What would Jesus’ gospel say?
Above the human authors, the Bible was ultimately written by God, as detailed in 2 Timothy 3:16. This verse tells us that God “breathed out” the Bible. God directed the human authors of the Bible so that while using their personalities and writing styles, they recorded what God intended. God didn’t dictate the Bible, but He inspired and guided it.
Who wrote the Bible?
The Bible was written by about 40 men of differing backgrounds over 1,500 years. Ezra was a priest, Matthew was a tax collector, Isaiah was a prophet, Paul was a tentmaker, Luke was a physician, John was a fisherman, and Moses was a shepherd. Despite being written by different authors throughout 15 centuries, the Bible doesn’t contradict itself or have any errors.
The authors have different perspectives, but they all state the same true God and the same way of salvation through Jesus Christ. For example, when Matthew sat down to write his account of Jesus’ ministry, he relied on his memory with help from the Holy Spirit, keeping his intended readers in mind. The result was the Gospel of Matthew, a tale full of Matthew’s vocabulary, syntax, grammar, and style. Still, it was God’s Word. The Spirit steered Matthew’s writing that everything God wanted to say was said, and nothing was included that God didn’t want to say.
Peter described the inspiration process in 2 Peter 1:21, saying prophets spoke from God as the Holy Spirit carried them along. Jeremiah described inspiration as a compulsion to write God’s message, saying that God’s word was in his heart like a fire, and he was tired of holding it, detailed explicitly in Jeremiah 20:9. There was no escape; God wanted to communicate, so Jeremiah had to write everything down.
Not every book of the Bible specifies who wrote it. For example, the author of Hebrews is unknown. There’s simply no way to be sure who the human author is for many books of the Bible. However, that doesn’t change what we’re confident about who the Divine Author is.
Why didn’t Jesus write His own gospel?
Many wonder why Jesus didn’t write books or why anything He may have written wasn’t preserved. Conspiracy theorists believe His texts were hidden for evil reasons. Given the necessity of the written word, as described in 2 Timothy 3:16, it’s natural to question why Jesus didn’t write anything down. Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t give a direct answer. Still, there are some educated guesses. The most likely reason is humanity’s habit of over-emphasizing specific ideas while losing sight of the bigger picture.
At the Last Supper, Jesus told His disciples that He would leave the physical world. However, He said His departure was to their advantage, detailed explicitly in John 16:7. This idea might have been hard to understand then, but it makes sense in hindsight. As long as Jesus was physically present, the disciples would rely on His presence to control their faith. It was only when Jesus left, and the Holy Spirit came, would the disciples lean on their internal, personal connection to God’s will. If Jesus had stayed physically present in the world, their decisions would have been delayed until they could ask Jesus for His advice in person.
The gospel’s reach would be limited by where He physically was at any given time. Obeying God and the outworking of faith would’ve been focused on hearing or seeing a physical Christ to the exclusion of interacting with other Christians or heeding the Holy Spirit’s voice. Similar ideals may apply as we think about why Jesus didn’t write any books of the Bible. Even having the Bible, some downplay or ignore everything in the Bible other than Jesus’ words or the “Red Letter” groups.
Aside from the fact that the “red letters” aren’t found in the original texts, that methodology of the Bible can lead to setting aside essential teachings from God. It’s a misplaced attempt to highlight some of God’s word over other parts. Still, everything in the Bible is from Jesus because it comes from God. If everyone had texts written personally by Jesus, some people would go past honoring them to set aside all other Bible words. Having a “book of Jesus” would cause people to ignore statements outside that text.
If the physical scrolls of any biblical books survive, people would treat them as idols, like they do with alleged relics correlated to Christ. When He died, Jesus’ only earthly possessions were His clothes, which were immediately taken by indifferent Romans, as detailed in John 19:23-24. If He left anything else, like writings, those relics would’ve quickly inspired idolatrous impulses. There was a similar situation in the Old Testament when people obsessed over an item linked with Moses.
Jesus didn’t write a gospel to protect us.
God might have purposefully avoided giving us items to worship, knowing human nature, which may explain why we don’t know much about Jesus’ appearance or childhood. These details would provide distraction and temptation more than they’d tell us anything we should know about God. We don’t have an exact answer about why Jesus didn’t leave writings of His own. However, human weaknesses are likely the best explanation. Discipleship depends on personal understanding and an appreciation for God’s word.
If Jesus wrote a book of the Bible, we would be tempted to obsess over and idolize it. As much as the disciples would’ve loved Jesus to stay with them, and as much as we’d love to have his handwritten words, our sinful nature concludes that not having His handwritten writings is better for our relationship with God.