Not anymore! Research materials are now easily found on the Internet. The unprecedented growth of the web gives us a staggering amount of information, literally at our fingertips.
One of the most interesting variants is "Wikipedia" - a completely online, free encyclopedia compiled by contributions from its users. It can be a helpful, fascinating source of information, but somehow the idea of everyone contributing their "two cents" to an article makes me a little uneasy about using that information as a primary source of authority and reliability.
The Bible and Wikipedia
Some skeptics view the Bible as if it were compiled like a Wikipedia article. With more than 40 contributing authors spanning several centuries, they say, it cannot be completely accurate. But Scripture sets the record straight. There is only one author. Peter wrote, "Prophecy never had its origin in the will of man" (2 Peter 1 verse 21). In other words, we are not reading the mere thoughts of Moses, David, Isaiah, Paul, or Peter. Rather, the words of the Bible come directly from God, put to paper by men "as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
This means that we find incredible unity, clarity, and commonality flowing through the Old and New Testaments. The truths expressed in Daniel's writing from the palace courts of Babylon are mirrored in John's words from the isle of Patmos, hundreds of years later. The themes of God's character, of man's rebellion, and of God's glorious plan of redemption wind their way through each page. Paul explains to timothy that the Scriptures are 'God-breathed,'"… from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3 verse 15-17). The scriptures hold the same authority as if God were to come down and speak to us directly. Every word recorded in the original documents is considered to be chosen by God. Further additions, revisions, or retractions are unthinkable and unnecessary because God's Word is confidently complete.
If what you need is a quick glance at the history of jazz music, the opinions and perspectives offered in Wikipedia might be helpful. But, if you are looking for meaning and purpose and the answers to life's deepest questions, a multiplicity of conflicting opinions won't help.
Thank God that He has given us what we need for every challenge and crossroad of life as His clear and trustworthy voice speaks to us through His Word.
Mercy Cornish (21) lives in Christchurch and studies at Canterbury University. Mercy has completed a Bachelor of Arts degree studying Media and Communications and Political Science. This year Mercy is undertaking honours in Media and Communications.
Mercy Cornish' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mercy-cornish.html