any other book, and thus no one dares to dissect this “heavenly book” because it is too “sacred.”
Why, as soon as they read the Bible, are people able to find a proper path to practice in it? Why are they able to gain much that was incomprehensible to them? Today, I am dissecting the Bible in this way and it does not mean that I hate it, or that I deny its value for reference. I am explaining and clarifying the inherent value and origins of the Bible to you to stop you being kept in the dark. For people have so many views about the Bible, and most of them are wrong; reading the Bible in this way not only prevents them from gaining what they ought to, but, more important, it hinders the work I intend to do. It interferes tremendously with the work of the future, and offers only drawbacks, not advantages. Thus, what I am teaching you is simply the essence and inside story of the Bible. I am not asking that you do not read the Bible, or that you go around proclaiming that it is devoid of value, only that you have the correct knowledge and view of the Bible. Do not be too one-sided! Although the Bible is a history book that was written by men, it also documents many of the principles by which the ancient saints and prophets served God, as well as the recent apostles’ experiences in serving God—all of which were really seen and known by these people, and can serve as reference for the people of this age in pursuing the true way. Thus, in reading the Bible people can also gain many ways of life that cannot be found in other books. These ways are the ways of life of the work of the Holy Spirit experienced by prophets and apostles in ages past, and many of the words are precious, and can provide what people need. Thus, people all like to read the Bible. Because there is so much hidden in the Bible, people’s views toward it are unlike those toward the writings of great spiritual figures. The Bible is a record and collection of the experiences and knowledge of people who served Jehovah and Jesus in the old and new age, and so later generations have been able to gain much enlightenment, illumination, and paths to practice from it. The reason why the Bible is higher than the writings of any great spiritual figure is because all of their writings are drawn from the Bible, their experiences all come from the Bible, and they all explain the Bible. And so, although people can gain provision from the books of any great spiritual figure, they still worship the Bible, for it seems so high and profound to them! Although the Bible brings together some of the books of the words of life, such as the Pauline epistles and Petrine epistles, and although people can be provided for and assisted by these books, these books are still out of date, they still belong to the old age, and no matter how good they are, they are only suitable for one period, and are not everlasting. For God’s work is always developing, and it cannot simply stop at the time of Paul and Peter, or always remain in the Age of Grace in which Jesus was crucified. And so, these books are only suitable for the Age of Grace, not for the Age of Kingdom of the last days. They can only provide for the believers of the Age of Grace, not for the saints of the Age of Kingdom, and no matter how good they are, they are still obsolete. It is the same with Jehovah’s work of creation or His work in Israel: No matter how great this work was, it would still become outdated, and the time would still come when it passed. God’s work is also the same: It is great, but there will come a time when it ends; it cannot always remain amidst the work of the creation, nor among that of the crucifixion. No matter how convincing the work of the crucifixion, no matter how effective it was in defeating Satan, work is, after all, still work, and the ages are, after all, still ages; work cannot always stay on the same foundation, nor can times never change, because there was the creation and there must be the last days. This is inevitable! Thus, today the words of life in the New Testament—the epistles of the apostles, and the Four Gospels—have become historical books, they have become old almanacs, and how could the old almanacs take people into the new age? No matter how capable these almanacs are of providing people with life, no matter how able they are to lead people to the cross, are they not outdated? Are they not bereft of value? Thus, I say you should not blindly believe in these almanacs. They are too old, they cannot bring you into the new work, and they can only burden you. Not only can they not bring you into the new work, and into new entry, but they take you into old religious churches—and if that were the case, would you not be regressing in your belief in God?
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Concerning the Bible (4)
The Bible has been a part of human history for several thousand years. People, furthermore, treat it like God, to the extent that in the last days, it has taken the place of God, which disgusts God. Thus, when time permitted, God felt obliged to clarify the inside story and origins of the Bible; were He not to do this, the Bible would continue to hold the place of God in people’s hearts, and people would use the words of the Bible to measure and condemn the deeds of God. By explaining the essence, the structuring, and the flaws of the Bible, God was by no means denying the existence of the Bible, nor was He condemning it; rather, He was providing an appropriate, fitting description that restored the original image of the Bible, addressed the misunderstandings that people had toward the Bible, and gave them the correct view of the Bible, so that they no longer worshiped the Bible, and were no longer lost; which is to say, so that they would no longer mistake their blind faith in the Bible as faith in God and the worship of God, afraid even to confront its true background and failings. Once people have an unadulterated understanding of the Bible, they are able to cast it aside without compunction and bravely accept the new words of God. This is God’s goal in these several chapters. The truth that God wishes to tell people here is that no theory or fact can take the place of God’s work and words of today, and that nothing can stand in God’s stead. If people cannot escape the trap of the Bible, they will never be able to come before God. If they wish to come before God, they must first cleanse their hearts of anything that could replace Him; then they will be satisfactory to God.
—Introduction to The Words of Christ As He Walked in the Churches in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If you wish to see the work of the Age of Law, and to see how the Israelites followed the way of Jehovah, then you must read the Old Testament; if you wish to understand the work of the Age of Grace, then you must read the New Testament. But how do you see the work of the last days? You must accept the leadership of the God of today, and enter into the work of today, for this is the new work, and no one has previously recorded it in the Bible. Today, God has become flesh and selected other chosen ones in China. God works in these people, He continues on from His work on earth, and continues on from the work of the Age of Grace. The work of today is a path that man has never walked, and a way that no one has ever seen. It is work that has never been done before—it is God’s latest work on earth. Thus, work that has never been done before is not history, because now is now, and has yet to become the past. People do not know that God has done greater, newer work on earth, and outside of Israel, that it has already gone beyond the scope of Israel, and beyond the foretelling of the prophets, that it is new and marvelous work outside of the prophecies, and newer work beyond Israel, and work that people can neither perceive nor imagine. How could the Bible contain explicit records of such work? Who could have recorded every single bit of today’s work, without omission, in advance? Who could have recorded this mightier, wiser work that defies convention, in that moldy old book? The work of today is not history, and as such, if you wish to walk the new path of today, then you must depart from the Bible, you must go beyond the books of prophecy or history in the Bible. Only then will you be able to walk the new path properly, and only then will you be able to enter into the new realm and the new work. You must understand why, today, you are asked not to read the Bible, why there is another work that is separate from the Bible, why God does not look for newer, more detailed practice in the Bible, and why there is instead mightier work outside of the Bible. This is all what you should understand. You must know the difference between the old and new work, and even though you do not read the Bible, you must be able to dissect it; if not, you will still worship the Bible, and it will be difficult for you to enter into the new work and undergo new changes. Since there is a higher way, why study that low, outdated way? Since there are newer utterances, and newer work, why live amid old historical records? The new utterances can provide for you, which proves that this is the new work; the old records cannot sate you, or satisfy your current needs, which proves that they are history, and not the work of the here and now. The highest way is the newest work, and with the new work, no matter how high the way of the past, it is still the history of people’s reflections, and no matter its value as reference, it is still the old way. Even though it is recorded in the “holy book,” the old way is history; even though there is no record of it in the “holy book,” the new way is of the here and now. This way can save you, and this way can change you, for this is the work of the Holy Spirit.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Concerning the Bible (1)