January 1, 2023 The Precision of God's Word

The Precision of God’s Word

Read Matthew 22:15-22.


There is an old saying, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” This seems to be the thought of the Pharisees, who were opposed to the Herodians. The Herodians were supporters of King Herod who was a lover and compromiser to the Greeks and Romans, while the Pharisees were nationalistic and believed in the Scriptures. But for the purpose of trapping Jesus, they joined with them.


“They expected Him to fall into their snare. In verse 17 they said to the Lord, ‘Tell us therefore, What do you think? Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?’ This is really an ensnaring question. All the Jews opposed giving tribute to Caesar. If the Lord Jesus had said that it was lawful to do this, He would have offended all the Jews who followed the Pharisees. But if He said that it was not lawful, this would have given the Herodians, who stood with the Roman government, strong ground to accuse Him. The matter of paying tribute to Caesar was very unpleasant to the Jews; they hated it. The Pharisees were especially against it. However, the Herodians agreed with paying tax to the Roman government. Thus, one of the two parties opposed this matter, and the other favored it. According to their concept, no matter how the Lord answered their question, He would still fall into their snare.”[1]


They were so sure that no matter how Jesus answered there would be ground for accusation against him. Yet, the wisdom of his answer astounded them. First, he tells them to show him a coin. He doesn’t show them a coin, but has them show him one. By having a Roman coin in their possession, they were already half defeated. He asks them whose image appears on the coin. They answer “Caesar’s.” This proves that the coins belong to Caesar. His statement, “Render to Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s,” is decisive in its wisdom and caused both parties to leave in marvel.


Read 22:23-33.


This time the Sadducees attempt to trip up Jesus by formulating a scenario where it seems difficult to determine whose wife the woman will be in the resurrection. Whatever answer Jesus gives would seem arbitrary. Would she be the first husband’s wife? Why? What if she were only married to the first husband for one week before he died? What if she were married to the second husband for ten years? Shouldn’t that be the husband she should have? The idea behind the Sadducees’ question was to make the idea of a life in resurrection seem ridiculous.


Jesus tells them that they are in error for two reasons. He tells them that they are ignorant of the Scriptures. Also, he says that they do not know the power of God.


The Sadducees were the modernists of their day. They did not even believe that the prophets were inspired by God. So, they would read books like Isaiah and Daniel, but did not believe they were inspired. They only believed that Moses was inspired. They only believed the first five books of the Bible were God’s words.


Jesus, of course, knew that all the Scriptures were inspired. He could have quoted Daniel in order to prove the reality of the resurrection:


At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.[2]


Or, he could have cited Job:


For I know that my Redeemer lives,

and at the last he will stand upon the earth.

26    And after my skin has been thus destroyed,

yet in my flesh I shall see God,

27    whom I shall see for myself,

and my eyes shall behold, and not another. [3]


However, since the Sadducees accepted neither Daniel or Job as inspired, our Lord quoted Moses, who records the words of God. Our Lord’s entire argument rests upon the tense of one Hebrew verb.

And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” [4]

First, note that he says that “God said.” Jesus believed that what Moses wrote were the words of God. Second, when Moses quotes God, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had all physically died. Therefore, when God says, “I am the God…”, he is saying that he is their God at the time he says it and they must be alive (in spirit). He doesn’t say, “I was the God…” The strong implication is that, if they are alive in spirit, they will be resurrected. The Sadducees did not even believe that a person had consciousness after physical death. They believed that a person ceased to exist upon death. So, Jesus crumbles their whole worldview.

See then, that Jesus believed in the precision of God’s word. He believed that the Scriptures are so precise that one could even formulate doctrine based on the tenses of verbs!

He declared something similar in the Sermon on the Mount:

For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.[5]

An iota is the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet. It is designated by a small half-stroke of a pen and is pronounced as the letter “i” in English. The dot (rendered tittle in some translations) refers to a curve, usually at the top of some Hebrew letters, which distinguish them from similar appearing Hebrew letters. In other words, Jesus is teaching that even the smallest physical characteristics of Holy Scripture are guided and determined by the hand of God. The Scriptures are precise!

This means that we can have confidence in the Bible. We can have confidence because Jesus did. And Jesus knows more than you.

