The Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible word of God, but it is not the only word of God.
The difficulty is in interpreting the Bible. Many of the great heresies of the church age were based on particular interpretations of the Bible. When I hear Bible-based Christians say the Holy Spirit guides them in properly interpreting the Bible I know to be wary.
The Holy Spirit inspired the teaching authority of the church to properly interpret the Bible and to properly determine doctrine. We should not step outside these teachings in our use of the Bible.
Now that we have the Bible we should regularly read it, study it, meditate on it. We are fortunate to have the Bible. People of past times did not for various reasons ...
- In those days you could not walk into a Christian bookstore and purchase a Bible for a few dollars.
- There was no New Testament until the books of the New Testament were written.
- There was no Bible until the church teaching authority determined which books were in the canon.
- The church first needed to determine that the Bible is inspired, inerrant, and infallible.
- There were no mass-produced Bibles until the printing press was invented.
- The masses of people were illiterate for much of church history. A Bible would have been useless to them.
- The Bible was used by heretics to prove their heretical doctrines. They wanted the people to have their own Bibles so they could see for themselves these heretical doctrines were in the Bible.
- Even after the invention of the printing press Bibles were expensive and people were poor. The masses of common people could not afford Bibles.
- Only in our modern, literate, affluent society are Bibles useful. Before then people needed to go to church to hear the Bible readings and the homilies.