We ought to expect the Scriptures to be precise if they have been inspired by God. And, they are:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. [6]

This is the classic passage on the inspiration of Scripture. The apostle says that all Scripture is breathed out by God. By all, he means the entire Old Testament and the New Testament books that had already been written. Second Timothy may have been the very last book of the New Testament to be written. It was either Second Timothy or Revelation. Either way, by the time Paul wrote his letter to Timothy, almost the entire NT had been written, so “all Scripture” is just the entire Bible that we have today.

This book has been breathed out by the Living God! This is why we must cherish it and know it! How can we be a complete person? By knowing and enjoying this book! If you are ignorant of the Bible’s contents, you are not a complete person! Are you familiar or are you not familiar with what is in this book? The only disciples of Christ who should be able to say that they are not familiar with the contents of this book are those who are new to the faith, maybe having expressed faith and repentance within the last year or two. If you have been a Christian more than two years you ought to have read the Bible through at least once if not twice.

In 2021 and 2022, we memorized a fair number of verses in my adult Sunday school class. One of those was Joshua 1:8 --

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.[7]

The people of God under the old covenant were to meditate on His word day and night. How much more must we be doing this, seeing that we have greater and more revelation than they did?

I wish for us to very briefly consider other qualities of Scripture.

God’s word is good. Is this too simple? Of course, God’s word is good. But, I think we need to be reminded that it is. Sometimes his word convicts us. But we need that, do we not? God’s word is good!

So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. [8]

Would you like more good in your life? Then dwell in God’s word!

God’s word is perfect!

The law of the Lord is perfect,

reviving the soul;

       the testimony of the Lord is sure,

making wise the simple; [9]

His law is perfect!

This same verse tells us that the Lord’s words makes the simple to be wise! Do you lack wisdom? Then read and meditate on God’s words! Make certain that you understand them. You will become wise!

Finally, the Lord’s word is eternal.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. [10]


This is an amazing statement when you think about it. Even if the earth should pass away (that might not be for many thousands of years, or even millions of years, if at all) the words of our Lord Jesus will never pass away. They are eternal!

So, we have seen that God’s word is:

  • Inspired. That is, breathed out from God Himself,
  • It is good.
  • It is perfect.
  • It makes the simple to be wise.
  • It is precise.
  • And, it is eternal.

Do you see how important God’s word is to the follower of Christ? Seeing these wonderful qualities, what ought we to do?

The answer is obvious, is it not? We ought to live in God’s word. We ought to meditate on his word day and night, as Joshua instructed his followers to do.

We are beginning a brand new year. Now is the time to commit yourself to reading, studying, and meditating on the Holy Scriptures. Just committing is not enough, though. How many times have you committed to diet in the new year and how long did that last? You may have even committed to being daily in God’s word in previous years and how long did that last?

You must set a specific time to engage with God. If you do not do this your commitment is pretty much worthless. You must set a specific time and a specific length of time each day. The best time is in the morning. You need a specific time. Not, “when I wake up.” Don’t be a lazy mule. Be a human being that is seeking the Living God. Set your alarm if you are a mule.

The other practice that I wish for you to implement is to have two times with the Lord each day. Joshua said to meditate upon God’s book “day and night.” May I suggest that one of those personal times be for simply reading the Bible and the other time be for studying it?

I wish to encourage you to just read the Bible through in this new year. In order to do that you will need to read five chapters a day. Bibles are available that are already divided into 365 readings of about five chapters each. (A chronological Bible is particularly good for this purpose.)

For studying, you should concentrate on just one book of the Bible at a time and analyze smaller portions – just one chapter per day, or even less. Study Bibles are helpful for this purpose. I can recommend the ESV Study Bible, The MacArthur Study Bible (available in several translations), and the Recovery Version Bible with footnotes (the footnotes are extensive).

Let 2023 be the year that you grow in the Lord as you never have before!




[1] Witness Lee, Life-Study of Matthew, Message 59.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Da 12:1–2). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Job 19:25–27). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 22:31–32). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 5:18). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Ti 3:16–17). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jos 1:8). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[8] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 7:12). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[9] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 19:7). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[10] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 24:35). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.